This is the global news podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Alex RedZone and 13 hours GMT on Thursday, the 20th of August. These are our main stories. Doctors treating the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, say he's fighting for his life after being apparently poisoned. Barack Obama makes his most outspoken attack yet on Donald Trump's handling of the presidency.
For close to four years now, he has shown no interest in putting in the work, no interest in finding common ground, no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends.
Police in Thailand have arrested nine people involved in recent protests criticizing the government and the monarchy. Also in this podcast, the ex lover of the former king of Spain, Juan Carlos, has told the BBC a payment of 75 million dollars that he made to her was a generous gift rather than attempted money laundering. There's a fresh push by the president of the Philippines to reintroduce the death penalty for drug offences.
British scientists discover a new way of delivering targeted radiotherapy to breast cancer patients. We begin in Russia, where doctors say they're doing all they can to save the life of Alexei Navalny, the most prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin's government, Alexei Navalny fell ill on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Omsk. He lost consciousness amid suspicions that he may have been poisoned. Video from the scene showed Mr.
Navalny being stretchered from the aircraft into a waiting ambulance before being taken to hospital. His spokeswoman, Kiera Garmisch, is in no doubt about what happened.
I'm certain that it's a deliberate poisoning. A year ago, he was poisoned in a special detention facility. We all remember that. And I'm confident that now it's a repeat of what happened then. The symptoms are different and the toxic agent is different, but it was obviously done to him deliberately.
However, a hospital spokesman said it was too soon to confirm that Mr. Navalny had been poisoned.
He's just been traveling. Of course, poisoning is being considered as one of the possible causes. But apart from that, there are many other possible conditions which could come on suddenly and show the same symptoms. We're taking them all into account, confirming or excluding as we go. I'm afraid I can't go into any more details.
Our correspondent in Moscow, Sarah Rainsford, is following developments from the hospital in Omsk has confirmed that he is in intensive care. In fact, they say he's on a ventilator and unconscious. Now, they say a whole series of tests are being done. They are ruling out various diagnoses and trying to confirm other ones. They say they have a final diagnosis during the course of the day, but they have said that it's not certain at this point that Mr. Navalny has been poisoned, but that they are considering that as one of the reasons for his falling sick.
They say, as I say, a number of clinical tests are being done and the search for a diagnosis is narrowing. But certainly, Mr. Novar, this team was very quick to suggest that he'd been poisoned. They say, from the symptoms that he suffered. He began to feel very sick on board the plane from Tomsk back to Moscow. He started perspiring heavily. He then headed to the back of the plane where he collapsed. And there was actually a video posted by a fellow passenger on social media where you could see medics heading down the aisle of the plane and you could hear a man's voice at the back of the plane groaning very loudly, obviously in some pain.
And their suspicion is that this centers on a cup of tea at the airport. What they've said is that the only thing he ate or drank that morning before getting on board the plane was a cup of tea at Tomsk Airport. So that's Kirishima. She's the spokeswoman for Mr Navalny and who has said, presumably based on conversations that she had with with paramedics and doctors at the scene initially, she then said that she believed he'd been poisoned and that they had suggested that from his symptoms.
As I say, that hasn't been confirmed just yet. But she's also now tweeting from the hospital in Omsk and saying that there's a lot of police there. There's also members of the investigative committee have turned up. Mr Navalny is obviously an extremely prominent figure in Russia. He's a very key opposition figure to his anti-corruption fund, is extremely active in doing investigations into figures high up in the political establishment here close to the Kremlin. And they then publish them on YouTube.
They're extremely widely watched around the country. So he's long been a thorn in the side of the authorities here, which is why there's so much focus on this case.
He has long been a thorn in the side of the Kremlin, but he was actually in Siberia, in the city of Tomsk, potentially getting up people's noses there. Well, potentially, yes.
At the moment, his team aren't saying exactly what he was doing there. Certainly local journalists and local people in Thomson had seen him around and about. He'd also been in Novosibirsk. They say he was filming on the streets, filming himself, speaking on the streets. It's possible he was involved in yet another anti-corruption investigation. That's quite possible. But there's also the suggestion that he was there to support the independent candidates for local elections in the area. That's one thing he and his team have been very active in recently, trying to get alternative voices into power at the local level and then eventually progressing them up the scale towards the national parliament.
That's something that he tried to do here in Moscow last summer. And that was when there were mass protests in the city, which was when he also ended up back in police custody and when he also claimed that he'd been poisoned after his face swelled up and he came out in a very nasty rash.
