welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: officials in greece say at least 20 people have been killed as deadly wildfires burn near the capital, athens. translation: we will do whatever is possible in order to control the fires. i'm very concerned at the outbreaks around athens. north korea appears to de dismantling part of a key rocket testing site in the north—west of the country. the uk government sparks a political row, saying it won't object to the execution of two islamic state suspects if they're convicted in america. in an exclusive interview with the bbc, donald trump's former press secretary denies undermining the importance of truth in politics. hello and welcome to bbc news.
at least 20 people have died and dozens more taken to hospital in forest fires that have broken out in greece. the authorities there have called for international assistance to tackle the flames, but the high temperatures are continuing to cause problems in dozens of other countries around the world. andrew plant reports. homes engulfed in flames on the outskirts of athens as greece fights some of its worst forest fires for years. prime minister alexis tsipras has declared a state of emergency here, with several people killed and dozens more injured. translation: we will do whatever is possible in order to control the fires. i'm very concerned at the outbreaks around athens. we will do whatever it takes. roads have been clogged by cars as
people leave their homes and flee. residents of a coastal region near the capital have been told to go as uncontrolled fires spread rapidly. hundreds of children have also been evacuated from nearby holiday camps. police are now searching for a boat with 10 tourists on board that set sail to escape the fire. in the height of the tourist season, hundreds of firefighters battling to control the blaze here, the smoke visible above the acropolis, as countries across the globe bake in soaring summer temperatures. sweden is battling some of its worst forest fires for decades with almost no rainfall since may, an area twice the size of paris has already been destroyed. norway has had its hottest may on record, and the uk is seeing its driest summer for more than half a century with some areas recording zero rainfall for several weeks. emergency services in greek
say they're working round—the—clock to fight the fires. sweden is threatening to prosecute anyone fighting, lighting a barbecue in the open. meteorologists, meanwhile, are warning that most places sweltering in the heat will see no significant rainfall for the next two weeks. andrew plant, bbc news. north korea has begun dismantling a rocket—engine testing facility seen as instrumental in the development of the country's ballistic missile programme. satellite images of the sohae station in the north west of the country seen by the monitoring group 38 north suggest kimjong—un may be fulfilling a promise made to president trump injune. north korea has always said the site was used to launch satellites for its space programme but the us has always suspected it was used to test ballistic missiles. earlier, i spoke with our correspondent, laura bicker, who gave her assessment of the latest development from seoul. well, this is a site based up in the
north—west of north korea right by the chinese border. they've been monitoring it for some time because it was % ofa monitoring it for some time because it was % of a promise allegedly made to president trump in singapore. its activity, not major activity at the moment but they're appearing to be dismantling one of the rocket launch test sites. this is the site is thought to be at the centre of the development of intercontinental ballistic missile isles. now, many people will say, hang on a second, what about its nuclear programme? there are thought to be hundreds of sites hidden around north korea still processing nuclear material, but this site is at the centre of a promise and it is this site we monitoring right now. when it comes
to those intercontinental ballistic missile isles, they are the missiles certainly here in seoul and japan that they are also concerned about, because they would be within range. it isa because they would be within range. it is a small but significant step forward because since singapore we have been wondering if there would be any progress in this whole process , be any progress in this whole process, and now we are beginning to see just those few steps forward. yes, is the thinking that there may be further moves towards denuclearisation after this? i think with north korea, i'm being called by many analysts that the keyword is patients. the problem is, how patient is the united states ready to be? they criticised barack obama for his strategic patients sta nce obama for his strategic patients stance and donald trump initially asked for north korea to start its denuclearisation process and get it finished by 2020. so they wanted some kind of speedy process but now donald trump is saying no rush.
