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tv   BBC News at One  BBC News  March 9, 2020 1:00pm-1:32pm GMT

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the prime minister chairs a meeting of the government's
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cobra emergency committee on the coronavirus outbreak. in the last few minutes, the government has said that britain will not yet move into the second phase and will try to contain the disease. but the government says there's no need to panic buy... there is absolutely no need for anybody to stockpile or anything like that. we are in constant contact with the major retailers. italy's prime minister says his country is facing its "darkest hour" with 16 million people in quarantine as the death toll rises. the virus contributes to plunging global stock markets, with a fall in oil prices also to blame. we'll have the latest from that cobra meeting. the other headlines this lunchtime... the trial begins of alex salmond — former first minister of scotland — on charges of sexual
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assault and attempted rape. and bowing out — the duke and duchess of sussex make their final public appearance as working members of the royal family. and coming up on bbc news: as governing bodies and broadcasters meet with the government over coronavirus, the culture minister says sporting events here are unlikely to be affected in the immediate future. good afternoon and welcome to the news at one. the prime minister is chairing an emergency cobra meeting to decide whether new measures are needed to delay the spread of coronavirus. 280 people are infected in the uk, and three people have died.
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in the last few minutes the government has said it is focused on containing the outbreak and has yet to move to cancel public events which would be in the next stage of measures. cobra will meet on wednesday but the government has warned it expects the virus to spread any significant way. stock markets around the world have plunged, with london's ftse opening more than 8% down, as fears over the virus combined with a sharp fall in the oil price. and in italy, much of the country is in lockdown, after the number of deaths there rose by more than 130 in a single day. our health correspondent, lauren moss reports. as the number of uk cases of the biggest leap in 2a hours, ministers, medical and science advisers have reconvened at a cobra committee to decide if and when we should officially move to the next phase of delaying the spread of covid—i9. if that happens, measures which could
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be taken, including encouraging people to work from home, limiting the number of big public events, and even closing schools. but more likely, the first steps will be a phased approach to reducing unnecessary social contact. we will ta ke unnecessary social contact. we will take those based on the facts, the evidence and the scientific advice. at the moment, the scientific advice is not pointing towards taking further social distancing measures, but if that changes we will change accordingly. more than 20,000 people have been tested so far. the third death of a patient with the coronavirus was confirmed yesterday. at the weekend, some supermarket shelves were stripped bare of toilet rolls and hygiene products, prompting retailers to put a limit on the number of items people can purchase. and the government repeating the message that there is no need to stockpile. the supply chains are robust. this is not the first time we have gone through something like this. we have had swine flu, sars virus, even the beast from the east, and
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what we will continue to do is to adapt and make sure that people have exactly what they need, and that is what we are continuing to do. another health ca re are continuing to do. another health care worker has been placed in isolation. it a tested positive for the virus after working one night shift in the high dependency unit in southampton. but there is the sense of normality returning for some. passengers who have been held in quarantine at arrowe park hospital after travelling on the diamond princess cruise ship have now been allowed home. what has it been like in there? is well looked after, the hospital were really terrific. they have looked after us. and one of the dozens have looked after us. and one of the d oze ns of have looked after us. and one of the dozens of schools which was shot after a student tested positive will reopen later this week following a deep clean. the number of infections is roughly doubling around the world every seve n is roughly doubling around the world every seven days. decisions about what to do next will be critical in determining how the uk responds to what is a rapidly developing
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situation. lauren moss, bbc news. let us speak to a norman smith in downing street. that cobra meeting has broken up. what have they decided? the government have decided to hold off on pressing the delete button and moving to the second phase of precautions against coronavirus. much more intrusive, disruptive precautions, such as, who knows, maybe closing schools, imposing travel bans, barring public sporting events, though sort of things. but that is in part because it would be so disruptive, they want to delay going down that road for as long as possible and as long as the medical people have said it is ok to do that. i think there is also a nervousness about the potential economic impact when we get to that stage. but also, i think there is the broader view that the longer you have those sort of measures in place, then the more likely it is
