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A warm welcome
to BBC World News Today.
I'm Celia Hatton.
Our top stories:
US lawmakers scrabbling
for a solution to fund
government operations - before
the money runs out at midnight.
A new front in the Syrian conflict.
Turkey intensifies its shelling
across the border -
into a Kurdish controlled region.
Scientists take a major step
towards one of the biggest
goals in medicine -
a universal blood test for cancer.
And fancy travelling
in a tube at 1,000kph?
We'll look at what some
engineers say could be
the future of transport.
Hello and welcome
to World News Today.
We start in the United States,
where the federal government
is on the verge of being shut down.
If the Senate doesn't
approve new budget measures
by midnight local time -
that's ten hours from now -
many services will be frozen.
The House of Representatives passed
the legislation on Thursday,
but it's not certain there is enough
support in the Senate to approve it.
Live now to our correspondent
in Washington, Gary O'Donogue.
We've got ten hours to go before a
possible shut down but this same
group of Democrats and Republicans
have come to last-minute deals
before, is a shutdown inevitable?
They have. It will be the fourth
time that Congress and the President
reach an agreement to temporarily
keep the government open while
long-term budget negotiations take
place. You mention the Senate
impasse. Donald Trump has invited
the head of the Senate Democrats to
the White House for a one-on-one
meeting that is going on right now,
we don't know of anything will come
of it but there were meetings bit
green them back in September where
they reached in original agreement
first the immigration protections
for children who were undocumented
migrants. Perhaps behind closed
doors, they can come up with
something again. It is getting very
late in the game, only ten hours
before the government shuts down.
there is a shutdown, who will get
The polls have pointed
towards the Republican because they
control the White House and both
changes as -- chambers of Congress.
I find that these sort of shutdown
since Jewish is, whoever was the
least popular going into them of the
ones who get the blame and right
now, Donald Trump Ozma popularity is
languishing. He came to Washington
campaigning on being able to change
the way things are done, change the
way the system runs here. Another
shutdown would not be a change to
the gridlock we have seen over the
How would shut down effect
the US as a whole? The Foreign
Secretary has said that arguments
over the budget and possible
shutdowns have done more to damage
US military readiness than any enemy
in the field. Is that fair?
a long-term budget agreement,
defence spending won't go up. That
is one of the sticking points, and
they could be mandatory cuts in
defence if they don't meet an
agreement. If there is a government
shutdown, 50% of the civilian
defence employees get put on furl L,
people will continue to work and
vital civilians will work but
underpaid but training and
maintenance will get suspended until
government reopens, which could
affect written -- Military Cross the
net. The budget director tried to
downplay the impact that a shutdown
would have, saying that national
parks would stay open, mud
operations would continue, things
like trash pick-up, the postal
Service, that would continue to
operate. But the longer this drags
out, the more implication it has
prolonged the programmes.
All of this comes
as Donald Trump prepares
to celebrate his first
year in office.
Our correspondent Laura Trevelyan
is in Pennsylvania -
one of the key states that
unlocked his path
to the White House.
Donald Trump won the great state of
Pennsylvania I just less than 1%,
just over 40,000 votes, but that was
enough to give him all the electoral
college votes and send him on his
way to the White House. If he is
going to be re-elected, winning a
state again will be crucial. One of
the reasons he won here is because
his message to Make America Great
Again really resonated in
Pittsburgh, known as steel city, and
also along the whole of the Mon
Valley here in western Pennsylvania,
formerly an industrial heartland,
and now an area where manufacturing
is in decline. I went to talk to the
blue-collar voters who likes Donald
Trump's message to find out how they
are feeling about him now.
The Mon Valley in western
Pennsylvania is the
birthplace of US steel.
This factory was once
owned by the 19th-century
magnate Andrew Carnegie.
In its heyday, it
Donald Trump tapped into the sense
of industrial decline,
winning by promising to put
Over lunch, I asked
Donald Trump voters
for their verdict on year one.
It seems like he cares
about the working class,
he cares about the people
who are trying to make
a living and have businesses
and things like that.
Small businesses, I think he cares
about stuff like that.
Some of the stuff he
does, I agree with.
Like that tax cuts, looking out
for the working class people.
But I'm not a big fan
of all the rants on social media.
I think we can do away
with all of that.
How are you feeling about that vote?
A little disappointed.
Juan Lacey, a small-business owner
in the Mon Valley hoped Mr Trump
would run the government like a CEO.
So, does this former Obama voter
regret switching to Trump?
