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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 31, 2019 1:00pm-1:31pm GMT

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crowd counting down
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on the coast after becoming trapped by advancing bushfires. in the state of victoria, holidaymakers and residents took to the beach, preparing to head into the ocean as a last resort. elsewhere, fire crews had to take shelter inside their vehicles, surrounded by flames. we'll have the very latest from our correspondent in sydney. also this lunchtime... the former nissan boss — carlos ghosn — has fled japan, where he faces a trial over charges of financial misconduct. new legislation comes into force tomorrow to make trains fully accessible for disabled users — but not all firms will make the deadline. and — from today — mixed—sex couples in england and wales can finally enter into civil partnerships.
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good afternoon. thousands of people in south—eastern australia have been forced to seek refuge on beaches and boats, after becoming trapped by advancing bush fires. in the state of victoria, 4000 people, locals and tourists alike, prepared to flee into the ocean as a last resort. military aircraft and naval ships are being deployed to carry out evacuations and support firefighters. in new south wales, two more people have been killed and dozens of properties destroyed along a stretch of coastline. 0ur sydney correspondent, shaimaa khalil, reports. this is what uncontrollable blazes pushed by strong winds have done to towns across eastern australia.
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and this is what firefighters have been up against for weeks now. this crew trapped in their fire engine as they fight an impossible battle. in the coastal town of batemans bay in new south wales, residents have fled, taking shelter on the beach, desperately trying to escape the hellish fire conditions. 300 kilometres south in the state of victoria, thousands in mallacoota also escaped to the shores. at one point, people were told to jump in the water if the fire came their way. more than a dozen emergency level blazes, spanning 500 kilometres, have stretched across the two states of victoria and new south wales. several holiday spots along the coast have now been cut off and the main road in the region is closed. military aircraft and vessels could be sent to help rescue efforts and to bring aid to those trapped
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in the worst hit areas. time and time again, people have told us that the scale of these fires is unlike anything they'd ever seen before and so too is the extent of the damage. and as these blazes continue to rage across eastern and southern australia, many are dealing with the reality of going back home when they've lost everything. the village of balmoral in new south wales has seen some of the worst devastation in recent weeks. everywhere you look is a sign of how the blazes ravaged through the area. rosemary doyle lived in this house for 13 years with her late husband. she tells me she felt relatively safe, living just across the road from the local fire station. but nothing here has been spared. and then i stood across the road and just watched it burn, room by room, which was really, really difficult. the last room to burn was where i'd left my husband's ashes.
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soaring temperatures, strong winds and relentless drought have made it impossible to stop the trail of these huge fires and with no rain predicted, australians will now head into the new year with the threat of more blazes looming over them. and shaimaa is live for us now in sydney. as you say, the new year has begun but there is no sign yet of any respite from the bush fires. the firefighters are still battling those blazes as we speak. there is no sign of abating for those uncontrollable fires. remember, more than 100 fires have already been raging across new south wales and with the temperature is rising and with the temperature is rising and with those high winds and relentless drought, this has been the triple threat that the firefighters have been up against. just a few minutes ago, fireworks have been shining and
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sparkling across the sydney harbour bridge, marking the new year, not without controversy, because as those fireworks have been happening, ushering people in australia into the new year, firefighters in many areas of new south wales and victoria, as we speak, are fighting uncontrollable blazes and many here say those celebrations, important as they are, a tourist attraction as they are, a tourist attraction as they are, a tourist attraction as they are, arejust they are, a tourist attraction as they are, are just not the right thing to do given those bushfires in australia. shaimaa khalil, thank you. well, celebrations to usher in 2020 have already started in the southern hemisphere. and a warning, flashing images follow. new zealanders were among the first in the world to celebrate the arrival of 2020 — with thousands of revellers gathering in auckland.
