this is bbc news with the latest headlines... the uk government promises it will be christmas as normal despite the discovery of the omicron variant of coronavirus. from tuesday, people in england will once again have to wear masks in shops and on public transport — the health secretary says ministers acted as quickly as they could. what we do know is much more about our own country and i think the speed at which we acted at, you know, it could not have been any faster. the netherlands confirms that 13 people with covid on a flight that arrived at amsterdam's schipol airport from south africa on friday have the new variant of covid—19. nearly 100,000 homes across the uk remain without power this afternoon after gale force winds created by storm arwen. properties in parts of scotland, wales and northern england are affected.
power companies say they hope to restore supplies to the majority of homes later today. european ministers — minus the uk home secretary priti patel — are at a meeting in calais to discuss how to stop migrants crossing the channel. also this hour — author chimamanda ngozi adichie talks about the responsibilities that come with being seen by many as a �*feminist icon�* in 100 women in conversation. that's in half an hour's time at 2.30 here on bbc news. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. the health secretary sajid javid says the government "could not have acted more swiftly" in its response the the new 0mnicron
coronavirus variant. he's called on people to come forward for booster vaccinations and is urgently considering widening the booster programme. two people who tested positive for the new variant remain in isolation — as our health correspondent anna collinson reports. the borders have already been breached by 0micron, with two cases of the new mutated variant detected in england. scientists on the government fear there may be more. the threat the variant poses is currently unknown but there are concerns its mutations mean it may spread more quickly. the south african doctor who first spotted 0micron so she found many patients who tested positive with the new variant displayed many mild symptoms, more cough and tiredness. i think you already have it there in your country. what we are seeing clinically in south africa, is
extremely mild cases and we haven't admitted anyone. i spoke to other colleagues of mine, the same picture. colleagues of mine, the same icture. ., ., , colleagues of mine, the same icture. . . , , picture. extra targeted testing is now taking _ picture. extra targeted testing is now taking place _ picture. extra targeted testing is now taking place in _ picture. extra targeted testing is now taking place in brentwood i picture. extra targeted testing is| now taking place in brentwood in essex, where one of the cases was located. expanding the booster programme is another part of the government's fight against any new way. government's fight against any new wa . , , ., ,., ., way. there is every reason to believe the — way. there is every reason to believe the vaccines - way. there is every reason to believe the vaccines remain l believe the vaccines remain effective. even if it does impact the effectiveness in a negative way, there will still be a real purpose to getting vaccinated than not being vaccinated at all. and that is why i have also, i asked a soon as i learnt about this variant, i asked the jcvi, the learnt about this variant, i asked thejcvi, the group of expert advisers on the vaccine to give me urgent advice on broadening the booster programme. i have asked the nhs to prepare for a much greater capacity in our vaccination programme. capacity in our vaccination programme-— capacity in our vaccination programme. capacity in our vaccination rouramme. ., , .,
programme. from tuesday morning it is exected programme. from tuesday morning it is exnected that _ programme. from tuesday morning it is expected that mask— programme. from tuesday morning it is expected that mask wearing - programme. from tuesday morning it is expected that mask wearing in - is expected that mask wearing in shops and on public transport will be compulsory, bringing england in line with the other nations. anyone arriving in the uk will need to be tested and any 0micron contacts will have to isolate. the government has stopped short of rolling out its plan b, with no faxing passports or people advised to work from home. something advised by sage and which is in place in scotland. it is something advised by sage and which is in place in scotland.— is in place in scotland. it is not a olitical is in place in scotland. it is not a political competition. _ is in place in scotland. it is not a political competition. i _ is in place in scotland. it is not a political competition. i have - is in place in scotland. it is not a political competition. i have said all along my first and most important duty is to do what i judged to be correct and appropriate and proportionate to keep people in scotland say. the and proportionate to keep people in scotland say-— and proportionate to keep people in scotland sa . ,, , , ., scotland say. the us company should know if current _ scotland say. the us company should know if current vaccines _ scotland say. the us company should know if current vaccines should - scotland say. the us company should know if current vaccines should workl know if current vaccines should work against the 0micron variant and a newjab will be available early in the new year if needed. we newjab will be available early in the new year if needed. we have some exoeriments — the new year if needed. we have some experiments that _ the new year if needed. we have some experiments that need _ the new year if needed. we have some experiments that need to _ the new year if needed. we have some experiments that need to get _ the new year if needed. we have some experiments that need to get done. - experiments that need to get done. this is a dangerous looking virus and i think we have many tools in
