30/06/2017 World News Today


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Marriage for all - Germany legalise same-sex unions,


bringing it in line with most other European countries, although Angela


The council leader responsible for Grenfell Tower in London in which 80


people died in a fire has resigned. Nicholas Paget-Brown was criticised


for his response to this disaster. And those accused on Twitter by


President Donald Trump have accused him of lying, and suggest that the


White House tried to blackmail them. She changed the lives


of many women in France - Simone Veil, the Holocaust survivor


who became a politician, Hello and welcome


to World News Today. Germany has legalised


same-sex marriage - a move that brings it in line


with most other European countries. Members of Parliament voted


in favour, after the German chancellor Angela Merkel


changed her position to allow a free vote on gay marriage -


though she herself Here, it's called


"marriage for all." The new law means


same-sex couples will TRANSLATION: It's


a historic day for Germany. Today thousands of same-sex


partnerships have been The two-class system


in love has been abolished. Jubilation too inside


the German parliament. The political left


has fought for years to bring this legislation,


but Angela Merkel has always opposed During this interview she appeared


to soften her stance. She'd met, she said,


a lesbian couple who'd The inspired a change


of heart, and a free vote for Mrs Merkel's Conservative MPs,


though she herself TRANSLATION: It's been a long,


intense and emotional debate. For me personally too,


which is why I hope that today's fought not only brings respect


for both sides of the debate, Angela Merkel may have rejected


the proposition at the ballot box, but she will go down in history


as the Chancellor who introduced By voting against the bill,


Mrs Merkel is appealing to the more conservative of her electorate,


but by in effect letting it happen she's appeasing potential coalition


partners of the future, and she's cementing that


reputation as Europe's For now - celebrations,


though the law may yet be challenged What's widely held as a victory


for equal rights is also seen by many here is a political


success story too. Social media timelines are full


of rainbow colours today as Twitter users celebrate Germany's decision


to legalise same-sex marriage. The hashtag #EheFuerAlle -


marriage for all - began trending worldwide


within hours of the announcement, One Twitter user posted: "Germany


legalized same sex marriage. I am proud of Germany


for the first time." Another posted: "I might be crying


some happy tears right now, marriage equality in


Germany is everything I've So those stories very much


dominating the social media agenda. Here in the UK, the leader of


Kensington and Chelsea Council, the borough where the Grenfell Tower


tragedy happened, has resigned. Nicholas Paget-Brown said he had to


accept responsibility for his role in the fire, and in public for the


fact that he tried to ban the media and journalists from a council


meeting last night. The BBC has obtained documents


that show that cheaper less fire resistant cladding


was chosen for the London tower block in which 80 people


are believed to have died. There is no suggestion however


a deliberate decision Kensington and Chelsea Council says


safety would not have been compromised in order


to manage budgets. Our home affairs correspondent


Tom Symonds has more. Were you pressured by


Number 10 to resign? The leader of the council


criticised for failing to cope with the crisis in his backyard,


could not hold on. CHANTING: We want justice,


we want justice! Last week his council


offices were invaded. Last night he couldn't even


hold a council meeting. In particular my decision to accept


legal advice that I should not compromise the public inquiry


by having an open discussion in public yesterday has itself


become a political story, and it cannot be right that this


should have become the focus of attention when so many are dead


or still unaccounted for. Investigations by the BBC


and the Times newspaper into the decisions made


when the council refurbished Grenfell Tower added


to the pressure. The big change - the addition


of aluminium cladding panels We've been investigating that


refurbishment and whether it played a part in the tragedy


that was to follow. This development in North London


includes cladding made not Documents passed to the BBC revealed


that the zinc panels were originally In 2012 the architects'


