07/09/2017 World News Today


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Hurricane Irma hits, and leaves a trail of devastation.


The eastern Caribbean islands were first in line for a battering.


We had cars flying over our heads, 40-ft containers


And all we had to do was pray and call for help.


As the scale of the devastation in Barbuda is becoming clear,


Irma is headed for the Turks and Caicos Islands.


This is what they were escaping - the homes of Myanmar's Rohingya


The number who've fled to Bangladesh reaches almost 150,000.


We report from the largest official detention centre in Libya,


where the BBC found desperate conditions.


For many who set out hoping to get to Europe, who took the risk with


their lives of trying to cross the Mediterranean, this is where the


dream of reaching Italy has come to an end.


Hello, and welcome to World News Today.


Hurricane Irma - one of the strongest ever recorded


in the Atlantic Ocean - has left a swathe of destruction


in its path as it sweeps across the eastern Caribbean.


At least ten people are known to have died.


The islands of Barbuda and St Martin were first to feel the full force


Then came Puerto Rico, and now it's heading northwest


towards Cuba and Florida. The category five hurricane has


disrupted communications, making it difficult to get


information from some of the worst hit places.


In Puerto Rico, 70% of the population have


Our correspondent Laura Bicker was on the island when Irma struck.


Hurricane Irma, as storm the size of France, has carved a destructive


In Puerto Rico, three people were killed as winds


As daylight came and the clear-out began, most felt lucky to have


I prayed, go, don't come here no more.


This family told me they felt blessed to be


This family told me they felt blessed to be alive,


was downed power lines and fallen trees in the street.


There is a collective sigh of relief in Puerto Rico.


There is work to be done, up to 30 foot waves threw up debris


and downed trees, but when it comes to that catastrophic


eye of the hurricane, that only skirted the island,


On the tiny island of Barbuda, barely a building


Thousands of families find themselves homeless.


My house, I lose my home, I lose my shop.


And right now, I don't have nowhere to go to sleep.


We had cars flying over our heads, 40 foot containers


And the story that you are getting from most of the residents


is that the eye of the storm came just in time.


Persons were literally tying themselves to their roots


The Prime Minister said the island was barely habitable.


In neighbouring St Martin, the full force of the eye of


Winds of 185 mph hammered the island.


More than 70,000 people live in this area, which is made of Dutch


Shipping containers were tossed around like Lego bricks.


Moored boats were smashed in the harbour, and there


are warnings that the death toll is likely to rise.


France has sent three emergency teams to help with the clear-up,


and has already set up a reconstruction fund.


In the British territory of Anguilla, the UK response


The only hospital has been badly damaged, and residents say they need


A British task force is on its way there,


including Royal Marines and army engineers.


Efforts are also under way to get supplies to the


The French government says the priority is making sure people


The British Virgin Islands is the latest place to be pummelled.


It is a tropical paradise transformed.


She has maintained her wind speeds, and is barrelling


towards another British territory - the low-lying Turks


The US sunshine state of Florida will be next in her sights.


They are nervous, after watching others endure her wrath.


Laura Bicker reporting from Puerto Rico.


Hurricane Irma is now the longest lasting category five


superstorm ever recorded - surpassing the record


set by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013.


So why has it gathered so much energy?


And are these types of storm becoming more frequent?


Our Science Editor, David Shukman, explains.


A menacing swirl of cloud stretching over the Caribbean.


This view from space of Hurricane Irma shows


If it was over Britain, it would cover most of the country.


A brave flight crew ventures right inside.


And facing them are the staggeringly large walls


This hurricane has set a new record for having dangerously fast winds


On the ground, the effect is shattering.


This part of the world knows all about hurricanes, and early


warning has definitely saved lives, but this one is stronger than most.


So, how do hurricanes become so destructive?


The strongest, like Irma, form off the coast of West Africa,


warm waters caused the air to rise, triggering thunderstorms


and that is when the winds can circulate,


crosses the Atlantic, it grows and becomes stronger.


