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This is the global news podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm James Copnall. And in the early hours of Friday, the 21st of August, these are our main stories. President Trump's former advisor, Steve Bannon, has been arrested and charged with fraud over a fundraising campaign to build a wall on the US Mexico border. More and more people around the world are at risk of catastrophic flooding. Scientists say the loss of ice in Greenland has reached unprecedented levels, and Mali's new military rulers say they intend to appoint a temporary president to lead a transitional government.
Also in this podcast, the Russian government says it's prepared to consider a request for the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to be transferred outside the country for treatment after his supporters said he was poisoned. Plus, why singing and shouting at the top of your voice is a real covid risk.
Volume is absolutely key, but there's a lot of background noise and people are speaking very loudly because thought that would make me wary.
Donald Trump's proposed wall along the US Mexico border was one of the most memorable pledges of his successful campaign for the White House. Four years ago, there were promises it would be big, beautiful and Mexico would pay for it. We're going to build a wall. Believe me, we're going to build a wall, wall is going to beat the wall is going to be built and and who's going to pay for the wall?
Now, one of the men behind that pledge, Mr. Trump's then campaign chief, Steve Bannon, has been accused alongside three other men of stealing money they raise from the public to help build that wall in court. He denied the charge. Responding to the arrests, President Trump denied having had any involvement in the project and played down his relationship with Steve Bannon. Well, I feel very badly.
I haven't been dealing with him for a long period of time. As most of the people in this room know. He was involved in our campaign. He worked for Goldman Sachs. He worked for a lot of companies, but he was involved likewise in our campaign and for a small part of the administration very early on, I haven't been dealing with him at all. I know nothing about the project that I didn't like. When I read about it, I didn't like it.
I said, this is for government. This isn't for private people. And it sounded to me like showboating. And I think I let my opinion be very strongly stated at the time.
Our correspondent in Washington, Barbara Plett, ushe told me more about the charges Mr. Bannon now faces.
He is accused of fraud and money laundering. And this is because of a fundraising campaign that he and three others launched for a building, a section of the wall along the southern border with Mexico. They raise 25 million dollars through a crowdsourcing operation. And they told the donors that this money would all go to the project and not to them. But in fact, according to the indictment, it did go to them. Hundreds of thousands did go to them.
And Mr. Bannon in particular was accused of taking one million dollars, which he used to secretly pay one of the co-defendants and also to to pay some of his own personal expenses. There are a couple of ways of responding to this. You know, we heard President Trump essentially saying, look, I didn't really know him that well. I in close touch with him for a long time. And then the other point, which the Democrats seem to make quite quickly, is that way it's it's surprising how many of the people close to Mr.
Trump at one time or another end up in a court. Yes, he is. Mr. Bannon, the sixth close associate or former close associate of Mr. Trump's to either be indicted or convicted of criminal charges. And as you said, Democrats wonder, why do you even have a list like this at all? Never mind six people on it, which is rather astonishing for a sitting president. How important was he to the campaign then? He was very important to the 2016 campaign know he came on late.
He came on after Mr. Trump had won the primary. But the campaign was really not doing well at all. And he was quite a strategist, an architect of some of the themes, some of the sort of ultranationalist themes that Mr. Trump was promoting at the time. And so he he was instrumental, actually, in the victory. And then he was also quite instrumental after the victory and pushing Mr. Trump to keep some of those pledges that he had made, such as banning people from a number of majority Muslim countries.
And, of course, the wall. And a pretty bad day for the president in the sense that another court ruling has gone against him over his tax returns. Yes, well, that's an ongoing thing. So a federal judge cleared the way for Manhattan's top prosecutor to get President Trump's tax returns. And this is the latest step in what has been a complex financial investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr. Trump and the Trump organization. So and that apparently, reportedly raises questions about whether Mr.
Trump committed fraud by misstating the value of his assets.
Barbara Plett, Usher, Caroline Police. He is a federal criminal defense attorney in New York and explains how the charges will work.