When I went into the voting booth
and pulled the lever,
I was satisfied.
I'm having buyer's remorse.
Because it is not consistent.
John Fetterman is a Democrat
in Trump country.
When you get out into some of these
areas that no-one has visited,
no-one has taken the time to care,
left it really open and rife
for someone to step
in like Donald Trump,
and say, I'm the guy
that can fix this.
The populist mayor of Braddock
with a tattoo of the town's ZIP code
counsels his party to understand
It has got to be more than Trump
is awful, vote for us.
I think it has to come
back to an earnest,
progressive, populist message.
In his inaugural address a year ago,
Donald Trump promised people
in towns like Braddock
that he would give them
back their jobs and their dreams.
As an early electoral test
here in Pennsylvania
of whether the voters feel
he is delivering, there is a special
election in the state,
in what should be a safe
But the president
is taking no chances.
A real friend and a spectacular
man, Rick Saccone.
That is the candidate here.
Mr Trump doesn't want
to lose this election,
and he was in the Mon Valley
on Thursday with this message.
Very simply, your paycheques will be
much weaker because under our tax
cuts, you will be keeping more
of your hard earned money.
-- much bigger.
The question is whether Mr Trump
can get the credit here
for an improving economy.
Or if the heat generated
by his tweets and feuds
is distracting even his supporters.
Well that is the question of course.
In his inaugural address a year ago,
Donald Trump talked about the
forgotten people of America and
promised them they would be
forgotten no more. He described what
he called American carnage, which is
something many people here in the
declining manufacturing towns feel,
where you see homes in fact trees
ordered up, so the question is
whether these could tax cuts for
individuals and the corporate tax
cuts which business leaders here in
Pittsburgh have welcomed will really
improve the economic situation in a
sustained way or whether Donald
Trump himself just can't get out of
the way. The tax cuts have yet to
take effect. Do you think that if
this vote was rerun again today, how
would Donald Trump do in
Look, he won
Pennsylvania but just over 40,000
votes which is almost nothing.
Hillary Clinton outperformed
expectations in Philadelphia and
Pittsburgh, she does incredible it
well in the Metrocentre is. Donald
Trump got the benefit of the doubt
from people who the message that
Hillary Clinton was part of the
problem, they liked something
different. They felt he had his
business background, they had seen
him on The Apprentice, he seemed
like the real deal. My sense of it
is that that vision that he
presented of himself to the
electorate is not quite as bright
and shiny as it was a year ago. One
person in a report said he has by's
remorse. It was a very close
election last time and I'm sure the
next one will be very close to. --,
If all that has left
you feeling a little confused -
don't worry - because you can find
much more on our website.
Our team has explained
what a US federal government
shutdown might mean,
how it can be avoided,
and what it's meant when it has
happened in the past.
While the battle over the US
federal government budget
has been rumbling on,
we've also seen a significant
announcement about a change
in America's military policy.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says
that instead of a past focus
on terrorism, US national security
is now focusing on competing
with great powers
like China and Russia.
Here's how he put it.
We've faced growing threats from
revisionist powers like China and
Russia, nations that do seek to
create a world consistent with
authoritarian models top --. Rogue
regimes like North Korea and Iran
persist in taking outlaw actions
that threaten global stability,
oppressing their own people and
shredding dead committee and human
One of the areas
where a change in US military policy
might have an effect is in Syria -
where there's a continuing fight
against the group calling
itself Islamic State.
America has worked alongside Kurdish
forces to drive the militants back -
so it will be interesting to see
how a Turkish offensive
against Kurdish-held areas
will go down in Washington.
Overnight, Turkish forces
began a bombardment
of several Kurdish villages around
Around 70 shells were fired.
Turkey says that no ground forces
have advanced on the area.
But the Turkish Defence Minister has
said his military will remove
what he calls 'terror lines'
near the border with Syria.
The US has said the Kurdish
peshmerga are training
a 30,000 strong border
force in the region.
The long threatened offensive
against the Kurdish offensive scenes
imminent. Turkish tanks have been on
the border. Reports that some Syrian
rebel fighters have crossed in.
We're waiting for the announcement
of this former launch by Turkey.
