pope francis has ushered in christmas for more than a billion catholics by celebrating midnight mass at the vatican. alluding to the recent abuse, and financial scandals afflicting catholicism, the pontiff called on the faithful not to abandon god's love because of the church's failings. russian and turkish officials have been discussing how to stop an escalation of fighting in the syrian province
of idlib. reports say five children are among the dead after a week—long offensive by syrian government forces in the mainly rebel—held province. the operation has caused tens of thousands of people to flee. critics say president trump's tough immigration policy is putting asylum seekers at risk. the mexican government says the new policies are risking the lives of asylu m policies are risking the lives of asylum seekers.
homelessness is a big issue in many parts of the uk and is particularly poignant, at this time year. well, london's city hall has now decided to open its doors for a festive celebration for some of those sleeping rough — an initiative backed by the mayor and charities in the capital. a recent report found that london is the worst place in the country for homelessness. alpa patel reports. smoked salmon or ham? the mayor of london, serving
food to just some of the 100 homeless people, invited for christmas lunch. it's the first time an event like this has been held in city hall. as well as food, people are offered haircuts and eye check—ups, too. claire became homeless when she wasjust 13. she spent the next 30 years either on the streets, or in prison. i'd be a lot more careful. i mean if you know people that is fair enough but you have to be very careful where you sleep.
be careful, you can't leave your stuff any more. it's got a lot harder as well, especially with everything going on. with help, claire now has a place of her own. she is hopeful this event will forge partnerships and improve homelessness. but she isn't convinced there is enough of a joined—up approach. i'm still waiting for support with mental health. but again, that depends on where you live, what borough you're in, what area you're in, so it can all depend on a lot of different things. and, honest? i don't think it's very fair. according to the charity, shelter, 170,000 people are sleeping rough, or in temporary accommodation, in london. a rise of 2,000 people on last year. the mayor of london says he is aware the picture is bleak. it's unacceptable that in one of the richest cities in the world we have got parts of london
which had fantastic michelin star restaurants but also more than half a dozen food banks. we are doing our bit to deal with the symptoms as i said, helping a record numbers of londoners. and tackling the complicated causes of homelessness is what many of those who attended this event are longing to see. alpa patel, bbc london. now on bbc news, one of the highlights of the year from our international documentary programme, our world. how has a small place in northern finland managed to become europe's most eco—friendly town? 0ne community project could be an inspiration but it's not come without opposition — as claire sturgess explains. as the push to save the planet gets even more urgent, one town has already cut its carbon emissions by 80%. we have been not waiting for the world to tackle climate change. we want to do it ourselves. ii, in northern finland, is one of the greenest towns in europe. powered by 100% renewable energy.
eco—friendly places. this small town of 10,000 people in northern finland has cut c02 emissions by 80%. elsewhere in europe, the average rate of reduction is less than 20%. leena vuotovesi is leading the green revolution in ii. this is the city with all these fresh ideas for how to really tackle climate change. by 2025, ii wants to be the first town in the world to produce zero waste. a goal embraced by all generations. we are heading to the centre of ii. it's houses from 18th century. the changes started seven years ago. ii stopped burning fossil fuels and began to build wind farms. they've switched to renewable energy only. wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal.
we understood in ii, seven years ago, that climate change is not coming, climate change is here. and we cannot expect the rest of the world to do anything for our sake. we need to try to do our best, and take this into our own hands. they believe the key is early education. this ii primary school has 100 children aged 7—12 years old. in all schools across town, older kids mentor younger kids about climate change.
so, in our school, we do something very similar. 15—year—old kia is one of the mentors. i have gone to great help to younger children to do the better choices and help the environment. they are doing so well already. it's sofia and 0tto‘s job to check if the classrooms have the right temperature and lighting levels. there is going on big
climate crisis. and we have to work together to stop climate change and help the environment together. many of you may think, what can one human do? well, actually, the small, better choices that we make to switch off the lights, that's probably the easiest thing you can do. when you combine them all together, it really makes a big change. all schools in ii get back 50% of the money they have saved on utility bills. the other 50% goes back to the local authority. these certificates are from the 50/50 project. we have saved lots of money and students can themselves decide the way they use this money. for example, those flats you saw before have been bought with this money.
ii has got only two supermarkets. people make a big effort to eat locally—produced food. hunting and fishing is an important part of everyday life. this man is a retired engineer. he is heading to a river near ii where finland's biggest pike was caught. we hunt moose and we catch fish, and we get also berries in the summer but we are going to take some fish from the lake. we have a trap there and we hope there are big pikes, but we will see.