our armament to be able to fight it. the government believes the new rules are proportionate and will protect christmas and also hope they will buy scientists valuable time to investigate whether the 0micron variant is more severe, spreads more easily and how the vaccines will cope. anna collinson, bbc news. there are warnings that the travel and hospitality sectors are already being affected by concerns over the new variant. our business correspondent, caroline daviesjoins me now. thank you for coming into the studio. we are already seeing disruption to travel, we presumably will see more disruption to hospitality as a result? the concern is this is damaging _ hospitality as a result? the concern is this is damaging consumer- is this is damaging consumer confidence already. 0ne is this is damaging consumer confidence already. one of the trade bodies of uk hospitality had said they have seen people cancelling bookings and changing their plans. the consumer confidence is fragile and with all of the new additions of masks on public transport and in shops, the fact people have to self—isolate when it come back from
international destinations, this is reducing the fragility even further, making people even more worry two people are not making the same plans in the crucial build—up to christmas. it is a vital time for the industry and as you mention, on the industry and as you mention, on the other side of things is the international travel industry as well. the country is on the red list that have restrictions, only ten of them at the moment in southern africa, so where near the restrictions we saw in the summer this year. but at the same time there are concerns we have seen a trend of going in the right direction and everything opening up and because it looks as if things are going in the other direction, people are closing their borders down, even if it is too small parts of the well, it is not the entire world we saw earlier on in the pandemic. there is a certain amount of confusion about what travellers will have to do if they are out of the uk and travelling back to the uk? particularly when these changes come in. part of the restrictions was the introduction of ten new countries to the red list and that came in from
4am this morning, so people will have to go straight into quarantine hotels. the second part is about pcr testing. since the end of last month, if you have been travelling into the uk and you have been able to take a lateral flow test which is cheaper, ratherthan to take a lateral flow test which is cheaper, rather than the pcr test which is what we have had throughout much of this year. however, the pcr testis much of this year. however, the pcr test is being introduced again and you have to buy this more expensive test. the reason why is because pcr test. the reason why is because pcr test can be sequenced and identify variants as well that you cannot do with the lateral flow test. the confusion is coming in because the government announced this policy but haven't set an official data when it comes in. the travel industry with a fielding phone calls from customers travelling next week you want to know is this going to affect me? what do i need to do next? the industry doesn't know what to say because they don't know which date this is coming in on. adding to that confusion was that it was spotted this morning on top of one of the
home office forms, so not on the main part of the government website, but there is a warning saying from 4am this tuesday this policy will be coming in. but loam this tuesday this policy will be cominu in. �* a, loam this tuesday this policy will be cominu in. �* ., , loam this tuesday this policy will be cominu in. �* . , ., ., coming in. but that is not an official announcement? - coming in. but that is not an official announcement? it i coming in. but that is not an official announcement? it is| coming in. but that is not an - official announcement? it is not, the government _ official announcement? it is not, the government haven't - official announcement? it is not, j the government haven't officially confirmed that yet. sajid javid was asked about this earlier on today and he said that the reason why they can't give definite times on this at the moment is because they are working with the four nations... transport is a devolved matter? exactly, they want to make sure everyone is on the same page and for everyone is on the same page and for everyone travelling next week and the travel industry, they want that clarity now. the travel industry, they want that clarity nova— in just over an hour's time we'll be answering your questions on the latest travel restrictions. you still have time to send them in to us. use the hash tag bbc your questions or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
that's coming up at 3:20 this afternoon. $$$ dutch health authorities have announced 13 cases dutch health authorities have announced 13 cases of the new 0micron coronavirus variant have been found in the netherlands among passengers that were on flights from south africa earlier this week. they were among 600 passengers who were held for several hours at amersterdam's schiphol airport while they were tested for the virus. in total, 61 people who were onboard the flights are infected with covid—19 and are in isolation. the country's health minister says it's very possible more cases of the new variant will be found among them. anna holligan is in amsterdam. the netherlands is now the new variant hotspot in europe. more cases confirmed here than any other country. so the dutch health minister has, in the last hour, been updating people. 13 cases confirmed so far of the 0micron variant. but they're still conducting more sequencing tests so there could be more to follow. now these passengers arrived in the netherlands on friday, 61 of them tested positive for covid. they've been taken into