I think what's really going to be key here is that because there are four defendants as a criminal defense attorney, I can tell you that it's always a race to get to the prosecutor's office first meeting who can cooperate the fastest and exchange information for leniency and sentencing. And it seems like these defendants will want to cooperate. The indictment is very long. It's very articulate. It's twenty four pages. It seems to be a pretty textbook case in that this was a pretty brazen scheme to defraud investors in this privately funded wall endeavor.
And the fear would be that if Bannon cooperates and this is this is several steps to getting ahead of myself. But, you know, when you cooperate in the southern district, you have to tell them everything. So just because President Trump may not have been involved in this endeavor, which there's no evidence to believe that he was, you know, Bannon could provide some important information to prosecutors about the campaign. He was the architect of the 2016 campaign.
So this is a really big deal.
Carolin policy, a new study of satellite data has found that the ice sheet in Greenland is melting. Significantly faster than previously believed, the scientists behind the research say an extreme amount of ice was lost last year because of warm weather that remained over the island for longer than usual. Dr. Ruth Mottram is an Arctic researcher with the Danish Meteorological Institute. She wasn't involved in the study, but says the data reveals a significant pattern.
We've seen these high melt years becoming more and more frequent in the last two decades. And what really matters is that trend and that trend, which is showing through other projects as well, has actually been tracking the high end of what climate models project.
Our environment correspondent Matt Megraw told me more about what Greenland, as we know, has been the subject of a lot of interest over the last 20 or 30 years because it represents so much of a contribution to global sea level around the world.
And the fact that the rate of acceleration in the ice melt there over the last 30 years has gone up seven times seven fold. So scientists have been keenly watching this and they know that some years are worse than others and some years have seen greater melt than others and 2019 according to the very latest research.
So a record, a new record in terms of the overall melt of ice on Greenland, which was 15 percent greater than the previous record in 20, 2012. And the scientists say this was down to a combination of factors, but the blocking of high pressure systems over Greenland, which caused high temperatures there for a long period of time, and so exacerbated melting over a period of time.
And one quote I read suggested that if the ice losses in Greenland continue on their current trajectory, an extra 25 million people could be flooded each year by the end of the century. This is not just Greenland's problem.
No, it's a huge problem for the world. It shows you how much ice is stored on Greenland and how much they could contribute to sea levels. And just to give you an indication of how much that is, last year's melt in 2019 was equivalent to putting one and a half millimeters of water on the surface of the planet all around the world. Now, one and a half millimeters may not sound like a nut, but actually it's double what Greenland was pumping out in the 1990s.
So that's how serious this is. That's how worried scientists are about are worried about this. And they say when they look at the records of the last number of years, they say what's happening in Greenland is actually going on above the top of their biggest projections. So they've got a number of climatic projections for the rest of the century showing Greenland melting and what it might be. And at the moment, the observations, what we're seeing, not just the models, what we're seeing is is tracking the top end of those projections.
And that's why they're worried about it. And that's how we could end up affecting so many millions of people by the end of this century.
Matt Megraw, let's go to Mali now, where a spokesperson for the country's opposition coalition has told the BBC that the actions of the military seizing power from the government this week was not a coup and that they acted in the name of the people. He also said that the people will decide democratically what will happen to the former president. But West African leaders grouped together in the regional body EKOS, called on Thursday for the former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to be reinstated.
West Africa correspondent is Onda has more.
The June five movement has been the most vocal in opposition to Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the former president of Mali, who resigned earlier this week after being arrested by rebel members of the military, is a gym spokesperson for the movement said that West African leaders and the international community were not on the side of the Malian people. The opposition coalition has called for a big rally on Friday to show the international community and the rest of the world that the soldiers who took power from the government are patriotic and have helped the Malian people.
Opposition groups have staged protests attended by tens of thousands in recent months, calling for the former president to step down. Now protest leaders appear to have sided with the military group who carried out the coup. Placing them at odds with the international community is under his face.
