brexit deal within striking distance — as signs from london and brussels point to a deal on the table. a on the table. deal expected in the next few hours. a deal expected in the next few hours. they've been summoned to meet with boris johnson to discuss what's on the verge of being agreed. 6 million more people in england are facing the toughest rep —— the neck six million more people in england face the toughest level of coronavirus restrictions, as hospital admissions surge to their highest level since mid april. and then extending tier 4 restrictions across the south of englund. trucks that have been stranded are now being allowed to leave after france reopened its border with the united kingdom. travellers will have to show proof of a recent negative test for coronavirus. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk.
yes, on bbc news now, that's hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk‘s look back at the highs and the lows of 2020. the lows, well, all of us have had to learn to live with the reality of a global pandemic. it has changed all of our lives. plenty of other stuff happened in 2020, but this year will forever be defined by covid—19. this is my home turf, the hardtalk studio, but for more than half of 2020, i couldn't sit here.
covid—19 brought with it lockdowns and shutdowns around the world, and this studio, well, it was suddenly off—limits. 0ur challenge was to ensure covid didn't force hardtalk off air. all we needed was a safe space, some lights, a couple of cameras and a simple laptop. we continued to ask the challenging questions — more necessary now than ever — starting with the pandemic itself. where did this virus come from? how did it spread right across the world? it first discovered in wuhan, but i can't say it originated from wuhan. it can be found in some countries which has very little connection with china and also can be found in the group of people who have never been to china. so we cannot say this
originated from china. there is no doubt that the first case was in china. i'm wondering why you're telling me that it spread all over the world and people have caught it who've never been to china — that is clear, because it's become a pandemic, but the question that matters so much is where did it start? i think this question is still up for a scientist to decide. i think covid—19 has demonstrated the enormous fragility of our world. we are on our knees with a microscopic virus. and in my opinion, the main reason is because countries were not able to come together and face covid—19 in close coordination. let's talk about the president of the united states of america, a man who, you know better than i, has, in the course of nine months, mused about where coronavirus has come from. he's mused about how to treat it, including thoughts about using disinfectant.
he's directed some of his critique at you personally, saying that you, his chief adviser on the virus, have made, quote, "a lot of mistakes." do you think that leadership from the very top has been an important problem in the us response? i mean, obviously, when you have leadership that's consistent in a message, that does make a difference, but we have to work with what we have. and what we have is people like myself and my colleagues out there trying to get the correct information to the american public. the damage done by covid isn't just measured in lives lost, but also the economic havoc caused. here, in the financial heart of the city of london, they're talking about the most dramatic economic contraction in 300 years. and that means businesses going bust and thousands ofjobs lost. and the uk isn't alone —
this is a massive hit to the worldwide economy. this is not a spanish economic crisis, this is a worldwide crisis. it doesn't matter how good your economy was at the beginning of the crisis. we, for example, in spain were growing above eu average, we were creating jobs, we were making much—needed reforms. but we've all been impacted by this crisis. this is what we call a systemic shock. you and your government have put aside hundreds of billions of euros in a national economic recovery plan. many french people are wondering where on earth this money is coming from. first of all, that's a choice that have been made by all the major member states of the eu, because we did not have any other choice but to support our economy. and i really think it was the right choice. then it will be funded by debt. let's be very clear about that.
and there will be the necessity at some stage to reimburse the french debt, but it will be later. the reality is, this is actually going to be as crushing a blow for the emerging markets. and the problem for many emerging markets and developing countries, especially in africa, is that they're so dependent on a few commodities on trade for recovery that even if they manage to contain the virus and prevent the extensive damage that is likely, given they have few resources to bail out firms and people, there is the problem of what happens after. how does the recovery take place ? and they simply don't have the resources for a substantial stimulus. not all the covid news was bad. inside research labs around the world, scientists work to produce effective, safe vaccines with unprecedented speed. by year's end, mass
immunisation had begun in the uk and the us, while china and russia rolled out their own vaccination programmes. success, though, depends on public confidence. there is a mounting scepticism evidenced in the united states, to a certain extent in the uk and other countries as well, from members of the public who no longer trust the government, the scientists enough to believe that a vaccine will necessarily be safe. polls suggest that maybe 50% of the public might not take it. that is going to kill our effort to eliminate covid—i9. well, it if it gets worse, it will kill it. if 50% of the population are not willing to have the vaccine and we have one and it's safe and effective, that would be a disaster, you're absolutely right. it's not just here. the vaccine hesitancy, the anti—vaccine movement, is also rife and present in africa, in asia and latin america. we have to counter them.
