19/05/2017 World News Today


19/05/2017

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange welcomes the news that Sweden

:00:00.:00:13.

is dropping its investigation into an alleged rape -

:00:14.:00:16.

and its attempt to extradite him from the UK:

:00:17.:00:25.

Seven years without charge, why my children grew up without me. That is

:00:26.:00:35.

not something that I can forgive. It is not something that I can forget.

:00:36.:00:41.

But he's not giving up his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy -

:00:42.:00:44.

we'll ask 'what next for the man the CIA effectively runs a 'hostile

:00:45.:00:47.

Donald Trump is about to set off on his first overseas

:00:48.:00:55.

trip as President - we'll look at what's waiting for him

:00:56.:00:58.

leaders and leaders from across the Arab and Islamic world are waiting

:00:59.:01:18.

to greet the American President, his first stop on his very first foreign

:01:19.:01:19.

tour. Voting is extended in

:01:20.:01:20.

Iran's Presidential election - as polling stations struggle to cope

:01:21.:01:22.

with an unexpectedly high turn out. closer to stepping down, the

:01:23.:01:39.

Japanese Cabinet gives its backing to the emperor's desire to abdicate.

:01:40.:01:50.

Hello and welcome to World News Today.

:01:51.:01:53.

The founder of the wikileaks website, Julian Assange,

:01:54.:01:55.

has greeted as a "victory" the news that Swedish prosecutors

:01:56.:01:58.

are ending their investigation into claims he carried out

:01:59.:02:00.

Speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London -

:02:01.:02:05.

where he's taken refuge since 2012 - he said he would not be leaving it,

:02:06.:02:08.

because he could still be arrested by UK police.

:02:09.:02:14.

He also insisted that his Wikileaks group would continue with its work.

:02:15.:02:18.

On the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy

:02:19.:02:32.

Julian Assange emerged this afternoon to have his say on the end

:02:33.:02:35.

of the Swedish investigation against him.

:02:36.:02:42.

Today is an important victory for me and for the UN human rights system.

:02:43.:02:52.

Seven years without charge while my children grew up without me.

:02:53.:03:00.

That is not something that I can forgive,

:03:01.:03:03.

it is not something that I can forget.

:03:04.:03:08.

But prosecutors in Sweden have not cleared Julian Assange,

:03:09.:03:11.

they have simply said they can't pursue the case any further.

:03:12.:03:19.

TRANSLATION: There are now no further measures

:03:20.:03:21.

remaining which are possible to advance the investigation.

:03:22.:03:23.

In order to proceed, it would be necessary

:03:24.:03:25.

for Julian Assange to be formally served notice of the crimes

:03:26.:03:28.

This was a measure that was to have been conducted during an interview

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in London, but Mr Assange refused to make this possible.

:03:33.:03:36.

This complex international drama began in August 2010 when two

:03:37.:03:39.

women alleged that Julian Assange had sexually assaulted them

:03:40.:03:42.

In December that year he was detained in Britain under

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In May 2012 the Supreme Court upheld a decision to extradite him

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And in June Mr Assange walked into the Ecuadorian Embassy in London

:03:58.:04:02.

The Metropolitan Police mounted a 24-hour guard at the embassy.

:04:03.:04:09.

By October 2015 it had cost over ?30 million.

:04:10.:04:15.

Julian Assange is no longer wanted on an international

:04:16.:04:20.

arrest warrant but the Metropolitan Police say that if he stepped out

:04:21.:04:23.

of the embassy they are still obliged to arrest him

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for failing to surrender to a London court back in 2012.

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At the embassy this evening his supporters were jubilant.

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But in Sweden, the woman who accused him of

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rape issued a statement saying he was evading justice,

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and expressing her shock that the investigation

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Julian Assange was not held without charge with for seven years.

:04:42.:04:48.

He was subject to extradition proceedings with in the EU,

:04:49.:04:52.

under the European arrest warrant scheme he would have received a fair

:04:53.:04:55.

trial in Sweden had he chosen to go back.

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The reason this has lasted seven years is entirely down to him

:04:59.:05:01.

seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy rather than going to face

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trial in a country that has governed by the rule of law.

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The founder of Wikileaks says it was fear that he

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would be extradited to the United States for leaking

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classified information that drove him through

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So despite today's dramatic twist in this long-running diplomatic and

:05:15.:05:19.

legal saga, tonight he is back inside.

:05:20.:05:22.

President Trump is due to take off any moment now

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on the first foreign trip of his presidency.

