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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 16, 2020 5:00am-5:31am BST

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this is bbc news. i'm aaron safir with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. protests on the streets of belarus for a seventh day as pressure continues to grow on president lukashenko. president trump claims plans for universal mail—in voting proposed for november's election will be catastrophic. a prominent women's rights advocate in afghanistan has been wounded in a gun attack. the taliban denies responsibility. south africa announces a major easing of lockdown restrictions. people will be able to buy alcohol and tobacco.
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hello and welcome to audiences in the uk and around the world. we're covering all the latest coronavirus developments here in britain and globally. we begin in belarus, which has seen the seventh—straight day of protests against president alexander lu kashenko, since he claimed victory in a disputed election last weekend. demonstrations have continued to grow despite accounts of police brutality, including torture from protesters who've been detained over the past week. us secretary of state, mike pompeo, on a visit to poland, said washington and its eu partners are closely following developments. and the eu has already acted, taking the first steps on friday towards imposing sanctions on senior officials in the belarus government. meanwhile, president lukashenko says he's worried about nato military exercises being carried out in poland and lithuania, saying there's been a military build—up. and after speaking with his ally, president putin,
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mr lukashenko said russia would provide "comprehensive assistance" in the event of an external military threat. well, saturday's protests in the capital, minsk, were focused around the spots where a young artist taking part in a demonstration died on monday during clashes with police. the bbc‘s abdujalil abdurasulov sent this report from there. fear has been replaced by anger. thousands of people in belarus continue coming out onto the street to voice their protest against president lukashenko. people are gathering at the sideway. alexander taraikovsky, one of the protesters who died during the violence here in minsk. they are chanting, "we will never forget, we will never forgive." such kind of scenes were unimaginable in belarus just a week ago. we are sure everything will change. we believe in our victory.
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that's why we will come in the street every day, every single day. i was calling my parents to tell them, "you should go to the city centre, where the girls are out there with the flowers, because you can breathe the freedom for the first time in almost all of your life." hundreds of people gathered to attend the funeral of alexander taraikovsky. people sang the opposition anthem and bade farewell to the man who has turned into a symbol of change in belarus. president lukashenko has never faced such a challenge in his 26 years of being in power. today, he spoke to russia's president, vladimir putin. both sides expressed confidence that this situation will be soon resolved. translation: there is a need to contact putin so i can talk to him now.
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because it is notjust a threat to belarus anymore. there are a lot of clever russians there. they start to chant against belarus. i would like to say that defending belarus today is nothing less than defending our entire space. the union state of belarus and russia. an example for others. if belarusians cannot stand, the wave will flow there. observers say that russia's support will be key for mr lukashenko to hold on to power. but this crowd may be a sign that he has reached the point of no return. abdujalil abdurasulov, bbc news, minsk. lets bbc news, minsk. hear more about that competitive lets hear more about that competitive assistance promised to belarus. heather conley, from the center for strategic and international studies, explained what could be. we are not entirely sure what that means. it appears that president lukashenko is now trying
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to create the image that nato is moving closer to belarusian border, they have reported that they are moving an airborne brigade to the lithuania poland border, and so perhaps president lukashenko is creating a military issue that he will ask president putin to help send russian forces into belarus. that could be one possible angle. but it is very clear that vladimir putin will exact a very high price of president lukashenko for any assistance that russia provides to him. we also have other neighbours of belarus, the baltic neighbours, poland, and of course the united states and other eu countries taking a position on this. what kind of influence can they exert over the situation? we certainly have seen where lithuania is taking a leadership role both within the european union,
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their foreign minister has been very strident in an interview that the european union must do more, and the baltic states and poland have also offered mediation assistance to try to give president lukashenko a diplomatic way out of this situation. he has turned that down. so it is very good that secretary pompeo is in the region. it's a timely moment. we really need strong transatlantic cooperation because if russia begins to take advantage and move into belarus, that certainly affects nato's position. we often hear president lu kashenko referred to as europe's ‘last dictator'. it is not quite as simple as him always having an antagonistic relationship with his european neighbours. there have been times when he has moved towards them and away from russia. where exactly does belarus sit in these kind of big power plays? you are absolutely right. for 26 years, lukashenko has done what some analysts
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have called "doing a pirouette." he spins between the west, the eu and the united states. when russia exerts pressure on belarus he turns to the west. when the west tries to push lu kashenko and bela rusian society more towards democratic norms, he then moves towards russia. he has been able to keep this balancing act going for so long, but it has now come to an end. belarusian society has clearly said that he must leave and that they are demanding free and fair elections. and for president lukashenko to remain in power, he will need assistance from russia. and that is where the balancing act has now come to an end. if in fact russia comes in very heavily to support president lukashenko. just coming back to the protests, we heard some of the ambitions of the people out on the streets. but as you mentioned, he has been a power for 26 years. this is hardly the first election about which there have been question marks.
