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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