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tv   BBC News at Six  BBC News  December 1, 2021 6:00pm-6:31pm GMT

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today at six: stepping up the vaccine booster campaign across the uk, with firefighters and soldiers among those called to help out. this was the scene at a centre in llangefni, and welsh ministers admit the booster programme will put the nhs under immense pressure. we recognise that the workforce is absolutely exhausted, which is why we are really making sure that the net is really cast much wider this time to make sure that we can ask those volunteers to come back in. as preparations for christmas go ahead, some doctors say it's best to avoid large gatherings — but ministers say it's the individual�*s responsibility. we've all got a role to play in this, it is a national mission what we've set out in vaccinations, we can all play a role. we'll have more on the situation here in wales, and across the uk.
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also on the programme... reforming the social care system in england — more details emerge of the £1.7 billion to be raised by a new levy. in england, scotland and northern ireland, university staff go on strike over pay and pensions — students say their education is being damaged again. efforts continue to restore power to the tens of thousands of people in parts of england, scotland and wales who have spent a fifth night without electricity after storm arwen. and why the welsh government says there are too many second homes in wales, and that action is needed. and coming up on the bbc news channel: johanna konta announces her retirement from tennis but tells the bbc she plans to remain in the sport in some capacity.
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welcome to bbc news at six, which comes from cardiff today from the new headquarters of bbc wales. mark drakeford — the first minister of wales — has been in talks this afternoon with the cabinet minister michael gove and the first ministers of scotland and northern ireland. they're coordinating their efforts to offer every adult a booster vaccine to deal with the new variant of coronavirus called omicron. england and scotland have both agreed a target of the end of january but, as yet, that target has not been agreed by wales and northern ireland. nhs england is issuing detailed guidance to hospitals, pharmacists and gps about expanding the booster rollout. at westminster, the health secretary sajid javid urged people to be "sensible" around christmas and consider taking regular tests.
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our first report this evening is by our health editor hugh pym. a vaccination centre in anglesey, preparing like so many others around the uk to fire up the booster programme. it's a big ask for the nhs at a time of intensifying winter pressures . and the welsh health minister says help will be sought across local communities. we recognise that the workforce is absolutely exhausted, which is why we are really making sure that the net is really cast much wider this time to make sure that we can ask those volunteers to come back in and for everybody to step up and understand that we are all in this together. the minister said firefighters and military personnel could be deployed, but gps in wales have warned it will need big vaccination centres to be set up again rather than relying on their practises. where gps have the time and aren't exhausted and wish to
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contribute as they did initially, then they could help with the centres, but at the moment, from a general practice point of view within our own infrastructure, we really are under the cosh. this pharmacist in hull, like others, is increasing opening hours to offer boosterjabs seven days a week, just some of the range of health workers expected to deliver the booster plan. now we are asking them to do a lot more through the step up in the national vaccination programme. i know that they are up to it, but we want to make sure they are provided with all the support that's needed, this includes the volunteers, the 500 or so personnel we are getting help from in terms of the military personnel. hospitals will be part of the push to get more boosters done, expanding their existing vaccination hubs to give more slots to members of the public. this centre and others like it have been asked to create a lot more capacity. that will mean extra appointments,
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but also possibly having to find more space, which will be far from straightforward. of course, it will also mean more staff from the hospital moving to do the jabs. the medical director told me that however busy, her colleagues would rise to the challenge. i can't overstress the commitment there is amongst nurses and doctors to make sure that people get vaccinated. if i was to ask every one of our doctors and every one of our nurses to do one extra shift to do some vaccination, that would be a lot of vaccinators. today, monica who is a teacher, came to getjabbed. she was eligible and had her booster. i feel i need to protect the people i work with because i'm surrounded by people all day, every day and children from _ different backgrounds, different family set—ups, and ijust felt it was, you know, my duty to come and get the booster. health officials in scotland have repeated advice to people to get a lateral flow test before going to family gatherings over christmas, a point also made by the health secretary at westminster. and in northern ireland, there have been warnings of disruptions in schools before the christmas break
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because of a shortage of teachers partly linked to covert isolation. —— covid isolation. there is much uncertainty over the weeks ahead, but the world health organisation has at least said that we should know more about the new variants within days. —— the new variant. hugh pym, bbc news. let's get more of a sense of this. in a moment we'll get the view from emma vardy in belfast and lisa summers in edinburgh, but first let's talk to our wales health correspondent owain clarke. hejoins me in the he joins me in the studio hejoins me in the studio in cardiff. we have talked a lot in the last 18 months about the huge pressure on the health service all about the uk but especially in wales. do you think there is a fear in the welsh government that what is going on with its booster programme is too ambitious? you saying the welsh nhs is under huge strain not only dealing with the present covid situation the backlogs caused by previous weights. health minister eluned told me she is
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asking people to go above and beyond in the health service during its toughest ever winter. the welsh government has not yet adopted the target of offering the boosters by the end of january, target of offering the boosters by the end ofjanuary, as england and scotland have, but the welsh nhs is planning on the basis of what is achievable in between four and six weeks. staffing will be the key issue, gps have told us something has together if you expect us to do more, and could the welsh government ask again for military support? the welsh nhs is currently giving out you have 19,000 jabs a day. at the height of the programme in the spring it was more than double that. it shows what is possible, but a huge ask for exhausted staff. owain clarke, thank you. let's speak to emma vardy in belfast. what is the latest on the stages of planning for the booster campaign?