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that people are going to grow weary of them and try to get around travel bans and that sort of thing. so, when we moved to that stage, i think there is a desire to have it as short as possible, and lastly, there is perhaps the desire to dial down any sense of panic, to try to give people the impression that they can go about their lives, pretty much as normal. we saw borisjohnson at the by normal. we saw borisjohnson at the rugby on saturday. what has changed is that we are beginning to see the political ceasefire which we have seen so far over coronavirus beginning to fray, with the shadow chancellorjohn mcdonnell this lunchtime launching into the prime minister for, lunchtime launching into the prime ministerfor, and lunchtime launching into the prime minister for, and his lunchtime launching into the prime ministerfor, and his roof —— his view, responding in dribs and drabs, failing to get a grip, attacking him for not calling a cobra meeting earlier and criticising the chancellor for not giving regular updates on the impact on the economy. all of which said, i think where we are now, it is a question of when, rather than whether we move
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to the second phase. normally, thank you. norman smith our assistant political editor. it's been announced that wednesday night's champions league game between paris st germain and borussia dortmund will be played behind closed doors. here, the culture secretary has said sports events in britain are unlikely to be affected in the immediate future. our sports correspondent, laura scott, is in whitehall where sports officials have been to talking to the government. laura, any news on what they have decided? well, at the moment it is very much business as usual. we have spoken to people after the meeting who set out at the moment nothing has changed dramatically, but it is planning for contingencies. with what has been going on in europe and the six nations and the champions league, it is preparing for what might happen in the coming weeks. that might be behind closed doors fixtures. for other sports, it
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that might be behind closed doors fixtures. for othersports, it could be postponing fixtures. that might favour the stand—alone events that really need the spectators present. it was very much a case of business as usual. the broadcasters were represented today and asked to think about perhaps free to air fixtures, and also the impact that this could have on fans. so, no major announcements today, but everyone is aware that the situation is evolving rapidly, and they will await government advice on the next steps. laura, thank you. laura scott for us at whitehall. the foreign office is warning against all but essential travel to northern italy. with more than 360 deaths confirmed, italy is the worst—hit country in the world after china. the italian prime minister has called the outbreak his country's "darkest hour". up to 16 million people in the north of the country, including venice and milan, are facing the toughest restrictions on movement since the second world war. the lockdown in lombardy and 14 other provinces is set to last until the 3rd april. bethany bell has sent this report from bologna, near the
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restricted zone. large areas of northern italy are in quarantine. the italian government has taken tough measures to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus. milan, italy's financial capital, is under partial lockdown. people have been told they can only leave or enter the area for essential work or family emergencies. venice, one of italy's top tourist destinations, is also affected. british visitors can travel home. planes and trains are still running. the uk government has said anyone returning from the red zones said anyone returning from the red zones in northern italy should self—isolate for two weeks. for the locals, this is a very uncertain time. translation: locals, this is a very uncertain time. translationzlj locals, this is a very uncertain time. translation: ithought
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locals, this is a very uncertain time. translation: i thought about my children with another week at home and they are bored. but with these restrictions must be respected. translation: it is all rubbish, we keep calm and it is fine. i rubbish, we keep calm and it is fine. lam rubbish, we keep calm and it is fine. i am leaving anyway. this is having a dramatic effect both inside and outside the quarantine zones. people here have said they do not know whether to be more worried about their health or the economy. the italian government has promised to increase spending. a step they are calling massive financial shock therapy. northern italy has a well—developed health care system, but it is under increasing strain. in some places, people are being treated in hospital corridors. the virus is particularly dangerous for the elderly, and italy has one of the elderly, and italy has one of the world's oldest populations. the average age of people dying from the disease here is 81 years old. riots have broken out in some italian prisons against restrictions to
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combat the spread of the coronavirus. reports on the italian media suggest at least six people died ina media suggest at least six people died in a prison and would then in the north. bethany bell, bbc news in northern italy. —— modena. the coronavirus outbreak has contributed to dramatic falls on global stockmarkets, with the ftse opening more than 8% down this morning. fears over the virus have combined with a slump in the oil price, as andy verity reports. on the markets today you could see what traders were worried about. share prices drop when people think they cannot make as much money as previous a thought. this morning, share prices plummeted. the ftse 100 share prices plummeted. the ftse100 index of the top companies listed in london dropped 9% at the start of the day before recovering. market saw some of the sharpest drops in nearly a decade. we are on course for european equity markets, particularly the ftse100, to see the biggest fall since october
