hello and welcome to bbc news. these are our top stories. flooding in china kills at least 25 people in henan province, following the heaviest since records began. flooding in china has caused millions of dollars in damage following the heaviest rainfall since records began. climate scientists say extreme weather events are becoming more likely and severe. america's most senior general has acknowledged the taliban have "strategic momentum" in afghanistan. they now control half the districts in the country. the general said the us withdrawal was now 95% complete, but insisted a taliban takeover it was not a foregone conclusion. the sporting action continues in tokyo with a shock defeat for the us women's football team. ahead of friday's official olympic opening ceremony, former prime minister shinzo abe has decided not to attend the event due
to the state of emergency. experts from the national history museum in london have started excavating some of the most importantjurassic sites in the uk at a secret location. it is believed to hold tens of thousands of fossils from 167 million years ago. rebecca morelle brings us this. a race against time to reveal our ancient past. the team from the natural history museum has just three days to excavate this unique site. look how long they are. that's really cool! this cotswolds quarry holds a secret trove of sea creatures that lived during thejurassic period. what's here is so extraordinary, he location is being kept secret. we have got another really nice, exceptionalspecimen here. this is a brittle star, it's likely to be a new species. it's quality of preservation,
it's the number of fossils that we're finding, but it's also the diversity. it's really unprecedented in geological sites of this age across the world. usually, on an excavation, you may get a handful of finds, but here it is different. scientists think there are tens of thousands of fossils lying in the mud. this place must have been teeming with life 167 million years ago. this area was once covered by a shallow tropical sea. living there were animals like starfish, sea urchins, brittle stars and sea cucumbers. quite a heavy old piece, isn't it? the site was discovered by local fossil hobbyists, nev and sally. seeing a slab of life. but at first, the quarry didn't look too promising. we were finding very small fragments of plates of sea urchins — just tiny, tiny fragments, though, nothing spectacular. when we got home and cleaned it up, he was like, "oh, my god, sally.
you've got to come and see this." it was this beautifuljurassic sea creature coming to life. they're amazing! just as like they were alive yesterday. with so many fossils here, the challenge is working out which ones to keep. the very best are now heading to the natural history museum. the team says it's the discovery of a lifetime. rebecca morelle, bbc news, at a secret location in the cotswolds. i was looking for clues as to where that secret location was. now on bbc news: click. on the weekend of the british grand prix, we're at silverstone for a race with a difference. we go back in time to show off some electrifying classics. and i'm at goodwood race circuit to see if i can drive round this historic track
using just my head. silverstone is the home of british motorsports and i'm here at the britcar championship. but this is a race with a difference as one team is made up entirely of drivers who have some form of disability. but thanks to a bit of technology, they have serious hopes of taking home the silverware. more on that in a few minutes, but where's spencer? i said silverstone! are you lost? no, i've had an invitation that i could not refuse from another race outfit here at goodwood. now, we've got the whole circuit to ourselves today so i'm going to be on this track later, putting some brand—new assistive tech to the test... ..at racing speeds!
just don't go breaking anything. i'll try not to. here in silverstone, things are busier and noisier, and that's because everyone here is racing for real and we've been invited into team brit's garage. so paul is over there having a nose about and hopefully can tell us more. nosing about is what i do best. and here at the home of british motor racing in silverstone, there's certainly lots to see. but specifically, i'm here to meet team brit — a competitive motorsport team with a difference. they're made up of six disabled drivers using bespoke, specially adapted cars to compete in races against non—disabled drivers on a level playing field.
my visit came during testing ahead of the latest round of the britcar championship. aaron morgan is one of team brit's two drivers in the endurance event, driving an aston martin gtii. aaron became a wheelchair user in 2006 following a motocross accident. the disabled drivers on the team use control systems developed by engineers in—house. these are completely sort of bespoke, completely developed from the ground up by team brit. they, and the other engineers within the team said, "right, we've got this problem. this is what we need to achieve" and this is the solution they come up with, and it's by far the best in the world. the control�*s linked to a system of actuators and sophisticated electronic systems to drive the vehicle. so aaron, can you just explain to me a little bit about how the hand controls work and how you use them to drive the car? yeah, of course. so, with the accelerator,
you just pull this paddle here and obviously, you know, there's various levels of throttle you can apply there. on the other side is the brake paddle which works in exactly the same way, so you can modulate it. and then these grey buttons inside the steering wheel operate the gears. now, the way the car's set up, you have the up shift on the left side, so while you're on full throttle with your right hand, you've then got your left hand to change the gears, and then it's vice—versa for braking as well. so while you're braking with your left hand, you can go down the gears with your right hand. the key thing about these controls is that they're designed to be used by drivers with a range of impairments. these could be driven by someone with only the use of one arm, for example. aaron's team—mate in this event is autistic and the car remains drivable by him in the usual way, as the adaptations coexist alongside the regular controls. hand controls per se aren't new — i use them to drive my car — but these are quite different to what you might find on a road car as they're tuned for a racing environment.
