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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 27, 2020 5:00am-5:31am GMT

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this is bbc news, with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm rich preston. the new coronavirus variant that first emerged in england is spreading across many european countries and has now been confirmed in canada and japan. us federal agents search a house on the outskirts of nashville as part of their investigation into the christmas day explosion in the city. am confident in the team we have, i am confident in the team we have, that we will get to the bottom of this. we will find out the story of this individual, or individuals. at least 10 climbers die in mountains north of tehran, during an avalanche. iranian rescue teams are searching for others who are still missing.
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and archaeologists on ancient ta keaway restau ra nt and archaeologists on ancient takeaway restaurant in pompeii stop —— on earth and ancient ta keaway restau ra nt stop —— on earth and ancient takeaway restaurant in pompeii. —— unearth. the new variant of coronavirus first detected in the uk has been found in canada. health authorities in the province of ontario say two cases have been identified in a couple with no known travel history or high risk contacts. the variant strain has also been found injapan and several european countries. it comes as the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine picks up momentum. the bbc‘s tim allman reports. time is of the essence in the fight against covid—19. here at this nursing home in north—east germany, the vaccination programme has begun, a day early. health workers said they weren't prepared to wait for the european union's co—ordinated roll—out, which was due to begin on sunday.
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clearly, for governments all around the world it could be a real game—changer. translation: this really is a happy christmas message. at this moment, lorries with the first vaccines are on the road all over europe, all over germany. this vaccine is the crucial key for defeating the pandemic. it's the key for us getting back our lives. but as the vaccine spreads, in vans and lorries across the continent, so, too, it seems does the new variant strain of the virus. it was first identified here in the uk nearly two weeks ago, leading to tough new restrictions for millions of people. but despite some countries effectively closing their borders to travellers from britain, the virus has
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been found in parts of western europe and further afield. japan and canada have confirmed positive tests. the new form of the virus is potentially far more infectious, but at this stage, it doesn't seem to be any more severe or, crucially, any more deadly. the question is, will the new vaccines be effective in combating it? it happens every year, for example, with influenza virus. we change the vaccine for influenza pretty much every year because of the evolution of influenza from year—to—year. the concern would be a similar type thing might happen, then, with this coronavirus. mass vaccinations are due to begin across europe on sunday. and some potential positive news coming out of britain — reports the so—called oxford vaccine may be approved within a matter of days. a little hope and optimism as the new year approaches. tim allman, bbc news. in the united states, the willingness of people to get vaccinated against covid—19 appears to have increased since the first two vaccines were authorized by the fda, and health care workers and nursing home residents began to receive the shots.
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fresh surveys suggest attitudes have shifted, and a clear majority are now eager to be vaccinated, although resistance has not entirely vanished. mohamed younis, editor—in—chief of gallup, told us more. as of our poll that ended in november, 63% of americans are now willing to take a vaccine at no cost approved by the fda. we saw with the astrazeneca trials slowdown where one of the participants had an adverse reaction back in september, that number dropped down to 50% of americans. so at this point most are willing to take the vaccine at no cost and it is a backup essentially to where we started injuly with 66% of americans. although there are interesting political differences. what drove some of the original scepticism towards the vaccine? i think the timing of the poll was important and it's important to keep in mind that
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in addition to the trial slowdown, we asked about confidence in vaccine across the world and what we find is that in higher income countries, they tend to have higher scepticism about the safety of vaccines, so i think that coupled with a few statements made by both political parties, both president trump and kamala harris, really impacted peoples perception of the safety of the vaccine. what about particular demographic groups, are there any that are showing interesting changes? absolutely. younger and the elderly are most likely to say they are willing to take the vaccine. those 18—44 are at 68%, so above the national average, and those 65 and older, 74% say they are willing to take the vaccine and men are slightly more likely, 66%, than women, at 60%. but the interesting differences along political lines, where 75% of democrats today say they'd be willing to take the vaccine whereas 50% of republicans will say the same. and what about the impact of high—profile people getting the vaccine, joe biden, his wife, et cetera?
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our poll predates those events but i think it's really important, particularly on the right where we see less willingness to take the vaccine that vice—president pence, for example, took it publicly and improvement if you are rooting for confidence in the vaccine to be had in the democratic side as well with only 25% of people not willing to do so. what has been proven is the polling injuly with a covid vaccine is that the public is paying close attention to news and reporting about the vaccine and it is impacting their perceptions about the safety and willingness to take it. briefly, do you think the numbers will shift in favour of the vaccine? i think that they most likely will for one reason. we know that most americans get their information from sources they tend to agree with ideologically and also from social media and those
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they trust and so friends and family. as more americans see friends and family and frontline workers taking the vaccine, it is only likely to increase trust in it but we can'tjudge and will definitely be asking in the months to come and tracking it. three people have been killed and another three injured following a shooting at a bowling alley in rockford, illinois, on saturday night. that's about 80 miles or 130 kilometres west of chicago. local police have confirmed a suspect is in custody, however say the investigation is active and ongoing. they've urged people to avoid the area and have called on anyone with information to come forward. officers investigating after a parked rv exploded in downtown nashville on friday say they're following hundreds of leads. the motorhome broadcast a warning minutes before it blew up, injuring three people.
