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tv   BBC News at Six  BBC News  April 13, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm BST

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syria's president says the recent chemical attack on a rebel town was completely made up — and he blames the americans. president assad claimed the attack had been fabricated by the west so that america could justify an air strike on his forces. there was no order to make any attack. we don't have any chemical weapons. we gave up our arsenal three years ago. even if we had them, we wouldn't use them and we have never used our chemical arsenal in our history. it's his first interview since the chemical attack which left almost 90 people dead. we'll be talking to our middle east editor, jeremy bowen. also on the programme: a new generation of grammars in england — the education secretary justine greening sets out her plans for schools for "ordinary working families". more families who lost babies at birth at an nhs trust in shropshire come forward to speak out about the way they've been treated. a rare glimpse inside north korea, amid speculation that the secretive nation is preparing for its sixth nuclear test this weekend. saving their bacon — the campaign to protect
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the gloucestershire old spots, one of britain's most famous pig breeds, from extinction. and coming up in the sport on bbc news: chris latham wins a bronze for britain in the men's scratch race at the world track cycling championships, bringing gb's medal tally to two in two days. good evening and welcome to the bbc news at six. the syrian president, bashar al—assad, says claims that his armed forces were behind a chemical weapons attack on a rebel town last week are a "100% fabrication". instead, he claimed america had worked "hand in glove" with terrorist groups to stage the attack as a pretext for american air strikes. and he questioned whether tv images
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of dead children were real. a warning that our report from james robbins contains distressing images. nine days ago, these pictures shocked the world. children and babies struggling for breath after a suspected chemical weapons attack on the rebel held town of khan sheikhoun. other pictures, to horror flick to broadcast, should fire crews hosing down adults and children, many clearly dead. —— too horrific. but now president assad says it was all a fabrication. we don't know whether those dead children, were they get at all? who committed that attack, if there was an attack? —— were they dead at all? you have no information, nothing at
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all. president assad alleged this is all. president assad alleged this is all fake video and the white helmet emergency crews are jihadi extremists in disguise. there is proof that the videos are fake, the white helmets. they are al-anda. they showed their bids, they wore white hats and they appeared as humanitarian heroes, which is not the case. it's the same people who are killing civilian soldiers, and you have the proof on the internet. but the americans were in no doubt. they responded with tomahawk missiles, targeting the syrian air base which, the united states say, their intelligence shows was used to launch the chemical air strike. there was no order to make any attack. we don't have any chemical weapons. we gave up our arsenal three years ago. even if we had them, we wouldn't use them, and we have never used our chemical arsenal
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in our history. which ignores the fa ct in our history. which ignores the fact that international investigators have previously reported syrian government forces did use banned gas in 2013. after that, the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons destroyed president assad's declared stocks, but they can't be sure if he kept back secret supplies. he now insists all the events of the last ten days were the work of al-qaeda leader collaborating with the americans. our feeling is that it is the americans hand in glove with al-anda. the americans hand in glove with al-qaeda. president assad is keen to blame anyone but his own forces for last week's images of suffering children, even to the extent of claiming that none of this actually happen. our middle east editor, jeremy bowen, is here. you have interviewed president assad three times. the last time was two
