welcome to newsday. reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines... the world wakes up to the dangers posed by the new variant of covid, asjoe biden urges people not to panic. this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. it's still not clear whether the omicron variant is more easily passed on or how effective our current vaccines will be. as more countries around the world report cases of the omicron variant, i'll be talking live to an expert in infectious diseases. surprise as the co—founder of twitter, jack dorsey, steps down as its ceo with immediate effect. the trial of the british born socialite ghislaine maxwell gets under way in new york.
she's accused of trafficking underage girls for her former lover, jeffrey epstein. and caught on camera, but not in real life — the escaped prisoner who evaded the chinese authorities for more than a month. live from our studio in singapore... this is bbc news. it's newsday. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the world. the omicron coronavirus variant poses a high risk of infection surges around the globe, and it requires �*urgent action�*. that's the warning from the world health organisation. the us president, joe biden, said the newly—identified variant is a cause for concern, but not a cause for panic. speaking at the white house,
mr biden said the need now was to get the rest of the world vaccinated. our health correspondent, naomi grimley, has the latest. there is an eerie quiet at johannesburg airport. south africa first raised the alarm about the omicron variant, but is now finding itself increasingly cut off from the rest of the world. meanwhile, on the ground, there's a big push to get vaccines into arms. only 23% of the south african population is fully vaccinated. we still don't know yet whether this version of covid is more severe than previous ones. one of those on the front line is reassured by what she's seen so far in her patients. for reassured by what she's seen so far in her patients.— in her patients. for now, we are seeinu in her patients. for now, we are seeing patients, _ in her patients. for now, we are seeing patients, but— in her patients. for now, we are seeing patients, but we - in her patients. for now, we are seeing patients, but we can - in her patients. for now, we are| seeing patients, but we can treat in her patients. for now, we are - seeing patients, but we can treat at
home. probably not requiring icu admission or hospital admission. amsterdam is one of the world's cities now discovering cases. 13 people were found to have it after flying in from south africa. the police even had to arrest a couple who tried to escape from a quarantine hotel. portugal has also announced it's got 13 cases. all involve a local football club where one of its players had recently returned from a south african trip. in canada, they found two cases, the link to travel from another african country entirely. nigeria. in the us, so far, they haven't got any cases, but the president is mindful that people are worried. this variant is _ that people are worried. this variant is a — that people are worried. this variant is a cause _ that people are worried. this variant is a cause for - that people are worried. this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause _ variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for— variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. we have the best vaccine _ a cause for panic. we have the best vaccine in _ a cause for panic. we have the best vaccine in the world and the best medicines, — vaccine in the world and the best medicines, the best scientists, and we're _ medicines, the best scientists, and we're learning more everything will
day. we're learning more everything will da . , , we're learning more everything will day. many countries don't want to take any chances _ day. many countries don't want to take any chances at _ day. many countries don't want to take any chances at all. _ day. many countries don't want to i take any chances at all. switzerland has toughened its quarantine requirements. britain is interesting —— and quarantine for ten days. that's after 11 cases were found in the uk. morocco is stopping all international flights, the uk. morocco is stopping all internationalflights, and japan, international flights, and japan, where internationalflights, and japan, where infections are low, is doing something similar. translation: we will ban all entries of foreign nationais— we will ban all entries of foreign nationals from _ we will ban all entries of foreign nationals from all— we will ban all entries of foreign nationals from all over- we will ban all entries of foreign nationals from all over the - we will ban all entries of foreigni nationals from all over the world as of november— nationals from all over the world as of november30. _ nationals from all over the world as of november 30.— of november 30. there's no doubt that the world _ of november 30. there's no doubt that the world has _ of november 30. there's no doubt that the world has reacted - of november 30. there's no doubt that the world has reacted quicker| that the world has reacted quicker thanit that the world has reacted quicker than it did when the delta variant emerged in india earlier this year. g7 ministers have met online and agreed to share information from their surveillance systems, but the fact remains that large arts of the world do not have the technology they need to track this variant. naomi grimley, bbc news.