isolation in a hotel. but those flights are still arriving so earlier today one came in from johannesburg, another one from cape town and that's causing quite a lot of concern here. because the netherlands is already battling a record—breaking infection rate. today in fact, new measures come into place, so bars, restaurants, cafes, nonessential shops, they have to close by 5pm. and this is to try to relieve pressure on the health service, the hospitals are overwhelmed so intensive care units don't have enough beds, operations are being cancelled and the boosterjabs are being slow to roll out here. it's the over 80s and health workers who are onlyjust being called forward for their boosters and now they have this new variant to contend with. more testing being carried out throughout today. tens of thousands of people across northern england, scotland and wales remain without power and transport networks
continue to suffer disruption in the aftermath of storm arwen. about 50,000 customers in the north east of england are still waiting for supplies to be reconnected. in the north west up to 16,000 homes and businesses are without power. the north of scotland remains at red alert status as 16,000 homes and businesses are still without supply, as are 12,000 customers in dumfries, fife, and lothian and borders. three people are now known to have died in the storm. greg mckenzie has more. a winter wonderland for many across large parts of northern britain but for others, a day of disruption, with road and rail travel affected, power lines brought down in swaledale, in the yorkshire dales, leaving many without electricity. the situation made worse in some places by heavy snow. a lot of the people are reasonably well—prepared because they live here and it is sort of a thing that happens occasionally during the winter but we do have
people like our neighbour, patricia, who they do struggle quite a lot �*cause they do not have heating, they do not have the sort of flexibility to cope. across the uk, falling trees have killed three people. one man in aberdeenshire, another in cumbria and a third in antrim. francis lagan died when galeforce winds brought a large branch down to his car. he was travelling with his wife and two of his children at the time. scotland and the north—east of england felt storm arwen�*s full force, battered by strong winds of nearly 100 mph. i had two kids in here as well and they were freaking out. they were like, is it a thunderstorm? but i think it was just the roof coming apart and it sounded a bit like thunderstorm. scotrail says several of its routes will be suspended until the end of today.
network rail scotland saying the situation was one of the most challenging in recent memory. lner says its customers should not travel north of york today because they are not able to run trains between newcastle and edinburgh. and at gwryck castle in north wales, all the celebrities are out and back in covid isolation. while they wait for technical problems to be repaired. storm arwen knocked out the show�*s production base, forcing cancellation of this weekend�*s planned episodes. as for today, a yellow warning for ice will remain in place until 11 o�*clock this morning. it�*s been issued for northern and eastern scotland, along with much of the north of england. the uk health security agency has issued a coldweather alert until monday afternoon and is advising people to check—in
on older neighbours or relatives, especially those who live alone. greg mckenzie, bbc news. european ministers are meeting in calais this afternoon to try to find a solution to the growing number of migrants crossing the channel in small boats. the home secretary, priti patel — who won�*t be there — has warned that a failure by european politicians to co—operate on the issue will lead to "even worse scenes" in the channel this winter. from calais, our correspondent, lucy williamson, reports. france says it is a front—line state for the eu when it comes to migration. not in terms of people arriving but of people trying to leave. pressure has grown on paris since wednesday, when 27 people died trying to cross the channel to the uk. people smuggling networks are known to operate across eu borders,
and the government says more than half the people camped here have come from belgium. the french interior minister gerald darmanin is meeting eu ministers here in calais today to try to stop the flow of people and equipment into france. the uk government agrees that the ideal solution would be to stop migrants before they ever reach the french coast but the home secretary priti patel won�*t be here today. she�*s been disinvited, amid political tensions between london and paris. the invitation was withdrawn after borisjohnson published his solution to the problem on twitter. in a letter to president emmanuel macron, he called forjoint patrols and for french cooperation in sending migrants back to france. both are things paris has refused in the past. yesterday a senior eu official said brexit had changed the rules. if i recall well, the main slogan of the referendum campaign is we take back control.
