resolution portrait cropped footage. that is really expensive isn't it? welcome to bbc news — i'm james reynolds. our top stories: it's so sad, it's so sad. scenes of grief in canada — as families mourn those killed in the ukranian plane disaster. iran denies responsibility. the united states imposes new sanctions on iran. the measures are aimed at vital sectors of the country's economy and top—level leaders. we wa nt we want iran to see we behave like a normal nation. we believe the sanctions imposed today further that strategic objective. cooling temperatures bring some welcome relief — after another tough night for firefighters in australia. and polls open in taiwan for the country's presidential election where relations with mainland china have taken centre stage.
ukraine says it's getting full co—operation from iran in the investigation into wednesday's plane crash which killed 176 people. kiev says 50 ukrainian experts are in iran and have been given access to the black boxes and the accident site. tehran has again rejected suggestions that the ukrainian jet was brought down by one of its own missiles. a reminder of what we know: the flight took off from tehran airportjust after 6am in the morning — but two minutes later, the data on the flight stopped. the plane came down to the southwest of the capital. 57 of the victims were canadian. our north america correspondent aleem maqbool reports from toronto. so this is about two weeks ago when they got to iran... the siddiqi family travelled to iran
from canada to plan a wedding. they never came back. alvar and his wife negar, his sister sohand and her five—year—old daughter sufi all died in the crash. it's left close friend utterly dazed. first, it was shock and denial because, you know, you can't fathom it, itjust doesn't make sense, you never hear of such a story but then as you keep reading and looking at the, you know, news and videos and there is this anger, like, why did it happen to these people? they are the nicest people. why them? the us, canada and britain say there is evidence of an iranian missile hit the plane. tehran calls those "illogical allegations" and says it could take one or two years to complete its investigation. but these pictures show it's already chosen to clear much of the crash
site, potentially burying important leads. and even before the data has been analysed from the flight recorders, its officials already say they are sure of one thing. translation: an aviation authority cannot speculate. we aren't sure of the causes yet but what we can say for certain is that a missile did not strike the plane, but the fire and its causes we still need to work out. but this mobile phone footage does appear to back up the theory the plane was struck by a missile. a small outgoing speck of light suddenly exploding. with the impact following. the iranians insist if it really was a missile strike, the debris would have been spread over a larger area. it's not what us secretary of state mike pompeo thinks.
we do believe that it's likely that that plane was shot down by an iranian missile. he announced new sanctions on iran. we want iran to simply behave like a normal nation. we believe the sanctions that we've imposed today further that strategic objective. but forfamilies in iran, ukraine, britain and more than 60 in canada, the focus is on grieving. there is no question, though, that the sense this tragedy could have been a consequence of those regional tensions has only added to the anger and despair. aleem maqbool, bbc news, in toronto. voting is now under way in taiwan's general election with control of both the presidency and the parliament up for grabs. the main divide between the parties is over how to manage relations with china. supporters of the democratic progressive party tend to favour moves towards outright independence whereas supporters of the kuo—min—tang generally prefer
closer relations with beijing. however, concerns about the economy have complicated the picture for many voters. for more on this i'm joined from the capital, taipei, by our reporter, cindy sui. that is a very long and very patient line of voters behind you. how are things going? it was actually much longer earlier this morning. about two hours when the polling station opened. the crowd has thinned out a little bit. people are still very eagerly coming into polling stations like this one throughout taiwan and patiently waiting for their chance to vote. they brought their id cards and are turning in their mobile phones and going into rooms like this one, classrooms actually in this one, classrooms actually in this middle school. to cast their ballot. they have a very, very tough decision to make. have to decide whether they believe in tsai ing—wen‘s message that china is a
threat and taiwan should keep a distance from mainland china or may oui’ distance from mainland china or may our han kuo—yu message that taiwan needs china and needs it economically and to ensure peace between the two sides. they have to make this very tough decision. i've covered many elections in taiwan and no other election has made china such a central issue. part of the reason is that because of the hong kong process. the month—long protests have actually unnerved a lot of taiwanese people, especially young people. i just lot of taiwanese people, especially young people. ijust spoke to i—vote who cast his ballot and he said he was quite worried watching scenes of police firing tear gas and rubber bullets as the protesters and he believes that president tsai ing—wen is the best person to safeguard taiwan's democratic way of life. at the same time, i also spoke to voters who support han kuo—yu, including a woman whose father fled to taiwan at the end of the chinese civil war. she said that they
understand the pain and suffering of warand she understand the pain and suffering of war and she does not want to vote for tsai ing—wen because she believes that she is taking a taiwan are down a dangerous path. she prefers han kuo—yu because she believes he will build better relationships with beijing and this will ensure peace between the two sides. i'm looking to highview and there are no queue jumpers with the barrel incredibly disciplined. whoever wins the election, but they pick up the phone it to the chinese president in beijing and negotiate oi’ president in beijing and negotiate orare president in beijing and negotiate or are the two sides wanting com pletely or are the two sides wanting completely different things from the relationships? president tsai ing—wen has no way of negotiating with beijing because they refused to talk to her because she does not accept the so—called one china principle that the two sides are pa rt principle that the two sides are part of one country. if han kuo—yu was elected, definitely he will reach out to beijing and beijing will be willing to work with him because he accepts the principle that there is only won china but each side can define what that china is and his party would define it simply as the republic of china which is taiwan's official name.
