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Hello and welcome, this is BBC World News Today
Donald Trump faces the media over his relationship with Russia. There
are suggestions intelligence agencies could have leaked false
information that Russia has come promoting detail about him. I saw
the information and read the information outside the meeting. It
is fake news, it is phoney, it didn't happen. His choice for US
Secretary of State has also faced questions. Rex Tillerson said Russia
did pose a risk but Washington weakness created the problem.
The number of migrants seeking asylum in Germany has
We report on how refugees living in camps in Greece are coping.
So, Donald Trump's first press conference in six months,
and his first as President-elect - and it was highly unusual,
The event had been scheduled for Mr Trump to announce how
he will handle his vast business empire while President.
Instead, it was dominated by allegations carried by some
US media organisations that his election team
colluded with Russia and that there were videos
of his private life held by the Russian security services.
Our diplomatic correspondent, James Robbins has this report.
Donald Trump is nine days away from inauguration as president and
America's commander-in-chief, but his path to the White House is now
tangled in extraordinary controversy.
What role might the Kremlin under President Putin have
played to help Mr Trump to undermine Hillary Clinton and perhaps also
uncover compromising material to use against President Trump
My friend and the President-elect of the United States
This afternoon Donald Trump was blunt.
The allegations against him are totally untrue,
It's all fake news, it's phoney stuff.
And it was gotten by opponents of ours, as you know,
because you reported it and it and so did
many of the other people, it was a
group of opponents who got together, sick people, and they put
In shadowy work both to promote Donald Trump and also gain a
Here he is visiting the Russian capital in 2013 for the Miss
Universe pageant, then co-owned by Mr Trump.
The most lurid claim is that he used the same hotel suite
which President Obama had stayed in for unusual acts involving sex
workers, all allegedly recorded by Russian spy
I was in Russia years ago with the Miss Universe contest, which did
very well, in the Moscow area, did very, very well.
And I told many people, "Be careful."
Because you don't want to see yourself on television.
And again, not just Russia, all over.
Does anybody really believe that story?
The source for the unproved claims are said to be a former
British spy, an ex-MI6 officer once based in Moscow.
Today President Putin's spokesman said the
allegations were pulp fiction, a clear attempt to damage relations.
Mr Trump said he is in no way compromised by Putin's
preference for him as the next president.
If Putin likes Donald Trump I consider that an asset,
We have a horrible relationship with Russia.
I don't know if I will get along with Vladimir Putin.
I hope I do, but there is a good chance I
And if I don't, do you honestly believe that Hillary would
The press conference got most heated when CNN, one news
organisation which covered the latest allegations extensively,
You are attacking our news organisation, can you give
I'm not going to give you a question.
He also used the occasion to talk about legal
documents turning his businesses over to his family.
It is his response to accusations of future
But the controversy surrounding Donald Trump
Those who voted for him and those who
rejected him all know his presidency will be a stormy one.
The BBC has known about these allegations for some time but
decided to report after it became clear the US intelligence agencies
were taking them seriously enough to brief the president and President
elect. Our North America correspondent
Paul Wood has been following this He told us more about
the allegations against Mr Trump. It was commissioned
by an opposition research company, funded by a Democratic party donor
but written by a British former MI6 agent and he spoke to members
of the Russian security service, the FSB, paying them for information
and several FSB officers told him
there was a blackmail tape. I understand the CIA believes
this is credible and That is not the same
as endorsing it and saying it But I passed a message to the case
officers dealing with this file through an intermediary
and the message coming back was there was more than one take,
audio as well video and it was more than one date
in more than one place, not just the presidential suite
at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow, In addition it is not just the MI6
officer who is the source for this. I was told by a retired spy
in August that the head of an East European intelligence
agency had told him also of the existence
of a blackmail tape on the Republican
presidential candidate. Having said all that,
these are allegations. Mr Trump is literally
correct when he said so The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan joins
us live from Washington. An extremely heated conference at
times but did Donald Trump effectively dismissed the four Rory
over the allegations and turn the conversation back to what he wanted
to talk about? -- the storm. He tried but reporters in that
conference continue to ask questions about unverified reports about his
relationship with the intelligence community and indeed his business
dealings, which originally was the reason why he hosted this news
conference in the first place. I think some of the key takeaways from
bad news conference are when it comes to those three areas I
mentioned, the relationship with Russia, with his business dealings,
and the intelligence community, it all just shows how unpredictable the
presidency is going to be. Take the intelligence community. It really is
unheard of for an incoming president, a President elect to have
such language towards the intelligence community who he is
supposed to work with. In that conference he said if they were
found to have leaked information it would be a blot on the intelligence
community. He did not mince his words in that respect. In other
areas he was certainly in a trademark sense very forthright in
the way he addressed some of the concerns, certainly around Russia
and the intelligence community. Tell us about what he has said he will do
with his large business empire and how reassuring his plans will be for
those who worry about a conflict of interest. That was always the
concern. Mr Trump said he will hand control of his company to his two
sons. But notably his daughter will no longer have any dealings with the
Trump industry is moving to Washington, DC and her husband is
going to be one of Mr Trump's advisers. Many people will say it
does not go far enough. Some people say he should have sold off his
business assets to avoid a conflict of interest. In the news conference
there was a bizarre moment when one of his lawyers took over from him
and set out some of the ground work for his business dealings and showed
piles of paper and documents and in that conference try to address some
of those concerns. She said there had been more conflict of interest
if Mr Trump sold off some of his companies, because there would be
issues in terms of receiving the royalties from those businesses.
