welcome to bbc news. i'm james reynolds. our top stories: saved from serving time: president trump commutes ao—month prison sentence of his longtime ally roger stone. another record jump in coronavirus cases in the united states. we report from arizona, where infections are surging and doctors have to make tough decisions. you have to pick and choose who gets that life—saving intervention, that is a horrible situation to be in, i have never had to be in that situation. turkey's president signs a decree converting one of the world's most iconic buildings, istanbul's hagia sophia, back into a mosque. amazon says an email asking employees to remove tiktok from their mobile devices was sent in error. and, on the 80th anniversary of the start of the battle of britain, the schoolgirl who helped the raf beat the luftwaffe.
hello. president trump has commuted the prison sentence for his friend and advisor roger stone. mr stone had been due to start a three year and four month prison sentence for lying under oath during the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 us election. the white house said mr stone would have been at serious risk of covid—19 in prison. our north america correspondent david willis has the latest. well, roger stone, james, is a political operative, someone who has almost rejoiced in the reputation as a dirty trickster. now, he hinted during the 2016 presidential election campaign that he was in touch —
through an intermediary — with the wikileaks founderjulian assange, and boasted that he was knowledgeable about the release to wikileaks of thousands of e—mails hacked from the server of the democratic national committee. he was sentenced to more than three years in jail and been due to report to prison in georgia before next tuesday. well, now, he won't be going to jail at all — his longtime friend president trump has intervened, as indeed he had promised to do, or certainly hinted at doing for many weeks. roger stone himself has issued a very brief — a statement, saying that he welcomed the news and was very grateful. the white house, for its part, has said that this was an overzealous prosecution, and that the prosecutors in the case had been pursuing a case that "should never have existed".
i i think one can trace this back, james, to the antipathy that president trump has displayed to special counsel robert miller's —— mueller‘s investigations into allegations of interference with russia before the 2016 election. the president has consistently called that whole enquiry a hoax and sought to clear the name of the people who were surrounding him and were subsequently convicted because of that enquiry. that includes roger stone, former national security adviser michael flynn, and paul manafort, who is currently serving time in prison. this is very much a sign of donald trump essentially basically looking to erase the memory if you like of that whole mueller investigation. is the president's power to commute absolute? well it is.
it is in the sense that he can now effectively clear the record insofar as roger stone, he won't be going to prison. this president has indicated he is quite happy to commute sentences, he did so with the former illinois governor earlier in the year, ditto the former new york police chief, so president trump is not a man who is afraid to use those powers, and he has done so again with his longtime friend roger stone here. david willis, there. leading democrats have condemned the white house's announcement. senator elizabeth warren said it showed donald trump was the most corrupt president in history. the chair of the house intelligence committee, congressman adam schiff, said there were now two americanjustice systems — one for mr trump's criminal friends and one for everyone else. the us is seeing a record number of new coronavirus cases this week, with more than 63,000 infections recorded
on thursday alone. this comes two months after some states began reopening their economies, without having met the federal guidelines on how to do so safely. in the sun belt, in arizona, new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are soaring, as sophie long reports. dance music plays. when the governor of arizona lifted the state's stay—at—home order, people partied, pre—pandemic style. it was a joke to us. we were just like, "yeah, covid's fake news." days later, many woke up to what will probably be the worst hangover of their lives. never imagined in my life i'd be in a hospital, you know, on a breathing, oxygen tube. and i felt like i was going to die. the bars and nightclubs have now been shut down again. the pumping music replaced by an eerie silence. but the damage has been done. at the beginning of the pandemic, some hoped the summer heat might
