welcome to bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: police launch an investigation into whether parties at downing street violated coronavirus rules. a spokesman says borisjohnson didn't think he had broken the law. more tough talk to prevent the ukraine crisis reaching a tipping point — president biden says he'd consider personal sanctions all on vladimir putin if russia invaded ukraine. at least 46 people are killed as tropical storm ana hits madagascar and mozambique — thousands have had to leave their homes. scientists find toxic compounds used in items like saucepans and packaging in wild otters — we look at the scourge of so—called forever chemicals.
the metropolitan police have launched their own investigation into the parties that took place inside downing street, to see if they broke covid rules. they've done so after receiving information from the internal inquiry, led by the senior civil servant sue gray. her report — seen as critical in deciding prime minister boris johnson's future — could be released as early as wednesday. our political editor, laura kuenssberg, has more. the law applies in every town, every city, every road, and every house, and in the sm postcode of number 10.
and the police have concluded they've seen enough about what happened behind closed doors when the law was lockdown — that it merits a full and proper look. i can confirm that the met is now investigating a number of events that took place at downing street and whitehall in the last two years. so, for only the second time in a century... can you survive the police investigation, borisjohnson? ..a serving prime minister will be investigated for what happened under his own roof, after months and months of claims about rule—breaking during a national emergency. i now call the prime minister. i believe this will help to give the public the clarity it needs and help to draw a line under matters. but i want to reassure the house, mr speaker, and the country, that i and the whole government are focused 100% on dealing with the people's priorities. i'm told the police have been talking to the official who's been trying to get to the bottom of what happened for weeks and enough evidence about gatherings or parties in downing street is there for them to contemplate prosecutions.
was it right to have a birthday gathering in downing street, ms dorries? more than a dozen events, including a celebration and cake around the cabinet table for the prime minister's birthday, have emerged. will there be cake on the cabinet table today, miss truss? but when ministers were there around that same table this morning, borisjohnson made no mention of the police investigation he already had been told about. those loyal to him have been louder in recent days. the vaccine roll—out, the furlough programme, the economy having bounced back to pre—pandemic levels, the leadership of borisjohnson this country has had, has been so brilliant. but even before the police or official report, there have been plenty of private tory recriminations for the chaos. i have not been invited to any parties. all of it more fuel for the opposition parties. so, it seems, mr speaker, potential criminality has been found in downing street. what a truly damning
reflection on our nation's very highest office. we cannot go on with this chaotic government. will he advise his boss to do the right thing in the national interest and resign? can we please have a sensel of proportion over the prime minister being given a piece of cake in his own office - by his own staff? the timing and complexities of a police investigation could slow down the tory party's rush to judgement on borisjohnson. conversations among mps over there, who have the power to determine his future, may be put on pause. yet one former minister said, "there is no universe where a police investigation "into downing street is a good thing in the real world." the tories, who like to be seen as the party of law and order,
are facing serious political disorder of their own. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, westminster. britain is prepared to deploy troops to protect nato allies in europe should russia invade ukraine. borisjohnson said vladimir putin would face ferocious ukrainian resistance. and president biden said he'd consider personal sanctions on mr putin if there were a russian invasion. our diplomatic correspondent, caroline hawley, reports. the might of the russian army on display in its ally belarus, ukraine's northern neighbour, where military exercises are planned next month. moscow has been building up troops on ukraine's eastern border, too, and fears of a new war in europe are growing. the kremlin is still denying it'll invade, president putin keeping the world guessing about what his intentions really are. if russia invades ukraine, we would look to contribute
to any new nato deployments to protect our allies in europe. but if president putin were to choose the path of bloodshed and destruction, he must realise that it would be both tragic and futile. russia's now amassed around 100,000 troops near its border with ukraine, leading to huge international concern. moscow used to control much of the region, but many countries have sincejoined nato, the military alliance of european and north american countries of which the uk is also a part. and president putin has demanded that ukraine never be allowed to join nato. so the west is now ramping up its response, the defensive counter build—up growing by the day. warships and fighterjets from several nato members are now heading to eastern europe. this is american military equipment and munitions arriving in kyiv. it's been called "lethal aid". the us has now put 8,500 troops on alert to deploy at short
notice if they need to. russia's also been threatened with unprecedented economic sanctions which could target president putin himself, the us says, if he does give the order to invade. for russia, not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences, but there will be enormous consequences worldwide. this would be the largest... if he were to move in with all those forces, it would be the largest invasion since world war ii. it would change the world. some in ukraine think the west is being alarmist. others are growing increasingly nervous. translation: we have to stick together - because we have enemies. 0ur big neighbour, russia, it is like a cancer on our soil. moscow today accused the americans of whipping up tensions over ukraine but suggested that diplomacy isn't dead yet. caroline hawley, bbc news. well, earlier, ispoke to andrew weiss who's vice—president for studies at the carnegie endowment for international peace. i asked his thoughts
on the different approach to russia being taken by european allies france and germany as opposed to the us and uk. i think there is unanimity between washington and european partners and london that it would be far better to smother the russians in diplomatic conversations instead of seeing this conflict to turn violent. so, in the meantime, there may be disagreements about exactly how much pressure to bring to bear, both because it could be provocative, but also because it could provide the russians an excuse for walking away from the diplomatic conversation. is it as smart as saying we have a good cop, bad cop arrangement here, and the french and germans are playing the good cop? they're going to have discussions, i believe, in paris in what is known as the normandy format, so we'll get the russians together with the french, germans, and even ukrainians, i think president macron thinks he's having a phone call with vladimir putin on friday, so clearly they feel it's time for them to step up.
