05/01/2018 World News Today


05/01/2018

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LineFromTo

This is BBC World News Today.

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I'm Kasia Madera.

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Our top stories...

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Fire and fury...

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The author of the incendiary

new book about Donald Trump's White

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House speaks in his first broadcast

interview since publication.

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I will tell you the one

description that everyone gave,

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everyone has in common.

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They all say he is like a child.

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Brutally cold weather

in the United States kills

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at least 18 people -

low-temperature records could be

0:00:320:00:34

broken in the coming days.

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The lines of communication are open.

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North Korea agrees

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to talks with the South -

the first in more than two years.

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The Winter Olympics will be

high on the agenda.

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Also in the programme...

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The film that Kevin Spacey

was in, and then wasn't.

0:00:500:00:53

We talk to director Ridley Scott

about the business of replacing

0:00:530:00:55

the actor after allegations

of sexual misconduct.

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Hello and welcome

to World News Today.

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The author of a controversial book

on Donald Trump's White House has

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spoken for the first time

since its publication.

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Michael Wolff, who spent months

in Mr Trump's White House

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while researching the book,

says the President

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behaves "like a child".

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President Trump tried to get

the book's publication halted,

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and has dismissed it

as "full of lies".

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Our North America editor

Jon Sopel reports.

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Not quite Harry Potter

but at midnight last night,

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they were queuing to get their hands

on Fire And Fury, and if Donald

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Trump had the powers

of the young wizard,

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he'd have made this book disappear

but he doesn't and this damning

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portrait is now available

for everyone to read.

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Well, what I'm most looking forward

to is seeing what we all know

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is going on just below the surface.

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I'm expecting the White House to be

as absolutely dysfunctional

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as the leaks make it seem.

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I don't think anyone really gets

tired of palace intrigue.

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The picture it paints of life

in the West Wing is unsparing,

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allegations of marital strain,

of tears and tantrums,

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of dysfunction and improvisation.

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And at the epicentre of every

storm, Donald J Trump.

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I will tell you the one

description that everyone gave,

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everyone has in common,

they all say he is like a child.

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And what they mean by that is he has

a need for immediate gratification.

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It's all about him.

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And the gravest charge of all,

Michael Wolff alleges that a number

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of his unnamed sources told him

that the President was mentally

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unfit to remain in office,

a charge that brought this response

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from the President's spokeswoman.

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It's disgraceful and laughable.

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If he was unfit he probably wouldn't

be sitting there and wouldn't have

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defeated the most qualified group

of candidates that the Republican

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Party has ever seen.

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The President has been on Twitter

to rubbish the book saying:

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But that's not how

Michael Wolff remembers it.

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I absolutely spoke to the President,

whether he realised

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it was an interview or not,

I don't know but it certainly

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was not off the record.

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The author says he

stands by every word.

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Although with anonymous sources

it's hard to fact-check.

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The most remarkable

thing about this is -

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given Michael Wolff's track record -

why White House staff gave him

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access to the inner sanctum

of the West Wing for months on end

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as virtually a semi-resident.

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The author was asked this

morning what he had to say

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about the threatening legal letter

the President's lawyers had sent.

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His reply?

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Where do I send

the box of chocolates?

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Jon Sopel, BBC News, Washington.

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Supporters of Mr Trump

have dismissed the book

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which depicts a chaotic

White House, as phoney.

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Sebastian Gorka, who

was Deputy Assistant

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and Strategist to the President,

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dismissed the book as blatant lies

by a political assassin.

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You need to have a look

at the disclaimer that the book has

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on page ten of the Business Insider

just published today.

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On page ten the author,

Michael Wolff, who has been caught

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lying repeatedly in the past

in his previous books,

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states that he cannot verify

the accuracy of anything

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that is in the book.

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If you did that as a journalist,

you would be fired.

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This is just a tissue

of lies which is about

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as realistic as Harry Potter.

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Let me give you just

one factual example.

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He states that on the day

he won the election,

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the President did not know

who John Boehner, the Speaker

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of the House, was in Congress.

