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tv   BBC News  BBC News  March 31, 2021 4:00am-4:31am BST

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welcome to bbc news. my name is mike embley. our top stories: president bolsonaro faces a growing crisis over his leadership in brazil as the commanders of his armed forces resign and the pandemic gets worse. eyewitnesses at derek chauvin�*s trial describe what they saw, and did, when the former police officer pressed his knee into george floyd's neck. that is correct. i called the police on the police. and why did you do that? because i believe i witnessed a murder. protests against the coup in myanmar are being met with increasing force. the military is reported to have killed more than 500 people in less than two months. young activists in the cities of myanmar are now learning
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at firsthand that the myanmar military — far from defending people — wages war against them with pitiless savagery, crushing them as enemies. germany is to suspend the use of the astrazeneca vaccine for the under—60s after further concerns about its safety. and, as a decade of fighting in libya comes to an end — the horrors of those years are now being exposed. we have a special report. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. brazil has registered 3,780 covid-i9 deaths, a new record in the latin american nation, which now regularly accounts for about a quarter of coronavirus deaths worldwide on any given day, more than any other country.
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meanwhile, brazil's defence ministry has announced the commanders of the army, navy and air force will be replaced as brazil's president, jair bolsonaro, struggles to head off a crisis over his leadership. mark lobel reports. getting vaccinated in brazil takes on a new urgency with overcrowded hospitals and a record death rate haunting the country right now. translation: it's very - difficult, what we are going through, but god willing, we will all be all right, in jesus' name. but while receiving the jab is relief for some, there are many now openly questioning what is going on in the president's name, from his lack of vaccine diplomacy — which has denied the country crucial vaccine supplies — to his fighting of lockdowns across the country in the courts. an approach his defence chief, fernando azevedo, apparently found hard to stomach.
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his surprise sacking on monday may explain why, in an unprecedented move, the commanders of the army, navy and air force have all resigned en masse. their replacements haven't been announced yet, but the new defence minister has, and with it, speculation that this major reshuffle is more to do with politics than the pandemic. with the popular former leftist president luiz inacio lula da silva cleared of corruption charges to challenge bolsonaro in october 2022, the president appears to be free to keen to free up posts to install loyalists in anticipation of possibly stormier times ahead. but with hospitals overwhelmed, including these queues for intensive care units, and the death rate up in the country, will the president be able to regain control of his domestic politics amid his country's current struggle to contain the global pandemic? mark lobel, bbc news.
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ernesto londono is the brazil bureau chief for the new york times. i asked him where he thinks things are heading in brazil. it is unclear, what we saw in the capital in recent days amounts to a political earthquake but neither the presidential key officials who have been sacked or replaced have been sacked or replaced have articulated what is going on and whether this represents a shift in approach to the pandemic. what we are seeing is an increasingly isolated president facing many angry questions from constituents, members of congress and from the courts. members of congress and from the mum-— members of congress and from the courte— the courts. these kind of movements _ the courts. these kind of movements in _ the courts. these kind of movements in the - the courts. these kind of| movements in the armed the courts. these kind of- movements in the armed forces could well be significant? it came from the armed forces himself, are the concerns about a coup? i himself, are the concerns about a cou - ? ., �* ~' , a coup? i don't think there is concerns _ a coup? i don't think there is concerns about _ a coup? i don't think there is concerns about a _ a coup? i don't think there is. concerns about a conventional coup but many analysts are watching for next year when
