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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 31, 2020 4:00am-4:31am GMT

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this is bbc news. welcome to our viewers in the uk, on pbs in america and around the world. my name's mike embley. our top stories: a landmark moment in the fight against coronavirus — the uk becomes the first country in europe to approve two vaccines. but in the us a new daily high in deaths. almost 4,000 people lose their lives to covid—19 in one day. a new beginning in britain's relationship with the eu — prime minister boris johnson's assessment as parliament backs the new post—brexit free trade deal. after the landslide the search for those feared missing among the buried houses in a residential area outside norway's capital. and arise sir lewis. the formula 1 world champion lewis hamilton is knighted in the queens new years honours list.
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hello and welcome. the uk has become the first country in europe to approve the use of two covid—19 vaccines. the medicines regulator here has given the go—ahead for the oxford astrazeneca vaccine. it is, no doubt, a landmark moment in the fight against coronavirus. half a million doses will be made available next week. argentina and el salvador have also approved the vaccine and it should have gone through the regulatory process in the us by april. 0ur medical editor fergus walsh reports. the approval of the oxford astrazeneca vaccine, which is a fantastic achievement for british science. it's a great day, we're very proud. this is a really significant moment in the fight against this pandemic. it is, i think, a game—changing moment. this is the vaccine, more than any other,
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that will eventually bring coronavirus under control. unlike pfizer's, which needs ultra low temperatures, the oxford astrazeneca vaccine can be transported in a fridge, meaning every care home in the uk should now be in reach. the medicines regulator said no corners had been cut. with this approval of the second vaccine, we are another step closer in helping to defeat this virus. 0ur clear message is that you can have every confidence in the safety, in the effectiveness and in the quality of covid—19 vaccine astrazeneca. the vaccine uses a gene from the spike—shaped protein on the surface of coronavirus. this is put inside a modified, harmless virus. the vaccine instructs human cells to make the spike protein, which prompts the immune system to create antibodies which can recognise and destroy coronavirus.
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and it stimulates t cells, which should destroy cells that have become infected. so, just how effective is the vaccine? the latest estimate is it gives 70% protection against covid three weeks after the first dose. the nhs will now hold back giving the second dose of all covid vaccines until 12 weeks, so more people can get protected. the most pragmatic thing to do is to give as many at—risk people as possible the first dose of the vaccine because we know that from three weeks after that first dose, there's a very good level of protection and nobody in the clinical trials at that point, after their first dose, was in hospital with covid or experienced severe disease. this is now a race between the vaccine and the virus. that means getting millions of doses approved quickly. much of the production is done in the uk, like here in oxford, unlike the more expensive pfizer jab, which is produced in belgium. there are manufacturing facilities like this all over the world which are producing bulk quantities of the oxford
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astrazeneca vaccine. the aim is to have three billion doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021. to deliver a safe and effective covid vaccine in less than a year is a stunning achievement. the challenge now — to ensure rapid roll—out to those who need it most. fergus walsh, bbc news. i've just been speaking to dr tara smith, professor of epidemiology at kent state university college of public health, in ohio. i asked her first about the new record figures in the united states — 3,900 deaths from covid—19 in one day. we are still seeing increases in cases after thanksgiving, so people that have been affected weeks ago in the hospital or in some cases several weeks and are now passing away. we currently have about 125,000 people hospitalised in the united states, so unfortunately we don't expect that death number to go down any time in the near future.