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Any child with access to Google can

google Donald J Trump

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and John Boehner and find

photographs of those two men golfing

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together from two years ago.

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The idea that this person

is reporting anything of factual

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import is just fallacious.

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Again, he is a political hack,

this is a storm in a teacup

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and the book will be forgotten

a week from now.

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That was Sebastian Gorka,

who was President Trump's

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Deputy Assistant for

eight months last year.

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Let's talk to our correspondent,

Anthony Zurckher in Washington.

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My goodness, where do we start? Let

us start with the disclaimer that

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Sebastien gawker was talking about.

It is the

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Sebastien gawker was talking about.

It is the note in which Michael

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Wolff himself talks about the

looseness with truth, what are we to

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make of this?

Michael Gove said he

conducted over 200 interviews, many

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of which she recorded and has notes

for, he has said that he stands by

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all of the reporting and he is

comfortable with it. -- Michael

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Wolff. As pointed out, some of his

past works have been pushing the

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facts as far as they can go and

focusing more on flowery language

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than on actual on the ground

reporting. But I think if you look

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at the book overall, it matches up

with you what of what the mainstream

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reporting has been on Donald Trump

as President over the past year. It

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is no secret that there has been a

lot of chaos within the White House

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and that there is a lot of staff

turnover. The president has assumed

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occasionally disinterested in the

details of governing. There should

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not come as a surprise but we should

look at individual anecdotes and

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individual stories with a sceptical

eye, we cannot take it on face value

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and while heaters and sceptics of

Donald Trump might embrace this

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book, they must look at it as a

somewhat detached observer and not

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this just because it agrees with the

worldview that it is necessarily

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entirely accurate.

Thank you very

much, a fascinating insight into

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what is turning out to be a

fascinating book. Thank you very

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much. On Donald Trump has spoken a

few moments ago, he is on his way to

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camp David in Maryland, the

presidential retreat. It spoke to

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the media briefly that was gathered.

But he did not speak about the book.

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This is what he said. Hi, everybody,

I am going over with the Senator is

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to camp David. We have a lot of

things to work on and accomplished,

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the stock market is very big today.

We have new records and I think we

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will continue to set things. The tax

cuts are kicking and far beyond what

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anybody thought. Numerous companies

have today come out and announced

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they will make big payments to their

employees, something that nobody had

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in mind. We are very honoured by it

but the market is good. The jobs

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reports were very good and we think

they will get really good over the

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next couple of months. So we are

going to Camp David wearing a lot of

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the great Republican senators are

joining us and we are making America

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great again. Thank you very much.

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So, Donald Trump, he is on his way

to Camp David to talk with

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Republicans when they will be

talking about the legislative

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priorities and the future. But the

main thing that we wanted the year

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was comments about Michael Wolff's

explosive book, he did not speak

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about that, did he?

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A winter storm has caused travel

chaos in the north-east

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of the United States

and is being blamed for up to 18

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deaths across the country.

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Forecasters say the brutal cold

will reach from New England

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across to the Midwest and down

to the Carolinas and that

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low-temperature records could be

broken across the region

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in the coming days.

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Laura Trevelyan in New York explains

how people are coping there.

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The impact of the bomb cyclone

in Portland in Maine where the storm

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swallowed up the very foundations

of Ferry Beach as wind and waves

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lashed the coastline.

of Ferry Beach as wind and waves

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In Massachusetts, the storm

brought not just heavy

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snowfall but flooding too,

due to the high winds.

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In Boston, there was

a three foot storm surge.

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The mayor is blaming

the changing climate.

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We're keeping an eye on all of those

different floodings and if anyone

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wants to question global warming,

just see where the flood zones are.

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Those zones didn't

flood 30 years ago.

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This is the scene in

coastal New England today.

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In the wake of the blizzard,

the subzero conditions are making

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life very difficult.

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The winter hurricane conditions

closed New York's major airports,

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though they're reopening today.

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The clear up has begun in Manhattan.

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New Yorkers are trying to take it

all in their frozen stride.

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I'm so bundled up.

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I have so many layers.

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I feel OK right now.

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As long as I go quickly

to work, I'm OK.

