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tv   BBC News  BBC News  May 18, 2021 3:00am-3:31am BST

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welcome to bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: president biden says the us is working to secure a ceasefire — after more than a week of violence between israel and palestinian militants. he urges both sides to protect civilians. 200,000 people are evacuated from coastal areas in india's gujurat state, as a major cyclone strikes. at least 20 people are known to have died. the us supreme court agrees to hear a case challenging roe v wade — the 1973 judgement which gave american women a constitutional right to abortion. a cold war in the arctic as russia issues a warning to the us and nato about its military activity in the region.
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and — we visit one of the many british museums to open their doors again — after nearly five months of lockdown. joe biden has expressed support for a ceasefire in gaza and said the us was engaging with egypt and other partners towards that end. in a phone call with the israeli prime minister, the us president also expressed his support for israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks, while urging mr netanyahu to protect civilians. more than 212 people, including 61 children, have died in gaza, and ten, including two children, in israel. with the latest here's our middle east editorjeremy bowen.
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nightmares come true in gaza for parents and their children. this mother couldn't talk about the air strike that engulfed them last friday. eight—year—old mustafa alzahana and his mother are further down the children's ward at shifa, gaza's main hospital. she says mustafa trembles when he hears israeli attacks, ever since the one that wounded him almost a week ago as he left their home with his father to buy new clothes for the end of ramadan. his father was paralysed. mustafa's friend who went with them is dead. translation: his friend baraa was killed. - when baraa was dying, he was clutching my son tightly and telling him not to leave him alone. baraa died. when my son has a fever, he hallucinates about it. as well as the badly injured, 61 children in gaza have been killed in the last week. about 20 miles north is this synagogue in the israeli town
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of ashkelon, it was hit by a hamas rocket. it was the festival of shavuot, the feast of weeks, usually a celebration. it's a very sad time for us over here in ashkelon. we are always on bombing. i hope it will finish fast. injerusalem, the western wall plaza was almost deserted. this is the holiest place forjews to pray. it's usually packed on religious holidays like today, but some of the worshippers said people were scared to go out. the grey dome of al—aqsa mosque is one of the most sacred places for muslims. you can see how close it is to the wall. above the wall is the golden dome of the rock, both muslim shrines are built on the site of the ancientjewish temple. these sites are all also national symbols. a month of tension here raised
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the hatred levels so high it led to war. the events of the last week have shown a couple of things. first of all, the power ofjerusalem to ignite this conflict. and hamas have sent a strong message to palestinians that as far as they're concerned, they are their real protectors here in the holy city, even though hamas h0 is 60 or 70 miles away by the sea in gaza. 0ur gaza producerfilmed his drive to work this morning. you can see the bomb sites. if palestinians and israelis could be equally safe and secure, they might have a chance of peace. right now, they don't. jeremy bowen, bbc news, jerusalem. professor rashid khalidi is an author and the edward said professor of modern arab studies at columbia university. i asked him for his reaction to president biden voicing his support for a ceasefire between
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israel and the palestinians. i take very little encouragement from it. the president's position has moved glacially, but he does not seem to be pushing the israelis at all. and without pressure from the united states, given the position the netanyahu government has taken, there will be no ceasefire and there will be no cessation of the horror in gaza or of the firing of rockets in israel. right. i suppose the clear issue would be that israel is responding to rocket attacks — this is how it is framed — which are coming from organisations which are committed to the destruction of israel. so it's difficult to order israel to cease fire? except that misses context. the context is that israel provoked this with its extraordinary actions injerusalem, the assault on the al—aqsa mosque. the evictions that were planned in sheikh jarrah and so forth. and also, the violence which we see in the paroxysm right now, of occupation and of the siege of gaza is constant, when you, the media, are not paying
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attention to it. it's perpetual. so, i think addressing the root causes of this is the only way to stop this. israel's attacks on gaza or hamas rocket attacks on israel are a symptom of a much deeper problem, which american administrations have really avoided addressing. i think everyone will recognise the perpetuation of what you might call the �*status quo�* is of no use to anyone. and yet, it feels like a world in which any peace process has broken down, is pretty much non—existent. how on earth do you start to put pieces together? indeed, do you believe you can? well, one thing you do is remove israeli impunity. this mantra that �*israel is entitled to defend itself' is something that is only used vis—a—vis israel and never used vis—a—vis palestine.
