10/03/2017 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Alpa Patel.


The headlines: The offensive to reclaim


the last Islamic State stronghold in Iraq intensifies.


As security forces close in on Western Mosul,


thousands of civilians remain trapped in the fighting.


We talk to some of those who have managed to escape.


Murder, rape and the destruction of villages - the BBC hears


accounts of abuse suffered by Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim


The deadly impact of ebola on gorillas -


a third of the world's population killed by the disease


And the pitfalls of working from home - see the moment a guest


is interrupted by his children while giving


It's also the so-called Islamic State's last major


But Iraqi forces say they are within weeks of driving


After five months of fighting there have been heavy casualties.


But government forces now control the east of the city.


Which is divided by the River Tigris.


Now they're pushing into the west of the city,


where hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped.


And the militants are still deeply embedded.


Our correspondent Orla Guerin and cameraman Nico Hameon


are close to the front line and sent this report.


They are fleeing on foot from western Mosul,


Countless numbers are likely to follow,


and imagine if this was all you could bring with you.


Many waited 'til the fight came right to their door.


At 76, forced to leave home for the first time in his life.


He told us a mortar landed nearby, just moments before.


His ten-year-old grandson and namesake, clutching his


school bag, though his only lessons here were in war.


"I'd like to go back to school right this minute", he said.


So-called Islamic State stopped him going years ago.


Now, back in Iraqi hands, for what it's worth,


It was just four days ago they were driven from here.


This is the Engineering Department of Mosul University.


On the IS curriculum, how to make chemical weapons.


It was a source of pride for the people of Mosul.


It was also a key strategic location for the so-called Islamic State.


It gave them high ground to dominate the area,


it was heavily defended by Uzbek fighters and this is just one


of the areas that's going to have to be rebuilt


when the battle for Mosul is finally over.


Some Uzbek militants are still lying where they fell,


no decent burial for those who terrorised a city.


Nearby, a suicide belt they didn't manage to use.


At dusk, troops gather for the next push forward.


Increasingly, they strike under cover of darkness.


Hunting for the extremists who once controlled nearly a third of Iraq.


Some of the hardest fighting may be ahead in


In the narrow streets of the old city,


Beneath a sky lit only by embers of battle.


In the pitch black streets, few signs of life, but hundreds


of thousands remain in western Mosul,


This lady and her family are sheltering in an abandoned house


Three of her loved ones are in hospital,


I lost my house, my children were injured.


Her beloved Mosul will never recover, she believes.


What future for a broken city in a fractured nation,


even after the extremists are pushed out?


There are fears that when Iraqis finish fighting IS,


Staying in the region, the Turkish military say troops


and Turkish-backed rebels have killed more than 70 Kurdish


fighters in northern Syria, just in the past week.


Turkey has threatened to attack the town of Manbij that is held


The group is supported by the US, which sees it


as the most effective force to launch a long anticipated attack


on Raqqa, the IS de facto capital in Syria.


It comes as the Russian president, Vladimir Putin has praised


what he called the "unexpected level of contacts" that are developing


between Russian and Turkish military agencies and special services.


Following talks in Moscow with his Turkish counterpart,


Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he said the two countries


were working energetically to solve the Syrian crisis.


Moscow and Ankara concerning the future for Syria is the much


different but it is different from the one that the United States have


and it seems that for President Putin and President Erdogan it is


easy to talk to each other than talk in that triangle involving the


United States, Tokyo and Moscow. So Russia has already taken the grounds


that it needs and they have the help to recapture Aleppo, they help to


recapture Palmeiro, and Turkey tries to secure a buffer zone between


Syria and its own borders. And they have much more grounds for


cooperation and talks rather than each of them has with the United


States because the United States is such a powerful player. The German


car-maker Volkswagen has pleaded guilty in an American court to three


criminal charges linked to the diesel emissions scandal. The plea


as part of a deal with the US Justice Department, under which the


company will pay fines of more than $4.3 billion. Volkswagen has


admitted that, between 2009-2015, vehicles were fitted with illegal


software allowing them to pass emissions tests whilst still


producing high levels of pollution. It's something Myanmar's government


doesn't want the rest of the world to know about -


how it treats its About a million Rohingya live


in Myanmar - but they're denied citizenship and the most basic


of human rights. In the last six months,


75,000 refugees have fled The BBC has heard numerous


testimonies of rape and murder being committed


by the Burmese security forces. Here's our Myanmar


correspondent Jonah Fisher. We have been receiving shocking


video from a part of Myanmar at this close to the outside world. The


Burmese government is trying to keep what its soldiers of the to an


unwanted Muslim minority a secret. So we have come across the border to


Bangladesh. 75,000 Rohingya Muslims are fled here in the last few


months. This is Muhammad. He says he left his village in November when it


was attacked by Burmese soldiers. His elderly father was too frail to


flee. Four days, Muhammad heard nothing. Then when the Army


withdrew, he returned to a gruesome scene.