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no deaths have been confirmed but authorities are examining tissue found at the blast site, which they believe could be human remains. tanya dendrinos has the details. this is the scene that's left nashville reeling. an explosion early on christmas morning leaving widespread destruction and so many unanswered questions. the most pressing, of course, who is responsible and why? i am confident in the team we have that we will get to the bottom of this, that we will find of the story of this individual, or individuals, we don't know right now, but this ultimate scrooge who, on christmas morning, instead of spreading joy and cheer, decided to spread devastation and destruction. the multi—agency response is being led by the fbi, investigators working around—the—clock to piece together exactly what unfolded.
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we've mentioned we have over 500 investigative leads. we're following up on every one of those, so there are a number of individuals that we're looking at. so, at this point, we're not prepared to identify any single individual. while officers wouldn't be drawn on the persons of interest, they did scour this home in their hunt for clues on saturday. there's also a message reassurance for residents left on edge after the shocking incident. nashville is safe. we feel and know that we have no known threats at this time against our city. we have been in communication and feel pretty good about that. still, it's clear no—one in this city will rest until whoever is responsible is brought to justice. tanya dendrinos, bbc news. a short time ago i spoke to freddie o'connell, a nashville council member who represents the area affected by the explosion. there's still a lot of confusion, and a lot of unanswered questions,
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right, i mean. you heard from that report, authorities here, investigators, not even going so far as to officially declare a person of interest. they are obviously following up leads. and plenty of local reports have suggested that they have warrants to search places. meanwhile, the question was quietly a residential corridor as well so authorities have established a hot zone. currently at city hall, just a couple of blocks from the site. if i were to walk a block south, there is a multi—block radius in downtown nashville that federal authorities are not allowing anyone to enter. so residents, property owners, business owners, and employees basically cannot enter this radius around the blast site. it's tough for those folks — waking up christmas morning,
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displaced from homes and not able to return to check water to check pipes bursting because we have very cold temperatures in nashville. still lots side effects, even connecting to this call tonight proved difficult because the bombing occurred right near an at&t, a telecom provider, so we have widespread telecommunications outages in nashville and surrounding areas right now. i was going to ask about that because that included knocking out the emergency services communications, how has that hampered things, and are they back up and running? everything is coming back online slowly and in nashville particularly, the non emergency communications centre has been off—line so we do have a online programme hub where authorities have guided people to use and this was asked to be used and the airport was closed down as well because the communications issues. the impact of this, we are all relieved there have not been any confirmed fatalities or life—threatening injuries but this still is a considerable impact on peoples' ability to even think about how to report issues around the community.
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it is having a significant impact even here now, more than 2a hours later. finally, it has been a tough year for nashville, a tornado in march, coronavirus, 400 fatalities, what's the mood like at the moment in nashville? i think there are many people hoping that 2021 will be a better year and if we can just close the book on 2020, we will start to see some light at the end of the tunnel. again, as you have reported on the programme, nashville residents have begun receiving vaccine and we do have health providers and first responders starting to receive the vaccine, and that is a good thing.
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again, some sense of relief that this is not something that seems to have done much more than property damage right now. i think people are looking for every bit of silver lining they can find in what has been a very, very difficult year. the us president—elect joe biden has warned that there will be devastating consequences if president trump continues to delay signing a covid—i9 economic relief bill overwhelmingly passed by congress. millions of americans face going without unemployment benefits after saturday because of a stand—off between mr trump and congress over a $900 billion stimulus bill. the relief package comes with a $1.1; trillion federal budget attached, which was agreed by both sides of the house. the bill includes one—off payments of $600 to most americans, but mr trump wants to increase it to $2,000 and to cut foreign aid.
