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tv   BBC News  BBC News  November 26, 2021 11:00pm-11:30pm GMT

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"ow now there are many studies right now there are many studies that are under way, there's a lot of work that is ongoing in south africa and in other countries to better characterise the variant itself. the us is the latest country to impose travel restrictions to affected southern african countries to slow the spread — but south africa says it's the wrong approach. stopping travel from one country, or even a _ stopping travel from one country, or even a small— stopping travel from one country, or even a small group of countries, very— even a small group of countries, very soon— even a small group of countries, very soon become super fearless. it's really— very soon become super fearless. it's really not the solution. —— superfluous. how to resolve the migrant crisis in calais? the uk and france find themselves at loggerheads as a diplomatic row breaks out. # there are bugs on her dugs, there are flies in her eyes... and one of the most influential figures in theatre, the legendery american songwriter stephen sondheim, has died at 91.
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hello, i'm shaun ley. welcome to those watching in the uk and around the globe. we start with growing concerns over the emergence of a new strain of covid—19 in south africa. the world health organization has in the past few hours classified it as a variant of concern and named it — the greek letter omicron. meanwhile, european union leaders have agreed to suspend travel from affected areas after belgium detected the first case in europe. the us have also announced they will bring in restrictions from monday. south africa has denounced the measures taken against the country, calling them "unjustified" and "draconian". here's the statement from the world health organisation. omicron, 811529, is named as a variant of concern because it has concerning properties. it has a large number of mutations and some of them have some worrying characteristics.
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why now there are many studies under way and a lot of work is going in south africa to characterise the variant in terms of transmissibility, in terms of severity and any impact on our countermeasures such as the use of therapeutics and vaccines. so far there is little information about the studies are under way so we need researchers to have time to carry them out and the who will inform the public and member states when we have the information. the uk was one of the first countries to react to the new variant announcing travel restrictions on thursday — as fergus walsh reports. after months of opening up, the newly—named omicron variant means travel restrictions are back. at heathrow, the last flights from south africa arrived this morning. i feel extremely relieved, because who knows how long this is going to last? we've been told we have to isolate at home, so that shouldn't be too bad.
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from sunday, only uk and irish residents will be allowed in from six southern african countries, and they will have to pay to quarantine in a hotel. the travel restrictions mean catherine will miss her niece's wedding in south africa. it is devastating. they have held back this wedding for two years for us, so we were all going to be together, which was really important. and literally we were off on the 9th, and now we're not. the health secretary said the new variant may pose a substantial risk to public health, so the restrictions were necessary. i want to reassure this house that there are no detected cases of this variant in the uk at this time, but this new variant is of huge international concern. several coronavirus mutations have already made the covid pandemic worse.
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the alpha variant, identified in kent, drove a huge wave of hospital admissions and deaths here last winter. the delta variant, first detected in india, was even more transmissible, and is currently the dominant strain worldwide. on paper, the new variant looks worrying, with twice the number of mutations found on delta. around 30 of these are in the spike protein, the key the virus uses to unlock our cells and these changes may help it evade our body's defences. but so far we don't know whether the variant causes more severe disease, whether vaccines will be less effective or drugs won't work. it's the sheer number and type of mutations that has scientists here troubled. some of them have never been seen in a combination like this before, and many of them we've seen in various variants of concern so far, but it's the complexity
