this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk, on pbs in america, or around the globe. i'm mike embley. our top stories: president trump's impeachment trial moves a step closer, as senior democrat nancy pelosi signs key documents. the republican—controlled senate will conduct his trial next week. they can be very clear that this president will be held accountable, that no—one is above the law. a thaw in relations as the us and china sign an initial deal aimed at easing their 18—month trade war. russia's government resigns en masse after president putin unveils plans that could prolong his stay in power. and wildfires, flooding and drought. the last decade is confirmed as the hottest on record. the un warns there is more to come.
in washington, dc the stage is set for the senate trial of donald trump, only the third american president to face impeachment. the speaker of the house of representatives, which is controlled by the opposition democrats, has signed the articles of impeachment and they have now been sent to the senate, which is dominated by mr trump's party, the republicans. he is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of congress. the trial will start on tuesday. ben wright reports. the trial of president trump has been triggered. a month after the house of representatives voted to impeach donald trump on charges of abusing power and obstructing congress, last night the democratic speaker of the house, nancy pelosi,
signed the impeachment articles, a momentous moment that required many pens. the papers were then ceremoniously carried across the capitol building to the senate by lawmakers who will prosecute the case against president trump. this is where the saga moves next, for only the third impeachment trial in us history. so sad, so tragic for our country, that the actions taken by the president to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office, and to jeopardise the security of our elections, the integrity of our elections, has taken us to this place. so, today, we will make history. congress has already held hearings into donald trump's efforts to pressure ukraine into investigating his political opponents. democrats now want new witnesses
and documents to feature in the senate trial, but it's not clear yet that will happen, and the impeachment process is totally divided down party lines. this is a political impeachment. this has nothing to do with the fact — we've shown that there was nothing done wrong, but that does not matter. when the train is on the tracks, the whistle is blowing, impeachment matters, and the only thing that matters, the only real emergency here, is that there's a 2020 election in which the democrats can't stand to see the fact this president is going to win again. thank you very much. president trump won't testify himself, and is contemptuous of the impeachment process. they have a hoax going on over there. let's take care of it. he also knows that he has the backing of the republican—controlled senate. the senate trial will begin next week, and it is likely to widen further the political chasm that already exists in the united states. republicans say this whole process is a sham that shows that democrats are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary voters. democrats hope that this trial
will prove donald trump's unfitness for office, even if, as most expect, the senate votes to acquit him and chuck these impeachment charges out. ben wright, bbc news, washington. our north america correspondent peter bowes has more. it is a historic moment. the third president to face an impeachment trial, clearly, therefore this doesn't happen every day. and i think what we've seen over the last few hours, a short ceremony, nancy pelosi signing those articles of impeachment, really does underline the seriousness, the grave nature of the task that is facing the senate. there is a lot of uncertainty, clearly, with the weeks to come, a lot of political drama to come and a lot of decisions still to be made. and we've just heard reference to the indecision still about whether there be witnesses, or indeed documents, new documents, of which there
have been many. in the last 2a hours, whether they will be allowed during the trial. the democrats want them, the republicans are more reluctant. peter, it is dramatic, but it it is also political theatre in a sense the outcome is already written. the president's own party in the senate are not going to vote to remove him from office. that seems pretty clear. i think some democrats are holding on to the possibility that there will be witnesses, john bolton may appear, the former national security adviser. he has tweeted that he has stuff to say and that he would be willing to appear as a witness, that perhaps the will say something so dramatic. he was very close to the president during the crucial time of those talks with ukraine over that aid that was withheld. there might be some bombshell piece of information that so persuades enough republicans that might change the whole thing, that they would actually vote with the democrats to impeach the president. it seems unlikely, but maybe one or two of the democrats are hoping
it will happen. just very briefly, peter, do we have any more sense how this is playing with the voters, most crucially the people who will be voting next year at the presidential elections? it is interesting. i am in la, and talking to people about this impeachment process, a lot of people including democrats will say it is a waste of time. they actually wish the democrats would focus more on the election to come, and they say it is a waste of time, because they think it's a foregone conclusion. major stock indexes in the united states have closed at a record high with the signing of a partial trade deal between america and china. the 18—month battle over tariffs between the two biggest economies in the world has rattled markets, dampened growth and hurt workers and businesses in both countries. at a ceremony in the white house, president trump described the agreement as a momentous step. our global trade correspondent dharshini david has this assessment.