help slow the infection rate. well, if you want proof that that is not happening, it's here. it's currently around 44 celsius in phoenix. the temperature is rising, and so are the number of confirmed covid cases — at an alarming rate. arizona is now the coronavirus hot spot, not just for the united states, but the world. and yet people here are still queueing many hours for tests and waiting many days for the results. they're getting results back in eight days. well, eight days, that's not actionable information. you can't use that information any more. if the person was infected with covid—19, you've missed your opportunity to intervene and get them into isolation, so they don't infect their family members and co—workers. those who have lost loved ones in this sudden surge find ways to express their grief and their anger. sighs. i don't want my father to just be another number. the reason why people are getting sick and numbers
are skyrocketing here, and we are number one not only in the entire country, but the entire world, is not because of lack of individual responsibility. it's because of lack of leadership. and it's the tired hearts of medical staff that are breaking, as they're forced to make decisions they hoped they never would. sometimes you just have to go into crisis mode, and what that means is basically having to triage, like in a military setting, having to triage who gets to get that resource and who doesn't. but if you have very limited resources and you know a bunch of sick patients need it, you have to pick and choose who gets that life—saving intervention. that's a horrible situation to be in. i've never had to be in that situation. some hospitals here are now preparing to operate at up to 150% capacity — an indication that arizona is expected to continue to be the epicentre of this explosion of new cases, and the impact on people across the state could get even worse. sophie long, bbc news,
phoenix, arizona. let's get some of the day's other main developments. the number of people killed by the coronavirus in brazil has now passed 70,000. official figures show that 1,200 people with covid—19 died over the past 2a hours. health experts say there's no indication that the spread of the virus is slowing down. hong kong's bureau of education has announced that all schools will be closed from monday because of a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus cases. the city reported 42 new cases on thursday, of which 3a were locally transmitted, marking the second consecutive day of rising local infections. reports from china say at least 144 people have died or are missing, following days of intense flooding. four cities along china's yangtze river have declared severe flood warnings. nearly 300,000 people have fled their homes, as houses have been destroyed, roads blocked and many left stranded without food or electricity. tropical storm fay has made landfall in newjersey.
it forced the closure of a number of beaches while roads were flooded in ocean city. heavy rain also fell in new york city as the storm moved north. president trump was forced to postpone an election rally, which had been due to take place in new hampshire. the united nations and the european union have criticised a decision by turkey to turn one of the world's most famous buildings, the hagia sophia or ayasofya, back into a mosque. the world heritage site was originally built in the 6th century as a byzantine christian cathedral. the ottoman empire then converted it into a mosque in the 15th century. it then became a museum in the early 20th century. from istanbul, 0rla guerin reports. change is coming to hagia sophia — jewel of the byzantine empire. a great monument to christianity conquered by the ottomans, later a museum bearing testimony to layers of history.
speaking turkish. but president erdogan, who presents himself as a modern—day conqueror, has announced a new chapter. "anyone who doesn't like it," he says — and plenty abroad don't — "is attacking turkey's sovereignty." under its soaring golden dome, hagia sophia will now become a mosque, as in 0ttoman days. but turkey says christian emblems, like mosaics of the virgin mary, will remain, and everyone will be welcome. making changes here is profoundly symbolic. it was kemal ataturk, founder of modern turkey, who decreed that hagia sophia should be a museum. now president erdogan is taking one more step to dismantle ataturk‘s secular legacy and remold turkey according to his vision.