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of the mutations that we're seeing today, and the effects that it may have on both the immune response and transmissibility that are a huge concern. with belgian recording europe's first case of the omicron variant, the european commission in brussels called for a suspension of air travel to affected african countries. we do know that mutations could lead to the emergence and spread of even more concerning variants of the virus that could spread worldwide within a few months. it is now important that all of us in europe act very swiftly, decisively and united. vaccine companies say they can prepare updated versions of theirjabs, perhaps within 100 days, if the omicron variant is found to evade immunity. fergus walsh, bbc news. as we've just been hearing,
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the first confirmed cases of the new variant were found in south africa and botswana. the suspension of travel by the eu countries, as well as the us and the uk will affect travellers from there, as well as from namibia, zimbabwe, lesotho and eswatini — formerly swaziland. the south african government and scientific community have criticised the move, saying it will cause more damage than good. from there, our africa correspondent andrew harding reports. a technical university in pretoria, south africa, this afternoon. this is where the new variant was first properly identified, spreading fast among students. obviously, this is so overwhelming, we are all worried, but the management took a decision to suspend all social gatherings and social activities. the impact here has been swift, with many countries now following britain's lead in banning flights from south africa. so, this morning's arrivals from johannesburg and cape town could be the last for some time. it is absolutely ridiculous
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that they have imposed it again so quickly, without really investigating this new variant. the timing for south africa could hardly be worse. it is summer here, and the tourist industry was hoping for a big boost after two richard years of lockdowns and red listings. no wonder south africa's foreign minister has criticised the travel ban, calling it rushed, economically damaging, and are urging britain to reconsider. not that that seems very likely, at least not in the short term. today, south africa is gearing up for a likely fourth wave, dominated by this new variant, but scientists here insist that trying to isolate countries or regions makes no practical sense. we saw with the delta variant that within three weeks, 53 countries were reporting cases of the delta variant,
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so stopping travel from one country or a small group of countries very soon becomes superfluous. it's really not the solution. but could there be one upside to the arrival of this new variant? in recent months, south africa's vaccine roll—out has slowed down. it is the same in other african countries, partly down to a shortage of vaccines, but also due to public apathy, and fear of the new variant could change that. hopefully, we get past the stage... are you vaccinated? i'm vaccinated, so hopefully i'll be safe. the focus is on this south african laboratory and the scientists trying to unlock the secrets of the virus's new mutations. andrew harding, bbc news, johannesburg. concerns about the new variant have triggered steep falls on the financial markets,
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wiping billions of dollars off the value of the world's biggest companies. in new york, the dow jones closed down 2.5%. in london the ftse 100 share index slipped 3.6% — its biggest decline in more than a year. there were biggerfalls in europe, with the dax in germany falling over li%. the legendary composer of broadway musicals, stephen sonheim, has died at his home in connecticut. he was 91. sondheim composed and wrote lyrics for a vast number of musicals, including west side story, sweeney todd, and follies. daniella relph looks back on his career. # isn't it bliss, don't you approve? # one who keeps tearing around, one who can't move... "send in the clowns" from the musical a little night music.
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# send in the clowns... it was stephen sondheim's only hit song — remarkably, because this was the man who revolutionised the american musical. as a young man, he learned his trade from oscar hammerstein — the lyricist who wrote shows like oklahoma and the sound of music. sondheim, too, started by doing the words, notably for leonard bernstein's music in west side story. # i want to be in america... soon he was writing his own music, as well. most of the shows that followed were hits. and then, in 1970, he came up with a new idea — a musical that didn't follow an obvious plot. company was a series of vignettes featuring a dozen central characters. no two sondheim musicals were the same. i don't want to get bored writing them, you know?