designs show this clearly - residents were told it


would be zinc. But there was pressure


from the council on contractors By 2015 they were given amendments


to the original tender and told to fit aluminium composite


panel, which is cheaper. So did the change make


a difference to fire safety? Well, this panel is similar


to the ones eventually used. It's an aluminium sandwich


with a plastic filling The original zinc panels


were marketed as capable Both panels have the same safety


rating under European tests. So on current evidence,


it's not clear the change However, even the fact


there was pressure to cut costs has infuriated those affected


by the fire. Those affected and the wider


community are utterly sick of this lack of value ascribed to human


beings who pay their council tax, Meanwhile, cladding from 149


tower blocks has now The whole process has been


criticised as pointless because only the cladding is being tested,


and not for example It is critical to do


the screening tests, just to see whether there is a risk


or not, to see whether the buildings Many of them do, and the question


now is what can we do about it, and are there other risks


or materials we need to consider. There is an immediate


crisis to deal with, an ongoing police investigation,


a public inquiry, again today President Trump has said that years


of strategic patience with North Korea have failed


and are now over. At a joint press conference


at the White House with South Korea's president,


Moon Jae-in, both leaders agreed that a stern response


was needed in order to curb Here's what President Trump


said a short time ago. The era of strategic patience with


the North Korean regime has failed. Many years, and it has failed. And,


frankly, that patients is over. We are working closely with South Korea


and Japan as well as partners around the world on a range of diplomatic


Security and economic measures, to protect our allies and our own


citizens from this menace known as North Korea.


A short time ago, our correspondent in Washington, Barbara Plett Usher,


spoke about both countries' approach to resolving tensions


Yes, they come at this from different approaches, but I think


they stress what they have in common. Donald Trump spoke about


running out of patience, after he condemned the death of the American


student who came back from North Korea recently and passed away,


setting the tone for how the Americans are feeling about North


Korea, and then he repeated relay the US position, saying that he


called on all countries in the region, of course South Korea, but


referencing China as well, I'm sure, to implement tough sanctions against


North Korea to get it to change its mind and pursue a path of peace, he


said, but he also hinted that the possibility of a military response,


saying "We will always defend ourselves and our allies." Because


there is a strategic alliance. President Moon Jae-in very much but


his comments in the context of close coordination with the Americans, and


he is just leaving the White House now. You can see the car behind me.


He did manage to get in his line of engagement, which he said, "We will


pursue sanctions and the dialogue in a phased and comprehensive manner."


He very much put that in the context of working closely with the United


States and having a strong defence posture, as you were


hearing there, so I think they got in lines about their different


approaches, but as I said he very much came out sounding like they


were on the same page, working together. That was Barbara


Plett-Usher in Washington, and we are going to stay in the USA.


Two TV presenters attacked on Twitter by President Donald Trump


have accused him of lying and suggested the White House


Meeka Brezinski and Joe Scarborough, the hosts of MSNBC Morning Joe said


they were warned a tabloid would run a negative story on them


unless they said sorry for their coverage of Mr Trump.


Joe Scarborough spoke about the subject on the show.


