this is bbc news — these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. millions of people in the uk faced tough at covid restrictions as rule changes come into force. as the uk grapples with the new variant of coronavirus, there are no confirmed cases in france, spain and sweden. former mi6 officer and soviet spy george blake has died at the age of 98 in moscow. and coming up, we will tell you about the sport that is high—speed and environmentally friendly, welcome to the world of extremely backed by formula world champion lewis hamilton.
hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. 6 million people in the east and south east of england have joined people living in the strictest restrictions under tier 4. more than 40% of the population are now living under the toughest measures which means the closure of all nonessential shops and hairdressers, swimming pools and gyms. a national lockdown has begun in northern ireland and strict measures are being reimposed in wales after they we re being reimposed in wales after they were used for christmas. mainland scotla nd were used for christmas. mainland scotland has gone into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, tier 4, with the rest of scotland in tier 4, with the rest of scotland in tier 3. and countries including france, spain and sweden have confirmed their first cases of the first coronavirus variant recently identified in the uk. in united states, millions of americans face
going without unemployment benefits amid a political stand—off over a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package. ourfirst report $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package. our first report of the seller is on the millions entering the toughest set of restrictions in england. harsher restrictions have returned and it shows. the centre of southampton is empty. as new areas of southern and eastern england now find their lives restricted by even tighter rules. it is very, very quiet, it is unusual at this time of the year. so it is strange and different. some people are totally not seeing their family. it has caused friction and families. it would be nice if it could all come to an end and we could all be back to an end and we could all be back to normal. the blue areas on the map are now all in tier 4, where you must stay at home unless you need to travel for work or education. you may only meet one person at a time outside. nonessential retail closes
and you should not leave a tier 4 area. but elsewhere, there is a familiar look to boxing day. the prime minister had warned people to think carefully and avoid sales crowds. in leeds, though, still in tier 3, the prospect of a bargain drew some people out. i always go to the sales on boxing day for bargains and i don't like doing it online, so i wanted to support the shops as well. enjoying it so far, just a shame we can't have a coffee somewhere or perhaps a glass of wine. it's a lot quieter than we were expecting, it's all a bit eerie, but we got what we needed and it was nice, but the staff all looked a bit not as festive as well. it's a different feeling. there is one activity the hardiest can still do despite restrictions. open water swimming, here in somerset, has been a lockdown comfort for many. it'sjust addictive, it'sjust something for your mental health, to keep you sort of balanced and a reset from a busyjob. it'sjust perfect.
across the uk, harsher rules are now in force. mainland scotland has moved into its toughest level of restrictions, and northern ireland, along with wales, is now in full lockdown. daniela relph, bbc news. as we've been hearing, in northern ireland, a six—week lockdown has begun with non—essential shops forced to close. hair salons must also shut while pubs, cafes and restaurants are restricted to takeaway and delivery services. the measures will be reviewed in four weeks' time. here's our ireland correspondent, chris page. as soon as christmas day ended, the lockdown began. there are no seasonal sporting events in northern ireland on this 26th of december. racecourses and stadiums are silent. shoppers and sales are absent too. instead, belfast city centre is shuttered down. one festive tradition that is allowed, though, is a brisk and breezy boxing day walk.
