this is bbc news. the headlines... prime minister borisjohnson says it's an important first step, as iran admits shooting down the ukrainian passenger plane — killing all 176 people on board. they say they mistook it for a cruise missile. in ukraine, questions over why the plane was allowed to take off from tehran, anger over iran's initial denials. the iran representative instructed oui’ the iran representative instructed our crew in clear words to take off and the crew followed the orders. our crew in clear words to take off and the crew followed the ordersm the current climate it would be stupid to try to hide something. back to business for the northern ireland assembly. these are the scenes live in stormont, as talks resume for the first time since the power—sharing agreement
collapsed three years ago. in the next hour, keir starmer — the shadow brexit secretary — officially launches his leadership campaign in the race to lead the labour party. today he defended anti—austerity policies. there is sometimes a tendency when you lose an election to say everything in their manifesto, everything in their manifesto, everything we believed in, has got to go, but that is wrong in my view. more hardship for the high street: ailing department store chain debenhams closes 19 stores as part of its restructuring plans. and coming up, it's back to brexit. get all the inside information in westminster and brussels from our top correspondents with brexitcast.
borisjohnson has said that iran's admission that it shot down by mistake a ukrainian passenger plane over tehran is an ‘important first step‘. four britons were among the 176 people killed in wednesday's crash. a senior iranian military official said the airliner was misidentified as a cruise missile. iran's president rouhani has called the downing of the jet an "unforgiveable mista ke". our diplomatic correspondent caroline hawley has more this is the moment iran made a catastrophic error, firing a missile into a passenger plane, killing everyone on board. for three days in the face of mounting evidence, iran adamantly denied it was responsible. but this morning brought an extraordinary about—face. on state—run television, a senior commander of the powerful
revolutionary guard came out on the orders of the supreme leader to come clean. he explained that iran's air defences had been on alert. they thought american cruise missiles had been fired. a quick decision was taken and it was wrong. translation: in these difficult circumstances, i am here before you to explain what happened. but before that, i have to say that we accept all the responsibility for the accident and we lay our fate into our higher officials‘ hands. there‘s anger that the plane was allowed to take offjust after iran had fired missiles at american bases in iraq, and when the country was braced for a response. the disaster has piled pressure on the regime both from within iran and from the outside world. it clearly calculated that it could no longer hide the truth. ukrainian investigators on the ground in tehran had discovered damage from shrapnel. translation: if you're playing war, you can play whatever you want, but there are normal people around who you should preserve and save and if they‘re hitting any kinds of targets,
they have to close the airport. they should have closed the airport. canada, mourning its 57 dead, says it now expects full co—operation from tehran and has warned that the world is watching. caroline hawley, bbc news, beirut. in the past few minutes, the prime minister borisjohnson has released a statement. our ukraine correspondent, jonah fisher, joins us from kyiv.
that is the response from the uk government, but what has been the reaction where you are? similar words this morning from the ukrainian president, president zelensky, talking in similar ways to borisjohnson, talking zelensky, talking in similar ways to boris johnson, talking about zelensky, talking in similar ways to borisjohnson, talking about a legal requirement that justice borisjohnson, talking about a legal requirement thatjustice be done for the 176 people who were on board, and the compensation should be paid, and the compensation should be paid, and that those responsible should be brought tojustice. and that those responsible should be brought to justice. more interesting, this morning i spent time with a top security official in the ukraine and he basically laid out the evidence with which the team of ukrainian investigators had been gathering in tehran, pretty comprehensive staff, pictures of the cockpit with the bottom half having been blown away —— stuff. parts of the side of the aircraft with pockmarks which suggest an anti—aircraft hit and basically he
said we had effectively gathered enough evidence that prove it was a missile that brought down this plane and quite possibly that was the reason that iran made the u—turn, saying initially it was a tactical mistake, but then saying and admitting that their guys had shut it down. do you feel that ukraine is developing a stiffer resolve now around this? yes, for the last few days, the ukraine has been very careful not to say anything that might upset the iranians. with the benefit of hindsight, that is because they had their team on the ground and they wanted them to have a chance to gather a decent amount of evidence and they were worried that if they seemed to take any sort of position it mightjeopardise the work they were doing on the ground. when they talk about full responsibility and iran taking full
