but south africa says it's the wrong approach. stop —— stopping travel from one country or even a small group of countries very soon becomes superfluous. it's really not the solution. french president emmanuel macron accuses the uk of not being serious about dealing with the migrant crisis as the diplomatic row deepens. and one person has died as parts of britain are hit by storm arwen, with freezing gale force winds and snow. # there are bugs on her duds. one of the most influential figures in musical theatre, the legendary american songwriter stephen sondheim, has died at 91.
welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. the world health organization says that preliminary evidence suggests the new covid variant, first reported in south africa, carries a higher risk of infection than other strains. the united states has joined britain, the eu, and japan in announcing travel restrictions on several southern african countries to try to slow the spread of the variant, now officially named omicron. here's our medical editor fergus walsh. 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 long this is going to last, yeah? we've been told we have to — we have to isolate at home, so that— shouldn't be too bad. 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. and it's 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, you know, on the ninth, and now we're not. mannerim deputy speaker. .. —— madam deputy speaker... the health secretary said the new variant may pose a substantial risk to public health, so the restrictions we re 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. 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 are never been seen in a combination like this before. many of them we've seen in various variants of concern so far, but it's the complexity 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 belgium 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. health authorities in the netherlands say that initial test results appear to show that dozens of people who arrived on two flights from south africa to amsterdam
on friday are likely to be infected with covid—19. the passengers have been kept isolated from other travellers at schiphol airport because of concerns about the new variant. meanwhile, peaceful protests are continuing in the netherlands after the dutch prime minister mark rutte announced that bars, restaurants and most shops in the country must close from 5pm to 5am from sunday. he said the tougher restrictions were needed to prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed. let's talk to eric feigl—ding, he's an epidemiologist, health economist and senior fellow at the federation for american scientists. he joins me from washington. thank you so much forjoining us. what is your assessment of this variant, based on what we know so far? i this variant, based on what we know so far?— know so far? i think that we chose rightfully _ know so far? i think that we chose rightfully corrected i know so far? i think that we chose rightfully corrected to be alarmed. it is notjust the number of mutations that look bad but the spread in south africa is quite alarming. it
went from i% positivity, 30% positivity in under a week and it's notjust spreading in one small area, it's notjust spreading in one smallarea, it's it's notjust spreading in one small area, it's spreading systematically across six or seven different provinces in south africa. they are rising exponentially in all of the provinces together. that is a bad sign, even if you think the data is early, that's a very bad sign. that's displacing delta and up until now we have not yet encountered a variant but can displace delta from the population and yet, we are seeing this variant do just that in under one week. some people were saying it could be “p people were saying it could be up to 500% more competitively advantageous, faster infection but i hope that number is wrong because that is true it is old four—time magnitude higher than delta and i hope it is not that infectious but it could be, that's why we have to be incredibly vigilant right now. it does not sound great. given how quickly the virus spreads,
the variance we have known so far, surely this has spread around the globe already? yes, surel , around the globe already? yes, surely, because _ around the globe already? yes, surely, because the _ around the globe already? yes, surely, because the hong - around the globe already? 133 surely, because the hong kong case was from november 11 when they first arrived in hong kong and it took over eight days to find the second infection in hong kong. israel case, obviously — by the way it is hong kong were all breakthrough among those fully vaccinated, although albeit after six months after vaccination. the belgian case, by the way, that person ever travelled to southern africa. she was a young woman who only went to egypt via turkey and yet, she caught it. so that does not cover any of the travel restrictions imposed today so again, it lends the credibility that already worldwide, and the southern african restrictions, albeit very potentially high—risk, given what have seen on the dutch air plane, you
know, 15 cases or more, it's definitely possibly already worldwide.— definitely possibly already worldwide. yeah, and what should health _ worldwide. yeah, and what should health bodies - worldwide. yeah, and what should health bodies be . worldwide. yeah, and what i should health bodies be doing right now that may be, well, if they are not doing enough, what should they be doing?— should they be doing? yeah, i think travel— should they be doing? yeah, i think travel bans _ should they be doing? yeah, i think travel bans is _ should they be doing? yeah, i think travel bans is not - should they be doing? yeah, i think travel bans is not the . think travel bans is not the only thing that we should really think about, we should think about more quarantine and testing upon arrival. many airlines only test, rely on a pcr three days before departure and we should do arrival —based testing and of course quarantine is, at least at minimum home quarantines. and test yourselves to get out of the quarantine because we really need that testing upon arrival and during quarantine period in order to find it because hong kong, it took us four days to find one case and eight days to find the other case before we caught it in the quarantine. and that's the only way we were going to be able to stop this from spreading like wildfire. , , ., ,