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It's ambitious - four countries in eight days -

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Whilst there he will meet King Salman and attend

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a summit of Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh.

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It's been quite a week at home for the President,

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so the shift from domestic controversies to his foreign policy

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Here are some pictures of Saint Andrews Air Force Base. They are

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live pictures, this is the facility in Maryland from which President

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chump will depart. His nine-day trip include Saudi Arabia, Israel and the

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Vatican -- President Trump. Our Chief International

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Correspondent Lyse Doucet is live from the Saudi Capital,

:06:24.:06:25.

Riyadh. It is good to see you. This is an

:06:26.:06:35.

ambitious trip, what will his message be in Riyadh? Well the

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rumours were swirling in the region that President Trump has been

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facing, extreme pressure at home over alleged mishandling over

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intelligence and could end up cancelling his trip to Riyadh and

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his next stop in Israel. We all knew that this trip matters a lot to

:06:58.:07:01.

President Trump and it certainly matters to the Saudi kingdom. It

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will only be hours before the American President makes Riyadh his

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first stop on his very first foreign visit. This is a city under tight

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security and a city that is pulling out

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all the stops to make this a visit like no other. Everywhere you go in

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Riyadh, you see the slogan, together we will prevail. A summit, they say

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like no other in history. This place is full of superlatives, it is three

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summits, and the team with Royal rulers, leaders from the Gulf region

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and leaders from across the Arab and Islamic world and for Saudi Arabian

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leaders, it is all about turning the page on what they saw as an

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infuriating relationship with President Obama and what they saw as

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his retreat from the Middle East. They have hailed President Trump

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from the start and when I spoke to the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister,

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I put it to him that it was a bit of a diplomatic coup to claim the first

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visit. We believe it is a coup for the world and a coup for peace and

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coexistence. This is a very powerful message that America and the West is

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not your enemy, it is a powerful message to the west that Islam is

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not your enemy. This visit will change the discourse and the

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dialogue between the Islamic world and the West in general and for the

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West in particular, if will isolate the extremist, whether it is Iran or

:08:36.:08:40.

Isis or Al-Qaeda who say that the West is our enemy. It will also push

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back against those in the West to say that Islam is our enemy. This is

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a truly historic occasion. Will this help overcome the suspicions and

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anger over the travel ban which was widely described as a Muslim man? I

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do not believe... I think the stories about the anger work

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exaggerated. Many were angry, but cant -- countries that were on that

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list, it was seen as a Muslim ban. We cannot question the right of the

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United States or any country to decide who to let in or not let in.

:09:18.:09:22.

We cannot see any measures as being biased against a particular group of

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religion. Islam is part and parcel of the American social fabric, there

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are millions of Muslims living in America and most of the Islamic

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countries were not on the list. Are you worried about summits that will

:09:38.:09:42.

emphasise the battle against extremism, the visit could be

:09:43.:09:45.

overshadowed by the controversies over the alleged mishandling of

:09:46.:09:50.

intelligence? We deal with the administration, we deal with the

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President as our honoured guests and we deal with the 55 delegations that

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are coming from the Arab and Muslim world and that is what our focus

:10:00.:10:02.

will be. Will you make it clear that you have troops ready to offer?

:10:03.:10:07.

President Trump will want you are going to do if he becomes more

:10:08.:10:13.

engaged? We have made that clear for almost one year now. There are

:10:14.:10:16.

troops available from the Islamic Coalition and we are prepared to

:10:17.:10:24.

share the burden of going after the terrorists, ultimately the

:10:25.:10:30.

terrorists are after Saudi Arabia. They want to take Mecca and Medina

:10:31.:10:34.

so they have a platform to block us and we will not allow that to

:10:35.:10:39.

happen. So that is really the language of this visit, all Ed

:10:40.:10:43.

Barnard and historic to start and it seems according to sources that some

:10:44.:10:48.

other historic steps could be taken. Some sources are saying that some

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Arab states are now willing to consider tearing down some of the

:10:53.:10:56.

walls of hatred with their old archenemy is real, starting to

:10:57.:11:00.

normalise relations with Israel, even before the conflict with the

:11:01.:11:04.

