welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm mike embley. our top stories: it's not a witch hunt — the likely next head of the fbi says investigations into president trump are fair. as the future fbi director, do you consider this endeavour a witch hunt? i do not consider director mueller to be on a witch hunt. nine and a half years injail for brazil's ex—president lula, but he says he's still running for election again next year. mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world forjournalists. we sent our own reporter to find out why. a state visit to london for the king and queen of spain, with brexit and the future of gibraltar lurking in the background. "the greatest witch hunt in political history" —
that's what donald trump has called the controversy surrounding his son after he released e—mails revealing that he met a russian lawyer last year who was said to have information from the kremlin which would help his father's election campaign. president trump said his son had been open and transparent, and was innocent. our chief correspondent gavin hewitt reports. hannity: tonight, we have donald trump jr. .. donald trump's son out defending himself after revelations from e—mails that last year he met a russian lawyer who he believed would offer him incriminating information and hillary clinton. in retrospect, i probably would have done things a little differently. again, this is before the russia mania, this is before they were building it up in the press. for me, this was opposition research... in his interview, donald trumer said he hadn't referred the meeting to his father. it was such a nothing — there was nothing to tell. i mean, i wouldn't have even remembered it until you start scouring through this stuff.
it was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame. president trump was quick to praise his son's television performance, tweeting: so who are the key players involved in the meeting last year? the initial approach to donald trumer about a potential russian meeting came from rob goldstone, a british publicist. he helped schedule the appointment with natalia veselnitskaya, a russian lawyer. also in the room was paul manafort, trump's campaign manager, and jared kushner, trump's son—in—law — a clear sign they thought the meeting would be significant. the e—mail shows an intent and a desire to have a foreign government interfere in the american election of the president. asking for that kind of assistance, if that was the assumption of the meeting, that in and of itself can be a crime. the white house has been active, pointing out that there has been no illegality, no law broken,
no sensitive information exchanged. but that doesn't mean there are no risks in all of this for the trump administration. in this atmosphere of political crisis, focus turned towards capitol hill and the confirmation hearings for the new director of the fbi. he was asked whether he agreed with the president that the investigation by special counsel mueller into russian meddling and lasted's election amounted to a witch—hunt. do you believe that, in light of the doanr e—mail and other allegations, that this whole thing about trump campaigning in russia is a witch—hunt? is that a fair description of what we're all dealing with in america? senator, i can't speak to the basis for those comments. i can tell you that my experience with director mueller... i'm asking you is the future fbi director, do you consider this this endeavour a witch—hunt? i do not consider director mueller to be on a witch—hunt. in an interview with the christian broadcasting network today, president trump tried
to refocus attention back onto his latest legislative agenda and away from the questions about russia so preoccupying his administration. gavin hewitt, bbc news, washington. so what do the president's supporters make of the latest revelations about his campaign team and the mounting questions about their links with russia? our north america correspondent, nick bryant, has been to nebraska, a state that voted for mr trump in last year's election. in the rollicking ride of the troubled presidency, you often wonder how long he will stay on the horse. every day seems to bring a new wrestle in the mud — with the media, congress, international leaders — but here in nebraska, a trump state in the election, there is still strong support for his presidency, despite the attempts of opponents to ensnare him. did you
vote for him? yes, i did. are you happy with the job he is doing? you bet. he's a good businessman and that's what the country needs. get a lot of people back working, and that's what he's doing. on the night of the bombshell of the trump e—mails were released, no one at the cou nty e—mails were released, no one at the county fair was in the least bit concerned that team trump might have been telling porkies about the white house figures. the media has taken it out of proportion. but first e—mail proof now... it out of proportion. but first e-mail proof now... yeah... sun, i guess. i don't know. i haven't followed it for awhile now because of that. does it worry you? no. i think it's a farce spun by the left because they lost. what is noticeable is that people are not glued to their smartphones all the time. they are not following his
presidency minute by minute, tweets by tweet, but you do get the sense that some people think donald trump is fixated by his problems rather than theirs. that's the concern of the local republican mayor. what i hear from people is the local republican mayor. what i hearfrom people is less the local republican mayor. what i hear from people is less tweeting and more doing. i think there's kind of bewilderment about the compulsion to tweet about anything and everything, and so i think people like to see him focus more on working on some of his campaign promises. in america's fiercely patriotic heartland, it seems anomalous that voters are that concerned about russian meddling, but here they seem more mistrustful of the media than moscow. the former brazilian president lula da silva has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison on corruption charges. it's a sentence that will deeply divide brazil, with his supporters criticising the case as politically motivated. our south america correspondent katy watson in rio reports.