wildfire. yes, very worrying news. that's _ wildfire. yes, very worrying news. that's all _ wildfire. yes, very worrying news. that's all we've - wildfire. yes, very worrying news. that's all we've got l wildfire. yes, very worrying - news. that's all we've got time for. thank you for bringing us up for. thank you for bringing us up to date about the new variant. as we've heard, the first confirmed cases of the new variant were found in south africa and botswana but namibia, zimbabwe, lesotho and eswatini — formerly swaziland — are also affected by the travel bans being introduced by several countries. the measures have been criticised by the south african government and its scientific community, who say they will cause more harm 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 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 wretched 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, so stopping travel from one country or a small group of countries very soon becomes superfluous. but could there be one upside to the arrival of this new variant? in recent months, south africa's vaccine rollout 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 and... and you're vaccinated? i'm vaccinated, yeah, 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' new mutations. andrew harding, bbc news, johannesburg. the french president emmanuel macron has accused britain 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, but mr macron confirmed that an invitation for britain's home secretary priti patel has been withdrawn. 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. two days ago, a boat capsized, killing 27 people. tonight, the first victim was named as 24—year—old maryam nuri mohamed amin from iraqi kurdistan. her fiance said he was messaging her as the dinghy began to lose air. herfather, mourning her death in erbil, in northern iraq, spoke to the bbc. translation: from germany,
she went to france and in - france, she got into this slaughterhouse. the whole world talks about europe is a place that is calm, that is pleasant. is this what "calm" means? around 30 people dying in the middle of the sea? this is a sin to put people through this. this tragedy has put pressure on paris and london to amend their rift over how to tackle the channel crossings. reporter: macron says you aren't serious. - is he right, prime minister? 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. but france has accused the prime minister of doublespeak. last night, in a series of tweets, mrjohnson said he'd written to the french president emmanuel macron with some proposals. he tweeted the letter, too, calling forjoint patrols
of french gendarmes and uk border force, 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 irritated by mrjohnson's style of diplomacy, and it shows. translation: i'm surprised when things are not done seriously. - we don't communicate between leaders on these issues via tweets or publish letters. we're 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 was due here in calais this weekend to discuss migration but, since mrjohnson's tweets last night, she's been disinvited — though uk officials are in paris today to discuss the issue.
no invitations needed here, though. through it all, migrants plan their next crossing attempts. like moez from sudan, among those we met queueing 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'd be sent straight back to france? this my dream, to go to uk. if come back to france, again, i go to uk. never not to stop. not to stop, not to 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 elysee palace or downing street. lucy williamson, bbc news, calais. do stay with us on bbc news. still to come:
one of the most influential figures in musical theatre, the legendary american songwriter stephen sondheim, has died at 91. 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." 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 1960s. it was an alliance that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war with the cuban missile crisis. welcome back. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: a new covid strain found in southern africa is classed a "variant of concern" by the world health organization over fears it may be more infectious and more resistant to vaccines. now, a man has been killed by a falling tree as parts of the uk are lashed by high winds, rain and snow. gusts of up to 90mph are expected in some areas, as storm arwen makes its way across the country. our correspondent lorna gordon is in stonehaven on the north east coast of scotland. she gave this update. a huge sweep of the east coast is being battered by this storm with this red warning for wind, which means there's a potential
dangerfor life in place, from north of aberdeen to middlesbrough, in the north—east of england. and the conditions really are brutal — there's driving rain, dropping temperatures and winds are forecast to potentially gust up to 90 mph. 25,000 homes, primarily in aberdeenshire, have been left without power tonight, the conditions on the roads are described as treacherous, police are warning people not to travel, and there's significant disruption on the rail network as well — many services are cancelled — and there are reports of people stuck on trains because of fallen trees blocking the lines. network rail says they're sending staff to help, but that it could take some time. of course, because the worst of this storm is hitting overnight, we won't know the full extent of any damage caused until the morning. the legendary composer of broadway musicals, stephen sonheim, has died at his home in connecticut. he was 91.
