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tv   BBC News  BBC News  February 13, 2020 2:00am-2:30am GMT

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welcome to bbc news, i'm lewis vaughan jones. our top stories: china says virus cases are stabilising, but the world health organization warns the epidemic is impossible to predict. this outbreak could still go in any direction. italy's parliament votes to allow ex—interior minister matteo salvini to face trial for stopping migrants from landing. the pope says no to married priests, even in the world's most remote regions. and a turtle as big as a car. scientists in south america unearth a fossil of giant proportions.
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the world health organization says there are signs coronavirus has stabilised in china. however, it has cautioned against reading too much into the data, saying the outbreak could still worsen. in the last few hours, there has been a sharp rise in the number of confirmed deaths in china's hubei province. 2a2 people have died in a single day, along with nearly 15,000 new cases of infection. from geneva, where hundreds of public health officials and scientists have been meeting, here is the director general of the world health organization. the number of newly confirmed cases reported from china has stabilised over the past week. but that must be interpreted with extreme caution. this outbreak could still go in any direction.
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0ur correspondent nick beake joins me now from hong kong. neck, what do you make of these numbers? —— nick. neck, what do you make of these numbers? -- nick. lewis, it is quite interesting, these official figures that the chinese authorities have been giving us. that particular statistic you quote, 242, that is the highest number by far of daily reported deaths. 242 people died with the new coronavirus yesterday. just for some context, the previous highest number was 103. now, we've been trying to get to the bottom of this, and it turns out that what the chinese authorities are now doing, they are including both the number of deaths and also the number of deaths and also the number of overall cases, people who have gone to see a doctor and the doctor has thought yes, probably you do have the new coronavirus, but they haven't been tested for it officially. so that is why we are getting many more people, included in the figures. and, for example, the figures. and, for example,
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the number of new cases yesterday was some 14,800. again, fora yesterday was some 14,800. again, for a comparison, the previous number was 3800 stop so previous number was 3800 stop soi previous number was 3800 stop so i think what we're getting here is a much clearer of the extent of this virus. people will be able to look again, i think i'm at the mortality rate, but in essence it is a pretty bleak picture. many more people have it than we previously thought, and many more people have died from it. and of course, the world health organization say it is impossible, really, to predict where this goes in the future. yes, absolutely. and you can hear the thunder and lightning here in hong kong behind us. the picture from the world health organization, the bigger picture, would appear to be promising. they say this could go on any direction, but looking at their figures, it seems to have stabilised outside mainland china. so i think for the countries where we did see that initial spread in the early days, they haven't been more countries coming forward saying look, this has affected us. but if you live in
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wuhan, the main city in hubei province, it seems to be an extremely grim picture there, and that does tally with what we have been hearing. some people have said that their loved ones have died, they think with the coronavirus, but they have been unable to get a bed ina they have been unable to get a bed in a hospital because they haven't been officially diagnosed, because there hadn't been an official test and official confirmation. so again, for the wider picture, the world as a whole, more promising. but if you are living in hubei province, it looks pretty, pretty grim. the first case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in london, as the numbers of those affected worldwide continues to spike. in singapore, hundreds of employees have evacuated the island—state's largest bank after one person fell ill, and injapan, health officials say more than 175 people have now tested positive onboard a cruise ship quarantined outside yokohama. one of the passengers, who is not sick herself, is american novelist gay courter. she told us what it's
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like onboard. it's odd how one adjust to a new, different lifestyle. i can't tell you what day it is without looking, the day of the week. the days run together. but we have a routine. we're good little prisoners. we stay in our rooms and just go out on the balcony and put our trash out in the appropriate way. we pick up our messages outside the door. we wear our when we open the doorfor ourfood trays. we certainly look forward to the food, like any prisoner, and this is the poshest penitentiary there is. the food has gotten significantly better. it's very healthy. we have three choices for our meals now at lunch and dinner. the pastry chef is trying to kill us with