Sarah Rainsford in Moscow. Barack Obama has launched his most scathing public criticism of his successor yet saying Donald Trump simply didn't have the capability to govern. He was one of several senior Democrats to attack the president on the penultimate night of the party's national convention. Kamala Harris was officially named as vice presidential nominee. Ally McBeal reports from the conference centre. In Wilmington, Delaware, hometown of Joe Biden, being an African-American female business owner under President Trump, I feel how can I say I'm alone?
There's been lots of this during the week, slickly produced videos, given the virtual nature of this event, many championing diversity. But on this, the third night of the Democratic convention, one man really shook things up.
Donald Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't.
Barack Obama has of late been more openly critical of the current administration without explicitly naming names. But that changed tonight.
I did hope for the sake of our country that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously, that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care.
But he never did for close to four years now, he has shown no interest in putting in the work, no interest in finding common ground, no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends.
No interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.
Donald Trump responded with furious tweets and said it's because Barack Obama did such a bad job that he got elected in the first place. His mood wouldn't have been improved by another speaker who was in I told you so rude.
For four years, people have told me I didn't realize how dangerous he was. I wish I could do it all over or worst I should have voted. Look, this can't be another woulda, coulda, shoulda election.
Hillary Clinton reminded people that she'd lost the last election in spite of getting around three million more votes to urge them to cast their ballots in November.
Remember, back in 2016 when Trump asked, what do you have to lose?
Well, now we know our health care, our jobs, our loved ones, our leadership in the world and even our post office.
This was also the night the vice presidential nominee was formally confirmed. Donald Trump stoked conspiracy theories about the right of Kamala Harris to stand for office, ones that are unfounded. Senator Harris spoke at length about her late mother.
I keep thinking about that 25 year old Indian woman, all of five feet tall, who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California. On that day. She probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now and speaking these words. I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America.
There were only about 40 of us in the room in Wilmington, in Delaware. So no big cheer for that. But Senator Harris, like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama before her, talked in foreboding terms of the importance of this election.
So we're at an inflection point. The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It's a lot. And here's the thing, we can do better and deserve so much more, Kamala Harris ending that report by Ally McBeal.
Neera Tanden is president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, and former adviser to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Martha Carney spoke to her just after Kamala Harris speech and asked her whether U.S. voters were ready to support a woman this election.
I think she was really trying to communicate how her biography is the American story, what she and Joe Biden will fight for.
But really, I think most importantly, she was trying to bring everyone into the fight is far more focused on the choice of vice president because of Joe Biden's age, the fact that he hinted he may not stand for a second term. But do you think that voters will be prepared to vote for a woman?
I can remember talking to them in Ohio in the last election. They're very resistant to that idea.
Kamala Harris has been a tremendous asset to the ticket. You see in polls there have been a series of polls that have come out in which not only Democrats support her selection, but independents. She has strong support of women, women of all backgrounds, suburban women, as well as urban women. And so I think she's a great asset and can generate enthusiasm throughout the country and throughout the throughout the party for sure. But ultimately, people are voting for the president.
And I think we'll see tomorrow Joe Biden make the case for why he will be a better president than Donald Trump.
And a huge amount is resting on his speech, isn't it? And given the kind of attacks that have been made on him lately by President Trump. But the sense, you know, this this claim is sleepy Joe. He's going to have to show he has energy, isn't he?
You know, I think the truth is that Donald Trump has spent tens of millions of dollars over the last several months attacking Joe Biden, who's been on the air for a month after month with deeply personal attacks and vicious lies. And it really hasn't worked. Joe Biden is ahead in every poll. So I don't think there's that kind of pressure on Joe Biden. I think there are a lot more pressure on Donald Trump.
There may have been very personal attacks by President Trump on Joe Biden. We have seen both Michelle Obama and Barack Obama launching scathing attacks on Donald Trump. And it's unusual, isn't it, for a former US president to do this?
Normally, they observe a pretty dignified public silence about their successes.
I don't think that's so much the case. Usually the presidents of the party speak at the convention and they are relatively critical of their and people who came after them. Bill Clinton spoke at conventions, was critical of George W. Bush.
But I think the truth is that Barack Obama hasn't been speaking very much against Trump, has kept a relatively low profile. But I think, as he made clear today, this isn't a normal election. This isn't a disagreement about policy. The issue around Donald Trump is that he is calling into question the most basic elements of our country, our democracy.
But the very pointed and attack about the pandemic where in effect, he was holding President Trump directly responsible for the deaths of 170000 Americans.