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. # 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 like to be in america! # ok by me in america! soon he was writing
his own music as well. # for a small fee in america! 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. # phone rings, door chimes. # in comes company! 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 and, you know, it's — when you hit a chord that you've hit before, or a technique of using a song that you've done before — or when i do, i get very nervous and i think "i've written that. "i mustn't do that again — 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 beanstalk. sondheim's music was rhythmically complicated and harmonically sophisticated. # we've no time to sit and dither. # while her withers wither with her. # and no—one keeps a cow for a friend! # artists are bizarre. # fixed. # cold. # that's you, georges —
you're bizarre! one of his cleverest creations was sunday in the park with george, about the painter georges seurat, whose 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 is so talented," 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, who's died at the age of 91. well, tributes have been coming in to the musical legend. huthackman said that stephen sondheim fundamentally shifted an entire artform. broadway star idina menzel said actors would spend the rest of their lives trying to make him proud. whilst star of stage and screen harvey fierstein said "oh, that sondheim. we'll never hear the end of him! i hope." we can speak to new york times theatre critic, ben brantley. is it possible to sum up his impact? it is it possible to sum up his im act? , is it possible to sum up his imact? , . ' , is it possible to sum up his impact?— is it possible to sum up his imact? ,., ' , ., impact? it is awfully hard. it is so far-reaching _ impact? it is awfully hard. it is so far-reaching and - impact? it is awfully hard. it is so far-reaching and i - impact? it is awfully hard. it| is so far-reaching and i think is so far—reaching and i think like his music itself it is subtle. but i think no—one has achieved what i think sometime achieved, which i think was original in musicals, to combine that degree of
ambivalence with intensity of feeling, that kind of complexity of thought and emotion. but we wouldn't have so many artists now if it weren't for stephen sondheim, the author of fun home, we needed sondheim for hamilton. but none is a direct descendant of sondheim. i think he is so generous, and a class of his own. , ., , ., own. one tribute to him is that no-one can _ own. one tribute to him is that no-one can agree _ own. one tribute to him is that no-one can agree on _ own. one tribute to him is that no-one can agree on what - own. one tribute to him is that no-one can agree on what his. no—one can agree on what his best musical was. he had such a range of talents that everyone has a different opinion. i think it is also the place of shakespeare, there is a different favourite as you get older or the mood uan or what has happened in your life recently. i mean, i have been thinking a lot about pacific overtures, which you would have been hard pressed to say was my
favourite sondheim musical, but there is a song on it, someone in a tree, talking about multiplicity, different icing just the periphery of a major eventin just the periphery of a major event in japanese just the periphery of a major event injapanese and american history. and since i heard it, the lyrics coming back is that it is the fact not the day, the pebble not the string. he worked in those incredible — thatis worked in those incredible — that is a long way of answering the question. my absolute favourite is probably sunday in the park with george, the first act, in any case. sweeney todd, i mean sweeney todd is just magnificent. that kind of operatic intensity. in his penultimate musical, passion, i think completes his gallery of
portraits of obsessives, whether they were at vizovitis lake shore sura, or apply to victorians with vengeance on our minds like sweeney todd, or the obsessive slightly fame seeking assassins of assassins who shot american presidents. by who shot american presidents. by the time you got to passion their obsession is with love itself. , ., ., , itself. then, it is hard to sum u - , itself. then, it is hard to sum u, but itself. then, it is hard to sum no. but that _ itself. then, it is hard to sum up, but that is _ itself. then, it is hard to sum up, but that is all— itself. then, it is hard to sum up, but that is all we - itself. then, it is hard to sum up, but that is all we have . up, but that is all we have time for. up, but that is all we have time for-— that's all for me, thank you for watching. 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 78mph. not too far behind,
northumberland — 74mph gust of wind here. those wind gusts strong enough to bring down some trees, no doubt some transport disruption out and about as we 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 north—east england, and another for wales and south—west england. both of these areas will see gusts of wind around about 60—70mph, 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, 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 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 degrees 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. these showers ok, most frequent across northern and eastern areas, but i think there'll be a whole raft of showers working into the north—west, 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 2 degrees celsius or so in
this is bbc news. the headlines: a new covid strain found in southern africa is classed a "variant of concern" by the world health organization over fears it may be more infectious and more resistant to vaccines. the us is the latest country to impose travel restrictions to the affected countries figures in musical theatre, to slow the spread. french president emmanuel macron is accusing the uk of not being serious about dealing with the migrant crisis as the diplomatic row deepens. 27 people drowned on wednesday trying to reach the uk. european ministers will meet on sunday, but the uk is not invited to the talks.