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This is BBC World News Today.
I'm Ben Bland.
Our top stories...
Austria becomes the only country in
Europe for the far right party in
Brexit negotiations are moving on.
EU leaders give the green light
for talks to proceed to phase two
but warn the next stage
will be even tougher.
We are able to conclude that
sufficient progress has been made.
Now it's up to us to draft
the withdrawal agreement together
with our British friends.
The United States and North Korea
trade barbs at a sitting of the UN
Security Council in New York,
as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
suggests Washington could be open
to dialogue with Pyongyang.
Save the date - Prince Harry
and his bride-to-be Meghan Markle
will wed at Windsor Castle
on the 19th of May.
Hello and welcome
to World News Today.
In Austria, a coalition deal between
the Conservative's People's party
and the far right Freedom party has
been announced. It paves the way for
this man to become the next
Chancellor. The deal comes two
months after the original
parliamentary election. It means
Austria will become the only western
European party with the far right
party in government.
Do we expect to see politics in
Austria shifting to the right?
appears so, yes. We have a
government which is conservative and
far right and it was noticeable
that, during the election campaign,
it was dominated by the question of
anti-migrant feeling. The Freedom
party even accused the Conservatives
of stealing their position when it
came to anti-migrants. What lobby
interesting to see though is how the
two parties have balanced out the
ministries. They announced this
coalition deal but could not give
any details, the two leaders. They
say tomorrow they will meet
Austria's president, who basically
give the green light to this
coalition to go ahead. They will
then speak to the parties. It will
be very interesting to see the
similarities and differences.
will not get the details of what
they agree until Saturday, but any
kind of ideas as to what the junior
coalition party might extract is a
price for propping up the
They have had a very
long coalition negotiation. The
Freedom party is not that much
smaller than the Conservative Party.
One of the things that did emerge a
few days ago that we know about is
repealing a proposed total smoking
ban in Austria's restaurants and
bars, but we do not know what else
they have managed to get. There is
speculation that the Freedom party
may have charged both the Foreign
Ministry and the Interior Ministry
and possibly the Justice Ministry,
but we do not have confirmation of
that yet, we will have to wait and
see what emerges over the next
couple of days. But I think a lot of
people will be wondering exactly how
the Freedom party will in
government. Sebastien and his
Conservatives, some people say they
will tame the Freedom party from its
populism, others will say they are
being pushed more towards the right,
so this will be what the Austrians
will be watching in the months
Thank you very much, Bethany.
It's been a big day for the future
of the United Kingdom,
as it continues the process
of removing itself
from the European Union.
The 27 other EU leaders have
officially given the green light
for a change in gear,
from purely divorce
talks to negotiating
the relationship to come.
The UK hopes that will include
a generous trade deal in due course.
The British Prime Minister Theresa
May has hailed the progress
as an "important step" forward.
But she still faces differences
of opinion in her own government
and suffered an embarrassing House
of Commons defeat on Brexit
earlier this week.
Damian Gramatticas has more.
On a big day for the EU,
a barrage of questions.
Last night, these leaders gave
Theresa May a round of applause.
Not very enthusiastically,
but it was well-deserved.
Angela Merkel led that gesture,
appreciative after Mrs May told EU
leaders she wants a smooth Brexit.
It's what they want, too.
The one leader who isn't
here is Theresa May herself,
the leader for whom this matters
more than any other,
getting the green light
in the Brexit process,
to move to the next stage.
And so, the looming question -
exactly what does the UK want future
ties with the EU to look like?
I think the first big step
is for the United Kingdom to say
very clearly what it wants
in clear terms.
I think if this happens in the next
few weeks we can start in earnest
and by March we will have a very
clear European position.
First, the EU 27 agreed,
as expected, sufficient
progress has been made.
Then the discussions turned
to the EU's terms for phase
two of the negotiations
and a new set of guidelines.
They say talks will only move
on if all commitments the UK has
made so far are respected in full -
so no backtracking on the financial
and citizens' deals.
And for a transition,
the EU's terms are, the UK
will continue to participate
in the customs union and single
market - so little change -
but the UK will not have a part
in EU decision-making and will have
to accept all the same rules
as everyone else including any
new EU regulations and be bound
by the European Court of Justice.