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the palestinians have been victims of what i call a continuous war over a century. we have seen aspects of it in al—aqsa mosque, in sheikh jarrah, planned evictions, and so forth. what is actually necessary is for the united states to cease its complicity and cease to shield israel from international pressure. the american ambassador has basically prevented the un security council from taking action. the un could send clear signals to israel, and many americans, at least the number of americans, including senators, congresspeople, are putting pressure on the president. yeah. and that was the last point i was going to ask you, actually, what you made of that? because there does seem to be a number of progressive democrats who are more interested in the palestinian perspective than you might have seen for some time? that is definitely true. but it is also true when there's not a paroxysm of violence, like this one,
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there's a veil of silence over the everyday violence that is inflicted on the palestinians by occupation. and the shift has not taking place notwithstanding that veil of silence. when things like this happen, more and more people realise exactly what is at stake. and all of the bromides and all of the mantras which essentially shield israel from responsibility, ensure its impunity, begin to fall away. we're seeing democratic congressmen and senators, who very rarely say anything, essentially taking a position opposite to that of netanyahu, a ceasefire. the israeli does not seem to be at this point willing do that. a cyclone, classified as "extremely severe", has made landfall in india's western state of gujarat with wind speeds of up to 190 kilometres per hour — that's 120 miles an hour. cyclone tauktae travelled along india's western coast, narrowly missing
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the city of mumbai. at least 20 people have been killed and 200,000 evacuated. mark lobel reports. emergency officials evacuate coastal areas as india faces disaster on several fronts. this cyclone comes amid a covid—19 wave that has also flooded india's hospitals. the navy has sent three warships to try to rescue hundreds of people stranded off the coast. even mumbai's meteorological department is affected as winds of up to 190km/h hit people, property and powerlines in the most powerful cyclone to strike the region since the late 90s.
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storms and cyclones come from warm waters. now, what is happening, the arabian sea temperatures, the ocean's south—west temperatures, are warming cyclone tauktae has travelled up the coast, claiming lives in kerala, karnataka, goa. it's made landfall in gujarat, threatening storm surges of up to four metres high in some coastal districts. this is the fourth consecutive year when a cyclone has formed during the april—june season in the arabian sea region. and this might be the third one moving very close to the west coast, for this season, again. and that means we need to be better prepared for the west coast. it's forced the temporary closure of mumbai airport and disrupted local rail services. there are wider fears it could accelerate the spread of coronavirus, as more than 150,000 people in low—lying areas have been moved into densely—packed shelters. a vaccine drive in several coastal towns has been paused. the storm is also adding to the challenges faced in india's hospitals, as some critical patients
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are forced to move buildings. it's hoped that having made landfall, the cyclone will lose some of its wind strength, but heavy rainfall still poses a threat to parts of northern india. mark lobel, bbc news. let's get some of the day's other news. spanish officials say 2,700 migrants have arrived in the spanish north african enclave of ceuta from neighbouring morocco over the course of the day. they began arriving at night, swimming out beyond the border fences thatjut into the sea, but many more simply walked around at low tide. a local newspaper said more people were arriving. the french president emmanuel macron has said that countries attending a conference in paris have agreed to clear sudan's arrears to the international monetary fund. the move should enable a significant part of
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the country's 50 billion dollar external debt to be forgiven. the us telecommunications giant, at&t, has announced the merger of its film and television unit, warnermedia, with its rival, discovery. the deal is worth $113 billion. under the agreement, warnermedia — which owns cnn and hbo — and discovery will combine their operations to form a standalone company. the us supreme court has agreed to hear a case from the state of mississippi challenging roe v wade — the 1973 ruling which gave american women the right to abortion. it's the biggest abortion case to come before the court in 30 years, and the first time its new six/three conservative majority will consider the highly charged issue. earlier i spoke to mary ziegler, professor of law