Well, his incompetence is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. No country in the world has a higher rate of death at this point. I mean, we have we have four percent of the population of the world and twenty five percent of the positive cases. It's a global embarrassment. How we have handled this virus and Donald Trump's chaotic leadership and his inability to listen to the science is a central reason why our country is flailing.
Neera Tanden from the Center for American Progress. The authorities in Thailand are cracking down on protests, calling for a new government and new constitution. Nine people involved in the demonstrations have been arrested, and activists say they've seen a police list of others who may be arrested soon. Our South-East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head reports from the capital, Bangkok.
With schoolchildren across Thailand now joining almost daily demonstrations of symbolic support for the protest movement, the government is under pressure to respond to the calls for political reform. The prime minister channel, a target of the protesters because of his leading role in the military coup six years ago, has promised to listen to their demands about the security forces are going after the protests. Leaders arresting nine of them over the past 24 hours on charges of sedition, which can carry a prison sentence of up to seven years.
The nine include a popular rap singer, a labor leader and the lawyer who earlier this month first called for changes to the monarchy, breaking a long standing taboo in Thailand against discussing the role of the palace. The two largest parties in the governing coalition have now said they backed the idea of forming a committee to draft a new constitution. That is one of the main demands of the protest movement, but it could take two years to complete. However, the government insists that the king's status in the Constitution, as enthroned in a position of revered worship, cannot be touched.
It's widely expected that all those, including some students who've openly demanded limits to the king's power and spending, will face arrest in the coming days.
Jonathan, had British doctors have developed a new method of administering radiotherapy, which they say could revolutionize the treatment of breast cancer?
Professor Giant Vijaya led the research team from University College London. He says the new approach marks a step change from traditional radiotherapy.
The way dissimilar it is, radiation and radiation kills cancer. How it is different is normally conventional radiotherapy is given from outside the breast, so it needs to make sure that it's not toxic. So they have to give it in multiple doses. So it is given in every day, Monday to Friday for three to six weeks. But this does is given from within the breast and is done within 20 to 30 minutes. And during the same operation where the cancer is done under the same anaesthetic and because it is so focused, you can give all the necessary radiation in one go.
And it comes with many benefits for the patient. So it is so much more convenient. And in four out of five patients, they will not need to have any more radiotherapy and there are fewer side effects, less pain and better cosmetic outcome. Professor Giant Vijaya of University College, London, a 16 year old from Sudan who disappeared at sea, has been found dead on a beach in France. French politicians believe the boy whose body was found in Calais went missing while attempting to cross the English Channel in a small boat.
More than 4800 people have crossed the channel and about 360 small boats this year to try to make it to the U.K..
Pierre Unredeemable is the MP for Calais and told my colleague Paula Musselroe more about what happened to the two young Sudanese men did not use the services of smugglers or smuggling organizations that just because there were extremely poor, that they did it by themselves without the help of any illegal activities organizations. So basically, they just broke into a beach cabin near Calais. They stole a toy, an inflatable boats we often use in swimming pools. They stole two shovels and they went at sea.
They wait and see where this toy and the boat at once. It was totally broke because it was not made to cross the channel. Obviously, the two boys arrived at sea, one of them drowned and the other one from help.
Can I ask what you're then doing or what the French authorities are doing? I ask this because in the UK there are members of parliament there, politicians here who are saying that to prevent this, asylum seekers like this must be given safe routes in order to seek asylum. And they say that's what's leading to this kind of situation. Is there anything being done in France to try and help these people, maybe to stay in France so they don't take these risks to cross the channel with the French authorities?
French NGOs are going to these people under 18 over 18 to ask them to claim asylum in France or to take protection from social services in France. But this people, that's immigrants, they don't want to stay in France for some different reasons. The first reason is they speak English. You know, when you come from Sudan, you speak English, you don't speak French. And the other reason is they've got a lot of relatives in the U.K. So basically they don't want to claim asylum in France because they want to claim asylum in the UK and they know they cannot claim asylum in the two countries.
But to claim asylum in the UK, you need to be physically to have both feet. In the UK, you cannot claim asylum in the UK while you are in France. So while you are in Greece and Croatia, in Malta are in in Cyprus.
So basically they take all the risks just to be in the UK on UK soil to claim asylum. At the time, the UK government, the British government needs to open an application wherever the migrants are to claim asylum in the UK and then is denied. We can, as French authorities go to them, say, hey, you were denied asylum in the UK, so you claim asylum in France.