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presidentjair bolsanaro is president jair bolsanaro is expected presidentjair bolsanaro is expected to run for re—election and wondering whether he is trying to shield himself by pointing top leaders in the military who will be loyal to him. so far the members of the military have been mediating forces, trying to rain back some of the more questionable impulses. though some of the analysts i spoke to today that they are afraid he may be shopping around for commanders there may simply obey orders, evenif there may simply obey orders, even if that means crossing legal lines. even if that means crossing legal lines-_ even if that means crossing legal linea— even if that means crossing leual lines. �* , , , legal lines. and it seems very far from moderating - legal lines. and it seems very far from moderating his - farfrom moderating his approach to the pandemic, i know we went to court trying to stop regional governors trying to impose regional lockdown, any signs you may change the approach was low the approach has been very chaotic and what we're left with is essentially a president at war with many elected officials around the country he was struggling to rain in the contagion. resilience are dying in record numbers and the scenes i've seenin numbers and the scenes i've
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seen in funeral homes and hospitals are truly appalling. doctors and nurses say they simply cannot cope with the number of patients who need care. people are dying before they are reaching icu units and there is no end in sight. the contagion is rising, bed spaces are increasingly in short supply and the medical establishment is fighting with the president, ministers, town mayors, governors, a really chaotic and dispiriting scene. that is the bureau chief for the new york times. a witness to the arrest of george floyd, whose death sparked race protests around the world, has said he believed that what he saw was a murder. donald williams was testifying on the second day of the trial of a white police officer, derek chauvin, who is accused of killing mr floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. aleem maqbool reports from minneapolis. do you swear or affirm... the first full day of testimony was an emotional one. it started with the playing of an emergency call
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that was made by an eyewitness. he just pretty much just killed this guy that wasn't resisting arrest. he had his knee on the dude's neck the whole time. donald williams is heard describing how he saw a man handcuffed and on his front, not resisting arrest, having his neck knelt on. so, you were concerned about mr floyd losing his life? correct. two people walk. in from the left... then cctv footage was shown, with the officers and george floyd in the foreground, in the background, a 17—year—old identified as darnella in the black top, whose testimony was off—camera, is seen taking her young cousin into the shop. was there anything about the scene that you didn't want your cousin to see? yes. and what was that? a man terrified, scared, begging for his life. she came back to record the video that went viral around the world, and others gathered, too.
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it's been nights, i've stayed up apologising and apologising to george floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. darnella's nine—year—old cousin also came back to the scene. how did it affect you? i was sad and kind of mad. and tell us, why were you sad and mad? because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of, like, hurting him. well, of course, the death of george floyd at this spot had a huge, life—changing impact on so many relatives and close friends, but also now as we've heard, on the lives of those who witnessed what happened. but the question for many is, will it bring out a rare conviction for a police officer and some sense of accountability?
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aleem maqbool, bbc news, in minneapolis. this case is one of many cases involving the deaths of black people at the hands of police in the united states. so for many families, this trial is about even more than the death of george floyd. this is eric garner. in 2014, he died while being arrested and held in a chokehold by a police officer in new york. a video of the incident taken by an onlooker was shared widely, showing mr garner repeatedly saying, "i can't breathe". like george floyd's death, the footage shocked many and sparked protests around the country but prosecutors eventually decided not to pursue charges. his mother is in minneapolis, following the trial of dedrek chauvin. she told our correspondent, larry madowo, she wanted to support the floyd family. even when i met them face—to—face, i told them, i said, even though you have a video, just like i did, don't think it's a slam dunk, because when you get in the courtroom,
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they're going to do everything at you to make you feel like your brother was the criminal instead of the man that murdered him. it's interesting you say that, because philonise floyd, george floyd's brother said yesterday that this is a slam dunk. the man was kneeling on his deck on video seen around the world. you don't think it's that easy? no, it's not that easy, and it was proven in my case that they tried to blame my son for his own death because of his size. and you see how large george floyd was, my son was a large man, and they said because his heart was enlarged. they try to blame the murder on the people who they murder. but no matter what you're saying about them, with these conditions that they had, if you didn't step on his neck, if you didn't choke my son to death, he would not have died that day. and that is what we must remember.