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at florida state university and the author of abortion and the law in america: roe the wade to the present about what the likely outcome of this will be. i think that the two likely outcomes in this case would either be that the court overrules roe altogether which would most likely allow but not require the states to prohibit abortion or the court could eliminate viability as the point at which states can ban abortion. if the court does that, the question becomes if viability is not the limit, then what is? is it early in pregnancy or late in pregnancy? but one way or another it seems quite likely that byjune of next year, states will have a lot more latitude to restrict and likely ban abortion. viability being the viability of the foetus to survive outside the womb. i think that is set at 2a weeks. this mississippi
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position is 15 weeks. mississippi has taken the position that states should be allowed to ban abortion then foetal pain is possible, which mississippi claims is at 15 weeks. mississippi is an outlier in that respect. other states, conservative states, have argued that foetal pain is possible at 20 weeks. most scientists think that foetal pain is not possible until later in pregnancy. but the standpoint of the conservative supreme court justices is that viability is not as early as 15 weeks and the supreme court seems interested, ata minimum, in jettisoning viability in favour of some standard that makes it easier to restrict abortion. your language there, you said that the conservative supreme court members, it is a conservative majority supreme court at the moment so what is your suspicion, if i could put it strongly is that as to the outcome? i would be a little surprised if the court overturns roe right out of the gate. the court sat on this
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case since september so there clearly was either someone hesitating to take the case or hesitating to confront the kind of political blowback that would come if the court does overturn roe, so i expect this case is more of a teeing up of a later ruling, perhaps in 2023 or 2024, undoing roe altogether and if that were to happen, the 50th anniversary of roe vs wade will be in 2023 so it would be ironic, indeed, if the supreme court ultimately reversed roe a half a century after it came down. ironic is one word for it, but it would be incredibly contentious too, wouldn't it? absolutely. an important thing to remember is that if the court were to overturn roe, it would be far from the end of the story. anti—abortion lawyers would be back in the court asking the court to recognise a right to life which would prevent states from allowing abortion, even progressive states, and you would see the biden administration considering everything from a federal law protecting abortion rights to expanding the size of the supreme court. you would see heated battles state—by—state especially
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in proverbial swing states but in other states as well, determining the contours of abortion legislation. so whatever happens, this battle will continue and it is likely we will see something explosive in an election year so abortion would be at the top of the national agenda in the united states for some time to come. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: after nearly five months of lockdown, we visit one of the many british museums who are now open to the public again. this morning, an indian air force plane carrying mr gandhi's body landed in delhi. the president of india walked to the plane to solemnly witness mr gandhi's final return from the political battlefield.
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ireland has voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage. in doing so, it's become the first country in the world to approve the change in the national referendum. it was a remarkable climax to what was surely the most extraordinary funeral ever given to a pop singer. it's been a peaceful funeral demonstration so far! - but suddenly, the police - are tear—gassing the crowd — we don't yet know why! the pre—launch ritual is well—established here. helen was said to be in good spirits, butjust a little apprehensive. in the last hour, east timor has become the world's newest nation. it was a bloody birth for a poor country, and the challenges ahead are daunting. but for now, at least, it is time to celebrate. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: president biden says the us is working to secure
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a ceasefire — after more than a week of violence between israel and palestinian militants. he has urged both sides to protect civilians. let's stay with that now. i've been speaking to simone ledeen, who was the deputy assistant secretary of defence for middle east policy under president trump. i asked her what she thought about the biden administration's shift in tone and position. i think what's important to note is the indiscriminate violence that we are seeing in terms of over 3,000 rockets being shot at israeli civilians. hamas has a history, and is doing so now, of using human shields, and using civilian areas as weapons depots. so i think a lot of the comments that you are hearing right now about helping to protect civilians are also directed specifically at hamas who continues to use these abhorrent practices.
