welcome to newsday. reporting live from singapore, i'm mariko oi. the headlines... downing street is in turmoil afterfour senior aides to borisjohnson resigned within hours of each other. president biden gives details of how the head of the islamic state group was killed during a raid by us special forces in syria. the us says the kremlin has plans to broadcast fake images of the ukrainian army shooting russian sympathisers, as a pretext for an invasion. also in the programme, we look at the tight restrictions on chinese citizens, as covid threatens to disrupt beijing's winter olympics. live from our studio in singapore.
this is bbc news. it's newsday. it's 7am in singapore, and ”pm in london — where downing street is in turmoil following the resignation of four senior aides to borisjohnson. director of communications jack doyle confirmed his exit shortly after the departure of policy head munira mirza. two more senior figures followed. ms mirza quit over the prime minister's false claim that the leader of the opposition was personally responsible for the failure to prosecute notorious paedophilejimmy savile, when he was director of public prosecutions. our political editor laura kuenssberg reports. applause. borisjohnson managed to keep a blackpool tram on track today. yet it's not clear tonight where his
leadership is really going. "that went well, thank god for that," the prime minister said. he might need prayers to create a sense of stability in his government, though. the communications director, jack doyle, walked out of his job tonight. a major role in any number ten, but the message had gone badly wrong. the chief of staff, dan rosenfield, who was brought in to create order, is on his bike and going too. the third exit, martin reynolds, the prime minister's senior civil servant, who invited around 100 people to a garden party. and the explosive fourth exit, his friend and political confidant of more than ten years, munira mirza. chief of ideas, "boris�*s brain," one former colleague told me. she has notjust gone, but has left dynamite in her wake — slamming the prime minister's comments linking the leader of the opposition to
jimmy savile early this week. she wrote... this is what he'd managed to say. i'm talking not about the leader of the opposition�*s personal record when he was dpp. and i totally understand that he had nothing to do personally with those decisions. i was making a point about, erm, his responsibility for the organisation. not an apology for the false claim he originally made on monday. this leader of the opposition, a former director of prosecutions, mr speaker, who spent most of his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecutejimmy savile, as far as i can make out, mr speaker! an untrue allegation that appalled victims and some mps on the prime minister's own side.
keir starmer was the boss of the crown prosecution service whenjimmy savile was not charged. but sir keir had no individual involvement in the case. and unusually, the chancellor was happy to show a public split. being honest, i wouldn't have said it, and i'm glad that the prime minister clarified what he meant. who, as well, as grappling with the economy is grappling with the government's reputation. hi, laura, how are you? he lives and works under the same roof where lockdown gatherings took place. for the record, chancellor, you knew nothing of any of these gatherings? even when it happened outside that window, you knew nothing? as i said — people think i'm looking outside the window, i spent half my time in the treasury, as well as working here. but what i was focused on at that time, you know, as were many people, is making sure that we could help the country through a period of enormous anxiety. you walked into the cabinet room at the end of borisjohnson�*s birthday celebration — did not happen? you're asking about something over
two years ago, i walked into a group of people as i do all the time. do you worry, though, that this has damaged the public�*s confidence in the government you're a part of? yes, i think it has, and i can appreciate people's frustration. and i think it's now the job of all of us in government, all politicians, to restore people's trust. some of your colleagues want the prime minister to go. if that were to happen would you run to replace him? no, that's not what i'm focused on, and of course... that's not my question — would you do it? some of your colleagues want you to. well, that's very kind of them to suggest that. but what i think people want from me — and what your viewers want from me — is to focus on myjob, and the prime minister has my full support. but support for the bigger of this double act may not last forever. chaotic days are one thing — a loss of credibility quite another. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, downing street. let's take a look at
some of the stories in the headlines in the uk. millions of uk households will typically pay an extra £693 a year on their energy bills from april, putting a further squeeze on people already facing higher prices and rising taxes. the chancellor of the exchequer, rishi sunak, said the majority of families would receive a total of £350 to help them adjust to higher prices. but the scheme is being criticised for not targeting those most in need. interest rates in the uk have risen for the second time in three months to 0.5%, as the bank of england tries to curb a rapid rise in the cost of living. the bank warned that price rises could speed up with inflation predicted to hit more than 7% in april — the highest rate for more than 30 years. northern ireland has been plunged into political turmoil with the resignation of its first minister in a brexit row. paul givan, of the strongly pro—british democratic unionist party, quit in protest at inspections of goods
entering the region from the british mainland. london and brussels agreed on these checks to avoid creating a hard irish border after brexit. the winter olympics are getting fully under way in beijing — with the opening ceremony in a few hours�* time. almost 3,000 athletes from 91 nations will compete, with over 100 gold medals to be won across seven sports. but the run—up to the games has been fraught with controversy. she is one of china's 0lympians of tomorrow — maybe. she hadn't even been born the first time the olympics came to town. but now, the six—year—old skater is inspired by the games. translation: it's very exhausting, but she presses on. _ she won't leave until she's learned how to do all the moves. she doesn't quit.