As for the framework
for future relations,
it is now time for internal EU 27
contact with the UK.
To get more clarity on their vision.
As for what the UK wants most
of all, in-depth discussions
about the future ties,
they will have to wait until March,
EU leaders said, indicating
it is the EU who is firmly
in control of the Brexit process.
My colleague Christian Fraser
is in Brussels for the summit
and gave us this assessment
of the talks finally
came to a conclusion.
I think what we take away from this
summit is that the EU side really
does want to deal with Theresa May.
They see her as their best
chance for a smooth Brexit
and also they think that,
with her, they can ensure
that there aren't the same sort
of hiccups that we might have seen
over the course of the last
eight or nine months.
Let's talk to Damian Grammaticas,
our Europe our Europe
correspondent, about that.
Is that a broad assessment
of where we're at, that they see
Theresa May as their best chance?
Well, I think they want a stable
Prime Minister in the UK who can
make difficult compromises
for the UK because that is going
to continue to happen,
and who can deliver those.
So, that is crucial.
There was a real sort
of audible sigh of relief
in this building today.
And it's interesting -
the end of this year is actually
quite a good point to take stock
because we had the triggering
of Article 50 at the
beginning of the year.
All sorts of confusion
about what was going to happen.
As you said, real down
points when it looked
like everything might fall apart,
and they're back on track
and I think that's what
matters to the Europeans.
What do you make of where
we're at now in terms
of the future relationship?
Because Theresa May's not
spelt out much of that,
but then perhaps that's not a bad
strategy because, if you look at how
she's dealt with the first phase,
she didn't spell much of that out
to her own side, either.
Well, what I can say, I think,
is that the EU side,
the messages they've put out,
is that they find that quite
frustrating, actually, I think,
because they want to know more -
they want to engage in this
discussion, and I think they feel
that the UK side hasn't yet.
We know the UK Cabinet hasn't yet
engaged fully with discussing
what the future will look
like and the EU feeling, I think,
certainly, is that these are really
difficult things that have got to be
grappled with and that the earlier
the UK does that, the better,
because then the EU can engage
with what the UK wants
and that's what we're
going to start to see next year.
Having said that, they have
all been prime ministers,
Jean-Claude Juncker included.
Some of them lead minority
governments, some of them
are at the head of weak coalitions.
They know how difficult it is to be
a Prime Minister and they're
painfully aware of the maths back
in the UK.
They are, and I think
that's an important point,
actually, to make.
It's an important point to remember
in that there's a lot of sort
of concern in the UK,
I think, watching the progress
of legislation through Parliament.
Here, that is viewed as a normal,
natural part of this process.
Every parliament in Europe
is going to have to look
at what happens in this process,
what comes out at the end
of it, and approve it.
So, they think it's fine that the UK
is doing the same thing.
But, actually, I think
the EU side see that...
They don't see that as in any way,
I think, weakening Theresa May.
In a way, I think they'd be glad
of the fact that the parliament
will approve something because,
as I say, they want a sort
of durable outcome from this
that works all round,
however hard it is to get to that.
So, in the New Year,
they move on to the next
part of negotiation.
One thing we should just say
about the withdrawal process.
They are saying in the document
that they released today
that they expect the withdrawal
agreement to be put
into a legal text.
They want it to be legally binding.
And there is still a little bit
of work to finish on that,
particularly when it comes
to citizens' rights.
They're hoping that that can be done
in parallel with the talks
about the future negotiation.
But that is the situation
here in Brussels at the end
of this EU summit.
Christian Fraser there
at the summit in Brussels.
The US Secretary of State says
North Korea needs to show
a "sustained cessation
of threatening behaviour" before
meaningful talks can begin.
Rex Tillerson was speaking
at a meeting of the UN
Security Council in New York.
Mr Tillerson also questioned
the commitment of Moscow,
and especially Beijing,
in trying to reign in the secretive
state's nuclear and ballistic
There's Chinese crude oil flows
to North Korean refineries.
The United States questions China's
commitment to solving an issue that
has serious implications
for the security
of its own citizens.