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I just want it to be over with.

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It's been way too long.

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I just want it to be

nice and warm again.

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The race is on to clear away

the snow in Manhattan before it

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turns into dangerous ice.

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The storm brought in all this cold

air from the Arctic and so,

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in its aftermath, we're due to have

subzero temperatures

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for the next few days.

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It is so cold out here, -10 Celsius,

that already I can hardly

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feel my fingers or my toes.

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Can you believe this

is Tallahassee, Florida?

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And we are getting snow?

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That was the reaction

in Tallahassee, Florida,

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where they haven't seen snow

in almost three decades.

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And freezing temperatures

are prompting many

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Americans to experiment.

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This particular trick is proving

very popular in the deep freeze.

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Laura joins us, it has dropped even

further down than -10, hasn't it?

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Yes, -17 degrees. Some are enjoying

the icy conditions, taking advantage

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with ice skating. The concern is

that with these temperatures due to

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continue at least through Sunday,

believe it or not it will warm up on

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Monday, enough for it to small, but

the concern is that the snow will

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come to eyes and conditions become

slippery, very dangerous for the

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elderly and vulnerable and the

homeless, the very young, but these

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conditions are just terrible to be

out and about in and tonight the

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Mayor of New York has forecasted

that the temperature on Saturday

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night could drop to -30 Celsius. -40

degrees in parts of New England. We

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have not seen a prolonged cold

period like this in many years and

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it could be that by Monday this has

been a historic low in the period of

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new work whether since records

began.

In terms of the people

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enjoying themselves, yes, absolutely

fine, but there is a serious side,

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the race is on the corrupt the

enormous amount of snow that has

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followed.

Yes, and not just here in

New York, but further afield in

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Boston. Because what happened is

this enormous winter blizzard moved

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up the eastern seaboard, was that it

whipped up the tides, the storm went

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through at high tide, so there was

flooding. They have already got icy

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conditions as you can imagine, one

subway station in Boston was flooded

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and they saw coastal flooding in

parts that have never flooded

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before. So it is hard to

underestimate the impact this

0:13:020:13:05

weather has had. It is not Moscow,

we are not used to having prolonged

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weather like this. In New York City

there are 1500 snowploughs, 800

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machines scattering salt, but they

are having to work overtime just to

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keep up with the fact that we're

going to have this ice now.

Not

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funny at all. Laura Trevelyan, thank

you for that update.

0:13:240:13:35

North Korea has agreed

to hold direct talks

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with the South next Tuesday -

for the first time in two years.

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They're likely to focus primarily

on next month's Winter Olympics,

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which are taking place in South

Korea.

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It comes a day after the US

announced that it had agreed

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to Seoul's request to delay

joint military exercises.

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Those drills usually increase

tensions with Pyongyang.

0:13:500:13:52

From Seoul, Sophie Long

sent this report.

0:13:520:13:54

The first talks between the North

and South Korean governments

0:13:540:13:57

for more than two years will take

place here, the village

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of Panmunjom, which straddles

the border between the two countries

0:14:010:14:03

in the demilitarised zone.

0:14:030:14:05

The South's offer of high-level

talks was accepted via fax.

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TRANSLATION:

Regarding the agenda,

both will discuss the Pyeongchang

0:14:100:14:16

Winter Olympics and ways to improve

ties between South and North Korea.

0:14:160:14:20

It came just hours

after the United States

0:14:200:14:23

and South Korea agreed to suspend

joint military drills.

0:14:230:14:26

They say exercises like

this one are defensive

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but the North Korean leader sees

them as rehearsals for invasion.

0:14:300:14:34

Both South Korean and US Marines

are taking part in this exercise

0:14:340:14:37

in the mountains of Pyeongchang.

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They are training together to deal

with winter war conditions

0:14:400:14:42

and temperatures of below minus 20.

0:14:420:14:47

But these drills will stop

for the duration of the Winter

0:14:470:14:50

Olympics and Paralympics.

0:14:500:14:55

The South Korean President Moon

Jae-in has said the Games

0:14:550:14:58

could be a ground-breaking chance

to de-escalate tensions

0:14:580:14:59

on the Korean peninsula.

