welcome to bbc news. i'm kasia madera. our top stories: in israel, dozens of people are killed in a stampede at a religious festival attended by tens of thousands of ultra—orthodox jews. my husband, the president of the united states, joe biden! president biden holds a rally in georgia — the first stop on a tour to encourage americans to support his sweeping economic plans. actor noel clarke denies sexual harassment allegations after newspaper reports led to a suspension from bafta. and astonishment as a new gene therapy improves the vision of some patients with a rare inherited eye condition.
hello, welcome. we start with some breaking news, local media quoting emergency services in israel say at least 38 people have been killed in a stampede at a jewish festival. tens of thousands of people had gathered at the foot of mount meron in northern israel to celebrate a jewish holiday. the emergency services have been treating people at the scene, but have found it difficult to evacuate the injured due to dense crowds. prime minister benjamin netanyahu has called the incident a "heavy disaster". the annual celebration was closed last year because of the pandemic, and there were concerns raised that despite israel's vaccination programme going well, the event could be a super spreader if large crowds were present this year. yanki farber is a journalist with thejewish orthodox news website b'hadrei hadarim, and is near tel aviv.
he was due to go to the festival himself. basically, i go every year to the place and we're very and sometimes we have 500,000 people coming to this event but because it is a weekend and some people thought they were not be able to get back and forth for sure but, people who keeps about, these people who keeps about, these people who keeps about, these people who keeps about, it is complicated to go because they go quite far and it takes a long time to get back into the streets are full and the traffic —— keep shabbat. people do not go that's why people don't go but i go, and i watched live, it was light from the place, all the tv channels and eventually over 1000 people together try to go down a smooth, narrow
place, road ——it was live. they fell on top of each other. nothing collapsed, theyjust nothing collapsed, they just fell on nothing collapsed, theyjust fell on top of each other and so far, we know there was like almost 50, 50 people dead, probably, definitely 44 and they are thinking about 50, and more than 100 people injured very badly. now, the reason why not much, i mean, not more people inaudible but the thing is, there is a lot, like 100, you know, medic people go to this place every year. i mean, the people who celebrate themselves are medic people but so many inaudible quickly saved a lot of people in so many ambulances and the israeli idf and airforce and idf inevitablyjoined together and airforce and idf inevitably joined together and the places are already, you know, or the injured people are in hospital but they counted
bodies, probably like 44 definitely. the families don't know yet because it is impossible to identify everything there, some of them probably would not have any identification on them and yeah, it is a big disaster and it is a little bit ill to blame people and say inaudible going to pay for it because push 2000 people in one tiny little place, this is really, you know, an open place to be a disaster and i don't know what's going to happen but at the moment the place is closed, shutdown, celebration, all music off and police and the transport service are only taking people from the place to, back to jerusalem, taking people from the place to, back tojerusalem, tel aviv, they are not allowing anybody to come to the place anymore. it is a very, very small place and when you have
liked more than 500,000 people coming to the place, there is a lot of traffic so police have blocked everything, stopped everything and by the way they also stopped the roadwork that they normally do at night, they stopped because everybody should get out of the place as quick as possible and a lot of my friends were there and they said we saw people falling on top of each other, stepping on top of each other, stepping on top of each other, stepping on top of each other and a lot of people so key to — lucky there was not any babies because normally babies don't go to such places like kids, i don't know, lots of the people were young, aged 17—20, i really don't know the exact amount of people but it looks like around 50 people dead. it is people but it looks like around 50 people dead.— 50 people dead. it is good of ou to 50 people dead. it is good of you to bring _ 50 people dead. it is good of you to bring us _ 50 people dead. it is good of you to bring us up _ 50 people dead. it is good of you to bring us up to - 50 people dead. it is good of you to bring us up to date . 50 people dead. it is good of i you to bring us up to date with what you have heard and i have to say we cannot confirm exactly how many people but we are quoting emergency services, saying at least 38 have been