and that's a vision that alarms the turkish nobel laureate 0rhan pamuk, who has gazed lovingly at hagia sophia from his balcony for the past 25 years. turks are proud to be a secular muslim nation. now, converting hagia sophia into a mosque will take away that pride from the nation. there are millions of secular turks like me who are crying against this, but their voices are not heard because we don't have enough free speech and democracy in turkey, unfortunately, any more. back at hagia sophia, british tourists visiting today were unconcerned by the change. that's just part of the history of turkey, and it's up to the turkish government, i think. i'd visit it whether it's a mosque 01’ a museum. it doesn't bother me. and you think it's for the turks to decide? absolutely, absolutely. reclaiming hagia sophia plays well with the turkish leader's base, and distracts
from the economic damage done by covid—19. but many in the international community say it belongs to humanity, and should have been left unchanged. 0rla guerin, bbc news, istanbul. the online retailer amazon says an email sent to its employees asking them to remove tiktok from their mobile devices was sent in error. an internal memo sent to staff earlier on friday had said that employees should delete the video—sharing app over what it called security risks. the app is owned by a chinese company and has come under scrutiny because of its security. justin sherman, a cybersecurity expert at the atlantic council's cyber statecraft initiative, says that there is a serious risk that tiktok could share user data with the chinese government. of course there is a risk. tiktok is a wildly popular app in the us, it is, as you said, owned by bytedance which is a chinese company. it is no secret that every country in the world spies and many
countries will tap internet and technology firms within their borders to do so. and so really the question with tiktok is how likely is it that the chinese government might be doing this and what cases might they be doing this? and then, on the policy end, what is the appropriate response that a government like that in the us can take to deal with it. is tiktok more risky for a user than other apps made by western companies such as facebook? well, so, tiktok is not too different in many other apps in that they collect far more than what you would might expect on the application. so certainly, tiktok is collecting comments users post to videos they view but it is also collecting things like your contacts potentially or internet search history. maybe even what you had last in your clipboard, so what you are copying and pasting. this goes far beyond
what most users might suspect but there are a lot of other apps that do this. and so if we are just talking about the scope and the depth of the data that this app mines from users, it is really a systemic issue in the us with a lack of limits on what private companies can collect. we are in really new territory here, seeing powerful chinese firms, the one which owns tiktok and also huawei, now in conflict with western countries. what are we learning through this conflict? we are learning a couple of things. 0ne, we are seeing that many different countries all around the world, whether it is japan, or south korea, or india, or the us, are dealing with the same questions. when you have a global supply chain that is so interdependent and so interconnected, it is difficult sometimes to know what the right thing to do is when there are security risks. the other main lesson we have taken away from this is that even though there are real security concerns, potentially with tiktok and certainly
with the chinese telecom huawei, with the current us administration, these decisions are driven more by politics and looking tough with china rather than by security risks that may be in play. this is bbc news. the headlines: president trump commutes the ao—month prison sentence of his longtime ally roger stone. the us has recorded another record jump in coronavirus cases with more than 65,000 confirmed in a single day. let's get more on that story. saskia popescu is a hospital epidemiologist. she also serves on a coronavirus task force. how did the situation in arizona get so bad? we really reopened so quickly and so early. unfortunately arizona was one of the last states to do closing measures and one of the first reopened,
and unfortunately now what we are seeing is hospital that 90% capacity, one out of every five patients hospitalised has coronavirus positive, and resulting in hospitalisation, but also today actually the city morgue reported they are 97% full, so so much of this is premature opening, rapid reopening and people rushing out to go to bars and restaurants — you have seen some of those videos. a lot of the messaging coming from leadership both national and state is that we were passed coronavirus, and state is that we were past coronavirus, and that really gives people not a lot of motivation really to maintain infection control measures. from what i have red about restrictions or lack of restrictions in arizona, restaurants and casinos have remained open. was there any scientific logic for giving some businesses open and others closed? i can't speak to the casinos because that didn't really make a lot of sense from
