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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 23, 2020 3:00am-3:31am BST

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welcome to bbc news. i'm james reynolds. our top stories: the us house of representatives votes to pass an emergency bill to inject $25 billion into america's cash—strapped postal service. the russian opposition leader, alexei navalny, remains in hospital in germany. his supporters say his condition is very worrying. lithuania and poland deny claims that nato is building up its forces along their borders with belarus. tiktok takes on trump. the chinese company behind the social media app says it will sue the us government. and football's biggest club trophy is up for grabs later on sunday — the champions league final —
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behind closed doors. hello and welcome to bbc news. in the last few hours, the us house of representatives has passed an emergency bill to provide $25 billion to the cash—strapped postal service. this is part of a push to prop up the struggling postal service and ensure it can handle an influx of millions of postal ballots for the 2020 presidential election in november. the white house said on friday it strongly opposes the bill and would recommend president trump vetoes it. alanna petroff has the latest. us politics has become increasingly polarised over the post office. we are saying to donald trump, we are saying to postmaster dejoy, no! enough is enough! give us back our post office! applause
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cheering protesters gathered in places like texas, pennsylvania, new york, and washington, dc. they‘ re concerned about a recent slowdown in deliveries and they worry about what this means for postal voting in the upcoming us election. will votes arrive on time and be counted, especially in a pandemic? this man, postmaster general louis dejoy, is behind the delivery slowdown with his new cost—cutting moves. he's a big trump donor and the president recently appointed him to the role. he took over injune. the bill is passed. democrats and some republicans in the house of representatives have now approved a new bill to put $25 billion into the postal service and require levels of service to get back to normal. the actions by the postmaster general in recent weeks is a sabotage campaign aimed at manipulating mail service and whatever the intent it's
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hurting every day americans, seniors, veterans, working men and women. in michigan, we've been told thatjust this month ten mail sorting machines have been removed and destroyed. this american institution is being deliberately dismantled. this is real, this is happening, and we need to do something about it. and the fact that this is happening in the middle of a pandemic, right before an election, i mean, i don't believe in coincidences. this is deliberate. and it's shocking. now the bill gets delivered to the republican—controlled senate. there are concerns it won't pass and president trump may veto it altogether. he tweeted this on saturday. this contradicts many postal leaders and union officials who have warned that the president and postmaster general are strangling
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the service. this heated fight over the post office shows just how much is at stake with the upcoming election. alanna petroff, bbc news. steve herman is the white house bureau chief for the us broadcaster, the voice of america. he says it is unlikely the bill will pass through the us senate. this legislation is marked ‘return to sender‘ by the senate majority leader. the republicans control the senate. and while they will get some votes from republicans if this were to come to the floor in the senate, there are vulnerable republican senators who are hearing a lot of complaints from their constituents, especially in rural areas, there is just not enough votes as a stand—alone bill as it is, and the president of course is also threatening to veto it. what kind of changes in the postal service are most worrying the democratic party, causing them to try to pass this bill?
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well, there were a number of concerns. the most visible were the removal of the sorting machines in the post offices. what the post office officials were saying was this actually was to make the post office more efficient because they handle less letters and more packages, and they need room for those packages. but of course in this election year, with a pandemic, they are going to have a lot of ballots sent in, which are not packages, and there was concern that removal of those machines along with letterboxes, that postal authorities also said were routine, that this was some sort of plot on behalf of the president to slow down the balloting and throw the election to the president. in general, how reliable is the postal service? if i was to send you an important package, would you expect to get it quickly? i would hear where i live,
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which isjust outside washington, dc, it has been pretty consistent, but what we are hearing, even as close as baltimore to the north of us and definitely in rural areas to the west, there has been a significant slowdown, and people have been complaining about their medications not arriving on time, also people that were mailing lives chicks to farms, those packages were being held, and thousands and thousands of chicks apparently were dying. steve herman there. the russian opposition leader and one of president putin's fiercest critics, alexei navalny, is being treated at a hospital in germany after a suspected poisoning. mr navalny fell into a coma after drinking a cup of tea at an airport cafe. his supporters believe the cup was laced with poison. russian doctors initially said there were no traces of poison in his body. our berlin correspondent jennie hill reports. oblivious to the political storm around him, alexei navalny, arriving in berlin for treatment.
