18/03/2018 World News Today


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18/03/2018

The news programme for audiences who want more depth to their daily coverage. With a focus on Europe, Middle East and Africa.


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LineFromTo

This is BBC World News Today.

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I'm Lucy Hockings live in Moscow.

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The headlines.

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Vladimir Putin will lead Russia

for another six years.

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TRANSLATION:

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I can see trust and hope, hope

of our people that we will continue

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working in the same way

with the same great results.

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The exit polls show that with more

than half of ballots counted,

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President Putin has almost

three-quarters of the vote.

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He has also been speaking about the

poisoning of a Russian spy that has

0:00:450:00:48

led to a stand-off with the British

government.

TRANSLATION:

I learned

0:00:480:00:54

about it from the media, and the

first thing that came into my mind

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is that if it was a military

operation, people would have died

0:00:570:01:02

straightaway.

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I'm Karin Giannone in London.

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Our other top stories.

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After two months of fighting

and many deaths, Turkey drives

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a Kurdish militia from the northern

Syrian city of Afrin.

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Senior Republicans urge

President Trump not to close down

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the Special Counsel investigation

into suspected Russian

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collusion with his campaign.

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Hello and welcome to Moscow, where

President Putin has indeed won a

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fourth term in office. There were

eight candidates running in this

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presidential election but there was

really no doubt that President Putin

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was indeed going to win, when he has

done so convincingly. They have

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already been seems of jubilation at

a pro-Putin rally. You can see the

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Kremlin and Red Square behind me,

beyond that a big concert tape and

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placed an ad with people

celebrating. The date of the

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election was moved to today to

celebrate the fourth anniversary of

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the annexation of Crimea. Let's take

you through some of the results. We

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know there was an boating lake

allowances reported in some parts of

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Russia but these are the official

figures we are starting to get now.

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The exit polls showing 73.9% for the

Russian president Vladimir Putin,

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absolutely eclipsing all of those

other candidates. And I think the

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thing people will be talking about

around the world who are looking at

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this election over the next few days

will be the turnout. Vladimir Putin

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had wanted 70% in order to give the

result some legitimacy, and he

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hasn't achieved that. What we are

hearing is that there has been a

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turnout of 60% in this presidential

election, and that is down from the

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last time Russians voted here in a

presidential election from 48% in

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2016, in the Parliamentary

elections, which are often less, and

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then in the presidential election in

2012, 60 5%, so Vladimir Putin may

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indeed be disappointed with that,

and that is also with some stuff in

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the ballots we have seen we will be

talking about in a moment. But first

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I had mentioned the celebrations

that had been taking place here in

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Moscow. Vladimir Putin arrived just

a short time ago to address his

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supporters. Let's have a listen.

TRANSLATION:

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I am a member of your team

and everyone who voted

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today is one big team.

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In this I can see the recognition

of what's being done

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over the last few years.

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I can see trust and hope, hope

of our people that we will continue

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working in the same way

with the same great results.

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Thank you for this wonderful

multi-million member team.

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Thank you.

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Success is waiting for us!

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Vladimir Putin there and his

supporters.

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Counting is under way in the Russian

presidential election.

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A huge effort, you can imagine in a

Candreva size of this, 11 different

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time zones, 97,000 polling stations

were open today across Russia. We

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saw some scenes of cosmonauts

boating in space, even down in

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Antarctica, polling stations were

open there. It has been an

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incredibly busy day, quite festive

at some of the polling stations, I

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was at one earlier, there were

people singing, a man with an

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accordion, people playing sports as

well. There was all very festive,

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but with a wrap-up of what has been

happening around the country for us,

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here's our Moscow correspondent,

Steve Rosenberg.

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It looked more like

a show than an election.

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Russian polling stations

providing free entertainment

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to boost the turnout.

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Inside, you could cast a ballot,

and cast an eye at the art.

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Pride of place here reserved

for a legendary Russian ruler,

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who had battled the West.

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The current leader is

facing international

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pressure after Salisbury.

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Still, Vladimir Putin

was relaxed as he voted.

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I believe in the programme I am

offering my country,

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the president said.

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And his supporters agreed.

