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tv   BBC World News  BBC News  March 19, 2021 12:00am-12:31am GMT

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this is bbc news, with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm kasia madera. the biden administration has just begun its first face—to—face talks with china — and already the language on both sides is blunt. each of these actions threaten the rules—based order that maintains global stability. that's why they're not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today. translation: china is firmly opposed to us interference i in china's internal affairs. we have expressed our staunch opposition to such interference, and we will take firm actions. italy, germany, and france are to restart the roll—out of the astrazeneca vaccine
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after europe's medicines authority says the jab is safe and effective. in france, the prime minister announces a new month—long lockdown for paris and surrounding areas, warning the country is suffering a third wave of coronavirus. a decade after the war in syria began, the misery inflicted on a nation. we look at the role of president assad during this brutal conflict. hello, and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. it was billed as a chance to re—set relations between the world's two biggest economies, but there's no indication so far that these two giants are warming up to each other. america's top diplomat,
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antony blinken, is meeting his opposite numberfrom china, against the snowy backdrop of alaska. but in their opening remarks, the two sides leveled sharp rebukes of each others' policies. today, we will have an opportunity to discuss key priorities, both domestic and global, so that china can better understand our administration's intentions and approach. we'll also discuss our deep concerns with actions by china, including in xinjiang, hong kong, taiwan, cyber attacks on the united states, economic coercion towards our allies. i've said that the united states' relationship with china will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be, adversarial where it must be. translation: the people of the two countries - and the world are hoping to see practical outcomes coming out of our dialogue. and for xinjiang, tibet, and taiwan, they are an inalienable part
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of china's territory. china is firmly opposed to the us' interference in china's internal affairs. we have expressed our staunch opposition to such interference, and we will take firm actions in response. our state department correspondent barbara plett usher is in anchorage, where the meeting is taking place. she says both parties went into the meeting with quite different agendas. the us officials who talked to us about this said, "we they didn'tjust want to do it by phone or zoom because we do actually want to have extended conversations about these issues." but there are many areas of intense disagreement. you heard antony blinken list them there, you also heard the response from the chinese. there is a tendency to just stick with the rhetoric and say how you feel about it, and the americans are hoping that this will be a place where they're actually honest and blunt about what they think, but also then try to move the conversation along in terms of what
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the expectations are and how they can actually work together, if they can, on various issues. you know, these positions that have been placed out are well—known, and the biden administration has been talking them up coming into this meeting. but it's interesting in a diplomatic setting, where you have opening statements for a series of meetings, that they come out so forcefully face—to—face in front of cameras. so we'll what they say behind the cameras. a us official said they figured the talk would be pretty tough, but he also said there was genuine interest in trying to find some areas where they might be able to co—operate, especially on global issues like the pandemic and climate change, and so on. so when it comes to — because there's so many different issues where it's been quite a strained relationship between these two states, what can we expect? can we expect any kind
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of level of agreement on so many different points? just thinking from the uighurs to human rights, etc? probably not, not at this meeting. the way the us administration has billed it as, "this is an initial discussion so we can lay out our position, both out on the table." baically taking measure of each other, making sure that what's said in public is also said in private, that there's no daylight between positions that you say to the world and to each other. and then, from there, then formulating the policy of how they will work forward. there won't be a joint statement, we were told probably no real agreements to issue, but they said that's not the purpose of this meeting. the meeting is the first step to then decide how we'll go on from here — although they are quite keen
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to point out that this is not the beginning of a formal dialogue process, this is a one—off, and we'll see what happens. it's been reported the chinese are quite easy to resume a formal, regular dialogue process and would like to have a summit between the two leaders — particularly they'd like the biden administration to reverse some of those steps the trump administration took, in terms of sanctions and restrictions. so there are different agendas here, for sure, and what we've been told is that this is a chance to lay out everything on the table and see where they can go from there. several leading eu states have said they'll re—start the roll—out of the oxford—astrazeneca vaccine after europe's medicines regulator concluded the jab was "safe and effective". the european medicines agency has been conducting a review of after 13 member states suspended use of the astrazenica vaccine, over fears of a possible link with blood clots. now the ema is saying that
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while it cannot definitively rule out a connection, these cases are very rare, and the benefits of using the astrazeneca vaccine outweigh the risks. the committee has come to a clear scientific conclusion. this is a safe and effective vaccine. its benefits in protecting people from covid—i9 with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation outweigh the possible risks. the committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events or blood clots. germany, france, italy and spain have all now said they will resume using the jab. and as if to underline his own confidence in it, uk prime minister borisjohnson revealed he's getting the astrazenica vaccine on friday first, the independent medicines and health care products regulatory agency has reviewed the evidence, as it does every week.