what a fall from grace for brazil's most popular politician — a president whose policies lifted millions out of poverty. a unionist to campaignfor millions out of poverty. a unionist to campaign for change. but now could face jailfor to campaign for change. but now could face jail for similar crimes to many of his adversaries. president lula was handed down a sentence for corruption and money—laundering, accused of receiving bribes equivalent to £1 million in the form of the refurbished beachfront property. in return he helped an engineering company win contracts with the state oil company, petrobras, the first of five charges against him. it's all pa rt five charges against him. it's all part of brazil's biggest corruption investigation, operation car wash, an investigation that spread its tentacles far and wide colour and implicated some of brazil's biggest politicians and businessmen. lula is no exception. for many, lula was
seen no exception. for many, lula was seen as no exception. for many, lula was seen as the saviour when he entered office in 2010. but the millions of others he's become one of the biggest symbols of the country's corruption problem. this man leads operation car wash and is the man who handed down the sentence, someone who handed down the sentence, someone who also divides opinion. translation: i think the judge was very clever in writing the sentencing. it doesn't matter how important you are, the law is above all of us. you have to follow the law. if lula did something wrong, and apparently he did, he has to pay for his crimes. i don't believe in the kind ofjustice the judge practices. he chooses people, he has his political parties. he doesn't look at the evidence. it's a sentiment shared by lula's lawyer. translation: x president lula is very calm, but, like anyone who is convicted without proof, who is convicted without proof, who is convicted despite having proven his innocence, there is a natural
indignation of a convicted person faced with this ridiculous situation. but lula won't be put behind bars for now. first he can appeal against the sentence and, while the sentence continues, he is free to apply for elections next year, something he has hinted at in the past, and the past, he year, something he has hinted at in the past, he is a front—runner the polls, but he is a figure that brazilians love to hate, and it could divide brazilians even more. by most estimates, mexico ranks behind only syria and afghanistan as the most dangerous countries in the world forjournalists. 11 were killed in 2016 and already this year seven have been murdered with almost complete impunity. and in their day—to—day work, many local journalists face intimidation and violence from both drug gangs and corrupt security forces. will grant spent the day with one of them in the dangerous eastern state of veracruz. this woman presents the breakfast
show on her local radio station. the headlines include a bank robbery and the possible extradition of a former state governor. these are normal stories for veracruz, one of the most violent states in mexico. after the show, she shows me a few stories she has covered recently, from shootouts to funerals. they all share one scene — the turf war raging between two major cartels in the region. translation: a killing a day is the minimum. we have to go to the crime scenes so we minimum. we have to go to the crime scenes so we tried to unite as reporters. our media might want us to getan reporters. our media might want us to get an exclusive but it's your life at stake. it's too dangerous to go alone. the most recent example was a gruesome mass killing on the outskirts of the town. eli took us back to the crime scene. these are the stories that localjournalists run most risks while reporting. an
entire family, including four children, were murdered in their home by unknown gunmen. the youngest victim, just three years old. u nfortu nately, victim, just three years old. unfortunately, such events are becoming part of daily life in veracruz and, as such, an increasing pa rt veracruz and, as such, an increasing part the reporter'sjob. eli veracruz and, as such, an increasing part the reporter's job. eli says she was intimidated by a police officer and when she complained she received a death threat online. officer and when she complained she received a death threat onlinelj was scared, obviously, and i took down my social media accounts. everything. many mexican journalists have paid the ultimate price for reporting on the drug cartels, like this well—known reporter, gunned down in may, outside his office. but the dangers of reporting the drug war don'tjust come from the cartels, also from corrupt elements of the security forces. in some states, say campaigners, they are one and the same thing. when you kill a journalist, you are killing a
messenger, and that in orderfor him to become the message. back in veracruz it has been a day without drug violence for eli. instead, she spent the afternoon on reports about abandoned vehicles, stories local journalists used to write before the drug war worsened. these days, though, the murder of colleagues is increasingly part of the job. the killings never end. sometimes we ask ourselves, what more can we do? yet they continue to kill us. with a young family to think about, eli doesn't want to die for her profession, so she tries to trick the most careful path she can while still reporting truthfully about the state of veracruz. we should add, the bbc repeatedly requested a response from mexico's federal police and the state governor's office in veracruz on the issue of violence against journalists for this report. none was provided. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: paddling from cuba