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chocolate rather than the virus. we got clean sheets yesterday. i mean, this is what we are down to from a luxury vacation. to hoping for clean sheets. but the ship is trying to make our lives palatable. they've put lots more movies on the closed—circuit system. they have people reading stories to the children locked in their rooms, with japanese and english—speaking readers. they send toys around to all the children on the ship. every day they get a new prize or toy or game. so they are trying, but my anxiety was so bad this morning that i thought i was great. i was handling it wonderfully. and then i walked around the cabin and i thought, what's wrong? something? wrong. and i look down and i'm wearing
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two different left shoes stop so two different left shoes stop soiam two different left shoes stop so i am losing it, i think, at some level. and yet i'm trying to hold it together at another. for more on the coronavirus outbreak, go to the bbc news website. that is at alternatively, you can download the bbc news app. the leader of italy's far—right league party, matteo salvini, faces prosecution over his decision to stop more than 100 rescued migrants disembarking from a coastguard vessel last year. italy's senate voted to strip mr salvini of his parliamentary immunity to allow the prosecution to go ahead. rich preston has this report. italian lawmakers are immune from prosecution for actions taken while in office. wednesday's decision in italy's senate removes that immunity from matteo salvini. members of
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his own league party left the chamber, refusing to take part in the vote. for his part, matteo salvini says he wants to go to court, saying he is proud of what he did and that he would defend his actions. translation: my children have the right to know that their father is away from home not because he is spending time kidnapping human beings, but because he is defending the borders and security of his country. that was his precise duty, not his right, his duty. he compared himself to the us president, donald trump, saying like mrtrump, his president, donald trump, saying like mr trump, his opponents we re like mr trump, his opponents were trying to use the courts to undermine his political success. to undermine his political success. matteo salvini's hardline anti—immigrant policies have made him a success policies have made him a success with voters. as interior minister, he routinely blocked rescue boats from docking and italian ports, forcing many to stay at sea for days. in 2018, and italian coastguard picked up 140 migrants trying to cross the
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mediterranean. while some were allowed off for medical attention, more than 100 were forced to stay on board for nearly a week. persecutors accused mr salvini of effectively kidnapping the people. and this isn't the only potential prosecution facing matteo salvini. later this month, he faces losing his immunity over another similar case. if he is convicted, he could face up to 115 years in prison. if he is acquitted, it is almost certain he will be backin is almost certain he will be back in the political game, buoyed by his victory, and his supporters reinvigorated by the courts' desire to get the guy who says they are out to get him. let's get some of the day's other news: nato says it will step up its fight against international terrorism by expanding its training mission in iraq. us president donald trump had previously demanded more action from allies in the middle east. nato has a 500—strong mission in iraq to train local government forces who are
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fighting the group calling itself islamic state. the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has fiercely attacked the un human rights office over its publication of a long delayed list of companies active in israeli settlements, accusing it of trying to blacken israel's name. the palestinian foreign minister called it a victory for international law. venezuela's opposition leader, juan guaido, has accused authorities of detaining his uncle when the two men returned from a foreign trip on tuesday. mr guaido blamed president nicolas maduro for the disappearance ofjuan jose marquez at caracas international airport. the opposition leader was heckled by government supporters after they landed. a 52—year—old man is due to appear in court in londonderry later on thursday charged with the murder of the journalist lyra mckee. the 29—year—old was shot dead while observing riots in the city in april last year.
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in what was a highly anticipated decision, pope francis has opted against opening up the roman catholic priesthood to married men in certain remote regions. last year, a synod of bishops voted in favour of a such a proposal for the amazon, where there is a shortatge of clergy. but the pope instead focused on other issues affecting the region's estimated 33 million people, including the environment. the pope's 32—page document, called an exhortation, did not even mention the proposal, which was designed to increase the number of priests who could perform mass in remote areas. he wrote instead that new ways must be found to expand the roles of laypeople and permanent deacons, who can be married. priests are necessary, he said, but this does not mean that permanent deacons, religious women and laypersons cannot regularly assume important responsibilities for the growth of communities. we can cross live now to denver, colorado and speak tojd flynn, the editor in chief of the catholic news agency.