Long months of bitterly contested primaries and the short sprint, an altogether more supportive atmosphere of the Democratic National Convention. And as we recorded this podcast, Joe Biden was preparing to deliver his speech, formally accepting the party's presidential nomination. He's now on the final straight towards November's election, where he hopes to overcome the incumbent, Donald Trump. And as he prepares to hit what may be a largely virtual campaign trail, Mr Biden is sure to offer often to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the hardship of his childhood.
He's had a long and eventful career in US politics, as our North American correspondent Anthony Zuiker reports.
Please welcome Vice President Joe Biden. Joe Biden's nearly half century in public office has been bookended by personal tragedy. Beginning in 1972, just weeks before he was due to be sworn in as one of Delaware's U.S. senators, his wife and infant daughter were killed in an automobile accident and their two sons badly injured when the Biden family car was broadsided by a truck.
This intersection in Delaware after the accident.
Biden considered turning down his Senate seat and joining the priesthood. He wrote in his 2007 memoir that he was angry that he felt like he was cheated out of his future and his past.
Look, we have choices and we suffered losses like that. That's former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, who served with Biden in Congress during the 1990s.
Joe's is a man of faith and he chose not to quit and he chose to keep doing the work and didn't have to work.
Up until that day, Biden's life had been on a remarkable upward trajectory, overcoming a debilitating stutter as a child. Biden went on to work as a lawyer before being elected to the U.S. Senate at age 29, a position he would hold for the next 35 years. Biden's time in Congress was punctuated by several key moments in the national spotlight. In 1987, he ran for president for the first time.
There will be other opportunities for me to campaign for president, but stayed in the race for only three months before his campaign was derailed by allegations of plagiarism and dishonesty.
Folks, be that as it may, I've concluded that I will stop being a candidate for president of the United States.
In 1991, Biden was again in the headlines, this time chairing the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Issues of race and sex collided as the second black man ever nominated to the High Court was accused of sexual harassment by a former co-worker, Anita Hill.
I think the one that was the most embarrassing was his discussion of pornography involving, despite Biden's opposition, Thomas was ultimately confirmed, damaging Biden's reputation in the process.
Reporter Jill Abramson covered the hearings for The Wall Street Journal.
I wouldn't call it a pivotal moment for him. I'd call it a pitiful moment.
In 2002, Biden shared a different kind of hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on whether Congress should approve the U.S. use of force in Iraq to come to order.
Please. Good afternoon.
Unlike the 1991 Gulf War, which Biden opposed, he actively supported this authorization.
As I've said before, if Saddam Hussein is around five years from now, we have a serious problem.
Five years later, with Hussein out of the picture, Biden launched his second presidential campaign.
Isn't that what we need in this office? I'm Joe Biden and I approve this message.
But the now unpopular U.S. occupation of Iraq cast a long shadow. Democrats opted for a new face, someone who opposed the war to lead the party.
Yes, we can. Thank you. God bless you and God bless the United States of America. Barack Obama was the nominee, but it wasn't a total loss for Biden more than seven months after he dropped out. This happened.
So let me introduce to you the next vice president of the United States of America, Joe Biden. It was in the last days of the Obama presidency when Joe Biden was seriously considering another run for the White House, that personal tragedy hit him again. Beau, one of his two sons who survived that 1972 auto wreck, died of brain cancer at age 46.
Biden was again devastated and he decided that he and his morning family could not endure the strains of a presidential campaign.
Coming back for years on, however, and Biden isn't done at age 77, is once again running for president. Throughout his time on the campaign trail, Biden spoke emotionally of the deaths that still haunt him. He's used them as a way to connect with his audience, a sign that his pain let him understand theirs.
He walks with me. I know that sounds to some people kind of silly, but he really honest to God does.
I know he's in me. Joe Biden, that profile was by our North America correspondent, Anthony Zuiker, the property letting company Airbnb has announced a global ban on house parties. It says it's to comply with limits on the size of gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. Olivia Newton reports.
