welcome to bbc news — i'm tim willcox — our top stories. britain's prince andrew loses his royal and military titles — and will no longer be officially known as his royal highness. this comes a day after a judge in new york ruled that the prince must defend an accusation of sexually assaulting virginia guiffre in a civil court case. britain's prime minister's political future in the balance as new downing street party allegations come to light. britain's security services issue a rare alert — warning of a chinese agent operating at the heart of westminster trying to influence mps. sedition charges are brought for the first time against people accused of taking part in the storming of the us capitol last year. still a favourite to win, but will he play?
novak djokovic�*s australian open prospects still up in the air as ministers consider their visa decision. and the intermission is over — cirque du soleil are back in london after a covid—enforced hiatus — celebrating their 25th anniversary. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe buckingham palace has announced that prince andrew is returning his royal and military titles to the queen, and will no longer be referred to as his royal highness in any official capacity. it comes after a court ruling in the us which left the prince facing a civil case later this year against virginia giuffre. she says she was sexually
assaulted by him two decades ago when she was a teenager. he has consistently denied the allegations. prince andrew retired from public duties in november 2019 after an interview about the claims with the bbc�*s newsnight, and will now have to defend the court case as a private citizen. here's our royal correspondent nicholas witchell. it was a day to take stock. for andrew, seen leaving his home near windsor castle this morning, to ponder the situation in which he now finds himself. a situation in which, for him, none of the options is a good one. the days of this, of standing proudly on the balcony of buckingham palace, in military uniform, the days of this, of standing proudly on the balcony of buckingham palace, in military uniform, alongside his family, are over. his family and particularly his elder brother charles and his nephew, william, had to put aside family feeling.
the priority now was the family's protection from severe reputational damage. just after five o'clock, buckingham palace issued a short statement regarding the duke of york. with the queen's approval and agreement, the duke of york's military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the queen. the duke of york will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen. at the same time, the palace let it be known that andrew would no longer be known as his royal highness. so, what does it all mean? it means we will never see andrew like this again, riding as honorary colonel of the grenadier guards at trooping the colour. he has stepped down by mutual agreement, we are told, from that position and from roles in nearly a dozen other regiments. he is also giving up roles in the royal navy and the raf. in military circles, there was considerable relief. the mp, tobias ellwood, is a former army officer. the royal family has
an intimate relationship with the regiments, going back in history, many of them are honorary colonels and so forth and it is important that the problems that prince andrew has incurred are not bled over into the regiments that he was representing. from sources close to andrew, we were told that he would fight on. the duke will continue to defend himself against these claims, they said. the claims began more than ten years ago now, with the publication of this photograph of andrew with the then 17—year—old virginia roberts and this photograph of him with the convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein. in his newsnight interview, andrew said he rued the day he became involved with epstein. and that is the bit that, as it were, i kick myself for, on a daily basis, because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and i let the side down.
simple as that. two years on from that interview, andrew, duke of york, second son of the queen, ninth in line to the british throne stands alone. nicholas witchell, bbc news. there've been more allegations of parties held at the british prime minister's residence, number10 downing street, that would have breached coronavirus rules. the daily telegraph newspaper claims the events took place last april —— the night before prince philip's funeral. mrjohnson is facing growing calls to resign over other parties at number 10 during the pandemic. this week he admitted attending one in his garden during england's first lockdown in 2020. he said he believed it was a work event. with me is mark lobel — so more potentially damaging revelations?