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and within the last hour, the traditional display in sydney has got underway, despite some calls for it to be cancelled because of the bushfire crisis. asa as a mark of respect for those who have been made homeless or have died in those bushfires over the last four months. the former boss of the car giant nissan has fled japan where he was facing trial over allegations of financial misconduct. once one of the most powerful figures in the car industry, carlos ghosn flew to lebanon to escape what he calls "injustice and political persecution". rupert wingfield—hayes is in tokyo — there's some flash photography in his report. last march, carlos ghosn disguised himself as a construction worker as he attempted to slip past the waiting media on his release from jail. now, he has succeeded in slipping out ofjapan, perhaps in another disguise. even his own defence team have been left dumbfounded,
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unable to explain how mrghosn did it. translation: it's a complete surprise and we are perplexed. his passports are with his lawyers. somehow, mr ghosn managed to board a privatejet and last night he landed here, in the lebanese capital, beirut. in a defiant statement he said he had not fled japanese justice but escaped from injustice. "i'm now in lebanon", he said, "and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged japanese justice system, where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant and basic human rights are denied." carlos ghosn was born in brazil to parents of lebanese descent. in the late 1990s he helped save french car—maker renault. in the 2000s, he took on an even biggerjob, turning around japan's moribund car—maker, nissan. he rose to become one of the most
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powerful figures in the global car industry, but in 2018, he was arrested at tokyo airport on suspicion of financial misconduct. he was held in this tokyo detention centre for more than 100 days, facing daily interrogations. this is a conspiracy. since his release on bail, carlos ghosn has angrily proclaimed his innocence, accusing his former colleagues at nissan of conspiring with japanese prosecutors to manufacture a case against him. the media injapan had been preparing for what was expected to be the trial of the decade. instead, carlos ghosn is now far away in lebanon, a country that has no extradition agreement with japan. rupert wingfield—hayes, bbc news, in tokyo. well, our correspondent, quentin sommerville, is in beirut now. quentin, what are the authorities
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there saying about all of this? they are saying very little. as you heard in rupert's report, he arrived by private jet, heard in rupert's report, he arrived by privatejet, on heard in rupert's report, he arrived by private jet, on sunday evening. carlos ghosn was born in brazil but is of lebanese heritage and is one of lebanon's favourite sons. he's extremely well regarded in this country, to such an extent that they even issued a postage stamp with his face on it. he owns one of the big vineyards in the country. he is a super well connected to the political elite here in lebanon. he has many high ranking friends who will doubtless offer him protection. so lebanon will hold on very tightly, despite the factjapan gives hundreds of millions of dollars in aid of this country, lebanon will hold on very tightly to carlos ghosn. all the while, while he has been locked up injapan, there has been a protest movement in
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lebanon against political elites and against corruption. so he may find that this is not quite the welcoming place that he expected it to be. quentin sommerville in beirut, thank you. in iraq, protesters angered by weekend air strikes by the united states against a local militia group which is backed by iran, have attacked the us embassy in baghdad. a guard tower on an outer wall was set on fire. us embassy guards and iraqi government troops used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse a crowd which breached the outer wall of the compound, in the capital's heavily fortified green zone. here, the national living wage is to rise by more than four times the rate of inflation. the rise takes hourly pay for people over the age of 25 to £8.72 from april. with me now is our economics correspondent, andy verity. how many people will benefit from this? strictly speaking, 2.8 million people will benefit directly from the national minimum wage, minimum
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wage going up. but some people above them above them will benefit because their wages will be bumped to maintaina their wages will be bumped to maintain a differential. but remember, 32 million people are in the workforce and not all of them will benefit. looking at what happened since 2008, people on the minimum wage have seen their pay go up minimum wage have seen their pay go up in minimum terms above inflation by 13%. if you look at what is happening to the average pay, that has barely budged in the last 11 yea rs, has barely budged in the last 11 years, in fact, has barely budged in the last 11 years, infact, it has barely budged in the last 11 years, in fact, it will buy you £1 less after you take account of inflation than it would in 2008. that has reduced income inequality, the gap between the low paid and average paid, but it hasn't helped to improve the fortunes ofjoe average in the middle. you have a strange picture where you have a record high employment, 3 million more people employed than there were a decade ago, and yet peoples individual fortunes have not improved that much and a lot of the economic growth we have seen has