If the winds are moving in the same direction


at all levels, as with Irma, they reached devastating speeds.


Closer to the Caribbean, the hurricane gets another boost


as it passes over yet more warm water.


And ocean temperatures are unusually high this year, making the winds


On top of this, the low pressure inside the hurricane


creates a storm surge - a huge wave that strikes the coast.


And because climate change is raising the level of the sea,


As the people of the Caribbean try to cope with the terrible aftermath,


many are asking if there will be even more scenes like this


Scientists say they do not know if hurricanes will become more


frequent, but they do think they will become more violent.


One of the things we know about climate change is a warmer


That means when a hurricane hits, more rain can


and cause more flooding, and that is one thing we definitely


And another thing is the warmer oceans feed the hurricanes,


they are the energy source, so a warmer ocean will lead


This comes as the people of Texas are still recovering


There are plenty of quiet years, but this one is shaping up to be one


This sequence shows how right behind Irma there is another


distinctive swirl of clouds - Hurricane Jose.


The research patrols have been kept busier than ever before.


Well, are is now crossing to the north of the Dominican Republic,


heading for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Emergency officials admit


they are anxious about writing out the storm. Doctor John Freeman is


the governor of the British territory.


Of course, everyone is nervous and anxious here.


But, we've made the preparations we should do.


We've evacuated, we ordered the evacuation of two islands.


We've got our shelters operating and people going into them.


We're messaging out as best we can to make sure people do that.


Yesterday, we spent a lot of time encouraging visiting tourists to get


We've reduced the number of people who are here who don't live


So, yes, we're anxious, and we're going to have to ride it out.


And, you know, this is a country that's been hit


And therefore, you know, a surge means more water coming


on here, which means more flooding, which causes more problems in terms


of utilities and the functioning of the islands.


Those in the most low-lying are the ones who also have


vulnerable structures, and we've been encouraging them


As I say, they are moving into the shelters now.


Along with the surge you mentioned, of course it's the wind speed


that we are waiting to see what the impact of that is.


And I'm afraid we're not really going to know this


until of course it's hit us, but already we can see


We are already within the frame, she's already touching us remotely.


The United Nations says as many as 164,000 Rohingya Muslims,


mostly civilians, have now fled into Bangladesh from Myanmar


The exodus was sparked by a crackdown by Burmese security


forces after Rohingya militants attacked police posts.


Our correspondent Justin Rowlatt has been to a refugee camp in Teknaf,


Their shoes lost in the mud on the long journey here.


This is an exodus on a truly massive scale.


The truth is, no-one knows for certain how many Rohingya


refugees have crossed the border here to Bangladesh.


We've joined this kind of river of humanity,


because we've been told a refugee camp has erupted in


Apparently thousands of people have come here and made camp.


A UN official was told there were 15,000 people here.


She told the BBC she couldn't say how many refugees have


And everyone has a horrific story to tell.


TRANSLATION: My three sons were taken.


Villages burning, allegedly torched by soldiers from the Myanmar army.


TRANSLATION: Lots, lots, lots of people died.


And then they shot us from helicopters and from the ground.


Mr Shafiq saw some appalling scenes on his long trek.


Bodies floating in the river, Rohingya refugees drowned


the barbed wire fence that marks the border with Bangladesh.


The BBC cannot verify any of this footage,


but the stories the refugees tell are remarkably similar.


They've been driven from their homes into this.


Into what is a rapidly escalating humanitarian disaster.


Let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news.


The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, says a planned


referendum on independence by the autonomous region


Central government in Madrid is taking steps to prevent


the vote from taking place, after Catalan lawmakers voted


The region voted overwhelmingly for independence in 2014


in an unofficial election, which was unrecognised by Madrid.


The EU's Security Commissioner has warned that there's a real risk that


so-called Islamic State will increase funding


Julian King said that as IS loses ground militarily in Iraq and Syria,


it's moving money out of the region, which could lead to an influx


of cash for terrorism in European states.