she can't go to any of the events, though. she can't get close. the winter olympics is happening in beijing, but almost everyone here is excluded from it. translation: it's sad we can't go to the names translation: it's sad we can't go to the games in _ translation: it's sad we can't go to the games in person. _ translation: it's sad we can't go to the games in person. we'll— translation: it's sad we can't go to the games in person. we'll have - translation: it's sad we can't go to the games in person. we'll have to i the games in person. we'll have to watch them on tv. china is in the middle of a renewed battle to try to maintain zero covid in this country, and it's decided not to sell any tickets for the games to members of the general public, so everyone who queues outside venues like this in the weeks ahead is going to be hand—picked — a member of the ruling communist party, or someone who works at a government—controlled company. it's notjust covid measures keeping people away. there's confrontation over china's human rights record. senior officials from the us, the uk and more than a dozen other governments aren't coming to the ice rinks. the olympics is just sport though,
say some looking on. translation: | think sports . are sports and they shouldn't be messed with politics. the games belong to everyone and we should all participate and watch. politics is just politics. this is the official slogan of the games. and these children are singing about it in this propaganda video, released last month by the government in xinjiang, a place where china denies it's committed genocide. a former olympian, who's close to america's athletes this time, told me why some of them are nervous about sharing this moment. i had one athlete tell me that they've had nothing in the lead up to these olympics — they've had not a single meeting about athletic performance. every meeting they've had has been either about covid protocols are about athlete safety, personal safety and bruising —— in
beijing. i don't think a single athlete is going to speak out at the games — and nor do i think they should. if i were there i would be keeping my mouth shut because the risk is just too great. and this is really a failure of the international olympic committee. it's a failure of leadership that athletes are in this position. in many ways, this looks like a normal olympic games. they are updated rules in place to allow athletes to express their concerns — away from the tracks and podiums. but what is always a cold gathering feels much more frosty this time round. this is a games defined by the big fissure on the world stage, with china on one side and the us on the other. and inside the bubble, athletes trying to get on with their sport. robin brant, bbc news, beijing. the games are an extravaganza that has been months, if not years, in the making. so how does it all come together and how will covid shape
how events are managed? well, our next guest is ric birch. he has directed and produced five different olympic opening ceremonies — including la in 1984, barcelona in 1992, sydney in 2000, and beijing in 2008. he's so prolific, he's earned the nickname the master of ceremonies. and hejoins us live, thanks so much forjoining us on newsday. i guess it's fair to say that this is a very different olympics with covid, but also with all the geopolitical tensions. if you were in charge of this particular opening ceremony that's about to take place tonight, would you have put them into consideration, orwould would you have put them into consideration, or would you have just gone ahead as you would? weill. just gone ahead as you would? well, ou can't just gone ahead as you would? well, you can't make _ just gone ahead as you would? well, you can't make any _ just gone ahead as you would? well, you can't make any changes - just gone ahead as you would? -ii you can't make any changes to the show for politics, or it would be impossible to do it. you have to think in terms of creativity and cultural icons of the society
working in. the introduction, i heard about having a hand—picked audience of party functionaries and hand—picked party members — that means the audience themselves will be incredibly stiff and not responsive at all in the way that a normal general public audience is. so i think that in itself makes the ceremony unique.— so i think that in itself makes the ceremony unique. indeed, and you've worked with — ceremony unique. indeed, and you've worked with the _ ceremony unique. indeed, and you've worked with the chinese _ ceremony unique. indeed, and you've worked with the chinese authorities l worked with the chinese authorities for the 2008 games — what messages would you guess that beijing would be keen to stand amid all these tensions? ~ :: :: j~ be keen to stand amid all these tensions? ~ :: :: f~ tensions? well in 2008, the same creative director _ tensions? well in 2008, the same creative director is _ tensions? well in 2008, the same creative director is in _ tensions? well in 2008, the same creative director is in charge - tensions? well in 2008, the same creative director is in charge night| creative director is in charge night as was in 2008, and he is a master of the tightrope between politics and creativity. and it won't be any different this time. the government doesn't frame its requests by having a party functionary, and say you must do x, y and z. it's implicit, i