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why now, why are people turning out in such numbers now do you think? yeah, i think what has happened is the belarusian people have now understood that their very future hangs in the balance. we hear comments that as young people increasingly leave belarus, that there is no hope, that there's no future. and i think after these violent and brutal demonstrations by the belarusian security police against their children, young people, they have nowjust had enough. and they are standing in such solidarity, these are individuals that have supported the lukashenko regime for two—plus decades. they are now taking a stand, the state workers, the tractor workers, even fairly apolitical citizens are now coming out and demonstrating. so something has fundamentally changed, we just don't know where this is going to go. because if lukashenko, again,
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sends his security forces to brutally crack down on the protesters, that will further inflame the situation. so his options are now beginning to look much more difficult, which is why he phoned president putin, he needs support. the question is — will there be more brutality to these peaceful demonstrations? tomorrow's march of freedom will be the largest demonstration across belarus for the free and fair elections and for lukashenko to leave. we need to watch very closely how he will react in the following days. let's turn to the united states. president trump has warned that despite the coronavirus pandemic, the country is not ready for a postal ballot in the november elections. he's said that universal mail—in voting would be catastrophic and make the nation a laughing stock around the world. the ongoing row over mail—in voting has sparked protests outside the home
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of the postmaster general, who is a trump loyalist and major republican party donor. president trump is opposed to more funding for the postal service, even though the organisation has warned that millions of mail—in votes may not arrive in time to be counted on election day. for more, we've been hearing from amy gardner, national political reporter at the washington post. mail balloting is common in many states in the united states. it is much less common in many other states. and when the pandemic settled in to all of us around the world, and we had this incredibly momentous election that we were facing in november in the united states, state election officials and local election officials across the country started to plan for the reality that many voters would not feel comfortable voting in person. and so many states, virtually every state, has taken steps to make mail balloting easier. to make it allowable in the states where it wasn't. some states require you to have a reason to vote
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absentee, for instance, you're out of town or overseas or ill. many states have changed those rules. and so, currently, the vast majority of americans say they are planning to vote by mail — over 50%. at the same time, president trump has been criticising mail balloting. he has said that he thinks that it leads to fraud, that foreign actors could come in and steal ballots and mail them in, and duplicate them. there's no evidence for this. and there has not been any documentation of the kind of widespread fraud in mail balloting in the united states that he describes. he has also said that mail balloting will harm republican chances at the polls. so, he is admitting that there is a political motive for him to oppose mail balloting. and then, when we had this sort of funding crisis of the postal service that erupted this week, on the news and in the headlines, he actually stated that he was going to oppose the funding that congressional leaders
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are requesting, democrats on capitol hill, because he does not want mail balloting to be expanded in the united states. the white house has announced that president trump's younger brother, robert, has died in hospital in new york. robert trump was 71 and had reportedly suffered bleeding on the brain after a recent fall. in a statement, president trump said: "he was notjust my brother, he was my best friend" and "his memory will live on in my heart forever." mr trump had visited him in hospital on friday. to afghanistan now. a high—profile member of the afghan team that's due to hold peace talks with the taliban was wounded in a gun attack near kabul. fawzia koofi is a leading women's rights campaigner and a former member of parliament. the taliban denied they were involved in the attack. alanna petroff has the latest. fawzia koofi has now survived
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two assassination attempts. the trailblazer rose to prominence as a politician after the us—led invasion of afghanistan in 2001, the year the taliban was ousted from power. she served as deputy speaker of afg hanistan‘s parliament. she campaigns for women's rights in a nation considered to be one of the hardest places in the world to be female. she is part of the negotiation team for afg hanistan‘s peace talks with the taliban, aimed at ending 19 years of conflict. her attackers shot her outside kabul. her official facebook account says her right arm was injured, but it's not life—threatening. herfriends spoke out on her behalf. the chief of afghanistan's independent human rights commission called for an investigation.