The MP for Calais, Pierre Unredeemable, the ex lover of the former king of Spain, has denied that a gift of 75 million dollars he gave her was an attempt to launder money. Korina Sain Wittgensteinian is being investigated by prosecutors in Switzerland in connection with the payment she received in 2012. Linda Pressley reports.
King Juan Carlos shocked Spain when he announced he was leaving the country earlier this month. He left behind a trail of allegations of financial impropriety and judicial inquiries in Spain and Switzerland. His former lover, Karinna signficance Stein, says the huge cash gift was in recognition of how much she meant to him and gratitude for looking after him and some of his worst moments. She says it was not an attempt by Juan Carlos to hide or launder this money. She also claims she's been the subject of a harassment campaign by Spain's intelligence service for the past eight years.
The royal palace and the former king's lawyer declined to comment.
Linda Pressley. Still to come in this podcast, archaeologists find what could be the oldest art in Britain at that time.
Northern France will be joined to Britain. So this is a rare glimpse into people in what is basically a drowned landscape of the Channel River Valley.
A court in Britain has sentenced the brother of the suicide bomber who carried out the Manchester Erina attack in 2017 to a minimum of 55 years in prison. Hashim Obadi was found guilty of murder, attempted murder and conspiring to cause an explosion. 22 people were killed in the bombing at a pop concert in 2017. Obeidi was in Libya when his brother Salman carried out the attack after a performance by the American pop star Ariana Grande. Danny Schorr reports.
After hearing moving statements from some of the hundreds of survivors of the deadly bombing, the judge began sentencing Hashim Obadi, who for the second day running, had refused to attend the hearing. Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said Ebadi had played an integral part in the preparation and planning of the attack, which he described as atrocious. The judge said Ebadi and his older brother, who detonated the device, were equally culpable and had deliberately targeted young people. Ebadi was 20 at the time of the bombing.
Had he been older, the judge said, he would have imposed a whole life tariff, meaning he'd spend the rest of his life in prison. The law prevented him from doing so, he said. So. Instead, he ordered Ebadi to serve at least 55 years in prison, minus almost three years spent in custody already.
Daniel Schorr. South Korea's intelligence service has said that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong un, appears to have handed down some of his responsibilities to his sister, Kim Jong un. Our correspondent in Seoul, Laura Becker, has the details.
Kim Jong il remains in overall control. He is the supreme authority. But what seems to be happening is he's delegating some powers to his sister and other aides. Now, we understand that the majority of the power handed over has been to her sister, Kim Jong. Why is this interesting one? We're looking at the power of succession. Who will take over North Korea next should something happen to Kim Jong un? You might remember earlier this year where he was gone from the public eye for several weeks at a time.
There were a number of rumors about his health. While still analysts believe some of them certainly that he has had some heart procedure. Now, what they're seeing in the briefing today was that Kim Jong un is trying to relieve the stress and also responsibility set policies should go wrong. So it seems that he's handed over the majority of powers to his sister, Kim Jong Il. That does not mean that she is the successor when it comes to North Korea, but it does mean certainly he's beginning to delegate some powers.
Why? We're not entirely sure. And it is worth noting that South Korea's spy agency has got it wrong on North Korea in the past. They are only able to kind of garner information by analyzing state media. So when it comes to this kind of information, it is difficult to assess.
But it's worth noting certainly at this time, Laura Becker, the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Nigeria has risen above 50000. According to the country's Center for Disease Control, more than a third of Nigeria's cases are in the country's commercial capital, Lagos, with 17000 and 92 confirmed cases.
Nigeria is currently behind South Africa and Egypt as Africa's third worst affected country.
The BBC's Chris Jaywalker reports from the capital, Abuja.
There are currently more than 12000 confirmed active cases of coronavirus in the country, and although the majority of those who have tested positive have now recovered. There have been almost a thousand deaths. Nigeria's cases have risen significantly since local restrictions were relaxed in May. But given low levels of testing in the country compared to the size of the population, the true scale of the pandemic remains unclear. Doctors unions have repeatedly raised concerns in recent months regarding poor levels of personal protective equipment and pay, resulting in a number of strikes on different parts of the country, the country and places of worship, and also allowed partial opening of schools for final year students to write their exams.
International flights are due to resume later this month.
Chris Walker to the Philippines now, where there's a fresh push by President Rodrigo Duterte to reintroduce the death penalty for drug crimes.
Mr. Duterte used his recent State of the Nation address to call on the country's Congress to expedite the bill, which could see capital punishment returned to the country after being abolished twice previously. But critics say approving the bill would go against a global trend towards abolition, turning the country into a pariah state Howard. Johnson reports from Manila. The year is 1999, and the crying you hear is from the family of convicted rapist Leo Etchegaray as his body is carried in a coffin along a narrow manila street.