guess, and he knows his way around that very well. the challenge in doing a ceremony in china in creating that ceremony is how to deal with, creating that ceremony is how to dealwith, indeed, the creating that ceremony is how to deal with, indeed, the politics, but you can't touch on, and at the same time explain something of the history and the cultural values of the country — which are incredibly rich, i mean, this is a society that goes back at least 5000 years with written records, and the complexities and creativity that's been involved needs to be reflected in the ceremonies. and at the same time, it's framed in the politics without ever mentioning them in any way. so that's the challenge. i don't think me, as a foreigner, could do it at all. my role in beijing was really to advise him on the international impact of different parts of the ceremony — how it would be understood, how
would be interpreted by people around the world. so the chinese creative team would be tossing out different ideas, and i along with others would be saying to emphasise this part so we need to explain it more, or not use it. so the content of the ceremony this time, i don't think he has an additional adviser, and i don't think he needs one, and the role of the ceremonies this time is not perhaps to introduce china to the world, which was very much the role into thousand eight, to show how far china had advanced and how rapidly it had developed — and i think it really, really impressed the world and shocked some atjust how creative and superb the ceremonies were. this time, they can rest on their laurels as far as that goes. i think the areas to look for
will be possibly space— china's space programme has developed a lot since 2008, technology, they are very involved with artificial intelligence which might involve drones — so we might see a pretty high ceremony, although he's from a film background...— high ceremony, although he's from a film background... apologies, we run out of time — film background... apologies, we run out of time but _ film background... apologies, we run out of time but thanks _ film background... apologies, we run out of time but thanks so _ film background... apologies, we run out of time but thanks so much - film background... apologies, we run out of time but thanks so much for. out of time but thanks so much for joining us on newsday today. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: a pretext for an invasion. the us says the kremlin has plans to broadcast fake images of the ukrainian army shooting russian sympathisers. this is the moment that millions in iran have been waiting for. after his long years in exile, the first hesitant steps of ayatollah khomeini on iranian soil. south africa's white government has offered its black opponents concessions unparalleled in the history of apartheid. and the anc leader, nelson mandela,
is to be set free unconditionally. three, two, one. the countdown to the critical moment — the world's most powerful rocket ignited all 27 of its engines at once. and, apart of its power, it's this recycling of the rocket slashing the cost of the launch that makes this a breakthrough in the business of space travel. two americans have become the first | humans to walk in space without any| lifeline to their spaceship. one of them called it "a piece of cake". - thousands of people have given the yachtswoman ellen macarthur a spectacular homecoming in the cornish port of falmouth, after she smashed the world record for sailing solo around the world non—stop. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm mariko oi in singapore.
our headlines... president biden has been giving details of how the leader of the islamic state group was killed during a night raid by us special forces in syria. the president said that abu ibrahim al qurashi — also known as hajji abdullah — blew himself up, along with four members of his family, as us troops approached the building. 13 people, including children, died in the raid — no us casualties were reported. the bbc�*s state department correspondent barbara plett usher reports. in a corner of northwest syria where a forgotten conflict simmers, america reminded the islamic state group that its leaders were still a target. the raid took place in the dead of night and lasted two hours. us special forces landed in helicopters near the home of the is leader, hajji abdullah. those close by described a night of terror. translation: when we got out of the house, we saw aircraft - flying over our heads. and after ten minutes, we heard them shouting, "give yourself up, the house is surrounded." some civilians living in the same building were safely evacuated. but women and children
were among the dead. us officials blamed the militants — they said hajji abdullah blew himself up, killing his family in the blast, and that his deputy barricaded himself on the second floor with his wife — both died in a gunfight. us forces were expecting the suicide bombing. it's happened before when a militant leader is corner. as our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardice, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up — notjust with a vest, but to blow up that third floor rather than face justice for the crimes he's committed, taking several members of his family with him just as his predecessor did. president biden monitored the raid from the situation room — like former presidents targeting formerjihadist leaders — getting reports in real time from his top military officials. hajji abdullah took over the islamic state group after its previous leader died in a us raid.