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that was the mother of eric garner speaking there. the south african government has banned the sale of take—away alcohol over this weekend's easter holiday to prevent a surge in coronavirus infections. president cyril ramaphosa said alcohol had a role in encouraging negligent behaviour. bars and restaurants can still serve drinks. ajudge in new york has sentenced the brother of the honduran president, juan 0rlando hernandez, to life in prison for trafficking drugs and possessing machine guns. tony hernandez was found guilty in october 2019 of smuggling more than 180 tonnes of cocaine into the united states. slovakia's prime minister, igor matovic, has resigned in response to continuing controversy over his decision to buy a russian coronavirus vaccine without consulting colleagues. 0ther ministers who'd stood down in protest at the vaccine deal said they'd return once mr matovic was no longer in the topjob. thousands of people are fleeing across the border
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from myanmar into thailand, running from airstrikes by the regime. most are from the ethnic karen group. the attacks are the latest escalation in the increasingly violent crackdown by myanmar�*s military government against opponents of its coup. since the military takeover, in february, more than 500 people have died. 0ur correspondentjonathan head is on the border. taking a wearily familiar route that their parents and grandparents took many times before them. ethnic karen villagers flee burmese bombing raids to seek shelter across the salween river in thailand. translation: starting i on saturday, the burmese military aircraft were flying over. they went round twice, then the shooting started. very loud. lots of guns shooting. after arriving earlier on the thai side of the border, kai, not her real name,
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received images and videos of the journey made by her family, following her to thailand to escape the bombing. translation: the burmese army is living all around us. _ we don't want this any more. the soldiers live close by and give us trouble all the time. those wounded in the air raids were picked up by thai soldiers and taken to hospital here for treatment. "i can still hear the air strike," said this man. "i keep hearing it. and i can't sleep." but the thai authorities are being less hospitable to the rest of the refugees. they were forced to go back across the river. they included kai's family. thailand is trying to stop a trickle from becoming a flood. well, the number of armed men we're seeing here tells you that this is now a very
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tense border with myanmar. and the karen people who've been coming in here — many of them injured — of course, for years have known something that young activists in the cities of myanmar are now learning at firsthand — that the myanmar military, farfrom defending people, wages war against them with pitiless savagery, crushing them as enemies. in what's now the world's longest civil war, thousands of karen civilians have been displaced, beaten, raped and murdered by burmese soldiers. in thailand, they're bracing themselves for a much larger wave of refugees. they have seen it before here from the war—torn karen areas of myanmar. this time, though, the refugees may come from all parts of the country. jonathan head, bbc news, on the thai—burmese border. stay with us on bbc
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news, still to come: why germany says it's going to suspend the routine use of the astrazeneca vaccine for the under—60s. the accident that happened here was of the sort that can, at worst, produce a meltdown. in this case, the precautions worked, but they didn't work quite well enough to prevent some old fears about the safety features of these stations from resurfacing. the republic of ireland has become the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace. from today, anyone lighting up in offices, businesses, pubs, and restaurants will face a heavy fine. the president was on his way out of the washington hilton hotel where he had been addressing a trade union conference. a small crowd outside included his assailant.
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it has become - a symbol of paris. 100 years ago, many parisians| wished it had never been built. the eiffel towers's- birthday is being marked by a re—enactment of the first ascent by gustave eiffel. - this is bbc world news, the latest headlines: president bolsonaro faces a growing crisis over his leadership in brazil, as the commanders of his armed forces resign, and the pandemic gets worse. eyewitnesses at derek chauvin�*s trial have been describing what they saw, and did, when the former police officer pressed his knee into george floyd's neck. for the first time in years libya has a single unified government. last year's ceasefire brought an end to its civil war, the eastern forces had been trying to unseat the internationally recognised government. the end of fighting means the horrors of those years are now being exposed.
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0ur middle east correspondent, quentin sommerville reports from the town of tarhuna. you may find some of his report disturbing. in tarhuna, they are unburying the dead. here, libya's ceasefire is revealing the horror of its civil war. some of the bodies were dumped here only last year. many bound, blindfolded, and tortured. in these graves they have found men, women, and children. 140 bodies and counting. a tally of the war�*s brutality carved in the desert sand. tarhuna is a town of ghosts, where the dead are buried twice. today it's ismail�*s turn. this number might match his body to his family's dna.