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yea rs three times. the last time was two years ago. what do you make of this interview? i think he looks anxious, he looks under some sort of strain. when i interviewed him a couple of yea rs when i interviewed him a couple of years ago last, the military position they were in was really bad but he was much more relaxed. i thought now there was a difference in his demeanour, and i think there is good reason for that. barely a week ago, before the tomahawk missile attack, his regime looks pretty much in a stronger position thanit pretty much in a stronger position than it has been for ages, with russian help, with the fact they ca ptu red russian help, with the fact they captured the whole of aleppo just before christmas. but i think now he listens to what's coming out of the united states, they've had the attack, and now trump has said he is attack, and now trump has said he is a book shop. the secretary of state said that the time of the assad family running syria was coming to an end. i think he's looking at that and, once again, he is feeling under pressure. the view from the presidential palace in damascus had started looking pretty good for him. he started thinking that the
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international community would accept his position, that he is the only alternative to the likes of the jihadists. but now i think he's been forced to drink again. the education secretary, justine greening, has defended plans to introduce new grammar schools in england. there are already 163 grammar schools. ms greening said the new grammars would "support young people from every background, not the privileged few" and they'd help what she called "ordinary working families" — those with two adults, two children and household income of £33,000 a year. but critics say there's little evidence that academically selective schools improve social mobility. here's our education editor, bra nwen jeffreys. after—school tutoring for grammar school exams. competition for limited places is tough. just passing isn't enough, so parents pay for help to get top marks. it's not
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the be all and end all, but i believe that if she passes strongly she'll have a better chance of progressing into later life, if she has attended grammar school. one of the schools he might like might be a grammar school and, if the schools he might like might be a grammarschooland, if he's the schools he might like might be a grammar school and, if he's taken the 11 plus, even if you pass, there is no guarantee, so it's about keeping as many doors open for him as possible. so our grammar schools just for the better off? today the education secretary said that they will not be. i want these new schools to work for everyone. this will be a new model of grammars, truly open to all. we will insist on that. and it will reflect the choices of local parents and communities. when you look at the family income of pupils, what do the government stats show? in nonselective comprehensives, the lowest, above—average and below average income families get a similar share of places. in
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selective grammar schools, families on the lowest wages and benefits get 996 on the lowest wages and benefits get 9% of places below average income, 36%. and pupils from families with above average income, 53% of places, more than half. this grammar school is an exception. it sets aside some places for boys on free school meals. the government expects all to follow this example. ministers hope to convince mps to scrap the legal ban on new grammar schools. this cross— party ban on new grammar schools. this cross—party opposition to the idea of new grammar schools, and that includes some conservative mps and peers. this wasn't in the tory ma nifesto peers. this wasn't in the tory manifesto at the last election, and that gives them greater freedom to oppose it. behind their armies, there is one fundamental fact. oppose it. behind their armies, there is one fundamentalfact. —— behind their disease. however you look at it, grammar schools are for the few, not the many. if you create a decision at the age of 11, whether
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a decision at the age of 11, whether a child is able enough not go to a grammar school, you are saying possibly two thirds are not good enough. what's the message to them? people develop at different rates. children develop at different rates. today, no mention of the main challenge, the biggest squeeze on school budgets in england in 20 yea rs. russia failed to protect the hostages in a siege at a school in 2004 in which more than 300 people died — that's the verdict of the european court of human rights. it said officials knew about the attack in beslan but failed to act, and that russian forces used excessive force in ending the siege. chechen rebels stormed the school in 2004 demanding that russian troops pull out of chechnya. the russian government says it will appeal the ruling. a bbc investigation has found that more than 70 schools in scotland are suffering from similar defects to those that were closed down after being found unsafe. 17 schools were shut in edinburgh after a wall collapsed at a primary school early last year. it's feared other public buildings could also be at risk.