people said tighter restrictions were for the best. oh, i think it's very necessary. it's a good thing and anything to keep us safe. i think it'sjust best everybody stays safe. had to happen, unfortunately. but we just have to do it. i think it's ok. the lockdown‘s in place from today until early february. and for the first week, the rules will be more strict. shops which sell essential items, like supermarkets, will have to shut at 8pm. between that time and 6am, members of different households can't meet up anywhere for social reasons, inside or outside. police have been given extra powers to enforce the stay—at—home message. pubs and restaurants have been hit particularly hard at what is usually a popular time of year to eat out. i that know the health of people is just paramount and it protects the nhs, but we were given very, very short notice on some of the lockdowns and a lot of stock had been bought in, staff had to be organised, and it
has a very big financial impact on all of the hospitality trade. the devolved government has said it had no option but to take strong action because infections, hospitalisations and deaths have been rising throughout this month. everyone in this part of the uk is hoping this lockdown will be the last. chris page, bbc news, belfast. mainland scotland has moved into its highest level of coronavirus restrictions and, in wales, tough restrictions have been reimposed after yesterday's relaxation of the rules which allowed two households to mix for christmas day only. all but essential shops are closed and people have been told to stay at home to save lives. the new variant, which was first found in the uk in september, carries a genetic fingerprint that makes it easy to track, and it happens to be one that is now common. with france being the latest country to disclose a case, in the last several days, the world health organization has
reported that nine cases have been detected in denmark, four in spain, one case each in the netherlands, germany, italy and australia. switzerland is also saying the variant is most likely present in the country, and it has been recorded in sweden. japan also confirmed its first five cases, leading it to ban all foregin non—resident nationals from entering the country. meanwhile, researchers say that the virus found in south africa, while having similar properties to the uk variant, has developed independently. the former mi6 officer george blake, who became one of the cold war‘s most infamous double agents, has died, according to russian media reports. he was 98. as as a soviet spy, blake handed over information that betrayed at least a0 british agents in eastern europe. our moscow correspondent, steve rosenberg, reports. he had a russian home, a russian wife, even a russian name — giorgi ivanovich. but george blake was a british
intelligence officer who became one of the most notorious double agents of the cold war. he spied for the soviets for nearly a decade. blake had spent three years in captivity in north korea and, by the time he returned to britain in 1953, he was a committed communist. posted to berlin by mi6, he became a kgb mole. he would take the train to the soviet sector, hand over data on western intelligence operations and western agents, and then drink champagne with his kgb handler. maybe 500, 600. agents, you betrayed 500, 600 agents? maybe. blake convinced himself that what he was doing was morally right. i looked upon it like a sort of voluntaryjob. you know, like people... oxfam? something like that.
he was eventuallyjailed in britain for 42 years. he then was able to escape and was smuggled to east germany and spent the rest of his life in moscow cocking a snook at the brits who had not succeeded in keeping him. in 2012, he told a russian tv channel that he had not changed sides because of blackmail or torture. he had offered his services voluntarily. in a message of condolence, president putin described him as "courageous, an outstanding professional," adding that his memory would remain in russian hearts for ever. russia gave him medals and much praise but, to britain, he is the cold war traitor who escaped justice. lord frost said there are no direct
effects of eu law going forward and no alignment of any car in. under the terms of the deal if either party acts in a way that the other views as anti—competitive they can ta ke views as anti—competitive they can take remedial action. pro—brexit lawyers are set to dissect the contents lawyers are set to dissect the co nte nts of lawyers are set to dissect the contents of the agreement between now and the recall of parliament on wednesday. georgina wright is in brussels and has been working her way through the 2000 page agreement. obviously i'm still reading through it because it's an exceptionally long and very detailed agreement. i think that's worthy of noticing in itself. this is about way more than just trade. there are bits on energy cooperation, how police forces can continue trading information about criminals, it talks about nuclear cooperation, research cooperation and all of that has been negotiated and all of that has been negotiated and finalised in ii and all of that has been negotiated and finalised in 11 months during a pandemic which is remarkable.
and finalised in 11 months during a pandemic which is remarkablem certainly sounds quite different from what was in prospect before on what an agreement may look like. zero tariffs, zero quotas, a lot of freedom, lord frost saying that there is no more role for the european court of justice, there is no more role for the european court ofjustice, no direct effect of eu law, no alignment and we're out of the single market and customs union. so, how different do you think this is compared with where we were heading before under theresa may? i think that's true. clearly there is the ability now for the uk to divert from where it once but it will come at a price and we've seen that through the agreement. there's a lot of things that businesses in great britain will have to do if they wish to continue exporting to the eu. they will have to fill in a lot of paperwork to prove for instance that the product they are trying to export meets eu rules and has been produced and manufactured according to those rules. they will have to
fill in custom decorations which will be checked on the borders and there may be some health and safety checks as well. those delays and extra paperwork will be costly and it might be something we see producers passing on in terms of cost to the consumer. but you're right the uk, if it decides to do things differently, it has the ability to do that because it's no longer forced to follow eu rules strictly. but like many measures in the deal, how do you resolve the dispute, how do you manage that divergences which was a key concern for the eu. joe biden has want of devastating consequences if donald trump doesn't sign the us coronavirus relief bill. millions of americans face going without an implement benefits after saturday amid a political stand—off over the $900 billion pandemic stimulus package. direct payments of up stimulus package. direct payments of up to $600 a person, eviction protection measures and a paycheque protection measures and a paycheque
protection programme were all approved by congress on monday. the 60—vote threshold having been achieved, the motion to concur is agreed to. in a year where 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? but so far, he's refused, saying that he has holding out for bigger direct payments.