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it's one of 13 burials today. abdul has lost everything. ismail was his brother, the fourth member of his family he has brought to this cemetery. translation: they took my family from their homes. - they were just civilian. in october 2020, al—kani militia came in cars that belonged to the state. they took them away from their homes and killed them. and others are still searching for relatives who fell foul of the local militia. translation: if you | have money, you die. you get into discussion with me, you die. you don't support me, you die. you die for nothing. this is what happens when a state collapses. when militia men and warlords hold a gun to a country's head and a knife to its throat.
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libya, for the first time in years, has a unified government, but the question here is, will the gunmen who committed atrocities across this country still rule here? the seven al—kani brothers, that's mohsen on the right, terrorised this town. they played both sides in the civil war. they were the law here. they picked the wrong side and were run out of town. libya's had a vicious ten years. the country was split in two and extremists thrived. rapid gunfire finally, a ceasefire was called last october. that has allowed a respite of sorts,
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for funerals old and new. it's at least given the town time to recover its dead. but elsewhere in libya, the killings haven't stopped. despite a ceasefire, the men with guns haven't relinquished power and are still adding to the country's body count. quentin sommerville, bbc news, tarhuna, libya. the german chancellor angela merkel has agreed to suspend the use of the astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine for those under the age of sixty. the decision comes after more than thirty people developed a rare blood clot in the brain after receiving the jab. around 2.7 million people have had the astrazeneca vaccine in germany. the move, agreed with the 16 federal states, follows the recommendation of the independent vaccine committee. translation: the recommendation of the vaccine commission _ is based on the fact that in recent weeks specialists have noted very rare but very serious cases
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of thrombosis in people vaccinated with astrazeneca. these are findings that neither the vaccine commission nor we can ignore. that is why the federal government and the regional states have decided to follow the recommendation of the commission. canada has also decided to pause use of the astrazeneca vaccine in people under the age of 55, i spoke just now to drjoss reimer who's the medical lead on manitoba's vaccine task force and one of the main health officials yeah, it was a really difficult decision. we heard about the cases that were occurring in germany. we heard, as well, in the uk they're starting to notice a few cases. and i think it really came down to the fact that it was occurring in people who were younger and therefore at lower risk of severe outcomes related to covid. and so we just wanted a bit more time to understand what the situation was in germany and the uk while we continued with our roll—out with older canadians
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at the same time. if i understand it, we're not talking about blood clots, we're talking about a rare and very serious side effect. but i think it has only been seen in between one in 100,000 people to one in1 million. given the risks of covid, did that seem a risk worth taking? so, again, it came down to the fact it was occurring in the younger population. one of the things that made us want to pause specifically was when we met with some of the german scientists that had done a lot of the research into what was going on and found out it was specifically an immune reaction that appeared to be triggering these blood clots, which is different from what we see with blood clots more generally. and so while we did think we wanted to pause, we do also want to reassure people that we think probably this vaccine is still safe for everyone, we're just not comfortable right now with probably. and we want more time to understand what characteristics
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there might be in all of the folks who are experiencing this in other countries, so that we can tailor our response here going forward. so just to be clear, it's not what you know that's making you so wary, it's what you don't know. yeah, i think that's exactly right. so right now we still don't have enough vaccine to cover everybody we want to give it to. and so it was a reasonable decision for us to shift the vaccine availability away from younger populations where we just weren't sure at this point. we couldn't confidently say that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks in that age group. but we're certainly hopeful that as we learn more we're going to be able to open it back to younger populations because our goal is the same as every other country, we want to immunise every adult in canada as quickly as we can. but until then, of course, you must know that it's likely to make anyone who is in the tiniest bit vaccine hesitant even more
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vaccine hesitant. absolutely. that's what we're the most worried about. astrazeneca's faced a few hurdles throughout this roll—out and the last thing we want to do is contribute any sort of hesitancy around the vaccine. that's what keeps me up at night. but at the same time, if i can't confidently tell someone that i know the benefits outweigh the risks because of their age, because of their risk of covid, you know, i can't give them that medication. i do also like to tell people that this is actually an example of the system working well, if this were any other medication or a naturopathic product, or over—the—counter medication, we wouldn't know about these rare side effects because we don't have monitoring systems for any other medical intervention. we have such a good monitoring system here that we picked up, you know, 30 cases amongst millions of doses given. so this is where the science working really well to try to learn and make sure we get the absolute safest
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product that we can. drjoss reimer there. the german carmaker, volkswagen, has admitted that an announcement that it would change its name in the united states was a hoax. earlier, the company said the k in its title would be changed to a t, the company released these pictures and said the new name would reflect the company's shift towards manufacturing electric vehicles. but it seems the �*voltswagen of america' rebrand was an april fools day prank, that was leaked early. and finally, an amazing story from some vets in turkey, who got a surprise visitor over the weekend. a stray cat walked into their clinic with one of her kittens in her mouth. she meowed for a while, and then the next day brought in yet another kitten. at first the vets didn't know what to make of this feline intrusion. but after an examination, they found that both kittens were suffering from eye infections. the stray cat and her kittens were treated, of course, then put up for adoption.