Airbnb says the ban will apply to all future bookings and remain in place indefinitely. It follows complaints that some occupants were organizing parties and Airbnb properties and putting local communities at risk. The company says occupancy will now be limited to 16 people, and it's removing search filters for properties that allow parties. It's not the first action Airbnb has taken to try and stop large gatherings. Last year, the company imposed a ban on so-called party houses and listings that created a persistent nuisance for neighbors.
It's also prevented people under the age of 25 from booking homes in several countries.
Olivia Noonan is the Global News podcast. Still to come, we'll tell you why Vietnam is taking on China over the South China Sea.
We'll hear from the man behind the viral music video that's got people all over the world dancing to see all the families, everyone during these hard times, you know, just having fun with the song. It's motivating us that it's not the end of the world, you know. But first, the latest on the condition of Alexei Navalny, one of Russia's most prominent opposition activists. He's currently in intensive care in a hospital in Siberia with suspected poisoning. The campaigner fell ill during a flight from Moscow after drinking tea at an airport cafe.
The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk so that he could receive treatment.
Arkady Ostrovsky is the Russia editor of The Economist newspaper. He says it seems pretty clear what happened.
There is a very high probability that this is a poisoning and it's hard to attribute it to anything else. Alexei Navalny, you have known him for a long time. He doesn't drink. He's a fit and healthy man. He had been apparently poisoned before. He has been under constant pressure. He was returning from Siberia and he suffered this very strange attack, collapsed and lost consciousness.
Now in a coma, Mr. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call that the Kremlin wished Mr. Navalny a rapid return to health revolution.
The doctors will do whatever is necessary, make the best doctors in Omsk are involved. As far as we know from the media reports, they're consulting with the experts in Moscow. Of course, we wish him a speedy recovery like any citizen of our country.
Our correspondent in Moscow, Sarah Rainsford, told me more about Mr Navalny situation.
He is on a ventilator, according to the doctor who is now treating him in Omsk. So it does appear that his condition is serious. In fact, the doctors have said serious, although they have also said stable. But one of the expressions that the doctor used at one point during a series of conversations with journalists was that doctors were fighting for Mr Nirvanas life. So I think, you know, we can be a little doubt that this is a serious incident.
One issue now seems to be whether he will receive medical treatment, continue medical treatment outside the country. How likely is that?
Well, it's possible. I mean, his team are pushing for him to be medevacked out, possibly to Germany, possibly to France. They have complained about the facilities at the hospital in Omsk, in Siberia. It's an emergency hospital and hospital. They say it's not equipped for proper toxicology testing and they're concerned about whether or not they're getting the full picture from the doctors and also the officials who are now involved, because there have been police in the hospital all day.
There were also officials from the investigative committee who've been involved trying to collect evidence to see whether or not this was, as the team are saying, Mr Obama's team are saying, a deliberate poisoning. So there's not a lot of trust on the side of his his family and friends and his team. And they would prefer him to be taken abroad for better treatment and also for a more open and potentially superior treatment by foreign doctors and medical staff.
It seems at one point as though his wife had arrived at the hospital and had been denied access to him.
Is that right? Well, according to Koriyama, she's the press spokeswoman, the aide for Alexei Navalny. Ulyanov arrived at the hospital. She flew in from Moscow to to Omsk to Siberia. And she was for some time not allowed in. Apparently, the doctors at one point were asking to see her, her wedding certificate, marriage certificate. So there was some kind of dispute, but she was eventually allowed in to see him. And in fact, if he is medevacked out, it's understood that she would travel with him.
So there is some precedent for this. Another prominent, not so prominent but fairly well known activist was taken very ill last year and he ended up being treated in Germany. I think he spent about a month in hospital there. He also believed he was poisoned. And I believe that the organization that helps to take him to Germany is also involved now in trying to arrange for Alexander Valley to be to be transported out of the country.
To Sarah Rainsford If Mr Navalny sudden illness is confirmed to be the result of poisoning, he would not be the first critic of President Putin or defector to be targeted in this way. How World Affairs Editor John Simpson looks at the use of poison in Mr Putin's Russia.