0:14:590:15:01

Xin Gu-sop hasn't seen his

sister for 70 years.

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He and 61,000 others whose families

remain divided by the border hope

0:15:050:15:08

these talks could be

a prelude to change.

0:15:080:15:18

TRANSLATION:

I am old now

and I don't know how many

0:15:180:15:20

more years I will live.

0:15:200:15:22

It is my only wish that

I meet my sister once and for all.

0:15:220:15:25

This is the wish not only for me

but for all divided families.

0:15:250:15:29

But others are sceptical

about Kim Jong-un's motives.

0:15:290:15:30

The commander of US forces

in South Korea said

0:15:300:15:33

they are keeping their expectations

at an appropriate level.

0:15:330:15:40

My mission remains the same,

to quietly and under control operate

0:15:400:15:44

a military force in greater

and greater readiness in the event

0:15:440:15:48

that it's the negative outcome,

not the positive one.

0:15:480:15:54

But scepticism didn't stop

President Trump claiming

0:15:540:15:57

credit for the potential

thawing of relations.

0:15:570:16:00

Does anybody really believe that

talks and dialogue would be

0:16:000:16:04

going on between North

and South Korea right now,

0:16:040:16:08

he tweeted, if I wasn't firm, strong

and willing to commit our total

0:16:080:16:11

might against the North?

0:16:110:16:12

Sophie Long, BBC News, Seoul.

0:16:120:16:18

Let's take a look

at some of the other

0:16:180:16:20

stories making the news...

0:16:200:16:22

Rail authorities

in South Africa say 19 people

0:16:220:16:25

were killed in a train crash

on Thursday 200 kilometres

0:16:250:16:28

south-west of Johannesburg.

0:16:280:16:29

Hospital workers say four

children are among the dead.

0:16:290:16:31

The train was travelling

from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth

0:16:310:16:33

when it hit a truck

and burst into flames.

0:16:330:16:36

Nearly 200 people were injured.

0:16:360:16:37

Police have launched

a manslaughter investigation.

0:16:370:16:40

Protests in Pakistan,

after the US Government announced

0:16:420:16:45

it was cutting almost all security

aid to the country.

0:16:450:16:48

Washington said Islamabad had failed

to deal with terrorist networks

0:16:480:16:50

operating on its soil and the freeze

will remain until action

0:16:500:16:53

was taken against the Haqqani

network and the Taliban.

0:16:530:16:59

A hot-air balloon has crashed

near Luxor in Egypt,

0:17:000:17:03

killing one tourist

from South Africa.

0:17:030:17:05

Strong winds over the ancient city

had forced the balloon off course

0:17:050:17:08

into a mountainous area.

0:17:080:17:09

Another 15 people were

injured, two seriously.

0:17:090:17:11

In 2013, 19 tourists were killed

when a hot-air balloon

0:17:110:17:13

caught fire in Luxor.

0:17:130:17:23

Apple has confirmed that

all its iPhones, iPads and Mac

0:17:370:17:39

computers are affected by two major

flaws in computer chips.

0:17:390:17:42

It emerged this week that tech

companies have been working on a fix

0:17:420:17:45

for the Meltdown and Spectre bugs,

which could allow

0:17:450:17:47

hackers to steal data.

0:17:470:17:48

Apple said there was no

evidence that the weakness

0:17:480:17:50

had been exploited.

0:17:500:17:51

The war in Syria is heading

towards its eighth year with no

0:17:510:17:54

definite end in sight,

though some believe the government's

0:17:540:17:56

new assault on the last entirely

rebel-held province in the country

0:17:560:17:59

could prove the

beginning of the end.

0:17:590:18:00

Idlib, in north-west Syria,

has been in the hands of rebel

0:18:000:18:03

groups since near the beginning

of the conflict.

0:18:030:18:05

Tens of thousands of civilians

and fighters from former rebel

0:18:050:18:07

strongholds including Aleppo,

Homs and Daraya

0:18:070:18:09

were evacuated there.