to the united states in fold—up canoes. a pair of adventurers try to improve relations between the two old enemies. the flamboyant italian fashion designer gianni versace has been shot dead in florida. the multimillionaire was gunned down in his home in the exclusive beach district of miami. emergency services in central europe have stepped up efforts to contain the worst floods this century. nearly 100 people have been killed. broadway is traditionally called the great white way by americans but tonight it is completely blacked out. it's a timely reminder of all americans about the problems the energy crisis has brought them. 200 years ago today a huge parisian crowd stormed the bastille prison, the first act of the revolution which was to topple the french monarchy. today hundreds of thousands thronged the champs—elysees for the traditional military parade. finally, fairy penguins have been staggering ashore and collapsing
after gorging themselves on a huge show of their favourite food, pilchards. some had eaten so much they could barely stand. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the nominated head of the fbi has told senators he doesn't regard the investigation into russian intervention in last year's american elections as a witch hunt, as president trump has claimed. brazil's former president lula has been sentenced to 9.5 years in jail for corruption, but he's said he'll run for president again next year. let's return now to the twists and turns in washington, over the investigation into the trump administration's
contacts with russia, including those by his son donald junior. the president left washington a short time ago, leaving the storm behind him as heads for paris where he'll be celebrating france's bastille day on friday as president macron's guest of honour. our correspondent david willis is in washington. as we've been hearing, outside washington this doesn't seem to matter so much. how does it look from there? there's word from the white house, the building behind me, that the whole administration if you like, mike, is in a state of paralysis. president trump is said to be furious and frustrated by the fa ct to be furious and frustrated by the fact the russia probe seems to be dominating the headlines and just won't go away. according to cable news channels, he's been holed up in there in the white house virtually since returning from the g20, trying to work out what to do about all this. that of course has stalled the domestic agenda, including of course
moves to revise and replace obamacare. moves to revise and replace obamaca re. there's a moves to revise and replace obamacare. there's a feeling that he really can't work out how to move the agenda on from this. now, he's currently on his way to france for a meeting with emmanuel macron to celebrate bastille day. there will bea celebrate bastille day. there will be a press conference at the elysee palace on thursday and that will be the first chance journalists have to directly ask donald trump about this latest extraordinary twist with the e—mails in the russian saga. briefly, david, even if you're a trump supporter, and as we've been hearing, and you think all this is got up by the left—wing media and the people you don't trust, even he must be frustrated and you must be frustrated that this is getting in the way of the things he was elected to do? very much so, and you wonder how this is going down with the 40%
or so how this is going down with the 40% or so who voted for donald trump, how they make all this because it really is very distracting, mike. as i mentioned, the white house by all accou nts i mentioned, the white house by all accounts in something of a state of suspended animation trying to work out how to respond to this and to make the whole thing go away. david, thank you very much for that. this week, we've been reporting on china's ambitious plan to recreate the famous silk road, the ancient trading route between east and west. it's thought it'll cost almost $1 trillion and involves a new rail link from china to the uk being paid for by the chinese. it passes through countries like the former soviet republic of kazakhstan, amid growing concerns about china's influence. our china editor carrie gracie started out in eastern china on her 7,000—mile journey along the new silk road, tonight she's reached kazakhstan. bells chime for two centuries, central asia was russia's backyard. kazakhstan got its independence
when the soviet union collapsed. but russian remained the language of business — until now. this is china's new silk road in action. the economy slowing back home, state construction companies put to work abroad. master builder xu xiwen delivering a cutting—edge urban railway. translation: china's advanced technology is bringing convenience and more comfort and safety to travellers in kazakhstan. if this project goes well, it will serve as a model for others. china says its plans are for the benefit of all. but mostjobs here will go to chinese workers, and the loan was tied to a chinese design. it's not just building across central asia, china's buying into banks and oil fields too. some locals say they see no benefit.