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He is a genius, he says.

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Putin wants Russia to

prosper and for Russians

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to live in happiness.

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It is thanks to Putin, she says,

that Russia still exists.

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But, critics of the Kremlin said

the election was fixed,

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that only those candidates who stood

no chance of unseating

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Vladimir Putin were allowed to run.

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The problem with Russia

is that there is no such thing

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as Russian politics.

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Politics has been eliminated

in Russia altogether.

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There is only one political

institution in Russia

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and that is the physical body

of Vladimir Putin.

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Which is why the result of this

vote was never in doubt.

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This election is less

about choosing a new president,

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and more about reappointing

the old one.

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The political system

Vladimir Putin has built ensures

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he doesn't face any challenge.

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He's set for a fourth

term in the Kremlin.

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But these images will

embarrass the Kremlin.

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Caught on CCTV, a woman stuffs

the ballot box at a polling box

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at a polling station in Moscow.

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Suddenly there are

two of them at it.

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And something suspicious in Siberia,

during the vote count,

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someone moves a tricolore

of balloons

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so they cover over the camera.

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Election officials say they will

investigate alleged violations.

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But that won't change

who will be running Russia

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for the next six years.

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Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow.

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So, as Steve was mentioning there,

Russia's key opposition leader

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Alexei Navalny was banned from

running in this election, and he

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said to his supporters that he

wanted them to boycott the election,

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and what is interesting is that he

is very active on social media, and

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many young people of course are

thought to have possibly not shown

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up to vote because of record for

that boycott, but there are also

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some young people passionate about

Putin and I spoke to one earlier,

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Darius Sher over from United Russia

party.

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You know what I will say that

you can come for example to south

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arabia and say you guys have to be

democratic here - well you have

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to come to Russia to be for example

international observers to see how

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it works in Russia.

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You as the international

community should

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not humiliate our rights to vote

for the Putin that we

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support as president.

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Even if you don't like his policy -

we like his policy.

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You have to respect our right

to choose our president

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and you have to work with him -

because his citizens choose him.

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So about 60% of the votes have been

counted, though there is some talk

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of voting irregularity. Let's speak

to the co-chairman of the electoral

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observers in Russia. Tell us about

what your observers saw today.

So

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ordinary elections in Russia, maybe

you can give me more exact

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questions.

What is an ordinary

election in Russia because that

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would be very different to how we

see elections.

I know, but the main

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problem is we don't have any

so-called alternative candidates and

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elections are not interesting and

the same man has been running for 20

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years, it is a boring procedure, so

they went to any expense to

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entertain people, to invite them

with cheap goods, foodstuff,

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entertainment, singing, dancing, all

that stuff, it is not elections, it

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is just a sham.

What did your

electro observers see in terms of

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the staffing of ballot boxes across

the country?

Actually ballot box

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staffing was found by video

broadcast, not found by people on

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the ground live because usually

fraudsters are afraid of any present

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witnesses and so on. In the first

video you can see the policeman in

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the corner, the policeman was

present. We have a report where a

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policeman himself was stuffing. So

all sorts of people can participate

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in the ballot box staffing in this

fraud, but not observers, observers

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are a deterrent, and yes, over there

in the corner you will see behind

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your titles a policeman with

shoulder straps, so yes, they are

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doing, but not observers, observers

scare them away, real observers. Not

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fake ones.

If your observers see

things like this happening, what do

0:10:160:10:20

they do?

In 2008 I found ballot box

staffing in 2008 in a Moscow school.

0:10:200:10:31

They pretended it was, they said,

let's look into that into the

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evening, but before the evening they

said that the school was mind,

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somebody planted a bomb inside the

school so it had to be evacuated,

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and later they destroyed all

evidence, but I still have photo and

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video of that. So their main idea is

to destroy evidence, but since we

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have a lot of mobile phones now, and

boxes are transported, so it is very

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hard to hide for them, and nobody is

punished. Since 2012, I can show you

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hundreds of official videos, and

nobody is punished since.