There's huge public interest in Etchegaray funeral, and that's because the 38 year old painter had died just days before by lethal injection. He was accused of raping the 10 year old daughter of his live in partner. But the killing of Etchegaray sparked a national debate about the legality and morality of the death penalty. How can the states demonstrate that killing is wrong if the state also kills? Was the thrust of the argument in April 2006 and after pressure from the Catholic Church, the death penalty was abolished for a second time in Philippine history by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
But current President Rodrigo de 30 has vowed to reinstate capital punishment for heinous crimes. And here's his reasoning.
This law will not only help us deter criminality, but also save our children from the dangers posed by the illegal and dangerous drugs.
The Philippine Commission on Human Rights, an independent body established to safeguard against abuses by the state, refutes the death penalty is an effective deterrent. Here's Commissioner Karen Gomez. Dump it.
The reason that has been put forward is actually a myth that the death penalty actually deters crime. It does not. And studies have proven that even in a system that's advanced, very efficient, we are of the position that death penalty has no place there either because the justice system is not perfect.
We visited the family of Leo Etchegaray, who have always insisted that mistakes were made during the Supreme Court's decision to pass down the death penalty. His brother Hector spoke to us from the small shop. He runs close to the family home in a suburb of Manila about his family to stay with.
The system in the Philippines is the death penalty. The crime rate didn't decline, but increased during that. Then it's like nothing happened because the rich are punished. Only the poor are there because those who don't have the ability to mount a legal challenge.
But others in the neighborhood support Mr. Tatties, his push to reinstate capital punishment, but said he gets here.
I am really in favor of the death penalty. Because of the rampant spread of drugs, crime increased because of drug addicts.
The European Union, a key trading partner of the Philippines, has described the bill's passage as a worrying development. A return of capital punishment could lead to the EU withdrawing a preferential trading package worth millions granted to the Philippines on condition it complies with agreed international conventions. A recent UN report into the human rights situation in the Philippines slammed the country for its punitive campaign to tackle illegal drugs, resulting in the deaths of thousands of drug suspects following police operations. The Catholic Church, which has huge sway in the Philippines, has always opposed the killings.
Bishop David is a prominent critic of President the 30s drug war.
I'd say even without the death penalty laws, there are already a lot of extrajudicial killings happening. And so we consider the reintroduction of the death penalty as what we would call an ethical or moral regression.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David ending that report by Howard Johnson.
The senators backing the bill declined to be interviewed by the BBC, and scientists say they've discovered the earliest works of art in the British Isles.
Stone fragments thought to be around 15000 years old, have been found in the Channel Island of Jersey. The BBC's Richard Hamilton reports.
They are small, flat pieces of stone covered in what appear to be chaotic scratches. But these enigmatic fragments are of huge historic significance.
It's very abstract, but amongst the sort of abstractions we have sometimes have elements of animals, perhaps the rump of a horse, the representation of a mammoth, but they're always sort overwritten with these more geometric designs. So they're really difficult to work out. It's almost like it's a secret art. It's only perhaps meant to be seen by some people.
Dr Shantelle Kamela from Newcastle University is part of a team that also includes London's Natural History Museum and the University of York, which has been analysing the prehistoric markings on the Stones.
These are people moving back into Europe at the end of the last Ice Age. And what's quite exciting about the finds from Jersey is it still seems to be people living in quite a cold period. And this contrast with the slightly later evidence from mainland Britain. So they're living in quite big campsites. They have lots of holes. They shouldn't be burning animal bones rather than words because there's not very much wood about. And they're probably hunting herds of mammoth and horse at that time.
Northern France will be joined to Britain, so this is a rare glimpse into people in what's basically a drowned landscape of the Channel River Valley, the fragments were found alongside flint tools, hearths and granite slabs and were made during the Magdalenian period, an era in which art blossomed among humans in Western Europe from cave paintings and drawings to the decoration of tools, weapons, bones and stones. By comparison with later finds, these markings are quite simple and imprecise, so they could have been made by young, inexperienced engravers learning their art.
The objects which depict early human prey such as wild cattle, deer and mammoths, add to our understanding of what people of that era were doing as they gathered around their campfires, giving us a tantalizing glimpse into the minds of our ancestors. Richard Hamilton.
And that's all from us for now. But there'll be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. If you want to comment on this podcast, all the topics covered in it, you can send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC, Dot Seo Dot UK. I'm Alex Ritson.
Until next time. Goodbye.