it seems the united kingdom took back control, it is up to them now to find the necessary measures to operationalise the control they took back for themselves. british politicians used to remind their european counterparts during brexit negotiations that the uk wasn�*t leaving europe, just leaving the eu. what that distinction means for managing cross—channel migration is still being hammered out. lucy williamson, bbc news, calais. this morning, home secretary priti patel spoke to her counterpart in the netherlands, minister for migration ankie broekers—knol, about the ongoing migration crisis and deadly crossings in the channel.
both agree a returns agreement is needed to break up the criminal gangs. the headlines on bbc news... the uk government promises it will be christmas as normal despite the discovery of the 0micron variant of coronavirus. from tuesday, people in england will once again have to wear masks in shops and on public transport. the netherlands confirms that 13 people with covid on a flight that arrived at amsterdam�*s schipol airport from south africa on friday arrived at amsterdam�*s schiphol airport from south africa on friday have the new variant of covid—19. nearly 100,000 homes across the uk remain without power a this afternoon after gale force winds created by storm arwen. properties in parts of scotland, wales and northern england are affected. power companies say they hope to restore supplies to the majority of homes later today. the women�*s tennis association says it remains concerned about chinese tennis star, pung shwy�*s ability to communicate freely, openly, and directly.
pung shwy disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a top government official of sexual assault. the association�*s chairman steve simon says he won�*t engage in further email communications with her because it�*s �*clear her responses were influenced by others.�* the world tennis associations says it "remains deeply concerned that peng is not free from censorship or coercion and decided not to re—engage via email until satisfied her responses were her own, and not those of her censors." ya—cho wang is a senior researcher on china for human rights watch, she gave us her assessment of the situation. i agree with the wta assessment, i don�*t think she is free, even though she appear on those videos and pictures. chinese history of silencing critics and disappear them, and making them reappear on some videos, saying they are not doing that well.
this fits into a history of the government doing that. i have concerns about her safety and freedom. if the government really wants to show that she is free, why not let her talk to her fans? 0r hold a press conference? let her leave china so she can speak to whoever she wants to. everybody knows, the ioc knows as well, that this must involve some kind of state surveillance or coercion. for the ioc to engage in this kind of government orchestrated narrative is shameful. it is very encouraging to see the wta response. they have been very upfront and clear that human rights is bigger than business. we have grown so accustomed to international sports organisations and international business cowering to the chinese government human rights violations. for the wta to say that, it is very encouraging and i hope other international organisations follow suit. the prime minister of the solomon islands says last week�*s riots in the capital honiara were aimed at removing
him from power. three people died in the violence and over 100 have been arrested. the solomon islands is a group of a thousand islands in the south pacific — home to more than 680,000 people. it has a close relationship to its neighbour, australia, which is around about 1,600 kilometres away. however some of this recent unrest has been triggered by the prime minister�*s close ties with china, over 7,000 kilometres away. aruna iyengar has this report. damaged building and graffiti on the walls, this is the aftermath following three days of rioting in the seaside capital of honiara. area of the city�*s chinatown been incinerated. for honiara. area of the city's chinatown been incinerated. for a few da s chinatown been incinerated. for a few days after. — chinatown been incinerated. for a few days after, we _ chinatown been incinerated. for a few days after, we don't - chinatown been incinerated. for a few days after, we don't have - chinatown been incinerated. iff?" —. few days after, we don't have enough few days after, we don�*t have enough food. we have had to stay at home. the prime minister has defied pressure to resign, saying he will never bow down to the evil intention of a few people. protesters have