Thank you

0:11:050:11:08

very much for joining us. We have

been hearing from President Putin,

0:11:080:11:17

and he has also given a press

conference. In the last hour or so,

0:11:170:11:21

he has been talking about this

diplomatic row between Russia and

0:11:210:11:24

the United Kingdom, he has said he

has only had about the poisoning for

0:11:240:11:30

the first time of Sergei Skripal and

his daughter, and the very first

0:11:300:11:33

time he heard about it was actually

in the media. TRANSLATION:

0:11:330:11:45

In relation to the tragedy

you mentioned, I learnt about it

0:11:450:11:48

from the media and the first thing

that came into my mind was that

0:11:480:11:51

if it was a military

operation, people would have

0:11:510:11:53

died straight away.

0:11:540:11:55

This is number one.

0:11:550:11:55

This is number one.

0:11:550:11:56

Secondly, Russia does

not have those weapons,

0:11:560:12:02

Russia has demolished

all its chemical weapons

0:12:020:12:05

under international

supervision, unlike some

0:12:050:12:08

of our partners who haven't done it

yet.

0:12:080:12:13

Vladimir Putin addressing what has

happened. Further developments to

0:12:130:12:20

bring you, international experts

from the chemical weapons body will

0:12:200:12:23

be arriving in the UK on Monday.

They will be testing samples in the

0:12:230:12:28

UK. We have been hearing from the

Russian ambassador to the EU and

0:12:280:12:32

also from Britain's Foreign

Secretary, Boris Johnson, with a

0:12:320:12:36

wrap-up of today's events on the

diplomatic fallout and everything

0:12:360:12:40

that has happened with Sergei

Skripal and the poisoning of him and

0:12:400:12:44

his daughter Yulia. Here's Daniel

Sandford.

0:12:440:12:48

Today, despite the bad weather,

troops and police officers continued

0:12:480:12:50

the delicate and dangerous work

of decontamination and preserving

0:12:500:12:52

the scenes in Salisbury.

0:12:520:12:57

It is clear now that the focus

of this investigation

0:12:570:13:00

is Sergei Skripal's burgundy BMW

car, with detectives

0:13:000:13:02

still seeking more information

on its movements on the day

0:13:020:13:04

of the nerve agent attack.

0:13:040:13:05

This morning, the Russian ambassador

to the EU chose to hint that Britain

0:13:050:13:08

might have been responsible

for the whole thing.

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Porton Down, as we now all know,

is the largest military facility

0:13:120:13:17

in the United Kingdom that has been

dealing with chemical

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weapons research.

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And it's actually only eight

miles from Salisbury.

0:13:230:13:26

You are not suggesting that

Porton Down is responsible

0:13:260:13:29

for this nerve agent attack?

0:13:290:13:30

I don't know, I don't know.

0:13:300:13:33

Immediately afterwards,

on the same programme, this

0:13:330:13:35

was the Foreign Secretary's riposte.

0:13:350:13:37

This is not the response

of a country that rarely believes

0:13:370:13:40

itself to be innocent.

0:13:400:13:45

Their response has been a sort

of mixture of smug sarcasm

0:13:450:13:48

and denial, obfuscation and delay.

0:13:480:13:54

And with 23 diplomats due to leave

the Russian Embassy this week

0:13:540:13:59

And with 23 diplomats due to leave

the Russian Embassy this week,

0:13:590:14:02

after being expelled as spies,

the Foreign Secretary made his most

0:14:020:14:04

direct accusation yet that Russia

has been doing recent

0:14:040:14:07

nerve agent research.

0:14:070:14:09

We actually had evidence

within the last ten years that

0:14:090:14:12

Russia has not only been

investigating the delivery of nerve

0:14:120:14:14

agents for the purposes

of assassination, but has also been

0:14:140:14:17

creating and stockpiling Novichoks.

0:14:180:14:22

However, the Foreign Secretary then

had to concede that a wife

0:14:220:14:26

of a former minister under

Vladimir Putin had paid £160,000

0:14:260:14:31

in a Conservative Party auction

to play tennis with him.

0:14:310:14:33

Did the tennis game actually happen?

0:14:330:14:34

It did.

0:14:340:14:35

It did.