an epidemiological perspective. bars are high risk, so closing those was important and as of yesterday the governor did close restaurants to 50% capacity, which is helpful but he also suggested people eat outside when it is supposed to hit 120 degrees outside this weekend, which is difficult. gyms are a concern but there are also concerns about mega churches, so i am hoping he will move in that direction as well or look at stay—at—home orders in the next couple of weeks. what about testing and contact tracing? how is that going? i know that we are really struggling right now with keeping up with the demand, because people are going out to get tested but unfortunately we are not seeing that they can get tested if they are not symptomatic or not involved in an exposure. so the goal is to expand that, and i know the governor is working towards that because we want people to get tested if they want to be, but there is also a backlog which means some people are waiting four to eight days for the testing, and on top
of that we can only start contact tracing when the test comes back. right now i know they are working to train contact traitors, but that can take a couple of weeks, so there is a delay. you mention hospital capacity. can you tell us more? right now they are showing 80—90% capacity, so they are full except for about 10%. there is not a lot of wiggle room, which means thre are only about icu beds in the state, which means we are struggling, we are redlining, a lot of hospitals are surging and having to do prices get rich as you heard in that previous video means triaging. a lot of hospitals are looking at: how do we extend the volume of beds we have? butjust because you have beds doesn't mean you have workers to staff them. we need workers and physicians and that is a problem right now because nurses and physicians are part of the community and the community is where we are seeing cases. as they get sick out in the community, how do
we staff these hospitals with the growing capacity? ghislaine maxwell, the former girlfriend of the convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein, has strongly denied charges that she helped him sexually exploit girls as young as 1a — and even participated in the abuse. her lawyers have requested her release from a us prison on $5 million bail. 0ur correspondent nada tawfik has more. this court filing by ghislaine maxwell's attorney comes ahead of a court hearing planned for tuesday where a federaljudge will decide if she can be released from prison pending trial. this is really an argument against the government's position that she's a flight risk. they say she is not a flight risk, that she hasn't left the united states in the past year and in fact, afterjeffrey epstein‘s arrest, she had actually reached out to prosecutors through her counsel. she said instead she should be released on bail with a bond of $5 million, that she would surrender her travel documents and not leave
the new york area. and that she would also agree to home confinement with electronic gps monitoring. we know prosecutors are going to be arguing strongly that she should remain in custody given the horrendous crimes she faces and the lengthy amount of prison time if convicted, along with the three passports she has and her wealth. another interesting part of this court filing was that it really gave an insight into the defence's strategy. what they said was that maxwell has been wrongfully substituted for the deceased — epstein. they say she is not jeffrey epstein and in fact she hadn't been in touch with him for more than a decade before his death. let's go back to our top story. president trump has commuted the sentence of his ally, roger stone. stone had been accused of lying to congress during an
investigation into russian interference. he has addressed the media. this is what he is going to say. i'm going to do three things. i'm going to write a book, another book, about this experience, because people need to understand the extraordinary abuses with no adjuster shall system. i am going to help general flynn get exoneration, because the refusal of thejudge in his case to dismiss his case and try to drag it through the summer try to drag it through the summer is outrageous. and i'm going to do everything i possibly can on an independent basis to get the president re—elected, which i think is crucial. venice has been carrying out the first full test of its multi—billion dollar flood defence system. the project is made up of 78 mobile barriers, which can be raised in the lagoon to stop tidal surges from the adriatic sea. the system won't come into full operation for at least another year and a half. hundreds of people have gathered to pay their respects
at the funeral of dame vera lynn, who died last month at the age of 103. the singer's cortege was accompanied by a battle of britain flypast as it travelled through her home village in east sussex. representatives from the royal british legion stood with flags as they waited to honour dame vera. there was also a private service at the crematorium chapel which included music from the royal marines. staying with the battle of britain, it's emerged that a schoolgirl from london had a hand in the raf‘s victory in that aerial fight. she helped to improve the firepower of the airforce's new fighters, the spitfire and the hurricane, which were key to defeating the german luftwaffe. sophie raworth explains. july, 1940, and nazi germany is beginning the first
of many bombing raids in what became known as the battle of britain. but the raf‘s pilots managed to fight off the luftwaffe and defend these shores in their spitfires and hurricanes. it is the most famous plane from world war ii. it played a crucial role in the battle of britain. but what we didn't know until now was the role that a 13—year—old girl played in its design. this new generation of fighter plane had originally been designed with just four machine—guns. but this man, captain fred hill, a scientific officer in the air ministry, became convinced that four guns would not be enough. each plane needed eight. he faced stiff opposition. most thought eight guns would be too many, impossible to fit on the planes, but captain hill was convinced he was right, so he turned to an unlikely person for help — his 13—year—old