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she noted a worrying pattern of targeted attacks that can negatively impact confidence in the peace process with the taliban. the shootings come as afg hanistan‘s government has been releasing prisoners. some have been accused of connection to horrific attacks. release was a precondition of peace talks with the taliban. as the negotiation approaches, many have concerns about the protection of women's rights. during taliban rule, from 1996 to 2001, women were banned from education and leaving the house without a male relative. koofi doesn't want peace with the taliban to hurt women's standing in society. if they want to be part of the political structures of afg ha nista n, they have to adopt with the current situation. the upcoming talks have been a long time in the making. women are understandably wary, and this latest attack
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shows how high the stakes are. this is bbc news. our main story this hour: thousands of people have taken to the streets of the belarusian capital, minsk, to mark the death of a man on monday at a protest against president lukashenko's contested re—election. president trump has claimed plans for universal mail—in voting, proposed for november's election, will be catastrophic. south africa is to lift its ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco, which was introduced as part of its efforts to tackle coronavirus. president cyril ramaphosa's announced a major easing of its lockdown restrictions, saying it appeared the country had passed the peak of covid—19 infections. 0ur africa correspondent andrew harding reports. this is a big moment for south africa, as one of the world's longest, toughest lockdowns is significantly eased. guided by the advice
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of our health experts, the medical advisory committee, and after consultation with provincial and local government, cabinet has decided to place the entire country on alert level two, with effect from midnight on monday, the 17th of august 2020. praising his government's response to the pandemic, president ramaphosa spoke of a new phase and of signs of hope. and he has a point. the official death toll here is 11,000. but a quick, aggressive response has enabled most hospitals and provinces to contain an outbreak many feared would overwhelm the nation. the economic price has been devastating, though. president ramaphosa spoke of hardship and hunger for millions and warned it would take years to rebuild the economy. there are still big concerns about a second wave of infections, which, he warned, could be
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worse than the first. in order to keep the remaining restrictions in place and to maintain some of the essential elements of our health response, it is necessary that we extend the national state of disaster once again until the 15th of september 2020. but many south africans, still sporting face masks in public, will be relieved. the alcohol and tobacco industries, which had bitterly condemned a controversial ban on all sales, will now be anxious to make up for lost revenue. in brazil, some of rio de janeiro's most popular sites have reopened to the public. people gathered at the feet of the iconic christ the redeemer statue which has been closed for months during the pandemic. sugarloaf mountain also welcomed visitors once again with social distancing measures in place. despite the gradual reopening, experts warn brazil has yet to hit the peak of its health emergency. almost 42,000 cases were
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recorded on saturday alone. let's get some of the day's other news. the israeli military says it's carried out another wave of night—time strikes on hamas militant targets in gaza. the israeli army said the attacks had been launched in response to makeshift incendiary balloons flown into parts of southern israel. firefighters are still battling a massive fire in the lake hughes area as record high temperatures in california continue to fuel wildfires. hundreds of people across the state have been forced from their homes. a surge in household electricity consumption owing to the heat has led to localised power outages. a japanese—owned tanker that ran aground on a coral reef off the indian ocean island of mauritius has split apart, according to officials.
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the mv wakashio was carrying nearly 4000 tons of fuel when it ran aground on the 25th ofjuly, causing a huge oil spill. gail maclellan reports. already it has poisoned fish and birds in the water. thousands of tons of thick, black toxic licks that have spilt from the tanker mv wakashio into the sea and onto the beaches at mauritius. now a new leak threatens more damage to the environment and to the livelihoods that depend on it. as the shipwrecks in half. there is much anger. the government has been criticised for doing too little in the week that it ran aground. environment agencies demanded to know from the ship's owners why the vessel was allowed to come so why the vessel was allowed to come so close to the shore. the
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condition of the tanker is expected to deteriorate as the weather worsens with waves of up weather worsens with waves of up to 11.5 metres expected. in recent months, the coronavirus has devastated the tourism for which mauritius relies. the oil spill is a bitter blow which it is believed will affect the island's economy for years. now time for a look at the international sports news. hello here is the latest from the bbc sport centre. there has been plenty of drama in the last champions league quarter—final after lyon pulled offa quarter—final after lyon pulled off a shock win over manchester city. they took the lead in the 24th minute. kevin de bruyne equalised after the break but lyon were back in front after dan ballet restored their lead. raheem sterling missed a set
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out later in the game before there was a score minister later. they will face in munich in the last four. it is becoming an increasingly familiar sight becoming an increasingly familiarsight in becoming an increasingly familiar sight in formula 1. mercedes dominating across the race weekend and it has happened again in qualifying for the spanish grand prix. six time world champion lewis hamiltonjust edging time world champion lewis hamilton just edging out teammate valtteri bottas to lock out the front of the grid. 0ur formula 1 reporter brings us 0ur formula 1 reporter brings us up to date. it was i was going to be a good chance that mercedes will be a pole position in lockout for the front row and they did it once again. bear in mind, they did for the previous seven years was up for the previous seven years was up one 01’ for the previous seven years was up one or other of their ca i’s was up one or other of their cars being in pole position. so that's done, not a lot we can do about that, but our hope is max verstappen when it comes to the race. he will start in third place and much like last time out in silverstone, they hope he will get amongst the fight and maybe even win the race and for the championship, thatis race and for the championship, that is what really needs to happen. he is pushing for 30