however, north korea wants a peace deal. that is maybe one of the reasons why they are trying to at least show willing, because recently, we understand, they've been pushing for a peace process at the us and they're not getting anywhere on that. so there is a little bit of an impasse. this may be some way to kind of bridge that 93p- earlier, i spoke with jenny town, a specialist in korean affairs and managing editor of 38 north. the monitoring group that drew attention to those images. i asked what she made of the satellite images. well, these are the signs that we have been looking for and certainly after the singapore summit, in the press conference that president trump did, he did mention that there was a promise from the north koreans to dismantle an engine test site. this is what we have started to see happen at the sohae launch facility. i think it's even more interesting,
though, that we're seeing them dismantle the structures on top of the launch pad itself, which is used for space launches or satellite launches, which north korea considers part of its civilian programme, and which has stood in the way of diplomacy in the past. so i think this is a large confidence—building measure in a longer process to help try and keep momentum going for the negotiations themselves. so i guess in the context of the entire process, it might be a small step, but it has bigger implications, and, of course, it comes ahead of any technical agreement. right, exactly. there isn't any agreement in place, so these are still unilateral measures that north korea is offering to show commitment to the process, to keep momentum for the process, and, again, i think the launchpad itself again is more interesting because the discrepancy or the distinction between space launches and ballistic missile launchers has been a point
of contention in the past, and has derailed you know, negotiations as recently as the deal back in 2012. i guess if it's just been spotted now, it's properly been going on for some weeks. so it's not sudden but is it a surprise? the dismantlement of the engine test site itself is not necessarily a surprise. we would expect to see this because north korea has made good on the commitments and the specific commitments that it has made in the negotiation process. it was a surprise to see the movement on the launchpad because this was not something that north korea had indicated it was going to do, and certainly does broaden the gesture and, again, has broader implications for how things might move forward. so even if many people felt that donald trump came back with an overblown assessment of what he achieved, it does seem that north korea is actually moving on this? yes, certainly north korea is still moving and still providing
— you know, still making good on commitments it has made. ‘m sure it is still waiting to see what the us does in response. but i think it's important to remember that this is the beginning of the negotiation. we didn't have something pre—agreed to. these are still unilateral measures and there's still a long way to go. but these measures are not irreversible. this isn't the only engine test site. but it does give momentum to the process. let's get some of the day's other news. dramatic footage has emerged which captures the moment a gunman opened fire on a busy street in toronto. at least two people died and a dozen were wounded during the attack which took place in the city's greektown neighborhood. the gunman, identifed as faisal hussain, was found dead in an alley after an exchange of gunfire with police. it's believed he was suffering from mental health problems. five days after being released from hospital, ii of the 12 boys and their football coach who were trapped in a thai cave
are preparing to enter a monastery for a short period. in the coming hours, they are due to undergo head shaving and a washing ceremony before entering the retreat. the process is undertaken by bhuddists who have experienced a traumatic event. one of the boys who is a christian won't be taking part. the nicaragua president has blamed paramilitary gangs for the killing of 300 in anti—government protests since april. in a rare interview with fox news, 0rtega said the gangs we re with fox news, 0rtega said the gangs were financed by groups in the us and drug trafficking cartel is. he denied allegations by the un that his government is arming the gangs to crack down on protesters —— cartels. the british home secretary has come under criticism after it emerged the uk has dropped its demand for assurances that two men from london won't face the death penalty if they're sent for trial in america. the men are accused of being part of an islamic state group cell which murdered western hostages.
they were captured in syria injanuary and have been stripped of their british citizenship. 0ur security correspondent, frank gardner, reports. the four british jihadists, nicknamed the beatles, accused of beheading western and other hostages in 2014. alexanda kotey, el shafee elsheikh, ian davies and mohammed emwazi, dubbed jihadi john by the media. he was killed in a drone strike in 2015. davies is in prison in turkey. kotey and elsheikh were captured by syrian kurdish forces injanuary and are still being held. now britain has dropped its usual insistence that they would not face the death penalty if convicted in a us court. the american video journalist james foley was one of their alleged victims. today his mother spoke out against any possible death sentence. i think that would just make them martyrs in their twisted ideology. i would like them held accountable by being sent to prison for the rest of their lives.