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just been adding people to the economy, not making individuals better off. small firms will say, we wa nt to better off. small firms will say, we want to pay people more but how do we afford it, without going into productivity, which is falling at the moment, and that is very difficult. andy verity, thank you. from tomorrow, all trains in the country should be fully accessible for disabled users. around 1200 carriages, though, are not, and ten train operators have applied for temporary exemption from law. the uk government's rail minister has said it's very disappointing, given the industry has had a decade to prepare. 0ur disability news correspondent, nikki fox reports. do you need a ramp? yeah, ido. my wheelchair space is taken up by a catering trolley. apparently a train straight out of your depot doesn't have a wheelchair carriage on it. just some of the situations disabled people find themselves in when travelling by train, but it's supposed to get easier because in 2020, by law, all trains should be fully accessible. except, they won't be. around 1200 noncompliant carriages will continue
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to operate into the new year. it's not like we are asking for special treatment. we are asking to have something approaching the level of access to public transport that non—disabled people take for granted. the simple right to go to the toilet on a seven hourjourney to morecambe, for example. this is not new legislation. it was passed back in 1995, which is why disability campaigners can't understand why the deadline's been missed. so, who is to blame? late delivery of new accessible trains like these, delays modifying existing stock, and late decisions by government, are just some of the reasons. i think they call it a system failure, because there are so many people involved. politicians who initially didn't see it as theirjob, because it would be so far down the line, and then train companies struggling to get some permission to go ahead,
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and maybe even people within the companies initially not seeing how important this change in regulations is. the rail industry says it's rolling out 8000 new carriages and upgrading hundreds of others, but ten companies have been forced to apply for temporary exemptions to run stock which doesn't comply. the government says it is disappointed that the rail firms will fail to meet the deadline. but even when there is a fully accessible fleet, there will still be a need for manual assistance at many stations and there is currently no deadline for that. nikki fox, bbc news. thousands of mixed—sex couples in england and wales are expected to enter into civil partnerships from today. it comes after a long legal battle against the law that had previously only permitted same—sex couples to become civil partners. daniela relph‘s report contains flash photography. cheering. finally, civil partners — something they'd always wanted but, until today, had been legally impossible. rebecca steinfeld, charles keidan
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and their two young children marked the occasion at chelsea registry office in london. i love you. i love you too! this wasn't a wedding, they didn't even call it a ceremony. this was the registration of a civil partnership, giving the family the legal and financial protection that a marriage provides. when we came here five years ago to try and form a civil partnership it was a very different experience. today, it's been wonderful. we've been warmly welcomed and we've finally been able to say to each other, in front of our very close friends and family, everything we wanted to say and to have legal recognition and status and financial protection that we've sought all along, so it feels incredible. it's just sort of an amazing moment for us. the end of a long journey and the start of a new decade and the beginning of our life together as civil partners in law. i couldn't have wished for a better moment than that! for rebecca and charles, this is both a private family celebration, and a public recognition of a change in the law — something they have been fighting for through the courts for more than five years. the couple took their challenge
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to the highest court in the land. the supreme court agreed with charles and rebecca — excluding different sex couples from civil partnerships was ruled incompatible with their right to a family life. i don't believe this change would have happened without charles and rebecca, but whilst, as of today, they are civilly partnered, this is something now which will affect thousands or potentially millions of people across the uk. one of the things people just don't realise until things go wrong in a relationship, is that unless they were married or now have a civil partnership, they're not legally protected. rebecca and charles were amongst the first but the government predicts as many as 84,000 heterosexual couples could become civil partners in 2020. daniela relph, bbc news, west london. that's it for now — the next news on bbc one at 6:30. now, it's time for the news where you are. goodbye.