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the man who took on vladimir putin is in a coma. he collapsed on thursday during a flight over siberia after drinking what his supporters claim was a poisoned cup of tea. i'm sure that they can treat him and do everything to eliminate maybe this toxic agent from his body, and i hope that the germans, with a high level of medicine... we have no such opportunities in russia as german doctors have. mr navalny is one of vladimir putin's fiercest critics, an anti—corruption campaigner with powerful enemies. his supporters claim he was poisoned last year but lived to tell the tale. now, they believe the russian authorities have tried to silence him again — something the kremlin denies. it was a german ngo which organised mr navalny‘s
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transfer to berlin, though it's believed western political intervention finally persuaded russia to let him go. he is a healthy, strong man with a good constitution. the night before the attack, whatever you want to call it, he was swimming in a river, and there is this video that we have all seen from the plane where he gets this incredible pain, he's screaming. doctors here say it will take time to examine mr navalny. it may now be too late to establish whether he was poisoned and harder still to discover by whom. it's not the first time an opponent of vladimir putin has come to berlin with suspected poisoning. just two years ago, a dissident was treated in the very same hospital. this could be the latest in what some here say is an increasingly provocative pattern of behaviour. and tonight, as a man fights for his life, that's putting pressure on what is already a tense relationship between russia and the west.
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heather conley is director for europe and russia at the center for strategic and international studies. she told us the doctors currently working on alexei navalny are unlikely to discover exactly what it was that made him ill. i think it's highly unlikely that we will be able to have that definitive answer. in part, this is why the russian authorities, through the russian doctors in the hospital in omsk prevented alexei navalny from travelling. it's in orderfor the poison to dissipate. so that they were unable to take samples of his blood after the initial poisoning. it will be very difficult. but the good news is this hospital in berlin treated a similar russian opposition figure in 2018 with evidently nearly the exact same symptoms, so hopefully they will be able to draw some conclusions. and tragically this hospital is getting a great deal of expertise and russian poisoning. was or, i should say, is alexei navalny a serious threat to the kremlin or simply an irritant? he's not necessarily a serious
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threat to the kremlin, but even by being a nuisance he's starting, i think, to embarrass the kremlin. and what he was doing in siberia, he was campaigning around the largest city, novosibirsk, he was organising for the municipal elections on september 13. he was organising so the opposition could follow behind one candidate in a variety of municipalities in order to beat the united russia party, the pro—kremlin party. so this is going to be an embarrassment. and he also was uncovering a lot of local corruption. so this could have been something that occurred at a local level as he was uncovering some nefarious activities. but the kremlin is very nervous right now. what they're seeing in belarus and the restlessness across russian society is causing them to be very concerned about the september 13 regional elections.
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very briefly, heather, what effect has his condition had upon opposition activists inside russia ? this is the great unknown. while it does strike fear, of course, these brave, courageous opposition and people who simply want a choice in russia, they are risking their lives. but it will likely embolden them as well. and navalny has a vast network across russia. it is something to watch in coming days. heather conley there. lithuania and poland have denied claims that nato is building up its forces along their borders with belarus. poland‘s government says the claim isjust ‘regime propaganda‘. it comes after the president of belarus, alexander lu kashenko, accused what he described as foreign powers of orchestrating the protests against his disputed re—election. he made his remarks in a visit to a military facility in the west of the country. protesters returned to the streets on saturday evening, demanding mr lu kashenko stand down. david campanale has more — his report contains scenes you may find disturbing.
