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This is BBC World News Today with me, Nuala McGovern.
The headlines: The man Donald Trump wants to be the US Attorney General
faces protesters as he is questioned by fellow senators.
Jeff Sessions said claims he'd once sympathised with the Ku Klux Klan
were "damnably false" and denied failing to protect
the rights of minorities in the past.
This caricature of Louis in the 86 was not correct. I had become the
latest attorney. I supported civil rights attorneys, major civil rights
cases in my district. we'll be live in Chicago
to enter the White House where President Obama's preparing
to make his farewell address. Emotional scenes in Iran
as an estimated 3 million people pay their last respects to former
President Rafsanjani - a hugely
influential reformist leader. Also coming up,
from 32 countries to 48 - Fifa says it's expanding
football's World Cup. The woman who sat on the
front row of history. British war correspondent
Clare Hollingworth 1935, I went out and I got to Warsaw
and he said, one of us has got to go to the frontier and I was on the
German- Polish frontier and the German hordes, tanks, moved in.
the next President of the United States in ten days' time.
On Tuesday the team he has picked to help him govern came
under the spotlight as Republicans and Democrats clashed over his picks
for the cabinet, in confirmation hearings by the US Senate.
Trump's choice for Attorney General - Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions -
is the first to be put through his paces.
Mr Sessions is regarded as staunchly conservative
though he says he's been misjudged because he's from South Alabama.
Throughout his career he's been accused of racism,
but at the hearing he repeated his assertions
that he doesn't harbour race-based discrimination.
Mr Sessions also opposes amnesty for undocumented immigrants
and was an early supporter of Donald Trump's call
to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
From the beginning, the hearing was interrupted several times
Barbara Plett Usher is in Washington.
Barbra, good to have you with us. When it began, those previous
controversies followed Senator Sessions into the room. His
ultraconservative positions have many people worried about whether
he's going to protect gay rights, women's rights, minority rights. The
leading Democratic Senate committee said it had received thousands of
opposition letters. As you saw from the protesters there are, there is
particular concern about his civil rights record and allegations of
racism as well as allegations that he supported the Ku Kux Klan in the
past, things he firmly denies. The complaints about the Klan case that
I prosecuted and supported are false. And I do hope this hearing
today will show that I conducted myself honourably and properly at
that time and that I am the same person, perhaps wiser and maybe a
little better, I hope so, today, than I was then, but I did not
harbour the kind of animosities and raced -based discrimination ideas
that I was accused of. I did not. He was hoping that his record might be
improved somehow by this hearing. What would you say after watching
this hearing take place? He was given plenty of a chance to defend
his record as well as 20 challenges to explain the skin changes those.
One of those was with regards to the issue of Muslims being banned from
the country. Remember that Mr Trump during his campaign proposed having
this temporarily ban on Muslims. He stepped back from that, later. When
the Democrats try to propose the red legislation in Congress,
specifically saying that no one should be barred for religious
reasons, Mr Sessions voted against that. He was asked about that and he
said he did not support banning Muslims as a religion or banning any
group as a religion but he did want the freedom or the right to ban
terrorists who might be inspired by their religion and he spelt that out
fully in this exchange. Would you support a law that says you cannot
come to America because you are a Muslim? No. Would you support a law
that says that, if you are a Muslim, you say you're a Muslim, I'm going
to ask what that means you, does that mean that I have to kill
everybody that's different me, to say they cannot come? I heard that
would be a pertinent decision. I hope that we can kill everybody was
the come to the country who wants to kill people because of their
religion but that is not what most people of the Muslim faith belief.
But it can be the religion of that person. That's right. That is the
point we are trying to make here. The quizzing and the tone of this
hearing showed just how concerned minorities in particular are about
Mr Sessions, the possibility of him being Attorney General and about the
Trump presidency in general. The Democrats will use the file two days
they have to continue exploring that. -- the full two days. Let's
turn now to another story in the United States.