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when you hit a chord that you've hit before, or a technique you've used before — when i do, i get very nervous. and i think i've written that — "i mustn't do that, somebody will catch me up on it," so to speak, it's as if somebody�*s saying, "wait a minute, you did that in that show." into the woods was based on fairy stories like "jack and the bea nstalk". sondheim's music was rhythmically complicated and harmonically sophisticated. # we've no time to sit and dither while her withers whither, whither. # and no one keeps a cow for a friend... # artists are bizarre # fixed, cold # that's you, george, you're bizarre... one of his cleverest creations was sunday in the park with george — about the painter george surratt, who is most famous painting was recreated by the characters on stage. art is not an easy thing to do. and i've heard people say, "oh, so and so's so talented,"
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as if all they had to do was get up in the morning and the painting was made, or the song was written. and they don't understand that it's exactly as much hard work, and maybe harder, than making a shoe, or anything that you make out of nothing. # i thought that you'd want what i want # sorry, my dear... for his admirers, stephen sondheim produced some of the most sophisticated and thoughtful musicals ever written. # quick, send in the clowns # don't bother, they're here... stephen sondheim, whose death has been announced at the age of 91. i'm joined now by the actress sierra boggess — she played cinderella in sondheim's into the woods at the hollywood bowl. thank you so much for being with us on bbc news to give us your memories
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and appreciation of stephen stephen sondheim. let's start with the music, because it is the thing that will live on long after even his name is forgotten, the haunting tunes. how hard are they a performer?— tunes. how hard are they a erformer? , ., ., ., performer? first of all, thanks so much for having _ performer? first of all, thanks so much for having me. _ performer? first of all, thanks so much for having me. it's - performer? first of all, thanks so much for having me. it's a - performer? first of all, thanks so i much for having me. it's a cathartic experience for me right now because we all in this community and around the world just heard this news, so it's beyond. but that's one of my favourite things about a sondheim musical, the materially the democrat you learn to some of the most complex series of notes you can learn. so you feel such a sense of accomplishment when you finally get to that place and realise you've got it, you know how to sing that sondheim lyric and beautiful phrase that he wrote. his melodies are so complex, and they may not be easy
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always on the ear, but they are — some of my favourite things to sing as a singer, as a musician, it requires all of you. memorably -h sical requires all of you. memorably physical performances - requires all of you. memorably physical performances from i requires all of you. memorably physical performances from a l requires all of you. memorably l physical performances from a lot requires all of you. memorably - physical performances from a lot of people who were in sondheim, as you say, it's musical but it really is musical theatre succulent yes, it is, and that's why people talk about he redefined the musical. he is, and that's why people talk about he redefined the musical.— he redefined the musical. he upped the ante for — he redefined the musical. he upped the ante for what _ he redefined the musical. he upped the ante for what we _ he redefined the musical. he upped the ante for what we could - he redefined the musical. he upped the ante for what we could do. - he redefined the musical. he upped the ante for what we could do. no l the ante for what we could do. no one had ever written like him before, it's what you study him in school if you're studying to get a degree in musical theatre or your theatre student. you know when you're learning music, you have to learn a sondheim because it elevates you — and that's what he did for all of musicals, he changed the way that we listen, the way that we... he never made it easy, i feel like, we listen, the way that we... he never made it easy, ifeel like, for
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either the performer or the audience. he required you to listen. it's like the best thing for going and seeing a show, because then you have this session of afterwards of, "what the heck did that mean?" it's so complex. and he gave words, i feel like he articulated things like love and loss, and regret in ways that i would never be able to, and most of us wouldn't ever be able to. he wrote such terrific roles for women, as well — my memory is glynis johns singing sent in the town democrat clown... did you have a good fortune to meet with him and work with him ever? i good fortune to meet with him and work with him ever?— work with him ever? i only worked directly with _ work with him ever? i only worked directly with him _ work with him ever? i only worked directly with him once, _ work with him ever? i only worked directly with him once, and - work with him ever? i only worked directly with him once, and i - work with him ever? i only worked directly with him once, and i met. directly with him once, and i met him at howell prince's christmas party. i was thinking that today too, like, i know how prince and
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stephen sondheim are making some of the best musicals in heaven right now, come on. so i worked with him once and it was for the new musical that he was working on, this was years ago, and has been through all these iterations — and it was very intimidating because he's the legend, he's one of the people that i want to impress, actors are people pleasers and you really wanted to impress sondheim. because it felt like he takes his work seriously, and you feel that and you hear that and, when you're working on something, it's like church — we say that in our industry, too, singing a sondheim is like theatre church. find sondheim is like theatre church. and we know the lights will it be dimmed on broadway tonight for him. thank you so much for your warm words about stephen sondheim and for taking the time to share your memories with us, thank you. thank