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thanks very much for being with us. thanks very much for being with us. so first of all, was this a surprise to you, or did you expect this? well, you know, they called him the pope of surprises but i think most people who have been listening to pope francis were not surprised by this, because for the past year the pope has said he was open to a conversation about married priests, but he also said that from his point of view, priestly celibacy, the state of being unmarried, is important to priestly identity, especially here in the west. so i don't think there was a lot of expectation from those who have been listening to what he had to say that he might make a major shift in the policy. and how popular or unpopular do you think this will be? well, that's always an interesting question of about pope francis. i think among those who are paying attention, those who are invested in the decision, it will probably be pretty well split. but i think most catholics when they are polled indicate that they believe in priestly celibacy, they see value to their priest being available to them, being totally consecrated to god. so at least according to the data, i think most catholics, mass
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going catholics, will support what the pope has decided. that is interesting. just talk us through the idea of this. when did this idea come up that priests shouldn't be married, and who came up with it? sure, imean, and who came up with it? sure, i mean, it's a very ancient idea going back to the very first centuries of christianity, when priests have emerged out of the gnostic tradition, —— monastic tradition, —— monastic tradition, monks would go and flee the world to live celibate lee in the desert. and the way we think about the priesthood now sort of emerge from that idea, through monastic movements that move through europe, of course, and into other parts of the world. so while there have been married priests at various points in the world, celibacy, especially here in the west, is an ancient tradition for priests, almost to the very beginning of christianity. and so it is a rule, isn't it, so it could be changed in the future. just because one pope at one time decide something, it doesn't mean it can't be changed. that's right. it's not a matter of doctrine or dogma, and vatican officials emphasised that today. they said it is
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a lwa ys that today. they said it is always going to be an open question, but for pope francis, who said last year famously that he would rather die than give up celibacy himself, they said they don't foresee any change anytime during his pontificate. and just lastly, while we've got you, he did talk about the amazon and the environment there. what role can the church play, if any, in those kinds of issues? sure. pope francis has a reputation for ecological advocacy, and especially to advocacy for responsible stewardship of the environment. he has called corporations to be responsible with regard to the way they treat natural resources and with regard to the way they treat their employees. so he calls for what he says is an integral human ecology that puts man's flourishing and the family and the dignity and rights of labourers, especially, at the centre, and then stewardship sort of emanating out from that interval. fantastic, thank you very much for explaining and talking us through that. thank you. thanks for having me. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: it's a vegetable bed, but not as you know it.
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this camp for syrian refugees is using mattresses to grow food. there's mr mandela. mr nelson mandela, a free man, taking his first steps into a new south africa. iran's spiritual leader, ayatollah khomeini, has said he's passed a death sentence on salman rushdie, the british author of a book which many muslims say is blasphemous. the people of haiti have flocked to church to give thanks for the ousting of their former president, 'ba by doc' duvalier. because of his considerable value as a stallion, shergar was kept in a special, secure box in the stud farm's central block. shergar was driven away in a horse box the thieves had brought with them. there stepped down from
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the plane a figure in mourning. elizabeth ii, queen of this realm and of all her other realms and territories. head of the commonwealth, defender of the faith. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the world health organization says reports from china that the coronavirus outbreak has stabilised must be treated with extreme caution. italy's parliament has stripped the country's former interior minister matteo salvini of his immunity. he now faces a trial for illegally preventing a boat carrying migrants from landing. south africa's president cyril ramaphosa is due to give his annual state of the nation speech to parliament later in cape town. but can he make a convincing case that south africa is on the right track, and has turned the page on the years of corruption
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and mismanagement that preceded him? our africa correspondent andrew harding has been to the town of harrismith, where volunteers have taken on services that the municipality is supposed to provide. beautiful but broken. south africa is rotting from the bottom up. take the rural town of ramaphosa —— harrismith, now bankrupt. its entire infrastructure has now collapsed. we have a problem with water, electricity, sewage. do you think things will get that up? i don't think so. will get that up? i don't think so. the problem is simple. for yea rs, so. the problem is simple. for years, local officials have been looting the municipal budget. they owed £300 million just for electricity. all this equipment just just for electricity. all this equipmentjust sitting idle feels like the town is dying. a broken sewage plant sends everything straight to the