From a British perspective, two cases jump out. The first is that of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian intelligence officer who defected to Britain and died in 2006 after being poisoned with polonium. Two years ago came the equally blatant attempt on the life of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Solsbury. But there have been plenty of other poisoning cases in Russia itself, including those of an ex KGB man, Nikolai Sokoloff, Roman Seper, businessman and the investigative journalist Yuri Chicot Chicken.
One Russian democracy campaigner, Vladimir Kara-Murza, claims he survived two poison attacks. Why poison? Well, it's easier to deny than see shootings, of which have been plenty. Yet everyone knows perfectly well who's. Merely to blame, President Putin's critics say he could probably put a stop to attacks like these immediately, but he never has.
John Simpson, a UK study examining covid-19 transmission, has found that belting out a song or shouting at full volume could lead to a 30 fold increase in expelling the virus into the surrounding air. The research, funded by the British government, examined whether singing posed more of a risk than talking and concluded that whether it was song or speech ramping up, the decibels sent more potentially harmful droplets into the air.
House correspondent David Sillitoe takes a look at the findings of the WHO. For the last few weeks, musicians have in a basement in a zero particle cleanroom been singing Happy Birthday into a tube for the coral.
Singing was one of the first activities to be shut down and the coronavirus outbreak.
But the problem was no one really knew if singing was riskier than speaking.
And so scientists from Imperial and Bristol University have been measuring how many potentially harmful droplets or airborne aerosols are admitted before the results, they say, show that singing is only slightly riskier than speaking.
But there's a real issue with volume. Professor Jonathan Reid says that loud singing and shouting can lead to a thirtyfold increase in the amount of potentially harmful emissions.
Personally, I know that. I now know I. I think volume is absolutely key. And so if there's a lot of background noise in place and people are speaking or singing very loudly because of that, actually that would make me wary.
So in a well ventilated cathedral, a quiet choral evensong poses, they say, little risk. But it's not such good news for heavy metal or noisy pubs.
Scientists believe mummified leaves from the remains of a 23 million year old forest may hold clues to the future of Earth's climate. The ancient leaves were recovered from the crater of a long extinct volcano on New Zealand's South Island.
The research suggests some plants may evolve to take advantage of rising carbon dioxide levels. Here's our chief environment correspondent, Justin Rolet.
The scientists drilled down to the bottom of a now dry lake bed to recover the leaves of an ancient evergreen forest. It grew more than 20 million years ago in an environment very similar to the one climate change is creating on Earth right now.
Temperatures were three to seven degrees hotter and say the scientists, carbon dioxide levels were just a bit higher.
The leaves were so well preserved, the scientists could trace microscopic veins and pores, which showed that some plants were unusually efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide. Their results, published in the journal Climate of the Past, suggests some plants may be able to take advantage of rising CO2 levels to grow more quickly. But they warn it isn't all good news. Many ecosystems could be seriously disrupted.
It might be great for some plants and horrible for others.
One of the team told the BBC Vietnam has accused China of jeopardising peace in the region after noting that Beijing appeared to have deployed fighter jets and at least one bomber to disputed islands in the South China Sea. A Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesperson said the weapons and bombers violated Vietnam's sovereignty. The US has also made a point of opposing China's claim to almost 90 percent of the sea. But Vietnam doesn't have the US's clout. So what hope does it have of getting his way?
Her question for our East Asia regional editor, Celia Hatton.
Vietnam has been becoming increasingly vocal. China really started ramping up its actions in the Paracel Islands. That said, that's part of the South China Sea that Vietnam, Laos claims to. It started ramping up its its actions back in April and each time China has done something new.
Vietnam has has protested in a way, though, Vietnam has a trump card in its pocket and that it could start swaying more of its diplomatic relations towards the United States. The Trump administration certainly has been reaching out to Hanoi, and that's really what Beijing doesn't want.
Whatever Vietnam does, China is unlikely to give up its claim, its interest in the area.