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minutes behind hamilton. can you believe that the 19th second pole position is quite formidable. the farm he finds himself in at the moment. the racing points will make it a decent battle behind those top three drivers really aiming to get in the mix and try and really emphasise that they have got last year's mercedes and they can do something decent with it. worth bearing in mind, they are at barcelona and this isn't the usual time they raced there. usually we race in april. this is round six of the world championship and it takes place in a very hot august. temperatures reaching about 33 degrees, so it will be a challenge for the drivers. it will be hard work and they will be likely to stop a couple of times and that adds to the drama, add to the strategy, so you never know, maybe we will get another upset around the circuit in barcelona. bad weather meant day three of the second test between england and pakistan was wiped out. bad light, rain and a wet and field
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prevented pakistan resuming on their overnight 230 349 but there was a frustrated period in the afternoon when conditions seemed to improve after three pitch inspectors and is as make inspections, play was abandoned. england lead 1—0 in the three test series. the belgian rider remco evenepoel has crashed and fallen several metres off a bridge during the tour of lombardy one day race. he was taken to hospital in a neck brace and his team has released a statement saying he has a ru ptu red a statement saying he has a ruptured pelvis and a bruised right lung. the 23—year—old is one of the most promising prospects in road cycling, having already won the tour of poland this year. it was won by jakob fuglsang of the astana team. the first danish rider to win the one—day classic. that is all the sport for now, we will be back soon. staying with sport for one more
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story. one of the biggest stars in indian cricket has announced his retirement from the international game. ms dhoni captained his country in more than 300 matches — and led them to a world cup victory in 2011. the bbc‘s tim allman looks back at his career. ms dhoni was arguably india's greatest ever cricket captain. whether as wicket—keeper or batsman, he was mr consistency. but now, after a 16 year international career, he is calling it quits. —— but now, after a 16 year international career, he is calling it quits. in a statement on his instagram page, he said... the response on social media was immediate. the country's greatest ever player tweeted. ..
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and the current captain said... ms dhoni made his debut for india in 2004. he became captain three years later. 0n the field, he won pretty much everything that could be won. india were briefly the world's number one test side. but it was off the field where he made his greatest impact. a young man from a cricketing backwater, his success a symbol of a new india. he once said i want the team that can stand before an advancing truck. well, he was quite the driver. no doubt he will be standing right by their side. ms dhoni
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retirement leaves a void in world cricket, that says it all. thanks for watching bbc news. hello there. we still have a lot of humid air across the uk, the same air mass that brought us the hot and sunny weather. the big difference now is that the extensive low cloud. because of the humidity, still mist and fog and also bits of drizzle dotted around. you see a pretty extensive cloud but that is continuing to work its way northwestward and we also saw saturday some heavy thunderstorms, worked into parts of essex and in writtle brought 40 mm of rain in the space ofjust an hour and through the 24 hours we have 57 mm and that is over a month, so the majority of that brought flooding around the writtle area, including around the chelmsford area. looking at the weather picture, we see that excessive cloud and it is marching
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its way northward. murky around the coast and hills with fog and quite an extensive drizzle and occasional heavier rain mixed in. a humid, warm feel to the air. temperatures starting off sunday morning around 18 degrees in the south. sunday, a cloudy start for many of us and heavy downpours on the way. i think we will see the skies brighten up but the best of any sunshine will be across northwest scotland. through the day, we will quickly see thunderstorms working in the southwest england but another batch of storms is likely to affect southeast england, east anglia and the midlands and maybe wales. thunderstorms capable of bringing torrential downpour so i think we could see some further localised flooding particularly sunday afternoon. for monday, we see an area low pressure drifting northwards so again we are looking
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at heavy thundery downpours at times and notice the rain is turning to move northwards and after a dry few days across parts of northern england, northern ireland and scotland, it will be a greater chance of seeing some rain working in here and it will continue to feel humid but again those downpours will be very heavy so there is an ongoing threat of localised flooding. we have humid air with us at the moment, but it looks like by thursday we will start to get coolerfresher air following an across the uk behind that cold front. but it will stay pretty cloudy in the week ahead and there will be further bursts of rain at times, it is only really later in the week that it starts to turn a bit brighter and a little bit fresher as well. that is your latest weather. goodbye for now.
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this is bbc news.
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the headlines: anti—government protesters have held demonstrations outside state television buildings in belarus as unrest continues to spread across the country. the country's president, alexander lu kashenko, says he's agreed with president putin that russia would provide what he called comprehensive assistance in the event of a military threat. president trump has warned that despite the coronavirus pandemic, the country is not ready for a postal ballot in the november elections. speaking at a press briefing, mr trump said that universal mail—in voting would be catastrophic and make the nation a laughing stock around the world. south africa is lifting a ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products, imposed as part of its coronavirus lockdown. president cyril ramaphosa said all indications were that the country had reached the peak of infections. he removed restrictions, allowing restaurants and pubs to return to normal.


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