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ou. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: bargain hunt black friday is under way, but can supply keep up with demand? president kennedy was shot down and died almost immediately. the murder ofjohn kennedy is a disaster for the whole free world. he caught the imagination of the world — the first of a new generation of leaders. margaret thatcher is resigning as leader of the conservative party and prime minister. before leaving number ten to see the queen, she told her cabinet, "it's a funny old world." angela merkel is germany's first woman chancellor, easily securing the majority she needed. attempts to fly a hot air - balloon had to be abandoned after a few minutes, _ but nobody seemed to mind very much. as one local comic put it, "it's not hot air we need, it's hard cash." l
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cuba has declared nine days of mourning following the death of fidel castro at the age of 90. castro developed close ties with the soviet union in the 19605 — it was an alliance that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war with the cuban missile crisis. this is bbc news, the latest headlines... the world health organization designates a new covid strain found in southern africa as a "variant of concern", amid fears the heavily mutated variant could be more infectious and more resistant to vaccines. one of the most influential figures in musical theatre, the legendery american composer stephen sondheim, has died at 91. the french president emmanuel macron has accused the uk of not being serious about dealing with the migrant crisis. european ministers will meet on sunday to discuss the situation, after 27 people drowned on wednesday trying to reach the uk —
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but mr macron confirmed that uk home secretary priti patel�*s invitation has been withdrawn. this is in response to uk prime minister borisjohnson's public call for france to take back migrants who cross the channel. lucy williamson reports from calais. the road between paris and london is getting colder. the political distance a little wider each day. here in the migrant camps, caught between the two governments, they know what it takes to bridge the channel and what the risks are if you fail. meeting the polish prime minister today, mrjohnson said cooperation between european partners was the way to solve the migrant crisis. and of course, that again underlines that this is a problem that we have to fix together.
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borisjohnson is accused by france of using the migrant crisis for his own political ends. last night, mrjohnson sent out a series of tweets saying he had written to the french president macron with a number of proposals. he tweeted the letter, too, calling forjoint patrols and suggesting that all illegal migrants who cross the channel be returned to france. this, he said, would break the business model of the criminal gangs. france is agitated by mrjohnson's style of diplomacy — and it shows. translation: i am surprised - when things are not done seriously. we don't communicate between leaders on these issues via tweets or published letters. we are not whistle—blowers. come on. the ministers will work seriously to settle a serious issue with serious people. the tensions between france and the uk built up over a range of issues are becoming increasingly public. the home secretary priti patel
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was due here in calais this weekend to discuss migration, but since mrjohnson's tweets last night, she has been disinvited. uk officials are in paris today to discuss the issue. as officials try to bridge the political divide, migrants here are planning day after day how to bridge the channel. like moez, from sudan, queuing at a food distribution truck. he is undeterred by the deaths of 27 people in the channel this week. would he stop trying if he thought he would be sent straight back to france? this is my dream to go to the uk. if i came back to france again i would go to the uk. never be stopped. not stop, never. neither disaster nor diplomacy has stopped the rhythm of these crossings. an alternative to the promises of people smugglers can feel as remote here as the elisee palace or downing street. lucy williamson, bbc news.
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one of the young women who died on board that boat on wednesday has been named — maryam nuri mohamed amin from kurdistan. the family heard the news from two other people who were on board the boat. they are waiting for her body to be flown home to kurdistan. love it or hate it, the annual shopping extravaganza black friday is under way. it's no longerjust a day, some retailers have been offering deals since the start of the month. this weekend, shoppers here in the uk are expected to spend over £9 billion — that's over 12 billion dollars. but it's the first big test for retailers as they prepare for the christmas rush. our correspondent emma simpson reports. it wouldn't be black friday without big tvs, gadgets, and appliances flying off the shelves. this vast distribution hub in newark
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is home to britain's biggest electrical retailer. it's their most important time of the year, but the pressure's really on. it truly has been a perfect storm of shortages across the board, so we've taken on more warehousing space, we've got more stock than ever in our stores, and we've recruited over 3,200 colleagues across our business. so we've got the drivers, the warehouse staff, we've got everything we need to deliver this peak. how many playstation 55 do you have, then? never enough of the ps5s, but we've got some and we're getting more. black friday deals started even earlier this year to help spread the demand. even so, they're still processing an order every second here. this shopping bonanza is going to test many retailers to the limits, but it's the ones with the deepest pockets and the biggest clout with suppliers who'll likely cope the best. they sell a bit of magic at this
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small shop in york — potions and drinks. they don't do black friday, but they do need to conjure up more stock. the huge headache right now is not having the products we want on the shelves to sell. stock being stuck all over the place, from here in the uk where we can't get manufacturers to make what we need, to as far as stuck in a port in china somewhere, our giftware not being able to get onto boats because the boats aren't there. it's frustrating and it's sad. there are fewer deals this year, and some aren't all they're cracked up to be, but shoppers are spending. i always love a good deal. and especially on black friday, yeah. we didn't plan on spending as much money as we have, but we've got some. we saved a lot of money. this could turn out to be the biggest black friday yet if retailers can deliver the goods. emma simpson, bbc news, newark.