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the suspect in the dortmund football bus bombing was a commander for so—called islamic state in iraq, according to german officials. police are still questioning the 26—year—old iraqi, who is known only as abdul beset a, over tuesday's attack. two people were injured after three explosions hit the team bus ahead of the game against monaco in the german city. more families have accused the nhs trust at the centre of an investigation into its maternity services for failing to properly investigate the deaths of their babies. the mother of jack burn, who died in april last year, said their concerns were dismissed by the shrewsbury and telford hospital trust. the trust says it has learned lessons from all the deaths and is aware that it needs to improve its communication with families. our social affairs correspondent, michael buchanan, reports from shropshire. this couple lost their daughter last
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april but were forced to fight for justice. pippa died from an infection just 30 hours after being born at home. staff at the shrewsbury and telford trust told the family that the death was unavoidable. members from the trust sat here, on this seat, and said that nothing could have been done to save pippa. that wasn't true? no. she had called the local hospital during the night, concerned about her daughter's vomiting. it's got splodges of dark brown mucus all over it. nothing was done. hours later, pippa died. the family fought foran later, pippa died. the family fought for an investigation. last week, a coroner ruled that the death was preve nta ble. coroner ruled that the death was preventable. they weren't going to do an investigation, so that was when i said that's not good enough,
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there will be an investigation and we will be involved. pippa griffith is one of seven avoidable deaths at this trust in a little over 18 months. as we revealed last night, the health secretary has now ordered an investigation into maternity services. the families of sofia hotchkiss and jack burn are keen to ta ke hotchkiss and jack burn are keen to take part as they say neither death was properly investigated. this woman's son died in 2013 from an infection hours after being born but she says mistakes made during the 36 hour labour contributed to his death and she can't understand why the trust haven't answered her questions. why they left it so long, why they didn't induce me the night i went in. they were saying there was an obstruction. the night i went m, was an obstruction. the night i went in, wasn'tan was an obstruction. the night i went in, wasn't an infection. in the two days i was in there, infection set
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m, days i was in there, infection set in, and they didn't pick up on it, which cost me my baby. after we raised concerns, the local coroner is now considering opening an inquest into jack's death. the trust meanwhile maintain that they do examine all deaths. i am aware that each of the cases that have been brought to our attention as part of this investigation has been investigated. we have done root cause analysis, which is a more detailed investigation on most of them. kayleigh griffiths will give birth once more next month. given what the couple have suffered, they are understandably nervous. this family, every family here need maternity services to improve. our top story this evening: the syrian president, bashar al—assad, has dismissed claims of a chemical attack by his forces earlier this month as 100% fabrication. and still to come:
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a warning to night that some of our most famous breeds of british pigs, like these berkshires, soon be extinct. coming up in sportsday on bbc news... manchester united manager jose mourinho says the europa league provides one of two open doors to champions league qualification, as they prepare for their quarterfinal first leg at anderlecht. there s speculation that north korea may be preparing to conduct its sixth nuclear test on saturday to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president. satellite images show an increased level of activity at the test site in the north of the country. our correspondentjohn sudworth has been allowed into the highly secretive country with a number of other foreign journalists. he's sent us this report from the capital pyongyang — his movements have been monitored and tightly controlled. they poured into central pyongyang
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in their tens of thousands. of citizens and soldiers alike, north korea has always demanded displays of mass devotion. and at the front of the crowd, there was kim jong un. celebrating not a missile launch or a rocket test but the construction of pyongyang's newest street. the inauguration of a few tower blocks and shops would, anywhere else, raise barely a murmur. in pyongyang, it's met with rapturous applause. it might seem like an extraordinary celebration to mark the opening of a street, but it's about so much more than that.
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it's about economic survival, resilience, and sending a message to the outside world of total loyalty to the leader. the country's prime minister, pak pong—ju, told the crowd that the opening of the new street sends a more powerful signal to the world than any number of nuclear bombs. but, in reality for north korea, bombs are vital. with reports that another nuclear test may be imminent, we are taken on a tour of the school. "the dear marshall kimjong un clothes and feeds us", this nine—year—old girl tells me. and from an early age, she is told that it's bombs and missiles that guarantee his regime's survival. for a poor and isolated country like north korea, this reasoning has some logic.