three words — black lives matter — resonated through the united states and across the world in 2020. the movement wasn't new, but it gained new energy, new urgency after george floyd, a black man, died under the knee of a white police officer in minneapolis last summer. protests spread across the us and then around the world. race and racism became a massive issue in the us presidential election. right now, we were all shaken by the eight minutes and 46 seconds of the public execution of george floyd. and it shook people who had never... ..who had theirears closed or their focus in a different direction. he was murdered by a police officer, while three other
police officers observed. i mean, that is absolutely wrong. and quite frankly, if george floyd looked like me, he would still be alive today. and that's a real problem. barack 0bama has said that what he has seen is a far more representative cross—section of america out on the streets this time than he has seen before, including, he says, going all the way back to the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s. do you see that broader cross—section of people at work right now? 0bviously, anyone who looks at the crowds can see the difference. lots of young white people who are involved in it and older ones, too. people who are motivated to get out here and do something about these issues. it all started, in a sense, before the shootings occurred with the election of trump.
while america's racial wounds reopened, two 70—something white men fought a surreal campaign for the white house — defined by covid and mutual contempt. a billion and a half dollars from china... not true! ..after spending ten minutes in office and being in air force 2. as a pollster, you cannot look at this election, no matter where you stand personally, you cannot look at this election and feel good about it. you cannot say to your kids in the next generation, "this is how they should be waged "and this is how it should be won." and you cannot be an example for the world, if you're such a mess domestically. and i believe it is a mess and i believe it is a problem and i believe that donald trump and joe biden should make a commitment and we know it's going to be a either the first question or the last question on that very first debate, "will you accept the election results? " and i pray to god the answer is yes. what if it's not?
then god help us. if there is a fair election, he will absolutely accept defeat and i would encourage him to do that. if the election's stolen, then i think we should go to court. would you just accept that there are some potentially dangerous, maybe even dark days ahead for american democracy? there are ifjoe biden is elected. if donald trump's re—elected, i think that our economy is going to come back, america's going to remain strong, we're going to keep having world peace. donald trump has been very transparent and i think he is a great american and world leader. do you thinkjoe biden, in his coming four years, will be able to undo all of the perception change that there has been about the united states? these things don't change dramatically, but certainly the mere fact of biden being president and appointing the people he will appoint, having the policies that he will announce, will give us a window in which to act, and we need
to seize it. the us presidential election intensified a troubling question — just how healthy is democracy? specifically, is the internet and the ever—expanding power of digital technology enabling authoritarian leaders to undermine genuine democracy? i think what you're seeing both in the philippines and the united states is very similar to what's happening in many democracies around the world, including in the uk. and this is the role of technology. facebook is our internet in the philippines. there are 71 million filipinos. we spend the most time on the internet and on social media globally and i think it's the fifth year running — that's hootsuite and we are social, that's their number. so what's happened is this kind of astroturfing of manufactured consensus, the manipulation of the public at mass scale using facebook has happened here in the philippines.
you asked about the popularity of president duterte — that's partly buoyed by a propaganda machine that we got clobbered for exposing in 2016. but, maria, i'm going to have to interrupt, because what you are suggesting is that democracy doesn't work any more. if you are talking about, quote unquote, "manipulated public opinion", as you've just done, then you're undermining and delegitimising the notion that the people have a right to choose their governors. if you're saying that their opinions are somehow fake orfalse, where is democracy? that's exactly what i'm saying, that democracy is essentially dead. and part of what killed it are social media platforms that have become behavioural modification systems. there are governments, both authoritarian and genuinely democratic, who are now united in a conviction that they need a much greater level of surveillance of their populations. is that, in your view, taking
the historical perspective, a power that we should right now be happy to invest in our government? well, i'm not against surveillance per se. i think it's a very important technological tool that can help humanity fight against this epidemic and against future epidemics and we need to use it, but we need to use it responsibly and carefully, so we don't end up losing our freedoms in order to get protection from epidemics. for the first time in history, it is becoming feasible to monitor everybody all the time and notjust what we do, but even what we feel. like we already know that corporations and governments can know that you are now watching this show and they can...
