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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 26, 2020 11:00am-11:31am GMT

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this is bbc news. these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. millions of people in the uk wake up to tougher covid restrictions — as rule changes come into force. as the uk grapples with a new strain of coronavirus, france and spain both confirm their first cases of the variant. millions of americans face losing unemployment benefits — as the standoff between donald trump and congress over a coronavirus stimulus package continues. former mi6 officer and soviet spy george blake has died aged 98 in moscow. more than a thousand people are told to leave their homes in bedfordshire, england — as another severe flood warning is issued overnight. and coming up...
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we'll tell you about the sport that is high—speed and environmentally friendly — welcome to the world of extreme e, backed by f1 champion lewis hamilton. hello, and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. six million people in the east and south east of england have joined those living under the strictest coronavirus restrictions, in tier 4. those restrictions now affect around 2a million people in england, more than 40% of the population. the toughest measures mean the closure of all nonessential shops,
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as well as hairdressers, swimming pools and gyms. a national lockdown has also started in northern ireland, and measures have been reimposed in wales after being eased for christmas. all of mainland scotland has moved into the toughest level of coronavirus restrictions — with the rest of scotland in tier 3 restrictions. france and spain has both confirmed their first cases of the coronavirus variant recently identified in the uk. millions of americans face going without unemployment benefits after saturday, amid a political standoff over a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package. our first report this morning on the millions entering the toughest set of restrictions in england is from emily unia. a return to lockdown, with more shops, pubs and restaurants across the uk forced to close to try and slow rapidly rising infection rates thought to be caused by a new strain of coronavirus. the government has done the right thing. the variant in the coronavirus is out of control, so they had to do something. i was expecting it, at the end of the day,
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with the numbers going up. and everyone has to live through this, so if it's going to keep us safe in the end, that's really good and i'm quite happy. the tougher measures could be in force for months. but we mustn't give up now. we know that we can control this virus. we know we can get through this together. we're going to get through it by suppressing the virus until a vaccine can make us safe. that's been our strategy and that's what we must do. new tier 4 restrictions were imposed on london and parts of essex and hertfordshire at midnight on sunday. this morning, most of southern and eastern england are joining them. the rules are similar to the last lockdown in england. you must stay at home unless you need to travel for work or education. you may only meet one person at a time outdoors. nonessential shops should shut, and unless you have a genuine reason like caring for someone or going to work or school, you mustn't leave a tier 4 area.
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other parts of england are also moving into higher tiers, with only the isles of scilly now left in the lowest, tier 1. in northern ireland, a new six—week national lockdown has begun, with an 8:00pm to 6:00am curfew in operation untiljanuary 2nd. all of mainland scotland has moved into its toughest level of restrictions, and after a brief relaxation of rules for christmas day, wales has returned to a full national lockdown which began on sunday. emily unia, bbc news. northern ireland has imposed a fresh six—week lockdown, and even supermarkets will be forced to close by eight in the evening during the first week. let's speak to our correspondent louise cullen who's in enniskillen.
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as of today, gatherings indoors and outdoors are no longer permitted between eight p m am. there are reasonable excuses for being out and around in those hours, whether you are a key worker, have caring responsibilities or are in the case of emergency. you cannot meet your friends outdoors for any exercise. that is limited to your household members only. as for the essential retail, it is allowed to be opened during this six weeks of lockdown, but this first week they will have to close at eight o'clock. the nonessential retail is shut now for six weeks, and can no longer offer at the click and collect service. no elite sporting activity this week. when it resumes on the 2nd of january, that will be without
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spectators. schools are expected to reopen as normal after the christmas break for face—to—face learning, but some primary your groups will move to remote learning from the 25th of january. all of these restrictions will be reviewed after four weeks. in ourlast will be reviewed after four weeks. in our last update, we had more than 800 confirmed cases. that was on christmas eve. we are a number here remains above one. until those numbers start to show sustained fall, it is very unlikely they will be any changes in those regulations here. as the uk grapples with that new strain of the coronavirus , france has confirmed its first case of the variant. the country's health ministry says the patient arrived on french soil from london on the 19th of december. president macron shut the country's border with britain last sunday after the new — more transmissible variant — was found to be spreading
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in the south east of england. spain in the last few minutes has also confirmed its first case of that coronavirus variant. here in the uk, ten people have been given antibodies as a form of emergency protection after being exposed to coronavirus, in the first trial of its kind. the antibody treatment is being offered to people who have been in close contact with a confirmed covid case within the past eight days. if it proves effective, it could protect vulnerable people who have not yet been, or cannot be, vaccinated. and it could help to contain future outbreaks. millions of americans face going without unemployment benefits after saturday, amid a political standoff over a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package. direct payments of up to $600 per person, eviction protection measures, and a paycheque protection programme were all approved by congress on monday. but president trump has refused to sign the bill into law. aaron safir reports.