Turkey says the white PG in Syria is
a terrorist group, an extension of
its own Kurdish law -- militant
group. Ankara has been incensed by
American support for the YPG, as
Kurdish militias fought the Islamic
State group. The Turkish
president... They are worried about
the YPG extending their control
along the border with Turkey so they
are preparing for a ground offensive
in two flavours. That could start
within hours. This is a perilous
venture for Turkey which faces five
impediments. First of all YPG
firepower itself which has proved
extremely effective against Islamic
State. The Russian presence on the
ground, they have supported the YPG
in the past although there are
reports that they have begun to
withdraw. The Assad regime in Syria
has warned it would shoot down any
Turkish jet, and the risk of
civilian casualties in these two
areas. That said, and caress still
seems determined to clear the YPG
from the areas and another front
looks set to open in this seven
years civil war.
Let's take a look
at some of the other
stories making the news.
Here in the UK,
Downing Street has said
there are "no specific plans"
for a bridge linking
Britain and France.
The comment came after the UK's
foreign secretary, Boris Johnson,
reportedly raised the idea
with France's President Macron,
at a summit on Thursday.
A spokesman for Mr Macron said
a bridge had been discussed,
but without any agreement to get
a project under way.
Pope Francis has made his first
visit to the Amazon
on the final leg of his trip
to Chile and Peru.
Speaking to thousands
of indigenous people on the edge
of the rainforest in Peru,
he said Amazon tribes had "never
"been so threatened",
and that they "bore deep wounds".
The Pope added that the region
was under pressure from business
interests that wanted
to exploit its natural resources.
New Zealand's Prime
Minister Jacinda Arden has
announced she is pregnant
with her first child.
She told reporters the news
was 'unexpected but exciting.'
The child is due in June -
Ms Arden says she plans to take six
weeks off after the birth,
before making a full return
to her political duties.
Some good news for you now...
Scientists say they've taken a step
towards reaching one
of the biggest goals in medicine -
a universal blood test for cancer.
A team in the United States has
trialled a method that detects eight
common forms of the disease.
Ultimately, they're hoping to design
an annual test designed to catch
cancer early and save lives.
Here's our correspondent
It is ten years since Allie was
diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
It is rare for anyone with
the disease to survive that long.
There is no screening
programme so tumours
are usually found too late.
At that test would make
a big difference.
If we are able to get more people
diagnosed sooner, like me,
then it is going to make me feel
a lot happier.
There are only 1% of us who are
surviving like me to ten years.
And it is a bit of a lonely place.
And it is a bit of a lonely place.
There aren't many of us around,
and I would really like pancreatic
cancer to become more of a chronic
disease rather than such acute
deadly disease as it is now.
Scientists at John Hopkins
University in Baltimore had made
significant progress towards a blood
test for cancer.
The team examined blood samples
from around 1000 cancer patients.
They had one of eight
different common cancers,
lung, liver, pancreas,
colon, oesophagus, breast,
stomach, or ovary.
Now, cancer cells shed bits of DNA
which circulate in the blood
so the test looks for 16 gene
mutations and eight
Overall, the blood test found 70%
of the cancers but that success
rate fell to just 40%
with small early-stage cancers.
And this is when you want to detect
it, when there is the best chance
of the cure through surgery.
So, a reliable but test
for cancer is some way off.
But the Francis Crick Institute
in London, which is pioneering
research in this area,
believes it will come.
I'm almost certain that the next
five to ten years, we will see tests
like this become much more routine
in clinical practice to help us
diagnose tumours earlier and to help
us increase the cure rates
for patients suffering from cancers.
The American Cancer a lot test cost
around £350 per patient,
and each positive result
would need further investigation.
So, the burden on the NHS would need
to be weighed against the benefits
of early treatment and lives saved.
Fergus Walsh, BBC News.
Rail services are recovering
in Germany after a powerful storm
disrupted travel and killed
at least eight people.
It also caused just over
100 million dollars in damage.
The storm, called "Friederike",
is now headed towards Poland,
where it's expected to weaken.
Take a look at these pictures from
Dusseldorf in Germany -
where the high winds made coming
in to land rather tricky.
The winds approached 90 marks per
The winds are too strong.
Over the border
in the Netherlands....
wind speeds reached up to 140
kilometres per hour -
that's approaching 90
miles per hour.
More than 60 trucks were reported
to have toppled over.
Fallen trees also damaged vehicles.
There was also a near-miraculous
escape at a kindergarten.
As the hurricane winds across the
North Sea subsided, and the planes
and trains serving the airport tried
to catch up, people said about
trying to patch up their battered
homes and businesses. The skips
cannot contain the debris that has
come down across the country. Trees
have been rooted. This one came
crashing down on a creche. None of
the children were -- what teachers
inside the building at the time were
injured. -- none of the teachers or
children. Dutch meteorologists have
been accused of leaving it too late
before issuing the highest code red
weather warning. It took many people
off-guard. This storm is expected to
enter the record books as one of the
worst to hit the Netherlands since
records began in 1990. It took just
a few hours to sweep through but
will take millions of euros to put
parts of the country back together
The Californian couple
who are accused of imprisoning,
abusing and torturing twelve
of their OWN children
have appeared in court.