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as protests continue on the streets of belarus, new evidence has emerged of the force of the police crackdown. these pictures from the yard of a detention centre in minsk cannot be independently verified by the bbc, but they were sent to radio svoboda, who say they show beatings by security forces of street protesters. instances like this add to existing reports of multiple cases of ill—treatment of police detainees on the streets and in temporary detention facilities. president lukashenko has been reported as saying that images of beatings and bruises shown by families were largely staged. it‘s an accusation that is firmly denied. it is his usual way of behaviour, and i know that many of the people are afraid of reporting to police about the torture. they are documenting their bruises and the damage that has been done
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to their bodies. there‘s widespread anger in minsk over what many people see as president lukashenko rigging the vote to stay in power. these have turned to outrage and despair at the injuries in gatherings held by relatives and friends of the detained protesters. a week ago, minsk saw the biggest protest in modern belarusian history, with hundreds of thousands of people filling the streets. but the man who led belarus for the last 26 years shows no sign of going. he has stepped up the rhetoric of an external threat. speaking on a visit to a military testing range, mr lukashenko once again accused foreign powers of orchestrating the protests against his contested re—election. translation: military
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support is evident. nato forces are moving to the borders of our country. all this is done to pull here, allegedly, an alternative president. he told his commanders to introduce the toughest measures, and for the armed forces to be prepared to defend the country. in the last few days, president lukashenko has ordered riot police back onto the streets. with fresh rallies called for sunday, it‘s still unclear what attitude the president and the security forces will take to those who join the demonstrations. david campanale, bbc news. more than 20 wildfires continue to burn across california. high temperatures and ongoing lightning strikes make the situation harder to control. six people have been killed and more than 700 properties have been destroyed over the past week. the fires more than doubled in size on friday. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: the us house of representatives votes
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to pass an emergency bill to inject $25 billion into america‘s cash—strapped postal service. the russian opposition leader alexei navalny remains in hospital in germany. his supporters say his condition is very worrying. just want to take you to some pictures coming out of north carolina showing protesters, in charlotte, north carolina. they are there because on monday the republican party, led by president donald trump, will be holding its four day convention, following the democratic convention held this week. clearly these protesters are wanting to make their presence felt. it is worth saying that that republican national convention will be largely virtual. president trump himself, we understand, may only speak from washington and a number of key speakers have been revealed by the republican party, including president trump, his wife, his
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four adult children, and several other political figures. clearly the protesters wa nt to figures. clearly the protesters want to show that in charlotte their voices should be heard. tiktok has confirmed that it will file a lawsuit against the trump administration. it comes after the us president signed an executive order banning transactions with the chinese—owned app and its chinese parent company, bytedance. tiktok has repeatedly denied washington‘s accusations that it is a national security threat, and beijing has called the trump crackdown "political manipulation." earlier i spoke to ash kazaryan, director of civil liberties at techfreedom, about the us government‘s concerns that tiktok might pass us users‘ data to the chinese government. so what we know as a public are a few things. number one is that tiktok‘s parent company is bytedance, a chinese parent company. the ceo has sent letters to the chinese communist party multiple times saying, reassuring cooperation. tiktok‘s privacy policy itself
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disclaims they might, if they want to, share data with china. now, tiktok says they don‘t and all the servers of us user data are located in virginia with backups in singapore, but we keep seeing them in lawsuits and statements, reassuring, claiming that, yes, we can share if we want to, but at the same time we are not going to. that is where the concern is. we haven‘t seen a smoking gun. at the same time they also collect an immense amount of data and often it is reported that they collect about the same amount of data other social networks do, but it is not true. they have more access, collect way more data about the user, their search history, the model of their phone and so on, so altogether it is not hard to connect the dots and say there is concern, but we haven‘t seen a smoking gun yet. at the same time, the owner, bytedance, is seeking to sell the us part of the company. would that end the dispute? we did not hear about the negotiations about the sale