responsibility and iran taking full responsibility which is what president zelensky said this morning, that is a reference to what iran said overnight impart blaming the united states for creating a tense atmosphere in which this happened —— in part. ukraine is signalling that iran have accept responsibility but that they need to ta ke full responsibility but that they need to take full responsibility and they will not shift the blame elsewhere. what about the question of why this plane was flying in this part of the world at a time of such tension? this is something the ukraine will have to address, it is dealing with now, there were emotional scenes at press c0 nfe re nces now, there were emotional scenes at press conferences held by ukraine international airlines, it is a valid question as to why on a night when iran was launching ballistic missiles at military bases across the border into iraq, when tensions we re
the border into iraq, when tensions were extremely high in relation to the united states, and iran was possibly anticipating retaliation from the united states, why passenger jets were flying. from the united states, why passengerjets were flying. this was not the only plane leaving in the early hours of wednesday morning and there were others but with the benefit of hindsight it was a pretty catastrophic decision for that plane to fly. thanks forjoining us. after three years of absence, politicians have returned to northern ireland‘s stormont assembly after the two main parties, the unionist dup and nationalist sinn fein, approved a deal to restablish power sharing in government. this afternoon a speaker and executive ministers will be appointed. so what‘s in the deal? the new agreement contains wide ranging promises. firstly to tackle the cirsis in the health service and to try and resolve a pay dispute that has seen nurses and health workers on strike.
there‘ll be more money for schools after months of head teachers saying they face an unprecedented shortfall. and northern ireland will get about another 800 police to increase numbers to 7,500. our correspondent, richard morgan, is at stormont. after three years why now, what has changed? what has changed, the public mood, nurses have been out on strike in northern ireland and that has really put pressure on politicians here to get back to work in order to sign off and get funding to bring their pay in line with their colleagues in the rest of the uk. the public is also concerned about the long waiting lists here, the health service waiting lists are the health service waiting lists are the longest in the uk, and after three years of no government, at one o‘clock today politicians entered the chamber for the very first time.
public servants, the public, and health workers, they will be breathing a collective sigh of relief that they are getting back to work. while sinn fein and the dup had already said they were going back to stormont, we were waiting to hear from the ulster unionist party as to whether they would join, and shortly before they said they were, they said they felt be taking of ministerial positions would be the best way to hold the dup and sinn fein to account. this is what their party leader said. there are elements of the deal we remain opposed to, in particular the implementation of the stormont legacy provisions and the irish language act. we are very disappointed that our well thought out and reasoned ideas about making the executive more accountable, responsible and transparent have either been watered down or significantly diminished. however,
it is very clear that the mood of the people is to get effective government back and the best way to hold sinn fein and the dup to account is by the ulster unionist party being in the executive. he referenced the public mood there, the pressure to get back into work for politicians, and the way northern ireland is governed is essentially all of those parties elected can choose to go into government together and that you‘ll get a seat at the table, to run different departments —— they all get a seat. the sdlp have also said they will go into government with they will go into government with the dup and sinn fein. colin eastwood addressed us. we are here to do business and we don't think this is a day for celebration, this is a day for getting back to work and a day that the people have asked for. logicians have not done this and we have waited about for three years ——
politicians have not. now we have an opportunity to do what the people have asked us to do so let's get on with it. we are going to take our place in the executive and we will deliver what we can deliver and we will hold others to account, to make sure all of the promises that have been made to the public are delivered on their behalf. thank you. this means ministers will be in position to start taking decisions about the future of northern ireland and funding for key public services and funding for key public services and infrastructure projects, and at the moment politicians are in the chamber and the speaker has been elected, and eileen foster of the dup had been nominated as first minister of northern ireland. when she addressed the chamber it she said she would never agree with sinn fein‘s michelle o‘neill who is the deputy first minister northern ireland‘s passed by the time has come to move forward and lessons have been learned from the past three years of deadlock. more