he kept an extremely low profile, but was accused of coordinating global terrorist operations. his death is a blow to the group which had been trying to make a comeback in syria and iraq. the only american casualty was a helicopter. us forces destroyed it before leaving the area — they said it had mechanical issues. but otherwise, they're claiming this operation a victory in the forever war against islamist extremism. barbara plett usher, bbc news, washington. i'm joined now byjonathan schroden in florida, who is an analyst at cna, a military intelligence think—tank. thank you so much forjoining us. as barbara mentioned in her report, he kept a very low profile — so explain to our viewers who exactly he was and how this will affect isis's operations going forward. sure, so abu ibrahim _ operations going forward. sure, so abu ibrahim al _ operations going forward. sure, so abu ibrahim al qurashi _ operations going forward. sure, so abu ibrahim al qurashi was - operations going forward. sure, so abu ibrahim al qurashi was the - abu ibrahim al qurashi was the leader of the islamic state, the
central part of the islamic state which was largely based in syria these days, but also has into iraq. he was the leader that took over after the death of al back daddy in and other us special forces operations rate of about two and a half years ago. his death today will likely affect the islamic state in two ways, one short and one long. the immediate impact is likely to be some amount of disruption of the group's activities. any time an organisation undergoes a leadership change, especially a forced one, there will be some amount of disruption. that said, i expect that disruption. that said, i expect that disruption to be relatively short—lived as isis is a very well organised terrorist group, and they've likely got some form of succession and place already. the long—term potential there is for change to the islamic state insofar as, any time you get a new leader of an organisation with the breath of the islamic state, that new leader
comes in with a different set of views, potentially a different set of priorities. so it remains to be seen what longer—term changes we will see in the isis organisation, but i would expect there to be some. you said they might already have a succession plan — has there been any response from isis or an indication as to who may take over?- as to who may take over? there is any number. _ as to who may take over? there is any number. you _ as to who may take over? there is any number, you know, _ as to who may take over? there is any number, you know, probably. as to who may take over? there is| any number, you know, probably a dozen or so different isis lieutenants who could step into that position. i don't know, i haven't seen any indication that they've selected or announced a leader to step in. but i wouldn't expect it to take very long for them to make that announcement. when the previous leader was killed, it didn't take them very long to announce al qurashi as his successor. so i would expect a relatively quick announcement of who the new head of isis will be. . ~' , ., announcement of who the new head of isis will be. ., ~ i. ,., announcement of who the new head of isis will be. ., ~ i. . ., isis will be. thank you so much for “oinint us isis will be. thank you so much for joining us on _ isis will be. thank you so much for joining us on newsday _ isis will be. thank you so much for joining us on newsday today. - isis will be. thank you so much for| joining us on newsday today. thank ou for
joining us on newsday today. thank you for having _ joining us on newsday today. thank you for having me. _ let's turn to the ukraine crisis — and an american claim that russia is planning to stage fake events to justify taking military action. here's pentagon spokesman john kirby outlining the plot. one option is the russian government, we think, is planning to stage a fake attack by ukrainian military or intelligence forces against russian sovereign territory, or against russian—speaking people to therefore justify their action. as part of this fake attack, we believe that russia would produce a very graphic propaganda video, which would include corpses and actors that would be depicting mourners, and images of destroyed locations as well as military equipment at the hands of ukraine or the west — even to the point where some of this equipment would be made to look like it was western—supplied ukrainian equipment.