0:14:350:14:38

But the Labour leadership's position

on the Salisbury attack now seems

0:14:380:14:41

much closer to the government's

than it was in the

0:14:410:14:43

middle of last week.

0:14:430:14:46

Putin has questions to answer,

because this is highly likely this

0:14:460:14:48

could have been a state execution.

0:14:480:14:51

But what we don't do in this country

is that we don't leap

0:14:510:14:54

to conclusions without the evidence.

0:14:540:14:55

Tomorrow, international specialists

from the Organisation

0:14:550:14:57

for the Prohibition

of Chemical Weapons will arrive

0:14:570:14:59

at Porton Down to start their own

independent analysis of what left

0:14:590:15:02

Yulia and Sergei Skripal

fighting for their lives.

0:15:020:15:03

Daniel Sandford, BBC News.

0:15:030:15:10

So as we continue to see Russia

isolated on the international stage,

0:15:150:15:20

it is quite a different message here

in Moscow with Vladimir Putin

0:15:200:15:24

addressing his supporters as he wins

his fourth term in office, and he is

0:15:240:15:28

talking about rising to the

challenges that lie ahead, how

0:15:280:15:31

working together as a team is the

way forward here in Russia. 60% of

0:15:310:15:36

the votes counted will continue to

keep across all the development is

0:15:360:15:40

here in Moscow. For now, back to you

in the studio. Stay with us on BBC

0:15:400:15:49

World News Today. Still to come,

British MPs want to know more about

0:15:490:15:52

how a data firm that supported

Donald Trump's campaign used the

0:15:520:15:57

personal information of millions of

Facebook users.

0:15:570:16:02

Today we have closed the book on

apartheid.

More than 3000 subway

0:16:130:16:19

passengers were affected, nausea,

bleeding, headaches and a dimming of

0:16:190:16:23

vision, all caused by an apparently

organised attack.

0:16:230:16:29

The trip itself was on the pedestal

in the middle of the Cabinet here.

0:16:350:16:38

This was an international trophy and

we understand now that the search

0:16:380:16:41

for it has become an international

search.

0:16:410:16:52

Above all, this was a triumph of the

Christian Democrats of the West,

0:16:550:16:58

offering reunification as quickly as

possible, and that is what the

0:16:580:17:01

voters wanted.

0:17:010:17:08

You are watching BBC World News

Today.

0:17:140:17:17

Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad

has visited soldiers

0:17:170:17:19

in Eastern Ghouta -

an area his forces have been trying

0:17:190:17:21

to retake from the rebels.

0:17:210:17:23

These images - published on a Syrian

Presidency Facebook page -

0:17:230:17:26

show him surrounded by troops.

0:17:260:17:28

A monitoring group has confirmed

that government forces

0:17:280:17:30

and their allies now control some

80% of Eastern Ghouta.

0:17:300:17:34

Thousands more civilians

fled on Sunday.

0:17:340:17:36

But a pro-rebel website says

there's been relative calm

0:17:360:17:38

for the first time in a month.

The Turkish president says

0:17:380:17:46

the northern Syrian city of Afrin

0:17:460:17:48

is now under Turkish control

0:17:480:17:49

after its troops backed by Syrian

allies, entered the city centre.

0:17:490:17:55

Turkey has been engaged

in a two-month battle with Kurdish

0:17:550:17:57

fighters over the city,

in Northern Syria.

0:17:570:17:59

The Kurdish administration of Afrin

says its forces will now strike

0:17:590:18:02

Turkish and allied militia positions

at "every opportunity".

0:18:020:18:09

Mark Lowen reports from Istanbul.

0:18:090:18:14

The sound, not of battle,

but of celebration, Syrian rebel

0:18:140:18:17

fighters backed by Turkey,

taking the town of Afrin

0:18:170:18:19

after a lightning advance.

0:18:190:18:25

Their flags marked

the new order here.

0:18:250:18:28

The YPG, Kurdish militia,

had promised to fight

0:18:280:18:30

to the death in Afrin,

but in the end, their resistance

0:18:300:18:32

looked to melt away.

0:18:320:18:36

Afrin fell within hours,

the vestiges of the YPG ripped away.