0nly little fish! maybe 30, a0. but maybe we put it back. fishing is a matter of luck. we have no luck today. laughs next to the kovjoki river is one of europe's biggest peatlands. here, people have been burning peat for centuries to generate electricity. but peat can store twice as much carbon as forests, so now they are being restored to fight climate change. this man is the landowner. he used to be the chairman of the local electricity company. i do this because i want this
peatland to be as it used to be. this is, of course, very little thing in the global scale, but this is something concrete. i like concrete things. juha believes we need everyone in the world to fight climate change. it is an investment for the future of our planet, in a very small scale. it's not in that way that i do it only to make myself feel good, but i know that if i can contribute to this, maybe other people want to do the same thing. ii has made headlines around the world for fighting climate change, and others want to follow in their footsteps. leena has been invited to speak at a conference attended by more than 200 politicians, scientists, and youth leaders.
i am going to tell about possibilities at the local level. so what can cities, municipalities, towns do to tackle climate change? the european union now with the new commission, one of the new targets to open this green financing, so why not start here with the forest and peatlands and make it... ..the perfect project for climate sinks... yes, yes! so we shall develop something to get out of that. it would be great. please welcome the lena, in the municipality of ii, a place also known as the climate hero of europe. applause. so far we have received investment from outside of ii of 190 million euros, solely and purely for the climate change actions.
only the wind energy sector is producing in ii taxation of about 1.5 million euros every year for the city budget. we have created at least 80 jobs that we would not have without the climate change actions that we do. there are delegates from all over the world here. i'm from the british embassy. 0h, wonderful to meet you. i was transfixed with ii. there are 5.5 million people live in finland. they're responsible for 0.1% of the world's co2 emissions. 0k. like, what we can do and how we can share that and whether... leena is still convinced their efforts to cut greenhouse gases will make a global impact. it is so very easy for us to say that it does not matter what we do, it depends on what china does
or what the us does. it is — there is no—one else. it is us. yes, we are in an emergency situation. yes, we need to do a lot. but i am very optimistic. i am a mother of two children and whatever i do, i am sure they will do better. ii used to rely on oil, wood and hydroelectric power. now, wind turbines cover 30% of the town's energy needs. hydro power accounts for the other two—thirds. and the investment in renewable energy has paid off. ii produces ten times more clean energy than it consumes. it sells the surplus energy to the grid and generates 2 million euros in revenues for the town. and there are more financial benefits.
ii has a strong sense of community and tackling climate change seems to bring people together. hello! the town hopes to reach its goal of zero waste in five years‘ time. at this meeting tonight in the northern part of ii, they're discussing how to help do this. warm welcome to our home. laughter 0ur climate week — climate friendly week. yes. speaks finnish so the village has this new plan, a weekly plan. so, on monday, you exercise.
0n tuesdays, you only eat veggies, yeah? yes. 0n wednesdays... speaks finnish you collect. you circle what you have and you collect. yes. speaks finnish thursdays, you go to the marketplaces and you exchange what you have, like a shared economy idea. and on fridays? speaks finnish you don't buy anything. yes, the weekend? laughter residents seem to be eager to sign up to anita's plan for environmentally friendly living. but the mood changes when they start discussing the second item on tonight's agenda. argh! a proposal to build a new wind farm in the forest right next to the village.
people are worried that they'll be losing their bond with nature, but there are other issues too. the power from those wind turbines is going to the people who live in south finland. it's not going to stay in our area. so we think it should — they should produce it there, closer to people who actually are going to use it. so it's like they are going to get all of the benefits and we are going to get everything that's not so good. it's not fair. it's like we pay the price and they look good, having the green energy. the proposed new wind farm will generate enough electricity for 55,000 homes, but the sheer size of the project is causing concern. anita is setting off in the snow to meet ari, the town's mayor, to explain
two—thirds of the energy ii needs is provided by hydroelectric power stations. but it has a drawback in a town traditionally built on fishing. so this is the fish farm here in ii. there is a lot of small fishes, salmon, trout. a little bit more than 1 million fish are here. salmon are migratory and make their way up the river to breed. but the dam walls and turbines brought a stop to this.