from american farmers producing soya beans or pork to car manufacturers, and chinese factory workers making our electronic gadgets, these are the people and businesses bearing the brunt of the trade war. it's their goods on which extra charges, or tariffs, have been imposed, and those costs have added over $800 to the average american family's annual bills and, according to one estimate, cost up to 300,000 us jobs. with the pain mounting for those the trade dispute was meant to help, president trump has agreed a truce. today we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with china, towards a future of fair and reciprocal trade, as we sign phase one of the historic trade deal between the united states and china. the relief may be mutual. the chinese people have seen their incomes grow at the slowest rate in three decades, in the face of the war triggered by president trump to protect american jobs and companies
from what he viewed as unfair competition. but is this a victory or a climb—down from the us president, and is the relationship between the superpowers being significantly overhauled? well, china has promised to buy another $200 billion worth of us agricultural goods, and industrial goods worth some $75 billion. but will it actually keep to those promises? in return, the us is halving its tariffs or import taxes on $120 billion worth of chinese goods, but it will continue to levy 25% tariffs on products worth another $250 billion. meanwhile, president trump's biggest and thorniest complaint, that china unfairly subsidises its industries, has not been resolved, and it is unlikely to be any time soon. a short while ago i spoke to our asia business correspondent
karishma vaswani, and asked if the 18—month struggle between the two major economies was over. no, mike, i don't think it's over. i think they've pressed pause on the current tariff escalation, as dharshini was saying in that report. that is a welcome relief for businesses, notjust based in the us and china, but also out here in asia. many countries manufacture their products, and have been doing that in mainland china, for decades because it has been cheaper and you can pretty much make everything there that you need. because of the trade war and the tariffs that had been put on chinese goods, they have had to shift a lot of their manufacture ring out of china. that is very expensive, because they are effectively operating businesses, so they have held back on investments and
creating new jobs. all of that has had a dampening effect on economic growth in the region. for now, this pause, the pressing of the pause button if you will, the trade truce is a positive for companies in asia and economic growth in the region. but certainly that is not the end of it. president trump describes this partial deal as a momentous step, but china is not giving as much as he suggests, has it? well, in the short term, i think it would be fair to say that president trump and the phase one deal has certainly achieved a great deal. it has got commitments from china in it to buy more agricultural purchases from the united states. remember, that's what president trump always said that he wanted china to do — buy more from the us. it also addresses things like intellectual property theft and tech transfer. but what it doesn't do, and this is china's long—term ambition, mike, to become the tech leader in some of the key emerging technologies in the future, things like artificial intelligence, it doesn't get — this deal doesn't
get to the bottom of subsidies from chinese, from the chinese government to chinese companies. that is the jewel in the crown, that china is not going to let private without future commitment to rolling back tariffs from the us. russia's entire government has resigned, hours after president putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes. there is much speculation he is looking for a new role to help him hold onto power. if approved by the public, his proposals would transfer some power from the presidency to parliament and boost the role of the state council, which mr putin chairs. gareth barlow reports. vladimir putin surprised almost everyone when he announced his proposed reforms to the russian constitution, a transfer of power from presidency to parliament, limiting future presidents to two terms, giving the lower house more power to appoint key figures, and increasing the status of the state council, which he controls.
translation: you can't help but agree with those who say the constitution was adopted over a quarter of a century ago, during a serious domestic political crisis. the state of affairs has changed drastically. president putin didn't just propose new powers. he replaced key people. the prime minister and former president, dmitry medvedev, is out. a little—known technocrat is in. in one of his final acts, the pm said the government would resign to aid the changes. translation: we, the government of the russian federation, should provide the president with the opportunity to make the necessary changes. i believe it would be right, in accordance with the constitution, that the government resigns. ministers were said to have been taken by complete surprise by the reforms and resignations. president putin, who must step down in 2024, said the changes should be voted on in a referendum. translation: considering the proposals envisage significant
changes to the political system, i think it's necessary to put the entire package of proposed changes to the russian constitution to a public vote. but what do ordinary russians make of the president's proposals? translation: i view it positively. perhaps things will change for the better. everything should be for the better in our country. people are quite tired of suffering. translation: it's quite sad. it seems that nothing is going to change. these people have left, but they will be replaced by similar ones. exactly how the president's plans will play out aren't clear. what is apparent is that vladimir putin knows his time leading the country will come to an end, but that he is working to ensure he'll retain influence and power for years to come. gareth barlow, bbc news. molly montgomery is a fellow at brookings institution, and she told me what she made of the president's announcement. well, certainly today's events
in moscow were dramatic. it's not entirely unexpected. ever since putin won his final six—year term in the presidency in 2018, there has been increasing speculation over whether and how he might seek to retain power once that term ends in 202a. and so i think today we got a look at that as he announced those proposed constitutional changes, which would significantly reduce the power wielded by a successor and provide several other power centres, namely the state council, from which he might be able to wield power post—presidency. so you are pretty clear, are you, that he is seeking to retain power, and will be able to with these changes? i think that's certainly the most likely scenario. he has made sure with these changes that whoever succeeds him will not be able to wield the kind
of consolidated power that he has, and he's certainly has left himself space to occupy other seats from which he could do that. he's also appointed a relatively unknown technocrat as the new prime minister. again, assuring that there really will be no viable successor when those presidential elections come down in 202a. so there wouldn't be anyone, either president or prime minister, who could threaten mr putin and the state council becomes a kind of politburo, like the chinese central committee? that's certainly the speculation. they've pointed to, notjust to the chinese model for the soviet model but also to the kazhak model where the former president stepped down recently to head up the national security council and become leader for life in that country.