two more stories about downing street gatherings. these once in april 2021 and a time where indoor mixing was banned between households and you could be in a group of six or two households could meet. these are being reported in the daily telegraph and the problem for downing street with its particular story as you mentioned was it was on the 16th of april 2021 and i was the evil of prince phillips funeral and people may remember the queen sitting alone for that funeral morning alone. but in downing street, where led to believe that 30 people were saying goodbye to the director of communications under two prime ministers and also want to borisjohnson�*s personal photographers. and it was the details of this that make it seem almost farcical. there was music, there was alcohol and at one point, they took a suitcase to the local supermarket to pick up some extra wine. someone broke the swing
belonging to borisjohnson son and the garden and the party moved and these are not details the downing street would want people to be pondering on with all the allegations that we are dealing with at the moment. people have not denied that events have ta ken people have not denied that events have taken place and theyissued events have taken place and they issued a statement referring to the director of communications leaving on this individual and he give a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they had done to support him in both those who have been in the office for work and on the screen for those working from home. his farewell party in the photographers party mixed outside in the garden and i suppose he'll be some wriggle room there. but where does this leave the prime minister because there have been other allegations which he has admitted to now but he said he didn't think it was a party. she was not at this
particular— a party. she was not at this particular gathering, - a party. she was not at this particular gathering, he - a party. she was not at this| particular gathering, he was a party. she was not at this i particular gathering, he was in the country retreat although the country retreat although the deputy leader of the labour party said in reaction to this, i have no words for the culture and behaviour of number ten and it stops here. it is being linked with his party but when it comes to the 20th of may 2020 when he said he turned up for 25 minutes is subject to an inquiry and this will likely be folded into that. the remit of her could certainly pick up allegations like this very quickly and when she brings her report and the next couple of days, notjust the met police will be looking at it to see if there is a criminal element, but also the public and what mps are doing at the moment. but conservative mps are doing or looking through their boxes and going into their constituencies this weekend and that matters because that might push more of them to write letters demanding a vote of confidence in the prime minister. 0ne confidence in the prime minister. one of them was
speaking in newsnight and he backed borisjohnson to be a leader is a very vocal supporter of brexit and have a listen to this.— listen to this. have you written _ listen to this. have you written the _ listen to this. have you written the letters - listen to this. have you written the letters to l listen to this. have you | written the letters to sir graham brady? | written the letters to sir graham brady?- written the letters to sir graham brad ? ., ., graham brady? i have written a letter to sir— graham brady? i have written a letter to sir graham _ graham brady? i have written a letter to sir graham brady - letter to sir graham brady indicating _ letter to sir graham brady indicating that _ letter to sir graham brady indicating that i _ letter to sir graham brady indicating that i have - letter to sir graham brady indicating that i have no. indicating that i have no confidence _ indicating that i have no confidence in _ indicating that i have no confidence in the - indicating that i have no confidence in the prime| confidence in the prime minister— confidence in the prime ministerand _ confidence in the prime ministerand them - confidence in the prime i minister and them calling confidence in the prime - minister and them calling for leadership— minister and them calling for leadership election. - minister and them calling for leadership election. he - minister and them calling for leadership election.- minister and them calling for leadership election. he is also written a piece _ leadership election. he is also written a piece in _ leadership election. he is also written a piece in the - written a piece in the telegraph comparing boris johnson to winston churchill because boris johnson johnson to winston churchill because borisjohnson wrote the biography of winston churchill singh was a good wartime leader but not during a time of peace. 54 but not during a time of peace. 5a letters like this have to come in, including his. ithink the trickling in from the reports that we can gather. if he has a no—confidence vote, he would have died 50% of support from his party could stay out of this for a year otherwise he would have to go. you have 30 attendees in downing street at
attendees in downing street at a party the night before a socially distanced funeral where 30 mourners were allowed to attend the royal funeral. the civil servants report next week, thank you very much indeed. britain's security service has issued a rare alert that an alleged chinese agent has infiltrated parliament. m15 has warned mps of a woman who's been working as an agent for the chinese state and trying to influence british politicians. the security service said that christine lee was engaged communist party. the home secretary priti patel said it was "deeply concerning", but that the uk had measures in place to identify such activities. here's our security correspondent, gordon corera. a figure at the heart of westminster, with access to politicians from all parties, even a prime minister. but today lawyer christine lee is accused of working secretly on behalf of the chinese state. in a highly unusual move, m15 today issued this alert