extra measures have been announced in the uk to try to prevent a new wave of coronavirus infections driven by the latest variant, omicron. scientists believe it will take about three weeks to gain a better understanding of its effects. the main proposal today is that every adult in england, wales, scotland, and northern ireland will now be offered a booster vaccination. the committee advising the government confirmed that the minimum gap between people's second dose and the booster should be reduced from six to three months. it also recommended that 12—15—year—olds should be invited for a second dose of the pfizer vaccine. the uk health secretary, sajid javid, explained why new measures were needed, including tougher rules on face coverings in england. we're learning more about this new variant all the time, but the latest indication is that it spreads very rapidly. it may impact the
effectiveness of one of our major treatments for covid—19, and as the chief medical officer said this weekend, there's a reasonable chance that our current vaccines may be impacted. scientists are now in a race to establish whether the new variant is more transmissible than the current delta variant and whether it causes more severe disease. they'll also be assessing its impact on the effectiveness of vaccines. our medical editor fergus walsh has more. afteralpha, beta, gamma, delta comes omicron, which scientists think could be the worst variant yet. so is omicron more transmissible? it appears to be driving a rise in infections in south africa, but it's too early to be certain what's happening as cases only started increasing ten days ago from a very low level. the world health organization said omicron shows why the world needs a new global agreement on how
to prevent, prepare and respond to pandemics. we should all be wide awake to the threat of this virus. but omicron's very emergence is another reminder that, although many of us might think we are done with covid—19, it's not done with us. another key unknown is whether omicron causes more severe illness. doctors in south africa say they've been dealing with mild infections from the variant, but cases there are mostly in young adults. the real test will be when omicron starts moving into older and more vulnerable people. perhaps most crucial of all, will vaccines still work? current covid vaccines are based on the original wuhan strain of coronavirus, and train the immune system to recognise the spike protein on its surface. the virus has changed considerably,
but the antibodies the vaccine creates still work. omicron has more mutations than any variant so far and there's concern it may be able to bypass our initial defences and cause infection. but even if it does, another part of the immune system, t cells, should give significant protection against severe disease. i do not want people to panic at this stage. if vaccine effectiveness is reduced, as seems pretty likely to some extent, the biggest effects are likely to be in preventing infections and hopefully there will be smaller effects on preventing severe disease. can we test for it? omicron has a different genetic signature to delta, which often shows up on pcr tests. but only about half of uk labs can pick up the signal.
gene sequencing will also help track the spread of the variant here. we all want to know how much of a threat omicron poses, but it will be two to three weeks before science gives us those answers. fergus walsh, bbc news. i'm joined now by dr william schaffner, medical director at the national foundation for infectious diseases — he's based in nashville. it's wonderful to have you on the programme, doctor. just listening to my colleague's report there, so little is still known about this variant. there still haven't been thankfully any known to cases of severe illness yet. as i giving you cause for cautious optimism? weill. cause for cautious optimism? well, aenerall , cause for cautious optimism? well, generally, unconsciously _ cause for cautious optimism? -ii generally, unconsciously optimistic, and those repents reinforce my
cautious optimism —— i'm cautiously optimistic. this is a virus that knows how to spread. it's rather contagious, but at the moment, the severity of disease that's being reported at the moment is less than i would have feared. so, reported at the moment is less than iwould have feared. so, given reported at the moment is less than i would have feared. so, given that, we're hopeful that this virus has less of an impact than we would have thought. but obviously, you need information. the investigators are working literally day and night. the nights are on and the laboratory that night, getting us the information so that we have a fuller understanding of this virus. it’s understanding of this virus. it's reassuring _ understanding of this virus. it's reassuring to know that the lights are on at the labs at night. as you were saying, if this is a more contagious variant, but hopefully less deadly or severe, then could this be an indication of the virus's