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the 60—vote threshold having been achieved, the motion to concur is agreed to. in a year when the deep divisions in american politics were laid bare... today is a good day. ..monday saw a moment of hope. democrats and republicans passed a $892 billion coronavirus relief bill and funded the federal government until september 2021. the measures are a lifeline to america's battered economy and its millions of struggling people. two unemployment programmes, a $300 weekly federal boost for the jobless until mid—march, and direct payments of up to $600 per person. after months of difficult negotiations and compromise, all that's needed now is president trump's signature. mr president, what do you say to those who are waiting for covid aid?
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but so far he's refused, saying that he is holding out for bigger direct payments. and while he went to florida for christmas, democrats in washington tried to amend the bill so that workers would receive $2,000. republicans countered with proposals to cut the foreign aid bill. it is christmas eve but it is not a silent night. all is not calm. for too many, nothing is bright, and for too many they are not sleeping peacefully. president trump returned to the topic on christmas day, tweeting... the bill has even been flown to florida for the president to sign, but he's not budging and time is running out. the last of the jobless benefits will go out tomorrow to individuals who've been on unemployment for many weeks already and for those who had the eligibility
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because of the carers act, because of the earlier relief package, so those two groups, tomorrow's the last day and the president absolutely has to sign it to get those back on track, and all of the rest that's in the relief package. the democrats have promised another attempt at upping the stimulus checks on monday, meaning republican lawmakers will have to decide whether or not to defy their president. but the wheels of government can move slowly, and even if the president does sign the bill on the weekend, many americans will likely suffer a break in payments of several weeks. aaron safir, bbc news. the met office has warned of 70 miles—per—hour gales and heavy rain, as storm bella approaches the uk. three severe flood warnings are in place in england. in bedfordshire, police officers
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have visited more than 1,300 homes near the river great 0use, advising residents to leave as it reaches record levels. there are also warnings in northamptonshire. georgina burnham was evacuated from her home in billing aquadrome on christmas eve. i think we're going to see some of the pictures. just tell us your story. so, the pictures. just tell us your story. 50, christmas the pictures. just tell us your story. so, christmas eve, ijust popped story. so, christmas eve, ijust popped out to get some toast. my hair really wasn't like that badly to begin with. after leaving, i noticed there was quite a queue coming back in. i wasn't allowed back. i had nothing on me, i only had slippers on. i was advised by the police that we were not going to be allowed in, especially by vehicle. i did get told that if i had wellies i could get back on by foot. by the time i got my wellies from tesco, we were told we were not allowed unless we parked about a mile away and walked. all the gates
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we re mile away and walked. all the gates were closed, i had to climb over. by the time we got onto site, the water was knee high, and you just could not tell what was lake and what was road. there were a lot of people stuck on decking. some people not being able to get to their pets, and still cannot get to their pets. it's just pretty stressful. i know there have been a couple that have got covid, so they have not wanted to go toa covid, so they have not wanted to go to a hotel. they are stuck at home with no electricity or heating, just waiting to find out when things are going to go back to normal. what a way to spend christmas, stuck in your slippers, and you had to buy some wellies. my friends were amazing. and it did end up being a bit of fun. the community was
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amazing, everyone really got together, helped each other. bless the security cards, they have been working to help and rescue as many as they could. and the emergency services have been great. very frustrating, and obviously i've got three young nieces and nephews so i had to get their presence, otherwise it would have been over for them. it was stressful. you don't know when you will be back. we were just looking at the pictures that you took, and the water is pretty high. what is the latest state of the flooding? to be honest, we haven't had much. it has been at northampton police, and there is a facebook group where the community keeps each other updated. so the people that are still on their say there is still no electricity. some parts of the park, the water is gone down quite a bit. but other parts are still pretty underwater. i mean, i
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have got decking, and mine was up to the top step. i don't know if got any inside or not. none of us really know. it's all a bit of hearsay, what we are hearing from other people. we are not too sure if we will be allowed back on tomorrow. i think they are waiting to see if this next storm comes. not an ideal way to spend christmas, but you do seem way to spend christmas, but you do seem to be in good spirits. well, if you do not laugh about it, you will cry about it. happy christmas to you, and a very happy new year. thank you so much for being with us. one of the most notorious cold war spies — george blake — has died in moscow, aged 98. blake was a soviet double agent working in the british secret service. he was caught and jailed in 1960, but escaped from prison in london five years later and fled to the soviet union. i'm nowjoined by edward lucas who's