killed in this stampede. help us to explain a little bit because as you were saying you had planned to go. last year, this is an annual festival, last year it had been... it had been postponed. it was closed because of the pandemic. 0f because of the pandemic. of course we are hearing about the success of israel's vaccination programme. what was the thinking this year? of course, it did go ahead but were these the number that one would have expected normally, annually, that we saw? because we believe it was tens of thousands of people there.— it was tens of thousands of people there. two things, first of all, people there. two things, first of all. yes. _ people there. two things, first of all, yes, because _ people there. two things, first of all, yes, because israel- people there. two things, first of all, yes, because israel has| of all, yes, because israel has been out very quickly with the pandemic, more than half of the country has been vaccinated by the way, england basically inaudible you did not badly but you did very, very well and i watched the news and i read all the time bbc and i watch bbc, i read on the website and you are doing a very good job, england
looks very, very good so i mean i see the shops, you know, shopping centres in england being open and the same here in israel. we have learned from each other and we did a very good job so some people said well, you know, no pandemic, let's go and celebrate but i want to say there was less than 100,000 people, usually there is like 400,000 people, 500,000 people. people are still a little bit afraid from the corona and the pandemic so they still think twice before they leave the house to a place with too many people getting together. and as you said, 38 people died on the scene and more died in hospital and they are still struggling to save lives of people who are very badly injured. yanki farber there. as you heard, he was planning to go to that festival himself and we will keep you up to date
on any developments. president biden has spoken at a rally in the us state of georgia to mark his 100th day in office. it's the first stop on a tour to urge americans to support his plans to spend trillions of dollars rebuilding the economy. during his opening remarks, the president was interrupted by hecklers objecting to prisoners being held in privately run detention centres. yelling. i agree with you. i'm workin: yelling. i agree with you. i'm working on _ yelling. i agree with you. i'm working on it. _ yelling. i agree with you. i'm working on it, man. _ yelling. i agree with you. i'm working on it, man. give - yelling. i agree with you. i'm working on it, man. give me l working on it, man. give me anotherfive days! working on it, man. give me another five days! cheering and applause. horns _ another five days! cheering and applause. horns blare. - another five days! cheering and | applause. horns blare. folks, ou applause. horns blare. folks, ou all applause. horns blare. folks, you all know _ applause. horns blare. folks, you all know what _ applause. horns blare. folks, you all know what they _ applause. horns blare. folks, you all know what they are - you all know what they are talking about. there should be no private prisons, period. none. period. that's what we're talking about. private detention centres. they should not exist and we are working to close all of them.
well, the president went on to explain how his multitrillion—dollar spending plans would be funded. it is about time the very wealthy and corporations start paying their fair share. wealthy and corporations start paying theirfair share. it wealthy and corporations start paying their fair share. it is about time. _ paying their fair share. it is about time. horns - paying their fair share. it is about time. horns blare. (cheering a simple as that. ﬁnd (cheering a simple as that. and folks, i'm (cheering a simple as that. and folks. i'm not — (cheering a simple as that. ﬁfic folks, i'm not going to (cheering a simple as that. ﬁfic folks, i'm not going to bully with the details but i promise you no—one making under $400,000 a year is going to pay a single additional penny in tax. no—one. as i said last night, the middle class and working people of this country are already paying enough in taxes. it's time for the richest 1% of americans in corporate americans to start to do their part. well earlier, i spoke to american economist robert reich, a former us labour secretary who served in the administrations of presidents ford, carter and under bill clinton. i asked for his reaction to president biden's ambitious spending plan.
