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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 31, 2019 3:00am-3:31am GMT

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this is bbc news. i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: trapped on a beach with the fires closing in. eyewitnesses in australia tell us about their narrow escape. we were ready to jump in the water. we were ready to jump in the water. we dodged a bullet here and i hope other communities in australia can say the same, and i encourage you to pray, pray to jesus. former renault—nissan boss carlos ghosn unexpectedly leaves japan where he's been under house arrest, arriving in lebanon. us prosecutors file hate crime charges against the man accused of stabbing five jewish people during hanukkah celebrations in new york. and why waking up the world to climate change isn't enough. we speak to greta thunberg.
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hello and welcome to bbc news. firefighters in australia are facing another day of extreme conditions as the nation battles one of its worst ever bushfire disasters. the authorities are focusing their efforts on the coast of new south wales and victoria's east gippsland region. around 4,000 people are stranded on the beach in a remote town called mallacoota. they've been taking shelter from a massive bushfire bearing down on the area. some pictures sent from the coastal town show the scene a few hours ago. you can see how the smoke has blocked the sunlight, lending a very eerie red light. the people there have been advised to stay near the beach or take refuge on boats. 0n social media, residents said they were putting on life jackets in case they need to seek refuge
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from the fire in the water. emergency services gave this update on the situation. and we've been talking for quite some time about the risk to east gippsland. and what we saw yesterday was, again, that dynamic and that dangerous situation, not just for community, but our firefighters and other emergency services who again, from the outset, i will say, have done an absolutely amazing job. and i thank them most sincerely for the effort that they're putting in and they continue to put in. and i say "continue to put in", that is very much the case because we've gone from just over 120,000 hectares down there burnt, we're well over 200,000 hectares and we've got going fires. so it's still a dynamic and dangerous situation. i mentioned corryong. i now mention mallacoota, which at the moment is also under threat of fire. so we've got embers going into mallacoota at the moment,
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we've got 4,000 people on the beach there that are being very well protected by our firefighters. so whether you look from bairnsdale, you look right through to mallacoota, we've had impacts across the whole of east gippsland. that was the situation a few hours ago. david jeffery is the owner of wave 0asis b&b in mallacoota and is one of those stranded on the foreshore. he told us what's been happening. we are down on the foreshore camp park beside the inlet and this is where everyone is gathering, i willjust pan around, but we were not like this before. we were actually all terrified for our lives. we were right beside the loader here. we were just below the rock wall and that was where we were going to jump into the water if the heat had hit, which thank god it didn't, which was due to a lot of events, due to mainly wind
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and a lot of prayer. we were praying like crazy. we certainly had some answers to the prayer. it sounds like a terrifying situation. we've seen some pictures on social media ofjust red skies from those fires. but right now, what is the direction of the fire? what is your situation? yeah, well... 0oh, bang! big hit. that was a gas cylinder exploding, i would say that's someone's house burning. that is terrible. we love these people, we are a close community like many communities in australia. yeah, that's shocking. look, the fire front came from that direction, the westerly, it came in from that direction, and for us, we were over here and we were bracing for the worst because it was black, like, it should have been daylight and it was black like midnight, and you could hear the fire roaring. i had a good friend, a formerfire chief,
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a good friend, he rang and said he knew where it was. then i heard the sirens, which i knew had hit town, and the wind had not gone to catastrophic — it was very blustery now, it was not like this. it was sort of like...not still, but it was moving slower. ijust said, "please, you have to stop it, please, can you do something." the only way, it would have had to come from the east, and it did. forfive minutes, we had it coming from that direction, that is the east over there. it pushed back against the fire. i know there were a few christians there praying. what happened 20 minutes later, it had slowed down, what happened 20 minutes later, that catastrophic wind hit. it it had have been here 20 minutes earlier we would have been gone. it would have come through like a train. the wind pushed it in the wind hit,
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like it is at the moment, a bit more, gusts. what happened was the sky went red and we thought... oh, no, we're not over it all, it is not the worst, and it looked like the fire front coming, but it was the wind, it was clearing the smoke and the sun was getting through, otherwise it would be black as well and we couldn't breathe. the red was actually the sun shining through. you know, shining through. we were ready to jump in the water. we have dodged a bullet here and i hope other communities in australia can say the same. i say pray tojesus, pray to god. we certainly can hear that the wind is still strong and of course you must feel like you have had quite a lucky escape. but what happens now? are authorities going to evacuate you and others as you are on that beach? no, we're on the foreshore camp
