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This is BBC World News Today.
-- this is BBC World News Today.
Our top stories...
An explosion in Syria's
northwestern city of Idlib,
said to have targeted the government
opposition, has killed
at least 18 people.
The BBC's China editor
Carrie Gracie is stepping
down from the role,
citing unequal pay
with her male colleagues.
And Hollywood gets red carpet-ready
for the Golden Globes -
the first major award ceremony
since the sexual harassment
We hear from one of its top stars.
I couldn't bear the thought of being
in a movie that glorified somebody
who had heard people in these ways.
-- somebody who had hurt people.
Hello and welcome
to World News Today.
More than 30 people are missing
after a collision between an oil
tanker and a cargo ship off the east
coast of China.
It's the worst disaster
of its kind for many years.
The tanker remains on fire
and 136,000 barrels of oil
worth around $60 million -
are either burning or
spilling into the sea.
Andy Moore reports:
Still burning fiercely many hours
after the original collision,
and still no confirmed news
about the fate of its 32 crew.
30 were Iranian and two
were from Bangladesh.
The tanker is more than 270 metres
long and was carrying just under
1 million barrels of oil.
If the entire cargo ends up
the ocean, that will be
ten oil spills in the world ever.
It has a huge potential
for environmental damage.
The Panamanian-registered tanker set
off from the Persian Gulf
on its journey to South Korea.
It sailed through the Malacca Strait
before colliding with a Chinese
freight ship in the East China Sea
about 160 nautical miles off
the port city of Shanghai.
Major oil spills from tankers
are becoming less common.
One of the most serious in recent
years was the sinking
of the Prestige off the coast
of Spain in 2002.
More than 60,000 tonnes of oil
came ashore over a long
stretch of coastline.
Specialist clean-up vessels have
been sent to the scene
of the tanker fire.
Chinese authorities have confirmed
there is an oil slick,
but they cannot confirm how
big it is.
Andy Moore, BBC News.
An explosion in Syria's
northwestern city of Idlib has
killed at least 18 people,
according to a monitoring group.
Another 10 people were
injured in the attack,
the Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights said.
The explosion was said to have
targeted the headquarters
of an opposition faction.
Idlib province is the last remaining
rebel stronghold in Syria.
I can speak now on the latest
situation in Syria
with Joshua Landis.
He is the Director of the Centre
for Middle East Studies
at the University of Oklahoma
and author of the blog
He joins me now from Italy. What do
you make of what is going on in the
Well, Idlib is in the
north along the Turkish border. The
Russians and Americans negotiated
three big areas of deconfliction
zones, as they called it, where they
would agree to stop fighting while
the battle with Isis was being
waged. But the territorial battle
against crisis has come to an end
now, says Syria has begun moving its
units back towards the three major
areas, one of which is Idlib and is
still held by rebels. In Syria, the
Assad government has every intention
to take back these regions. So we
are going to see a lot of fighting,
I fear, in the next weeks.
for stopping those phones for us!
That is one of the areas. Eastern
Ghouta is another. Obviously, this
does go against the general
narrative we have seen in Syria.
Yes, it does. The Syrian government,
Assad has repeated over and over
again that he intends to take back
all of Syria. The United States is
of course occupying almost 30% in
the north. It has helped to
encourage set up a government there.
But there are still big rebel
enclaves. That is where we will see
a lot of fighting. They had been
under deconfliction zones, but those
are collapsing, so we are going to
see more fighting in those regions.
And in Idlib, there are about 2
million people, many of the rebels
have fled to this area. Turkey does
not want them to be driven inside
Turkey. It has moved troops into the
region. Syria, of course, wants to
get rid of those people. There is a
big number of Al-Qaeda people there
as well. So this is going to become
an increasingly fraught battle
We have seen a lot of focus
on the vulnerable, the children
As we said, there are
over 2 million refugees, desperately
poor, and this is turning into a
major battle ground, with bombing
from the regime. The regime is
exhausted. It is using air power
rather than men on the ground, which
is very expensive for them, to roll
them back. That means lots of
casualties and grisly scenes.
Landis, thanks for your time.
Former Egyptian Prime Minister
Ahmed Shafik has said
he will not run in this year's
The statement was published
on his Twitter page.
Mr Shafik had previously
announced his intention to run
and he was seen as the main rival
to President Sisi.
The BBC's Hanan Razek
has more from Cairo.
So today, Shafik announced
through his Twitter page
that he is no longer running
for the upcoming election
which is expected around
April or May this year.