Recently, the North Korean regime
has sought to portray UN sanctions
as harmful to women and children,
but this is a regime that
hypocritically spends billions
on nuclear and ballistic missile
programmes while its own people
suffer great poverty.
The regime could feed and care
for women, children and ordinary
people of North Korea if it chose
the welfare of its people over
Let's speak to the BBC's
Nada Tawfik who is in New York.
Many may remember that just
on Tuesday when Rex Tillerson
was addressing an audience
at a think tank event
on North Korea.
He said the US was ready to enter
into talks without preconditions.
The White House quickly came
out and denied that,
saying the US policy had not changed
at all and so today we saw
Rex Tillerson toughening his stance
there, saying North Korea had
to earn its rights to get
to the negotiating table
and they really had to show
a commitment walking
back its nuclear programme before
those talks could get under way.
It's interesting because it
really echoes a lot
of what the US' allies have said.
For example, the Japanese Foreign
Minister, who presided over
this high-level meeting,
he said that we shouldn't be
for the sake of dialogue,
that these resolutions are very
clear, that North Korea has
to end its programme
and there should be no
compromise on that front.
How did North Korea respond?
Well, it was a rare appearance
that we got from North Korea's
ambassador and he said
that the nuclear programme was
a self defensive measure to protect
against the United States.
He said, if anyone was to blame
it was the US, that North Korea
was a peace-loving country,
it was a responsible nuclear power
and that, as long as North Korea's
rights were not infringed upon,
no state should be worried
about them using their arsenal.
Rex Tillerson hit back at that,
saying that the only country
responsible and who held
the solution to this
issue was North Korea
itself as the aggressor.
How did all of this go down
with the other members
of the Security Council present?
Well, the Europeans kind of endorsed
this maximum pressure along
with the diplomacy approach,
saying it was important that
North Korea, that sanctions
were implemented and pressure
was put on North Korea so they could
come to the negotiating table.
Russia and China, on the other hand,
again, they feel that North Korea
needs to abide by its obligations
under the Security Council
resolutions, but they did show
concern about the increased rhetoric
we're seeing in the region,
saying it is unhelpful
and could lead to unintended
consequences if there's any
miscalculation that goes forward.
They reiterated their call,
this proposal that Russia
and China have put out,
that says the US and Japan
and South Korea should
cease military activities
in the region in return
for North Korea stopping
They called for that as a possible
resolution to this issue.
Let's take a look at some of
the other stories making the news.
Police in the Netherlands have shot
and wounded a man who was armed
with a knife in the country's main
airport, Schipol, just
The main entrance to
the airport was evacuated -
but has now re-opened.
The man is in custody.
There were no reports
of other injuries.
Zimbabwe's ruling party has
endorsed the new president,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, as their leader
and candidate in next year's
The Oxford English Dictionary
has chosen "youthquake"
as its word of the year.
The word - first used in the 1960s -
is defined as a "significant
or social change arising
from the actions or influence
of young people".
It's been used more recently
in relation to the effect of young
voters on politics in Britain,
France and New Zealand.
Still to come... The UN warns the
United States is becoming the world
champion of inequality under Donald
The signatures took only a few
minutes but they brought a formal
end to three and a half years of
conflict, conflict has claimed more
than 200,000 lives. The presence of
Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia put their
names to the peace agreement.
Romanian border was sealed in silent
today. Flamini has cut itself off
from the outside world to prevent
the details of the presumed massacre
from leaking out.
affair tonight guaranteed Bill
Clinton his place in history is only
the second president ever to be
Austria will become the only Western
European country with a far right
party in power. The Conservatives
have reached a deal with the
anti-immigration Freedom party.
Britain's drawn-out divorce from the
EU seems to be making progress. EU
leaders have given the green light
for talks to progress to two.
England's cricketers will begin day
three of the third Ashes Test in
Perth. But they will need to
dispense with Steve Smith early on.
He is unbeaten 92 and knows victory
will secure the series and the
If day one of this
Test match belonged to England, day
two has belonged to Australia. Not
that it seemed that way at first.