ministers will be appointed over the day, one of the controversial ministries is that ofjustice, there needs to be cross community agreement for that post, and the alliance have ta ken agreement for that post, and the alliance have taken that position and it has been given to its leader naomi long. our ambition is to have sustainable government and that we would be able to have a fit for purpose executive and that it would deliver for all of the people of northern ireland. the deal was put to us and whilst imperfect as any deal would be, we believe it can be the basis for delivery for the people of northern ireland. if it is implemented with good well. i would love to know what the atmosphere is like there now. now they are convening after all this time. there has been a real buzz at the chamber and the great hall where i am now, because this has been a long time coming,
northern ireland has been without government now for three years and people questioned whether it would ever return. there is an atmosphere of joy that politics ever return. there is an atmosphere ofjoy that politics may ever return. there is an atmosphere of joy that politics may start working once again for the people of northern ireland. at the bottom of the hill where stormont sits there isa the hill where stormont sits there is a small protest taking place because some members within unionism and loyalism do not agree with elements of the deal, crucially the commitment to give the irish language a legal standing. that was a red line for sinn fein. sinn fein did not want to re—enter government here unless there was a commitment given to the irish language. sinn fein and the dup have acknowledged that parties have had to compromise on this deal and it is fair and balanced and there are elements which people are not happy with, but this is about getting government back up and running in northern ireland and making key decisions and trying to return some normality to
the public here. richard, thanks for joining us. that is richard morgan instalment. —— in stormont. the headlines on bbc news... iran admits mistakenly shooting down the ukranian passenger plane, which it mistook for a cruise missile. prime minister boris johnson calls the admission an important first step. in stormont, the northern ireland assembly has resumed for the first time since the collapse of power—sharing three years ago. keir starmer — the shadow brexit secretary — officially launches his leadership campaign, we‘ll bring you news of that launch live from manchester, in the next hour. there are just two days left for the six labour leadership candidates to gain the backing they need to get to the next stage of the contest, and it‘s sir keir starmer who currently has the most nominations and the support of the uk‘s largest trade union, unison. the five other candidates standing
are rebecca long bailey, emily thornberry, clive lewis, lisa nandy and jess phillips. registered supporters — who are not full party members — will have 48 hours from 14—16 january to secure a vote by paying £25. the ballot will be open from 21st february to the 2nd of april. with the results announced two days later on the 4th. our political correspondent tony bonsignorejoins me now. a lot happening this afternoon and we can start with the front runner keir starmer. he is in manchester today, the mechanics institute, the birthplace of the trade union congress, and that gives you a clue of the message he is telling his supporters and is trying to push out to voters which is, forget what you might have heard, that i‘m a
centrist candidate, nonsense, he says, i want to continue with many of the radical policies we have seen over the last three years, under jeremy corbyn, and that has been the message of his campaign so far. it is important because ultimately it will be the members who choose the next labour leader and it is thought many of those are to the left of where mps are. he has been doing the media rounds as well and he spoke to the bbc earlier and this is what he had to say about the jeremy corbyn yea rs. we, actually, underjeremy corbyn, made some very important moves. firstly, we became the party of anti—austerity, the party against cuts to public services. i think after ten years of cuts it is blindingly obvious that we were right about that and we should not chuck that away. we became the party that wanted to invest in public services and in manufacturing. and we were right about that.
so, i'm very concerned that we do not throw all that away. sometimes when you lose an election there is the tendency to say that everything we put into our manifesto and believed in over the last four years must go, and that is wrong in my view. that is the front runner at the moment keir starmer and his nearest challenger at the moment looks like rebecca long bailey. iwondered how much of a challenge she faces having to emerge from the shadow ofjeremy corbyn. that is her biggest challenge. what we are doing at the moment in this contest, we are getting to the end of the first stage, the end of the beginning. in terms of mps keir starmer it‘s a long way ahead with 68 nominations and rebecca long bailey has 26. but it is the members who will choose the next labour leader ultimately and rebecca long bailey is favoured byjeremy corbyn and john mcdonnell, we think. momentum, the group within labour, they may back her, as well.
