BBC News 4 January 2018

BBC News 4 January 2018

this Sears BBC news and these are the top stories developing at midday anger in the White House Donald Trump's lawyers threatened legal action against his former chief of staff Steve Bannon over explosive claims in a new book former Prime Minister Tony Blair rejects allegations in the book that he warned Donald Trump's aides UK intelligence may have spied on him the Environment Secretary Michael Gove promises farmers they'll get the same level of subsidies for five years post brexit the warns the current system doesn't reward efficiency wellwe've guarantee that in cash terms the amount of money that we give to farmers will remain exactly the same right up until the next general election in 2022 and what we want to do is to ensure that thereafter that there is a smooth path towards a different form of paying farmers record numbers of people called the NHS one one one helpline during the festive period and there was an increase in ambulances being delayed outside a and e tech firms work to fix a flaw in computer chips that could allow hackers to steal personal data from computers and smartphones a warning that schools should play a bigger role in preparing children for social medias emotional demands as they move to secondary school the leader of the council in Windsor calls for police to take action against what he called aggressive begging before the Royal Wedding in May and Britain's Andy Murray withdraws from the Australian Open after failing to recover from an ongoing hip injury hello a very good afternoon to you it's what date is it it is the fourth of January isn't it I'm Anita McVeigh and welcome to BBC newsroom live Donald Trump's lawyers have threatened his former chief of staff Steve Bannon with legal action for speaking about his time on the election campaign to the author of a book about the president the book by the journalist Michael Wolfe makes bold claims including that Donald Trump was unprepared for the job and that his wife Melania cried when he won the race to the White House mr. bannon was quoted as describing the president's son Donald Jr as treasonous and unpatriotic for meeting Russians during the campaign mr. Trump hit back accusing his former strategist of losing his mind after he lost his job at the White House on North America correspondent Peter Bose reports they were once as thick as thieves Steve Bannon helped shape the America first campaign that got Donald Trump elected president in the White House he was a key player he had the president's ear but his job as chief strategists was short-lived and mr. bannon returned to his role as the head of the right-wing Breitbart news website he promised to be the president's wingman outside but this book reveals a different story the most damaging claim is that Steve Bannon viewed a meeting between Donald Trump jr. and a group of Russians during the presidential campaign as treasonous and unpatriotic also present were mr. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and is then campaign chairman Paul mana for the three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor with no lawyers Bannon is quoted as saying he adds that after the meeting they should have called the FBI immediately the president has head back in a scathing statement he says Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency when he was fired he not only lost his job he lost his mind he goes on Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only tends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue whom he helped write phony books the White House press secretary Sarah Saunders has condemned the books contents as completely untrue she says the meeting was not an act of treason I think that is a ridiculous accusation and one that I'm pretty sure we've addressed many times from here before and if that's in reference to comments made by mr. bannon I'd refer you back to the ones that he made previously on 60 minutes where he called the collusion with Russia about this president a total farce so I think I would look back at that if anybody's been inconsistent it's been him certainly hasn't been the president or this administration the book also includes the claim that Steve Bannon believed the Russians were taken after the meeting to meet Donald Trump the president has always denied that happened with the ongoing investigation into possible Russian collusion in the presidential election this explosive row between Donald Trump and his once trusted ally has left Washington stunned bid oppose BBC News and there are more revelations in the book Woolf describes the amazement and dismay in the Trump camp at his November 2016 election win he says a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump suddenly Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be President Michael Wolff also claims that Trump didn't enjoy his own inauguration he was angry that a level stars had snubbed the event the book claims and visibly fought with his wife who seemed on the verge of tears the first lady's office rejects this claim saying that mrs. Trump supported her husband's bid for president and was happy when he won the book also purports to lift the lid on Trump's daughter Ivanka secret presidential ambitions it says that his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Ivanka decided to accept roles in the West Wing over the advice of almost everyone they knew and that if sometime in the future the opportunity arose she Ivanka would be the one to run for president other claims in the book that Tony Blair warned Donald Trump's aides that UK intelligence may have spied on him and that Blair was angling for a post-election middle east advisor role have been dismissed as categorically absurd by the former prime minister he's been speaking to the BBC this story as we pointed out is a complete fabrication I mean literally from beginning to end I've never had such conversation in the White House outside of the White House with Jared Kushner with anybody else I let Jared Kushner of course I met him and we discussed the Middle East peace process but and by the way that part of the story is also untrue I mean I wasn't sort of angling for some job you don't want a job no I did the quartet role I'm still very active on the Middle East peace process but got absolutely no desire for an official position I never sought one that was never offered one don't want one and but the story I mean is it's it's a it's a sort of reflection that to me on on the crazy state of modern politics I mean here's a story that's literally