In his statement, he said
that he realised he is not the ideal
candidate to lead the country's
affairs in the coming period.
For this reason,
he decided not to run.
Shafik was himself a presidential
candidate back in 2012
and he lost by a narrow margin
to the Muslim Brotherhood candidate
back then, Mohammed Morsi.
He got almost 49% of the vote.
After that, he left
for the Emirates and did not come
back until last month.
Back in November, he announced that
he would run for the presidency.
Let's take a look at some of
the other stories making the news.
Police in Sweden say a 60-year-old
man has died in an explosion outside
an underground station in Stockholm.
The incident happened
at Varby Gard metro station
in the south of the city.
A woman nearby was also hurt.
According to a police
spokesman, an object exploded
after it was picked up.
The incident is not believed
to be terrorism-related.
President Macron of France has led
tributes to the 16 people
who were killed in Islamist attacks
in Paris three years ago.
at the offices in Paris
of the satirical magazine,
Charlie Hebdo, to remember the 12
people who died when two gunmen
burst into an editorial meeting.
Malaysia's long-serving former prime
minister, Mahathir Mohamad,
has been chosen once again
as a candidate for the top
job at the age of 92.
Mr Mahathir resigned
as prime minister in 2003,
but has been drawn back
into politics because of his
opposition to the current
Prime Minister, Najib Razak.
The BBC's China editor Carrie Gracie
has resigned from her post,
citing a lack of equal pay compared
with male colleagues.
In an open letter, Ms Gracie -
who has been at the BBC
for more than 30 years -
accused the corporation
of having a "secretive
and illegal pay culture".
She said the BBC was facing
a "crisis" over the question
of equal pay.
With me is our Media
Editor, Amol Rajan.
Just to explain, Carrie Gracie is
not leaving the BBC, she has just
resigned from her post.
indeed. She is one of the most
correspondence of her generation
with over three decades at the BBC
and as the China editor, one of the
hardest posting in the world, a
difficult post-war Britain. She is
leaving her post as China editor
rather than leaving the BBC. She is
doing it because, in an explosive
letter which is actually to licence
fee payers, she says the BBC is
failing to live up to its own values
of trust and accountability and
transparency when it comes to equal
pay. The context for this is that
last year, the BBC was forced
against its will to reveal the pay
of on-air talent who were paid over
£150,000. That revealed not just
that many men were paid a lot more
than senior women at the BBC, but as
Carrie Gracie sees it and many
others have also argued, that there
are some men getting paid more than
women for doing the same sort of
job. Her point is that there are
other international creditors at the
BBC who happen to be male who are
getting paid more money --
international creditors. The BBC has
offered Carrie Gracie more money. It
has launched audits looking at the
question of equal pay, but her
central allegation is that the BBC
doesn't take this issue seriously
because if it did, she will be paid
the same as others with the same
She is also calling for
transparency and talks about ethnic
minority gaps and other gaps
potentially. You are a senior
editor. Would you be happy to have
your pay published?
feel that the BBC should be as
transparent as possible because it
belongs to the public, so I would be
happy for my pay to be in the public
Want to share it with us?
media editor, I get paid £133,000,
so I did not qualify for the
£150,000 list. I do other work which
also takes me over £150,000. The BBC
should be transparent. But in trying
to report the subject, the thing I
have come across is the immense
anger that people at the BBC feel,
especially senior women, about the
fact that the BBC does not take this
seriously. There are now 200
complainants, according to Carrie
Gracie's letter, 200 people who have
complained to the BBC because they
feel that their pay is unjust. This
is not about gender pay as a whole,
it is the specific issue of whether
women are paid less than men for
doing the same job. And that one,
Carrie Gracie says the BBC is
You have spoken to senior
people at the BBC.
They say they
don't want to comment on individual
cases. They have obviously had a
difficult negotiation with Carrie
Gracie. But they would say the BBC
is doing a lot on this. Firstly, the
BBC goes further than other
organisations. They would say that
Tony Hall is committed to this and
that a lot has happened in the last
few years under his leadership. And
they do point to these different
reports. I will not get technical,
but there is an internal audit of
pay. PwC have been brought in to
look at pay across the organisation.
There is also a report looking at
on-air talent which is due to report
in the next few weeks or months. The
BBC is certainly doing a lot on
this. That clearly is not enough for
Carrie Gracie. And crucially, it is
not enough for around 200 other
people who have made formal
complaint and some of whom may take
legal action. That is where this
gets nasty. It is on the front page
of the Times tomorrow, and the BBC's
reputation could be tarnished.