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2008 in percentage terms. bp is down 20%, royal dutch shell open 25% lower. pretty much a sea of red across the board. the price of oil had dropped by more than one third since january amid warnings that coronavirus would mean amid warnings that coronavirus would m ea n less amid warnings that coronavirus would mean less buying and selling and fewer exports. that means less demand for oil to transport goods, creating a service potentially that would force sellers of oil barrels to slash prices to compete for a shrinking pool of customers. what has cost the all price to plunge as a shock to the supply of oil. the markets have been expecting the big oil producing companies to cut the amount of all they were supplying to match the reduced demand from around the world, but they could not agree and are now there is a price war. you might have to wait for that to feed through to the price at the pumps. remember, the price of a litre of unleaded only a fraction of thatis litre of unleaded only a fraction of that is a price of oil. there is no pressure on the new chancellor of the exchequer, rishi sunak, to do something in the budget this week to
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help to soften the impact on the uk of the global slowdown. with japan's economy shrinking, china's reporting slumping exports, and the us is facing predictions of recession. you need cash support for individuals, for businesses that find themselves suddenly without any income. imagine you are a theatre or you own a restaurant, or suddenly they have no customers potentially, but you have people on the payroll. that is exactly where a government can step in. the filing oil price may turn into welcome news for consumers, but with markets this nervous, that may prove to be one of the few silver linings and the gathering economic gloom. andy verity, bbc news. in other developments on the coronavirus outbreak around the world... there are signs the spread of the virus may be slowing down in south korea, one of the worst—hit countries. yesterday, it reported its smallest daily rise in cases for a fortnight. 248 infections were confirmed, the third consecutive daily fall in the number
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of known cases. iran says it has suffered nearly 600 infections in the last 2a hours, and 43 new deaths. the country has recorded more than 7,100 cases — this and has one of the highest death rates outside china. vietnam has suspended visa—free travel from eight european countries, including the uk. the move comes after the country recorded 1a new cases over the weekend, including 11 patients who had travelled from europe. more than 100 britons stranded on a cruise ship hit by coronavirus off the coast of california will soon be allowed to leave the vessel. passengers on the grand princess have been confined to their cabins since thursday but the ship is expected to dock later, so that those on board can finally disembark. cbs news correspondent, carter evans has the latest from san francisco.
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well, the ship is going to pass behind me on its way to the bay port of oakland. the first passengers to be evacuated are going to be those who require medical attention. they will be taken to area hospitals. the rest will then be transferred to military bases across the country, where they will be tested for the virus and then held for another two weeks. the coronavirus, the spread of it on the grand princess, set off a massive operation to keep the 3500 passengers in quarantine after the ship docked here. california officials surveyed the dock on sunday. they said us passengers will be bussed to four military bases. the foreign passengers, from about 5k different countries, will return on charter flights. now, the process could take two or three days, but it's a big relief, as you can imagine, for the thousands of passengers who have been stuck in their rooms. california is also monitoring, by the way, another 1500 people who had previously travelled on the grand princess. now, after the passengers disembark, the crew will be
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quarantined on the ship, and the state department is now warning us travellers not to take any cruisers. that was carter evans reporting from san francisco. a look at the day's other news now — and scotland's former first minister, alex salmond, has gone on trial in edinburgh, accused of 1a sexual offences against women — including one attempted rape. mr salmond denies all the charges. our scotland correspondent, lorna gordon, is at the high court. yes, thejury yes, the jury was empanelled this morning. thejudge, lady dorian, said to them that the accused is a very well—known public figure, but that the role of the jury in this trial was to ask as judges, not detectives. at the politics is irrelevant, as is anything they may have heard about the accused in the past, and that they must reach a verdict based on the evidence and nothing else. for year's alex
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salmond dominated scottish politics and now he is on trial accused of multiple sexual offences, or alleged to have happened while he was serving as first minister and leader of the snp. speaking ahead of his indictment last year, he denied all the charges he was facing. indictment last year, he denied all the charges he was facinglj indictment last year, he denied all the charges he was facing. i am innocent and i will defend my position vigorously. alex salmond faces 12 charges of sexual assault and two of indecent assault. they date from 2008 until 2014. ten women are said to have been victims, some more than once. among the charges is one of attempted rate and one assault with intent to rate. nine of the alleged assaults are said to have taken place at bute house, the first minister's official residence in edinburgh, including the alleged attempted rate in which mr salmond is said to have pinned a women against a wall, removing his clothes and her own before lying naked on top of her. the charges span many yea rs top of her. the charges span many years in many locations. a restau ra nt years in many locations. a restaurant in glasgow, a nightclub