in one village, a kindergarten has become a hostel for chinese workers. ardak kubasheva complains of pollution, and jobs going to outsiders. translation: the chinese have done nothing. there's a huge oil industry here, but nojobs orfacilities for young people. we want to live decently, so that we won't be ashamed of our village. government intimidation makes many kazakhs cautious on camera. but privately, several accused chinese companies of using bribes to cut corners. china says its presence abroad is a win—win, a win for china and a win for the people in its path. but that's not the experience here. they say their oil wealth is going elsewhere and that that "win—win" means china wins once,
and then china wins again. back at almaty‘s zenkov cathedral, dosym satpaev says the nations of central asia are like billiard balls in a game between the big players, russia and china. china, i believe it will be like some threat for our independence. why? because for china, kazakhstan is not an equal partner. for china, kazakhstan only is like one of the players, in the big china geopolitical game. that game stretches far beyond these mountains. but already, it's changing lives, shaping the destiny of young nations in the shadow of the chinese giant. carrie gracie, bbc news, kazakhstan. carrie continues herjourney along the new silk road tomorrow, as she visit kazakhstan,
where china is challenging russia's influence. a state banquet has been held at buckingham palace tonight for the visiting king and queen of spain. this afternoon king felipe addressed both houses of parliament. he said he was confident the uk and spain can reach an agreement over the future of gibraltar. our royal correspondent nicholas witchell reports. a state banquet at buckingham palace, where hospitality is deployed in pursuit of diplomacy. tonight, one of the world's oldest monarchs, elizabeth of the united kingdom, accompanied one of its newest, and tallest, felipe of spain, to dinner. a lavish occasion with an opportunity for britain to cultivate another important european nation. the queen didn't mention the word brexit in her speech. but she did dwell on the power of the anglo—spanish connection. a relationship like ours, founded on such great strengths and common interests, will ensure that both our nations prosper, now and in the future, whatever challenges arise. the state visit had begun
on horse guards parade, with a greeting between two monarchs who are distantly related — they‘ re both descendants of queen victoria. from horse guards to the carriage ride up the mall, one of the highlights for visitors, something donald trump is keen to do if he ever comes. and in this relaxed atmosphere, business can be done and difficult issues touched upon. in the case of britain and spain, that means gibraltar. last year, king felipe called it a colonial anachronism. today, in a speech at westminster, he was more tactful. but he did call for a negotiated settlement. i am confident that, through the necessary dialogue and effort, our two governments will be able to work out towards arrangements that are acceptable to all involved. to that, the british government said the sovereignty of gibraltar was not up for discussion. a firm response, among the warm words of a state visit. nicholas witchell, bbc
news, buckingham palace. the shape of the antarctic peninsula has changed forever after a trillion—ton iceberg broke away from an ice—shelf. the breakaway didn't come as a surprise to scientists, who've been monitoring the emerging crack for a decade. the iceberg is one of the biggest ever recorded, it's about 6,000 square kilometres, almost four times the size of london. cuba and the us have enjoyed a fairly tumultuous relationship down the years. decades of cold war antagonism giving way to a recent thaw in relations that was partly reversed by president trump. but the two countries are geographically right next door to each other and a group of kayakers want to make the trip in a slightly different kind of vessel, as the bbc‘s tim allman reports. if you're heading to the high seas anytime soon, this could be your flexible friend. a collapsible kayak that can fit inside a suitcase.