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if these figures have been triggered by thanksgiving, there are likely to be worse figures to come triggered by christmas? absolutely. the agency, we have seen the highest number of airport travel days, over1 million people travelling in a few days around christmas, and that is still going on, and of course we have new year's eve party is tomorrow, so i suspect we will be in even worse shape in the next month. we really got you want to talk about vaccine efficacy, which i know is your speciality. astrazeneca is seeing the oxford vaccine is 73% effective, 80% after the second. pfizer—biontech and moderna over 95%, so should people be worried about this? there will not get a choice,
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none of us will get a choice about which vaccine we have? we also want to remember that those are in trials and sometimes efficacy can be lower in real life situations, so i think between the two choices right now, really, in regular use, will be more similar, so i not be concerned about small differences between the different types of vaccines right now. what would you say to people who are nervous about vaccines anyway, who are seeing things by many of us have no idea of what we're seeing as misinformation or truth? look up reputable sources, people you trust. i see a lot of my friends who are healthcare professionals who are sessions, scientist and the front lines were getting vaccinated themselves, so i think when you have that kind of confidence among people who are most closely involved with this type of science in these type of trials and to have seen covid on the front lines, when they are getting vaccinated, that really means something. yet you can understand why people might be nervous. historically in the state to have been occasions
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when black people be used effectively as guinea pigs. absolutely, and we have a lot of medical racism here in the united states, and that's why there have been lots of black americans who have expressed their concerns about the vaccine and why, despite those concerns, and despite the history of medical racism in this country, they are getting it because a lot of that has been under treatment, so not believing the pain of black americans or withholding treatment from them in some cases and in this case they are getting a preventative treatments i think that is important right now. for people who will take the vaccine, there are concerns about roll—out. at the moment it is not very efficient. that is still a big issue, only about 2 million doses have been given so far and many more have been shipped, so it is an issue of getting it from the distribution centre into hours, and that is going on but it has been much slower
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than we hoped, and of course that is mostly the federal government leaving that up to states, so hopefully in the next few weeks that will increase and then under the joe biden administration that will be coming in on day one, with a plan to get that moving forward. dr tara smith there. professor of epidemiology at kent state. the vaccine approval made for a bittersweet day in the uk, which for the second day in a row, saw more than 50,000 people diagnosed positive. the surge in the virus has prompted the government to move more parts of the country into the highest level of restrictions. another 20 million people will be hit by the change, with all areas shown in dark red here now in tier 4, it means the closure of non—essential retail, food venues moving to takeaway only, and the closure of gyms and hairdressers. the speaker of the house of commons has told mps that queen elizabeth has signed the new trade deal agreed between the uk and the eu,
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meaning the bill is now law. iamto i am to notify the house, in accordance with the royal assent act 1967, that her majesty signified her royal assent to the final —— following guide, european union (future relationship) act 2020. on wednesday, the legislation passed through both houses of parliament in the uk. meanwhile, boris johnson told the bbc his new trade deal means the country will have its cake and eat it. but he refused to acknowledge that new barriers to doing business with the eu will come into force when the transition period ends in less than 2a hours. 0ur political correspondent laura kuennsberg reports. signing on the dotted line over there, then a short hop for the 1,2a6—page document — the cargo of an raf plane to get back here. ready for boris johnson's signature. here it is. the man who campaigned for brexit became prime minister because of it, and now his deal, this day,
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scrolled into history. what this deal does is it satisfies the request of the british people to take back control, and what that meant was that we now have the freedom to do things differently and do things better if we choose. in the knowledge that there are no barriers to... but, prime minister, that's just factually not the case. it's not true that there will not be more barriers. you have got more political control, but you can't sit there and say that there won't be extra friction. there will be changes, and we've been very clear with people that they'll have to get ready forjanuary the 1st, that things will work differently, and at the same time, we cannot only exploit the advantages of a zero tariff, zero quota deal with the eu. people said that that was impossible. and they said that that was having your cake and eating it. so i want you to see this
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as a cake—ist treaty. so you are having your cake and eating it? you've said it. but there will be new barriers because, if you don't admit that, honestly now, aren't people going to be pretty peeved when they find out? all we're doing is, i think, solving what everybody said was a kind of impossible, you know, contradiction in terms. the political screaming and shouting of the last few years only echoes in pa rliament‘s halls now. the prime minister had his day. prime minister. perhaps brexit‘s opponents have only reluctance left. it's the only deal that we have. it is a basis to build on in the years to come. and, ultimately, voting to implement this treaty is the only way to ensure that we avoid no—deal. an awkward moment for labour, but only one mp voted against, and a sprinkling of labour mps quit the front bench to join others abstaining. i have the greatest respect
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for the result of the 2016 referendum, but this shoddy dealfalls short. only the smaller parties raging and officially voting against, even though no—deal was their worst case scenario. we now finally know what brexit means, we have it in black and white. it means a disaster of a deal. it means broken promises, it means economic vandalism. but not a single tory mp voted against the deal. remember, europe ended the careers of several of the prime ministers whose portraits line this famous staircase. do you believe that you have ended the conservative party's agony over europe? well, i am very hopeful that that is the case. this is not the end of britain as a european country. because there will be people watching this who worry that it is. that is emphatically not the case. with the overwhelming backing of the commons, after years, it is the end of one profound relationship and — outwardly, at least —
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the calm start of another. but in the time to come, our relationship with the rest of europe may be no less complicated underneath. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, westminster. at least 26 people have been killed in an attack on the city of aden‘s airport in yemen, soon after a plane carrying the country's new government landed. more than 50 were wounded. the administration has accused the houthi rebel movement. 0ur chief international correspondent lyse doucet watched the attack unfold. a live televised event turned into tragedy. just as the plane landed, cameras broadcast the blast. explosion thick smoke shrouding satellite trucks rising near the terminal of aden international airport. these images appear to show a missile striking the airfield. crowds fled the tarmac in panic, but many fell
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to the ground — dozens injured and dead. among the casualties, deputy ministers and aid workers. the plane's passengers, including the newly formed cabinet, all made it to safety. not long after, another blast sounded at the palace, where they took refuge. today's flight from neighbouring saudi arabia was meant to signal a new start, a new unity between two rival forces in southern yemen to take on houthis in the north aligned to iran. yemen's prime minister, maeen abdulmalik saeed, condemned what he called a cowardly terror attack. he reassured yemenis the new government would not be scared away. government officials blamed the houthis for this latest violence. there are many spoilers in this long—running war. the biggest losers — the long—suffering yemenis, in a blighted land
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on the brink of famine. lyse doucet, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: britain's motor racing champion lewis hamilton is among those recognised for their achievements in the queens new years honours list. the most ambitious financial and political change ever attempted has got under way with the introduction of the euro. tomorrow in holland, we're going to use money we picked up in belgium today, and then we'll be in france, and again, it'll be the same money. it's just got to be the way to go. george harrison, the former beatle, is recovering in hospital after being stabbed at his oxfordshire home. a 33—year—old man from liverpool is being interviewed by police on suspicion of attempted murder.