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in edinburgh, a car, stirling castle and the scottish pilot. mr salmond has pleaded not guilty to all the charges he is facing. the trial at the high court in edinburgh is expected to last four weeks. mr salmond's legal team have lodged what is known as a special defence, ofan alibi what is known as a special defence, of an alibi and consent for for my other charges, that he behaved with the consent of the women. there are no opening statements in a scottish criminal trial so just before lunch we started hearing evidence from the first of the complainers, known as woman h, scottish government official, who it is alleged mr salmond attempted to rate. he denies all the charges. thank you. lorna gordon reporting. the time is 18 minutes past one. our top story this lunchtime: ministers say they remain focused on containing the coronavirus outbreak in the uk but they say they expect the virus to spread in a
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significant way. coming up, a panorama investigation highlights the dangers of smart motorways. coming up on bbc news, the prestigious indian wells tennis tournament is cancelled due to coronavirus fears, with some of the players already in california. health officials say there is too great a risk to hold the event. the duke and duchess of sussex are making their final official appearance as senior royals today. harry and meghan are attending the commonwealth service at westminster abbey — their last royal duty before they step back from the monarchy. our royal correspondent nicholas witchell has this report which contains some flash photography. they've spent the last couple of days fulfilling what are being described as their final formal duties
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as members of the royalfamily. this was the royal albert hall on saturday night. a packed house for a festival of military music, and an audience which appreciated the royal presence. harry was there as captain general of the royal marines. that's just one of the honorary military positions from which he's having to step down. and it was a military theme on friday evening when harry attended the endeavour awards for wounded servicemen. he spoke about the concept of service. being able to serve queen and country is something that we're all rightly proud of, and it never leaves us. once served, always serving. harry looked at home, as did meghan when she visited a school in dagenham to speak about womens‘ rights. it's fair to say she went down a storm. the head boy, 16—year—old aker okoye, seemed to catch the mood. she really is beautiful, innit? all of which leaves many people wondering, "why are they stepping back?", "have
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they really thought this through?", and "will it work for harry?" he is giving up everything that he is known, a huge family that he is very close to, and his work, to go and live in canada. at westminster abbey this afternoon, the sussexes will attend the annual commonwealth day service with the queen and harry's father and elder brother. they, too, must be wondering whether harry is doing the right thing. the royal family is leaving the door open in case there's a change of heart. a final appearance? we shall have to see. nicholas witchell, bbc news. the chinese company, jingye, is expected to complete its takeover of british steel this afternoon — securing the future of more than 3,000 workers in scu nthorpe and teesside. our correspondent, sarah corker, is in scunthorpe. very welcome news for the workforce, sarah? yes, this deal has been described by the company is a new
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chapter for the uk steel industry. here in scu nthorpe chapter for the uk steel industry. here in scunthorpe they have be making irony and steel for more than 150 years. this takeover will secure, as you say, 3200 jobs across the business, but this plant supports another 20,000 jobs in the wider supply chain. the company is believed to have paid between £50 million and £70 million for the business and over the next decade it plans to invest a huge £1.2 billion but in the short term it will streamline the business. there will be 400 redundancies. it was back in may of course that british steel was put into compulsory liquidation. since then it has been bankrolled by the government, but workers are of course there are relieved that later this afternoon this deal will be finalised with jingye. sarah, thank you very much indeed.
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the government department responsible for supporting disabled people has lost more disability discrimination cases than any other uk employer. an investigation by the bbc‘s panorama programme found that over a four—year period the department had to pay out hundreds of thousands of pounds to current and former disabled staff who accused it of discrimination. richard butchins reports. barry has a serious panic and anxiety disorder that can trigger life—threatening asthma attacks. for 30 years, he worked in finance at the department for work and pensions. but when he was moved into a different role and sent on a training course, it triggered his anxiety. i was basically told that if i didn't do it, then i would be disciplined. so i attended the course. i wasn't taking anything in, and ijust had this overwhelming feeling of, i had to get out of the room. i just collapsed to the floor. i thought at first i was having a heart attack. i had this tremendous crushing pain in my chest.