Palestinians has been resolved, even if this is not a turning point in

:11:05.:11:09.

the region, certainly what will happen here in Riyadh over the next

:11:10.:11:16.

few days is going to mark some new departures and coincidentally, it is

:11:17.:11:18.

all taking place just when Iranians are turning out in huge numbers to

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vote for a new President. A crucial time right across this region and

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President Trump is going to be very much part of it. Thank you very much

:11:27.:11:29.

for now. We'll be covering every step

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of President Trump's visit - and you can keep right up to date

:11:31.:11:33.

by following Lyse on Twitter. Her handle is @BBCLyseDoucet -

:11:34.:11:36.

as you can see, she's already been giving the view in pictures

:11:37.:11:39.

from Riyadh on the eve Let's take a look at some of

:11:40.:11:41.

the other stories making the news... Former US congressman Anthony Wiener

:11:42.:11:58.

has pleaded guilty to sending sexually explicit messages to a

:11:59.:12:03.

teenage girl. The investigation into the ex-husband of one of Hillary

:12:04.:12:07.

Clinton's former aides led to the discovery of documents relating to

:12:08.:12:11.

Mrs Clinton's use of a private e-mail server.

:12:12.:12:13.

Yemen could have as many as 300 thousand cases of cholera within six

:12:14.:12:16.

months and an "extremely high" number of deaths, according

:12:17.:12:18.

Nearly 250 people have died in the past three weeks alone.

:12:19.:12:26.

The new President of France, Emmanuel Macron says the French

:12:27.:12:28.

military operation in Mali will continue until the militants

:12:29.:12:30.

He was met by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita,

:12:31.:12:33.

to discuss the threat of terrorism in the west African country.

:12:34.:12:36.

Mr Macron reaffirmed his commitment to helping

:12:37.:12:38.

The United States military has protested to China after two Chinese

:12:39.:12:50.

jets intercepted an American aircraft over the East China Sea.

:12:51.:12:57.

One of the Chinese jets came as close as 45 metres to the US

:12:58.:13:00.

plane and flew upside down above it, according to US

:13:01.:13:03.

The US says the plane was on a mission to detect radiation

:13:04.:13:06.

A high turnout in Iran's presidential election has forced

:13:07.:13:17.

officials to extend voting by an extra four hours.

:13:18.:13:20.

The election could set the country's relations with the outside world

:13:21.:13:22.

with moderate incumbent president Hassan Rouhani facing his strongest

:13:23.:13:24.

competition from hardliner Ebrahim Raisi who proposes a tougher

:13:25.:13:26.

The BBC has not been given permission to cover

:13:27.:13:32.

But our correspondent Jiyar Gol is in Istanbul where many expats

:13:33.:13:45.

What is the likely result of this high turnout, how will this the

:13:46.:14:02.

result, do you think? Obviously, so many people here are hopeful that

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they get the result they are hoping for. Today from the early morning,

:14:07.:14:10.

thousands of people stayed in the queue for hours, some of them more

:14:11.:14:16.

than five hours cast their votes in Istanbul. At one point the reigning

:14:17.:14:22.

council had ran out of ballot papers and they were forced to fly ballot

:14:23.:14:29.

papers from Teheran and almost three hours after the official, which was

:14:30.:14:34.

six o'clock, they extended by three hours and there are still people in

:14:35.:14:38.

the consulate waiting to cast their ballots. I spoke to many of them,

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what is the reason, you have come out to vote today and they said,

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their future, the future of their country, they think and they are

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hoping that the next President, whoever comes out from the ballot

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box takes action and makes sure that the economy improves, make sure the

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relationship between Iran and the international community improves and

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to be honest, many of them said they have come out, although they are

:15:08.:15:13.

tourists in this country, spending thousands of dollars, but instead of

:15:14.:15:16.

spending time at the beach and other places, they have come here and

:15:17.:15:19.

stayed in the line to make sure that the hard would not win the election.

:15:20.:15:25.

They were worried, if he wins, he might take Iran back to a previous

:15:26.:15:31.

era. That is why lots of people came out to vote. Most people here, are

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liberal. The reality was, we cannot say this is conflicting in Iran but

:15:41.:15:46.

what we are hearing from in Iran, it has been the same scene and the

:15:47.:15:51.

election time has been extended until 11 o'clock Iranians time.

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Thank you very much for that. Mehrdad Khonsari is a Senior

:15:55.:15:56.

Consultant at the Iranian Centre for Policy Studies and a former

:15:57.:15:58.