As President Obama prepares to leave the White House,
many are taking time to assess his time in office.
His farewell address will come from Chicago later today.
President Obama is expected to highlight his achievements
including promoting America's place in the world.
He may point to his successes - negotiations of a deal with Iran
over its nuclear programme, for example,
or the capture of Osama Bin Laden.
But the conflict in Syria, the rise of so-called Islamic State,
and deteriorating relations with Israel and Russia
Our North America Editor Jon Sopel looks at
President Obama's foreign policy legacy.
There was always something upside down about Barack Obama receiving
the Nobel Peace Prize before he had really done anything as president.
When he came to office, one the greatest strategic threats
was Iran, a resurgent power in the region.
But more important than that was securing a multinational deal
to curb the nuclear ambitions of Tehran.
despite fierce opposition from the Israeli Prime Minister.
When Benjamin Netanyahu came to address Congress two years ago,
there was fury in the White House, they were angry that an invitation
had been extended by Republican leaders
and accepted without the president knowing.
But very soon someone much more to the Israeli Prime Minister's
liking will be occupying the White House and the quest
-- question the world is asking, will the Iran nuclear deal survives
Over here we have been told that no deal is better than a bad deal.
His relationship with Netanyahu was one low point, culminating
in the US refusing to veto a UN resolution critical of the Israeli
The chemistry with the Russian leader Vladimir Putin
Crimea, cyber espionage and Syria left them barely speaking.
The pledge at the beginning of his presidency was all about disengaging
from costly conflict and bringing the troops back home.
We can say to those families who've lost loved ones to Al-Qaeda terror,
But the optimism brought by the successful raid
to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011 and the spread
Would eventually be replaced by a middle east in flames.
And the rise of so-called Islamic State, the fight against
Arguably the low point for President Obama
in the Middle East has been Syria, which has been a humanitarian
catastrophe, sparking the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
And the president's failure to act against President Assad
in spite of much huffing and puffing,
A red line for us is, we start seeing a whole
of chemical weapons moving around before being utilised.
I think it was a mistake not to enforce the red line.
When the US is clearly saying there could be
consequences for a certain action, it is important
I also would not confuse that with crossing the chemical weapons
red line with the notion that there was intervention
Obama's policy toward Syria is much like the embassy here in Washington,
an empty shell, newspapers piling on the doorstep, the windows barred.
And in the talks to bring peace to the country,
Barack Obama has flip-flopped over whether to take military action,
too slow to react to the dangers of so-called Islamic State.
It has been a period in which American influence
From one empty embassy to another, influence has increased.
that has had new life breathed into it,
this is the Cuban Embassy in north-west Washington.
For over 50 years it lay derelict, last legacy the Cold War.
In the warmth of the Caribbean island, Barack Obama consigned
the last piece of icy Cold War legacy to history.
Cuba had brought the world to the edge of nuclear war.
Now diplomatic relations are restored,
He leaves office largely admired and popular around the world.
Not least for his role in the global climate change deal.
He tried to carve out a foreign policy
that he saw as right for the times.
But as the commander-in-chief was given the traditional
sendoff, in his own way, was he as destructive
to US power and influence as his predecessor, George W Bush?
And what would the Nobel committee make of him, eight years on?
Our Correspondent Gary O'Donoghue joins us now from Chicago.
Good to have you with us. It looks incredibly cold well you are. Tell
me about the mood in the run-up to this farewell speech. It is going to
be a momentous occasion. It is an overused word, but it really is,
because it will mark, in a sense, President Obama's last chance to sum
up what he thinks he has achieved, to book end his presidency, do not
just list his achievements as he sees it but do tried to weave
together those achievements into some sort of idea of how America has
improved over the last eight years, in his view, under his stewardship.