evolutionary path, becoming more transmissible in order to survive? well, this virus will do... speaking theologically, as though the virus has a tenant, this virus will do what it can in order to survive. of course, there are so many places in the world where it can still spread, and when it spreads it multiplies, and when it spreads it multiplies, and it mutates, and that's the genesis, that's the arena in which new variants occur. so, we must be alert globally and we must direct continuously our attention to curving the pandemic around the world. �* . , curving the pandemic around the world. �* ., , , , curving the pandemic around the world. ~ ., , , , curving the pandemic around the world. ., , , , ., world. and what is the best way to do that, doctor _ world. and what is the best way to do that, doctor mack _ world. and what is the best way to do that, doctor mack on? - world. and what is the best way to do that, doctor mack on? we - world. and what is the best way to do that, doctor mack on? we just | do that, doctor mack on? we just heard from president biden that the variants is cause for concern — doctor schaffner. what's the best way to prevent this surge? the first is that the virus _
way to prevent this surge? the first is that the virus that's _ way to prevent this surge? the first is that the virus that's actually - is that the virus that's actually causing disease now, 99% of the time is a delta variant, and the vaccines do work against delta. so, we might urge and encourage everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to receive it. the other is, by getting boosters and vaccines, we think that our current vaccines, this is my hope, our current vaccines will have some cross protection against omicron. we'll have to see how much of that there is. in the event that we do need another vaccine, the manufacturers can create one that might be ready sometime in 2022. doctor schaffner, medical director at the national foundation for infectious diseases, inc. you for joining us on newsday, and my fingers are crossed. one more development to bring
you on the covid—19 pandemic — china says it will donate one billion additional vaccine doses to africa. less than 7% of the continent's population is fully vaccinated so far. and you can find much more about the pandemic on our website, including this look at how the new omicron variant has triggered a scramble among some passengers to fly home before restrictions are imposed. just log on to bbc.com/news. or download the bbc news app. let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines, starting in the us. the man who founded the social media site twitter, jack dorsey, is standing down as the ceo of the company. a replacement has already been announced, and users are unlikely to see any big change in their micro—blogging activities. mr dorsey is now expected to concentrate his efforts on another of his projects. our north america business correspondent samira hussain explains.
jack dorsey is also the ceo of square. he had also launched. there have been a lot of criticism about him being the ceo of two companies. the belief is twitter needs its own ceo. dorsey decided to step aside on his own, and part of it has to do with he feels very confident in the team that he has replacing him. documents seen by the bbc detail how henan — china's third most populous province — is creating a facial recognition system that will flag up what are termed as "people of concern". the documents reveal the system will scrape information from mobile phones, social media, hotel stays, vehicle details, and photos. foreign journalists, international students, and migrant women are among those falling into the new traffic light system. the trial of ghislaine maxwell has started in new york with the prosecution saying the former girlfriend of convicted
six offenderjeffrey epstein "preyed on vulnerable young girls, sex offenderjeffrey epstein "preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused". maxwell, who's 59, faces eight charges of sex trafficking and other offences. she has pleaded not guilty, and her defence says she's being made a scapegoat for epstein's crimes. the disgraced financier took his own life while in jail in 2019. from new york, nada tawfik reports. over the next few weeks, what plays out in this courthouse will be a crucial chapter in the twisted saga ofjeffrey epstein's sex trafficking ring and ghislane maxwell's alleged role in it. as her highly awaited trial began, the world's eyes were trained on what the evidence presented here would reveal. and so, too, were epstein's accusers. some arrived to show solidarity with the alleged victims. in opening statements, the government said ghislane maxwell was a dangerous predator who provided a cover of respectability for epstein.
prosecutors said she lured victims with the promise of a bright future, only to sexually abuse them. her defence attorney told the jury she was a convenient stand—in for epstein and that the government would not be able to prove their case. he said the accusers' memories were corrupted and influenced by a desire for a big jackpot of money. there have been numerous investigations, documentaries, exploring ghislane maxwell's alleged crimes, but the allegations have never been aired in a criminal trial. the jury will be presented with a range of evidence, from flight logs to the testimony from epstein's former staff. the four underage girls on the indictment, now grown women, are expected to take the stand and other accusers from around the country could testify, too, those with stories similar to theresa helm. according to her, she thought she had landed a job as a professional masseuse, but instead walked right into a nightmare. i thought that her and i were making these connections and she did her role, played her role, beautifully.