so several similar models that we can look to as examples. putin has strong support in the country but there are problems out there. what do you think the public makes of this? will the referendum be worth the paper people are making their mark on? well, whether it's worth the paper or not, i think you are likely to see significant russian support. this will be viewed as a move towards stability, heading off what could have been quite a destabilising succession process, and so providing clarity at this early date. i think putin certainly hopes to ensure that there are not the kinds of protest that we saw in 2011 and 2012, when he announced fairly last—minute that he would run for president. and so i think the idea is to provide a smooth path to whatever comes next. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the health impact of australia's bushfire crisis — we hear from an expert in melbourne.
day one of operation desert storm to force the iraqis out of kuwait has seen the most intense air attack since the second world war. tobacco is america's oldest industry and it's one of its biggest, but the industry is nervous of this report. this may tend to make people want to stop smoking cigarettes. there is not a street that is unaffected. huge parts of kobe were simply demolished as buildings crashed into one another. this woman said she had been given no help and no advice by the authorities. she stood outside the ruins of her business. tens of thousands of black children in south africa have taken advantage of laws passed by the country's new multiracial government and enrolled at formerly white schools. tonight sees the 9,610th performance of her long—running play, the mousetrap. when they heard of her death today, the management considered whether to cancel tonight's performance, but agatha christie would have been the last person to want such a thing.
welcome back. good to have you with us on welcome back. good to have you with us on bbc news. the latest headlines: key impeachment documents have been signed and sent to the us senate which will put president trump on trial for abuse of power and obstruction of congress. china and the united states sign a partial deal aimed at easing their trade war which has dampened global economic growth. the past decade was, officially, the warmest on record. figures released on wednesday paint a grim picture of rising global temperatures and the impact of human activity on the planet. the data was compiled by british and american scientists, including the met office and nasa, some of it going back to 1850. it also reveals that 2019 was the second warmest year in recorded history. 0ur science correspondent rebecca morelle has the details.
from the heatwaves across europe that saw the uk hit an all—time high of 38.7 degrees, to greenland, which broke the record for the most ice lost in a single day, and our oceans, which are now the warmest they've been in human history, 2019 was a year of extremes. and this map shows how global temperatures have changed over time. each decade from the 1980s has been warmer than the decade before. the last ten years have now been confirmed as the hottest since records began. scientists say humans are to blame. carbon dioxide levels are at the highest that we've ever recorded in our atmosphere, and there's a definite connection between the amount of carbon dioxide and the temperature. we are seeing the highest global temperatures in the last decade, and we'll see more of that. as that carbon dioxide continues to grow, we will see global temperatures increasing. measurements taken at observatories like this one show that our planet is heating up fast. already, the world's temperature has
risen by 1.1 degrees above pre—industrial levels. scientists though say we need to stop temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees to stop the worst effects of global warming but, with our current climate policies, we are heading for more than three degrees, and that would bring unprecedented changes. higher temperatures will mean more heatwaves and droughts, sea levels would rise and rain would intensify, bringing more floods like the ones that hit yorkshire last year. what we have to remember is that the climate crisis is going to affect our economy across so many different dimensions, so it's going to impact on health and already it's impacting on health, it's going to impact on food supply and food security, it's going to impact on infrastructure, so we talk about critical infrastructure, the impact on electricity, the impact on schools and hospitals. climate awareness is now higher than ever before, but scientists say it's action that's needed, by cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
this, though, will require huge changes, from swapping fossil fuels to renewables to drastically reducing how much we fly and rethinking the food we eat. but the extreme conditions show no signs of letting up, especially with australia's fires, which continue to burn. the met office is already forecasting that 2020 could be another record—breaking year. rebecca morelle, bbc news. smoke from the bushfires is accumulating over cities in concentrations rarely seen before in australia. this poses risks to public health and the environment. gabriel da silva is a senior lecturer in chemical engineering at university in melbourne. smoke is unhealthy in any way and all of its components have negative effects. what is unprecedented in these events as we are seeing lots of different events playing out at the moment so we have lots of firefighters out there battling the fires who have to worry about being overcome by smoke inhalation and we've also
seen, the particle matter from the fires making its way to major cities. and we're not used this in australia but some of our cities have been topping the leaderboards are some of the most polluted air in the world over the last month. i think melbourne had the worst air quality in the world one day this week. what are the impacts of this smoke and in particular the health impacts? what we're really worried about is the fine particle matter that makes its way, it is microscopic and makes its way all the way into your lungs and bloodstream. and were really finding that it can affect every system in the body and short—term and long—term.