and if you watch bbc hardtalk, they can deduce from that all kinds of things about your political views, about your artistic tastes, even about your personality. but this is still limited. they don't know yet what you're actually feeling as you are watching us. but once you have under the skin surveillance, you can know that. if you wear a biometric bracelet that constantly monitors your body temperature, your heart rate, your blood pressure and other biometric data, it can know if you have fever, but it can also know if you're angry, or you feeljoyful, or if you're bored. to go under the skin, collect biometric data, analyse it and understand people better than they understand themselves, this, i believe, is maybe the most important event of the 21st century. the moment when a system out there knows me better than i know myself. if 2020 put american democracy under enormous strain, it also asked questions of the world's most powerful
authoritarian governments. can repression eliminate dissent? vladimir putin's most high—profile opponent in russia, alexei navalny, was poisoned. his narrow escape from death surely a chilling signal to all opponents of mr putin. in china, president xijinping took a tough line against the pro—democracy movement in hong kong, imposing new security laws on the territory. if you come to hong kong right now, you see that life goes on as always and nobody‘s in fear. nobody‘s fleeing the country. quite the contrary, over the last few... 0h, ithink... tens of thousands... i think you may be a mistaken, i think people are fleeing the country... ..because they have every confidence in the sar government. so you're missing the point entirely. as you know, nathan law, who is one of the leaders of demosisto, the movement
for democracy and fundamental reform in hong kong, has fled the country, because, in his words, he says, "what we are seeing is the start of a bloody "cultural revolution," and he cannot continue his political activities in your territory. i think it'sjust a political ploy. he's free to go, he's free to come back. there's no warrant against him as such and there's nobody persecuting him, or prosecuting him. but, you know, he would like to make use of, you know, what he's doing as a political ploy. the secret police agencyjust started to operate in hong kong and we still don't know how far they would go, how many political activists they would arrest. maybe one day they could use the national security laws to arrest all the leading figures in hong kong. so i think this is not something that we fantasise, or that the threat does exist. the respected levada institution, which does polling in russia month—on—month,
at the moment they say that their polls show he has about 60% support amongst the russian people. do you accept that? it's little bit tricky to make polls in any authoritarian state. it's a bit like trying to make polls in nazi germany and be like, "oh, everybody loves hitler". kind of, i mean, no, because if you're saying "no", then you're killed in the next day. right now, as we were talking with you, one member of pussy riot, he is injail and possibly facing criminal charges. there is no official charges yet, but there were two searches in his apartment. and the cops were talking to him, because they suspect him of organising mass riots. that's what happens to you if you say, "no, i don't approve vladimir putin, " when they make the poll. give me a yes/no answer, do you believe you can make a peace deal with
for myself one confrontation between an authoritarian government and a determined opposition. this year, i was able to talk freely to one of my interviewees whose previous words to me were shouted from a prison cell. i spent four years in a military prison. then i spent a year and a half in house arrest. and then i spent another year and a half in the spanish embassy while i was under asylum. i never wanted to leave venezuela, but the circumstances at the moment led me to take the decision, which i did not want to take it for many years, to go out and work towards the freedom of venezuela from exile. it's something that many venezuela ns have been forced to do.
you are in madrid. nicolas maduro is still in the presidential palace. your capacity to engineer change is now lower than it's ever been before. have you lost hope? no, i've never lost hope, stephen, i've never lost hope, and as i said before, we fall down and we rise up again, because this is about our lives and they will not beat us, because we will not surrender and i can assure you that, and that's not me saying this, it's millions of people that are committed to this fight until the end. this year will forever be remembered for covid—i9, but in truth, it's been very far from the worst pandemic the world has ever seen and thanks to the roll—out of vaccines, hopefully next year, we will put it behind us. but perhaps we should see the coronavirus as part of a wider wake—up call.