0:18:360:18:46

In the name of God the merciful,

we are now inside Afrin

0:18:470:18:49

liberated from terrorism,

says this fighter, the city has

0:18:490:18:52

returned to the Syrian revolution

and we call on all residents

0:18:520:18:54

to come back.

0:18:540:18:57

The scars of this two month-long

offensive are everywhere,

0:18:570:19:00

a town in circles and besieged,

residents fleeing

0:19:000:19:02

the Turkish advance.

0:19:020:19:09

Over 150,000 people are said to have

escaped in recent days.

0:19:090:19:12

A triumphant President Erdogan

announced the success.

0:19:120:19:13

Turks from all sides have rallied

behind an offensive,

0:19:130:19:16

targeting a group they say

are linked to Kurdish

0:19:160:19:18

militants within Turkey.

0:19:180:19:28

Crushing age-old foes is a rare

uniting force in this

0:19:300:19:32

otherwise polarised country.

0:19:320:19:33

TRANSLATION:

Most of the terrorists

have already fled with their tails

0:19:330:19:36

between their legs.

0:19:360:19:37

Our special forces and members

of the Free Syrian Army are clearing

0:19:370:19:40

the remaining pockets of resistance.

0:19:400:19:41

In the centre of Afrin, symbols

of trust and stability are waving,

0:19:410:19:44

instead of the rags of terrorists.

0:19:440:19:48

As a Kurdish statue in central Afrin

was torn down, a bad omen

0:19:480:19:51

for the much needed reconciliation.

0:19:510:19:54

Many residents who will return

are Kurds, hostile to Turkey

0:19:540:19:56

and Syrian Arab fighters.

0:19:560:20:05

But in some areas of Afrin, the

rebels were welcomed as liberators,

0:20:050:20:12

the question now is whether Turkey

will push on to other YPG-held

0:20:120:20:15

territory, that will be

discouraged by the West,

0:20:150:20:17

which sees the Kurds

as vital allies.

0:20:170:20:22

But for now, victory

is being savoured, and eight

0:20:220:20:24

years into Syria's war,

each side continues to carve it up.

0:20:240:20:26

Mark Lowen, BBC News, Istanbul.

0:20:260:20:36

Well, this is clearly a military

victory for Turkey on a highly

0:20:380:20:47

celebrated anniversary for Turks,

the Gallipoli victory a century ago.

0:20:470:20:51

That was partly due to the YPG 's

strategic calculation, and they ever

0:20:510:20:58

accurate of the city, they enabled

the civilians more than 150,000

0:20:580:21:03

civilians evacuated from the city,

not calling them for a mass

0:21:030:21:06

resistance. They now vowed to expel

Turkish forces. There will be

0:21:060:21:18

implications that next to Afrin,

where US shoots Dunn troops.

Do you

0:21:180:21:36

believe we will see Turkey fission

to Syria against the YPG even

0:21:360:21:39

further?

For the East in your

freebies -- you freelys, it is

0:21:390:21:48

dubious. That is why that

calculation from Turkey, it is

0:21:480:21:56

simply because the United States

probably make a deal over the

0:21:560:21:59

region. But when Washington would

make such a deal, the eastern new

0:21:590:22:07

3-Ds would be the red -- the eastern

Yafridis would be the red line.

0:22:070:22:14

There is division in Washington,

close sources towards

0:22:140:22:17

micro-Washington and pesetas wrote

critical for the Raqqa security.

0:22:170:22:26

Others close to the State

Department, with the idea of the

0:22:260:22:34

negotiation with Turkey so that they

could secure the East new 3-D is,

0:22:340:22:38

and perhaps they would convince YPG

forces -- Eastern Yafridis, so they

0:22:380:22:45

could secure their games in the

eastern Yafridis where the SDF

0:22:450:22:49

forces are very much powerful and

secure.

0:22:490:22:55

The head of Cambridge Analytica,

the data firm used by Donald Trump's

0:22:550:22:59

election campaign, has been called

back before a committee of MPs.

0:22:590:23:02

They believe Alexander Nix has

fresh questions to answer

0:23:020:23:04

about the way his company used

the personal details of up

0:23:040:23:06

to 50 million Facebook users.