well, the reason they're stepping up is because everyone keeps saying that putin is the decider, whose view of what happens matters the most, but no—one is talking to him. so french president macron is essentially nominating himself to take the lead right now in engaging with putin. german chancellor scholz is still getting settled into his newjob. in the previous round of crisis in 2014, 2015, it was angela merkel who led much of the european interaction with the russians. we don't have someone with her strength, both within the european union as well as her credibility with the russians, working on behalf of the west right now, so there is a real deficit interlocutors and macron is trying to fill that. and that will be seen, and mr macron has his own strategic views as to how europe should be playing a role here, but that would also play in also to the view of vladimir putin as a master
of looking for weaknesses and the lack of merkel oh, is a weakness. absolutely. there is no doubt in the fact that there is no—one right now on the european landscape with putin's level of experience and his own institutional memory of how he got to this point is a huge liability. and, frankly, it's a challenge for the united states as well. like britain, the us—russian relationship is in tatters and there are very few interlocutors who are dealing on an intensive basis who are dealing with putin's inner circle, that is a real challenge as we head into what could be a very dangerous phase in this crisis in mid—february or later. can ijust, for a final thought, turn our attention to domestic politics in the us as well, we have mid—terms and we also have a biden who's playing hardball after a fashion and we've got donald trump who could quite easily be saying, "look, once again, the europeans
are soft peddling, we're expected to pick up the pieces in a faraway part of the world," and that plays very well domestically, as an argument. i don't think the american people, i'm not an expert on us politics or paying that much attention to this crisis, i think the challenges that are in front of president biden are enormous, whether it's the pandemic or the economic recovery, the threat of inflation, et cetera. his challenge is he doesn't want vladimir putin to swamp his entire presidency with endless crises and challenges in the ukraine. the other part of this, which is important, is republicans themselves are split. there's a big congressional voice from the republican party saying biden is too soft, and then in the other hand you have fox news and trump saying russia is ourfriend. so what you're seeing, frankly, in the us, domestic political dysfunction is again an advantage for russia's putin. the more the west looks divided, the easier this will be for the russians. let's get some of
the day's other news. the us coast guard says it's looking for 39 people missing after a boat reportedly capsized off florida. the accident occurred on saturday but a survivor was rescued on tuesday. he said the vessel had sailed from the bahamas but had run into bad weather. sunday's quarterfinal at the african cup of nations will not be played at the stadium in cameroon, where eight people died in a crush on monday. the confederation of african football president said there had to be an �*absolute guarantee' that fans would be safe. instead, it will be played at another stadium in yaounde. nancy pelosi has confirmed she's going to run for re—election to congress and may still stay on as house speaker despite previously saying she would step down from leadership after 2022. the 81—year—old has served in congress since 1987 and says her decision to stand again was to defend american democracy through legislation on voting rights and other issues. now to south east africa and a region that regularly has
to cope with some of the world's strongest — and most violent — tropical storms. in the latest extreme weather event to make landfall, storm ana has killed at least 46 people in madagascar and mozambique with up to 50 injured. thousands of people have been made homeless. in neighbouring malawi, the country lost most of its power because of flooding. stephanie prentice has this report. this is now home for these families in the madagascan capital. the crowded emergency accommodation site with no infrastructure, no privacy, and few resources. translation: the reason we're staying here is because - part of our house has collapsed. we asked for help. we can't live at home because it's flooded. if we leave here we've got nowhere to go and live. translation: we had to leave because all the mattresses - are wet and our baby got sick. we didn't have a house and we had to come here.