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they've confirmed that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing covid far outweigh any risks, and people should continue to get their vaccine when asked to do so. and june will say a little bit more about that in a moment. it's also very important for our european friends that today, the european medicines agency has come to a clear scientific conclusion, and i quote, "this is a safe and effective vaccine." we also saw yesterday the evidence from public health england that a single dose of either vaccine provides 60% protection against getting covid and reduces the chances of hospitalisation by 80%, and the risk of death by 85%. so the oxford jab is safe, and the pfizerjab is safe. the thing that isn't safe is catching covid, which is why it's so important that we all get ourjabs as soon as our turn comes.
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and, as it happens, i'm getting mine tomorrow, and the centre where i'm getting jabbed is currently using the oxford—astrazeneca vaccine for those receiving theirfirst dose. and that's the one i'll be having. france will resume the roll—out of the astrazeneca vaccine from tomorrow. the country is facing a third wave of coronavirus, with intensive care beds in the region of paris almost completely full. the french prime minister, jean castex, has announced a regional lockdown on the capital and in other regions with high infection rates. translation: in these 16 - regions, new massive measures to restrain the epidemic will be in place on friday night at midnight, for four weeks. it's a third path that we're taking, a path which should allow us to restrain the virus without locking up. these measures will be different from lockdowns we had in place last march and november. because, since the beginning of the epidemic, exactly one year ago, the crisis has gone
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on, but we have learned. earlier, i spoke to mep dr veronique trillet—lenoir, an oncologist and a member of the european parliament's public health and food safety committee about the implications of the ema review. it's very good news, the vaccine is safe and efficient. the analysis will be continued on an eventual new, atypical cases of blood clots, but we can safely start again the vaccination which was temporarily suspended. i think that it was legitimate to use the precautionary principle. there will be specific inquiries because there is a suspicion that some very rare cases of atypical blood clots could happen.
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we have been transparent to our populations, and now we have to convince them that it is important to go out and vaccinate against. and how damaging do you think concerns had been raised, and also, as a member of president macron�*s party, the things that he was saying, the concerns he had previously raised regarding over 65—year—olds and the oxford astrazeneca vaccine — when it comes to public perception of this, how concerned are you it has perhaps made people fearful? the decision has been changed, and we now use the vaccine, whatever the age. the prime minister has announced that he will — our prime minister, like yours — announced that he would soon receive the vaccine.
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the french sanitary authorities will continue. as you know, we have always had in france a high level of vaccine hesitancy, so we have to work on education and information of the population, but i think that being transparent and showing the people that when we have even a very low suspicion of toxicity, we do what we have to do to make sure that the vaccine will be administered in safe conditions. both boris johnson and jean castex, they're both doing it tomorrow, aren't they? but in terms of when it comes to a pandemic like this, nations keeping their societies and their citizens safe, is it inevitable that there is going to be a sense of vaccine nationalism when it
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comes to something that people just want to keep their own citizens safe? yes, i understand that perfectly. a government is responsible for its own citizens and has to protect them in priority. i have to say that i appreciated the words of prime minister borisjohnson this afternoon, when he said that we have to work together. i agree with that. we are facing a worldwide disease, we are all in the same boat, and it is important to fight vaccine nationalism and do our best efforts to work together. us presidentjoe biden has announced that his target of 100 million vaccine doses adminsitered in his first 100 days is due to be completed tomorrow, over a month ahead of schedule.
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the white house also said that it has vaccinated enough of its own citizens that it could start sending its stockpile abroad. 1.5 million viles are now due to be shipped to canada, and 2.5 million will be sent across the southern border to mexico. mr mr biden says the majority of its most vulnerable citizens have receievd at least one dose. eight weeks ago, only 8% of seniors — those most vulnerable to covid—i9 — had received a vaccination. today, 65% of people aged 65 or older have received at least one shot. and 36% are fully vaccinated. and that's key because this is a population that represents 80% of the well over 500,000 covid—i9 deaths that have occurred in america. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: ten years since
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the start of the war in syria. we assess the damage done to a once prosperous nation. today, we have closed the book on apartheid, and that chapter. more than 3,000 subway passengers were affected. nausea, bleeding, headaches and a dimming of vision. all of this caused by an apparently organised attack. the trophy itself was - on a pedestal in the middle of the cabinet here. now, this was an international trophy, and we understand - now that the search for it has i become an international search.