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i think it was good. just good? no, fantastic! that's better! bells toll. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: the uk becomes the first country in europe to approve the use of two vaccines — its said to be a landmark moment in the fight against coronavirus. ten people have been injured, one critically, in a landslide that buried houses in the norwegian municipality of gjerdrum, north—east of the capital 0slo. police say 11 people who live in the area are still unaccounted for, and it's not yet clear if some were caught up in the landslide, or were away
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when it occurred. aruna iyengar has this report. an enormous dark crater in the town of ask in gjerdum. in its depths, over a dozen homes. a whole hillside collapsed in the landslide in the early hours of wednesday. it's left norwegians feeling insecure on the land they live. translation: first and foremost my thoughts are with those directly affected by this. there are many who have not been accounted for. this is a huge disaster. 900 people have been evacuated but as many as 1,500 could need to leave the region because of safety concerns. rescue workers continue to search for people who may have been caught in the mud and debris. we are also providing support for the evacuees in hotels. people have been lifted also out of the landslide over by helicopter. but we still have not had the possibility to enter into the landslide due to the risk of it still being motion.
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we will during the day, homes continued to topple. these houses are built on quick play, a sort of clay found in norway and sweden that can collapse and turn fluid when overstressed. there was a quick clay slide earlier this year but this is one of the largest in recent history. the weather has been quite bad recently. there's been a lot of heavy rain. and there's been snow and as you know, there was a landslide earlier this yearfurther up north. but a landslide this size is very rare. officials say it's unlikely that another large slide will happen in the area. meanwhile, sweden is sending specially trained personnel to help in the rescue effort. aruna iyengar, bbc news. an appeal is under way in hong kong's top court against the bail conditions for the pro—democracy media moguljimmy lai, the most high—profile person charged under the controversial
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new national security law. the founder of the apple daily newspaper arrived at hong kong's court of final appeal on thursday. he was charged earlier this month on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces. last week the high court granted him bail of ten million hong kong dollars, and the prosecution has filed a motion for the court to reconsider. we will give rise in hong kong and let you know as as something happens and. attempts to give most american citizens $2,000 as part of a coronavirus economic package look to have failed. mitch mcconnell, the most senior republican in the senate, blocked moves for a vote, even though president donald trump and democrats, in a very rare show of unity, support raising the payment. they want the amount increased from $600 to $2,000. mitch mcconnell called that wasteful. if specific struggling households need still more help after the huge, historic package that was just signed into law four days ago has taken effect, than what they will need is smart, smart targeted aid, not just another firehose of borrowed money that encompasses other
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people who are doing just fine. senate democrats strongly support these $2,000 cheques and our unlikely ally, president trump, this morning tweeted: "$2000 asap!" for once, democrats agree on something on president trump's twitter feed! china will ban all imports of solid waste from 1 january, 2021. it used to be the world's number one recycler of rubbish, which it used to feed its own industrial growth. for the past three or four years, china has been cutting back on the amount of waste it imported, as the country became inundated with rubbish from western nations.
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a woolly rhino from the ice age has been unearthed in the russian arctic. believed to have lived up to 50,000 years ago, most of its internal organs are still intact. scientists say the rhino was between three and four years old when it died probably from drowning. discoveries of preserved animals have become more frequent in northern russia as global warming has melted the permafrost. the queen's new year honours have been announced. the formula 1 world champion lewis hamilton gets a knighthood and the actress sheila hancock is made a dame. many of the honours have gone to members of the public, for their work and contributions during the pandemic. 0ur correspondent lizo mzimba has the story. after a record seventh
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championship, lewis hamilton has now received a knighthood. sheila hancock says she has a real sense of responsibility after being made a dean for her drama and charity work. after being made a dean for her drama and charity worklj after being made a dean for her drama and charity work. i hope i will grow into it and payback the honour that has been paid me, that's what i want to do. also becoming a dame, pat mcgrath, arguably the most influential make—up artist in fashion. award—winning actress lesley manville has been made a cbe, actor tobyjones an 0be, and singer craig david an mbe. in sport, formerjockey bob champion has been announced as cbe. following a long campaign for every surviving member of england's 1966 world cup squad to receive an honour, ron flowers and jimmy greaves have both been made mbes. the majority of honours have gone to people who aren't in the public eye.