and while he went to florida for christmas, democrats in washington tried to amend the bill so that most americans 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 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 cheques 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. even as afghan government and taliban leaders discuss peace, the country continues to be wracked by violence. in the latest incident, the capital, kabul, has been rocked by explosions, killing two
security forces personnel. journalists and activists have also been targeted in recent months. some attacks have been claimed by so—called islamic state and others blamed on the taliban, which is also still fighting government forces. south korea is facing one of its toughest weeks yet in the fight against coronavirus. the country was held up as a global model for its test, track and trace measures which has helped control the spread of covid—19, but there's now a brutal winter wave. our correspondent laura bicker looks back on the country's early success and its current battle. for the first time this year, seoul is facing a crisis in critical care. bedsin is facing a crisis in critical care. beds in the south korean r scares after a winter wave of covid—19. testing has been stepped up. south korea was one of the first two mass
test for the virus. one of its strategies to avoid lockdown. the number of contact tracers has also increased, as case numbers soar to around 1000 a day. officials use phone and credit card data to track down potentially infected patients. it prompted fears that privacy was yet another victim of this pandemic. translation: it's not that koreans are more submissive but the social consensus is that the sacrifices important to protect the community that led people to follow government policies. there is one place in south korea where this frantic race to control the infection feels familiar. in february, daegu was a city under siege. doctors were trading over
6000 people for covid—19. how are you coping? 0h, 6000 people for covid—19. how are you coping? oh, yeah... we have to ove 1120 m e you coping? oh, yeah... we have to overcome this situation. there are only a handful of coronavirus patients in daegu now. how are you? doctor cho is back working as a surgeon doctor cho is back working as a surgeon and feels confident enough to shake my hand. what will you think about the pandemic and your pa rt think about the pandemic and your part in it? we can manage successfully, overcome the covid—19. i told you before. we can do that. yeah, yeah, we can do that. i'm very proud of that. images of scarred daegu nurses filled korean papers but they too are back on their own wards. translation: if another pandemic hits us again i know i will
not hesitate to carry my share because i am a not hesitate to carry my share because i am a nurse. not hesitate to carry my share because i am a nurse. south korea has managed to live with the virus and appears determined to avoid countrywide closures but this third wave, fuelled in part by complacency and overconfidence, is testing that strategy like never before. british grand prix racing champion lewis hamilton made his name in the gas—guzzling world of formula one but he's also backing a very different form of motor sport. it's called "extreme e" — and it's all about pushing the boundaries, in more ways than one. our chief environment correspondent justin rowlatt reports. the cars are electric suvs designed by the formula 1 design guru adrian newey. they deliver 400 kilowatts,
the equivalent of 550—brake horsepower, and they'll be racing in some of the most extreme environments on earth. expect star wars pod racing meets the dhaka rally, say the organisers. what brought my attention to extreme e is the great places that it's going to go to in raising awareness for the real climate issues. we've got some serious challenges up ahead of us. the direction we are going as a human race is not good, and, yes, there are potential changes, you know, the government saying that only electric cars but that fixes... perhaps whilst that fixes one problem, another problem pops up. you know, i'm trying to learn as much as i can with ev technology, which i think extreme e will help
develop, but that i don't think is the answer to the whole issue that we have. the idea is to show how powerful and fun electric vehicles can be, and to raise environmental awareness by racing them in places that have already been affected by climate issues. the series will be going to greenland, the amazon and the deserts of saudi arabia. extreme e is also billing itself as the world's first gender—equal motorsport platform. there will be four teams, each with two drivers — one male, one female. their solution is totally different. here, more power than the petrol cars. of course, the sound is totally different, it hears not sound. i think i prefer the electric car because i need to make a change, especially in these days, because the climate change is near. all extreme e freight and logistics will travel by sea