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above all, this was a triumph for the christian democrats of the west, offering reunification as quickly as possible — and that's what the voters wanted. this is bbc world news, the latest headlines... the us secretary of state, antony blinken, says he won't shy away from raising issues such as china's actions in hong kong in the first high—level direct talks between the biden administration, and beijing. in response, china said the us must stay out of its internal affairs. italy, germany, and france resume roll—out of the astrazeneca vaccine after europe's medicines authority says the jab is safe and effective. it's ten years this week since the start of the war in syria and the attempt to oust the regime of president bashar al—assad.
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to oust the regime of in a once—prosperous nation, three quarters of the population are now in need of humanitarian aid. food prices are rocketing, leading to widespread malnutrition, particularly among children. 0ur middle east editor jeremy bowen, who's covered the conflict since the start, has been assessing the impact of the conflict. a country destroyed, perhaps half a million people killed. 0ne estimate is that 22,000 of them were children. at the centre of too many tragedies to count are the decisions taken by president bashar al—assad. he says he saved syria. with the russian air force, the president saved his regime.
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zabadani, outside damascus, in the first year of the war. a taste of freedom. it became a war when the regime crushed peaceful demonstrations and protesters turned into armed rebels. i , but the arguing will probably onlyjust have , but the arguing will probably only just have started. the fighters i met that night were all killed. allahu akbar! morale was high among recruits to the new rebel militias. these held the damascus suburb of eastern ghouta for seven years and were typical — young sunnis angry, often unemployed, ready to fight a vicious regime built around assad's own minority alawi sect. what do you think will happen to assad? killed.
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must be killed. this man, islam alloush, is now injail in france on war crimes charges. it became a dirty sectarian war. the regime's firepower meant it spilled most blood. aleppo, 2017. just after regime forces besieged and starved out fighters and civilians using medieval tactics with modern weapons in the vaults of an ancient city. when bashar inherited the country from his father in 2000, he promised reform, and many syrians believed him. in wellington, in new zealand, karan shah has political asylum and is building a new life. in aleppo, his hometown, he helped organise the first peaceful protests, hoping the president might risk elections instead of war. i think bashar al—assad would
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have won by a huge difference. he refused to do that. he was extremely arrogant. he did not want to give any concessions, fearing that minor concessions early on might tell the public that, well, their protest actually worked, and that might get them to raise their demands. so you would say that he made a massive mistake? genuinely, i really think he did. bashar al—assad, against all the evidence, insists there were no peaceful protesters. instead, he claims syria faced a conspiracy hatched by the west, israel, saudi arabia, al-qaeda and islamic state. in a rare interview in 2015, he showed no remorse. did the president hint it might have been different? 0nly he knows. what keeps you awake at night? what keeps me awake at night?
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many reasons that could affect any human. life. could be personal, could be work. yourjob? could be yourjob, could be personal. iam human. what could any human be affected by? i am affected by the same factors. millions blame bashar al—assad for their suffering and would like to see him dead. but without some real supporters prepared to give their own lives, assad would not have survived. this was the funeral of a soldier from his own alawi heartland. the years of killing have left syria broken, divided and dangerous. what price victory?
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jeremy bowen, bbc news. new research into indigenous populations in australia has praised their community response to major challenges including the covid—19 pandemic and climate change. the annual close the gap report focuses on how to achieve health equity in australia — and what steps need to be taken to improve the health and well—being of australia's indigenous people. janine mohamed, ceo of the lowitja institute, who led the report, explained its findings. we really wanted to do this report through a strengths—based lens, and really looking back at the year that was and highlighting the exceptional leadership in the face of multiple crises — the covid—19 pandemic, that we've all been impacted
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from, we had bushfires here in australia that we are still seeing the outcomes and the impact of from 2019—20, of course, the mental health crisis facing many indigenous communities around the globe, and the black lives matter movement, putting that global spotlight on racial injustices. in the last three months, we've had three more deaths in custody here in australia. so, there is no greater example of our success than our covid—19 rate, where our communities are six times less likely to contract covid—19. we've had no community transitions and no deaths dashed transmissions. but the report doesn't shy away from the problems that communities do face, which is short—term funding, systemic racism, and insufficient responses by mainstream organisations to our communities. but it's interesting that, when it comes to what could have been, givenjust how devastating the pandemic has been worldwide, it's interesting to see how community efforts have actually
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prevented the really negative aspects that we see in places where maybe there isn't such a community spirit. i think it was about who delivered the messaging for our indigenous communities. so here, we have aboriginal community—controlled health services — they are the embodiment of self—determination, and they responded very quickly and are trusted by communities, so the health messaging was very much place—based, so not that homogenous type of health messaging that we often get out of our governments. i think the strengths for us was our community controlled health organised action. just before we go, a young marine scientist from mauritius is taking her environmental message to new depths.