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a security expert and the author of "the new cold war". blake was enormously important, ranking in terms of the damage done to british and american attempts to spy to british and american attempts to spy on the soviet empire during the 19505. it spy on the soviet empire during the 1950s. it was notjust that he was ina 1950s. it was notjust that he was in a position where he could do a lot of damage, after he had been sentenced for 42 years, allegedly, one for every agent he had betrayed, he was then able to use escape from a supposedly high security prison. he was smuggled to east germany and then spent the rest of his life in moscow. and it was the era of cold war spies. what is it ideological motivation? it wasn't totally clear,
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because he had a rather tangled upbringing. he was brought up in the netherlands, and it was only when he got to britain in netherlands, and it was only when he got to britain “119113, after netherlands, and it was only when he got to britain in 1943, after he had escaped from the occupied netherlands, that the mother change the name to blake to sound more british. he was brought up partly in egypt, where he had been great friends with a cousin who was communist. he also said it was when he was a prisoner of war in north korea and he saw the anglo—american offensive on korea during the korean war. and there were also allegations that he might have been brainwashed by his captors. as with all of these spy by his captors. as with all of these spy stories, one does not really know. what he said was to possibly not the truth. as we said, one of the most extraordinary things about his life and career was that he was convicted of being a spy and then
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managed to escape from prison. and presumably a huge propaganda boost for moscow when he did escape? well, it was except that it wasn't the kgb who sprung him. which would have been a real feather in their cap. i think they had no idea. it was a couple of antinuclear campaigners, and a man he had met injail called sean burke. they managed to break out while everyone was watching the weekly film. and he was then kept in a bedsit somewhere in north london. and then finally smuggled to east germany in a camper van. so it was very much more pink panther than james bond. but it worked. 0nce very much more pink panther than james bond. but it worked. once he had got to the eastern bloc, the soviets treated him very well and encouraged him. and he wrote a book and became, after living complete
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obscurity, came out and was available for interviews, and there was a bbc documentary about him. putting a russian spin on it, during the cold war they were basically in the cold war they were basically in the right. whereas for hundreds and millions of people who are behind the iron curtain probably very few of them thought that. thank you so much for talking to us about that great spy, george blake, and extraordinary life. thank you. scrutiny of the brexit trade agreement with the european union has begun after the full document was published less than a week before it is due to be implemented. the agreement runs to more than 1,200 pages — and will be put to an emergency vote in the british parliament on wednesday. 0ur political correspondent leila nathoo has the story. in brussels yesterday,
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a christmas day briefing for eu ambassadors on the deal by the man who led the negotiations for their side. mission accomplished. what's in that blue folder sets out how the eu and uk will trade and co—operate from january, a success for both sides to have more than 1,200 pages of text setting out a new relationship. writing in the times this morning, the cabinet office minister michael gove says the deal will allow the uk and eu to enjoy a special relationship as sovereign equals. he was one of the key figures in the leave campaign. he writes that the debate over brexit was at times ugly and he hopes the agreement will allow british politics to move into a better place. the deal was done in the nick of time, with the uk already out of the eu and transition arrangements expiring within days. mps and peers will have until wednesday to digest the detail before being called back to parliament for a debate and vote. the eu is now weighing up how the future looks with the uk outside.
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member states will be reviewing the legal text in the coming days before what's on paper becomes a reality. leila nathoo, bbc news. parts of the us city of nashville remain cordoned off after a camper van exploded in the early hours of christmas day. three people were injured and widespread damage was caused when the van — which had been broadcasting a warning that a blast was imminent — blew up in the city centre. thousands of shops across the uk won't be opening for the traditional boxing day sales today — because of the lockdowns in wales and northern ireland, and tough new restrictions in england and scotland. it follows a difficult year for the retail industry, which is calling for more government support. vivienne nunis reports. end—of—year sales have been attracting crowds for decades. newsreel announcer: they're here again — the sales and the queues. you can't afford to miss a good bargain these days.
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some all—night queuers receive a welcome surprise — an early morning cuppa to warm them up for the battle ahead. but in 2020, with tier 4 restrictions in england, restrictions in scotland and lockdown in northern ireland and wales, many of the uk's high street stores will be empty today, leaving scores of boxing day bargain hunters forced to shop online. for many retailers, the key christmas trading period has been severely disrupted. footfall for december is down by 45% compared with 2019. the retail industry body is calling for government support to continue beyond next april. we have seen some administrations, some job losses, some store closures, so making sure that that support is targeted to those businesses as we move into 2021 is going to be really vital, you know, to ensure that we don't see more job losses and more store closures.