that is his way of getting around this very difficult and sensitive issue of taiwan's sovereignty and working towards a better solution for both sides. i can also see the end of the queue behind you. think is so much forjoining us indeed. let's get some of the day's other news. oman state tv is reporting that the sultan qaboos bin said al said has died. he was 79 and had been ill for some time. the sultan acceded to the throne in 1970 following a successful coup against his father — a coup that was supported by the british. the us state department has described the british government's request for the extradition of amme sacoolas as highly innapropriate. mrs sacoolas, who's the wife of an american diploma was driving a car involved in a fatal accident in the uk. 19—year—old motorcyclist harry dunn died in the collision outside an raf base in august. she returned to the us after the crash claiming diplomatic immunity. an 11—year—old student has opened fire in a school in northern mexico, killing a teacher and injuring
at least six other people before shooting himself dead. the incident happened at a private school in the city of torreon. it was not immediately clear what his motives were. in australia, there's been a welcome reprieve for those fighting bushfires as the weekend began with milder conditions on the country's east coast. it comes after an arduous night for firefighters who tackled an increase in blazes thanks to sudden strong winds. authorities in new south wales now say they expect at least a week of milder weather. clovers with some of the states firefighters in the town of cooma. we the main rural fire service headquarters here in the town. lots of personnel, milling around. it has been a busy night for them along with the military, some army reserves have been here as well. everyone feeling a little bit more confident about the next few days. the fear in the night was that very strong winds, in excess of 800
kilometres an hour along with high temperatures were going to cause more problems, put more people's lives in danger and indeed a number of smaller fires lives in danger and indeed a number of smallerfires did lives in danger and indeed a number of smaller fires did merge lives in danger and indeed a number of smallerfires did merge into lives in danger and indeed a number of smaller fires did merge into what they are calling a mega fire, burning tens of thousands of hours but those magnifiers are apparently being contained. and the forecast for the next few days, well, lighter winds and lower temperatures. i should also say that there's been a lot of speculation about the role of arson during this bushfire season. here in new south wales, the authorities say that i% was caused deliberately and in victoria one incident out of hundreds and in south australia, none of all. the vast majority of fires were begun by lightning strikes. it looks like the devolved government in northern ireland could get up and running again. a deal aimed at restoring power—sharing has been agreed by the main political parties sinn fein and the democratic unionists. the assembly was suspended three years ago when the parties clashed over a scandal involving a green energy scheme. we can speak to bonnie weir who's
lecturer in political science at yale university. shejoins from new haven connecticut. northern ireland hasn't have self—government for three years. how will changed life in the territory? well, hopefully it will change for the better. and very quickly. a number of different council areas in northern ireland in general have been suffering from the lack of devolved government and is an inappropriate amount of responsibility has been placed on local government councils. so hopefully, the waiting times for nhs will improve, hopefully schools will get reforms that they badly need. and most importantly, the incredible shock and potential, potentially
very disruptive time at that is this next stage of the brexit requires leadership in northern ireland which the parties back in the assembly will hopefully do. some of us remember pictures from years ago showing martin mcinnis and emmett laughing together and working together. do you get a sense that this generation of a northern ireland politicians are willing to do the same, if not the laughter, and suddenly working together?” do the same, if not the laughter, and suddenly working together? i do think that they are willing to work together. undoubtedly, the leadership of both the democratic unionists and sinn fein, i think both parties have tried to transition to, as you indicated, any generation of and because of the idiosyncratic histories of these parties and where they came from and their bases, which are also changing
over time, i think it has been difficult for these leaders to be able to form relationships in the same way that those past two leaders we re same way that those past two leaders were able to enjoy. you mentioned earlier brexit, northern ireland of course, profoundly affected by brexit. there will be checks in the rsc which separate northern ireland from the rest of the uk stopping all of this affected northern ireland's future direction? i would imagine very much so. it already has. many of your viewers probably know that there have been increases in favourability for the idea of a united ireland. talk of a united ireland happening imminently is a bits, a bit exaggerated, the time frame on that. however, the next
year and beyond will be incredibly bumpy for northern ireland. there is still a great deal of uncertainty for what the ultimate trade and security and regulatory relationship will be with the eu. and northern ireland is, it has the only land border between the uk and the eu and especially those towns along the border have been suffering economically for quite some time because of this uncertainty. that is the economic side stop the political side is that there are some changing demographics and changing understandings of what identity means and is in northern ireland today. thank you so much bonnie. stay with us on bbc news — still to come: plants living the high—life — why vegetation is growing at higher altitudes in the himalayas.