well, it's very large, relative to other spending plans. you've seen by previous democratic presidents but to call it socialist, well, that is kind of a broad brush. the fact of the matter is that american workers, american people of middle working—class people don't have many of the benefits that other workers in developed countries have. in terms of paid family and medical leave, early childhood education or preschool, some help with higher education costs, and so on. these are not radical positions. the fact of the matter is that most americans actually do need them and the pandemic has revealed to most americans the extent of that need. ,, ., americans the extent of that need, ., americans the extent of that need. ., . ., , , need. so how much of this is auoin need. so how much of this is going through _ need. so how much of this is going through historically - need. so how much of this is going through historically in | going through historically in terms of helping people within the united states? how much of his spending plan is due to, does he feel he can do, because of the pandemic, because of
what we have been seeing over the past year? i what we have been seeing over the past year?— the past year? i think actually uuite a the past year? i think actually quite a lot _ the past year? i think actually quite a lot of— the past year? i think actually quite a lot of it. _ the past year? i think actually quite a lot of it. the - the past year? i think actually| quite a lot of it. the pandemic revealed to most americans the extent of inequality but also revealed to much of the middle—class and working—class house for nice they are actually skating on. the extent to which the extent they really need to have a stronger safety net to catch them should they fall —— skating on thin ice. many people in the united states have found themselves either unemployed or in danger of being unemployed and most americans live pay check to pay check and there is not the sort of underlying props that you would see in most other developed countries in terms of unemployment insurance, yes there is, but only 30% of americans were out of work qualify unemployment insurance and you find in area after area, public health is another area where most americans discovered during the pandemic how bad the american system of public health actually is. so
although rugged individualism still prevails in the united states, joe biden, the oldest president in american history, someone with a history himself of being a centrist, is coming into an administration right now and into the oval office with probably the largest and most ambitious plan any president in the post—world war ii history has provided. perhaps lyndonjohnson's great society is the only competitor. former us labour cemetery robert reich. there no clerk has been suspended just weeks after receiving a top award from buffalo, following reports of sexual harassment. he denies those allegations. after said they made the decision in likes of serious misconduct reports. the actor was presented with the outstanding british
contribution to cinema award this month. 0ur correspondent tim muffett has more. after has issued a statement that says that in the light of allegations of serious misconduct regarding no clerk in the guardian, after has taken the decision to suspend his membership and the outstanding british contribution to cinema award immediately and until further notice —— noel clarke this comes following a series of allegations in the guardian concerning the actor's behaviour. noel clarke said he vehemently denies any allegations and has said in a statement that in a 20 year career, i've put inclusivity and diversity at forefront of my work and have never had a complaint against me. tim muffett reporting. stay with us on bbc world news. still to come: the groundbreaking new treatment helping people who have a rare form of inherited sight loss. nothing, it seemed, was too big
to withstand the force of the tornado. the extent of the devastation will lead to renewed calls for government help to build better housing. internationally, there have already been protests. sweden says it received no warning of the accident. indeed, the russians at first denied anything had gone wrong. only when radioactivity levels began to increase outside russia were they forced to admit the accident. for the mujahideen, the mood here is of great celebration. this is the end of a 12—year warfor them. they have taken the capital which they have been fighting for for so long. it was 7 o'clock in the morning when power began to pass from the minority to the majority, when africa, after 300 years, reclaimed its last white colony.
this is bbc news. our main story this hour: israeli media report at least 38 people have been killed in a stampede at a jewish festival. amie liebowitz, reports on religion particularlyjewish culture and anti—semitism for our colleagues at world service radio. she says it's an event celebrated all over the world. it's been reported that there were over 100,000 people attended the event in mount meron. i must say that lag b'0mer is celebrated byjews all over the world. however, this particular festival is a pilgrimage on the eve of lag b'0mer. that is where hasidicjews come to the mountain to visit
the burial of the second century sage who supposedly has ca balistic, mystical powers. i see. this is an annual festival as well? yes, definitely. we celebrate this every year. in terms of the importance of it. of course, it is incredible how we see so many people coming to this. it was cancelled last year, it's an annual event but cancelled last year because of the pandemic and back on as we are seeing now. yes, definitely. israel's vaccination rates are extremely high, and a lot of the country is open and active as per usual. there weren't so many restrictions coming up to the event but police were aware and this was months and weeks of planning, the infrastructure that goes around this. the national bus service in israel has been planning this for a very long time as well. they did expect these sorts of numbers. however, i'm sure they didn't
expect what happened today. no, of course, and like i say the details at the moment are still coming in, and some of the images we can't show what happened in this stampede because they are just simply too devastating to see. talk us through the — how this looks in terms of people because what we're seeing are quite narrow areas through which people are going through. how does this look on the ground? according to reports, and i have spoken tojournalistsjust a few minutes ago, someone had fallen into these narrow spaces and created a chain reaction, which then created a stampede. unfortunately, as people panicked and they can see what was happening, police were confused, people were unable to leave the area and unfortunately there were images of people suffocating in the space. so how does this work normally then? where are people going to when they are in this religious festival?