but a racing team is more than just the drivers, and building systems like this into already finely—tuned machines isn't a straightforward process. and so, you obviously work with different iterations of these controls. how does that process work and how did you get to where you are now? well, first of all, we start with looking at the drivers and seeing what their needs are, you know? what their disabilities and what physical limitations they've then got. and then we start, from there, with the ergonomics of the control system that we're designing — and by that, i mean the paddles that are on the steering wheel. and when we started designing this, we started with a very different steering wheel to the one we've got now, so we're constantly improving it and developing it, based on driver feedback. definitely challenges there — and a lot of that's integrating our system with the car system. cars aren't particularly good at tolerating other things being added into the network. and so, we do have that challenge but we love it, you know? it's part of what we do and it's why we do it. team brit's ultimate aim is to make racing history and take a team to the world—famous le mans 24—hour
endurance race, becoming the first ever british all—disabled team to do so. so what are the team's goals for this year? the aim for this season is to win the britcar endurance championship within our class. we're well up there in the championship — we've achieved two class wins so far this season. hoping for another one here this weekend at silverstone. paul there with a look at the tech. and i'm joined by lucy sheehan, one of the professionals behind team brit. tell me, why is today so important? today's so important. today's about getting ready for the racing, and that is what we have to do so well. we are not here to make up the numbers. we're competing against able—bodied racers on a completely level playing field, so the tech has to be right, the current set—up has to be right. drivers have to be comfortable. we've taken home the silverware in all three races so far this year, and we want to do it again this weekend. wow, we've seen what great access the company gives to people with some driving experience, but how about for anyone with a disability? how accessible
it is this, really? there are loads of different ways they can get involved, and we can help them, so from karting, real grassroots motorsport, through to track day experiences that we can offer them where they practice on the simulatorfirst. we give them help and support to get used to our hand control technology, then they get out on the track. so it's a staged approach and we are there with them all the way, and of course, there's the money as well because motorsport is not cheap. so for a full season's racing, you're looking at about £15,000 as a starter, which will put a lot of people off. but we help them with that, and there are ways in. so definitely, the door is open in ways that it has never been before. so please, we'd love people to get in touch and find out more. great, just need some skills and sponsorship. lucy, thank you very much. right, time now to connect up to goodwood race track, where spencer is. hey, lara, that looked great. it's amazing how the opportunity to race is opening up to more and more people. where are you exactly? yeah, funny story...
this is a look of part amazement and part terror. i'm a passenger in a modified chevrolet corvette c8 stingray, but it's who is driving, and how he's driving that is blowing my mind. we've met sam schmidt before. he's a racing driver who was paralysed in an accident in 2000, and five years ago, he took us for a ride through las vegas in a car that allowed him to drive using just his head and his mouth. so, the steering system, it's an ir camera system and whichever way you turn your head steers the car — he'll turn his head angle into a steering angle. the gas and brake, it's a sip and puff system, so we have a tube connected to a pressure sensor. positive pressure, blowing — that's your accelerator pedal. negative pressure, sipping — that's your brake pedal. the sam car is legal to drive in the us and sam has a driver's license. and since 2016, the system has been fine—tuned so that it's now not only safe and responsive enough to drive at road speeds, but at race speeds. 123, 128... 128, wow! er...
in fact, sam has taken this car up to 201mph. not today, though. anyway, the reality is that operating equipment without using arms or legs has many more applications than just on the race track. where i also see this technology being very beneficial is in the workplace. industrial applications, forklifts, harvesters, trains — i mean, it's kinda scary but i could operate a train, you know, sitting in my living room with this technology — so i would really like to see disabled veterans and people of all disabilities have an opportunity to go back to work and, you know, many of them just want to be a productive member of society and haven't been given the opportunity or the technology to do it. can i just say, that was incredible.
you are just incredible. i think really you should try the car from over here with my controls. 0k. i'm happy to do that, but not at that speed. well, this is a first. what an honour. what a thrill! what a potential humiliation! to drive the car, you're gonna point your nose where you wanna go. don't lean — leaning's not gonna work — you actually have to rotate your head. wow. ready to give it a shot? i'm ready to give it a shot. i'm just gonna let it go, and then start puffing. and here's the thing — from pretty much the start of the first lap, i get it. it does take a lot of concentration but as long as i stay focused, sam's car looks after me. well, how was it?