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although it is fair to say antony blinken said, specifically, there was an extra burden on israel as a democracy to protect civilians, but in any case, it is being perceived by the biden administration as a two—way street here. yes indeed, and the biden administration has to tread a very careful line because they are involved in negotiations with the iranian regime that continues to supply hamas with a lot of its weapons, funding and training. so they are really walking a delicate tight rope at this point, because they don't want to upend these negotiations, but they also don't want to be seen as not being strong and leading in the way that is expected. and presumably your perspective is that pursuing that line with iran and trying to reinvigorate the nuclear deal there will make relations with israel and working with israel over this extremely
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difficult, maybe unlikely. i think it has shown that already, as a matter of fact. i don't that we would be seeing this sort of violence right now, hamas initiated this violence and i don't think that it would have been encouraged with a different administration that had a different perspective. so i think there is a lot... i think there is a move right now to try to take advantage as much as possible of the situation where negotiations are ongoing, put the maximum amount of pressure on the american administration and make them as uncomfortable as possible because i believe iran's calculation is that we want this deal so badly, we, the us, that we will behave in ways that the us hasn't normally behaved, for example, what we are seeing today. can i just ask you then, as a last point, can you see,
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russia is accusing the us and nato of provocations in the barents sea ahead of a meeting of the arctic council later this week. military activity in the arctic region is increasing — sara monetta explains why. the temperature is rising over the freezing waters of the arctic, and notjust because of global warming. with the ice melting, the arctic is becoming more accessible for more of the year. it means more business for maritime trade, but also a new potential area of conflict for the west and russia. both sides know it, and defence investments have increased in recent months. denmark is spending $245 million for surveillance drone to fly over greenland and a new radio station on the islands. 0n greenland and a new radio
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station on the islands. on his to copenhagen, us secretary of state antony blinken didn't miss a chance to give his stamp of approval on the initiative. we very much welcome denmark's decision to invest more than $240 million and atlantic and arctic defence, and we will continue our close cooperation in the council where we are headed soon, to ensure that the arctic region is one that is free of conflict, where nations act responsibly and act together. act responsibly and act together-— act responsibly and act together. act responsibly and act touether. �* . ., , ., ., together. but increased nato activity in _ together. but increased nato activity in the _ together. but increased nato activity in the region - together. but increased nato activity in the region has - activity in the region has caused one of the top roles to lash out last week. he said the presence in the barents sea was a provocation and increased the potential for conflict. 0n potential for conflict. on monday russia's foreign minister spelt it out even more clearly. translation: this minister spelt it out even more clearly. translation:- clearly. translation: this is ourterritory. _ clearly. translation: this is our territory, this _ clearly. translation: this is our territory, this is _ clearly. translation: this is our territory, this is our - our territory, this is our land and we are responsible for our arctic post to be safe, and
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everything that our country does there is absolutely legitimate. let me emphasise once again, it is our land and our waters. once again, it is our land and our watere— our waters. officially, they will come _ our waters. officially, they will come together - our waters. officially, they will come together to - our waters. officially, they i will come together to discuss climate change and international cooperation in the region, but the defence issues at play won't be far from their minds. monday was a big day in england, scotland and wales. museums have re—opened their doors again, and one of those welcoming the public was the museum of natural history in oxford. 0ur arts correspondent david sillito went to have a look at one rather familiar object on display. oxford university, the museum of natural history, and not even the rain could dampen the enthusiasm for today's grand reopening and its new work of art. an object that's affected us all. we're here face to face
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with the thing we've all been trying to avoid, the virus. it is some 8 million times bigger than the real thing. but it does allow you to get up close to something that is both terrible but also strangely beautiful. it's made up of tens of millions of pieces of scientific data, crunched and slowly assembled to reveal this. and the moment of revelation came, i was just taken aback cos i thought, i'd been working for months and months and months during lockdown on my own listening to radio, television, hearing about this dreadful, evil virus and it was just strangely beautiful. it was kind of hauntingly beautiful, and that kind of took me aback. and unveiling it was someone who knows it all too well, the lead developer of the oxford vaccine. it's quite a chilling thing to look at because this is the virus that's been our enemy for the last