David and Louise Turpin
were arrested on Sunday after one
of their children escaped
and raised the alarm.
Police say the children
were fed very little,
allowed to shower just once a year
and chained for weeks
or months at a time.
The couple deny the
charges against them.
James Cook reports from California.
Give up that right...
David Turpin, appearing in court
to deny betraying his
own children with a bewildering
catalogue of cruelty.
His wife, Louise, also pleaded not
guilty to inflicting physical pain
and mental suffering.
It's also alleged that one
of the couple's daughters
was sexually abused by the father.
Prosecutors say the siblings endured
the abuse for years,
as their parents plumbed the depths
of human depravity.
One of the children,
aged 12, is the weight
of an average seven-year-old.
Several of the victims have
cognitive impairment and neuropathy,
nerve damage, as a result
of this extreme and
prolonged physical abuse.
The children were supposedly
schooled here in their home,
but the district attorney said
they lacked basic knowledge.
Some did not even know
what a police officer was.
They were reportedly
allowed to shower just once
a year and were beaten,
chained up and tormented.
They would buy food, including pies,
apple pies, pumpkin pies,
leave it on the counter,
let the children look at it
but not eat the food.
About the only thing
the children were allowed
to do in their rooms,
or chained up, was to
write in journals.
We now have recovered
those journals, hundreds
of them, and we are combing
through them for evidence.
The 17-year-old who raised the alarm
after climbing out of the home
through a window had been plotting
the escape for two years.
One of her sisters made it out with
her but turned back out of fear.
This case has sent waves
of revulsion across
the United States and beyond.
The authorities say the siblings
are doing well but some of them
at least have almost certainly
physical and mental damage.
The parents are due
in court again next month.
If convicted, they
face life in prison.
James Cook, BBC News,
Riverside in California.
Moving onto something totally
How would you like to be
strapped inside a pod,
and then fired through a tube,
hurting forward at more
than a thousand kilometres an hour?
It may sound terrifying -
but one group of engineers think
it's the future of travel.
They call it the Hyperloop.
Rory Cellan-Jones has been
to the Nevada Desert to see it
We heading through the Nevada
desert, north of Las Vegas,
for a glimpse of what its backers
claim is the future of transport.
This is Hyperloop, an attempt
to send passengers hurtling
at 700 miles per hour
through a vacuum tube.
Many think that is far-fetched
but this project got
the backing last year of Virgin
with Sir Richard Branson
In this 500 metre test track,
they say they have shown
that the technology works,
although they have not yet put any
human being is on board.
I think my background in spacecraft
engineering has given me the skill
set to be able to...
The head of engineering, a space
scientist recruited from Nasa,
sees no reason why people
might be scared.
The Hyperloop is a maglev train in
a vacuum system, or a vacuum tube.
And, so, you can also think
of it as an aircraft
flying at 200,000 feet.
People don't have any issues
flying in aeroplanes,
and people don't have any issues
going in maglev trains.
This is simply combining the two,
and allows you to be
more energy efficient.
This isn't the only project.
The electric car type two Elon Musk,
who originally floated the whole
idea, has proposed a tunnel under
Los Angeles that could carry cars
or the transformed into a Hyperloop.
The Virgin Hyperloop team say
they could take passengers
from London to Edinburgh
in 50 minutes.
Or cut the journey between New York
and Boston two and a half an hour.
But making this work in the real
world will mean running several
of these pipes alongside each other
over long distances,
and convincing governments of it
being realistic is going to prove,
well, pretty challenging.
At that giant CES tech show
in Las Vegas, Hyperloop's chief
executive was wishing that message
that this technology is ready,
and just needs someone
to push the button.
I've got 200 of the most brilliant
engineers from industries
from around the world who have
to bringing something really
new and important to the planet.
We can go 500, 600,
and 700 miles an hour.
That is not what worries me.
The biggest challenge ahead of us
is to find governments
and regulators that want to rapidly
introduce this technology.
Even if some government
do share that vision,
they share another challenge.
finding the money and the public
support to build this kind
of structure many miles
across or under their countries.
Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News, Nevada.
Don't forget you can get
in touch with me and some