but being so closely tied to the current leadership is a double—edged sword given how badly they did in the election. this label of continuity candidate as some are calling her, that is not something she totally welcomes as she said in the last hour. i'm not anybody's continuity candidate, i'm principled and i want to make sure we have a policy platform that will transform our economy and rebuild the industrialised areas that have lost faith in the labour party and faith in the political establishment and i also want to see a shift in power, economic power and political power, away from westminster and to the regions and nations that truly need to deliver the benefits to their communities. what about the other candidates? of the six you mentioned
a few minutes ago, four of them have made the cut in terms of getting to the next round. we have also got lisa nandy who has 2a and jess phillips who has 22 mps who have nominated her, that is the minimum. two others are struggling at the moment, emily thornberry with ten mps, clive lewis has only got four at the moment. there are quite a few dozen mps yet to declare but as it stands emily thornberry and clive lewis are struggling to make the cut. tony, thanks forjoining us. debenhams has begun closing 19 of its stores as part of plans to try to secure its future. in another blow to the high street, mothercare will stop trading tomorrow — with the loss of 2,800 jobs. our business correspondent, emma simpson has more
debenhams, a retailer at the heart of many a town or city centre. but today, six will close. 50 stores are to go, the first wave this month, the rest in 2021. there‘s not much left for last—minute bargain hunters in these final few hours of trading. this is altrincham. once our generation is gone, in another 30 years, there will be no shops. there will be no money and there will be no shops! so we will all be online, digital. i used to buy quite a bit of stuff from there, yeah. yeah, very sad. and i feel for the staff as well. debenhams has been struggling for years. weighed down with debt and falling sales. it did a restructuring deal to cut costs and close its worst performing shops. this year, it‘s make or break. from mothercare, the challenges were too great. it‘s been closing all its remaining 79 stores this week, including this one here in norwich. tomorrow it will disappear
from the high street and retail parks altogether, after nearly 60 years of trading. emma simpson, bbc news. let‘s go back to our top story now and iran‘s admission that it shot down a ukrainian passenger plane over tehran by mistake. rana rahimpourfrom the bbc‘s persian service is here. what do you make of the way in which iran‘s story has changed over the course of 2a hours? iran‘s story has changed over the course of 24 hours? since the news of the passenger plane that was crashed came out, on wednesday, the reigning authorities have been in denial and for the last four days they said it must have been a technical problem —— the iranian authorities. overnight in iran they announced it was an unintentional mistake and they take responsibility. that is very unusual for the iranian authorities, very
unusualfor for the iranian authorities, very unusual for them to take any responsibility at all. the fact that they are now taking responsibility in the view of many iranians is because there were dual nationals we re because there were dual nationals were on board. canada and uk got involved in the investigation and there was a lot of evidence and it reached the point where they could no longer deny it. what is the reaction in iran to this admission? shock, anger, rage. four days of being lied to it‘s what people are co nsta ntly being lied to it‘s what people are constantly talking about. not only they have killed civilians, and they knew they had done it, they tried to hide it for bad few days and they have only taken responsibility after coming under pressure —— tried to hide it forfour days.