He had a call that, "Hey, the National Enquirer


is going to run a negative story against you guys," and it


was Donald is friends - the president is friends -


with a guy that runs the National Enquirer,


and they said, "If you call the President up, and you apologise


for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone,


I had, I will just say, three people at the very top


of the administration calling me, and the response was,


That was Joe Scarborough on their Morning Show. Jane joins us from


Washington. This is not as light-hearted as what we spoke about


before, quite sinister, isn't it? It is coming very bizarre and murky


recently, these allegations that the president is abusing his power,


because the inference is he tried to blackmail these two television


presenters, to tone down their criticism, in return for him getting


a story by the National Enquirer, which is a sort of gossip mongering


tabloid magazine you would normally pick up at the checkout of a


supermarket, into spiking a story about their affair. They are getting


married now, but their relationship, and Donald Trump has in return this


morning said that actually that didn't happen, and that Joe


Scarborough, the host, called him to have the story spiked, and that he


said no. So, Kasia, we're back to this inevitable Donald Trump said


this, somebody else said that, and so it goes. But the bottom line is


of course it raises all these questions about what is the


president of the United States is doing carrying out a row over


Twitter with television personalities when he should be


trying to get Congress to vote on health care reforms? Hasn't he been


told so many times to stop tweeting and yet he continues to ignore all


of that advice, and also the inference here he has some kind of


editorial control the National Enquirer? That is murky stuff. Well,


he is friends with the person who runs the National Enquirer, but


again Donald Trump says that is not the sequence of events. That he did


not call, or any of the staff, cold Joe Scarborough, to beg, to get Joe


to beg the president to intervene on this. He said it just didn't happen,


and Joe Scarborough has tweeted and said it did. Where do you go from


here? And, Kasia, it always sounds murky, sounds like there is


something at the bottom of this, but there is a pattern. It comes down to


an argument, a very public and distracting row, and then you are


back to the he said, she said, and it really is resolved. Oh, my


goodness, Jane. Thanks for outlining all of that for us, Jane from


Washington. I am sure we will speak to you again about this. Let's turn


to France where the leader of the far right, Marine Le Pen, has been


placed under formal investigation over an alleged European Parliament


funding scandal. Prosecutors suspect that her party


took money officially earmarked for staff at the European Parliament


and diverted it for Ms Le Pen has denied any


wrongdoing, and calls the case Our correspondent in Brussels,


Damian Grammaticas, told me more. This is covering a period


of about six years during the time which Marine Le Pen has been


a member of the European Parliament, It's worth saying that this


not only covers her, this investigation, but 16 other


MEPs from her National Front party as well, and the claim originally


from European Parliament fraud investigators was that money given


to the National Front party, specifically to be used to pay


for European Parliament assistance, for party staff working


in the parliament, was actually being used to pay for personal staff


on Miss Le Pen's campaign, well, her chief of staff,


her bodyguard, so national officials who should be nothing to do


with the European Parliament. What we have got today is the French


investigating magistrate in France, who are now following up those


allegations, who have formally placed Miss Le Pen investigation,


and she will contest these charges, but the investigating magistrate


want to see if there was an overall scheme by the National Front party,


because they are looking at something like, we understand,


40 individuals whose salaries may have been paid this way,


money from the European Parliament being diverted or used


for other stuff. That was Damian Grammaticas in


Brussels for us. Let's take a look at some of


the other stories making the news. The first people to face criminal


charges in connection with the Fukushima nuclear disaster


in Japan six years ago One of the accused,


power company chief, Tsunehisa Katsumata,


said the earthquake and tsunami wave that severely damaged the nuclear


plant were impossible to predict. Around 60 migrants are feared


drowned after their boat sank Around 80 survivors were brought


to the Italian port of Brindisi, where they told aid workers


about the disaster. On Wednesday a senior EU official


said the scale of migration across the Mediterranean


is untenable, with around 10,000 people reported to have


attempted the journey Tennis star Venus Williams has been


accused of causing a car crash that led to the death of a passenger


in another vehicle, The former world number


one was driving her car in Florida when the accident


happened at crossroads. A 78-year-old man suffered injuries


and died two weeks later. China's president Xi Jinping has


been enjoying another day of celebrations in Hong Kong,


to mark 20 years since the territory China's government has


repeated its view that a treaty between China and Britain


which governed the terms of Hong Kong's handover no longer


had practical significance. But the British Foreign Office said


the agreement was as valid today as it was when it signed


over 30 years ago. President Xi's visit has


been filled with parades The BBC's Stephen McDonell


reports from Hong Kong. The President of China,


Xi Jinping, started the day with a troop inspection


at the People's Liberation Army Since this former British colony


was returned to China two decades ago, the military has kept a pretty


low profile here and is only on show The city itself is also


being dressed up for the 20th anniversary, with light shows


and performances planned. Strong development in the future


is one of the key messages being In 1997, Hong Kong was handed


back to the mainland, along with guarantees


of an independent judiciary, free Yes, this would be part of China


but under the banner of one country, two systems, it would be a region


with special privileges. Yet the last British governor says


he now worried that Beijing is not The mood has got much more sour


in the last few years because while President Xi Jinping


has been in office, just as there has been a crackdown


on dissidents on mainland China, so the Chinese have been


increasing their grip A failure to introduce promised


democratic elections for Hong Kong's leader brought hundreds of thousands


of protesters into the streets three And more demonstrations


are planned for this weekend, It would be a mistake to think


that the bulk of this city's dissent On this 20th anniversary,


if the opinion polls are to be believed, most people in Hong Kong


still want to be part of China as long as their


freedoms are guaranteed. But wherever President Xi is,


there will be no talk Instead, he told a banquet


with hundreds of selected guests that he remained confident


in this city. Steven McDonnell,


BBC News, Hong Kong. It backed a little earlier we


brought you the news of the legislation to approve same-sex


marriage in Germany, well there is more news from Germany.