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legislators could pass a stopgap bill by monday to prevent a partial government shutdown looming a day later, but this would not include coronavirus aid and mr trump would still have to sign it. ashwin vasan is the president of fountain house, a community—based mental health charity. he told us that many americans are struggling in the wake of the pandemic. we can now speak to ashwin vasan who's the president too many americans already live pay cheque to pay cheque. 44% of americans said that they were living pay cheque to pay cheque before the pandemic and that's increased to 63% during the pandemic. if faced with a $500 emergency, eight out of ten people report that they wouldn't be able to cover those costs. so we're seeing this show up in a whole host of ways. you're seeing unprecedented long lines at food banks, for example. you're seeing the threat of eviction and economic insecurity really start to rear its head at the family and the community level. and of course we're seeing this
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show up in people's well—being and their mental health. we're at the beginning of what i think will be a second pandemic of mental health issues, as a result not only of the kind of mass casualty event and trauma we have been under during covid, but the long tail of the epidemic which is the social and economic insecurity thrust upon so many people due to the pandemic is going to rear its ugly head for years to come and we're already seeing that show up the data. more than half of americans reported having a negative impact of covid on their mental health. those are faced disproportionally by those who have lost theirjobs. 40% of adults according to the cdc are reporting symptoms of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation. depression symptoms overall are three times higher than they were pre—covid. i think we're going to see this show up over time. we're certainly seeing it and feeling it at fountain house where we serve people living on the margins already. they depend on these benefit cheques. they depend every day on government support and they work so hard to try to become independent
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and while congress is sort of battling over $600, a meagre sum for a country as rich as ours, you know these folks living at the margins who are really suffering. it has already taken weeks for congress to wrangle around this, it has stalled at the white house. how do americans feel about this delay which is out of their control? i can only imagine frustrated, it is very frustrating to hear about stimulus cheques of $600, which is a meagre sum, not only compared to what was in the first stimulus bill which was double that amount, but compared to what people really need, i mean people are weeks away from not being able to pay their rent, not being able to make the next utility payment, not being able to buy food, and we are quibbling over $600, and for the president to come in at the last minute and put out a higher number, while it is wonderful, i certainly want a higher number, people need that money now and stalling the bill now is a source of great frustration for the people we serve, and certainly for me
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as well, everyone wants to see the people who need relief, who are the most impacted, particularly vulnerable communities, people who were already marginalised, people of colour who have been hit hardest by covid, we want to see them get the relief they need, and our political paralysis in washington is... it has to change if we are going to recover from this. ashwin vasan from fountain house charity in new york speaking to me earlier. you are watching bbc news. the headlines: the new coronavirus strain that first emerged in england is spreading across many european countries and has now been confirmed in canada and japan. us federal agents have search a house on the outskirts of nashville as part of their investigation into the christmas day explosion in the city.
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treacherous winter weather has killed at least ten climbers in the mountains outside the iranian capital, tehran. at least seven others are missing in the alborz range after an avalanche and blizzards. a search operation mounted by the red crescent rescued 14 people, but has been halted until the morning. among those who died are a political activist, an academic, a doctor, and a mountaineering instructor. daniel stockli is a professor at the department of geological sciences at the university of texas. he's climbed the alborz mountains to do geological research. earlier he told me how these mountains are like. these are really not technical mountains, but they are very easily accessible from tehran, quite steep, high relief, basically, you very quickly get to about 4000 metres above sea level, so the alborz mountains are a relatively young mountain range, so they are very steep, the south side has very little vegetation, so if you have unprecedented snowfall, there is nothing holding back the snowpack, so you
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could have avalanches. this sounds relatively accessible. are they quite popular with locals and visitors? they are really quite popular, so they have a ski area on top, there is an aerial tramway that goes to the top, very popular with hikers, back country skiers, limited slope, medium slopes for skiers, they are on the outskirts of northern tehran, the station for the aerial tramway is northern tehran itself, so very easy access, but if you are not prepared, it can be very treacherous. what about rescue shelters and infrastructure on the mountain range? what is there available? there are some shelters, several shelters on top of the alborz mountains, iranians are very keen hikers, very outdoorsy, there are ski clubs and mountaineering clubs,
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so i think they are probably prepared, but this is generally on the south side of the mountain range which doesn't get very much precipitation, therefore the lack of vegetation, and so i can only assume that they got really surprised by unprecedented snowfall. what are the main risks in the area? is it that sudden incoming risk of an avalanche? i think that's the main, certainly in terms of the snow, that is the main risk, but of course, being at 4000 metres, really exposed to hypothermia, certainly that can be a problem. daniel stockli there. at least two security personnel have been killed in a series of explosions in the afghan capital, kabul. officials say there were four blasts within the space of three hours. they damaged houses, shops, and vehicles nearby. kabul has witnessed several bomb and rocket attacks in recent weeks targeting security forces, politicians,
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journalists, and activists. the former british intelligence 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 a soviet spy, blake handed over information that betrayed at least 40 british agents in eastern europe. our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg reports. he had a russian home, a russian wife, even a russian name — georgi 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. archive: followed by mr george blake... 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.