to parliamentarians. they were warned that miss lee had been working with an arm of the chinese communist party to covertly interfere in uk politics through establishing links with established and aspiring parliamentarians. the fact that this alert has become public today in the way in which it has, is really a very strong illustration of how our intelligence and security agencies have been working together to really spot and identify this type of activity, activity that could potentially do harm to our country and harm to our democracy. there was no one here today at christine lee's london office and she has not yet responded to the claims. the allegation is that she was funnelling money to politicians, claiming it came from within the uk, when in fact it came from china, all in order to secure influence for the chinese communist party. former labour frontbencher barry gardiner received more
than £a00,000 from her overfive years. in a statement today, he said he had been liasing with m15 and he stopped receiving funding for parliamentary researchers in 2020, although miss lee's son was working in mr gardiner�*s office until he resigned today. this is really serious. we won't play this down, we are not running scare stories, i am genuinely concerned and shocked that this has been allowed to happen. we need to understand why, we need to do something about it, but also we have to recognise that the chinese government poses a clear and present danger to us and stop messing around. today's alert came after what i'm told is a lengthy and serious investigation by m15 here, but christine lee is not being prosecuted. this isn't about spying on the traditional sense of stealing secrets, it's about influence and the judgment was that the best
way of disrupting her alleged activities was by issuing this very unusual warning. inside british intelligence, concerns about chinese influence have been growing in recent years. today is a sign that those fears could go right to the heart of westminster and we are told to expect more of these warnings in the future. gordon corera, bbc news. the usjustice department has charged the founder of a far right extremist group with conspiring to commit sedition over the deadly attack on congress last year. earlier the fbi raided the homes connected with the texas chapter of the 0ath keepers militia group, making a number of arrests. in thier charging document, the doj alleged that in their charging document, the doj alleged that 11 memberfo thr group conspired to forcefully stop the peaceful transfer of power, to the democratically elected president biden. this including the stocking of firearms with so called �*quick reaction forces' just outside the dc limits on the day. with members of one chapter holding training for �*unconventional warfare' in the run up to january 6th.
according the prosecutors 0athkeeper founder — elmer stewart rhodes iii — told followers in december that if biden came to power "we will have to do a bloody, massive, bloody revolution against them. that's what going to have to happen". he's previously said members who entered the capitol onjanuary 6th were �*off mission'. john farmer is the former attorney general of newjersey and served as general counsel to the 9/11 commission these are serious charges in 20 years, is this the end of it or more to come, do you think, john? it more to come, do you think, john? , .,, more to come, do you think, john? , , , more to come, do you think, john? , , i, john? it is most properly seen as a step _ john? it is most properly seen as a step in — john? it is most properly seen as a step in the _ john? it is most properly seen as a step in the process. - john? it is most properly seen as a step in the process. it's l as a step in the process. it's been very deliberative in terms of filming these cases and filming the simplest charges of trespassing, assaulting an officer and build out to this point where they could actually charge conspiracy which is a difficult charge to prove.
that's the reason why he starts singing the simple moving to the complex. they will try to see if this case can go even further into different areas with different people involved, but right now, it's very tightly charge conspiracy against the leaders of the oath keepers. i against the leaders of the oath kee ers. ~ �* , against the leaders of the oath kee ers. ~' �* , ., keepers. i think i've been to some of— keepers. i think i've been to some of these _ keepers. i think i've been to some of these oath - keepers. i think i've been to some of these oath keepersj some of these oath keepers rallies and know the group reasonably well. explain who they are, who they're targeting and what is the membership made up and what is the membership made up of. and what is the membership made u- of. and what is the membership made uof. ~ , , up of. the oath keepers refounded _ up of. the oath keepers refounded over - up of. the oath keepers refounded over a - up of. the oath keepers| refounded over a decade up of. the oath keepers - refounded over a decade ago and they are people who believe in they are people who believe in the deep state conspiracy that there is a cabal of elitists in washington who have power around the country were determined to take away americans individual rights and the target mostly retired military and law enforcement officers and basically the ideas if you take an oath to