in an effort to bolster the number, the hydro power station is funding a breeding programme to compensate for the falling fish stocks. to measure the effectiveness of the breeding programme, workers mark the fish by removing their top fin before releasing them into the river. of course, green or clean energy is very good, but there's also a negative impact. so without this type of actions, there will be no fish anymore. ii has seen a 50% drop in energy use in the last ten years and waste has been cut by 25%. mum always says that ten minutes is enough. kiia, the 15—year—old climate leader, is using leftover food to make pancakes with herfriends. i quite oftenjust look at the fridge and do a meal or some dessert out of leftovers,
like, for example, pancakes or pizza. it's important to not always buy new food. of course, it saves energy and also, the packing materials like plastic. we stopped using plastic straws. we have bamboo stores now. — — straws now. we recycle everything. we're pretty strict. it's not bubbling hard enough yet. is there enough flour in this? because i think it's... the girls are concerned about climate change but they're hopeful they can have an impact. i'm not mad, i'm just worried about and kinda frustrated about the stage of this planet. if we, like, work together and, like, believe that it's really happening, yeah, i think we can stop it. if we just get these big leaders to believe in it, i think everything's pretty much possible.
i think it's important to eat food that's, like, grown locally and not, like, shipped from other countries, like avocados or bananas. even in the winter, i go to school by bike. it takes time to get there more than in the autumn or spring because, you know, there's a lot of snow, but i can deal with it. over the last few years, ii has become a green champion. it's only happened because of the collective effort of the community. and tackling climate change brings people together. we are ready! yes! there we go! yes. it's so good to see you!
every week, we are just gathering together and jumping in the frozen river. it's something that we do together. this is my team, who works for the climate change mitigation. we do it every thursday, go together, jump in the freezing river, and then we feel so good. we feel like a newborn baby when we've done that, yeah. it feels so good because it makes you feel alive. nothing else makes you feel this good! you are a part of nature. you are. . .you have all the power in the world. and you do it together — that's the thing. for us finns, it is very important
to be in the nature. we do find our peace, our soul, in the forest. the most beautiful thing, though, is the collaboration with the schools. so the children learn that it is possible to make actions for the better of environment and climate, and it is also profitable at the same time. we have been able to cut co2 emissions so much, and i do hope that everybody in the world would find the same will and want to do it, because it is possible.
hello there. well, it doesn't look like there is going to be any snowfall for christmas day, but because it'll be quite cold, there could be a little bit of festive frost to start the day. the reason for the cold weather with the sunshine as well as this ridge of high pressure for christmas day, which will be short—lived because it will be replaced during boxing day with this area of low pressure to bring us a spell of wet and windy weather. the cold air from christmas day will be pushed northwards and it'll be replaced as the wind and rain moves in with this milder air and, indeed, it'll be sticking around, even as we head on into the end of the week and also for the weekend. but for christmas day morning, it's going to be chilly. temperatures up and down the country
just around 1 or 2 degrees. many rural areas will be around freezing, so a touch of frost likely, but with generally clear skies overhead. we should see quite a bit of sunshine through the day. a little bit of patchy cloud perhaps for north—west england, perhaps into northern and western scotland. a few showers as well brushing the north coast of scotland. later in the day, we'll start to see the breeze picking up across the south and the west, along with some hazy sunshine as the high cloud starts to roll in. but most places will see the sunshine. it's going to be a chilly day, single—figure values for most. certainly a chillier feel to things across the south. and then towards the later part of the day, it's possible we could start to see some dense fog patches developing across northern, central and eastern england for a while. bear that in mind if you are heading out on the roads. it should be short—lived, though, because the breeze begins to pick up through the night, it will tend to lift. it'll be turning wet and windier across the south—west as that weather system arrives, turning milder as well by the end of the night. but still quite a chilly one across the north and the east. so, low pressure then sweeping across the country for boxing day,
bringing strong winds and heavy rain. that rain will be already across northern ireland, wales, the south—west of england early on. perhaps a dry start, perhaps a little bit of brightness in the north and the east before the wind and the rain sweeps in there. could see a little bit of transient snow over the higher ground of northern england, certainly across the scottish mountains as that rain bumps into the cold air, but it'll be turning milder across the south and the west with temperatures reaching double fingers here. still single values in the north. and it turns even milder as we end the week and head on into the weekend with temperatures well above the seasonal average. that's all from me. have yourself a very lovely christmas.
welcome to bbc news. i'm mike embley. our top stories: pope francis celebrates midnight mass at the vatican, calling on the faithful not to abandon god's love at christmas because of the church's failings. russian and turkish officials say they're trying to stop —— christmas reminds us that god continues to love us. god does not love you because you think and act the right way, he loves you plain and simple. his love is unconditional. russian and turkish officials say they're trying to stop the escalation of fighting in the syrian province of idlib, but the number of dead keeps on rising. critics say president trump's tough immigration policy is putting asylum seekers at risk. we have a special report from the us—mexico border. police in hong kong clash with pro—democracy protesters, during demonstrations in shopping centres