Iranian diplomat. Thank you for joining us. Give us an

:15:59.:16:13.

idea of why this election is so significant? First and foremost, the

:16:14.:16:17.

most important thing is that we should not go back in time and that

:16:18.:16:23.

the hopes and aspirations of people should progress. No one in Iran is

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who they were 38 years ago and people like to move on from those

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revolutionary days, essentially a move towards progress and hope for a

:16:38.:16:41.

better future, improving the economy and things like that, which means

:16:42.:16:47.

that Iran's isolation with the economic community, encouraging

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investment to go in and all the paraphernalia, that a modern state

:16:51.:16:57.

requires and that really is what is at stake and so clearly defined in

:16:58.:17:03.

the positions of the true candidates. One would mean going

:17:04.:17:06.

back and the other would mean that the forward to a better future. Stay

:17:07.:17:12.

with us for a moment, because we can go back to the United States and see

:17:13.:17:19.

live pictures of Donald Trump. He is boarding Air Force One, we were

:17:20.:17:24.

saying he was due to lift off from St Andrews Air Force Base to go to

:17:25.:17:29.

Riyadh and this is his first major trip and all eyes are on this trip.

:17:30.:17:34.

He is due to depart any moment now and this is a nine-day trip which

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includes visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican cover the

:17:40.:17:45.

homes of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, a hugely ambitious

:17:46.:17:49.

trip, lots of coverage to come over the next few hours. We will bring

:17:50.:17:53.

you much more on this story, we will be hearing from our international

:17:54.:17:58.

correspondent, we heard from her earlier, it is a big trip and we

:17:59.:18:03.

will bring you coverage as the hours go on. Meanwhile there is a big

:18:04.:18:10.

election going on in Iran and we were speaking to my guest. We were

:18:11.:18:15.

talking a little about this election and how significant it is, there is

:18:16.:18:19.

some unhappiness within the country in terms of high unemployment and

:18:20.:18:25.

difficulties in terms of food and medicine, how will that impact on

:18:26.:18:30.

the decisions of voters? You have to bear in mind that over the past 38

:18:31.:18:34.

years, Iran has gone from one crisis to another and the problem is that

:18:35.:18:42.

the community faces today is a culmination of all these various

:18:43.:18:47.

crisis is, having an impact on the way life has progressed. The most

:18:48.:18:52.

important crisis that Iran faced was the nuclear issue. The nuclear issue

:18:53.:18:57.

praised Iran under sanctions and international pressure. Hassan

:18:58.:19:03.

Rouhani was able to end that crisis. Having ended it, it did not mean

:19:04.:19:08.

that all the problems were raised immediately. The hope is on the part

:19:09.:19:14.

of the population is that issues like unemployment, production and

:19:15.:19:20.

economy, things like that that improved the daily life of ordinary

:19:21.:19:26.

people, can progress, with this government that has ended this

:19:27.:19:33.

important crisis and not to go back to a situation where you start the

:19:34.:19:36.

new year of confrontation with the West which would aggravate this and

:19:37.:19:40.

essentially end hope for improvement in the lives of people. Even so

:19:41.:19:46.

there is support for Ebrahim Raisi, where to think that support comes

:19:47.:19:52.

from? You have to bear in mind that Iran is a polarised, it is quite

:19:53.:19:57.

polarised. What has happened, as a consequence of time, the number of

:19:58.:20:03.

people within the ruling establishment even, who support

:20:04.:20:10.

people like Ebrahim Raisi are an enormous majority, however, all the

:20:11.:20:14.

levers of the power in Iran is controlled by that small minority

:20:15.:20:21.

which Ebrahim Raisi represents. These are the very poor who rely on

:20:22.:20:24.

government hand-outs and this is what made the previous President

:20:25.:20:32.

popular with the poorer classes by giving out free money to people,

:20:33.:20:37.

bonuses and so on. Ebrahim Raisi has promised to treble that amount which

:20:38.:20:46.

the previous President handed out. The government of Hassan Rouhani is

:20:47.:20:49.

trying to encourage people to enter into the economy, employment and to

:20:50.:20:54.

reward them in that fashion. There is a small constituency with in Iran

:20:55.:21:00.

who are die-hard supporters of the regime and as small as the

:21:01.:21:03.

constituency within the ruling establishment is, who have backed

:21:04.:21:10.

Ebrahim Raisi, nonetheless, they control all the levers of power,

:21:11.:21:14.

essentially making policy in Iran at this time. It is such a fascinating

:21:15.:21:18.

collection, thank you for being with us. Let

:21:19.:21:23.

Let's get more now on our top story - the decision by Swedish

:21:24.:21:26.

prosecutors to shelve a lengthy rape investigation against Wikileaks

:21:27.:21:29.