0:18:090:18:10

But an attack in the far

south of the province

0:18:100:18:12

by government forces,

backed by Russian planes,

0:18:120:18:14

could suggest the regime has fresh

aspirations to reclaim control.

0:18:140:18:16

Here's Mike Thomson -

and I should warn you that his film

0:18:160:18:19

contains distressing scenes.

0:18:190:18:25

This has been life for the past two

weeks for the people

0:18:260:18:29

of southern Idlib.

0:18:290:18:32

And the bombing by Syrian government

forces is carrying on.

0:18:320:18:42

TRANSLATION:

Today marks the 15th

day of the continuous onslaught

0:18:420:18:46

by Syrian warplanes,

mainly against the southern

0:18:460:18:48

and eastern Idlib countryside.

0:18:480:18:52

We've had more than

250 aerial raids.

0:18:520:18:56

So far 57 people have died and 200

civilians have been injured.

0:18:560:19:02

And it seems it is the very young

who are suffering the most.

0:19:020:19:11

TRANSLATION:

The majority of those

casualties are innocent civilians.

0:19:110:19:15

Just yesterday, a massacre committed

saw more than 12 civilians killed,

0:19:150:19:18

the majority of which were children.

0:19:180:19:25

Hunger and cold compete with bombs

and bullets as causes

0:19:250:19:29

of misery here in this

hugely overcrowded province.

0:19:290:19:35

TRANSLATION:

We fled the heavy

bombardment in Aleppo,

0:19:350:19:37

leaving our homes behind,

only to face the same terrible

0:19:370:19:40

scene here in Idlib,

of bombardment and destruction.

0:19:400:19:44

Where else can we go?

0:19:440:19:47

We are living a nightmare each day,

alone, and scared for our children.

0:19:470:19:57

Idlib's population has been swelled

by the arrival of thousands

0:19:570:20:02

of civilians and fighters from other

areas of Syria, as more and more

0:20:020:20:05

rebel territory has fallen

to government forces.

0:20:050:20:09

Now Idlib is in the firing line.

0:20:090:20:14

Idlib is in a strategic location,

on the border with Turkey.

0:20:140:20:18

It is the main area that supplies

coming through Turkey pass

0:20:180:20:22

through in order to be deployed

in the rest of the rebel

0:20:220:20:25

held areas in Syria.

0:20:250:20:28

Infighting between rebel groups,

some of whom are extremists,

0:20:280:20:30

has weakened them further.

0:20:300:20:36

After a long struggle,

an alliance led by the formerly

0:20:360:20:42

Al-Qaeda-linked Hay'at Tahrir

al-Sham, or HTS, now dominates.

0:20:420:20:46

It is accused of carrying out

numerous war crimes.

0:20:460:20:50

These war crimes include the summary

killings of civilians,

0:20:500:20:54

especially the activist human rights

defenders, beheading,

0:20:540:20:55

and stoning of women.

0:20:550:21:02

Idlib civilians haven't

taken this lying down.

0:21:020:21:05

Over the last year there have

been street protests

0:21:050:21:09

against HTS's diktats.

0:21:090:21:13

Local radio station Fresh FM has

joined the rebellion against HTS's

0:21:130:21:23

rule, defying their ban on playing

music and using women presenters.

0:21:230:21:27

But the station's founder fears that

if President Assad's forces succeed

0:21:270:21:29

in overrunning the province,

his rule might be even worse

0:21:290:21:32

than that of the extremists.

0:21:320:21:38

HTS is dangerous.

0:21:380:21:42

If Assad's forces take over

all of Idlib, will your radio

0:22:000:22:03

station keep broadcasting?

0:22:030:22:07

No.

0:22:070:22:08

They will burn it.

0:22:080:22:10

They will break everything.

0:22:100:22:13

With the nearby Turkish border

currently closed to refugees,

0:22:130:22:16

the burning question facing

civilians desperate to escape

0:22:160:22:20

Idlib is where to go.

0:22:200:22:25

If there are attacks

against civilians,

0:22:250:22:26

they have nowhere to flee.