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might it have gone the way of iraq or libya, its leaders ask, if it didn't have its nuclear programme? so, foreignjournalists are brought here to be shown a friendly face. there are many of them but also the willingness to endure. "sanctions don't bother us at all", this man tells me. "united around our leader, nothing can harm us". the message is clear. north korea is marching towards its nuclear future and no amount of threat or coercion from a us president will get in its way. john sudworth, bbc news, pyongyang. a record number of people who went to a&e departments in england this winter had to wait at least
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four hours to be admitted. almost 200,000 people had to wait much longer than they should for a bed — a big rise on last year's figures. here's our health editor, hugh pym. spring is here but the nhs won't forget this winter in a hurry. more patients coming in, problems moving them out, even if they were medically fit, and intense, relentless pressure. hospital managers here like many others say it could have been even worse. it has been very difficult. the hospital has been functioning most of the time at 100% occupancy. that has put a huge strain on the services. i think it is important to note this was a mild winter. we haven't had a large flu epidemic. despite that, it has been very tough. the latest figures for england show longer waiting times over three months of winter. 135,000 people had to wait longer
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than four hours to be found a hospital bed for a&e last winter. thatjumped to 196,000 this time. for planned treatment, including routine surgery, 264,000 were waiting more than 18 weeks in february 2016 but it was 367,000 waiting in february this year. one of those still on the waiting list is john. he was referred for an operation on his back early last year. but it still has not happened — he has found the wait very stressful and, at times, has had to stay off work. i go to bed. i'm in pain. i wake up and i'm in pain. all day i'm in pain. i've taken painkillers constantly. who knows how much they cost the nhs? in recent years, hospitals have noted that the pressure never uses off in the summer. there's a constant flow of patients. in the months ahead there could be an extra challenge in the face the shape of possible industrial
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action by nurses. the largest nursing union is consulting members on whether they're prepared to go on strike over a 1% pay offer, which is the same in every part of the uk. most nurses are unhappy with their income. so, they're working harder than ever. there have been years now of absolutely no pay increase. the whole cap of 1%, when we know the bills are going up. they are struggling to pay the bills. the department of health says it is going along with an independent pay review body's recommendation and can only offer what is affordable. they argue that with all the pressure on the nhs, patients will not get the right care from a workforce that is short on numbers and low on role. two people arrested by detectives investigating child abuse allegations against the late former prime minister sir edward heath have been released and told they face no further action, according to wiltshire police. operation conifer has been examining the claims since appealing for alleged victims to come forward in summer 2015.
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these were the only two suspects who had been arrested. a soldier who ran over and killed two teenage athletes after he'd been drinking with colleagues has been jailed for six years. michael casey, who's 24, went through a red light at a crossing in aldershot in hampshire. he killed stacey burrows, who was 16 and 17—year—old lucy pygott, who were out on a run. the man who was dragged off a united airlines flight in chicago on sunday has just been released from hospital. david dao's lawyer said he suffered concussion, a broken nose and lost two front teeth during his ordeal. his daughter said what had happened to her father left the whole family distressed. what happened to my dad should never have happened to any human being, regardless of the circumstance. we were horrified and shocked and sickened to learn what
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had happened to him and to see what had happened to him and to see what had happened to him. we hope that, in the future, nothing like this happens again. the queen has given money to pensioners at leicester cathedral to mark maundy thursday, in an easter tradition dating back to the 13th century. she handed out purses to 91 men and 91 women — representing each of her 91 years. today's visit to leicester means the queen has now conducted the service in every anglican cathedral in england. gloucestershire old spots — pedigree pigs — known for their intelligence and docility. but this famous breed is facing a dramatic fall in numbers — amid warnings that they could become extinct if the decline continues in this way. our correspondentjon kay reports from herefordshire on the plight of one of britain's best known traditional pig breeds. squeals. making plenty of noise but for how much longer? the gloucester old spot is one of our most recognisable breeds