outside, the flooding has claimed thousands of homes and rescue agencies are still working their way in boats through what was once farmland to evacuate those who are trapped. while some have lost everything they own in this storm, many others lost their lives, with authorities working on recovery as well as rescue, searching for bodies in the floodwaters. the cyclone which formed he then moved to mainland africa, knocking out power for tens of thousands in mozambique and malawi. suddenly charcoal became like gold, as homes and businesses were plunged into complete darkness overnight. translation: immediately when the power went out, l customers came to buy charcoal, regardless of the quality. usually i make 3000 kwachas per day, but yesterday alone i made 10,000. officials in mozambique also reporting some people found dead, with official tolls
still coming in and saying more than half a million people have been impacted by the floodwaters. but despite attempts to get things back to normal, weather experts are forecasting another 4—6 powerful cyclones between now and late march. stephanie prentice, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: the price wildlife is paying for our massive reliance on plastic particles. climate critical is next. the shuttle challenger exploded soon after lift—off. there were seven astronauts on board, one of them a woman schoolteacher. all of them are believed to have been killed. by the evening, tahrir square, the heart of official cairo, was in the hands of the demonstrators. they were using the word 'revolution'.
the earthquake - singled out buildings and brought them down in seconds. _ tonight, the search for any survivors. has an increasing desperation about it as the hours pass. i the new government is firmly in control of the entire republic of uganda. survivors of the auschwitz concentration camp have been commemorating the 40th anniversary of their liberation. they toured the huts, gas chambers and crematoria and relived their horrifying experiences. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: police launch an investigation into whether parties at downing street violated coronavirus rules. a spokesman says borisjohnson didn't think he had broken the law.
president biden says he would consider imposing sanctions on president putin directly — if russia invades ukraine. every week at this time we take a look at climate change — bringing you stories with big implications for our planet's future. this week, we focus on pollution from plastics and other chemicals, and a key report showing that levels far exceed what the earth can safely support. we are producing 50 times more chemicals than we were in 1950 according to a report published by the american chemical society. that figure is projected to triple again by 2050. any of the 350,000 chemicals now produced, including the likes of plastics, pesticides, industrial chemicals, pharmaceutical product, do find their way into the natural environment.— their way into the natural environment. scientists warn these pollutants _ environment. scientists warn these pollutants are - environment. scientists warn these pollutants are bringing|
these pollutants are bringing irreversible changes to the planet, pushing species including our own beyond a safe operating space as they call it. and this comes as a study, here in the uk, found toxic "forever chemicals" used in non—stick saucepans and food packaging have been found in otters across england and wales. the substances, called pfas, are also used in waterproof clothing, stain resistant products and fire retardants. the chemicals are linked to pregnancy complications, liver disease, cancer and other illnesses. scientists from cardiff university say concentrations of these compounds in otters are a guide to levels of pollution in the environment. well, let's bring in environmental chemist, professor miriam diamond from the university of toronto, where she joins us from. you are responsible for this
latest study as well. first of august thank you forjoining us. itjust seems like it is all pervasive, this problem, and i don't want to be a total dermot monger but the scale, as we have seen in your report, suggested is going to get an awful lot worst. that meant worse —— doom monger. unfortunately that is true. we find plastics from the arctic to the antarctic, the mariana trench, the deepest part of the oceans in the world. we find pollution everywhere, including in all of us. pollution everywhere, including in all of ve— pollution everywhere, including in all of va— in all of us. the pro'ection in this report h in all of us. the pro'ection in this report says _ in all of us. the projection in this report says this - in all of us. the projection in this report says this could i this report says this could increase 50 fold. how do you arrive at a like that?- arrive at a like that? those other preject _ arrive at a like that? those other project to _ arrive at a like that? those other project to numbers i arrive at a like that? those i other project to numbers from the industry themselves. —— production numbers. 0n the one hand it is considered to be a show of economic strength. 0n the other hand, we consider it to be unacceptable in terms of what the world can cope with in terms of pollution. ﬁnd