Legislation on online hate crimes. They have increased by 300% in the


last three years. The respected French politician


and Auschwitz survivor who wrote France's abortion laws,


has died at the age of 89. Simone Veil was best known


for her instrumental role in legalising abortion in the 1970s,


and went on to serve as the first president of an elected


European parliament. Her death was confirmed by president


Macron, who called her life The French public were also


paying her tributes. It makes me think


about the abortion laws. I can't remember which year,


but it was a very big I benefited from her abortion


legislation, and at the time She was one of the first to push


for independent women, to get involved in politics


despite having suffered enormously, Earlier I spoke to the Economist


bureau chief Sophie Pedder in Paris, about Simone Veil's legacy and how


she was a woman ahead of her time. When you look at what she was


campaigning for in the 1970s, as the Health Minister, she argued in


parliament for the legalisation of abortion. She was really taking on a


very conservative male establishment, and if you look at


her speech in the French parliament, she was a woman in front of mainly


male audience, and with just nine female deputies at the time, and I


think she wanted to bring France into the modern era, make it a more


socially liberal society. It came after the 1968 student uprising,


when there was an uprising against a much more conservative culture, and


she wanted to really modernise France, you know, in a way that was


ahead of her time. Absolutely a head of her time. Before that, she was


ahead of her time. Absolutely a head distinguished magistrate, she looked


into abortion, she was on the administrative Council of French


radio and television. She even tried to lead a campaign against smoking


in France. It is fascinating to hear of her achievements. Yes, she was a


very accomplished woman in breaking barriers, in terms of the schools


she went to, the profession she chose as a lawyer, all the way to


her life she was really breaking that glass ceiling and doing it on


the of other French people, but in a way she was more than that. She was


also a kind of moral compass for France. She was an Auschwitz


survivor, and that experience stayed with her obviously all through her


life, and she spent a lot of time campaigning, writing, speaking,


about both her experience and how France needed to confront that, its


own role in that, so I think she was really a sort of moral died, in a


way, for a nation in some difficult times -- a real moral guide. Yes,


and both her parents and her brother died in the Holocaust, and she never


removed the tattoo from her arm, it had such an impact on her. Yes, she


made that decision, and she explained why she decided to keep


it. It was under her sleeves are not always visible. She was actually


quite a conservative dresser, but nevertheless she kept it there and


she wanted it to be a reminder that, you know, that was her past, and she


had gone through what she had gone through. It was extremely difficult


for her to come to terms with it but she felt it was an important symbol


to remind people of what she had gone through, but also of France's


role in that. And that led her to never really understand how


countries could have animosity against each other. I guess she was


quite visionary. She was pro-Europe. Yes, and she was a member of the


European Parliament, elected, in fact the president of the European


Parliament. She was passionately pro-European. She campaigned when


France had a referendum in 2005, she campaigned for the draft European


constitution, so she was really kind of committed to Europe, all to her


career as well, as, you know, guided both by her own personal experiences


but by the war between countries that she wanted never to happen


again. The Economist's Sophie Peder they're speaking to me about the


legacy of Simone Veil, who has passed away.


Before we go, news of a return home for a rare sea


This turtle had been found washed up on a beach on the island


It's being taken to Gran Canaria where she's expected to be set free.


The animal, nicknamed Menai, is an Olive Ridley turtle,


which are usually found in warmer waters near the equator.


It is the first such turtle to have been reported in UK waters


since records began almost 200 years ago.


Don't forget you can get in touch with me and some


Good evening. The weekend is upon us and driver the


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