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park, there are toilet blocks here, it is a massive campsite, there's 4,000 people on here. the majorfront i believe has passed, it has gone that way, gone towards the north. at the moment, wejust have to sit tight. i will find out myself personally if our place is still there, yet to find that out. it is only about... it is just down here. we are in a good location. but it is still too dangerous to stay there. what are are sharing that bit of the foreshore, is everyone still quite frightened about what might be to come? no, we are relieved. we realise that the biggest threat of the fire front has passed here and what we are doing now is we're just sitting tight, we are just waiting to see, you know, obviously the embers, making sure that —
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i am not going to go back to my property at while there is a chance of embers because you could get back there and get a spot fire, you know, there are fires. have a look at what i have got. at the moment, we have the dogs. the other dog was here, that is what we were looking after as well, mikey, and in here, there is max the cat in there with a rooster. this is australia! in behind there is two baby rescued ducklings that our children had rescued a few weeks ago from a hawk! and this is what we do in australia. you protect your loved ones and the things you love the most. a bit of light relief there in a very serious situation. that was a local resident stranded on the local —— on the mallacoota foreshore. you can get all the details on our website. the former head of renault—nissan, carlos ghosn, is reported to have skipped bail in japan and fled to lebanon. officials in tokyo say they're
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trying to confirm the reports. american news sources have quoted his friends as saying he'd left japan without permission after deciding he wouldn't get a fair trial. mr ghosn, who's awaiting trial for financial crimes denies enriching himself at his company's expense and mis—stating his income. gareth barlow has more. carlos ghosn was one of the great tycoons of the car industry, known for turning around the fortunes of some of the world's biggest brands. at one point, nissan, renault and mitsubishi were all under his control. a citizen of brazil, france and lebanon, ghosn established himself injapan where he was considered a hero for transforming nissan. he was a very powerful car executive who was particularly known for his efficient cost—cutting, which saved nissan, in essence, yeah. so, a hard—nosed businessman who seemed to have a very good touch in turning companies around. following accusations
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of significant acts of misconduct, including under—reporting his pay and the personal use of company assets, ghosn was arrested in november 2018 and is facing trial injapan. the former automotive executive, who's subject to strict bail conditions, including surrendering his passport and asking to travel. has accused the japanese government of conspiring against him. now with his appearance in lebanon, where he arrived on board his private jet, which flew via turkey, carlos ghosn has family links at 11 on where he owns this property and has several business interests. after decades of corporate success in the year of sensational headlines, carlos ghosn‘s story has ta ken another turn. where it will end remains unknown. gareth barlow, bbc news. 0ur correspondent
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rupert wingfield hayes is in tokyo. good to see you. what more do we know about carlos ghosn‘s whereabouts? very little. i think there has been really shocked here injapan. there has been really shocked here in japan. just the silence there has been really shocked here injapan. just the silence that we have heard from the prosecutor ‘s office and indeed from mr ghosn‘s lawyer. neither making any official comments so far lawyer. neither making any official comments so far as lawyer. neither making any official comments so far as to what has happened to mr ghosn, and i think they have been completely taken by surprise by this, it certainly seems so. surprise by this, it certainly seems so. japanese media is reporting that there is no record on the immigration department of mr ghosn leaving the country, certainly under his normal name. so there is a lot of speculation here that he may have used an alternative identity and alternative passport. as the previous said, he was a citizen of three different countries and it is possible that he may have a slightly different name on one of those passports and he could have used that to get out of japan but i have
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to say this is not an easy country to say this is not an easy country to leave. he was supposedly under close surveillance, he had surrendered his passport, he had posted 9 million us dollars in bail andjapan is posted 9 million us dollars in bail and japan is an island, it has no land borders with other countries, so land borders with other countries, so to get out ofjapan, it land borders with other countries, so to get out of japan, it have to go via airorsea so to get out of japan, it have to go via air or sea and it makes it difficult. everybody scratching their heads and wondering how mr ghosn managed to walk out of tokyo and get to lebanon so easily. ghosn managed to walk out of tokyo and get to lebanon so easilym thatis and get to lebanon so easilym that is the case then, surely there are going to be a lot of questions japanese authorities? yes, there will be. thejudge japanese authorities? yes, there will be. the judge at the time of ghosn‘s arraignment, when he was released on bail back in much of this year, the prosecutor's office had said that he was a potential flood risk, because they was a citizen of multiple countries, he was a very wealthy man with properties in brazil and ii on and in france, and so they had said he was a potential right risk —— ii on.