TRANSLATION:... This extremely distressing footage


was from Mohamed's village. He tells me he believes his dad was shot, and


the body burn. -- burned. Mohammed's story is


supported by a video that we have verified of helicopters overhead,


burning homes and large numbers of burnt bodies. Rate has been alleged


on a massive scale. This woman became famous in Myanmar when she


bravely spoke out about the abuse of Rohingya were meant to a team of


government investigators. Months later we found in Bangladesh. She


told us what the soldiers had done to her.


She says she had to flee Myanmar after soldiers printed out her


picture and came looking for her. The sheer scale of what the Rohingya


refugees are alleging, with hundreds still doubt been killed and many


more abuse, has shocked this United Nations envoy. I would say crimes


against humanity. Definite crimes against humanity. How much


responsibility should the leader of Myanmar therefore this? At the end


of the day it is the government, the civilian government, that has the


answer and respond to these massive cases of horrific torture and very


inhumane crimes that they have committed against their own people.


Myanmar's form of democracy icon refused all our interview requests.


The United Nations has accused this country of crimes against humanity.


Do you have any response to that? We spoke to one of her closest aides.


That she take on board what people are saying when they say that it


does not seem like she cares about the human rights of the Rohingya,


for example? Please change the subject. We do not talk about the


Rohingya. Hundreds of them have been killed. That is why we are raising


the issue. Not hundreds. It is almost one year since all San Suu


Kyi took office. So far the price of power has been silence and the


principles and values once synonymous with her name. Let's take


a look at some other news. EU leaders have stressed


the importance of unity at a meeting ahead of Britain's expected


departure from the bloc. The president of the European


Council, Donald Tusk, should be to strengthen mutual trust


for the remaining 27 members as they discuss proposals


for a multi-speed Europe. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux


Nation and their supporters have marched through the streets


of Washington to protest against the controversial


Dakota Access Pipeline. Native American tribes say leaks


from the oil pipeline will pollute water supplies and endanger sites


they consider sacred. The Formula 1 world has paid tribute


to the former champion racing driver and motorcyclist John Surtees,


who has died at the age of 83. John Surtees is the only man to win


World Championships Tens of thousands of South Koreans


have come out on the streets of Seoul to celebrate a court


decision to remove President Park


Geun-hye from office. The court upheld a parliamentary


vote to impeach Ms Park over her role in a corruption


scandal involving one


of her close friends. The friend is accused of using her


presidential connections to pressure companies to give millions of


dollars in donations to foundations she controls. She is now on trial.


In December Parliament voted to impeach President Park with the


final decision moving to the Constitutional Court. In February,


the boss of Samsun became involved in the scandal. He was arrested and


accused of making donations in return for political favours. His


trial started on Thursday. Today comes the final episode, as the


Constitutional Court rules to uphold the impeachment and President Park


is ousted from power. The chief justice says that Park


broke the law, and the trust of the people. Outside the court, pro Park


protesters clashed with police. Officers struggled to stop


demonstrators on the other side toppling a bus. Two protesters died.


The night, anti Park protesters have been holding a victory rally. I felt


shivers going down my spine and I'm sure I'm not the only one in South


Korea today to feel this way. It is an extraordinary thing in the


history of a country to see the president removed the democratic


constitutional mechanism. There will be an election within two months.


For three months, protesters have chanted that President Park must go.