what the world can cope with in terms of pollution.— terms of pollution. and here is the rub. we're _ terms of pollution. and here is the rub. we're talking - terms of pollution. and here is the rub. we're talking about i the rub. we're talking about products which are the dead rock, frankly, of our civilisation now, of our modern world, so how do you turn this around? how do you get these out of the system when it involves pharmaceuticals. medicines that essentially help to cure us and look after us. it involves the products that we have become useful —— used to for a cleaner, more hygienic living. how do you deal with all of that?— all of that? well, they are a number of _ all of that? well, they are a number of interesting - number of interesting assumptions you just made. a cleaner more hygienic world? that is related to allergies and asthma because we live in two cleaner world. asthma and allergies are part of a new dysfunction. of these chemicals we are born with can impair our immune dysfunction. why do we use so many pharmaceuticals? i'm not a physician so i'm not going to go there entirely but let us recount that some of the
disorders we are experiencing can be related back to chemical exposure. it is not that we do without all chemicals, it is rather that we learn to live within appropriate boundaries. how on earth did we manage to live 50 years ago when we had 50 times less chemical production?— 50 times less chemical production? 50 times less chemical roduction? , ., �* production? there is that. i'm sure they _ production? there is that. i'm sure they will _ production? there is that. i'm sure they will be _ production? there is that. i'm sure they will be plenty - production? there is that. i'm sure they will be plenty of - sure they will be plenty of people that stand up and say we live longer now, different ways, better environments, et cetera et cetera. i suppose the point i wanted to make here, miriam, is how do you reverse this trend then? if you talk about climate change and global warning, —— warming, we have all governments coming together and say right, we must take this policy or that. one can argue whether that works very well not what can you do for these issues?— these issues? i'm going to start by saying _ these issues? i'm going to start by saying that - these issues? i'm going to start by saying that it - these issues? i'm going to start by saying that it is i
these issues? i'm going to start by saying that it is an advancement and a lot better than doing nothing than —— nothing and sitting on our hands. i'm going to applauded as an advancement. 0ur hands. i'm going to applauded as an advancement. our paper is the first to call for a fixed or hard on the mass of chemicals that are produced. —— hard cap. we have come to realise that only a fixed amount of greenhouse gases can be put into the atmosphere because access greenhouse gases are causing irreversible and very serious damage to the climate upon which human civilisation depends. we are calling for reducing chemical production and recognising that we have to consider a fixed of how many chemicals can be produced and put into the environment. —— a fixed cap. we are putting too many chemicals
into the environment that are continuing to build up, in us and animals. 50 continuing to build up, in us and animals.— continuing to build up, in us and animals. , i. and animals. so the message you are putting _ and animals. so the message you are putting out — and animals. so the message you are putting out is _ and animals. so the message you are putting out is very _ and animals. so the message you are putting out is very clear. i are putting out is very clear. ijust are putting out is very clear. i just wonder, are putting out is very clear. ijust wonder, there is a huge hurdle in front of you, isn't there, which is a political reality. we have seen how long it's taken with regard to global warming or whatever we want to call it. what is the sort of timeframe that you're looking at to try and achieve some of these goals? i’m some of these goals? i'm lookin: some of these goals? i'm looking at _ some of these goals? i'm looking at a _ some of these goals? i'm looking at a time - some of these goals? i“n looking at a time frame that will enable our kids, grandchildren and great—grandchildren to live full and complete lives. i'm looking at making changes now and taking action. there is immediate action that we can take and then there is longer term action. i want to consider this to be a positive step forward that everybody can take as opposed to feeling and empowered and just miserable that we can't do anything.