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stores in manchester and birmingham will be among those to open today, some with a cap on customer numbers and digital queueing systems in place. for those looking to find a good deal, the biggest discounts are expected to be in fashion, as retailers look to off—load excess stock. but, after a year of rolling sales from many of the stores, retail analysts say some shoppers may be experiencing sale fatigue — more bad news for an industry that's endured a year like no other. vivienne nunis, bbc news. it's been difficult 2020 for many of us — but for one baby boy in the uk — 2020 was extraordinarily special. ethan had been awaiting a heart transplant. well, this year, he got one. tim muffett caught up with the family as they prepared for a very different christmas to the one they faced last year.
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relief, despair, sadness and joy — it has been an extraordinary yearfor all of us. but for ethan and his family, 2020 has been truly remarkable. it's been a long year and a rollercoaster. the last year, he has lived in great 0rmond street hospital on the urgent heart transplant list, waiting for a transplant. we met richard and roselelia 12 months ago. their son ethan was born with a heart defect and was reliant on an artificial heart machine, but time was running out. in the summer, we received that call and ethan was given a second chance, and yeah, it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. when you received that call, what went through your mind? it's hard to talk or say anything. i rang my mum, and i was... i could barely tell you. and i was practically bawling, and i only said the word heart, and my mum and my sister thought something had happened to ethan.
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they thought he'd actually died, they thought that was what i was ringing to say. and i finally got myself together and said no, no, he's got a heart, and they started crying. we're crying because it is relief, but then we're crying because someone has lost their little one. they have lost their whole world. what do you say to that family today? i don't even think words can describe it. thank you is not enough. i think i need to come up with another word — i don't know what it is, but yes, just thank you so much. thank you. what's it like having ethan back? amazing, and i'm very excited. i love him lots and lots. it's not the first time this family has been so grateful for an organ donation. two years ago, richard also had a heart transplant. we've both just been so lucky with donors saying yes and giving us
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that chance at life, and i got a chance to be a dad. someone has given me the chance to carry on being a dad. in may, the law in england changed so that most adults are now considered to be potential organ donors unless they specifically opt out. that has been the case in wales for five years. scotland will follow suit in march. now, many welcome the change, but it does not apply to children. what do you think about that? everyone has their own opinion on what they want to do. just have those discussions today. studies have found that families after have said that, if they could go back, they would have said yes. but at that moment in time, that was the first time that they had ever thought about it. are you able to, if you wanted to, make contact with the donor family? so we're able to write a letter to them. we would send that letter via the transplant team at great 0rmond street.
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they would then pass that on to the family, and it would be for the family, if they want to make contact, or respond back to us. i hope that they do, because i would love them to meet us and meet ethan. this year, so many gifts given and received will feel extra special, but sometimes appreciation and gratitude goes beyond words. tim muffett, bbc news. and you are watching bbc news. hello, there. we have a stormy 24 hours ahead as storm bella starts to bear down across the uk, and there are still severe flood warnings in force. any more rain on saturated ground and already overflowing rivers is not good news either. you
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can see from the ice bars, it is not just the rain. we are very concerned about the strength of the wind. amber warnings are out from the met 0ffice. already the rain is with us in western scotland, it will spill into northern ireland, the rest of scotla nd into northern ireland, the rest of scotland throughout the day. there will be showers, a lot of cloud gathering across england and wales. equally, there could be a little bit of sunshine. it's relatively mild. a milder interlude of weather today. and that's because we have got south—westerly winds. they really escalate this evening across scotla nd escalate this evening across scotland and northern ireland, pushing their way southwards. a significant amount of rain falling on other areas. another potential inch. and those winds gusting could easily bring down trees or power lines. very gusty in land as well. some storm forced winds around. but the combination of the winds and the rain making for some treacherous conditions on the roads. but there
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is -- conditions on the roads. but there is —— some disruption likely. a wild night and is —— some disruption likely. a wild nightand a is —— some disruption likely. a wild night and a wild start to our sunday. but behind the cold air there are some icy patches in the north, and eventually that wintry weather, that cold air will move southwards throughout the day. most of the wintry showers will be across central and northern areas, but by the time we get to monday we could have a taste of winter here as well. not that we haven't seen snow already in some areas, but we could have snow also to lower areas as we move to monday across southern and eastern areas as well. by that stage, the winds are starting to ease a bit. it will feel bitterly cold indeed. but with some sunshine in between those wintry showers. and that cold air stays with us well into the start of the new year. as i say, we have plenty of warnings out, flooding and severe warnings out for wind and rain.
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hello, this is bbc news. iam ben i am ben brown. the headlines... millions of people in the uk wake up to tougher covid restrictions as rule changes come into force. as the uk grapples with a new strain of coronavirus, france confirms its first case of the variant. millions of americans face losing unemployment benefits, as the standoff between donald trump and congress over a coronavirus stimulus package continues. more than a thousand people are told to leave their homes in bedfordshire as another severe flood warning is issued overnight.


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