day one of freshness on to force the iraqis out of kuwait has sent the most intense errant absences are convertible. tobacco is america's because industry. the industry as divers of the report. this mated to make people to stop smoking cigarettes. there is not a street thatis cigarettes. there is not a street that is unaffected. huge parts were demolished as buildings crashed into another. this woman said she had been given no help and advice by the authority should a side the ruins of her business. tens of thousands of black children in south africa have taken advantage of black children in south africa have ta ken advantage of laws black children in south africa have taken advantage of laws passed by the country's multiracial government and enrolled at formerly white schools. and they had of her death today, the management concern about today, the management concern about to cancel tonight's performance.
agatha christie were be the last person to want to such a thing. this is bbc news, the latest headlines. ukraine says iran is offering its full cooperation in the investigation into wednesday's plane crash. tehran denies the boeing was shot down. the united states is imposing new sanctions on iran aimed at vital sectors of the country's economy and top—level leaders. meanwhile iraq's top shi'ite muslim cleric condemned the confrontation between iran and the united states, saying it risked plunging the country and the wider middle east into deeper conflict. grand ayatollah ali al—sistani said attacks by both sides inside iraq in the last week showed a blatant disregard for the country's sovereignty. our middle east editor, jeremy bowen reports from baghdad. chanting. in baghdad, it was a day of protest, to show they don't plan to give up. their main target, politicians and a parliament they say have
dragged the country to disaster. "get out," was the chant. "you corrupt people, leave our land." protesters have occupied baghdad's equivalent of piccadilly circus since october. iraq's trip to the brink of a new war this week has reinforced the desire for change. we don't want to be a place for war. we want to be free from all these things. we want to be a country that is separated from iran, from the united states. we want to be friends with everyone, enough of war. other protests happened outside baghdad. this was karbala in the south. it's a holy city and in the mosque, iraq's senior shia muslim cleric also had hard words
for the government. an aide read the message from the elderly grand ayatollah ali al—sistani. "iraq's leaders have let them down, failing to protect them "from aggression and repeated violations of sovereignty. "iraq should be independent and led by its own people, "not by foreigners." this country is fragile and violent. in tahrir square, baghdad, mohammed showed me where he'd been stabbed by masked men. hundreds of protesters have been shot dead since october. memorials are everywhere. many say the killers were iraqi militiamen directed by the assassinated general soleimani. punishing them for anti—iranian demonstrations. serious obstacles lie between these would—be revolutionaries and the change that they want.
the men who have the big jobs, who control the political parties and the militias, won't give up power easily. and then there is iran. at a time when it's being hemmed in, isolated by american sanctions, it needs iraq as its window on the world. a place where it can do business. on the barricades, a poet warned them that politicians were like foxes. they couldn't be trusted. the protesters loved it, they are hopeful. across the middle east, young people especially are demanding change. but iraqis are trapped, caught up in a0 years of confrontation between iran and the united states which, in the absence of a diplomatic breakthrough, will continue to slide towards war. jeremy bowen, bbc news, baghdad.
more plant life is growing at high altitudes in the himalayan mountain range according to new research. using satellite data covering more than 20 years scientists have found that vegetation is expanding at heights beyond where trees are able to grow. elizabeth byers is a senior scientist and vegetation ecologist and joins me now from west virginia. why and where the plants are going? the —— the party is warming and vegetation is limited by cold in the himalayas at the upper levels and so what were seeing —— the planet is warming. the zones were plants can actually live is getting higher and higher. as kind of an interesting process because we have known for a long time and mountains around the world that tree line is moving
slowly u p world that tree line is moving slowly up but this study that karen addison and her colleagues dead, is the first time have seen in the himalayas what is happening above tree line and so i was really excited to read the study, it confirms what a lot of scientists have been observing over the years and to make as many decades in the himalayas, which is that these harsh environments way above tree line getting up right near the permanent snow and ice are in fact being colonised by plants. when did you first noticed this phenomenon? so i first noticed this phenomenon? so i first went to the himalayas in 1980. and at that point i went to claim but i was also studying ecology and then just drew but i was also studying ecology and thenjust drew me but i was also studying ecology and then just drew me back again and again. at that point i was walking on clean ice crashes in many cases.