A son of the Philippine president has denied involvement


in a multi-million-dollar drug smuggling operation.


Paolo Duterte told a Senate hearing the allegations


against him were baseless, although he refused


His father, President Rodrigo Duterte, launched a violent campaign


against drug crime last year, and has promised to resign


if any family members were involved in the trade.


Many migrants trying to reach Europe make the perilous crossing


But what about those who get caught before the journey?


We've gained access to Libya's largest official detention centre,


Many have suffered deeply traumatic experiences at the hands


of people-smugglers as they tried and failed to reach Europe.


The BBC's Orla Guerin has been inside the Triq al-Sikka


Well, for those being held in detention in Libya,


In this centre alone, there are more than 600 men being held.


There are women and children, even newborn babies,


The men here have asked us to show these conditions.


They are very anxious for all of this to be seen.


It's hot, it's airless, it's overcrowded.


At night, when everyone is jammed in and the doors are locked,


they tell us that some have to try to sleep standing up,


because there isn't even room to lie down.


The men here say there isn't enough food.


At breakfast, for example, all they're getting is a small roll


Now, the authorities who are in charge here tell us


they've run out of funding to pay the catering companies.


They say they are relying on donations from Libyan companies


The only hope of release for these men is to be deported back


Some of those here tell us they've been languishing in these conditions


Detainees in another centre told us the guards had demanded bribes


Some of these migrants have been bought and sold by different


Some have been forced into modern-day slave labour.


For many who set out hoping to get to Europe,


who took the risk with their lives of trying to cross


the Mediterranean, this is where the dream of reaching Italy


Today marks another milestone in Britain's Brexit journey -


MPs have started debating a Bill described by the Prime Minister


as an "essential step" on the way to leaving the EU.


The Bill aims to ensure that European law will no


longer apply in the UK, by repealing the act


of Parliament that took Britain into the European Union back in 1972.


The Bill will also convert all


current EU legislation into UK law - Government ministers say this


is to avoid a "cliff-edge" the day after Brexit.


Finally, and this is controversial, it includes new powers


for the Government to alter laws without full parliamentary scrutiny.


Opposition parties have already said they will not support the Bill.


Our Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg,


Ministers say there is nothing to worry about, there opponents say it


is a power grab. Put simply, this bill is an essential step. Whilst it


does not take us out of the European Union, that is a matter for the


Article 50 process, it does ensure that on the day with we leave,


businesses know where we stand. Consumers remain protected. But this


is so much to sort out the perfect all our lives. The Government says


there is not time for him is to be of every detail. So ministers will


be able to make tweaks here and there. That gives them the same


powers as medieval monarchs, Labour says. The combined effect of the


provisions of this bill would reduce MPs to spectators, power pawns into


the hands of ministers and the executives. It is an unprecedented


power grab. It is an affront to Parliament and accountabilities.


Bike ministers privately concede they will have to give some ground.


But they also know which is the only -- it is far from the only scrap the


fee. If talks about the overall Brexit deal going well, the official


negotiator in Brussels to do good job of hiding at this morning.


Complaining about the British unwillingness to talk about the


cash. TRANSLATION: I've been very


disappointed in the British position. There's problem of


confidence. He is accusing the UK of backtracking. Close to home, a


letter doing the rounds among Tory MPs has been leaked to the BBC.


Dozens of Brexit supporters demanding the Prime Minister sticks


to a crisp exit, not a longer, soft transition. Warning ministers they


must not allow the country to be kept in the EU by stealth. And was


circulated, if not signed, by a junior member of the government. The


letter says that we are in favour of leaving the Single Market and the


customs union, we want to take back control of our laws, we want a


strictly time-limited transition period, we want to be able to strike


free trade agreements with the rest of the world. All of that is


consistent with Government policy. Remainer Tory MPs don't buy that,


fearing Conservative divisions could burst again. In the Tory Party, in


Parliament, and in the power struggle with the EU... No Brexit!


There's not much chance of keeping the peace.