are you gonna take myjob away? uh, haha, that was pretty emotionalfor me because actually, it wasn't as hard as i thought it was going to be. and so, it kinda shows how this kind of control system could be used by ordinary people who aren't mad racing drivers. i need a few more laps. honestly, that was incredible but also really hard, i'm actually a much better driver than that with normal controls, i promise you. i think that's a challenge, then. why don't you do a lap with the normal controls, i'll use my controls, we'll see who's faster. umm... can i phone a friend? oh, hi. hey, lara, so, yeah, it's me. sam's just challenged me to do a lap of the track —
me using standard controls and sam using his controls to see who's fastest. what do you think? you my money's on him. he is a race car driver — you do know that? yes, i am aware of that. thank you. wish me luck. good luck. and don't break anything! you said that last time. we're here at the britcar championship while spencer is getting ready for the race of his life down in goodwood, and we'll be catching up with him injust a bit. in a moment, we want to talk space tech and show you the secret life of a lab technician at mit, but right now we're not leaving track—side. it's kind of over there. jen's there somewhere, taking a look at a local company that's transforming old cars. and it has a bit
of a famous fan. i'm also here at silverstone. we're about to go into the lunaz workshop where they're re—engineering classic cars into electric cars. it's incredible in here. there are so many beautiful cars. lunaz is making the world's first fully electric rolls—royces and bentleys. there are about 18 classic cars in the building, most dating from the 1960s. john hilton is the technical lead here. he was an aeronautical engineer at rolls—royce before moving into formula 1. among a long list of accomplishments, he was a technical lead for michael schumacher�*s 1994 world championship win. what do you actually do? you're converting this car into an electric vehicle? this car has a petrol engine in today. we'll be removing the engine, the gear box, the fuel system, the exhaust system and all the things that make the engine work, and replacing theirs with a brand—new electric powertrain.
the full renovation of the car takes about 26 weeks, and for rolls—royces and bentleys the cost of the work starts at about £350,000. it would be very much more expensive if you want to start with a car like this. how much would this car cost to buy? the petrol versions of this are regularly going for about 350,000. so 700,000 once you're done? yep. yes, we have a number of other cars here. this is a big rolls—royce phantom 5 — the bumblebee, as we call it colloquially. they're very rare. in fact, it's the only one i've ever seen. how much would that cost? not far off £1 million. this was in a james bond movie. wow. these are absolutely incredible vehicles, and this rolls—royce is from 1960.
the craftsmanship within this build isjust incredible. it's across the board, people that want a electric rolls—royce, or its people that have an absolute love for the classics and never wanted to go down that usabilityjourney and the drivability of these vehicles. one investor is former england football star david beckham. he has taken a 10% stake in the company. and it's notjust the classic cars that are getting a new lease on life. this recycling lorry would have to be decommissioned in 2025 because of its diesel engine and now it's being fitted with an electric motor. you've got two billion vehicles on this planet. we're doing a transition to ev. we cannot look at scrapping these vehicles. there's vehicles are in great condition. that is a perfect candidate to be re—engineered for an ev future. we are looking at all classes where we think re—engineering is a better choice. it's so embedded into us.
and range rovers are being made over t0o. they are famous for their off—road capability. we are maintaining that so they are still forward drive. they will still climb steep sales and all those things range rovers can do. it will be fast. much faster than standard. we are building this with 375 horsepower, electric. 220 or so. and a smooth and quiet. and a good range. we are expecting more than 200 miles. the absolute key here is we are moving to a clean air quality future, and i think we all saw it in this past year, is a fantastic shift that we are now making and we should all be playing our part within that. as you see vehicles move away from diesel and petrol, the world is going
to be a better place. hi, my name is paula do vale pereira. my masters receipt is right there. welcome to the star lab. here we build shoe box—sized satellites called cubesat. they cost a fraction of traditional satellites so we can launch many more satellites into space, collecting a lot more data. that allows us to track global warming and interplanetary life more accurately. these networks could also bring a wider spread, faster internet coverage across the world. some cubesats now use superfast communication lasers to interact with each other.