defend the constitution, these folks are trained in military activity and their oath is to defend their own particular version of the constitution which sees the president as a usurper and that is so they justify the actions that they took to trade to prevent his taking office.— took to trade to prevent his takin: office. ~ ., ., taking office. when asked about this before. _ taking office. when asked about this before, the _ taking office. when asked about this before, the people - this before, the people actually entered the capital moment which he did not, had gone off mission were not acting on his orders. that is one defence, but if you look at previous cases that have been brought against malicious and groups like this in the past. they are difficult to convict in terms ofjury trials. for the reason be for that? i think it is a function _ the reason be for that? i think it is a function of— the reason be for that? i think it is a function of how - the reason be for that? i think it is a function of how divided l it is a function of how divided my country is right now. we require that a jury representative of the section of the public and we have a representative cross—section of the public, it's very important
in this case because you very well may end up with people sympathetic to their argument that they thought they were obeying a direct order from the commander—in—chief and honouring their oath to defend the constitution as they see it. so, it is a very complex case to try to win and the indictment is so specific an outline submit specific communities and it's trying to dispel the notion that's out there among certain circles that this was simply a band of merry pranksters and they were a simple group of people were just protesting without any kind of ulterior motives when in fact, the indictment, assuming they can prove these communications existed, serves a much more nefarious purpose. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: back from the brink — cirque du soleil return to london after a coronavirus imposed break to celebrate
their 25th anniversary. day one of operation desert storm to force the iraqis out of kuwait has seen the most intense air attacks since the second world war. tobacco is america's oldest industry, and it's one of its biggest. but the industry is nervous of this report — this may tend to make people want to stop smoking cigarettes. there is not a street that is unaffected. huge parts of kobe were simply demolished as buildings crashed into one another. this woman said she'd been given no help and no advice by the authorities. she stood outside the ruins of her business. tens of thousands of black. children in south africa have taken advantage of laws passed by the country's new— multiracial government - and enrolled at formerly—white schools. tonight sees the 9610th performance of the long—running play, the mousetrap. when they heard of her death today, the management considered whether to cancel tonight's performance,
but agatha christie would've been the last person to want such a thing. this is bbc news, the latest headlines. buckingham palace says prince andrew has returned his military honours and royal patronages to the queen. and, he will no longer use the title his royal highness. to australia now, where the sensational row over novak djokovic's arrival ahead of the australian open has still not been resolved. of the australian open has the tennis world number one was granted a medical exemption to play, despite being unvaccinated, and has been included in the draw for the tournament which gets underway on monday. australian immigration minister, alex hawke, still holds ministerial powers to cancel the player's visa but is yet to finalise his decision, leaving a cloud of uncertainty around the saga. tracey holmes is the host
of �*the ticket�* podcast which offers in—depth analysis of the major issues in sports business, politics and governance, she joins me live now from sydney. this is all still pretty complicated, isn�*t it? where are we at the moment with novak djokovic and where are we with the decision? indie djokovic and where are we with the decision?— the decision? we are in a holding — the decision? we are in a holding pattern _ the decision? we are in a holding pattern and - the decision? we are in a - holding pattern and everyone from novak djokovic to the other players, to the media watching on and the huge international interest that we have seen, there�*ve been a couple more developments and some that i can confirm with you which i do not think anyone else yet has but two other players who came into australia on the same visa and documents as novak djokovic actually flew out of australia when they saw what was happening to novak djokovic and the other player who was detained and being deported. that means, therefore
people who have now left australia in two other players whose identities are being kept quiet because of their medical records and the official who was also deported and sent home from australia. there are questions there about a shifting policy when they arrived and when novak djokovic arrived and when novak djokovic arrived or shift in the prosecution of the policy whether australian border force field to pick up for other people who were then circulating in and around the melbourne open and head of novak djokovic�*s arrival. so novak d'okovic's arrival. so much novak djokovic's arrival. so much as — novak djokovic's arrival. so much as been said about alex that he could issue this denial of the visa at his own discretion. what is his own discretion. what is his own discretion. it is based on? it is written into the immigration act and it�*s to protect the health and the safety of the
australian community. so, it would be on that sort of basis that everyone would be deemed to be someone in the community that makes us unsafe or impacts the health of the community in which he circulating in. so, a lot of this was written way back as 1958, when it was first put together and it has been to overtime. to the ear of terrorism to ensure that people of not good character can be expeued of not good character can be expelled at their discretion. many people questioned whether that would fit into that part but this is what the minister and his colleagues have been looking at for the past four daysin looking at for the past four days in order to determine whether or not know that djokovic fits into the specific area of the law. with its high flying acrobats and circus contortionsists, cirque de soleil leaves audiences around the world in awe. but the pandemic very nearly bankrupted the group. well the performers are back with a new show —