Jonny Bairstow reached his century
and celebrated by head-butting his
helmet, a reference to that infamous
incident in a bar in Perth. But when
Milan went for 140, the rest
of England's batting collapsed
horribly. They lost their last six
wickets for 35 runs, 403 all out and
will feel they should have gotten a
lot more than that. But England's
bowlers set about repairing the
damage, two wickets for Craig
Overton but than a half-century and
92 not out from Captain Steve Smith
turn things around in Australia's
favour. In the end, it was
Australia's day but Jonny Bairstow
with that century, these were his
It was my
favourite one in many ways. I have
played in a few Ashes Series so far.
The score and Ashes hundreds of
something you dream about as a kid.
It has eluded me until now. A whole
heap of emotions came through.
Australia will feel they are right
back in this. One of the key men,
are battling half-century helping to
turn things around, afterwards he
said he was surprised by the speed
of England's batting collapse.
was not that England have a history
of collapsing, we just knew that if
we had a breakthrough, the new
batsmen would find it tough coming
in. Leading into the tail, another
wicket, it is never an easy place to
A good day for Australia. Steve
Smith the captain is very much the
key man. 92 not out going into day
three. If he gets a big century,
Australia will still be hopeful of
securing a first innings lead and
potentially match-winning and Ashes
Pep Guardiola is
adamant his Manchester City side or
not go all season unbeaten. City are
11 points ahead of the English
Premier League table after a record
16th consecutive win. They play
Spurs at home on Saturday.
belongs to Arsene Wenger. We will
lose games. Today's completely
different. Now what has happened is
an exception. That is not normal,
but we have done.
The former head of
cycling's International governing
body has told the BBC the Chris
Froome's adverse drugs test is a
disaster for the sport that could
use Team Sky or its credibility too.
Chris Froome was found to have had
double the permitted level of an
illegal drug in his system. He said
he was following doctors' advice.
The president said it would be very
hard for the Britain to avoid a ban.
A senior UN official has criticised
the rich and poor gap in America. He
says the Trump administration's
policies could make the situation
even worse. President Trump has
argued that cutting tax will result
in the US economy performing more
robust you. Let's speak to David
Willis. What are the other points
that Mr Ulster made?
This is a
scathing report on the state of
poverty in one of the richest
nations of the world. The UN special
rapid tour basically making the
point, after spending two weeks here
and talking to a local and federal
government official as well as poor
and homeless people, but the
American dream is becoming an
illusion, the land of opportunity
fast becoming a land of inequality.
He makes the point that his visit
here coincided with a change in
direction in US policy on poverty.
The Trump administration has
proposed a tax reform package making
its way through Congress. He said,
we will make the United States one
of the most unequal societies in the
world as far as wealth is concerned
and widened the gap between the
richest here and the poorest. There
is a telling phrase, talking about
this notion of American
exceptionalism, he says the US has
proved itself to be exceptional in
ways that are shockingly at odds
with its immense wealth and founding
commitment to human rights. As a
result, contrasts between private
wealth and public squalor abound.
suppose the counter argument of
those who support the tax cuts would
say that, if it does stimulate the
US economy, then everyone benefits
That certainly is
President Trump's contention. He
says this is a tax reform Bill aimed
at the middle classes, but critics
say that the main beneficiaries will
be business and the very wealthy. As
a result, the Democrats are refusing
en masse to support this bill which
has been going through Congress, and
indeed there were further
developments today with certain
clauses being tightened up and so
on. It is expected that legislation
to go to a vote of both houses next
week and beyond president Trump's
desk for signing before Christmas.
President Trump is not known as a
man to take criticism without
putting forward his own side of
things. Has it responded to this
No response so far, but it
will not be favourable if the
response comes. We can expect
tweeting over the weekend in
response to this if it picks up
traction here on American cable news
outlets. But there is certainly
damning stuff in that report. No
question about that. Not least as
well about how the so-called social
safety net has basically been eroded
to the point where it is no longer
functioning properly and serving
those that it is intended to serve
If you have your diary to hand,
you may want to note down
Saturday 19th of May, 2018.
That is the date that's been set
for the royal wedding
of Prince Harry and his fiancee,
actress Meghan Markle.
The pair announced their
engagement last month.
They will marry in St George's
Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Don't forget you can get
in touch with me and some
of the team on Twitter -