News Daily: Trump talks tough on Syria and Cosby back in court

By Victoria King
BBC News


Hello. Here's your morning briefing:

Image source, US pool

Trump promises 'forceful' action

"Nothing is off the table." Those were the words of the US president last night when discussing what action to take following the alleged chemical attack in Syria. Medical sources say dozens were killed in Douma on Saturday, although exact numbers are impossible to verify. Donald Trump told reporters the US response would be "forceful" and decided "shortly".

What options does he have though? The BBC's Barbara Plett-Usher outlines three possibilities - the diplomatic route, a limited military strike or a broader attack. But she adds that a strike of any kind is not a strategy, and just the other day, Mr Trump spoke of his desire to get out of Syria and "let other people deal with it", so a long-term plan is needed.

Other Western nations have joined in the condemnation of the Syrian regime - the UK and France among them. There are also attempts to take action via the United Nations, but Syria's key ally Russia - which denies the Douma attack took place - is forcefully blocking that.

Cosby back in court

Bill Cosby was once the biggest name in US television, synonymous with wholesome family entertainment, and a Hollywood trailblazer for African Americans. But his reputation as a fatherly figure has been overshadowed in recent years by the more than 50 women who have come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

On Monday, it emerged the now 80-year-old paid one woman, Andrea Constand, almost $3.4m (£2.4m) in a civil settlement in 2006. He is back in court in Pennsylvania accused of drugging and assaulting her - something he denies. The payment was known about previously but the sum has only now been revealed. #MeToo protesters, waving placards reading "justice for survivors", gathered outside the courtroom.

Mr Cosby also denies any wrongdoing in regard to any other women.

Northern Ireland marks key anniversary

Twenty years ago the Good Friday Agreement was signed in Belfast. It formally ended the decades-long conflict known as the Troubles. Events will be held today to mark the anniversary. Here's a brief guide to what it achieved.

The agreement has taken on renewed significance in recent months because of Brexit and the vexing issue of what to do about the Irish border. Warnings have come from many quarters about the potential for the agreement and, indeed, peace full stop, to be undermined if a hard border is imposed with the Irish Republic.

But Labour's shadow international trade secretary has suggested the issue is being "played up" in Brexit talks for economic and political reasons. Barry Gardiner appeared to dismiss the idea that a "normal" border would increase paramilitary activity.

Zuckerberg's grilling

Later today, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg will begin two days of testimony to the US Congress about data privacy following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The BBC's North America technology correspondent Dave Lee sets out seven things to look out for.

Who else has your data?

By Padraig Belton and Matthew Wall, BBC Business

While Facebook desperately tightens controls over how third parties access its users' data - trying to mend its damaged reputation - attention is focusing on the wider issue of data harvesting and the threat it poses to our personal privacy. Data harvesting is a multibillion dollar industry and the sobering truth is that you many never know just how much data companies hold about you. Or how to delete it.

What the papers say

A number of Tuesday's front pages focus on the political aftermath of the alleged chemical attack in Syria. The Times claims Theresa May is under pressure from her ministers to join a US-led strike, and quotes sources who say France's President Emmanuel Macron is "egging on" Donald Trump. In the Daily Telegraph, former foreign secretary Lord Hague warns that without Western action, further use of chemical weapons will be legitimised. Elsewhere, the Daily Mail hails what it calls a five-year campaign to wage war on prostate cancer, which it says will put it on a par with breast cancer. And finally, the Financial Times reports that plans are in motion to set up a museum celebrating the history of Euroscepticism in Britain.

Daily digest

Live exports UK considering ban after Brexit.

Endurance Expedition to hunt for Shackleton's ill-fated ship.

Paedophile hunters BBC finds growing use of evidence being used to prosecute.

Daley British diving star won't defend Commonwealth title.

If you see one thing today

If you listen to one thing today

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If you read one thing today


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On this day

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