she was masterful at it. i walked myself to a predator's home. ghislane maxwell's brother, ian, says at least one sibling will be present every day of the trial to support her. it is impossible for me to think that she would have been engaged in these really horrendous charges. if convicted, she faces up to 80 years in prison. nada tawfik, bbc news, new york. if you want to get in touch with me, i'm on twitter — @bbckarishma. the report just now, the reportjust now, for instance. i'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: it's two weeks since the cop 26 climate conference finished. what did it do for those small island states facing the brunt of climate change? we'll speak to the president federated states of micronesia.
it's quite clear that the worst victims of this disaster are the poor people living in the slums which have sprung up around the factory. we feel so helpless. the children are dying in front of me and i can't do anything. charles manson is the mystical leader of the hippie cult suspected of killing sharon tate and at least six other people in los angeles. at 11 o'clock this morning, - just half a metre of rock separated britain from continental europe. it took the drills just i a few moments to cut through the final obstacle, then philippe cossette, . a miner from calais, _ was shaking hands and exchanging flags with his opposite
number from dover. . this is newsday on the bbc. i'm karishma vaswani in singapore. a reminder of our main story this hour... the world wakes up to the dangers posed by the new variant of covid, asjoe biden urges people not to panic. now to china, and the story of a north korean man who has been recaptured, after spending a0 days on the run, following a daring escape from prison. our asia pacific editor, celia hatton, has the story. here's the video that shocked millions in china, showing a rare escape from a high—security prison. a north korean man, zhu xianjian, had been in prison for nine years for robbery and illegal border crossing when he made a break for it.
he scaled a two—storey wall to a prison yard shed, then runs across the roof, before quickly disabling its electric fence. note the sparks that fly as he pulls on it. then he jumps. he escapes with only one shoe in freezing temperatures, only to disappear for a0 days, until he's caught dozens of kilometres away, near a scenic fishing spot. zhu xianjian only had two years left on his sentence. it's widely believed he fled prison so he wouldn't be sent back to north korea, where he likely faces hard labour and torture. celia hatton there — well, news of the north korean man's capture will be particularly welcomed by one man living in the area. he looked so much like the wanted prisoner that he was wrongly arrested by police five times in just three days. it's been just over two weeks since the un climate summit
wrapped up in glasgow. despite mixed reactions, the cop 26 conference concluded the cop26 conference concluded with some of the boldest pledges on climate change in the last 30 years. but what has it realistically achieved for the small island states which are particularly at risk? small island nations are already seeing the effects of climate change. they are grappling with more extreme weather events such as flooding, hurricanes and droughts. they are also battling with rising sea levels. and, in worst case scenarios, the islands can simply submerge underwater and completely disappear. and all this comes while they account for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. now the federated states of micronesia is one of the island states in the pacific made up of more than 600 islands. we can go live now to the capital palikir situated on the eastern side of the archipelago, where i'm joined by the country's president, david panuelo.
it's wonderful to have you back on the programme, president panuelo. i really do want to first start by asking you, what were the big reactions, do you think, to the promises that we heard at cop26? how successful do you think it was? first, thank you for having me on the programme again. i bring you greetings from the paradise of my back yard. this is a peaceful and harmonious weekend, and thank you for that question. of course cop26, in my view, we represented our global history's global communities chance to fight and tackle climate change. it was considered a last ditch chance to finalise our plan to save humanity. the extensions of
species and our planet's life support system —— extinction. if left unchecked, climate change will result in civilisation collapse. with the agriculture depleting. and countries. citizens either migrate from their home, so it becomes totalitarian, and keeping foreigners away. climate change is an existential threat. there is still concerned that our global community is not quite tackling the whole step that we need to take a.— that we need to take a. president panuelo, that we need to take a. president panuelo. one _ that we need to take a. president panuelo, one of— that we need to take a. president panuelo, one of the _ that we need to take a. president panuelo, one of the things - that we need to take a. president panuelo, one of the things that l that we need to take a. president l panuelo, one of the things that was discussed at the conference was the amount of money that developed countries are supposed to be giving