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hello there, you're wathcing bbc news, i'm olly foster at the bbc sport centre. there's good news for england ahead of the second test against south africa that starts on friday in cape town. batsman 0llie pope says he's "ready to go", having recovered from the illness which has affected most of the squad. he, along with chris woakes and jack leach, sat out the first test defeat, three of 11 players who've been hit by a sickness bug. could not have come at worse timing really, luckily feeling all right now and been feeling good for the last few days. i am on the mend and ready to go. i was a bit more feverish. for the first two days i stayed in bed really. i think i probably cut it off some of the guys
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who missed about a week of the warm up who missed about a week of the warm up games who missed about a week of the warm up games which was not ideal. it has swept through pretty much the whole camp so there is not much we could have done about it. gerwyn price has apologised for not shaking peter wright's hand after losing their pdc world darts championship semi—final. it was a heated contest, in which both men goaded each other at the ally pally. price took to social media today to say "i over—reacted to what peter did... it might have been banter but i was so in the zone and just missed a load of set darts." he went on to apologies for not shaking wrights wright, who won 6 sets to three , has also apologised for his conduct. he'll face reigning champion, michael van gerwen in tomorrow's final. 0le gunnar solskjaer says he has money to spend in the january transfer but the manchester united manager is happy with his attacking options, mason greenwood's breakthrough season compensating
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for the loss of romelu lukaku to inter milan in the summer.... i am optimistic we can keep players fit. and if the right ones become available we do have the resources. and i do have the backing from the board but it is also about getting the right ones, it has to be, there is no point suddenly thinking, bringing someone else in nowjust for the sake of three orfour months. if that can disrupt any... not good feeling in the group, but the chemistry in the group because the chemistry is really good. rhys webb has signed a two—year deal to rejoin the 0spreys from next season which could see him back in the wales side. the scrum half has been at toulon who have agreed to release him from the final year of his contract forfamily reasons. he left 0spreys last year to join the french side for three years which ruled him out of international test selection but his return makes him available
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to new wales coach wayne pivac. that's all the sport for now. you can find more on all those stories on the bbc sport website. let's get more now on how the devastating bushfires across large parts of australia have claimed two more lives. david jeffery runs a b&b in mallacoota and had to seek refuge on the beach when the fires struck. he gave us an update on the situation. well, it's evening now, so things are... ..people are settling a little bit. behind us, there's still active fire. that there is fire trucks filling up from the inland here,
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a bit of salt water and everything, still driving around trying to douse the fires. 0ccasionally, another house goes, unfortunately. not just another house, its people we love and care about and it's their dreams going up in smoke. this is a beautiful, beautiful part of the world. we know the dangers when we live out in these areas. yes, it's been dry, but these are eucalyptus, these are forests, they're here because they've been selected by fires over many centuries. they're the only ones that survive, everything else has gone over those many centuries. so, we know the dangers, but the reality is we might know it but we don't really know it. when it goes off today, it's horrendous. i'm just thinking, i don't
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want to ever go through this again. i think i'll go and live in that time again. man, it was just... nothing prepares you for that bearing down of a fire front charging at a community. we're talking massive walls of fire, coming straight at you. we had 4,000 people... let me show you. all along here, along the wall, along here, everyone ready to dive into the water if it got here. it didn't. thank god we didn't get the fire balls hitting us here because we would have had mass casualties. but, yeah, thank god. it was answered, the prayer. thank you, jesus, you really answered us. even though it might not look like he has, there could have been hundreds killed, if not more than that. we are lucky and thankful we've had a little bit of rain. we've got the authorities, here doing their bit, the government doing things with the militaryjust off here. they've been feeding us with pies and all sorts of things. but it's still going on.
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i thought i was watching it burn to the ground today. we would have if i'd had to, but i was finding it hard, emotionally, watching other peoples homes. people i know and care about and love. we're very close. in small communities, when you have a thousand people... you get that anywhere, there is love and care. it is gut—wrenching to go through. i don't know how i can look these people in the eye, that my home survives and theirs doesn't. i just feel terrible. now it's time for a look at the weather with darren. the last eight of the year has brought a mixture of rain with a lot of low cloud and misty weather, some of low cloud and misty weather, some of that whether pushing into
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northern ireland at the moment. after a frosty start, hanging on to sunshine on scotland and england where it will be colder than it was yesterday. those temperatures need be or 10 degrees. the cloud will tend to push north during this evening, stopping the clock at midnight, probably going to try a lot of cloud around. mist and fog patches still and may be a touch of frost in the north—east of scotland and the north—east of england. moving into the first day of the new year, case of spot the sunshine. a lot of cloud around on wednesday, best chance of sunshine, north wales and more particularly north—east of scotla nd and more particularly north—east of scotland where we have a stronger wind in scotland and later in northern ireland. dull figures in north—west scotland and south—west where it is a bit brighter. —— 00:29:51,489 --> 4294966103:13:29,430 double figures.
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