0:22:260:22:27

They can't go to

government-controlled areas out

0:22:270:22:30

of fear of reprisals and attacks

against them, and at the same time

0:22:300:22:33

they can't cross into Turkey.

0:22:330:22:35

It is yet unclear whether President

Assad has the strength to retake

0:22:350:22:41

the whole of this last rebel held

bastion, though even if he does,

0:22:410:22:47

many years of insurgency involving

various rebel groups looks likely

0:22:470:22:49

to follow before rebuilding this

shattered country can truly begin.

0:22:490:22:55

Sir Ridley Scott's

true-life kidnap drama,

0:22:570:23:00

All The Money In The World,

is destined to go down in cinema

0:23:000:23:03

history as the film that

Kevin Spacey was in,

0:23:030:23:05

and then wasn't.

0:23:050:23:07

Spacey, who played the rich oil

tycoon, John Paul Getty,

0:23:070:23:09

was dropped from the film

and replaced with Christopher

0:23:090:23:12

Plummer just six weeks

before its release date

0:23:120:23:13

following accusations

of sexual misconduct.

0:23:130:23:15

Will Gompertz spoke to Sir Ridley.

0:23:150:23:25

Initially, it was a commercial

decision which would be maybe

0:23:250:23:28

a little hand in hand

with a moral decision.

0:23:280:23:30

You know, you can't take the artist,

and actually whatever a person

0:23:300:23:33

decides to do in their private life

which doesn't harm others,

0:23:330:23:36

you have to separate that

from what they do as an artist

0:23:360:23:39

or as a person, as a clever person.

0:23:390:23:42

Mr Getty, your grandson,

he's been kidnapped.

0:23:420:23:47

I have seen the movie

and it is completely seamless.

0:23:470:23:51

What was running through my head -

is it a much different movie

0:23:510:23:54

with Plummer and not Spacey?

0:23:540:23:56

Kevin Spacey did

a fantastically good job.

0:23:560:23:58

It was cooler and chillier.

0:23:580:24:01

Christopher comes with

this inordinate charm.

0:24:010:24:05

His smile and his twinkle.

0:24:050:24:08

So when in fact he's

doing the same words,

0:24:080:24:12

the same text as Kevin,

the twinkle and smile

0:24:120:24:14

somehow make him that

much more effective,

0:24:140:24:16

I think.

0:24:160:24:19

Are we looking at a moment

in the Hollywood where things

0:24:190:24:23

will change, where sexism

will subside and women will get

0:24:230:24:26

a fair crack at the whip?

0:24:260:24:27

Or do you think it's windowdressing?

0:24:270:24:29

I think a bit of each.

0:24:290:24:31

I think there will be

an immediate change,

0:24:310:24:33

because there should be.

0:24:330:24:34

It is long overdue.

0:24:340:24:37

You know, I have never experienced

any of those things that

0:24:370:24:40

you describe in my life,

in my companies.

0:24:400:24:43

I frankly have women

running my companies.

0:24:430:24:47

I have always been a supporter

of strong women without ever

0:24:470:24:52

actually thinking about it,

which I think is the best way.

0:24:520:24:55

I have great respect

for women generally.

0:24:550:24:58

Maybe it comes from my mum.

0:24:580:24:59

I had a very strong mother

who brought up three pretty stalwart

0:24:590:25:03

sons who were always very

independent and tough.

0:25:030:25:10

You talk about it being long

overdue, it is something you have

0:25:100:25:13

witnessed in Hollywood,

women being mistreated?

0:25:130:25:15

Never.

0:25:150:25:16

Never, never.

0:25:160:25:17

And if it ever came in front of me,

I would immediately step on it.

0:25:170:25:20

But not really, I've always treated

every actor or actress

0:25:200:25:23

with the greatest respect.

0:25:230:25:33

The remainder of our top story...

0:25:460:25:53

The author of a damning book

on Donald Trump is standing

0:25:530:25:55

by everything he's written,

and he dismissed the president's

0:25:550:25:57

assertion that he'd

never talked to him.

0:25:570:25:59

Michael Wolff -

the author of the instant

0:25:590:26:01

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