this the mode of travel for four americans setting out on a bold adventure. we want to demonstrate a kayak, a foldable kayak, that can operate in the ocean like this. and this is a sport we love and we want to test our own limits. there's little more than 100 miles between the countries. the starting point for the trip is havana, then they would head north to key west at the very tip of the florida keys. in the last few years, the situation between the two countries had eased, president obama normalising relations in 2015. but that reprochement was partly reversed by his predecessor, donald trump, last month. the team setting off from havana hope in some small way their trip may make a difference. there's a long history of doing this crossing with small craft.
we think there's an opportunity to take that and pay homage to it and then look forward and celebrate what we hope is a safe and legal future of immigration and trade between the us and cuba. so, off they went. next stop, florida. all being well, the trip should take about a day and a half to complete. tim allman, bbc news. a nasa spacecraft has flown over of one of the solar system's most famous storms. juno captured pictures of the great red spot, a storm that has raged onjupiter for more than 300 and 50 years. the space probe's instruments took measurements during the fly—by. the red spot is larger than the width of earth and has been monitored since 1830. juno has now been travelling around the giant planet for one year. that's it for now, thanks so much for watching. hello there, good morning.
yesterday was a lovely day across large swathes of the uk. after some early rain in the south—east, that soon cleared away, and the sun came out for the afternoon. and it was a fine and sunny day in cumbria, thanks to the weather watchers for sending in the pictures. we saw the sunshine through the day yesterday. clear skies overnight, and that will take us on into the morning. with those clear skies it will be chilly in some rural spots. major towns and cities starting in double figures for most, up to 111—15 at the very best. in more rural parts, rural scotland, three degrees, england and wales down to about four or five, so a bit on the chilly side for some. high—pressure is in charge of the weather for the most part through the day today. you will notice this weather front in the north and west, more isobars here, so a bit more of a breeze. the weather front will see cloud and will bring rain to northern ireland, and into western scotland as well. ahead of that, a lot of fine and dry weather, but not completely dry,
because there will be one or two showers around. but i think east anglia and the south—east, increasing cloud in the afternoon, but it is staying dry. the low 20s quite widely. there will be a line of showers from the south—west of england into south wales, drifting through the midlands, to the north—east of england. behind that, a lot of dry and bright weather. maybe a shower or two in aberdeenshire. the breeze and rain into western scotland and northern ireland as well. 19 degrees the top temperature in belfast. wimbledon continues and it looks like it will be a decent day for it. light winds, there will be sunshine, patchy cloud as well, and temperatures should get into the low 20s. as we go through the evening, our he weather front makes progress southwards and eastwards. that will bring some rain with it, not a great deal. it's mostly overnight rain as well. any lingering rain in the morning in the south—east won't last long, it will clear away quite quickly. then it is a decent day with a lot of dry weather. it's dry for the most part. 18 in aberdeen, 32 in london. friday night, we start to see rain across scotland, into northern ireland as well. outbreaks of rain further south in england and wales.
early rain in the south—east on saturday doesn't last too long. it should clear way. then we have scattered showers out to the west, where it is quite breezy, and the showers will be fairly frequent in western scotland. now, of course, it's the finals weekend, the ladies' finals on saturday looking pretty good. temperatures on the rise, humidity too, for the men's final by saturday. so on the weekend it will be cloudy and muggy with humidity on the rise, but some showers will crop up in the north and west of the uk. and it will be quite warm further south. this is bbc news. the headlines: the nominated next director of the fbi, christopher wray, has promised to pursue justice impartially. under questioning from members of the senate, mr wray said he did not consider the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election to be a witch hunt, as president trump has claimed. brazil's former president, luiz ignacio lula da silva, has been sentenced to 9.5 years in prison after being found guilty of accepting bribes worth more than a million dollars in the form of a renovated beach resort apartment.
his lawyers say he will appeal against the sentence. iraqi government forces are continuing operations against suspected members of the islamic state group in western mosul two days after victory was declared over the jihadists. eyewitnesses say that military helicopters have fired at areas where some is fighters are still believed to be holding out. now on bbc news, it's wednesday in parliament.