As Parliament debates the bill, it is not making for happy watching


according to the chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. Damian Grammaticas


has more from Brussels. Well, what we've heard


from today here in Brussels is the chief negotiator,


Michel Barnier. He said that they were watching very


closely here the debates going on in the UK, because the UK,


he said, will have to come up The EU wants to know what sort


of future deal the UK wants to do with the Single Market,


the customs union, all And that will be crucial to what


sort of negotiations happen here. But for now, he pointed to some very


difficult issues he said On Ireland, the question


of the Northern Irish border, he said that he was very worried


by the proposals put forward He said they simply


weren't good enough. The UK's decision to quit the EU


and to quit the Single Market and customs union would,


he said, bring complications, The onus was on the UK


to come up with solutions On the issue of money,


the financial settlement, he said that the UK's approach


questioning the legality of what the EU says the UK's


obligations are was very negative Mr Barnier said that every euro


the EU is demanding, He said the EU budgets had been


approved by David Cameron when he was British Prime Minister,


also approved by the UK Parliament, and that there


was a legal basis for that. And he said in order to move forward


to discussing a future relationship, the EU has to see progress on those


other issues first. Facebook says it has discovered


a Russian-funded campaign to promote divisive social and political


messages on its network. It said there were about 3,000 ads


over a two-year period. The ads did not back any political


figures specifically, but instead posted on topics


including immigration, Our Silicon Valley reporter,


Dave Lee, has the story. Was in the wake of the US election


result when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said it was -


quote - "crazy" to think that misinformation or fake news


on Facebook could have But the company's own investigation


appears to have revealed those concerns were not too


crazy after all. It found thousands of ads directing


users to pages and profiles spreading misinformation


on the world's biggest The advertisements did not back any


political figure specifically, but instead posted inflammatory


statements on topics such as immigration,


race and equal rights. The company said it believed


the advertising was bought by a group in Russia known


as The Internet Research Agency. It's an outfit based


in St Petersburg, and known for flooding social media


with pro-Kremlin material. Facebook said it was cooperating


with US investigators, who are looking into the wider issue


of alleged Russian meddling Facebook is said to have now handed


over its data to Robert Mueller, that's the special counsel in charge


of that investigation. Prince George had his first


day at school today. The four-year-old is attending


Thomas's School in South London, where he'll be known


to his classmates He was dropped off by dad,


Prince William, but the Duchess of Cambridge missed the occasion


as she's suffering from severe morning sickness


due to her pregnancy. It is a daunting day


for any four-year-old, understandably a little nervous


for his first day at the new school in south London his parents


have chosen for him. Dad was there to take his hand and


carry his schoolbag, but not Mum. She had to remain at


Kensington Palace, suffering Each day at Thomas's School


in Battersea starts George knew what was required,


as did his father. And then it was time for those


shiny new school shoes to head for the classroom,


to find the peg for George Cambridge and to meet the 20


other four-year-olds - boys and girls - who will be


in the reception class with him. For William, it may have prompted


memories of the day 30 years ago when he was taken by his mother


for his first day at school. Back then, it was all


rather more formal. A boys-only school complete


with a school cap. School caps and formality were much


in evidence in 1957, when the Queen took Prince Charles


for his first day at his Charles was in fact the first heir


to the throne to go to school rather Fast forward 30 years, and George's


school offers a broad curriculum with a strong emphasis on sport


and human values. It's a choice of school


which represents a bit of a break Nothing too radical, of course -


it's still private and fee-paying, but it is coeducational,


and the school has a strong George will find that 'be kind'


is one of the guiding principles for pupils here,


together with courtesy and humility. All useful qualities


for a future king. Nicholas Witchell,


BBC News, Battersea. Just to update you on our main news.


Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean,


has been making a path of destruction as it sweeps across the


eastern Caribbean. At least nine people are known to have died. It is


currently north of the Dominican Republic, heading towards Turks and


Caicos. Thanks very much for watching BBC World News Today.


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