this clashes have basically compiled under my feet over the decades and now many of them are lakes and some of them have turned into piles of rubble as the iceman ‘s and these huge boulders and tiny cobbles and bits of silt that had been trapped in the ice since millennia are now being exposed to the air for the first time. the miraculous thing that i have seen is that as soon as is boulders and cobbles are exposed, life fines away. losses and lichens move in and pretty soon you start to see wildflowers and these plants, they are in an environment where there is essentially no soil. there is ice right underneath them, the substrate is shipped things so you can see “— substrate is shipped things so you can see —— you can imagine and didn't leave plants it's terrifying
because you are walking across a shifting pleasure but feels at any time it can open and then you come upon these flowers that are just extraordinary. they are not surviving them. they are thriving and sometimes extravagantly driving. in this harsh environment. but there aren't many of them because they have to be dealing with unbelievable stresses in terms of cold and lack of soil, lack of nutrients. so they have to have a lot of special allocation. thank you so much for joining us. let's head to italy now — where an unusual cultural event is taking place. an ice music festival is happening in the alps. 5a concerts will be performed in a 300 seater igloo — made especially for the occasion. even the instruments are a little sub—zero — as the bbc‘s tim allman explains.
as concerts go, this is pretty cool. literally. more than 10,000 cubic metres of snow were used to build a rather chilly auditorium. failing, drums, double bass, all made of ice. —— violin. this isn'tjust about the music, it's about location. a glacier that has lost a third of its volume in less than three decades. our business is based on the snow. on the cold weather. but if the climate changes, we will not be able to live this kind of experience. so the message we want to send out is for us all to look after our environment and climate. they instrument is made of ice is hard
enough. making them is another story. it took position to hit the right notes. ——it took careful position. it instrument houses are in difficulty. either it be so fine and delicate and easy to break all ha rd to and delicate and easy to break all hard to get inside the small places, orator so big and heavy, it's hard to pick up and around. —— and move around. there will be to god that wreckage of the end of march, is it mr the soul, and to chill the spy at the same time. —— and chill the spine. the musicians seen as one of the best rock drummers in history died on tuesday after a 3.5 year battle with brain cancer. stay with
the busy world news. —— bbc world news. hello there. there was a good view of the wolf moon for many parts of the country early on in the night, that was before all this cloud rolled in. a lot of it is quite high cloud, the zone of thickest cloud that's stretching across scotland and northern ireland is on that weather front there. that is continuing to bring some outbreaks of rain. ahead of it the winds are going to be howling, we are drawing in the milder winds from a long way south, so after a cold start, temperatures are continuing to rise to these sort of numbers by the end of the night. nine, ten, maybe 11 degrees — still on the chillier side across east anglia, mind you. we've still got the rain coming in to scotland and northern ireland heavy over the hills. a little trickle this way, very slowly southwards, some quite wet weather over the cumbrian fells and later into snowdonia.
eventually the rain turns more showery in scotland throught the afternoon, the winds will start to ease a bit but it stays very windy across england and wales, strong to gale force winds here. but as we've seen its mild air so for many parts of the country we've got double—figure temperatures, perhaps as high as 12 or 13 degrees. the weather front bringing that brand of rain will sweep its way down toward south—eastern areas overnight on saturday night, and then leaving behind that, we are going to find showers coming in on a cooler air stream from off the atlantic. we've still got some rain to clear away first thing across the south—east of england, once that goes we will see a batch of showers coming in across wales through the midlands. those could be rather heavy in the morning before easing off during the afternoon. further north some sunshine, and some showers, most of them in the north—west of scotland where it will be wintry over the hills. we're back in to cooler air on sunday, particularly across the northern half of the uk, still double figures for a while in the south—east, it won't be as windy. but only briefly because look what is coming in from the atlantic — a storm is brewing.
that's going to be racing our way, probably heading to the north—west of scotland. after a reasonably quiet start, with some sunshine around, it probably will stay dry across eastern areas but the winds will continue to strengthen, particularly out towards the west where we'll see this rain moving in and that's going to be quite heavy. the strength of the wind could cause one or two issues, 60, maybe 70 miles an hour or more across some western parts of the uk. of course it's a mild wind direction and those temperatures are going to be up to around 8—11 degrees. that sets the scene on what is going to be a very changeable week ahead, we're going to find further areas of low pressure, rain at times, strong winds. for the most part, it will be mild.
ukraine has said iran is offering kyiv its full cooperation in establishing the facts behind wednesday's deadly crash of a ukrainian plane. 50 ukrainian experts are in iran to take part in the investigation — and the ukrainian foreign minister said they'd been given access to the flight recorders. the polls have opened in taiwan's presidential and parliamentary elections. incumbent president tsai ing—wen is going up against han kuo—yu, who favours closer ties with beijing. the pro—democracy protests taking place in hong kong have cast a long shadow over the taiwan election campaign. oman state television is reporting that the sultan of oman, qaboos bin said al said, has died. he was 79 and had been ill for some time. he came to the throne in 1970 following a bloodless coup against his father, three days of national mourning have been declared in oman.