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i couldn't breathe. i realised then that it was an asthma attack. barrie was sent to hospital, but despite knowing this the next day his managers called him, asking to know where he was. he took the dwp to an employment tribunal. they ruled he had been discriminated against because of his disability, and he was awarded £26,000. panorama has carried out an in—depth analysis of every employment tribunal where an employer has been accused of disability discrimination, and can reveal that since 2016, the dwp has lost more tribunals than any other employer in britain. the average is 3%, and the dwp has lost 13% of the cases brought against it, and paid out almost £1 million to current and former staff. there is a horrible irony that the organisation that is designed to look after the more vulnerable members of our society is constantly falling foul
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of the equality act around disability. the department says it's shocked by panorama's findings and has worked hard to ensure staff have a route to raise concerns with someone they trust. it says it has now instigated a review of its processes to make sure all their employees are treated fairly and with respect. richard butchins, bbc news. the trial has opened in the netherlands of three russians and a ukrainian who've been charged with the murder of the passengers and crew of flight mh—17, the malaysian airlines jet shot down over ukraine in 2014. anna holligan reports. it took the prosecutor 18 minutes to recite the names of all 298 people on board. their families believe this trial is their best hope of justice. the suspects had
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the chance to be here. they had a chance to be represented by a lawyer. they didn't. that is their own choice. and if they don't want to defend themselves, that is up to them. two of the suspects allegedly have close links to russia's intelligence agencies. the most prominent is igor girkin, a former colonel in russia's fsb intelligence service will stop according to prosecutors, he was the highest—ranking officer in the pro—russian rebel held territory in eastern ukraine, and was in direct contact with the russian federation. sergey dubinsky and oleg pulatov, alleged former members of russia's gru special forces, and the only ukrainian national, leonid karchenko, who has no military background, but was allegedly acting as the commander of a combat unit. these hearings are taking place
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within sight of the runway where flight mh—17 took off. the suspects were never expected to appear for a trial, but it's culmination of the most complex criminal investigation in dutch history. in 2014, a conflict was raging — pro—russian separatist militia fighting ukrainian forces for control of an area in the east of ukraine. according to the prosecution, the defendants asked russia's defence ministry for heavy weapons. a convoy was allegedly sent from the 53rd anti—aircraft missile brigade, based in the russian city of kursk, across the border, to the rebel—held territory, carrying the buick rocket launcher used to shoot down flight mh17. anna holligan, bbc news, schiphol. highways england has acknowledged that it's not possible to monitor every camera on the smart motorway network at all times.
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campaigners are calling for changes to the system, with nearly 40 motorists or passengers being killed after stopping on a hard—shoulder that was being used as a regular lane for traffic. the government is reviewing the way the roads are operated, as john maguire reports. they are our safest roads, and making some of them smart and in making some of them smart congestion has been reduced. but at a terrible cost. the aa has given us footage showing various near misses. he's already been going for a couple of minutes. i suppose the point here being that he's looking a refuge. meera's eight—year—old son dev was killed when the car he in was hit while stopped on a smart motorway. devastated at the circumstance, devastated at which way our lives have had to change, in a different direction. there's not been anger. ijust have a passion for this change, because i don't want anyone else to go through what we have. i can't bring dev back,
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no one can bring dev back, but we can stop this happening to anyone else. there two types of smart motorway. firstly, where the hard shoulder‘s been replaced with an extra lane. the only safe place to stop as an emergency refuge. is an emergency refuge. when this idea was first trialled, they were every 600 metres. now in some cases they're more than two miles apart. the second, known as dynamic, is where the hard shoulder can be switched on and off during peak times. overhead gantries tell drivers whether or not they can use them. the head of highways england told mps they are too complicated. because people aren't sure if it's a hard shoulder or a running lane, even when it is open the usage of that running lane is much lower, because people aren't sure whether it's a hard shoulder or not. so i don't think we will be building any more dynamic hard shoulder smart motorways. the network is monitored by cctv cameras and screens in control centres.
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but, in response to a freedom of information request, highways england told the bbc all screens cannot be observed around the clock. the study found the average time to reach a car stranded on a smart motorway is 17 minutes. the department for transport says it owes it to the families of those killed for its safety review to be "thorough and quick", and expects to announce an outcome very shortly. highways england says it's committed to implementing any new recommendations as part of its work to make roads safer. if the campaigners are successful, then smart motorways will be safer. many, though, want them scrapped altogether. john maguire, bbc news, sheffield. time for a look at the weather. here's mel coles. it's that time of year when we
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can expect anything

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