coming under pressure —— tried to hide it for four days. they have coming under pressure —— tried to hide it forfour days. they have now apologised and we have received reports from several cities in iran that people are gathering in main squares and i saw footage, people shouting, dad to dictator, we want justice, so it seems the level of anger will end up on the streets —— death to dictator. it will be very difficult for the authorities to crackdown on protests that are out there because of a mistake they have made. any further details about why iranian airspace was not closed at this time of heightened tension? very good question and everyone is asking this. the commander of the revolutionary guard was asked why it was the iranian airspace open because they knew they were going to launch an attack and he even admitted that the anti—aircraft system was on high alert, the highest alert possible, so they could foresee that there might be an
attack on iran, and they said there was misinformation, they thought a missile was shot towards iran and thatis missile was shot towards iran and that is why they made a mistake. it has not convinced many people and many people are still asking the same questions and no one has taken responsibility. our planes now taking off in tehran? —— are. responsibility. our planes now taking off in tehran? -- are. yes, thatis taking off in tehran? -- are. yes, that is the decision of the airline, if the airline decides it is too dangerous they will stop and some have made that decision. they have decided it is not safe enough to fly over iran and iraq but that is a decision the airlines have made are not the iranian authorities. very interesting update, thanks for joining us. the spokesperson for the family of harry dunn has told us they are certain the american woman charged in connection with his death will return to the uk to face justice. the us state department said it was ‘highly inappropriate‘ for britain to apply
for the extradition of anne sacoolas — the wife of an american intelligence officer. ms sacoolas returned to the us claiming diplomatic immunity following a road accident in august. the home office says the matter is now "a decision for the us authorities‘. the dunn family lawyer gave his reaction a little earlier. no doubt in my mind whatsoever, 100% she is coming back. the only thing i can't tell you is when. now, if this administration chooses tojust ignore the extradition request or reject it out of hand, i don't think there is anything any of us will be able to do. but let me just remind your viewers, this administration will not be here forever and a day, but that extradition request will be, and it will simply be re—presented if it is rejected and all we can do in those circumstances is hope that a reasonable administration comes in and deals with the request fairly.
oman has declared three days of national mourning following the death of sultan qaboos at the age of 79. a funeral procession has taken place in muscat. the sultan‘s cousin has been proclaimed monarch after an emergency session was called to appoint a new leader. sultan qaboos was the longest serving ruler in the gulf. he ruled oman since 1970, when he deposed his father in a coup. a 100—year—old giant tortoise credited with virtually saving his species from extinction — is being released back into the wild. the male tortoise, diego, is believed to have fathered around 800 baby tortoise after he was recruited onto a captive breeding programme in the galapagos islands. the park service believes he was taken from the galapagos 80 years ago by a scientific expedition. diego is currently in quarantine before his return in march.
now it‘s time for a look at the weather with mel coles. todayis today is a taste of what we can expect through the coming week, wet and windy conditions dominating the story, and through this afternoon the strongest of the winds will be along this band of rain, heavy pulses for cumbria and snowdonia, and ahead it will be slightly dry but there is cloud around and behind it the winds will ease down and it will brighten up in scotland, but starting to feel a bit fresher. temperatures widely in double figures elsewhere, very mild for the time of year. as we head into the evening the band of rain continues towards the south and east taking the strongest of the winds. a few showers which might pose a ais risk on sunday morning first thing. —— an ice risk. this clears down towards the south and east on sunday, another band of rain in clearing the midlands and eventually
lincolnshire, brightening up through the afternoon for many areas. a blustery day and starting to feel fresher. hello, this is bbc news. the headlines: prime minister, boris johnson, says it‘s an "important first step", as iran admits shooting down the ukranian passenger plane — killing all 176 people on board. they say they mistook it for a cruise missile. in ukraine, questions over why the plane was allowed to take off from tehran, anger over iran‘s initial denials. translation: the iran representative instructed our crew in clear words and a calm voice to take off and the crew followed the orders. in the current climate, it would be stupid to try and hide something. back to business for the northern ireland assembly. these are the scenes live in stormont, as talks resume for the first time since the power—sharing agreement collapsed three years ago. in the next hour, keir starmer,
the shadow brexit secretary, officially launches his bid to lead the labour party. we‘ll bring you that launch live from manchester in the next hour. now on bbc news it‘s time for brexitcast. it all feels a bit different somehow. where has the jeopardy gone? it‘s left the building. i haven‘t run anywhere this week yet, apart from around the park. that exercise that never quite happened in 2019, or 18 or 17! it‘s still brexitcast but there‘s other stuff happening this week. should it be megxit—cast? sorry. should we not say any words like exit any more, are they all banned? what will we be called? bleep—cast, beep—cast? outcast? i like outcast! we have been there many a time, for many a year, even if that‘s not the official title. welcome, for now, to...