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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. i don't know. 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? yes, something like that, yes. 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, sort of cocking a snook at the brits who had not succeeded in keeping him. in 2012, he told a russian tv channel that he hadn't changed sides because of blackmail or torture. he'd offered his services voluntarily.
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in a message of condolence, president putin described george blake as courageous, an outstanding professional, adding that his memory it would remain in russian hearts forever. russia gave him medals and much praise but, to britain, he is the cold war traitor who escaped justice. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. we tend to think of the fast food restaurant as a twentieth century invention, but it seems the ancient romans were fond of a takeaway too. archaeologists in pompeii have made the extraordinary discovery of a hot food and drinks shop from around 2,000 years ago. rachel stanton reports. at first glance, this may look like a building site, but it is so much more than that. archaeologists have been hard at work in pompeii. the discovery of an l—shaped thermopolium — a sort of ancient fast—food counter from thousands of years ago —
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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're excavating an entire thermopolium, and we can carry out different types of analysis, thanks to new technologies. the containers are being analysed and cleaned by an interdisciplinary team. brightly—coloured paintings of animals are still intact after all these years — with upside—down ducks, a chicken and a dog on display. and terracotta jars also led to a surprise. fragments of duck bone and remains of pork, goat, fish and snails were recovered. the discovery could lead to information on cooking and eating habits from the time of the eruption of vesuvius in 79ad. translation: now we can start the analysis of the material inside the containers to know their content. what type of food was sold,
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and what passers—by in pompeii could buy. truly extraordinary evidence of the mediterranean diet. human bones were also found, belonging to those caught up in the volcanic eruption. translation: there was someone inside the room. a victim, whose bones were found in the excavation. unfortunately, the skeleton is not intact, because the thermopolium had already been partially looted in the past. the site is set to open to the public from easter, 2021. with this year having been like no other due to the coronavirus pandemic, the unearthing of this site offers some light relief, as well as vital clues to the past. rachel stanton, bbc news. fascinating stuff. much more on oui’ fascinating stuff. much more on our website and the bbc news app. thanks for your company.
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you can reach me on twitter. i'm @richpreston. wherever you are in the world, stay safe, take care. hello. after a night of wind and rain, sunday won't be as windy. there will be showers around but also sunshine, too. but right now, it's still very wet and very windy out there for some of us. from this area of low pressure, storm bella as named by the met office to raise awareness of the impacts from the wind and rain, but not just that. in areas that have seen the back of the rain and the strongest winds overnight, the colder air moving in — and for some of us in scotland and northern ireland, icy, and a few wintry showers around to start the day. damaging winds from storm bella could cause some disruption, particularly into parts of england and wales and there will be more heavy rain in areas already seeing some flooding. so, that's not going to help. the greatest chance of disruption from the wind will be in the areas where the met office has an amber warning in force, the potential of some gusts up to 80 mph or so, slowly easing as we go on through sunday morning. once this overnight rain
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will have cleared away, clearing around mid—morning from the east of kent. you can see it's a colder start the day, particularly across scotland and northern ireland, where it will icy in places, potentially parts of northern england. we have these wintry showers moving in. some snow, mainly on hills, but perhaps not exclusively on hills. it's the west that sees most of sunday's showers. it is sunnier and drier the further east you are. it is still windy. these are wind gusts, but we're talking around 30—40 mph, just a little higher around some coasts in the west. and it is going to be a colder day, temperatures in scotland just hovering close to freezing during the day, and a longer spell of snow pushing across parts of scotland, northern ireland, northern england, north wales overnight sunday into monday — notjust on hills, that snow. a few centimetres to lower levels in some spots, too. and even where you don't get that, it could be icy, frosty, as monday starts. so, a cold start to monday. the area of low pressure right across us. so if you are close to that, you can expect some cloud. and around that, there will be some bands of rain, sleet, and snow around on monday morning. so, there could be some
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problems from that. it could well be the further away you are from that low pressure system in scotland and northern ireland by the afternoon, the greater chance for you to see a bit of sunshine. but it's cold, and it's a cold week to come. but a reminderfrom storm bella — damaging winds potential and also further flooding. there are weather and flood warnings. keep up—to—date online.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: cases of the more contagious variant of covid—19 first identified in the uk have been confirmed in several european countries, including spain, sweden and france. the variant strain has also been found injapan and canada. meanwhile, some eu nations have started their mass vaccination programmes 24 hours early. federal agents have searched a house on the outskirts of nashville, tenessee, as part of their investigation into the christmas day explosion there. police say they have identified at least "one person of interest" connected to the motor home vehicle that blew up. at least 10 climbers have died in mountains outside the iranian capital, tehran, during an avalanche. rescue teams are searching for around seven others who are still missing. heavy snow and winds in the past few days have closed many roads and disrupted transport.


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