invention and it's now halfway around the world with conspiracy theories attached to it but anyway they get that sound modern politics and joining me now to look into this is Leslie Avenger Maury associate professor at SOAs University of London and Associate Fellow of the US and the Americas program at the independent international affairs think-tank Chatham House Lesley good to have you with us so are these the words of a disgruntled former chief of staff or is there more to it than that well I think undoubtedly it's both right it's certainly balanced trying to stoke the fires but undoubtedly there's there's more to it but I think the you know the real problem here is that this is a president Donald Trump has come back 2018 and really needs to drive forward with a very strategic agenda and what we've seen in the last few days are 16 or 17 tweets and in his first day and a half back on a number of issues very inflammatory and now this comes out and and of course that we've even heard that there might be a lawsuit against the author of the book wolf for the for failing to abide to a number of confidentiality agreements for bannon's conversation so there is it there is a question of you know is this going to take this president right back down into the weeds bannon's been a concern since left the White House there was a lot of concern about whether he would actually be more of a problem outside of the White House than in and of course the loss of the Senate seat the election in Alabama was attributed in part to trump listening to Bannon and said this this break has been coming now for several weeks but this is really very significant in in the sense that it's going to distract this president very markedly and of course the the the the really big story coming out of the book I think is that the Bannon has said the Russia investigations are very seriously he's used the word treason I think yeah so that that I think is something that's going to prove problematic for the White House how do you think this this specific comment on on Donald Trump jr. is meeting calling it treasonous how do you think that is going to feed into the wider investigation into these allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign well I think it you know it gives fuel to those who want to see the investigations proceed remember the president's been hoping that the investigations would come to a close it's pretty clear especially since we got the news that that the former national security adviser seems to be cooperating that that wasn't going to happen nonetheless I think the president was hoping that he could sort of tie a bow on these investigations but you now we have Bandhan who was very close to trump saying you know there's a real problem here so the the sort of you know the conversation around those investigations is not going to go away and it again it proves to be a very serious distraction for a president who just about got taxed through it's not been popular isn't hasn't made any headway with his broader legislative agenda on infrastructure is facing some very very serious national security problems North Korea and and thus Russia investigations are now just going to continue to distract him and just a final thought in many ways it's not surprising is it because you know these latest revelations from from Steve Bannon it's very symptomatic of the White House since Trump became president it's been a chaotic White House it's been one where he has very publicly clashed with people who one day he's calling you know a guy and the next is pushing out the door that's right we've seen ongoing dysfunctionality there was a hope in that moment when John Kelly came in that that he would be able to bring some order to the White House and I think for the you know for people outside America who are trying to understand how does one deal with this White House it's very disturbing because it's you know there's but one question has been do we follow the tweets or do we follow the policy now it's you know can this White House and the broader administration make policy or is it going to continue to just be very dysfunctional it's a bit of a soap opera going on in Washington but at a time when there's some really very serious issues both at home and abroad okay Leslie thank you very much for your thoughts today Leslie vinge Amaury the Environment Secretary has set out his plans for what he calls a green brexit Michael NGO said the government will mirror EU subsidies to British farmers worth three billion pounds a year until 2024 the payments will then be replaced by a system to encourage environmental improvements such as rewards for opening up the countryside to the public providing new habitats for wildlife and increasing biodiversity of course brexit looming change but critically what it means most of all is that we can once more decide how we shape change and how we meet the challenges ahead it means we don't need any longer to follow the path dictated by the Common Agricultural Policy we can have our own national food policy our own agricultural policy our own environment policies our own economic policies shaped by our own collective interests michael gove well let's talk to our political correspondent Chris Mason at Westminster about all of this Chris is it it's a special case being made for farmers in that the payments they they currently get will be mirrored for five years post brexit in a way that in other areas it won't happen there's an acute awareness Anita that farmers are particularly affected by brexit because the Common Agricultural Policy which has been around for many many decades and is such a big part of the European Union still around 40% of EU payments are via the Common Agricultural Policy it used to be much much higher in decades past so in other words farmers will be very conscious of what's going to happen after breaks it because payments from the EU make up a big proportion of their income and their balance sheets now just a couple of statistics for you more than half of the money there comes from the EU to the UK it goes on agriculture in 2016 that was about 2.7 billion pounds in the UK there are a hundred and seventy eight thousand recipients of c.a.p payments at the average amount per beneficiary bent between seventeen and eighteen thousand pounds now what we did know prior to today was that the government had said that for the two years that is the expected to be the window of a transition period after March 2019 so after brexit has formally happened that things would remain the same what we've learnt today