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but there are only half as many as there were three years ago. there is less than 500 breeding females of gloucester old spot at the moment that are pedigree stock. today, one livestock conservation group said the situation was critical and that the old spot could become extinct. it is the same as losing, you know, a wild species of animal like a tiger. if we lose these breeds, we've lost something we can't replicate and bring back again. and that would just be so sad, really. it's notjust the gloucester old spot. these berkshire pigs are also on the endangered list, as well as other indigenous species like tamworths. to reverse the decline, farmers are being asked to breed more british pedigrees, but isn't there another solution? if the numbers are so threatened, why are we eating them? wouldn't the best thing be to leave them to breed and increase in number? we can't afford to just have lots and lots of pigs, really. yes, what we need is a market,
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someone to eat them, them to become commercial in a, not in a commercial sense, like we talk about ordinary pig meat, but as a speciality. here in gloucestershire, customers might be prepared to pay a bit more to preserve local breeds. but the industry knows on a national scale, they face falling demand and cheaper imports. the gloucester old spot was saved from extinction 30 years ago. doing so again in the current market could be more of a challenge. this is ash meadow farm and this is our buses but these are berkshire peaks. the our buses but these are berkshire pea ks. the conservation our buses but these are berkshire peaks. the conservation groups giving this warning has said it is not just about preserving giving this warning has said it is notjust about preserving these breeds for historic reasons or sentimental, nostalgic reasons, they
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say there are scientific reasons, to try to keep the genes of these very hardy creatures going into the future. if you are wondering, they do not smell too bad at all. thank you. let's have a look at the easter weekend weather. the weather is looking a little scrambled today. overall not too bad. this evening cloud with sunny spells. pretty cool. that is what many of us will have over the next few days will stop some places will have clout and spots of rain. this is the satellite picture in the last few hours. through this evening not much has changed will stop a few showers in the north west. whether you are in plymouth or glasgow, the temperature will be pretty much the same. in northern areas, in
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shetland, it will be a little bit colder. whether france are moving across the uk we will get some spots of rain. a chilly day. of us. maybe 15, 16 in london depending on how much sunshine we will get. the spells of mostly light rain for most of us will continue across the country, across central areas on good friday. on saturday a cold air strea m good friday. on saturday a cold air stream from the north. by the time it reaches our shores, it will be called. a fresh take on saturday. on saturday, out of the weekend, it is probably the best one for the plenty of bright weather around. maybe a few showers in the north. a good sort of day. this is sunday, east today. looks as though southern and south—western areas will have the best of the weather. more central and northern parts of the country will have more cloud and rain. let's
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summarise all of that. it is not exhilarating and not that bad. rather cool, sunny spells and a little rain from time to time. a reminder of our main story... basher al—assad has dismissed claims of chemical attacks as fabrication and blames america. we do not have any chemical weapons. we gave up our arsenal three years ago bulls if we had then we would not them. that's all from the bbc news at six. so it's goodbye from me and on bbc one we nowjoin the bbc‘s this is bbc news, the headlines: syria's president assad says reports of a chemical attack by his forces last week are "100% fabrication" and there was no order to carry out any attack. the west, mainly the united states, is hand in glove
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with the terrorists. they have fabricated the story in order to have a pretext for the attack. the pentagon have confirmed they have used one of the well‘s largest non—nuclear bombs in an air strike in afghanistan. it targeted a series of caves in eastern afghanistan used by the islamic state. the education secretary defends her plans for new selective grammar schools in england, saying they'll be truly open to all. labour says grammars do not support social mobility. the european court of human rights has ruled that russia should have done more to prevent the beslan school massacre in which more than 300 people, mostly children, died. in a moment it will be time for sportsday, but first a look at what else is coming up this evening on bbc news. we'll have more response to the interview given by president assad of syria
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in which he denies being behind last week's chemical attack. we'll have the latest from new zealand's north island where the tail end of cyclone cook makes landfall. meterologists say it is the worst storm to hit the country in nearly 50 years. and two of the oldest known uneaten easter eggs have gone on show at a north yorkshire museum. but what makes the chocolate treats so special? that's all ahead on bbc news now on bbc news it's time for sportsday. hello and welcome to sportsday, i'm hugh ferris. our headlines tonight: chris latham lands another medalfor great britain at the world track
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