but the government has come under pressure to explain what appears to be an about—face on its universal opposition to the death penalty. it's the long—standing policy of the uk to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. yet in this case, the home secretary seems to have unilaterally ripped up those principles on a friday afternoon in summer. the decision was taken some weeks ago by senior cabinet ministers. today it was left to the security minister to defend it. in this instance, and after carefully considered advice, the government took the rare decision not to require assurances in this case, and it would be inappropriate to comment further on that specific case. campaigners against the death penalty say this sets a dangerous precedent. if we are to go abandoning that
commitment and saying that, "oh, well, in some circumstances, we don't really fully oppose it," i think that undermines everything that we are setting out to do when we say that we believe in fair trial and the rule of law. but what if the us wants to send the pair to guantanamo bay? if that happens, says the government, then it would withhold key intelligence on the two suspects. it wants to see that facility closed. where and how these two eventually face trial is of paramount interest to the relatives of their alleged victims. they want to see them held accountable in court for some of the most hideous crimes they're alleged to have committed. frank gardner, bbc news. that story on the move, we will let you know how it develops. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: not so much hot, hot, ho, but more ho, ho, ho. why thoughts are turning to christmas despite the record temperatures.
0k, coming down the ladder now. that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. a catastrophic engine fire is being blamed tonight for the first crash in the 30—year history of concorde, the world's only supersonic airliner. it was one of the most vivid symbols of the violence and hatred that tore apart the state of yugoslavia. but now, a decade later, it's been painstakingly rebuilt, and opens again today. there's been a 50% decrease in sperm quantity, and an increase in malfunctioning sperm, unable to swim properly. thousands of households across the country are suspiciously quiet this lunchtime, as children bury their noses in the final instalment of harry potter. this is bbc world news,
the latest headlines: officials in greece say at least 20 people have been killed as deadly wildfires burn near the capital athens. north korea appears to be dismantling part of an important rocket engine testing site in the north—west of the country. this week sees the start of a concerted push by british government ministers to sell their latest brexit blueprint across europe. britain's foreign secretary has been in berlin on monday where he's warned of a brexit no—deal by accident if the eu doesn't change its negotiating position. jeremy hunt said he feared such an outcome would change british public attitudes to europe for a generation. 0ur political editor laura kuenssberg reports. get used to seeing this. the new foreign secretary and the rest of the government
tightening the focus on brexit, as the time ticks down to the october supposed deadline. jeremy hunt meeting his vital german counterpart today, telling the eu in strong terms, the block isn't us, it's you. without a real change in approach from the eu negotiators, we do now face a real risk of no deal by accident. it would change british public attitudes to europe for a generation. and it would lead to a fissure in relations, which would be highly damaging. just in case you hadn't realised how serious he thinks no deal might be, in a later tweet he said the only person who would be happy is vladimir putin. remember, the government used to say that no deal is better than a bad deal.
it feels different now. with the cabinet on the road in the north east today, they're surrounded by pressure from all sides. former remainers who think the government's proposal doesn't really add up. brexiteers who think it would keep us too close to the eu for good. and, most importantly, many members of the public who have their doubts, who, for the first time in more than a year... thanks very much, everybody, and it's great to be here today. ..were able to put questions directly to theresa may. what confidence do you have that you will sell this plan to the rest of europe? with the divorce bill being so high, will we still reap the benefits of the projects that that money's been set aside for? in the event that parliament rejects the deal that is negotiated with the european union, is it inevitable that there will be a no—deal brexit? we're going into a negotiation.
we're making sure that we're prepared for a no deal, and government is stepping up its preparations for no deal, because it only makes sense to be prepared for all contingencies. but i'm working to get a deal that parliament will support because they'll see that it's a good dealfor the uk. this place packs up officially tomorrow, but there is a huge summer of work ahead. the outline of the brexit deal is meant to be done in 12 weeks' time in october, and while the rhetoric is getting hotter, there is still no guarantee that the eu, and then parliament, can agree. that will matter not just to the cabinet's future, but all of ours. laura kuenssberg, bbc news. the family of an australian woman shot dead by minneapolis police last year is suing the city and several officers for $50 million in damages. justine ruszczyk died lastjuly after calling police to report a suspected crime near her house.