Our correspondent Maddie Savage is in Stockholm and joins us now.

:21:30.:21:35.

what has been the reaction to this fair? Journalists gathered for their

:21:36.:21:44.

press conference earlier, shocked really at this final conclusion for

:21:45.:21:51.

seven years of legal wrangling is that Swedish prosecutors say, for

:21:52.:21:54.

now they are putting their investigation to one side, because

:21:55.:21:59.

of legal technicalities. Basically saying that Julian Assange is

:22:00.:22:02.

refusing to come to Sweden and they think they have exhausted all other

:22:03.:22:05.

possibilities of questioning him and getting further help from the

:22:06.:22:10.

Ecuadorian authorities who are still holding him in their embassy in

:22:11.:22:14.

London. Some initial shock, we have been in contact with one of the

:22:15.:22:20.

alleged victims, a woman who said that Julian Assange raped she says

:22:21.:22:26.

that he is still guilty in her mind and that he has now lost the

:22:27.:22:29.

possibility to defend his name and be found innocent. She says that

:22:30.:22:34.

these allegations are going to stick to him for ever. Earlier her lawyer

:22:35.:22:39.

also give a statement to the media saying that her client was shocked

:22:40.:22:44.

and calling it a scandal that a rapist could escape justice. No

:22:45.:22:49.

immediate reaction regarding exactly how prosecutors have dealt with this

:22:50.:22:53.

case, but certainly it has been going on for a very long time and

:22:54.:22:57.

questions will be asked about the time and money and in the context of

:22:58.:23:03.

this eventual outcome which has not resulted in a prosecution or Julian

:23:04.:23:06.

sod being found guilty or not guilty. Thank you very much.

:23:07.:23:09.

The Japanese cabinet has approved a bill paving the way

:23:10.:23:12.

If, as expected, it is approved by parliament, it will be the first

:23:13.:23:16.

time an Emperor has stepped down in more than 200 years.

:23:17.:23:19.

The bill will only apply to Emperor Akihito, and does not

:23:20.:23:22.

address any of the other issues facing the Japanese royal family,

:23:23.:23:24.

such as whether girls should be allowed to ascend

:23:25.:23:26.

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes' report contains flash photography.

:23:27.:23:29.

It was in this extraordinary television address last year that

:23:30.:23:31.

83-year-old Emperor Akihito made his plea to be

:23:32.:23:33.

He said he is old and frail, and fears that he cannot long

:23:34.:23:39.

TRANSLATION: In coping with the ageing of the Emperor,

:23:40.:23:45.

I think it is not possible to continue reducing

:23:46.:23:47.

perpetually the Emperor's acts in matters of state.

:23:48.:23:52.

Today, Prime Minister Abe and his Cabinet acceded to his wish.

:23:53.:23:57.

The Emperor and Empress will be allowed to retire,

:23:58.:23:59.

But this is a one-time deal for him only.

:24:00.:24:10.

When Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne

:24:11.:24:12.

on January 1st, 2019, he will still be expected

:24:13.:24:15.

In Japan, changing the rules of royal succession is,

:24:16.:24:28.

This week, Emperor Akihito's eldest granddaughter, Princess Mako,

:24:29.:24:33.

announced her engagement to a commoner.

:24:34.:24:38.

She cannot inherit the throne, nor can any children she may have.

:24:39.:24:43.

Of the Emperor's four grandchildren, only ten-year-old Prince Hisahito

:24:44.:24:46.

TRANSLATION: The number of active male members within the royal family

:24:47.:24:59.

Plus, when a female member marries a commoner, she's

:25:00.:25:02.

So the numbers will continue to shrink.

:25:03.:25:11.

The strange thing is, Japan's people are all in favour of change.

:25:12.:25:14.

In a recent survey, 59% said they think royal princesses should

:25:15.:25:16.

society progress in a way that encourages women to freely take

:25:17.:25:25.

I think more women working will lead to a brighter and happier society.

:25:26.:25:34.

There have been female emperors in the past,

:25:35.:25:36.

and societal changes occur along with generations.

:25:37.:25:42.

But think things should be looked at case by case and flexibly.

:25:43.:25:47.

As with so many things in Japan, it is not the public or even

:25:48.:25:50.

the royal family who oppose change, but the men in dark suits

:25:51.:25:53.

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC News, in Tokyo.

:25:54.:26:01.

That visit family and the goodbye for now.

:26:02.:26:05.

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