is that in England for most farmers things will continue the same beyond that for a further three years until 2024 here is Mr Gove spelling that out he uses a little bit of jargon he talks about the bps here that is the basic payment scheme which is the biggest of the EU's rural payments I then envisage guaranteeing that bps payments continue for a transitional period in England which should last a number of years beyond the implementation period depending on consultation during these years we proposed to first reduce the largest bps payments in England we could do this through a straight tap at a maximum level or through a sliding scale of reductions to the largest payments first so what's the reaction has there been from farmers to this Chris broadly positive reaction from farmers so they were obviously concerned about what would happen in a relatively short number of years time and so from that perspective there is some reassurance although this will be a relatively narrow window for them to adjust to the new system and however much the frustrations that many farmers have had with the Common Agricultural Policy and there have been plenty the new system that Mr Gove is proposing will be in all likelihood pretty different he wants to make a virtue of to use the slogan taking back control so there's of rural payments that are channeled from the government here at Westminster to farms around England in a way that better reflects the agricultural industry in England and just a nod to the situation elsewhere in the UK the the view from the government when they look at the practicalities of delivering black states is that during the transition period the two years from March 2019 until March 2021 roughly because that transition period hasn't been negotiated yet things that effectively carry on just the same because in all likelihood the money will still be coming from Europe even there will be no longer a member of the European Union because the transition period will keep pretty much everything the same beyond that the three years that mr. Gav was talking about this morning agriculture being in devolved this should be something sorted out in Edinburgh and in Cardiff and in Belfast and so it is possible that administration's there follow a different policy from the English model so that's why what Mr Gove is saying from Twenty twenty one to twenty from twenty four it's talking about England only let me just insert one more caveat into an already complicated picture here in Nita of course mr. Gav is therefore talking about a period at least some of which is beyond the next general election so he's effectively talking about conservative policy but rather than government policy because who knows who'll be in government here at Westminster the other side of that next election and that is a very good question Chris thank you very much Chris Mason at Westminster now there's a warning that some low paid jobs including cashiers and shop assistants could be replaced by machines or computers if the minimum wage continues to increase the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that jobs which are easier to automate could soon disappear altogether as artificial intelligence increasingly dominates our lives and employers consider machines cheaper in the long term than humans well let's get more insight into this story with Jonathan cribb who's a senior economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies which of course is behind this report Jonathan welcome what sort of time frame are you talking about so what we've done is we've looked at a measure of how routine jobs are the more routine jobs are the more that they are likely to be able to be replaced by machinery and we're really talking about technology now not even thinking about the more complex technology that might be coming forward in the future and what we see is that if we look at where the minimum wage is now compared to where the minimum wage was only two or three years ago the jobs affected by the minimum wage are much more likely to be able to be automated than they were only a few years ago so we already see that in some shops that we go into there might be one member of staff supervising self-service tills for example but you know clearly replacing several tills where you would have had people standing behind them not that long ago so the technology exists you're saying to do that on a wider scale already in general technology exists that are able to replace jobs that have fixed limits very fixed rules and patterns or things that involve can a finger dexterity actually some jobs that are relatively routine and relatively automatable therefore how can a middle pay such as bank clerks so those could be things that are in the future subject to automation the irony of this of course is that this could put people out of work but actually increased productivity couldn't it so the the design of a higher minimum wage would be to boost the PD at the earnings and incomes of low wet paid people in work however if we right raise it so high that firms increasingly have an incentive to use machines rather than people then that could have a deleterious effect on these people's living standards so actually that might not improve productivity if they don't have the wages to go out and spend money then is that what you say it's not clear and we would think that better technology in general would increase the productivity of workers what would be worrying is if this high productivity for some workers you know isn't isn't isn't also experienced by the low-skilled people and if they're kind of priced out of the labor market by a higher minimum wage okay it's a fascinating topic Jonathan thank you very much for talking to us Jonathan crib from the IFS the headlines now on BBC newsroom live the time is 19 minutes past 12:00 in the White House Donald Trump's lawyers threaten legal action against his former chief of staff Steve Bannon over claims in a new book on the president the Environment Secretary Michael Gove has set out how the regulations governing food and farming will change after brexit record numbers of people called the NHS one-one-one helpline during the festive period and there was an increase in ambulances being delayed outside a and e time for some more sport let's head to Jessica at the BBC Sports Centre hi Jessica good afternoon to You Anita will start with tennis because Andy Murray has pulled out of the first Grand Slam of the tennis season the Australian Open and says he's not yet ready to compete mari will fly home from australia back to the