these liquid—filled lenses bend light by 90 degrees so the information sent can travel more directly between cubesats. of course, lasers need power to operate, which is why we built another solution. this project is called flaps — the folded lightweight actuated positioning system. this hinge bends when heated, so we can angle our satellites�* solar panels to collect maximum energy from the sun. this joint can also direct tools like antennas or cameras. materials often behave differently in space, so i tested this in zero gravity. planes like this recreate the weightless atmosphere of space by dropping several miles in altitude in a matter of seconds. this is a replica of demi, a star labs cubesat
that is already in space. demi's mirrors reflect distracting, unwanted light away, giving scientists a better look at far—away planets. the demi's tracked by our rooftop antenna so we can see when it's closest to boston to send comments or collect data from it. we could find life outside our planet for the first time in the next few decades. our goal now is to have new star lab satellites launched every couple of years. thank you so much forjoining us in our lab tour today. earlier on, i met sam schmidt, who took me for a few laps at goodwood. hitting 128mph using just his head and his mouth. now he has challenged me to do
a faster lap than him, me with conventional controls at him with his controls. if this goes wrong, make sure they edit it kindly. i've spoken to some of the team here and they say, you know the black stuff on the track, stay on that. thanks. all right, wish luck. see, in my mind this isn't a foregone conclusion. in some ways, i have an advantage. i know this circuit and i'm using the same controls that i have for my entire adult life. all right. hi. well, how'd i do? 1.50... is that good? respectable. laughter so let's see if sam can beat my flying lap of 1.50.
well, the very best of luck, sir. confident? don't really need it, but ok. laughter i mean, it's honest! so... you know that bit about it not being a foregone conclusion? yeah, i don't stand a chance. right back at the first meeting we knew it was going to take months, we knew it was going to take a lot of commitment from the engineers, resources from arrow and my time, and they thought it was funny after an hour i said, look guys, i'm very interested but not unless we can do 100mph. spencer laughs you know? you won. congratulations, 1.45. i mean, there was kind of no contest, really, was it. how do you feel being able to do this? you know, it's so... i guess the best word i can use is freedom. you know, just...
i'm in total control and there's very few things in my life that i have control over, you know, and to be able to steer and gas and brakejust like the old days... sam, thanks for being so inspiring. i've gotta make a call now and let someone know how i did. thanks, spencer. uh—oh. hey, lara. yeah, sam beat me. not a surprise, really, when you think about it. no, but you did well. how do you feel? i feel inspired, very humble, a bit sick and glad it's over. anyway, i'll see you later. that is it for this week. thank you so much for watching. as ever, you can keep up with the team on social media. find us on youtube, instagram, facebook and twitter @bbcclick. thanks for watching and we'll see you soon.
we're still in the middle of this heatwave, or actually just past it. some thunderstorms on the way too in the coming days, which should break the heat. but it certainly has been hot in northern ireland. it was wednesday's hot spot in county tyrone — 31.3 degrees — a provisional record for northern ireland, only beating saturday's value byjust 0.1 degree. on the satellite picture, we can see some clouds to the west of our neighbourhood. that is a developing area of low pressure, and it will be nearing us over the next few days, pushing the high pressure away, and this is going to bring some slow—moving thunderstorms. we will talk about that in just a second. i still have to mention the met office warning of extreme heat for the south—west of the uk and for northern ireland lasting into friday, and this is to highlight also the high temperatures overnight, notjust by day.
in fact, you can see how warm it is still through the middle of the night on thursday — it will have been around 18—20 celsius across some parts of the country. through the night, into the early hours of the morning, it is clear skies, may be a bit of cloud first thing across northern and eastern scotland, perhaps the north—east of england. that should mostly clear through the afternoon, but the temperatures will be skyrocketing, in fact hot enough for some local downpours and thunderstorms to develop across some central parts of the country. notice the wind is mostly an easterly, a very light easterly, so it's pushing the heat further towards the east, so that means the highest temperatures, again, on thursday could well be in northern ireland — we could well beat another record, that remains to be seen. possibly up to 32 but for most of us it will be in the mid to high 20s. here's friday, still
a very warm day. wouldn't necessarily class it as a very hot day, but warm enough. temperatures into the mid—or high 20s. notice some blue, some rain here, some thunderstorms brewing just to the south—west of us. this is an area of low pressure that will drag in fresher atlantic air, and push the hot air towards more eastern parts of europe. these could be very slow—moving thunderstorms, and slow moving thunderstorms can bring an awful lot of rainfall in a short space of time, and that's to come this weekend — saturday and sunday — especially across the southern half of the uk. something to bear in mind.
hello and welcome to bbc news. i'm ben boulos. these are our top stories. flooding in china kills at least 25 people in henan province, following the heaviest rainfall since records began. commuters in henan have had to force their way out of the subway train. translation: we broke j a window so air could get in, otherwise we would have choked. america's senior general acknowledges the taliban now controls half the districts in afghanistan as us forces prepared to complete their withdrawal. iam i am saaremaa kins live in tokyo, where in the last few minutes, the director of