she was shot dead by minneapolis officer, mohamed noor, as she approached the patrol car. mr noor, who's since left the police service, was charged with third degree murder and second—degree manslaughter. his lawyers say he will plead not guilty, arguing he used reasonable force. a spokesperson for the city of minneapolis says it's reviewing the lawsuit. the former white house spokesman, sean spicer, has denied undermining the importance of truth in politics during his time working for donald trump. in an interview with the bbc‘s newsnight programme, the first by a british broadcaster to mark the launch of his new book, he said he was merely the channel for mr trump's views. my colleague emily maitlis began by asking him about the controversy over the numbers attending the president's inauguration. i've been very clear in the book that if there is a day i would think i would love a do—over on, it's that one. i set the dye on that day for a lot of what was to come. think what i was trying to do, and clearly not well, was change the focus from the number of people attending it to focus on the total audience that had watched it, and i thought we were on much safer ground
there than trying to focus on the number of people in, you know, different areas of the national mall here in washington. i did not clearly do a very good job of that, and i talk about it in the book, what we were thinking and what the process was, and how hurriedly it all came together, but there's no question that goes down as one of those days i would love a do—over. nobody, emily, was happy with me on that day. i wonder why you didn't stand up to the president in the first place and say, "you're wrong about those crowd numbers, with respect, sir. you're that would have saved your skin straight away. what people miss is they look at that one day and they look at it in isolation and they say, "how could you have done this?" without understanding the mindset and mentality going into that day. we were facing a press corps that wa constantly undermining our ability in the campaign to run an effective ground game, or an effective data operation, at every turn was saying, "yours isn't good enough, hillary clinton's running a better campaign, there's no way you can compete with her." time and again through
the campaign we heard that. then we heard similar kind of things during the transition. then the night, as you referenced, the day before we start, the president leaves the capital after being sworn in, signs all these executive actions and orders and talks about how he's getting to work for the american people, and what's the narrative? not what he's been doing but the bust had been falsely removed, inflaming racial tensions in the us. if you constantly feel under attack, then you feel at some point at which you need to respond and say, "enough of this." when you hear the president and other supporters constantly see this narrative where we're being undermined and maligned in terms of the validity of this thing, it wears on you. you were his press secretary, and i know from what i've read that you care about the freedoms and the institutions and the democracy... i do. ..on which your country was built, and this is the office of president
spouting lies or half—truths, or knocking real truths, and you were his agent for those months? myjob, as i lay out in the book, was to be the president's spokesperson and communicate his thoughts and his ideas when he wasn't able to do it or wasn't present. that's my job. myjob wasn't to interpret for him. i give him the best advice and counsel that i could in private. i shared with him what i thought the best strategy would be, but at the end of the day, he's the president of the united states, and it was his thoughts and his ideas and his feelings that it was myjob to communicate them. whether you like them or not, those were his thoughts and his feelings. as we've been reporting, much of the world is experiencing a heatwave. therefore, thoughts of the festive period may seem a little inappropriate. but if you happen to be in denmark at the moment, christmas is something you won't be able to avoid as the bbc‘s tim allman reports. not so much hot, hot, hot... more ho, ho, ho.
multiple father christmases, more than 150 of them, in fact, parading through copenhagen. this, the 61st world santa claus congress, a chance for saint nick to mingle with kris kringle or gel with pere noel. we are needed more than ever in a world that is divisive, that is torn over all sorts of issues, and so santa brings out love for everyone, no matter who you are or where you live. sa nta's more needed than ever before. the parade is only one element in the multi—day event. there's the santa 0bstacle course world championships, santa pentathlons and even a children's party. it's good, nice. very interesting. which one is the real santa? spoilers?