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17 months now. we've been trying to defeat it. and so to come face—to—face with a large version of the virus is quite thought—provoking. and around the city there was a feeling of change today. this another reopening, the ashmolean. this is a big moment. this is spiritual! gracie and emma, first—year students finally escaping from a life of zoom calls virtual lectures. this is my greatest form of leisure. without clubs, what have we got? museums, which arguably are more fun. arguably. it's still far from normal life but this — the virus, analysed, described, etched and imprisoned. it's an image full of hope. david sillito, bbc news, 0xford. people living in moscow have been enjoying a heatwave which is setting records for the russian capital in mid—may. temperatures have topped 31 degrees and have had moscovites rushing for the city's
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fountains and ice cream stalls. these are exceptionally high temperatures. that's gc news. —— bbc news. hello there. the torrential downpours that we had on monday have been the torrential downpours, the thunderstorms were once again the talking point of the weather on monday. up to an inch of rain fell in some areas, and a covering of hail in others, as you can see. so, just adding to the rainfall totals that we've already seen this may. some areas such as bala in north wales having had twice as much rainfall as we'd normally see throughout the whole of may, and that's so far. and once again, for the day ahead, with low pressure sat to the west of the uk, it's going to throw showers our way. it gives the atmosphere that instability to grow the showers, and the sunshine strong at this time of year. not preventing perhaps a touch of frost for northern ireland first thing. a bit on the chilly side, a little bit of mist and perhaps valley fog
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if you're up early enough. that should clear quite quickly. plenty of sunshine first thing, but already showers, in fact a more persistent area of showers moving in across wales and the south west and then pushing eastwards. and elsewhere the showers build once again. we've got a weather front also to the north of scotland. a brisk wind coming down behind it. but with the light winds for most, those will be slow—moving and torrential downpours that we see once again. perhaps fewer in southern scotland and northern england, but expect some more hailstorms and thunderstorms and for them to continue well into the evening. in fact, there might be something a little bit more organised coming towards the south as we go through the evening and overnight. once again quite chilly under the clearing skies, a little bit of mist first thing wednesday morning. but then again, it's a day of sunny spells and showers. it looks as if they may be focused across central and eastern areas. this is our weather front pushing southwards across scotland just giving more energy, more moisture to generate those heavy downpours. temperatures therefore just a little lower in the far north, but as we saw on monday, tuesday and wednesday, probably mid to high teens at best. and then thursday looks set to bring a spell of wetter, windier weather. wind may be the main feature on this weather system, with gales even across southern areas. unseasonably windy weather
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is what we're thinking about at this stage. obviously, it's a few days ahead, but it will push in some more general rain, continuing that wet theme for may, and then the winds really escalate as well. we could have gales, gusts of wind at 50, possibly 60 mph. it's definitely one that we'll be keeping an eye on. until then, it's a sunny spells but torrential downpours sort of picture until later in the week when there could be something wetter and far windier.
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this is bbc news,
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the headlines: president biden has voiced his support for a ceasefire after eight days of violence between israel and palestinian militants in gaza. he urged israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of civilians. 200 people have been killed in the gaza strip. ten have died in israel. the indian state of gujarat is being buffeted by the most powerful storm in the region for decades. around 200,000 people were evacuated as cyclone tauktae travelled along india's west coast, with wind gusts of up 200 kilometers an hour. at least 20 people are known to have died. the us supreme court has agreed to hear a case challenging roe v wade — the 1973 judgement which gave american women the right to an abortion. it will be the first time the court's new conservative—majority bench has considered the issue after a ban in the state of mississippi.
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the ban on foreign holidays for people living

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