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thejudge overruled was a potential right risk —— ii on. the judge overruled that dan decided to release him on $9 million of bail. another prosecutors maybe will say we told you so, we told you this quy say we told you so, we told you this guy could flee and now he has fled —— lebanon. his defender say he would be left with no choice because it didn't face a fair trial here, and certainly his backers have said he had no prospect of getting a fair trial, and certainly what we are hearing from sources in lebanon is that that may be behind his decision, he decided he had nothing to lose, if he stayed here he was going to be convicted and so he decided that the only choice was left was to flee. i am sure it is not the last we have heard of this. thank you very much. federal prosecutors in new york have filed hate crimes charges against a man accused of stabbing five people at a hanukkah party on saturday. they claim the suspect, grafton thomas, keptjournals containing references to hitler. 0ur correspondent michelle fleury has more details about the case. i think you've got the family speaking through their lawyer, michael sussman, who's representing grafton thomas, the man accused of essentially
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entering a rabbi's home over the weekend and stabbing five people. he's been saying that his client suffers from mental illness and hospitalisation and that that's what's behind the attack. that being said, if you listen to authorities, they take a different view. you've got the governor, andrew cuomo, who basically wants tougher sanctions on what he describes as domestic terrorism and now you've got federal prosecutors essentially charging him with hate crime. basically they filed five judges today —— five charges today in the southern district of new york, accusing him of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs, involving the attempt to kill and use a dangerous weapon. this is in addition to state charges, which grafton thomas pleaded not guilty to on sunday. this is a gentleman who lived about 20 miles from rockland county, it's a suburban area.
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and he, allegedly, according to investigators, had been researching places where there were jewish prayer houses, he was looking up places in staten island, in newjersey, and we're still trying to understand more of the motivation, but a journal that investigators recovered seems to be shedding some light, in which he made references to hitler and to israelites. so this is something that investigators are going to be poring over and going over in more detail to try and ascertain his motivation. michelle fleury with that update. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the world's waking up to climate change, but needs to take action. we speak to teenage activist greta thunberg. the most ambitious financial and political change ever attempted has got under way with the introduction of the euro.
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tomorrow in holland, we're going to use money we picked up in belgium today. and then we'll be in france and again, it will be the same money. it's just got to be the way to go. george harrison, the former beatle, is recovering in hospital after being stabbed at his oxfordshire home. a 33—year—old man from liverpool is being interviewed by police on suspicion of attempted murder. i think it was good. reporter: it was just good? no, fantastic! that's better! big ben strikes the hour
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this is bbc news. the latest headlines: blazes continue to rage across australia. weather conditions, already described as catastrophic, are expected to worsen and thousands are trapped in one coastal town. the former boss of renault—nissan, carlos ghosn, has unexpectedly left japan where he's been under house arrest, arriving in lebanon. as the us prepares itself for the 2020 presidential election, democrat contenderjoe biden says he would consider a republican running mate if he won the nomination, though, he did say he couldn't think who it might be. the former vice—president leads other democrats in the polls for the race to take on donald trump. earlier, i spoke to steve herman, white house bureau chief with voice of america news, and i asked him ifjoe biden was serious. he says he is, although he didn't name any republicans when he was asked about this at a campaign event in new hampshire.