Absolutely not. I mean, China has been pushing forward its agenda in the South China Sea for decades now, and it's really been ramping up those operations in the past few years under the leadership of sideswiping. That's because the South China Sea is strategically vital for most of the countries in the region, about a third of the world's trade past.
Says through the waters of the South China Sea every year, around three point four trillion dollars worth of trade. Now two thirds of China's trade goes through the sea. Half of Japan's trade goes through the sea. And so whoever controls those waters really controls the global economy to a certain extent. And that's why China has been so assertive in trying to make clear to countries in the region that it's not going to back down.
If you look at a list of the countries China is having a row with or disagreements with the US, Canada, Australia, the EU, India, U.K., it's got to be worried, hasn't it, about just taking on an enemy too many?
I don't think China thinks that way. I don't think Jinping thinks that way. He certainly doesn't seem to be backing away from starting battles. I don't think China really has to worry about building up traditional partnerships with countries around the world. That's because economically it's gone about things in a far different way than than, for example, to the United States or the U.K. China has, for example, given very high interest, but no strings attached loan to around 68 of the world's poorest countries.
Those loans are starting to become due. And we've been seeing that those 68 countries are falling into line with China's own foreign policy. So does China have a lot of friends, true friends? Not really. Does it need true friends? Maybe not if it's controlling the purse strings.
Celia Hatton. And we end this podcast with the man responsible for a social media phenomenon that's got people dancing around the world.
Master Cages hit makes Jerusalemite has gone viral during the global pandemic. So far, its video has had close to 90 million views on YouTube has inspired many of those to take part in the Jerusalemite Dance Challenge. The song, which has hit number one in 10 countries, has made the 24 year old South Africa producer into a global superstar with a pretty hectic schedule. The BBC DJs managed to grab a few minutes of his time.
To some, them, if I may be, feel no. Oh, man, you wish me luck.
So, I mean, Jerusalemite has become such a phenomenon, the world is going crazy. People are dancing to the song, making videos. Yeah. How does that make you feel?
You know, it's one of those feelings that, you know, I don't even know how to expend a lot of amazing things happening. At the same time, it's amazing to see so little plastic come visit and donate more and more, which has got no line, you know, make people dance all over the world.
What inspired the making of Jerusalemite?
I know. Had inspiration when I mean, that's someone I mean, that's all. That's just me being normal looking in the studio. And then I met this beautiful, beautiful germicide.
I remember listening to a couple of times, I think there's something about it, then I remember the following day I took a call and called 911 and I said, I have this beautiful bit.
And I think the perfect person in terms of the vodcast, you name it, I feel, you know, she came to the studio to listen to it over and over again.
And I told her, like, I would love this to be as much as we can as you can listen to the bridge, how it sounds, and then just shit ideas. And then he just came to say, hey, we just started vibing and loving it because I remember we did the first verse, Jerusalemite. KLR says, you name it, I feel no. What does that mean? It is my home. Oh, please protect me and go with me.
And that's what the centime so in the simplistic sense is kind of like a gospel song, almost. Yeah. Kind of spiritual gospel song.
Yeah, that's a feeling. But also, you know, we're dancing to. We are not be. Yeah, and also I think the timing of it, when people are so down to the pandemic, something spiritual, something to give people hope. Thank you so much. The song gives us much life and much joy.
Yeah, that's what I love. Also, you know, to see all the families, everyone during these hard times, you know, just having fun with the song and receiving a lot of messages on a daily basis, telling me that, you know, thank you for this beautiful song and we appreciate and it's motivating us that it's not the end of the world. You know, things will get back to normal for. Oh. We know no. The BBC's DJ Eddowes speaking to South Africa's master cagy and you can hear more of that interview, had BBC World Service dot com forward slash.
This is Africa and that's all from us for now. But there will be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. If you want to comment on this podcast or the topics covered in it, you can send us an email. The address is Global Podcast had BBC, CEO, UK. I'm James Carville. Until next time.