0ur relationship with the natural world is increasingly fragile and unstable. you can see it in our ecosystems and in climate change and the consequences will be with us long after the virus has been tamed. the figures suggest that there are around 170,000 chimpanzees in the wild today and at the turn of the 20th century, it's believed there were more than a million. do you think we humans have completely failed chimpanzees and so many other species? well, we're certainly failing them, but in the same way we're failing our own future generations of human beings. we've been for a long time stealing the future of our children, grandchildren, we're still stealing it today. we have terribly harmed this planet. this has led to the climate crisis, which if we don't get together around the world and do something about it soon, will lead to the end of life
on this planet as we know it and that includes us. it's our disrespect to nature, of the natural world and of animals that's led to this pandemic, this covid—19 pandemic, and it's led to climate change. and let's face it, as best we know at the moment, this whole pandemic is a result of the fact that we were abusing the natural world. we were perhaps trafficking animals from different parts of that world alive into markets where we were mixing them in an unnatural situation and this zoonotic disease has crossed into humans, which is something which we have feared for a long time. so how far do you take this thought? because it strikes me the danger is that a lot of people watching this programme around the world will have lost theirjobs, will find their own families in an economic crisis, and will be saying, "well, it's fine for this guy who's
"obsessed with nature to talk about seizing the positives, "but, frankly, the negatives are overwhelming "and i need my job back, i need the economy to "kick start again, i need, frankly, "the old ways to come back, "so don't tell me that they can't come back." well, that's... i'm with you all the way until you got to "old ways", because i'm saying here is an opportunity to generate new ways, newjobs, new economies. here is an opportunity to think, you know, we can create a more sustainable existence for ourselves and other species on this planet. we have the knowledge, we have the technology and now we've been forced into an opportunity to think about taking that. and here we have an opportunity to put in play all of those jobs, to generate those economies, retrain people so that they can experience a similar quality to life that they had before, but one which is not a result of damaging the very world that they want to prosper. let's be honest, many of us will be glad to see the back of 2020, but let's end with a positive thought.
this year has taught us valuable lessons about the importance of preparedness, priorities and strategic planning. maybe next year we can take a better path. happy new year. hello there. wednesday brought another wet day, particularly to england and wales. and at one point, we had over 50 flood warnings in force. now, i'm sure as the rain eases off, the number of flood warnings through christmas eve will gradually begin to drop away, but still the potential for a few problems.
there is the rain bearing cloud, then, we had across england and wales, but my attention right now is being drawn to this area of cloud just running in across the north of scotland, because this is going to bring some of you snow. yes, there could be a few centimetres lying on the ground in places, along with the risk of icy stretches as we head into the first part of christmas eve. a few showers also running down north sea coast, the irish seacoast, as our main band of rain continues to edge out—of—the—way. it will be cold, mind you, a cold start to christmas eve, a widespread frost certainly for scotland, northern england, probably northern ireland, and perhaps into the north midlands and north wales as well. now, it will be a cold day for christmas eve, these chilly northerly winds diving their way southwards and bringing showers down north sea coasts. they will continue to fall as snow in land across parts of scotland, perhaps over the north york moors, might even see an odd flake mixed in with these showers across eastern england at times. but away from the east coast where it will be windy and cold, should be plenty of sunshine, but those temperatures way lower than they have been for a number of days now, 3—4 in scotland, may be 11—5 for parts of eastern england.
and as we head into christmas day, there will be a widespread and sharp frost, so certainly a chilly start to the big day. that might be quite a nice sunrise to start the day. best of the sunshine across england and wales, but cloud will quickly building across the northwest, and ultimately, we will see some rain move its way into northwest scotland, where it will be turning milder, as south—westerly winds eventually pushing in, highs of 9 in stornoway. best of the sunshine, then, hanging on across parts of southern and eastern england, but cold, 11—5 degrees celsius. beyond that, boxing day, and sunday, the second half of the weekend, we've got this area of rain pushing southwards across the country. given that the ground is saturated, that rain is likely to lead to further localised flooding with wintry showers following the main band of rain through. it's notjust rain that could cause issues, it's also going to become very windy, gusts could reach 50—70 mph, maybe even stronger than that. so there is the potential for some disruptive winds as well this weekend, and beyond that into monday, still windy for northern ireland. further east, a mixture of rain, sleet and maybe some snow.
this is bbc news. the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. a brexit deal within striking distance, as signs from london and brussels point to a deal on the table. an announcement is expected thursday morning. president trump gives full pardons to his congressmen paul manafort. six million more people in england face the toughest level of coronavirus restrictions, as hospital admissions surge to their highest levels since april. the first trucks are on their way from dover, as france lifts its ban on travel across the channel, but the backlog remains. italy tightens restrictions and