so if you think about the vulnerable, the young, the old and people with respiratory problems, they are particularly prone to inflammation, asthma attacks on things like that. there are also long—term, many long—term diseases that this pollution can cause and contributes to heart disease, stroke, lung disease, different cancers. there's really no part of the body that it doesn't touch. and right now do you think these impacts are being appreciated. these are not being done to protect people? could more be done? i think more could be done, maybe we are a little bit naive in terms of our pollution in australia where we don't... we obviously have to deal with it in the cities with the burning of fossil fuels but it is relatively invisible and so maybe it is not
at the forefront of our minds but it certainly is now. so people are becoming very familiar with air—quality indexes and the numbers. i think also the public is learning when they should avoid being outside, exercising, for going to stay indoors on particularly smoke affected days, what they should do to keep clean inside. but we've even seen scenes at the tennis without having to postpone it and are considering cancelling days of play because of the air pollution which is really something when not used to. and it's obviously a problem now but it looks as though this is the future doesn't it? yes, absolutely. i mean we've just heard that we've lived out the hottest ten years in human history. australia over the last month saw as a consonant the hottest days we've ever had. it is incredibly dry and there is no signs of this letting up. unfortunately, these fires are also releasing their own huge amounts
of c02 into the atmosphere so magnifiers that we have had had probably put out in the last two months, as out as much carbon dioxide as all of our fossil fuel use from a year in australia. well. a senior lecturer in chemical engineering at melbourne university. there's some good news on the bushfires. rain has arrived in some parts of south—east australia. in a statement to the bbc, the new south wales rural fire service said: "significant rainfall is great news. up to 80mm of rain is predicted in some parts of new south wales today and through the weekend." 0nly light rain, though, can be problematic, it can make important work to contain wildfires, such as backburning, more difficult, because brush becomes too damp to burn in controlled fires. the hope is for slow, steady and substantial rainfall. there is much more on the news on the bbc website. and you can get in touch with me
and most of the team on twitter — i'm @bbcmikeembley. thank you for watching. hello there. we saw a brief window of fine weather for wednesday. many of us stay dry with some sunshine. but it's all change. the next area of low pressure moving in for thursday, bringing another spell of wet and windy weather to our shores. you can see here showing up on the pressure chart, moving up from the south—west, the isobars closer together across the board, but particularly across western areas. so it'll be a wet start from the word go across northern ireland, scotland, some snow on the hills, and then the rain will pile into many southern and western areas through the day,
largely working their way eastward so we should stay dry in the east until after dark. gale force winds for many, 40—50 mph gusts, in excess of 60 mph across the south—west, so very blustery. fairly mild in the south, still single figure values across the north. that low pressure moves northwards, taking the wet and windy weather with it during thursday night. into friday we've got fewer isobars on the charts, and a couple of weather fronts which will tend to enhance shower activity in band form. so we'll see a few showers clustered together across parts of scotland, northern ireland, some wintriness over the hills, a couple of showers as well into england and wales, which will tend to move from west to east. but some good spells of sunshine in between. you will notice the temperatures, though, with all the air mass changing, single figure values for most, just about 10 degrees across the south—east. so into the weekend it will be colder but with high pressure establishing itself it should turn a bit drier, with good spells of sunshine, but at night it will be cold, we return to some overnight frost.
you can see this area of high pressure clearly establishing itself across the uk during saturday and it's with us as well into sunday and into the start of next week too. mind you, we still have low pressure close to the north of the uk, so still windy across scotland. further heavy showers across here, maybe hail, some snow in the hills, maybe just one or two showers, moving through the cheshire gap, for example, but they should tend to ease down into the afternoon, with increasing amounts of sunshine for many. but it will be a colder day, with temperatures in single figure values for most of us. and it's going to a cold night, saturday night, you can see the blue hue developing right across the board, a widespread frost with a risk of some fog or even freezing fog patches, perhaps a little bit of ice where we've had the showers through the day. so sunday starts off cold and frosty, but it looks like we should tend to lose those strong winds from the north of the country. for many of us here winds will be light. where fog holds on it will be cold, but for many of us we should see
this is bbc news. the headlines: formal impeachment charges against president trump have been signed by senior democrat nancy pelosi at a ceremony on capitol hill. the decision means a trial is likely to start next week. mr trump is unlikely to be removed from office as his republican party have a majority in the senate. major financial markets in the us have closed at record highs after the signing of a partial trade deal between america and china. the us called off some planned tariffs on chinese goods, while beijing agreed to increase purchases of us exports. climate scientists have confirmed that the past decade was the hottest on record. nasa and the uk met office say last year was the second warmest since 1850. they blame rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and warn of more extreme weather events to come.