0:23:060:23:07

The social media giant,

which will also be asked to appear,

0:23:070:23:10

says it is conducting

a 'comprehensive review'

0:23:100:23:12

into the allegations.

0:23:120:23:13

The BBC's business correspondent

Joe Lynam has this report.

0:23:130:23:23

The idea that all women should

receive the same message...

0:23:290:23:31

Meet Alexander Nix.

0:23:310:23:32

He's the Eton-educated

boss of the data mining

0:23:320:23:34

company Cambridge Analytica, which

specialises in something called

0:23:340:23:36

psycho graphics.

0:23:360:23:37

That is an understanding

of your personality

0:23:370:23:38

because it's personality that drives

behaviour and behaviour obviously

0:23:380:23:41

influences how you vote.

0:23:410:23:47

But now a committee

of MPs thinks he may have

0:23:470:23:49

given Parliament false

statements about what his

0:23:490:23:51

company did with millions

of Facebook profiles.

0:23:510:23:53

He's been recalled

for more questions.

0:23:530:23:54

The Facebook boss

Mark Zuckerberg will

0:23:540:23:56

also be called.

0:23:560:23:57

It looks like Facebook

were trying to avoid

0:23:570:23:59

difficult questions about this

and people will rightly be

0:23:590:24:01

concerned, are there other data

breaches we

0:24:010:24:03

don't know about, how effective

are Facebook at stopping people

0:24:030:24:05

from taking data from their platform

and

0:24:050:24:07

using it in a way that suits them

and that Facebook can't control?

0:24:070:24:10

At the heart of this

was an app designed here in

0:24:100:24:12

Britain in 2014.

0:24:120:24:13

It was supposed to tell

you a lot more about your own

0:24:130:24:16

personality.

0:24:160:24:17

But if you logged in

using your Facebook profile it

0:24:170:24:20

allowed the app and its users access

to some very personal

0:24:200:24:22

data held on Facebook.

0:24:220:24:23

Most astonishingly, though, it

allowed the app access to all your

0:24:230:24:26

friends' personal data,

without their explicit consent.

0:24:260:24:29

And we're going to make

America great again...

0:24:310:24:33

It has been claimed

that Donald Trump's

0:24:330:24:36

campaign used personal data acquired

from Cambridge Analytica to try and

0:24:360:24:39

influence the election, something

flatly denied by the company.

0:24:390:24:48

And it was also at the top table

when the Leave.EU campaign

0:24:480:24:51

was launched in 2015 but now denies

that it did any

0:24:510:24:54

work at all on the

Brexit referendum.

0:24:540:24:56

But it does raise the issue though

of what happens when we

0:24:560:24:58

click "OK" online.

0:24:580:25:00

We see these quizzes

pop up on our Facebook

0:25:000:25:02

timelines, we think it will be fun,

which famous star am I...

0:25:020:25:06

But what you are really doing

is handing every bit of your profile

0:25:060:25:10

data onto a data collection service.

0:25:100:25:12

Much of this has come

to light because this

0:25:120:25:14

former Cambridge Analytica employee

Chris Wiley has now claimed Facebook

0:25:140:25:17

knew what data the company held

and how it could used.

0:25:170:25:23

Facebook strongly denies his

claims and has suspended

0:25:230:25:25

his own Facebook account.

0:25:250:25:30

The social media giant

said that it was doing

0:25:300:25:32

so because Mr Wylie had exploited

Facebook to harvest millions of

0:25:320:25:35

people's profiles.

0:25:350:25:36

Joe Lynam, BBC News.

0:25:360:25:41

Let's remind you of our main story.

0:25:410:25:43

President Putin has been

addressing his supporters in central

0:25:430:25:50

Moscow after being re-elected

for another six years in office.

0:25:500:25:53

With almost half of the ballots

counted, he's heading

0:25:530:25:55

for a landslide victory

with three-quarters of the vote.

0:25:550:25:57

But the was turnout lower than the

70% he had hoped for. From me Caryn

0:25:570:26:00

Giannone E, goodbye.

0:26:000:26:02