Others say he should have put some of his industries into a blind
trust, that is not going to happen either. In effect at the end of four
or eight years he can take over the company again from his sons. And
briefly if we have thought a press conference might indicate soaring
relations between Donald Trump and the media, we were wrong. Yes but he
did start by thanking members of the media who had seen those reports and
the unverified reports of calls, and not gone with them and publish them.
But even before Mr Trump came on his adviser and spokesperson Sean Spicer
and then Vice President-elect Mike pence laid into the media in their
trademark style, saying the media is biased, the mainstream media, and we
keep hearing a lot about fake news. Even in Mr Trump's Twitter. It sets
the tone for the relation the media is likely to happen with the Trump
administration going forward. And CNN of course could not even ask a
question in that conference. Thanks very much.
We'll be back live in the US a little later in this
programme to talk about another marathon questioning.
At a Senate confirmation hearing, Donald Trump's choice
for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has been
trying to calm fears about his relationship with Moscow.
There's been a dramatic drop in the number of migrants seeking
Official figures released by the Federal Office for Migration
and Refugees show that 280,000 claimants arrived there last year,
The German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said that the decrease
was due to the closure of the Balkan route and the migrant deal
Our correspondent Jenny Hill has this assessment from Berlin.
It is tempting first of all to imagine the German government
Because these figures represent a real reduction in the number of
Bearing in mind the year before nearly 900,000 people arrived in
That triggered not just social disquiet but huge
These figures are not only a significant
reduction but actually come much closer to what some of Angela
Merkel's critics have called for, an annual upper limit of 200,000
On the one hand there is I think a sense of relief here.
But even ministers admit there are huge challenges ahead.
First of all there are still hundreds of thousands
outstanding asylum applications and then there's the business of trying
to integrate the people granted leave to stay and those who
This is an election year for Germany.
Angela Merkel's government has to persuade
a pretty nervous German electorate that not only can integration happen
successfully but it can also identify any potential terrorists
who have managed to come in with that migrant influx.
I think also any sense of triumph might be
tempered by the fact that actually this reduction in numbers has very
little to do with any kind of domestic policy.
Angela Merkel's government has toughened its asylum
policy gradually but the reason these numbers are down is twofold,
first it is to do with the fact those countries in the so-called
Balkans route closed their doors to migrants,
in effect sealing off the
major route through Europe into Germany and ministers I think
also are painfully aware that this reduction,
very much reliant on that deal struck tween the EU and Turkey.
They do not really know if it is going to hold together.
At the moment it is doing so but it is precarious.
The winter freeze in Europe is hitting migrants particularly hard.
In some areas temperatures dropped to as low as
The BBC's Howard Johnson has travelled to two refugee camps just
outside the Greek capital Athens, to see how people there are coping.
I have just arrived at the refugee camp here.
There is an impromptu demonstration here against the conditions
We would have a look inside ourselves but we
Apparently there's a blanket ban on media filming
It's not like people didn't know winter was coming.
It comes every year, just like clockwork.
In this particular camp, the only winterisation that's been
done as far as infrastructure has been done by us.
We built the first floor so we could move the families
in from the tent and basically none of the large organisations
could manage to do anything with the infrastructure.
I am good because I have five blankets.
The girls and boys fighting with the snow.
Now a look at some of the day's other news.
Italy's Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, is recovering from
He fell ill on his return from a meeting with
His office said he was awake and in touch by phone.
Mr Gentiloni was due to meet the British Prime Minister,
Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to criminal charges and will pay over
$4 billion to settle the test rigging scandal. They admitted in
2015 to installing software in hundreds of thousands of cars to
cheat emissions tests. Lawsuits are still ongoing in Europe.
Norway's attorney-general has told a hearing that the imprisoned mass
murderer, Anders Breivik, has to be kept in isolation to stop
him spreading far-right ideology and inspiring further attacks.
The state is appealing against a lower court ruling that
keeping Mr Breivik isolated breached his rights.
French Police investigating the robbery of the reality TV
star Kim Kardashian, have released three people including
More than $10 million of jewellery was stolen in the raid
Police are considering whether it was an inside job.
The UN envoy for Cyprus says talks in Geneva to reunify the divided
The country's Greek and Turkish leaders have come together
after several failed attempts at reunification.
In an exclusive interview, our correspondent Selin Girit has
been speaking to the Turkish-Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci.