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but it seems a bit premature to put out a comment like this because whatjoe biden obviously needs to do right now in the primary campaign is appeal to democratic voters, it would be in the general campaign, presumably, if he gets the nomination, where he want to broaden his base and make a comment like this to appeal to the small number of republicans who are not keen to support donald trump, or to independent voters, especially in swing states that could determine the outcome of the election. is this a matter ofjoe biden being undisciplined, or is itjoe biden trying to bejoe biden? unplugged, just be his authentic self in order to attract more voters? well, this is very much in line with the authenticjoe biden. however, if you talk to campaign advisors — not from his campaign but those who advised other campaigns —
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they always want to see more discipline in what their candidates are saying. of course we can just go back to 2016, where it was the unconventional, the candidate who ignored all advice, who had no political experience, who mowed down that line—up of republican candidates, won the nomination and won the presidency, donald trump. let's look ahead to 2020. it's nearly new year's eve. the presidential election will happen. what is happening around the country? because you've been travelling and visiting different states. is it still a very polarised america, will it still come down to those key electoral college states? absolutely. i've been in about eight states in recent days, mainly in the south where the bible belt, as we call it, is very much trump country.
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i detected really no softening of support of the president in those states. the economy is strong and even in who are hurting, the farmers believe trump still will be their saviour, so to speak, and they're willing to take some temporary hurt for some what they believe to be long—term gain. getting into midwestern states like 0hio, here, there is more of a split and you do have people who don't want to see president trump re—elected, but you get outside of urban areas such as cincinnati and they're very much in the trump camp and we're not seeing too much change. it's going to be places like wisconsin next door and pennsylvania perhaps, and just north of us, up in michigan, that could really determine the outcome in the 2020 election. let's get some of the day's other news: the somali jihadist group al—shabaab has for the first time said it carried out saturday's bomb
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explosion in the capital, mogadishu, which killed more than 80 people. it said the target had been a convoy of turkish nationals and apologised for the deaths of civilians. bolivia is expelling the mexican ambassador and two spanish diplomats, accusing them of interfering in its internal affairs. the decision relates to an alleged attempt to extract a former aide to the ousted left wing president, evo morales, from the mexican ambassador‘s residence. dense fog has swept across parts of northern and western india. it's being blamed on cold weather combined with pollution. the conditions have led to disruption on roads and rail, and hundreds of flights have been cancelled. the country's meteorological authority says the north of the country, including the capital, delhi, is experiencing one of its coldest spells in well over a century. the 16—year—old campaigner greta thunberg has said she wants to go back to school as soon as she can. she's been talking to the bbc
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at the end of a year in which she became known around the world for spearheading a youth movement pressing for more action on climate change. mishal husain went to stockholm to meet her. she's the girl who galvanised the children to go on strike from school, and people of all ages to march, pushing for more action to control a warming world. it's a mission that's taken greta thunberg around the globe, becoming a distinctive but also a divisive figure. i haven't really grasped what's happened during this last year. i'm being listened to, and we, climate activists, are being listened to, but that doesn't mean that what we are saying is translated into action. she spoke at the recent cop25 un climate talks in madrid, part of the system under which countries make pledges to cut carbon emissions. with the next summit taking place in glasgow,
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she wants the british government to make sure it succeeds. since the cop25 failed, that just puts c0 p26 into a different light. we, and they, must do everything they can to make sure that it doesn't fail. it was outside the swedish parliament in stockholm that greta's activism began as she sat with a sign saying, "school strike for climate." when she decided to do this, we said, you know, quite clearly, that we would not support it. we... "if you're going to do this, you're going to do it by yourself." why did you say that? well, obviously, we thought it was a bad idea, putting yourself out there with all the hate on social media... you wouldn't want that as a parent. greta was 12 when she was diagnosed with asperger‘s. she's also suffered from depression. her father says her activism