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until we heard president trump say he is going to. we are not sure what came first. maybe there were already negotiations in both because tiktok is still considered a start—up, but it has the highest growth rate. maybe the parent company was already negotiations. now, if they do sell tiktok hypothetically, that is supposed to take the national security interest concerns off, but it would take a lot of work. these mergers and acquisitions are not done easily, and a lot of the engineers as far as i understand are located in china and other countries, so it would be like an infrastructure move. how are us tech companies like facebook dealing with this rival? i would say that different tech companies obviously have different markets and different focuses, and facebook owns
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instagram, which recently launched reels, that‘s supposed to compete with tiktok in the marketplace. so we‘re not sure how the market is going to react. but i think it is a competitor and shows the power of a free market because it is extremely popular, tiktok is extremely popular with the younger generation in the united states. saturday was earth overshoot day, the point where scientists say we‘ve used all the ecological resources the planet can produce in 12 months. as consumption grows, that day is getting earlier. however, because of covid this year it‘s been pushed back by three weeks. but a global campaign to "move the date" has been launched virtually and supported by the scottish government. environmentalists say it‘s vital we stop eroding earth‘s natural resources. mathis wackernagel is the founder of global footprint network, the independent think tank
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which carries out the calculation for earth overshoot day. he explained how the calculation is done. i would say our calculation is probably an underestimate, we use un datasets, we use about 15,000 data points per country and year to track all the demands that compete for our ecological productive surface. everything we consume depends on regeneration, like the food, the fibre and even as we emit — as we burn fossil fuels, the c02 needs to be absorbed by the biosphere. so the question is, how much capacity is necessary to provide for everything we do? is it simple addition? you know, we can add it all up. and how much do we have? and we have pretty good maps too, to show how much there is around. and so we can make the balance. and our estimate is 60%, more rapidly we use renewable resources than they are being replenished. now, i think we have got one of your graphics,
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which shows how the day — 0vershoot day — has changed from 1970 to 2020. talk us through those changes, please? yeah, so by 1970, for the first time the entire demand of humanity was larger than what earth can renew. and i wouldn‘t say the optimal use is to use the entire planet, because there are also wild species that need food, so, but still, we‘ve used a whole planet. and then it has gone up and up. you see a litte — the few dips are typically associated with downturn of economies, and the biggest dip that we have experienced is this year, covid—19, with lockdown, there‘s about a 9.3% reduction of overall demand we‘ve estimated between this year and the year prior. so it‘s good news, then, there‘s been a dip this year, that‘s because of the pandemic. is there a way of replicating, some — might people ask, for the future? we don‘t call it good news. we know — it‘s like with money, you cannot always spend more money than you earn for ever. you know? in the same way, overshoot will end. the question is will it end by disaster or will it end by design? and so far i think the disaster
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side is more of the winning side. but we could take fate into our own hands. it‘s actually economically beneficial to do it. i think the biggest misconception is to think, "oh, wow. as long as nobody else does it, i don‘t do it." so it‘s like a big storm coming, you‘re on a boat and then you say "oh, i am not fixing my boat into everybody else fixes their boat first." that‘s absurd. there‘s no business case for that. would you do us the favour of naming names? name countries that have done well and name countries that have done badly, briefly? yes, so, for example, we have work — it‘s not a whole country, but it‘s a part of the united kingdom. scotland has been quite aggressive in its c02 reduction targets since 1990, they have reduced co2 emissions 47%. they haven‘t only pronounced big targets, they have actually worked on them. and now for 2030 they want to go down 75%. so i think in scotland they have thought ahead on fossilfuels. they recognise it‘s a new future coming, and if we don‘t prepare ourselves we are not prepared. so that‘s an interesting example.