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it for now, thank you so much for watching. it for now, thank you so much forwatching. —— it for now, thank you so much for watching. —— that is it for now. hello. the uk saw some exceptional warmth on tuesday, and if your day ended looking something like this with a sunset with a pinkish tinge, you were not mistaken. that is saharan dust affecting the way our skies look and that is because we've pulled air all the way up from the sahara to import the warmth. it's travelled across western europe, and on tuesday it made its way right the way into the north of scotland, that warm air. the warmest spot was at 24.5 celsius and that was at kew gardens in west london. there is the possibility on wednesday we could see a similar high, somewhere probably across central or eastern england but a little bit more cloud as possible, too. there could be the odd light shower and that could just peg the temperatures back
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by a degree or so, but still very warm for england and wales. further to the north though, a front beginning to push south across scotland and northern ireland, weakening as it does so, it won't bring too much in the way of rain. it's drier for western scotland but cooler air moves in to the north and then that weakening weather front and the cooler air continue to try and make their journey south as we look to thursday. basically, the front nothing more than cloud by thursday, but the colder air already starting to make itself felt out to the north and east of the uk. the high pressure will keep things pretty quiet as we head into the easter weekend. largely light winds, a lot of fine weather, but the big difference will be where you have the sunshine it won't feel anywhere near as warm as it has done on tuesday, particularly if you, for example, compare aberdeen from tuesday, where temperatures got up to 18 celsius. we'll be lucky to get eight on thursday. still, 18 or 19 possible though across south wales and the south—west of england. by friday, that colder air though has worked its way further westwards. we could see some quite stubborn cloud across eastern counties of england as well and quite
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a chilly northerly or north—easterly breeze. i say "chilly". the temperatures, well, about where we'd expect them for the time of year. look out for a frost, particularly to the north, on friday night. easter weekend, it stays chilly but look at this for easter monday. it is a plunge of arctic air, raw—feeling air, strong northerly winds, and this is the weather chart at the moment for easter monday. it may change a little but that signal is pretty clear there. there is a risk of snow showers, even a good way south, across the uk at the end of the easter weekend.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: the heads of brazil's army, navy and air force have resigned, as president bolsonaro struggles to contain a crisis over his leadership and the worsening pandemic. earlier this week, he had to reshuffle his cabinet after his foreign and defence ministers both resigned. a witness has told the trial of the white police officer accused of killing george floyd that what he saw amounted to murder. 0n the second day of derek chauvin�*s trial, in minneapoli, the court also heard from a teenager who videod mr floyd being pinned down, by the neck, for more than nine minutes. germany is to suspend the use of the astrazeneca vaccine for the under sixties — because of concerns about its safety. 31 cases of a rare type of blood clot have been reported among more than 2.7 million people who've received vaccinations so far. most of the cases involved women under sixty. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk.


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