i can only assume that being in the grandstand that they were singing together, prayers, harmonising together, talking about the festival. however, lag b'0mer is celebrated in many different ways, through bonfire, music, singing and dancing, but it has been reported that there will be no further events occurring due to the event. amy leibowitz for us there. she was giving us a little bit of insight into the festival where that stampede happen. 0f where that stampede happen. of course, an ongoing situation and we are continuing to monitor it. england's top league football teams are boycotting twitter, facebook and instagram from friday, in an attempt to urge social media companies to do more to stop online abuse. men's and women's clubs are taking part, as well as the sport's governing bodies. england's rugby and cricket teams will alsojoin, as well as british cyling. they say they want to show their collective anger
at social media companies. high—profile players have been repeatedly sent threatening and racist messages, despite the firms promising to take action. the boycott will last four days. let's find out what this could mean for these platforms. we can speak now to chief social scientist, dr marc smith, from the social media research foundation. he joins us now from redwood city in california. welcome to you. so this is a extensive, a long lasting boycott in the sense that it is going to be going for a number of days, what kind of impact do you think it will realistically have? well that is something we're going to see very soon. 0ur organisation will be watching this and my colleagues in the will be cooperating with the effort to monitor this event on social media. the question really is do the platforms need the legs and the more than the
legs need the platforms —— leagues. as a lot of people willing to contribute content of the platforms and is not even clear that during the boycott the discussions of these leagues and clubs will not continue. but it also will eventually come out whether or not this hurts the leagues and the clubs more. having said that. the call for action seems like a valid ones. and this is a marketplace of ideas and so a boycott in that market seems like a perfectly fair action to take. �* ., , ., take. and i wonder, when you have people _ take. and i wonder, when you have people - _ take. and i wonder, when you have people - because - take. and i wonder, when you l have people - because tangibly have people — because tangibly somebody we could look at is form an arsenal and france striker thierry henri who removed himself from platforms in march because of racism and
bullying. what kind of an impact could somebody is well known as thierry henry removing himself from the various social media platforms have? for himself from the various social media platforms have?- media platforms have? for his own purposes _ media platforms have? for his own purposes i _ media platforms have? for his own purposes i am _ media platforms have? for his own purposes i am sure - media platforms have? for his own purposes i am sure it - own purposes i am sure it helped them and i'm sure his experience was a very toxic ones. and so the question is, the platforms, the act is not as publishers and they have said that but they are hosts of venues and if we knew about a conference centre or a conventional hall that routinely had violence and conflict, we might hold the purveyors there, the managers of these venues to account. we do have legitimate issues with the platforms, they need to do a betterjob. the question i think is how can we have some power over them, think is how can we have some power overthem, how think is how can we have some power over them, how can we shape their behaviours. and a boycott is a good first step. i guess on the field, there is a referee to whom you can appeal but the question now is on the
platforms, who is the referee for social media has white so when you see the kind of racism and bullying that people are experiencing, how... what kind of responsibilities should these platforms take? if somebody did that to you in a pub, my understanding is and i studied in great britain, you could be banned from a pub. if this was a restaurant, if this was a pub or a club and people behave this way towards what another in that venue, i am pretty sure that management would be involved. my argument is that we can't really necessarily assume that the platforms will take care of this. it is a big problem, a big planet but they could help fix this problem by letting us fix this problem by letting us fix it for ourselves. 0ur organisation seeks to get data from the platforms that would allow players for example two documents in great detail how
much abuse they received in an effort to make the case that it should stop, and in many cases, the platforms are not sharing enough data. in the platforms are not sharing enough data.— the platforms are not sharing enough data. in that case, will have to come _ enough data. in that case, will have to come back— enough data. in that case, will have to come back to - enough data. in that case, will have to come back to you - enough data. in that case, will have to come back to you i - have to come back to you i guess after this boycott and get the very latest in terms of your research but doctor marc smith from the social media research foundation, thank you very much for your time. thank ou ve very much for your time. thank you very much- _ patients with a rare inherited eye condition, which causes gradual sight loss — have said they are astonished and delighted by the success of a new form of gene therapy. the treatment is intended to halt further loss of sight, but has actually improved their vision as well. 0ur medical editor fergus walsh has more — and just a warning, his report includes images of the operation. jake has been gradually losing his sight since birth but no longer, thanks to a ground—breaking gene therapy. i've just been able to see facial features on my own face, it's something that i never used to be able to do. jake, from county durham, has a rare inherited condition which means his central vision is largely a blur. since his right eye was treated a year ago his peripheral vision has improved.