Rajan, thanks for being so open with
Hollywood season is about to get
under way with the 75th Golden
Globes. It is the first major
ceremony since Hollywood was hit by
sexual harassment scandals. Michelle
Williams stars in one nominated
film, all the money in the world,
which was reshot following
allegations about Kevin Spacey, who
had a major role in the movie. The
BBC's James Cook has been speaking
to her about the experience.
It was the movie that never stopped
shooting. You know, we went through
a lot with the film and we realised
that this thing that we loved and
loved working on together was going
to be for naught, and there were
some sadness around that, more
sadness around the allegations and
the pain that has been caused. And
then this phone call came, this
late-breaking idea of how to save
the film, rewrite the story, do the
right thing, and I was exuberantly
and immediately on board for it.
think for a lot of audiences, they
have been disappointed, upset to
watch some of their idols fall in
terms of Kevin Spacey and others. As
someone who works with him, how
disappointed were you?
That was one
of the things I found most upsetting
about being in a film that he was
also in, is that films, because they
are larger than life, they glorify
people. I couldn't bear the thought
of being in a movie that glorified
somebody who had hurt people. In
these ways. I didn't want anything
to do with it. I wouldn't have gone
to promote it. I wouldn't have
talked about it, because I would
have felt like it is not the right
thing to do for those people that
have been hurt. They don't need to
be re-traumatised by seeing this
movie come out and seeing big
posters and flashy advertisements.
It's not appropriate, so I didn't
want any part of it.
Is what is
happening in Hollywood a permanent,
significant change, do you think?
There's no way of knowing. I can't
tell the future, I can only tell you
what I hope and what I know to be
true, which is that I don't know a
single person who hasn't taken this
on as though it's another job.
Everyone is working day and night to
create the kind of change that will
be permanent. Our hope is to hand
our daughter is a different world.
Stay with us on BBC
World News, still to come...
Big names struggle against lower
league opposition in the third round
of the FA Cup.
This is BBC World News Today.
The latest headlines:
A tanker is on fire in the East
Tennessee and spilling oil, the
worst disaster of its kind to 32
years. An explosion in Syria's
north-western city of Idlib has
killed at least 18 people.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel
has begun what may be her last
chance to build a stable government
coalition and end months
of political stalemate
following September's election.
As she went into the first
days of talks in Berlin,
she said she was optimistic -
but admitted there is still
a lot of work ahead.
This is the country's longest-ever
period of coalition-building.
For more on the talks,
I am joined from Dresden
by Ulrich Brueckner,
a Political Analyst and Professor
in European Studies
at Stanford University.
How critical are these talks?
Germany is of course key to a stable
People of course tend to use
big words like crisis in a situation
that has never happened in Germany
before. But if we look at the
situation in the country is in, no
one is really very worried. People
are surprised that we are in such a
situation, but there are no signs of
getting nervous or anxious. It is
more like a form of irritation that
it takes so long and it is hard to
predict what the next steps will be.
How much is the refugee and migrant
questions still a key political
Well, it was an important one
for the elections and the result we
had, like AFP for the first time
being represented in parliament,
speaks for itself. But the number
went down drastically, not because
of the situation in Germany, but
because of the responses from the
countries on the migration route. It
is therefore still be relevant in
the room and there are a lot of
discussions about this, but it is
certainly not just a question for
Germany. It can only be solved on a
European level and therefore, we
first have to get our act together
and then convince the other European
Union member states to find and
integrate an immigration solution
for all of us.
About how much is the
question of policy on refugees and
taxation part of what will have to
be negotiated now?
As I said, we are
not in the situation of crisis,
neither on a political level,
because the constitution forces that
we will have a government no matter
what. When we look at the migration
numbers, it is not so much a
question of how many people
currently come to Germany, but the
much longer lasting and more
pressing question of how we can
manage to integrate them
successfully. This is not something
that will be decided in the next
elections or in the coming year, but
it is more a question of a
generation or two.
Brueckner, thanks so much.
Pressure also on the British Prime
Minister, Theresa May -
who's confirmed there'll be
a cabinet reshuffle on Monday.
The Labour opposition
has called the planned
reshuffle "little more
than a desperate PR exercise."
Here's our political
correspondent, Eleanor Garnier.
A new year, perhaps a fresh
start after a torrid 2017
in which Theresa May
lost her majority in the general
election, faced a rebellion
from some of her own MPs,
was forced to deal with Cabinet
resignations and even had
to sack her second-in-command.
It means she starts
the year with a reshuffle.