daughter, hazel, a talented mathematician. together, around their kitchen table, they worked through the night on complex calculations to prove that eight guns firing at least 1000 rounds a minute was essential for success. they talk about burning the midnight oil and coming into the office late after everybody‘s gone, to carry out further calculations and borrow some bits of equipment to carry out experiments, more or less off their own bat, working very long hours because they were really dedicated to these things. and of course, people taking their work home. hazel told her sons about her role when they were growing up. amazing that history hangs on so fine a thread. you know, if she got the calculations wrong or if she hadn't been asked to help, and the decision had not been made to go with eight guns, who knows what could have happened. this graph, presented to the air ministry in 1934, was the result of hazel‘s calculations. with eight guns firing, the fighters typically had just two seconds to hit their target
before pulling away. they had to get incredibly close to the enemy planes, just 250 yards away, to stand a chance of shooting them down. hazel‘s calculations meant the government changed its mind. the battle of britain proved to be a turning point in the war. it was the bravery and success of the pilots that made victory possible, but without the support of many others, the battle may not have been won. what a great inspiration for young people today, young girls in particular, that can look upon someone like hazel in the early 1930s making such an important contribution to our later success in the battle of britain, which was vital to this country's survival. 80 years after the battle of britain, hazel hill is finally getting the public recognition she deserved. sophie raworth, bbc news. you can read more on our website. if you want to let me
know what you are up to, i am on twitter. i'm @jamesbbcnews. hello. if you were hoping to stay dry during friday, in many parts of the uk, the weather had a different idea. there were some heavy downpours to be dodged, and actually, over the last few days, you can see on the satellite picture all these different clumps of cloud that have worked through, bringing outbreaks of rain. but now, a gap appearing between the clouds. an area of high pressure building its way just in time for the weekend. that means it is looking dry for the vast majority. there will be some areas of patchy cloud with one or two showers, but most places will be fine with some spells of sunshine. saturday morning getting off to a rather chilly start. some spots down in single digits, but through the day, we're looking at long
spells of sunshine. i think we'll see a bit of patchy cloud tending to bubble up as the day wears on. look closely, there may be one or two showers in northwest england, northern ireland and scotland. even in these areas, the majority will stay dry. a noticeable west or northwesterly breeze. temperatures just a touch below par for this time of year, but in the sunshine, it won't feel too bad, 17—21 celsius. a bit of rain will skip across 0rkney and shetland during saturday night. otherwise, it's dry with clear spells into the early hours of sunday. another rather cool start on sunday morning, but with our area of high pressure still in charge sunday, it going to be another dry day for most. the high pressure centre down to the south, where we'll have the best of the sunshine. more cloud further north, and behind me, you can see this frontal system. that will introduce something of a change very late in the day to northern ireland and western scotland. some splashes of rain getting in here by the very end of the afternoon, but for most, it stays dry.
it's a warmer day on sunday as well. 19 degrees for glasgow, 23, maybe 24 down towards the south and the southeast of england. 0ur area of high pressure tries to hold on into monday, but i think this frontal system will make some progress southeastwards, bringing some splashes of rain on and off, the rain quite showery, quite sporadic in nature. there will be some dry spells as well. towards the southeast of england, it should stay dry for a good part of the day. still warmer here, but slightly cooler and fresher further north and west. through the week ahead, there is going to be a lot of dry weather. there'll be some spells of sunshine, the warmest weather down towards the south. some rain at times, most of that towards the north and the west.
this is bbc news. the headlines: president trump has commuted the prison sentence of his longtime ally roger stone. mr stone was convicted of lying to congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the house investigation into whether the trump campaign conspired with russia in the 2016 election. the world health organisation has reported a record daily total of global coronavirus infections — nowhere has been hit harder than america. the country's top health official says some states should delay ending their lockdowns. as face coverings become mandatory in shops in scotland, borisjohnson hints that england could face similar measures. at the moment they're only mandatory on public transport, but the british prime minister says the scientific advice on masks has shifted.