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river. muggy laundering, corruption, that is the coast of this. people are relocating. they say we cannot live in this situation. next when you come it will be a ghost town. the corruption is pushing more south africans into poverty. across the country, municipalities lost or stolen more than £1 billion last year alone. no wonder there have been riots in this district. can the central government fix this? a new president has promised to tackle corruption, kicking out the council of harrismith and sending in a rescue team. investigations and criminal cases have then opened. we think it will take a minimum of two or three years just to get the municipality back on its feet again. but thatis
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back on its feet again. but that is probably optimistic. the fundamental question for south africa today is whether the rot, the corruption that has done so much damage to townsite this has become so entrenched that there is no fixing it. or whether, with the right determination and leadership this country can still clea n leadership this country can still clean up its act. in matt three, some people are not waiting to find out. underwater, a local farmer unblock a municipal pipe. instead of complaining about the water i said let's just fix it. let's not talk about the past, let's not point fingers at anybody, let's just fix the water. and dozens of volunteers rich and poor have joined water. and dozens of volunteers rich and poor havejoined in. a local crisis group doing the council's work, and notjust the easy stuff. so you and your collea g u es the easy stuff. so you and your colleagues here got tired of rioting and decide on a different approach. we do not
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have time, done with that. done with rioting. this instead is the solution. well, it is part of the solution. the public mending a broken town one blocked sewer at a time. can old mattresses be used to grow food? well, scientists in a syrian refugee camp in thejordanian desert are using mattress foam instead of soil to grow hundreds of plants. they're not just growing food for the camps, but are recycling piles of discarded mattresses and are providing a hobby for the people living there, many of whom were farmers back in syria. our science correspondent, victoria gill investigates. gardening in the confines of a refugee camp. mohammad's family lost their home and their farm when they fled the war in syria. now, here in thejordanian desert, he's able to teach his children how to grow vegetables in a very unconventional way,
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using old mattress foam. it sounds like the garden has made this more of a real home. is that fair to say? translation: yes, absolutely, it makes me feel like i'm in my home village back in syria. about 80,000 people live here. this is essentially a city that sprung up in a very short period of time. most of the people that live here used to farm in syria and now there is very limited space. the soil is extremely poor. enabling people to grow their own food is a vital step towards making this a sustainable place to live. everything gets reused, repurposed. nothing gets thrown away. on their sustainability mission to the camp, these scientists found that what was thought to be a problem here was actually the way to give everyone a garden. there was a warehouse full.
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and it was, "oh, we don't know what to do with these." there was no disposal mechanism. i'd been to a landfill site and seen a tomato plant growing on an old sofa. really? yeah, yeah, yeah. and that's why i knew it would work. this is hydroponics. the foam supports the plants, so there's no need for soil and this method requires much less water because it's kept where it's needed, rather than draining away. in zaatari, this whole system is made from recycled materials. this is just one of the plants. there's a whole, i don't even know how many are here, hundreds. old coffee cup, bit of foam, there's the old mattress, and thatjust pops in there so it can get all its nutrients. it's amazing. everything is recycled. so far, more than 1000 people have signed up for demonstration sessions like this. everybody gets a starter kit. yeah. they get the starter kit and they take it back with them to home so they can start their own. right.
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it is spreading so fast and everybody is invested. what is your favourite thing about this project? people having their own greens again. growing nutritious food in a place with limited water and limited space could provide lessons for urban environments all round the world. victoria gill, bbc news, jordan. as climate change plays out we could all end up living like this. who knows what will happen. translation: my whole family works with me on this. hammett now dedicates hours every day to his garden. translation: we can share this knowledge with our children so one day they can benefit from it and share it with their own children. here, this was an idea born from necessity. that it could help generations grow nutritious food in the most challenging environments.