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then i have another country, i live in california right now. at the federal level, the interest in these topics is not that strong, even when you listen to the democratic convention speeches, they talk about ‘we need more infrastructure,‘ but they talk about infrastructure as we had in the 1950s. but we don‘t need to build back, we need to build forward. we need to build what we need for the future, because we can‘t predict the future. and building things that don‘t fit in the future is just dangerous because we will lose value. mathis wackernagel, thank you so much forjoining us. football, and arguably the world‘s biggest club match takes place in portugal on sunday. bayern munich will face paris saint—germain in the champions league final. the competition has been dramatically affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but both sides will be hoping to end the season on a high. the bbc‘s tim allman has more. bayern munich are footballing royalty. five times they have been champions of europe. their history runs deep in the competition. for paris saint—germain,
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however, this is something new. despite their success, they‘ve never reached the final before. but they are ambitious, looking to create something special of their own. translation: that is exactly the reason ijoined the club. i always said i wanted to write the history of french football. he could be a real award if we could win the competition with a french side. the german team are the favourites. especially after that 8—2 demolition of barcelona in the quarterfinals. but whoever wins, this will be an unusual and unprecedented event. translation: there is no bigger title to win on club level than the champions league. those where the games you would look forward to watch as a child. of course, it is a shame the final will happen without the fans, but nonetheless it is a huge chance we want to take. normally, before a match
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like this, the streets of the host city would be full of fans. it‘s certainly not like that in lisbon. this has been the strangest of seasons, but everyone hopes it will end with a final to remember. tim allman, bbc news. don‘t forget you can get in touch with me and some of the team on twitter. i‘m @jamesbbcnews. but before we go, we always have time for a photograph of a newborn, in this case a baby gorilla born at bristol zoo in the west of england. these photographs, taken just the west of england. these photographs, ta ken just hours after the birth on wednesday, show kala, a nine—year—old western low land gorilla, cradling her newborn who is so farunnamed. cradling her newborn who is so far unnamed. staff said both we re far unnamed. staff said both were doing well, but it would bea were doing well, but it would be a while before they knew the sex of the newborn because they needed a few looks before they we re needed a few looks before they were certain. good luck to them both. a reminder of our main story. in the last few hours, democratic led house of representatives has passed emergency bill to
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provide $25 billion the cash—strapped us postal service, but it is unlikely to pass the republican bits in it. —— republican lead senate. hello there. at the moment, the weather doesn‘t feel much like late summer. over the weekend so far we have seen a mixture of sunshine and showers. i‘m sure rain has stopped play now and again across the country. and we‘ve got more showers to come during the second half of the weekend. the big cricket match of course is taking place at southampton. england on top, hoping for some more wickets. and generally speaking, the day should be dry. there aren‘t going to be many showers across this part of the country.
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and many places will start sunday dry with some sunshine. soon getting showers, though, coming into northern ireland, and perhaps spilling now into southern scotland, northern england, moving into the midlands and in the afternoon down towards the south—east. some of those showers could be heavy, possibly thundery. more sunshine for wales and the south—west, the winds will be lighter on sunday, turning north—westerly in scotland, but there should be very few showers away from the far south. but it will be quite cool air here, temperatures only 14—16 degrees. we could make 22 or 23 in the south—east ahead of those heavy showers. those will move away fairly quickly in the evening, linger a little bit longer across northern england and then later in the night, we‘ll see some rain coming into wales and the south—west, but some clearer spells elsewhere. a little bit cooler, though, i think, by monday morning, particularly in scotland. and quite chilly, actually, in the glens of scotland for this time of year. monday‘s a messy day, i think we‘ve got more cloud, some patchy rain in the morning moving eastwards across england and wales and then some sunny spells, a few showers around here and there. the winds will be quite light on monday. again, temperatures may be making 17 in the central belt of scotland to a high of 21 in the south—east of england.
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a fairly quiet day, but the changes overnight into tuesday, perhaps lingering into wednesday. we‘ve got more gales arriving across the uk, particularly in the south, and this is where we‘re more likely to have some further trouble disruption. another dose of wet and very windy weather, unusually windy for the time of year as a deep area of low pressure again sweeps its way across the uk. rain arriving overnight, the winds picking up by the morning in the south—west in particular, blowing that rain northwards, probably not reaching northern scotland. away from here, though, the winds really picking up, particularly across wales, the midlands, southern england, gusts of 50, perhaps even 60mph around some of exposed coastal areas, too. a very bumpy ride again on tuesday, temperatures probably don‘t mean a great deal in that rain, it‘s going to be pretty cold for most of the day, highs of 21 again in the south—east.
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this is bbc news,
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the headlines: the us house of representatives has approved an emergency bill to inject $25 billion into the postal service, and to put operational changes in place. democrats are concerned the trump administration may try to disenfranchise millions of americans who choose to vote by mail in november. the leading kremlin critic, alexei navalny, is in berlin receiving emergency treatment after a suspected attempt to poison him in russia. mr navalny‘s supporters have described his condition as very worrying and say he‘s been the target of an assassination bid. russia denies any involvement. nato has dismissed claims by the president of belarus of a troop buildup on its border as baseless. nato said it posed no threat to belarus or any other country. alexander lukashenko has been facing mass protests since claiming victory in a contested presidential election earlier this month. small music venues are being thrown a lifeline

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