There will be much about the economy and about jobs. A lot about criminal
justice reform. Of course there will be talk about his signature policy
on health care. And there may be an admission two about what he would
have liked to have done but didn't get done such as comprehensive
immigration reform and gun control. What will be interesting, I think,
is the extent to which he sort of sounds a warning bell about the
future, about the risks he would proceed to all that from the Trump
presidency. I would be surprised if he did an all-out attack on Donald
Trump. That wouldn't be very statesman-like or very much like
Obama, to be honest. I wonder if he will try to work in America about
the risks he sees going forward, because, of course, it is not just
the consequences for those people out there, if 20 million people were
to lose their health insurance, it is his legacy that is at stake. This
is his last big platform to secure that legacy. Is it just support that
you are seeing for Obama in his adopted hometown? There have been
many disillusioned or disappointed Obama voters, too. Yes, there have.
He leaves office with extraordinary approval ratings of 55-57%. That is
pretty good for an outgoing president after eight years in
power. Bill Clinton had something around that when he left. It is
really uncommon for that sort of level. The audience here tonight
will be interesting. Many of them will be from Chicago. And of course
this city has been through some terrible times recently. Take this
for a statistic. 762 people were murdered in this town last year.
That is more than New York and Los Angeles put together. There are
still problems in America. There are still problems in his back yard, his
adopted town. People will feel that perhaps he could have done more to
do something about that. You can understand why Chicago is known as
the Windy city! Stay warm, thank you for coming on the programme today.
Some estimates say 3.5 million people turned out
in the streets for the funeral of one of the key figures
in post-Revolution politics, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
It was the biggest show of force by the supporters
of the reform movement for many years.
Initially criticised for his harsh rule, he became a key reformist.
Mr Rafsanjani has been buried alongside the founder
of the Islamic Republic - Ayatollah Khomeini.
Prayers for one of the last major figures of the 1979 revolution,
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose white cleric's turban
They were led by Ayatollah Ali Khameini, who, despite
their differences, has described Mr Rafsanjani
At the Supreme Leader's side, the current moderate President,
Hassan Rouhani, who has now lost a key backer
Some estimates put the number of mourners paying
as the cortege made its way to his burial place.
The tussle between moderates and hardliners
Some mourners held portraits of the former president.
Others chanted the name of his even more reformist
State television responded by turning up the background music
In recent years, the media has been banned from publishing
the name or images of Mr Khatami, who was not present at the funeral.
He had called for supporters to come out in force
to show their solidarity with the reform movement.
Iran is holding three days of national mourning
for the late Ayatollah Rafsanjani.
Deep divisions over social and economic freedoms and
further potential rapprochement with the West will remain.
in a succession of militant attacks in Afghanistan.
The Taliban said it was responsible for the twin bomb attacks
There's also been an explosion in the centre of Kabul.
in the compound of the governor of the southern province of Kandahar.
Up to 12 people were killed in that incident.
Football's governing body, Fifa, has approved plans to expand
It'll open up the tournament to nations who've previously found
it difficult to qualify and is set to boost
the number of African and Asian countries taking part.
The move will also generate millions more from advertising and TV rights.
Our sports correspondent Richard Conway reports from Zurich.
Fifa has finally cleared a path to a World Cup
From 2026, 16 more countries will join
Speaking to me today, the world governing body's president insisted,
in the face of much criticism, it's time for the sport to look
Football has become a truly global game because many more
countries, many more teams, will have the chance to qualify,
so they will invest in developing football.
They will invest in developing elite football
as well as grass-roots football.
They will invest in their technical developments
and this will make sure that the quality raises.
The growth of the World Cup will bring in revenue.
Fifa stand to make ?500 million profit in 2026,
according to its own research.
Gianni Infantino was elected on a pledge to deliver a bigger
competition and insists it is not about cash or politics.
It's not at all a money and power grab, it's the opposite.
So the way we presented it was - OK - we present four formats,
every one of the four formats has advantages in terms of
the financial situation which means we are in a comfortable situation
to be able to take a decision simply based on the sporting merit.
Asia, where interest in football is booming,
and Africa stand to benefit the most when the extra 16
There will be more slots too for European nations.