or certainly helping out with for developing countries in their battle against climate change. is that money enough? is it coming fast enough? money enough? is it coming fast enou~h? ~ , ., ., ., money enough? is it coming fast enou~h? , ., ., ., , enough? well, my reaction to that is no. we enough? well, my reaction to that is n0- we know — enough? well, my reaction to that is no. we know the _ enough? well, my reaction to that is no. we know the whole _ enough? well, my reaction to that is no. we know the whole commitment enough? well, my reaction to that is - no. we know the whole commitment was 100 million from our developed countries that have pledged this amount. micronesia was fortunate to receive that two times this year, award from the green climate fund. that's twice this year with very minimal amount. that's twice this year with very minimalamount. maybe that�*s twice this year with very minimalamount. maybe 10— that's twice this year with very minimal amount. maybe 10— $20 million to help. but what we know in terms of climate financing, its not quite forthcoming, so we'd like to
industrialised countries to commit to their commitment. we are the front lines and feeling the impacts of climate change. it's already... with the foundation of salt water in our communities and our islands. climate financing to begin implementation as quickly as possible. implementation as quickly as ossible. , ., ., ., ,, possible. president panuelo, thank ou so possible. president panuelo, thank you so much _ possible. president panuelo, thank you so much for— possible. president panuelo, thank you so much forjoining _ possible. president panuelo, thank you so much forjoining us - possible. president panuelo, thank you so much forjoining us on - you so much forjoining us on newsday, the president of the federated states of micronesia. 30 endangered white rhinos have arrived in rwanda after a long journey from south africa in a boeing 747. conservationists say it's the largest single transfer of the species ever undertaken. the beasts, which can weight up to two tonnes, will live in eastern rwanda's akagera national park.
that's all the time we have on newsday. thanks so much forjoining us. to stay with bbc news. hello there. it certainly has been a cold few days across the uk. but in recent hours, things have been changing — more cloud has been rolling its way in from the west, and with that, we've seen some milder air pushing in, these westerly winds bringing those milder conditions for most of us, away from the far north of scotland. so for the majority, tuesday morning is starting with a very different feel — temperatures in liverpool, in plymouth, around 11 celsius. but with that, we have more in the way of cloud, and we have some outbreaks of patchy rain and drizzle. now through the day, that cloud should thin and break a little bit to give some sunny spells, particularly across england and wales. and then through the afternoon, we'll see a band of heavier rain pushing in from the last, getting into parts of northern
pushing in from the west, getting into parts of northern ireland and western scotland with strengthening winds. but top temperatures 10—12 celsius in most places — it will stay quite chilly in the far north of scotland, just three there in loic. now through tuesday night, we're watching this area of low pressure — it's likely to deepen a little as it slides across the uk, so, as well as outbreaks of rain, we have the potential for some quite strong winds. now it certainly doesn't look like we'll see anything as windy now, it certainly doesn't look like we'll see anything as windy as we have over the weekend, but still, the potential for some really strong winds for western coasts, perhaps for parts of eastern scotland and northeast england, those gusts could touch gale force in places. temperatures between 5—9 celsius — it's starting to drop away again, you'll notice, and that is a sign of things to come on wednesday because the winds will be coming down from the north. and that will reintroduce some relatively cold air — probably not as cold as it has been, but yes, a chillier day to come on wednesday. we'll see areas of showers along the spells of rain pushing southwards, wintery showers even to quite low levels across the northern half of scotland, so some more snow likely
to settle here. temperatures by the afternoon between 3—10 celsius, an increasingly cold feel as we go through the day. now we have those northerly winds, they will ease a little as we get into thursday. as this ridge of high pressure builds in, some dry weatherfor a time. and then, this frontal system pushes in from the west, briefly maybe some snow — but, as milder air works in, that will tend to turn back to rain. so, temperatures really up and down this week, quite a chilly day to come on thursday, a slightly milder one likely on friday.
this is bbc news, the headlines... the world health organization is warning that the global risk posed by the new omicron variant is "very high". it says covid surges could have severe consequences in some areas. after a briefing on the variant, president biden says its cause for concern but not for panic. warning that it would arrive in the us sooner or later, he urged people to make sure they get vaccinated or get a booster. twitter has confirmed that its founder, jack dorsey, has stepped down as ceo with immediate effect. his successor will be twitter�*s chief technology officer, parag agrawal. the trial of the socialite, ghislaine maxwell has begun in new york on charges of sex trafficking. she denies claims that she conspired with the convicted paedophile, jeffrey epstein.