none of them. but they're trying their best in many different languages. merry christmas! speaks danish: glaedelig jul! merry christmas and... speaks cantonese: ..sing daan faai lok. speaks japanese: sore do hayai tadao. ho, ho, ho! and, all together now... all shout ‘merry christmas': tim allman, bbc news. and before we go, meet wallace and his owner christie from the west of england. the pair had been prevented from competing at top equestrian dressage events — because wallace is a mule — half donkey, half horse. well the good news is that british dressage officials changed its rules. and wallace was able to compete and win at an event in the city of gloucester. christie said she was "over the moon". at least 20 people have died and
dozens more have been taken to hospital after firefighters battle planes in greece. hot temperatures and dozens of other countries around the world. and that news that has been breaking from north korea. we spoke to the managing editor of the 38 north monitoring group based in the us and she says satellite images of the sohae station to suggest that kim jong—un may be fulfilling a promise made to president trump at the singapore summit injune. it is where north korea said they launched space satellites but the us claims it was for ballistic missiles and suggestions are in that some of the site is being dismantled which could have far bigger implications even though it is at an early stage. more on the website. hello there.
well, the heatwave of summer 2018 is certainly set to continue for the next week and possibly beyond that. in fact, monday was the hottest day of the year so far, we had temperatures as high as 33.3 celsius at santon downham in suffolk. thursday, we could see temperatures as high as 3a or 35 degrees. so those temperatures building certainly over the next few days. tuesday, we're still drawing in this southerly flow of warm air, particularly across central and eastern parts of england. further north—west across the british isles, some weatherfronts moving in, some cold fronts, so they're going to be introducing some slightly fresher conditions, particularly to scotland and northern ireland on tuesday. that weak front, a band of cloud producing a few spots of rain across parts of southern scotland, northern england and perhaps into wales as well. hot and humid to the south—east, fresher to the north—west. a few showers pushing into the western isles but the northern isles, largely dry and sunny. lots of sunshine across western parts of scotland. the chance of a shower in the east.
temperatures in glasgow and in belfast too, 20 or 21 degrees in the sunshine. slightly cloudier zone across parts of northern england and into wales too. most places dry in the south—east. just a small risk of an isolated shower and temperatures once again getting up to 30 degrees or even a bit higher than that on tuesday afternoon. into the evening hours, looking dry across the country. tuesday night and wednesday morning, still hot and humid in the south and the east, temperatures here holding up into the mid—teens, slightly fresher further north—west, 11 or 12 degrees our overnight lows across scotland and northern ireland too. now, looking ahead into thursday, we'll start to see an area of low pressure trying to approach from the west, bumps into high pressure sitting out but temperatures in the south—east, 31 or 32 degrees, typically
into the low to the mid—20s further north and west. now, looking ahead into thursday, we'll start to see an area of low pressure trying to approach from the west, bumps into high pressure sitting out towards the east, but we may well just see a bit of a change in air mass so that hot air that is with us at the moment will get gradually eased away towards the east, and these slightly colder conditions are likely to move in. so a fresher feel to the weather. across england, we will hold onto that heat into the middle of the week, but temperatures you'lljust notice starting to dip down into the weekend. further north and west across the country, although many places will be dry, there will be some showers and it will cool down a touch into the weekend. bye— bye. this is bbc news, the headlines: the greek government says at least 20 people are now known to have been killed by wildfires burning out of control near athens. a spokesman said most died in the coastal area of mati, east of the capital, where many people were trapped in their homes and cars. an american—based monitoring group says it appears north korea has begun dismantling
a rocket—engine testing facility, seen as instrumental in the development of the country's ballistic missile programme. the group, 38 north, says satellite images show buildings at the sohae site are being taken down. the uk government is insisting it has not abandoned its opposition to the death penalty, even though it is not objecting to the possible execution of militants from the so—called islamic state group, if they are convicted in the united states. the decision has been questioned by mps from all parties. now on bbc news, hardtalk‘s stephen sackur speaks to forensic anthropolgist sue black.