UK to concentrate on rehabilitation for a long-term hip injury that's ruled him out of playing competitively for the last six months here's a tennis correspondent Russell fuller Jessica thank you very much more now on one of our top stories today record numbers of people call the non-emergency NHS one one one helpline over the Christmas week the pressures facing the Health Service are also highlighted by a sharp increase in ambulance ambulances being delayed outside a and E the data released by NHS England shows more than four hundred and eighty thousand people called NHS one one one that's a 21 percent rise in calls to the non-emergency helpline during the last week of Christmas compared to the previous week ambulance crews face delays of over 30 minutes handing over patients to A&E staff nearly 17,000 times during that last week of December and at least 20 Hospital trusts have now been forced to declare major incidents this week that's nearly one an eighth of the total our health correspondent Nick trigger is here so what does this information tell us beyond the obvious winter pressures that we've already been hearing about of course well it's a sign of just how busy any units are ambulances that arrive should be able to hand over their patients to doctors and nurses at A&E within 15 minutes of arrival but clearly that's not happening in many cases I've been speaking to I'm crews who say they've been forced to take their patients into hospital corridors and wait and nurse them until stuff comes free and sometimes those delays are up to five or six hours and that delays them yep some of the extreme ones are for that long and that delays them getting out you into the community responding to other 999 calls and we've seen ambulance trust this week also declaring major incidents not just the hospitals but the ambulance trust and they've had to resort to things such as asking those less serious cases to perhaps arrange your own transport to hospital so it is clear there are some severe pressures in the early weeks of this we've just had a quote from Theresa May apologizing for delays to NHS operations saying she knows it's difficult frustrating and disappointing number 10 of course wants to you know project the image that the Primus Prime Minister empathizes with the position that lots of people who have had procedures cancelled or postponed with the position that they are in but lots of people are therefore asking well you know if you know that there's going to be a peak at this time of year in demand why don't you put more resources into the NHS well the the ministers are not there's been old more planning has gone into this winter than in previous winters and the move to cancel operations is about easing the pressure and to avoid those last-minute cancellations that have happened in previous winters now what what has previously happened is the NHS has had a busy couple of weeks and whilst it's difficult the NHS is able to cope but what will be crucial this time around is if the pressures do not ease in the next couple of weeks if we have a bad flu outbreak for example that could put the NHS under severe strain so much depends on what happens these next few weeks this afternoon is that right Nick flu figures right at 2:00 it's been so far pretty low levels of flu but there are reports that we there's a lot of respiratory illness in A&E departments at the moment okay Nick thank you very much Nick trigger a council leader has written an open letter calling for action to tackle what he describes as aggressive begging on the streets of Windsor the letter written by councillor Simon Dudley comes ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Marko which is taking place in May the Windsor homeless project described the comments as abhorrent our correspondent Adina Campbell has been gauging reaction in Windsor this is proved to be very controversial of just four months until Prince Harry marries mega Marco here at Windsor Castle behind me in this three page letter the leader of windsor and maidenhead borough council that's Royal Borough Council has written to the Thames Valley Police Crime Commissioner that's Anthony Stan's failed setting out his concerns about the level of homelessness and begging in this borough saying that they should be using their legal powers to remove the number of homeless people here ahead of the word wedding he's there called this aggressive begging intimidating behavior and saying that homelessness is completely unacceptable but of course as you can imagine this has caused anger and upsets amongst the homeless charities in this area who've called his comments abhorrent even has gone as far to say that his comments are sickening saying that he's used the royal wedding as an excuse to target these vulnerable people now tens of thousands of people are expected to join in the celebrations on May the 19th when Prince Harry marries mega Marco here at st. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle but of course a bit like the weather this letter has caused a dark shadow ahead of the upcoming celebrations and you know he talks about people begging and choosing to be homeless and saying that they have been offered accommodation that they've turned down or other assistance that they've turned out what evidence is there that that is the case what in his letter Sam and Dudley does say that the council has invested heavily in these support services to help some of the 50 or 60 approximately rough sleepers in Windsor and saying that the support is there but he goes as far to say that they've chosen not to engage and not to take up that that support which has been rejected by some of the charities here in this area who say it's not out of choice that they want to be homeless that's just the situation they're in and some of the people we've spoken to you this morning some of the people from these charities say that it's completely outrageous that he's trying to remove these people who are in such a vulnerable situation saying that they should be just cleared out because of this high-profile royal wedding as I say tens of thousands of people are expected to visit on May the 19th to see merit Mega Marco Mary Prince Harry but some people have said that though these comments are unacceptable not just for the residents here but for the millions of people who do visits Windsor every year to see sites like this Oh Dena Campbell reporting it's time now for the weather forecast and Darrin bet is here with us this hour with the latest hi Darrin

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