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has transformed her. i can see greta is very happy from doing this, and i saw where she was before. i mean, she didn't speak to a single person. she could only eat in her own home. she changed. and she could do things that she could never have done before, and now she's just like any other... you think, er, she's...not ordinary now, because she's special and she's very famous and all these things, but to me, she's now an ordinary child, she can do all the things like other people can, and she's happy. it's an honour to meet you... but some of the most prominent advocates for the planet see her as extraordinary, the person who has brought urgency to the climate debate. i'm very grateful to you. we allare. it's now on the front line, and you've put it there and the motto, which is, "the world belongs to young people," is a very powerful one, and you have made it an argument that people haven't
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been able to dodge. she is still only 16, and her high profile has meant scrutiny and criticism. some see her as unrealistic, a teenager who ought to be in school. on that, she can agree. i hope i don't have to be a climate activist any more. i am really looking forward to going back to school and to just be like a normal teenager. but of course, this isn't normal. . .situation. and we must all do things that we may not feel comfortable doing — we need to step out of our comfort zones. let's bring you some breaking news. we have been talking about the whereabouts of the former renault—nissan boss, carlos ghosn. we are hearing he has released a statement saying he is an 11 on and that he would not be held hostage by
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a red japanese system. he says he has not escaped justice but injustice. we will have more on that as it comes to hand. hello. the final day of the year and the decade will get off to a fairly chilly note across much of northern england, northern ireland and scotland. this weakening cold front which has been moving its way southwards over the last 24 hours, introducing some colder air. to the south of this, still something milder and actually much more in the way cloud and perhaps even some patchy light rain across south—west of england and the channel islands through new year's eve. quite cloudy skies for much of wales, central, southern england, but the further north and east you go, here is where we will see the best of the sunshine. and away from the far south—west of england and the channel islands, it should be mainly dry. quite breezy for the western and hte northern isles, and a colder feel for many — 6—10 celsius typically the high on new year's eve. this takes into new year's eve
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night, where for most it will be dry, fairly light winds. we're going to see some mist and murkiness, particularly over higher ground and certainly the cloud already in place across wales, central, southern and south—west england will be slowly pushing its way further north and eastwards as the evening and night wears on. clearer skies across east and north—east england and eastern scotland. but here's a closer look at midnight. most places will be dry, light winds, quite a lot of cloud and, as i mentioned there could be some mist, some patchy fog in places. clearer skies across eastern, north—eastern england and eastern scotland where temperatures by midnight will be getting closer to freezing, and actually falling a little bit lower as the night wears on. where we've got the cloud, temperatures will easily stay above freezing. so here's how new year's day looks — a fairly quite affair across much of the uk, thanks to this area of high pressure. isobars slightly closer together across northern ireland and scotland so a breezier day here and fronts never too far away from the northern and western isles, so thicker cloud here, maybe some light rain. but for much of the uk on new year's day, it is a dry day, but with a lot of cloud. any brightnes or sunshine really at a premium. the best of it probably to the north
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and east of high ground. and again, quite a cool day. temperatures for many will not get into double figures. as we go into thursday, these frontal system i've talked about, to the north and west of the uk, will come ever closer, sliding their way south and eastwards, so a wet, fairly windy day across much of scotland and northern ireland and eventually that rain will start to settle into northern england and the far north of wales by the time we get to thursday afternoon. further south and east, it stays dry. again quite a lot of cloud but for all of the uk on thursday, it is a windier day but starting to push up some milder air again, so we're looking at highs eaily in double figures, 10—12 celsius. through friday and saturday, we are back to something drier, a little bit colder and also a return of some sunshine. bye— bye.
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this is bbc news.
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the headlines: the former head of renault—nissan, carlos ghosn, is reported to have skipped bail injapan and fled to the lebanese capital beirut. mr ghosn was ousted as head of nissan in november last year and is facing trial on charges of financial misconduct. mr ghosn‘s friends reportedly said he'd decided he wouldn't get a fair trial. 4,000 people have sought refuge on a beach in the australian state of victoria as bushfires approach. a fire rescue spokesman said the town of mallacoota in east gippsland was under attack. four people in the state are unaccounted for. weather conditions — already described as ‘catastrophic‘ — are expected to get worse. a man accused of stabbing five people during hanukkah in new york state, has been charged with federal hate crimes. federal prosecutors claim the suspect, grafton thomas, keptjournals containing references to hitler. his family say he has a long history of mental illness. those of the headlines.


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