i'm in the best place i've probably been in 24 yea rs of life. last year for a lot of people was a dark and miserable year but for me it was probably the best year of my life. after a year's delay due to covid, jake has now had his other eye treated at moorfields eye hospital in london, which it's hoped may further stabilise and perhaps improve his vision. the one—off gene therapy, called luxturna, is delivered via injection. it costs £600,000 but the nhs has agreed a discounted price with the manufacturer novartis. the injection delivers working copies of a faulty gene, rpe65, into the retina at the back of the eye. the dna is encased in a harmless virus which breaks into the retinal cells. once inside the nucleus of the eye the replacement gene kick—starts production of the rpe65 protein essential
for healthy vision. this is really transformational. it provides an opportunity, hope for people, not only with the specific condition, but people with other similar conditions hope that they can protect their sight in the long term. i keep noticing subtle improvements. i noticed one today coming into this park. i noticed that there are railings above the entrance to the gate. matthew from london has the same rare inherited condition and has had one eye treated. the second operation is next month. aged 48, his vision had already deteriorated much further than jake's. i lost my central vision about ten years ago and it had a really severe impact on how i live and who i am. if the treatment means that it puts off another decline like that then that's going to be amazing. matthew's wife has noticed he is more independent.
i'll be back very shortly with all of the day's news. thank you for watching. hello. april will continue to try to make amends with a bit more rain before the month is done during friday in the form of showers that will continue into the first weekend of may and it will stay on the cool side with a risk of frost at night. and then for the bank holiday, look at this area of low pressure — a long way away but it's coming for us on monday. until then, we find ourselves in the wake of low pressure. unstable air, meaning showers and the flow of air coming in from the north—east. some cool direction temperatures, below average for the time of year, and another frost out there for many as we start the day for friday morning. rather patchy in nature, more likely in the countryside than in the town and city centres, but it will be chilly. there'll be plenty of sunshine. already a few showers running in towards the north sea coastal areas.
but after the early sunshine elsewhere, some cloud is going to build and the showers break out more widely, some heavy, perhaps with hail and thunder. not everybody will catch them, though, and as for temperatures, it is quite cool, particularly along north sea coasts — many of us just in the range of 9—12 celsius. perhaps fewer showers in northern ireland compared with thursday, so more in the way of dry, sunny weather. as ever, the showers — not everybody�*s going to catch them — they will tend to fade away after dark overnight and into saturday morning and with another chilly start, with another patchy frost, a lot of sunshine to start the weekend, to start saturday. but wait for it, it all happens again. the shower clouds build, the showers break out, some heavy with hail and thunder. they will be wintry, too, over the higher hills and mountains, particularly in scotland. maybe temperatures a degree or so higher on saturday and the winds are light, so if you are in some sunshine, it will feel reasonable, as it will again on sunday after a chilly start, but the showers will get going once again.
more cloud gathering out to our west — that's the area of low pressure i showed you coming in for the bank holiday. now, there's still something to play for in the timing of the arrival of this wet and windy weather moving in from the atlantic on monday. it may well be that the far north of scotland, the far south—east of england stay dry for a large part of the day before the rain gets in. but if you think rain is coming on the bank holiday, the winds are going to be picking up as well and it is going to still be on the cool side for the time of year, you won't go far wrong.
the headlines: dozens of people have been killed and scores more injured in a stampede at a jewish festival in israel. tens of thousands of ultra—0rthodox jews had gathered at the foot of mount meron in the country's north to mark a jewish holiday. president biden's held a rally in georgia on his 100th day in office. he said that he wanted the very wealthy and corporations to start paying their share of tax. it's the first stop on a tour to urge americans to support his sweeping economic plans. actor noel clarke has denied sexual harassment allegations that have appeared in a british newspaper. the report in the guardian led to the kidulthood and doctor who star having his bafta membership and an outstanding achievement award suspended. those are your headlines. borisjohnson has sought to play down concerns about how