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tanya and nadim ednan—laperouse campaigned for a change in the law on food labelling after their daughter, natasha, died from an allergic reaction. we just did what we felt at the time we had to do. it's like we were on a wave, and we are still on that wave. we are just moving forward and really trying to make a difference for all those people. we know that's what natasha would want us to do. among those recognised for their work during the pandemic are health workers like nurse cath fitzsimmons, who came out of retirement to work at her local hospital. i said, please, i can't be sitting at home, knowing that my colleagues and patients and staff would be potentially in a very, very difficult position. and, at more than 100 years old, anne baker has been honoured for herfundraising for the nspcc. she's become an mbe. i think it's so important, really, to think of the children, because they are the future. they are our future, after all. so, i really was thrilled
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to find this honour. making this a particular year of celebration for anne, who, at106, is the oldest person ever to be recognised with an honour. lizo mzimba, bbc news. a lot of us are going to be happy to say goodbye to the year that was 2020. that includes these guys — take a look at this. us robot developers, boston dynamics, posted that new video online demonstrating its atlas, spot, and handle robots dancing in sync to the song do you love me by the contours. the co—ordinated wired proteges dance floor display came with a new year message. "our whole crew got together to celebrate the start of what we hope will be a happier year: happy new year from all of us at boston dynamics. " well, they've definitely upgraded on the usual robot
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dance move we all know. quite incredible! today it's the mashed potato, tomorrow they go all terminator on us. hello. snow and ice continue to be hazards for some as we move into the final day of 2020. still very much in the cold air across the uk, temperatures widely well below freezing through the early hours of thursday morning, with the potential for some freezing fog across parts of england and wales. for new year's eve, it's a cold day wherever you are. for most, a mixture of wintry showers with some sunshine, but across scotland through the morning, a more general spell of rain, sleet and snow sliding its way southwards and also into northern ireland as well. as the morning wears on, that snow will tend to become confined to higher ground, just pushing to the far north of england through the afternoon. a few wintry showers for parts of northwest, southwest england, west wales. the further south and east you are, mainly dry with some sunshine once any freezing fog has lifted through the morning. still a cold northerly wind, particularly biting for parts of western scotland
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and northern ireland. not quite as cold across scotland and northern ireland compared to wednesday, five or six celsius the top temperature here, compared to just two or three celsius further south. through the final hours of 2020, we see this band of wintry showers just continuing to sink their way southwards, but most of the snow by this stage should be over higher ground. bit of wintry mix across scotland, quite a few showers along the east coast, where temperatures will hold up to around four or five celsius at midnight. head inland, they'll be closer to freezing. a few showers developing across northern england, parts of northwest wales, maybe south—west england through the early hours of new year's day. but also once again, the potential for some freezing fog developing across central, southeastern parts of england and wales as we head through the early hours of 2021. another cold night but not quite as cold as recent nights, but some places still getting a few degrees below freezing. so here's how we start 2021, with still a fairly messy picture, low pressure to the east of the uk and frontal systems still just
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trying to slide their way across. not much on them, but certainly through new year's day, there will be a fair few showers around, particularly for east and northeast coasts. and a few of those will penetrate their way a little bit further inland. still the chance they could be wintry, particularly over higher ground. the further south you are across the uk, much more cloud around, and temperatures still not much higher than five or six celsius. looking ahead, then, to the first weekend of 2021, it stays cold, we'll see fewer showers but still the risk of some ice and snow in places. bye— bye.
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this is bbc news, the headlines:
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the uk has become the first country in europe to approve the use of two covid—19 vaccines. the country's medicines regulator gave the go—ahead for the oxford astrazeneca vaccine, signalling a landmark moment in the fight against coronavirus. half a million doses will be made available next week. four and a half years after britain voted in a referendum to leave the european union, both chambers of parliament in london have approved the new free trade deal that was finalised last week. borisjohnson said britain was marking a new beginning in its relationship with the eu. ten people have been injured — one critically — in a landslide that buried houses in a norwegian municipality north—east of the capital 0slo. police say 11 people are unaccounted for and it's not clear if some were caught up in the landslide, or were away when it occurred. now it's time for hardtalk.


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