After numerous attempts at peace falling one by one over two decades,
that is what many people call Cyprus.
But could there be an end to the conflict inside?
Turkey's Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci told me the time has
We need to set up a united federal country now,
It is high time that we are able to create a better future
for our younger generations to develop culture, federal culture,
Cyprus has been divided along ethnic lines since 1974,
when Turkey occupied the northern third in retaliation
The Turkey-Cypriot state, founded in the north,
is recognised only by Ankara, whereas the Greek-Cypriot state
Peace talks are currently under way in Geneva
Security, the presence of the Turkish military
on the island, a rotating presidency between two communities,
just some of the biggest concerns, but Mustafa Akinci doesn't
If we try to speak about peace and so on and so forth,
of course this might create suspicion in the minds of other
people, saying that, oh, the Turkish side has other plans,
We will do our best with all our determination.
If you go again to the referendum and you get another vote
from the Greek Cypriots, of course you cannot do this.
Mustafa Akinci believes that this could be the last opportunity
The younger generation, I believe that they will not focus
on a federal setup in the future, because they are growing far apart,
they are becoming aliens in their own country.
They are like tourists visiting each other's side and they don't share
It is the last trial of our generation.
Most probably the last chance for a federation.
The Turkish Cypriot leader. Letter to the US. -- we will return to the
US. Before Donald Trump gave that press
conference in New York, his choice for Secretary of State
and America's top diplomat Rex Tillerson faced questions
from a Senate confirmation hearing. Many US politicians have expressed
concern that the former CEO of oil giant Exxon Mobil could be too
friendly with President Putin. Mr Tillerson was awarded
the Russian Order of Friendship for his business dealings
and opposed US sanctions on Russia. Mr Tillerson told Senators
today that Russia posed an international danger-
but it was in fact US foreign Our Nato allies are right to be
alarmed at a resurgent Russia. But it was in the absence
of American leadership that this door was left open and unintended
signals were sent. We backtracked on commitments
and made allies. We sent weak or mixed
signals with red lines that We did not recognise that Russia
does not think like we do. Words alone do not sweep away
an uneven and at times contentious history between our two nations,
but we need an open and frank dialogue with Russia
regarding its ambitions so we know Barbara Plett-Usher joins us
live from Capitol Hill. A very influential figure if he is
confirmed as Secretary of State but how tough a time did he get? He got
a lot of questions about Russia policy for obvious reasons. The
position of Mr Trump and the scandals floating about with regards
to Russian interference in American politics, but I think that he was
probably broadly reassuring to a of senators. He advocated a tough line.
He said Americans should get tough with Russia when it behaved badly
but also said it was not necessary to try to cooperate the Russians on
a range of issues. -- it was necessary. They need to have a
conversation about whether Russia only sees them as an adversary or if
they can have some other kind of relationship. I think that is
something a lot of senators wanted to hear. Not all of them. Some of
them pressed him on Vladimir Putin's record, particularly the Syrian
bombing of Aleppo and he declined to say who was a war criminal which
upset some other senators. On some of the issues where Mr Trump has
been a little bit away from traditional policy or has been
overly critical or people do not know quite where he is, Mr Tillerson
took up a middle line, so for the transpacific trade deal, a big part
of the foreign policy approach of this administration, and important
tool of Republican senators, he said he did not really oppose it, which
Donald Trump does, he think we can get a better deal, he took a middle
line on these issues were chatting again would reassure a large number
of the senators. We heard one senator giving him a particularly
tough line of questions over Vladimir Putin, Marco Rubio, a
former presidential hopeful. If he does not back him, how much jeopardy
does that put the administration in? The Republicans have a majority.
They would probably have to be three Republican senators voting against
him. No Republican senators about Wright said they would do that.
There is a certain amount of leeway. I doubt very much that many would
have a no vote and I doubt any word. Maybe Marco Rubio word. Especially
because you are looking at Mr Tillerson as a contrast to Mr Trump.
Mr Trump has dismayed a lot of Republicans with his freewheeling
and sometimes inflammatory approach to foreign policy where he suggests
he might question the traditional basis of it, which Republicans
accept. Mr Tillerson would be seen even by those who oppose him, could
be seen as a lesser of two evils. The issue about Russia is very
important to a small group of senators in particular. We cannot
say entirely sure which way they would go. Barbara, thanks very much.
Barbara Platt Usher on Capitol Hill. A quick mention of President Barack
Obama... He has set a personal record on social media after a
farewell speech last night in Chicago. He took to Twitter to say
thank you to everything the... This has become his most popular to date
with more than 1 million likes and more than half a million re-tweets.
Donald Trump has accused the US intelligence agencies of leaking
information and putting out false claims that Russia as compromising
information about him. -- has. He was critical of US intelligence
agencies and certain members of the media.
Don't forget you can get in touch with me and some
of the team on Twitter - I'm @ KarinBBC.
And you can see what we are working on via Facebook too
Lots there to look at about our programmes coming up