there are things that we can do today. there is one thing that we can do today, we can stop buying fast fashion. fast fashion that is made to wear out within months! there is an enormous chemical burden associated with fast fashion. so how much of this called then is about you reaching out to the likes of me, everyone watching and listening, how much has to be about trying to turn the heads of government rs, turn the heads of government 's, because that is where the big policy decisions are taken, as we know, but that is a very slowjourney. it as we know, but that is a very slow journey-— as we know, but that is a very slowjourney— slow journey. it is a slow journey _ slow journey. it is a slow journey but _ slow journey. it is a slow journey but it _ slow journey. it is a slow journey but it starts i slow journey. it is a slow journey but it starts with j slow journey. it is a slow. journey but it starts with all of us voicing our concern that governments take action. governments represent the people. governments listen to the priorities of the people. it is up to us to take action. the governments have to listen to us. as i was saying, it is action at every level from the
individual, cities that are often very nimble at moving forward, for example, cities that are often at the forefront of taking action to combat, change and can do so also with constraining the use of plastics and the use of chemicals. and it moves all the way up to global governance structures. i way up to global governance structures.— way up to global governance structures. i was 'ust going to ask one structures. i was 'ust going to ask last _ structures. i wasjust going to ask one last point, _ structures. i wasjust going to ask one last point, we - structures. i wasjust going to ask one last point, we were i ask one last point, we were showing the pictures of the otters as examples because it has shown that they have been, i don't know what it is, infested by plastic particles themselves. is it as much about wildlife as it is about us? are they worse affected than us? it depends who you are talking about! if you are talking about about! if you are talking about a killer whale, yes. if you are talking about us, we're talking about behavioural effects, anxiety, reduced iq, adhd, if
you are talking about insects, if you are talking about the demise of populations. thea;r if you are talking about the demise of populations. they are all havin: demise of populations. they are all having their _ demise of populations. they are all having their impact. - all having their impact. miriam, we're going to have to stop at debit thank you very much forjoining us on climate —— climate critical. miriam diamond. hello there. wednesday brings the promise of a bit more brightness. some sunshine, even, across parts of england and wales after what has been a very stagnant and cloudy and cold few days. you can see that haze of grey on the earlier satellite picture. bright white cloud up to the north—west, though. that's indicative of frontal systems approaching, eventually bringing some rain into scotland and northern ireland, with a strengthening wind. so, through wednesday, england and wales having a better chance of some sunny spells, although towards the south—east corner it may stay cloudy for a good part of the day. strengthening winds across northern areas. rain just getting into northern ireland, certainly setting in across western and north—western scotland through the afternoon. gusts of wind in excess of 50 mph in exposed north—western parts. but milder than it has been, certainly across england
and wales — eight, nine, ten degrees. northern ireland and scotland up to ten or 11. through wednesday night, it will turn very, very windy in the far north. gales, even severe gales, close to the northern isles. 0ur band of cloud and increasingly light and patchy rain will be sinking its way southwards through the night. with some fairly windy weather, and relatively cloudy weather as well, temperatures should stay above freezing in most places. so, into thursday, this frontal system pushing its way southwards, taking cloud and patchy rain across england and wales. low pressure still close to the north—east of scotland, so a very blustery start to the day here. that wind will only slowly ease as the day wears on. 0ur band of cloud and patchy rain clinging on for a time across southern counties of england. it should clear out into the english channel by the afternoon to allow brighter skies to develop. some showers feeding in on the north—westerly breeze. temperatures for most of us between seven and 12 degrees. now, thursday night could get a little bit chilly, this ridge of high pressure building in. that could allow for some frost and some fog, but there's another frontal system
approaching from the west. that'll be freshening up the winds as we go through the day, particularly across northern ireland and scotland. rain getting into north—west scotland. in fact, some quite heavy rain through the north—west highlands. further south and east, increasing amounts of cloud. best of the sunshine in eastern counties. eight or nine degrees along the east coast of england. more like ten or 11 for western parts of the uk. the weekend looks unsettled and changeable. some rain at times, but not all the time. could be quite windy and generally, particularly on saturday, very mild.
this is bbc news. the headlines: police have launched an investigation into the parties that took place inside downing street during lockdown. it's after the civil servant leading an internal inquiry passed information on to officers. number 10 says borisjohnson thinks he did not break any laws. president biden has said he's prepared to impose sanctions on his russian counterpart vladimir putin directly, if moscow invades ukraine. it's the first time that western powers have suggested that measures they've threatened against moscow could go right to the top of the kremlin. at least 46 people have been killed in madagascar and mozambique as tropical storm ana brought torrential rains and flash flooding
to coastal parts of east africa. the island of madagascar suffered a mudslide with 65 thousand people left homeless. malawi lost most of its power across the country because of flooding. now on bbc news, it's panorama. if this happened to your home... smash. ..would you be confident the authorities would put a stop to it? i'm a very strong woman. but you can only take so much. tonight on panorama, the communities struggling with anti—social behaviour... i'm fed up with it happening because it isjust going to be a matter of time before someone gets killed. ..the people afraid in their own homes... i fear for my life. i'm serious about it. ..and we ask why an important protection for victims isn't