The Scottish FA welcomed today's decision, believing it will give
them and others a better chance of qualifying.
After a number of years when Fifa was a by-word for corruption,
its new leadership is determined to assert itself.
Gianni Infantino's task is now to convince his critics a reformed
It was the scoop of the century - the news
triggering the start of World War Two.
Today, that British war correspondent who broke the story,
As a rookie reporter in Poland in 1939,
she spotted German forces gathering on the border.
James Robbins looks back at her life and career.
NEWS REEL: This is the national programme from London.
Germany has invaded Poland and has bombed many towns.
But three days earlier, Clare Hollingworth's greatest scoop
had already appeared in the Daily Telegraph.
Alone, inside Germany, she'd seen the Nazis
Aged 27 and a journalist for less than a week,
a woman in a man's world had beaten the lot of them.
1939, I went out to Poland to become number two
to Hugh Carleton Greene of BBC fame, and I got to Warsaw and he said,
"One of us has got to go to the frontier."
And I was on the German-Polish frontier
when the German hordes, tanks, moved in.
And Clare Hollingworth's scoops kept coming.
In 1963, she uncovered Kim Philby's escape to Russia as an MI6 traitor.
For weeks, the Guardian refused to publish, fearing a libel action.
But above all, she was a war correspondent,
across the Middle East and notably in Vietnam,
revealing secret talks between Hanoi and Washington.
I'm really passionately interested in war and if one
# Happy birthday, dear Clare...# one can't help like being in it.
Last year in Hong Kong, fellow journalists celebrated
Clare's 105th birthday as even more extraordinary stories emerged
of her role before World War II, helping refugees escape the Nazis.
In danger herself so many times, Clare Hollingworth was witness
to great events across more than a century.
The writer and broadcaster Isabel Hilton new Claire Hollingworth. What
are women. Perhaps we could start with her significance. She was
remarkable. She was a woman and she got the biggest scoop of the
century. She was the most tenacious reporter. She would never be noted
for her fine writing but there was no one like Clare for getting the
story. She was born in 1911. It was appealed that was difficult for
women even in recent decades. Going back, she was 27 years of age when
she broke that story. You would see that her father insisted on sending
her to domestic science College which still makes me laugh, because
anyone less inclined to do domestic science, I have yet to meet. She
came from a well-to-do rural family who thought that girls ought to
learn cooking and get married. But she went on to work with refugees,
she signed so many visas for refugees in 1938 that there were
complaints from the British government about the numbers
arriving. She was wonderful. And she was fearless. She was remarkable.
You met her in Hong Kong, Asia, China, big parts of her life. What
was it that Rover, do you think? She was dedicated to the craft of
journalism. -- that drove her. I met her in Beijing when I was a student
there. At that time there were very few foreigners in Beijing. So when
Clare saw a bunch of new Celsius to cultivate, which she did with style,
Lord Hartwell would like you to have a decent lunch, my dear, she would
say. She would grow as about what was going on in university. -- she
would grill us. She said she felt uncomfortable if she did not write a
story every day. And in China it was difficult. There were lots of places
you couldn't go, and there was difficult, difficulties with access
to sources. Thank you very much for coming in and talking about the
memories that you have of Claire Hollingworth.
Jeff Sessions, the man picked to be the next US Attorney General,
has told his Senate confirmation hearing that he's no racist
and has never supported the Ku Klux Klan.
Jeff Sessions. There was a Democratic senator who expressed
deep concern about the Alabama Republican's nomination. The
Democrats do not have the power in the chamber to block his
confirmation, but that does not put them off trying their best to bring
up some of the issues that they feel should be front and centre when it
comes to these confirmation hearings. You will see lots more
coming up over the next few days, before the inauguration of President
elect Donald Trump on January 20. Don't forget you can get
in touch with me and some of the team on Twitter -
I'm @BBCNuala. And you can see what we are
working on via facebook. Lots there to look at about our
programmes coming up