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a reminder of our breaking news — one of musical theatre's most revered composers and lyricists, stephen sondheim, has died at the age of 91. in a career that spanned more than six decades, he wrote the scores of some of broadway's best known shows including company, follies, and a little night music. he died at his home in the us state of connecticut. his lawyer said sondheim had celebrated thanksgiving with friends the previous day. what can we say except, look up your favourite sondheim tonight. good night. storm arwen has been buffeting the uk over recent hours. so far, the strongest wind gusts i've seen have been across coastal regions of aberdeenshire. inverbervie picking up a top gust of 78 mph. not too far behind, northumberland — 7a mph gust of wind here. those wind gusts strong enough to bring down some trees, no doubt some transport disruption out and about as we
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head into saturday. the peak red weather warning lapses, though, during the early hours of saturday and, as our low—pressure moves southward, we'll be left with two regions of strong winds — one affecting eastern areas of scotland and northeast england, and another for wales and southwest england. both of these areas will see gusts of wind around about 60—70 mph, so still strong enough to bring down some trees. we could see some further disruption — and, as well as that, we've got some rain, some heavy snow over high ground, particularly the southern uplands and into the high highlands and over the high parts of the pennines, the cheviots, as well. could see some disruptive falls of snow high up. even low down, you might see a little bit of snowjust for a time as we head into the first parts of saturday morning. and, of course, it will be a very blustery and cold start to the day on saturday, as well, with those gusts well up, even inland, are very blustery, indeed. now through the rest of saturday, we will have this zone of rain, still a bit of sleet and snow mixed in with that, although anything
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accumulating — well, that's not really likely to happen — anything that falls willjust melt back to rain, really, as the day goes by. but we'll keep those strong winds all day, and it will feel very, very cold — temperatures around 3—4 celsius quite widely, but factor in those winds, it will feel bitter. now, for the second half of the weekend, arwen continues to work away from the uk, it's dying. but we've still got these fairly strong northerly winds, and those northerly winds won't be feeling any warmer at all. sunday will be a day, really, of sunshine and showers. the showers ok, most frequent across northern and eastern areas, but i think there'll be a whole raft of showers working into the northwest, as well. so nowhere's immune from seeing an odd downpour. and those showers still having a wintry flavour, a bit of hail and sleet mixed in with some of those — temperatures around two celsius or so in newcastle, maybe a four in london, but again, feeling cold. now into next week, we'll see a sharpjump upwards in terms of temperatures. turns much, much milder by tuesday, but rain and some strong winds in the week ahead. that's your latest weather.
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this is bbc news. the headlines... the world health organization has classified a new covid—19 strain detected in southern africa as a variant of concern the english channel crisis. and named it the omicron. south africa has denounced eu and uk travel bans as "unjustified and draconian". global stock markets have taken a hit as concerns grow over the variant. the dowjones in new york fell by more than 2.5 percent — it's biggest daily drop in more than a year. the french president,
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emmanuel macron, has accused the uk of not being serious about tackling


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