and bhavani vadde�*s been taking a look. their future was up in the air, but now a comeback, and final rehearsals for the premier of luzia, a show promising a visual extravaganza set in an imaginary mexico. a glimpse behind—the—scenes shows us what it takes to be part of this troupe, something helena always dreamt of. i started when i was five years old. really, i think all of that adds up to now as well, and to maintain the show and run the show at least a few hours a day coming up to the premiere and getting everybody coming up to the premiere and getting everybody back together and retrained, we are working all day, yeah, six days a week. the latest show takes water and light as inspiration, with tapeze artists twirling through pouring showers. contortionists twisting themselves into unimaginable positions. as well as plenty of other acrobatic stunts and surprises. we up the ante every time
we come back with more spectacular, original acrobatics, more special effects, a whole different concept, a whole different story, new costumes. and really they can expect to be moved off their seats. this year, cirque de soleil celebrate 25 years of performing at the royal albert hall, and it coincides with the venue�*s 150th anniversary celebration. it is really special to be here in the royal albert hall. for many of us it is the highlight of our career. i think it is something that a lot of us will look back on, and it is going to be that really special moment and one of the few we will have and really remember as the biggest. the company opened to a royal gala last time they were at the royal albert hall, but then coronavirus hit, which led to shows around the world being cancelled, 95% of staff being laid off and near bankruptcy for the company. we actually did a run
through for the first time yesterday and we all wept a little bit. i don't think you expect how much it did hurt, how much it hurt... you come back to work, it's another day on the job, but to see the show come back to life, all of us come back to life after two years was quite an emotional moment for all of us. the global circus brand is hoping it to return to the capital is a bright light during a challenging time for theatres. another big snowstorm is heading for the us east coast this weekend — which means a chance for people to build more snowmen — but what about creating something different? this family in iowa tried their hand at a snow lighthouse. it even has a spiral staircase and an observation deck! the parents are architects and make something fun
with their kids every year— this was their biggest project yet you can reach me on twitter — i�*m @ bbc tim willcox for some of us it�*s going to be a very foggy start to friday, if you�*re planning to travel through the morning, take it steady particularly across parts of wales, central and southern england. but for most of us, it should be a sunny start to the day. brought by this area of high pressure which is been hanging around for quite a while. windless conditions too but quite a contrast for the uk and in fact, the breeze is just about coming off the atlantic, across scotland so frost free here and frost free generally for northern ireland too. the frost will be across southern half of england and wales and minus four degrees in a few spots here, it�*s also where the fog is going to be forming in the centre of this high
pressure here and some of that fog will linger into the afternoon but as i say for most of us, it is a sunny day. the problem of the high pressure and the windless conditions in london in the southeast will be the pollution. it sometimes happens when you get these very stable conditions with the light winds and the pollutants get trapped in the atmosphere. but for friday, be for london in the southeast. it is a bright day for many of us of us of fresh air and temperatures around five or seven degrees. more of fresh air and temperatures around five or 7 degrees. more of a breeze on saturday which means that some of these pollutants will be blown away, so not quite so bad in the sight of these. and the weather most of the we are going to start off on a foggy note once again and particularly across central and southern parts of england and wales. more of a south—westerly breeze here i think in scotland and northern ireland, so a bit more cloud here and in fact, there�*s a weather front approaching in a bit of a nuance in a weather
heading for the north of the country and a week whether front which will bring some spots of rain into sunday for scotland and then eventually some spots of rain on sunday morning in the north of england as this weather front topples around this area of high—pressure that we have in the south. temperatures of ten degrees in london, for some it will be around eight or so. let us summarise all of that. watch out for the fog and on friday morning, quite nasty in places but then after that, the weather isn�*t looking too bad at all. very stable, weather to come in the coming days.
this is bbc news. the headlines: britain�*s prince andrew has returned his military honours and royal patronages. and will no longer use the title his royal highness. it follows the news on wedneday that the prince must defend an accusation of sexually assaulting virginia guiffre in a us civil court case. he denies the allegation. there�*s been more allegations of parties held at the uk prime minister�*s residence — downing street — that would have breached coronavirus rules. the events reportedly took place last april — the night before prince philip�*s funeral. borisjohnson was away at the time. for the first time — the usjustice department has brought sedition charges in connection with the storming of the capitol building in washongton last january. the founder of a far—right group — the 0ath keepers — has been charged along with ten others.