in a refurbished royal mail ship, the rms st helena, and the series will generate some of the power it uses with portable solar panels. they'll be used to create hydrogen, which, on race day, will be fed into a fuel cell like this to generate electricity, helping prove a low—carbon technology that will find applications around the world, say its designers. the displacement of diesel generators, which, you know, are prevalent throughout the world. the application of the fuel cell on shipping, on boats, where you decarbonise the international maritime industry, a key emitter of co2. so here's a question — does the series deliver on its climate—aware promise? well, there's no doubt that extreme e will create unnecessary emissions, but it will also showcase just how capable electrical vehicles can be,
and it'll send another important message — that the low—carbon revolution doesn't have to be dull and boring. the extreme e series will begin in saudi arabia in march and will be broadcast live across the bbc. justin rowlatt, bbc news. people will hopefully be able to visit the site next year. rachel sta nton visit the site next year. rachel stanton reports. archaeologists have been hard at work in pompeii. the discovery of a kind of agent fast food counter from thousands of years ago is welcome news. partially unearthed in 2019, work was extended to preserve the site. translation:
the possibilities are now extraordinary because it's the first time we are excavating one entirely and we can carry out different analysis thanks to technology. containers are being analysed and pleased by —— and cleaned. containers are being analysed and pleased by -- and cleaned. paintings of animals are still intact after all these years. with upside down ducks, chicken and a dog on display. and terracotta jars led to a surprise. fragments of dark bone and remains of pulp, ghost, two of pork, goats and fish. it may reveal eating habits around the time of the eruption of vesuvius. slice off we can eruption of vesuvius. slice off we ca n start can start the analysis of material inside the containers to know their content. what food was solved, what people in pompeii could buy.
extraordinary evidence of a mediterranean diet. human bones were also found, belonging to those caught up in the volcanic eruption. there was someone caught up in the volcanic eruption. there was someone inside this room, a victim of the eruption, whose bones were found in the excavation. u nfortu nately bones were found in the excavation. unfortunately the skeleton is not intact because the building had been partially looted in the past. the site is set to open to the public from easter of 2021. with this year having been like no other due to the pandemic, the unearthing of the site offers some light relief as well as vital clues to the past. we'll be back at the top of the hour with the latest headlines but in the meantime you can get in touch with me and some of the team on twitter. thanks for your company.
storm bella is now looming large to the north of the uk. make no mistake, it's a powerful system that will bring problems to parts of the uk. we have severe flood warnings in force across england. more rainfall isn't what we need here. as the front comes through we may see an inch of rain in some areas before it heads to the continent. cold areas following behind it, showers in the north. a windy night across—the—board but the winds we have the greatest concern for is going to target southern england and wales and in places it may go up to 80 mph. the met office have
issued an amber warning. yellow wind warning means gusts of 50—60 widely inland over england and wales. storm bella is likely to cause further disruption and the wind may bring down power lines in some areas. anyone having to travel, these will be challenging conditions. the front is going to slide off into the continent quite promptly on sunday morning but behind it we are going to drag in much colder air allowing the showers to turn increasingly wintry. sunshine in england and wales but some showers, snow and even on lower ground across wales and northern england, increasingly frequent but especially for scotland and northern ireland. cold, temperatures barely above freezing in the north. we may see a little circulation, a low centre developing among the big low that is storm bella as we head through sunday evening.
that could mean a heavy evening of snow in scotland, northern ireland and northern england and a significant risk of ice by monday first thing. the main area of low pressure is in the south—east on monday. they will be a keen northerly wind to the west. central and eastern areas, it should be lighter but the low centre with cold air means a higher chance of wintry showers over central and eastern areas of england on monday. not out of the woods for some snowy weather across the south in the early part of the week. a cold day, temperatures between two and four degrees moving us into the start of what will be a cold week ahead.
this is bbc news, the headlines. millions of people in the uk face tougher covered restrictions as a rule changes come into force. as the uk grapples with the new strain of coronavirus, there are now confirmed cases in france, spain and sweden. the former mi6 officer and soviet spy the former mi6 officer and soviet spy george blake has died at the age of 98 in moscow. and the sport that is high—speed and environmentally friendly. welcome to the world of extreme e backed by formula 1 champion lewis hamilton. now on bbc news, time of the sports day. hello and welcome to your boxing day sportsday. i'm chetan pathak. coming up on tonight's programme... riding the 20—1 chance — bryony frost becomes the first