Tonight, she spent her last night in the Presidential Palace. She may yet


end up behind bars. News about the recent outbreaks


of Ebola in West Africa has centred


on its devastating impact on humans. But gorilla populations


are known to have suffered A third of the world's gorillas have


been killed by ebola When a group is infected,


around 95% of them die. With all four species of gorilla now


critically endangered, researchers from Cambridge


University want to immunize Our science correspondent


Rebecca Morelle has more. In the African forests, an animal


at risk of vanishing forever. Gorillas already face many threats,


from poaching to habitat loss, but perhaps the most


worrying is ebola. The deadly disease is thought


to have wiped out many thousands So we put it on the sides


of the nose This scientist has carried out


a small trial on captive chimps, the last before bio-medical


research on these animals He found a vaccine protected them


against the virus and now he wants


to use it on gorillas in the wild. Ebola and other diseases


are a huge threat. If these were our children,


we vaccinate our children, right? We vaccinate wildlife


in the developed world. Why aren't we vaccinating our


closest relatives in Africa? The deadly toll of ebola in humans


is all too well-known. The 2013 outbreak in West Africa


killed more than 11,000 people. Now, though, there's


an effective human vaccine. Ebola in humans and gorillas


is closely linked. The virus can


cross between species. Some argue that gorillas should


now be immunised, too. Gorillas are one of our closest


relatives and saving is now a number one priority


for conservationists and an ebola vaccine does offer


some much needed hope, but there could be


significant risks. Finding a method to get a dose


of the vaccine into every


gorilla would be difficult. There's also a risk that it


could harm the animals, We, as great ape conservationists,


are concerned about any unintended impacts on the health of the target


apes, such as introduction of a disease that might spread


amongst the intended population The future of these animals


is hanging in the balance. The forests are currently free


of ebola, but it's inevitable


it will strike again. Conservationists need to decide


whether the risk of vaccinating or not vaccinating is one they're


willing to take. Absolutely stunning animals, aren't


they? Have you ever wondered


what infinity might look like? The 87-year-old Japanese artist


Yayoi Kusama has pretty much captured the experience


at an exhibition at the Hirshhorn


Museum in Washington. The 87-year-old Japanese artist


Yayoi Kusama has pretty much at the Hirshhorn


Museum in Washington. It's become one of the art events


of the year, with long lines to glimpse inside her


so-called infinity rooms. Jane O'Brien went to see


what all the fuss is about. It is easy to get lost in one of


Yayoi Kusama's row in committee rooms even though they are


physically quite tiny. Mirrors and lights warped perceptions of what is


real and what is illusion. We are living in a time when almost


everything we see and experience is through digital technology, through


digital media, through e-mail and so on. That is so much a part of our


lives and perception that she reminds us that there is this other


aspect of experiencing space that sometimes is more tactile. To


understand how Yayoi Kusama reached infinity, you need to step into her


white room. As a child, Kusama had a vision of polka dots which led to an


acute neurosis which she confronted by focusing on dots in her art.


Visitors are encouraged to stick them everywhere in this room,


eventually obliterating the white and leading to oblivion. Which


brings us back to infinity. At first being in this room makes me feel


incredibly happy, surrounded by glow-in-the-dark pumpkins, for


goodness sake. But after a couple of seconds it becomes quite disturbing,


because this is probably the closest any of us will come to seeing what


infinity must look like, and once you grasp that, you realise how


utterly insignificant you really are. Most people inside these rooms


immediately reached for their are. Most people inside these rooms


cellphones. This is, after all, the ultimate selfie. But, not so fast,


says the museum director. If you are in this infinity mode room and you


don't stop and put down your phone, you're not truly experiencing it


because it is this moment when you are alone in the cosmos, in one of


these pieces, and it is a very compelling, kind of poignant


feeling. Get past the show stopping infinity rooms and there is plenty


more to tickle the senses. Voluptuous sculptures, dots,


appendages, dots and poor box. Yoyoi Kusama is arguably the most


important contemporary artist in Japan. This exhibition reveals why


her appeal is global. An absolute feast for the eyes, that one.


Present Donald Trump has spoken to the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas


by phone. It's the first conversation between them since Mr


Trump took office in January. A spokesman for the Palestinian leader


said the US president has invited him to visit the White House to


discuss peace talks. His spokesman went on to say that President Trump


invited the Palestinian leader to visit soon.


A sea turtle in Thailand is recovering well after


an operation to remove 915 coins from its stomach.


The 25-year-old turtle, nicknamed Bank, for obvious reasons,


in various currencies than 5kg of coins


that tourists had tossed into the pond where she lived.


Occasionally most of us are guilty of being hungry for cash and a sea


turtle and Thailand is no different. She was brought from a pond in a


small fishing village to bets in Bangkok to investigate a cracked


shell. Attention soon turn to her extraordinary weight. An x-ray


revealed the cause. This saw the mass that you can see in the stomach


is in fact 915 coins. Now nicknamed Bank for obvious reasons, the turtle


is lucky to be alive. The removal of the money took hours of emergency


surgery, which Bank has certainly paid for, physically. The healing


seems to be OK. There is no secondary infection, because we are


using sterile sea water but the nickel concentration is very high


and her, so that, we have to work on. The coins which were withdrawn


from Bank are a variety of international currencies. Many


tourists had tossed them into the pond to invite luck over the years.


Luck which has certainly rubbed off on this fortunate creature. Now a


reminder that BBC world News is brought to you live every day.


Which means - on air - the unexpected can happen.


Earlier today, our presenter James Menendez was interviewing


Professor Robert Kelly, at his home in South Korea,


He had some very important points to make - but I think it's fair


to say you'll do well to remember them after this.


He was overshadowed by his children. Scandals happen all the time. The


question is how democracies respond to them. I think one of your


children has just walked in. Shifting sands in the region. Maybe


relations with North Korea change? I would be surprised if they do.


Pardon me. My apologies! What does it mean for the region? My


apologies. Sorry. South Korea's policies towards North Korea have


been severely limited in the last six months... It is no wonder that


that clip as one while. That is the nature of live TV. And Professor


Robert Kelley made it through professionally. Goodbye for


Robert Kelley made it through professionally. Goodbye for now.


The weekend is looking pretty mixed across the UK. The best day of the


weekend by far will be Saturday. Quite mild, particularly in the


south. Sunday will bring some rainfall, not a lot but there will


be some across the country. Right now it is overcast out there. There


is a weather front approaching and it is going to bring some rain to


north-western parts of the course of Friday


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