been tempted to set fire to the parliament building in the prime minister�*s private residence. they believe the government is corrupt and heavily influenced by china. there is also widespread unemployment. two years of closed borders duty covid have deepened the problem is leaving the already ravaged economy in tatters. the cost of these riots is expected to be $28 million. but the prime minister says it is his decision to switch the solomon islands diplomatic allegiance from taiwan to china that is behind the disturbances. a night—time curfew and the presence of 150 foreign peacekeepers from australia and papua new guinea is keeping a lid on the simmering violence. birmingham has a proud musical heritage — now a series of maps to celebrate it have gone on display at 30 railway stations across the city. they�*ll link the railway to the people and places that have helped shaped the city�*s music scene, showcasing artists from black sabbath tojoan armatrading,
and the venues which hosted them. ben sidwell has been on a musical mystery tour. it is a journey that takes rail passengers through birmingham�*s musical heritage. at hall green station, one of the biggest bands ever to come out of birmingham, ub40, unveiled the first of 30 maps linking the railway to the people and places that have helped shaped birmingham�*s musical history. i think the whole idea is lovely, it�*s great to celebrate our musical heritage. birmingham is a music city and has been for generations and it is great, you can see a map, i love the fact my father�*s name is on there, as well as us. brilliant. but to really experience thisjourney, you need to jump on the train. music: paranoid by black sabbath. first stop for me, the birthplace of heavy metal. to meet the man behind the musical roots maps.
this map will introduce them to the music of the area, the links to aston, black sabbath, jamelia, joan armatrading all come from this area so as they wait for the train, they can see some of the people who made the music here, linked to the place, see some of the venues, listen to some of the music by scanning spotify code. it�*s about making that link and saying that birmingham is an amazingly diverse history, reflected in our music and music al culture. next up on the journey as hampstead, happens to be the birthplace of steve winwood but that is not why we are going there. there we will meet a member of birmingham�*s reggae royalty. this man has been the bassist in the birmingham band steel pulse for the past 17 years. linking birmingham with all the musicians and bands and musical heritage, it�*s an amazing project that young people, visitors to the country, can all gain knowledge by scanning the qr code and listening to the music of the people of the area.
every station in birmingham is set to have one of these maps so when you�*re next on the train, keep an eye out as you never know which part of the city�*s musical heritage you might just discover! ben sidwell, bbc news. a vigil has been held on the beach in folkestone in kent to mark the 27 lives lost in the channel on wednesday. many of those present were calling for safe and legal routes to be established for asylum seekers, to avoid further tragedies at sea. simonjones was there. people have gathered on the beach in folkestone to mark the lives lost in the channel on wednesday. the bell was rung 27 times to remember the 17 men, seven women and three children who died. also people have been bringing flowers. the organiser was bridget from the kent refugee network, why did you think it was
important? i network, why did you think it was important?— network, why did you think it was imortant? .,, ., ., , , important? i was organising this in a ersonal important? i was organising this in a personal capacity, _ important? i was organising this in a personal capacity, but _ important? i was organising this in a personal capacity, but i - important? i was organising this in a personal capacity, but i felt - important? i was organising this in a personal capacity, but i felt it. a personal capacity, but i felt it was important because i was devastated, as i think so many of us were by the 27 people who lost their lives in the channel. i know people in kent are supportive of refugees and a lot of people want them to have safe passage. we needed to manifest that message in some way, so that was what today was about. while this was happening, on the opposite side of the channel, the french interior minister is meeting european counterparts to discuss the issue of channel crossings, but the home secretary, priti patel, not invited due to a squabble between britain and france, what do you think of that? the britain and france, what do you think of that?— britain and france, what do you think of that? ., ., think of that? the government want to blame everybody _ think of that? the government want to blame everybody but _ think of that? the government want to blame everybody but themselvesj to blame everybody but themselves for the position they have created. they blame the french, because they say the french should keep people in france, but france already takes many more people than we do. they