Well, no prizes for
guessing, Andrew, that
obviously, Damian Green's
departure before Christmas means
some changes do have to be made.
Speaking exclusively to the BBC,
the Prime Minister has made clear
that she wants her government to be
about more than just Brexit,
insisting she is in listening mode.
One of the clear messages we got
was that there are a number
of areas in which people
were concerned about
what we were proposing.
So just as we have looked at issues
on school funding, tuition fees,
on housing and we're taking forward
approaches in relation to that,
on this issue of foxhunting, what I
can say is that there won't be
a vote during this Parliament.
And on the environment,
plans for 50 million more trees,
a push to win over new voters
and those who've drifted away.
But the new year has already
brought in old problems,
under pressure on rising
train fares, and claims
that this winter crisis
is the toughest yet for the NHS.
The NHS has actually been better
prepared for this winter pressure
than it has been before.
You mentioned operations
That was part of the plan.
Of course, we want to ensure that
those operations can be reinstated
as soon as possible, but it's
about making sure that those
who most urgently need care are able
to get that treatment
when they need it.
Labour's blamed Government cuts
for the problems in the NHS
and warned the Prime Minister
against promoting the Health
Secretary in this week's reshuffle.
She hasn't got a plan
to get those people off
the trolleys in corridors,
those elderly people
this freezing January,
being treated in ambulances.
She's got no plan for them.
Her only plan, apparently,
is to promote this Health Secretary.
She should be demoting
this Health Secretary.
If she promotes this
Health Secretary tomorrow,
it is a betrayal of those 75,000
people in the back of ambulances.
The Prime Minister said today she's
not a quitter, and she'll want
and need the best possible team
around her to get her
through what many predict
will be a tough year ahead.
Eleanor Garnier, BBC
Let's check on the the sport.
Holders Arsenal have been knocked
out of the English FA Cup by second
tier Nottingham Forest in a 4-2
upset at the City Ground.
It's the first time since
Arsene Wenger took over
the managerial reins at the Gunners
in 1996 that they've been
knocked out at this stage.
The Frenchman was forced to watch
the tie from the stands as he served
the first of a three-match touchline
ban handed down by the Football
Association and he saw his side
give away two penalties.
It was very frustrating and
unfortunately, it was a case on top
of that to see the team lose because
we played against a very good
Nottingham Forest team who were
sharp and focused. They were
decisive and overall, our
performance was not good enough
today to win the game.
No such problems for
Arsenal's North London rivals
Tottenham as Harry Kane scored twice
in a 3-0 win over Wimbledon.
Jan Vertonghen claimed the last
goal, with all of them coming
in the second half at Wembley
against their third
So confirmation of those results,
while Premier League West Ham have
been forced into a replay
after they were held to a goalless
draw at Shrewsbury Town,
who are two divisions below them.
Goalkepper Joe Hart described
the Hammers performance as terrible
while Leeds United were knocked out
by a side two divisions below them,
going down 2-1 at Newport County.
Barcelona have been showing
off their new signing
Phillipe Coutinho ahead of him
officially putting pen
to paper on Monday.
The 25-year-old Brazilian is moving
from Liverpool for a fee
thought to be in excess
of $190 million.
Since arriving at Anfield five years
ago, he's scored 54 goals
in over 200 appearances,
hitting double figures in each
of the last three seasons.
Coutinho was the club's joint top
scorer in the Premier League
last term with 13 goals.
Coutinho being shown off comes
after the Catalans' 3-0 victory
at home to Levante, which means
they're nine points clear
of second placed Atletico.
Real Madrid are currently at 2-2.
Real started the match 17
points adrift of Barca.
Let's move on to cricket
now, where the fifth
and final day is due to get under
way inside the next two hours
in Sydney with host Australia
heading for a 4-0 Ashes victory.
England will resume on 93 for 4
in their second innings,
still 210 days behind -
after Australia had
declared on 649 for 7.
The Marsh brothers, Shaun
and Mitchell, both hit centuries
on what was an extremely hot day
at the SCG, becoming the third
set of brothers to do so for
Australia in the same innings.
That is your sport for now.
A French singer who rose to pop by
and -- to pop fame in the 1960s has
died. She was born in October 1947
into a musical family
died. She was born in October 1947
into a musical family. Her father
was a singer and songwriter. She won
the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965
representing Luxembourg and enjoyed
international success with her song,
a tribute to jazz legend Ella
Fitzgerald. The French singer had
been suffering from cancer for two
years. He was taken to hospital last
month with a severe infection. She
was 70 years old. That's