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shaama sandoya dove into a remote stretch of the indian ocean, to highlight the importance of seagrass ecosystems. the under—water plant has become a priority for conservationists. it represents a tenth of the ocean's capacity to store carbon. shaama is trying to draw attention to the un's goal of protecting at least 30% of the planet's land and oceans by 2030. a reminder of our top story: america's top diplomat antony blinken is meeting his opposite number from china, against the snowy backdrop of alaska. but in their opening remarks, the two sides haven't pulled their punches. mr blinken said the us would not shy away from issues such as xinjiang, hong kong and taiwan.
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we'll bring you loads of updates, and more on our website. thanks for watching. hello there. we saw plenty of sunshine across scotland on thursday. that pushed temperatures up to 19 celsius in edinburgh, making it the warmest day of the year so far. for most, though, it was rather cool and cloudy, and that's how it's going to be today. in fact, the southeast quadrant is going to be quite chilly, as we tap into some colder air from the near continent. so another chilly day here like we saw on thursday. elsewhere, plenty of cloud around, the odd spot of light rain or drizzle, but again, sunshine will develop through central, western scotland, northern ireland, perhaps western wales too, and plenty of sunshine across the southeast, as this colder air will be drier air, but it's good to feel particularly chilly, especially close to the coast, temperatures struggling to get much above 7—9 celsius. but in the sunnier spots, though, through central scotland, we could make 15 celsius, not as warm
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as thursday, and could see 12—13 celsius in some of the warmer spots, the sunnier spots elsewhere. so as we head through friday night, it stays chilly and clear across the southeast. elsewhere, quite a bit of cloud around, just the odd clear spell here and there, the odd spot of light rain and drizzle too. temperatures range from 4—7 celsius particularly where we have the cloud. but under clearer skies, lower than that, particularly in the southeast. so, this is saturday's picture, then, starts off mostly cloudy, again, but through the day, we will start to see some cloud break, some sunshine, eastern sctoland, northeast england, and this weather front will move into the northern isles and northern scotland to bring stronger winds here and outbreaks of rain. so a little bit cooler here because of the wind, but where we have the sunshine for eastern scotland, northeast england, we could see 13—14 celsius, but for most, 10—12 celsius. 0n into sunday, our area of high pressure's still with us, so winds for most will be light away from the north and east, a bit of an onshore breeze here, and then signs of the cloud tending
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to break up more on sunday. so we could see increasing amounts of sunny spells here and there, but some areas may stay grey all day. again, those temperatures 10—12 celsius, maybe 13 celsius in any brighter spots, but chillier along north sea coast. then into next week, our area of high pressure eventually breaks down and moves towards the near continent and allows weather fronts to move in from the atlantic, starting to pick up more of a west—south—westerly airflow, so it begins to turn more unsettled. so a generally fine, settled, benign week, rather cloudy, before it starts to turn more unsettled by the end of the week. there are signs that the temperatures are beginning to creep up.
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this is bbc news.
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the headlines... the us secretary of state, antony blinken, says he won't shy away from raising issues such as china's actions in hong kong — in the first high—level direct talks between the biden administration, and beijing. in response, china said the us must stay out of its internal affairs. several leading eu states have said they'll re—start the roll—out of the oxford—astrazeneca vaccine after a review concluded the jab was "safe and effective". the european medicines agency has been investigating after 13 countries suspended use of the astrazenica vaccine, over fears of a possible link with blood clots. the french prime minister has announced a new month—long lockdown for paris and 15 other regions. nonessential businesses will be forced to close but schools will remain open. that's after nearly 35—thousand new cases now on bbc news, it's hardtalk with stephen sackur.


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