did conduct diplomacy in a really arrogant way which has led to this incident. it is a shame the uk is not involved but i have a bit of sympathy with france�*s position. the sympathy with france's position. the government says it has always taken a collaborative approach with the french. but if it continues like this do you fear more deaths this winter? �* ., , this do you fear more deaths this winter? �* .,, . ., , winter? almost certainly, there will be more deaths, _ winter? almost certainly, there will be more deaths, unless _ winter? almost certainly, there will be more deaths, unless we - winter? almost certainly, there will be more deaths, unless we put - winter? almost certainly, there will be more deaths, unless we put in i be more deaths, unless we put in place, safe routes for people. this is how we deal with this. there is no other option. people can pretend we solve this by being tougher, tougher and tougher. that doesn�*t work, kindness and decency and humanitarian values, that is what we need right now. humanitarian values, that is what we need right nova— need right now. thank you for “oininu need right now. thank you for joining us- — need right now. thank you for joining us- 27 _ need right now. thank you for joining us. 27 lives _ need right now. thank you for l joining us. 27 lives remembered here, we still don�*t know the identities of most of the people who lost their lives in the channel. the police are still working on that in france. but there is certainly a feeling here that this is a tragedy that should have been prevented.
elodie bateson has been blind since birth. but the 11—year—old from lima—vady in northern ireland has become an expert at making short animated movies — with the help of a voice—assisted tablet and specialist braille technology. this is her story. iam11. i i am 11. i like technology a lot. she has been blind since birth. this is one of my animations that i did. she makes short animated movies using a voice assisted tablet. it gives her detailed descriptions as she works on her animations. play, go back. i started by drawing balls, like, bouncing up and down. then i made one which had, like, music and sound effects. she came and showed me it. and i thought, wow,
you know, this is amazing. and it's amazing that the technology exists. some people might think that technology is something you have fun. you rely on all this technology to be your eyes. uh-huh. the family insight project received national lottery funding to provide technology training to families impacted by sight loss. and the project organised summer schemes around technology. - some of the tablet technologyl that was there to make movies and also braille can be - integrated with technology. braille is a written - form of communication of usually raised dots, - and the different combinations of those dots can equal letters and numbers. . i think i started learning braille whenever i was about three. this here is the braille screen where you can type in things. so the braille pops up onto this bit here and i can read it. if i press this key to make the letters just like a normal brailler.
i think it's also important that kids get to use technology when they're quite young because there's very, very little that you can't do. elodie can also use her tablet to take photographs. she uses artificial intelligence and image based recognition so that she can see what's around her. and lets her take pictures. and you also love taking pictures of vicky. yes. so this is my dog, vicky. she is a buddy dog. focus unlocked. image of a dog standing on a tile floor. - i can take the picture stop pressing the side button. for the take picture button. elodie says she hopes to develop her own app when she is older.
i think you were playing a game and getting frustrated that it was not accessible and i said maybe you could make games for blind kids? she said no, mum, i am going to make them so everybody can play them! i thought that was very sweet. i was thinking i could have like a game, add have like a game, add voice over would work on it. it�*s home to some of the world�*s best surfers and dishes up some of the best waves on the planet... but brazil isn�*tjust about epic battles in the world surf league — this next event got tails wagging. tanya den—dree—noss has more. cheering. these beaches are famed the world over. so why not catch a wave with your best friend? translation: his happiness on the board started gaining | other people�*s attention. my dog has such a good time on the board. brazil is synonymous with surfing