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scientists in south america have unearthed the fossils of a giant turtle that was as big as a car. the discovery gives new insight into a reptile that could grow up to four metres in length — and weigh more than a ton. and it seems this particular turtle was built for battle. the bbc‘s tim allman reports. they don't make turtle shells like this anymore. and they haven't for the best part of 7 million years. these are the fossilised remains of stupendemys geographicus, the stupendous total, one of the biggest of all time. how big you may ask? perhaps this image will give you a sense of scale. and this is an artist impression of what the giant total may have looked like in the wild. notice what appeared to be horns at the front of its shell. scientists believe these may be used as a weapon as male totals competed over territory and meeting rights. it is thought that this stupendemys
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geographicus roamed late south america 7 million years ago. it lived in a giant wetland system spanning what is modern day peru, colombia, venezuela and drizzle before the amazon and orinoco rivers were formed. this is what that terrain looks like today. this, in northern venezuela unearthing more fossils and more secrets. when the giant turtle proud these parts it would have been a formidable site. stupendous by name, stupendous by nature. before we go, let me show you this. this is a three—year—old standard poodle, siba, who has just been crowned top dog at the westminster kennel club in the westminster kennel club in the us. she was taken for a trip to the empire state building to celebrate, followed bya building to celebrate, followed by a ceremonial meal of
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chicken. congratulations to siba. you can reach me on twitter — i'm @lvaughanjones. hello there. wednesday saw a break in all this wild weather as more parts of the country enjoyed some sunshine and the showers became fewer. mind you still a wintry scene in the hills across the northern half of the uk and here in southern scotland in particular. it is still cold in scotland as well. we are seeing the weather changing. the wind is strengthening from the south—west, pushing in all the cloud. for many parts of the country we will find rain continuing overnight, pushing in from the south—west of england where it will be particularly mild. further north we still have colder air so it is notjust rain but also snow and even in the rush hour some snow falling in the central belt of scotland. most snow over the hills and central southern scotland and for northern ireland so it could be wintry
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for a while but it is mostly rain, even that petering out during the morning. further south, heavy showers and those will be driven on by some gale force winds across southern england through the english channel and channel islands with gusts of 60 mph. further north, an improving story with many places drying off and brightening off, still damp and grey and cold for south—east scotland and north—east of england. the area of low pressure bringing all that weather is going to push away during thursday evening and by the time we get to friday we have the next weather system approaching from the north—west. in between overnight, a ridge of high pressure and clear skies and it will get cold enough for a touch of frost, icy patches and a few fog patches first thing. the wind will pick up as it is already in northern ireland in the morning where we see wind and rain here and that will come down from the north—west. snow over the mountains of scotland this time
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and elsewhere the snow will melt because we get a south south—westerly wind, much milder and temperatures will rise. not a lot of rain for eastern parts of england. it is getting milder on friday and that mild weather continues into the weekend but we also see the arrival of this deepening area of low pressure that is running between scotland and iceland and that is storm dennis and dennis will be a menace through the weekend into monday. two main elements to the weather. first, the wind strength reaching 60 mph, and there will be some very big waves as well. secondly, the rain. that will be heavy at times, particularly across england and wales, over four inches possible over the hills of wales and the south—west.
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this is bbc news.
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the headlines: the world health organization says there are signs that coronavirus has stabilised in china. however, it has cautioned against reading too much into the data, saying the outbreak could still worsen. china has announced a new way of classifying infections, leading to a jump in the reported number of cases. the italian far—right leader matteo salvini has responded with defiance after the senate voted to strip him of his parliamentary immunity. mr salvini is now facing a trial for illegally detaining migrants at sea when he was interior minister last year. he said he would do the same again. pope francis has decided not to allow married men to be ordained as priests in remote regions where there is a shortage of clergy. a synod voted in favour of the proposal last year, but the pope has been under pressure from conservative factions not


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