russia has not yet formally responded to that allegation — but it has previously dismissed all suggestions it is planning any military action. meanwhile, the us started making good on its promise to deploy additional troops to europe. these are some of the 2,000 soldiers who'll be heading to germany and poland, with others already in germany heading to romania. and in europe, there has been another flurry of diplomatic visits to kyiv and moscow. turkey's leader, president erdogan, was the guest of ukraine's president zelensky. the turkish leader said his country would remain neutral, but offered to mediate with russia. meanwhile, vladimir putin hosted the president of argentina. moscow insists they have no plans to invade ukraine, and the build—up of russian forces is nothing more than military exercises. the us and nato have warned there will be a response if russia continues with its aggression — but they admit they are unclear about vladimir putin's intentions. here's our moscow correspondent,
steve rosenberg. the one sentence i've found myself saying a lot in recent years is, "relations between russia and the west have reached a new low." and then they go and get lower and lower, and the tension gets higher and higher — until you get to where we are today, with russia amassing troops near the border with ukraine, launching a string of military exercises, demanding security guarantees from the west and america sending troops to europe. one question i'm asked a lot on air is, "what is vladimir putin planning? what is he thinking? is he planning a major escalation in ukraine? is he planning to dismantle the european security order as it is? is he planning to carve out a new sphere of influence for russia?" now reporters are supposed to have all the answers, aren't we? but sometimes, you just have to put your hands up and say, "i don't know." i don't know what the kremlin's aim is here. there's been so much speculation — all we can do, really,
is to follow events on the ground, follow all the diplomatic activity, what's being said by political leaders, and see how the situation develops. let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines. an operation is under way in morocco to rescue a young boy trapped in a deep well. the five—year—old, called rayan, fell down the 32—metre well on tuesday evening in a village in a rural northern province. he's said to have suffered some injuries, but remains conscious. nasa says the international space station will be taken out of service in 2030 — and then, will have a controlled crash into the pacific ocean in 2031. it has been in continuous use since the year 2000. its final resting place will be in a part of the ocean farthest from land, known as point nemo. that's all for now — stay with bbc news.
good evening. today has been another mild day. the same cannot be said for tomorrow because cold air has been lying in wait up to the north—west, and it is now making its move south—eastwards. the cold air being brought in our direction by this weather front. a cold front, this generating heavy bursts of rain through tonight and, indeed, a little bit of wintry weather on its back edge. wintry showers pushing in across parts of scotland and northern ireland and some quite strong and gusty winds, but let's follow the progress of the weather front as it sinks south—eastwards across england and wales overnight. some very heavy bursts of rain on its leading edge. on its back edge, through the pennines, the peak district, the hills of wales and even the moors of south west england, we could see some snow mixing in because of the cold air tucking in from the north. ahead of our weather front, still mild, six degrees
for norwich, seven in london. behind it, much colder with wintry showers and ice likely to cause issues across parts of scotland and northern ireland tomorrow morning. our weatherfront bringing some much needed rain into the south east. over any high ground, potentially a bit of wintriness mixing in. that will then clear, and by the afternoon, it's a sunshine and showers story. some of the showers wintry over high ground in the north, and in northern scotland, those showers wintry even to quite low levels at least for a time. these are the wind gusts. widely gusts of 30—50 mph in the north. nothing extreme, but it willjust add to a cold feel. temperatures through the afternoon between 4—9 celsius. now, through friday night, a brief, drier interlude with this little ridge of high pressure, but into the weekend, it's this weather front that will dominate the weather, pushing in from the west, bringing outbreaks of rain and separating the cold air which will cling on in the north from something milder which will attempt to stage a return in the south. and our weather front will bring outbreaks of rain across parts
of northern ireland, scotland, down into northern england and wales. some really strong winds especially across northern areas. wintry showers into scotland. staying mostly dry down towards the south, where it will be mild, 10—11 degrees, but colder air across the northern half of the uk. and as we get into sunday, it looks like that weather front will move a little further southwards with its outbreaks of rain, allowing more areas to get back into the cold air with a mix of sunny spells and wintry showers. it's going to be another windy day. mild in the south, 11—12. much colder further north, just four in north west scotland.
our headlines. four seniorfigures at downing street have resigned within hours of each other. dan rosenfield quit as chief of staff, martin reynolds as principal private secretary, jack doyle as head of communications and munira mirza as head of policy. president biden has given details of how the leader of the islamic state group, abu ibrahim al-qurayshi, was killed during a raid by us special forces in syria. he said he detonated a bomb at the start of the operation. the us says the kremlin could be planning to broadcast fake images of the ukrainian army shooting russian sympathisers as a pretext for an invasion. the first minister of northern ireland has resigned in protest at post—brexit trade rules which his democratic unionist party bitterly opposes.