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stages of planning for the booster cam aian? ., ., stages of planning for the booster camaiun? ., ., ., campaign? northern ireland has had the lowest uptake _ campaign? northern ireland has had the lowest uptake in _ campaign? northern ireland has had the lowest uptake in the _ campaign? northern ireland has had the lowest uptake in the uk - campaign? northern ireland has had the lowest uptake in the uk of- the lowest uptake in the uk of people coming forward for those third boosterjabs and likes behind other parts of the uk when it comes to first and second jabs, but new walk—in clinics and extra vaccine centres like this one are being set “p centres like this one are being set up to try to speed out the roll—out and northern ireland's health minister robin swann has urged people to come forward, stjohn be put off because of the latest speculation about the omicron variant. —— saying don't be put off. at a northern ireland there is increased demand for first and second jabs, maybe because of the introduction of the new covid passport sir mo people realise they will need to show vaccination status to attend certain venues in the future —— the new covid passport as more people realise. lisa future -- the new covid passport as more people realise.— future -- the new covid passport as more people realise. lisa summers is in edinburgh. — more people realise. lisa summers is in edinburgh. you _ more people realise. lisa summers is in edinburgh, you mentioned - in edinburgh, you mentioned the target of the end of january for the completion of this which has been embraced by the scottish government, how do you read things? so
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embraced by the scottish government, how do you read things? 50 for embraced by the scottish government, how do you read things?— how do you read things? so far the vaccination — how do you read things? so far the vaccination programme _ how do you read things? so far the vaccination programme has - how do you read things? so far the vaccination programme has been i how do you read things? so far the - vaccination programme has been going exceptionally well in scotland but there have been issues with the extension of the booster scheme because a legislative change has been required so staff can start to give the boosterjabs after three months rather than six. health boards have been written to today so hopefully the situation will be resolved by tomorrow but people will be turning up at clinics today and were being turned away because not enough time had elapsed. the system works a bit differently in scotland, it is run by health boards meaning less reliance on gps and fantasies under scottish government say they are speaking to everybody they can to work out how to extend the scheme, base ah will not be easy but they are confident they will make they are confident they will make the target of offering everybody over 18 a booster by the end of january —— they say it will not be easy. january -- they say it will not be eas . ,, , ., , easy. lisa summers of edinburgh, thank you- — borisjohnson has not denied reports that christmas parties were held
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in downing street last year, but he insisted that no covid rules were broken. at prime minister's questions, the labour leader sir keir starmer accused mrjohnson of hypocrisy for ignoring the rules that he'd imposed on everyone else. our political editor laura kuenssberg has the story. awarning, a warning, some flash photography is coming. good cheer? was there too much of a in number ten last year? when covid rules meant schmoozing like this in downing street was most definitely not allowed. reports this morning suggested a boozy party happens behind the shiny black door. reporter: ,, ., , .. . reporter: should be cancelled christmas parties? _ reporter: should be cancelled christmas parties? advise - reporter: should be cancelled christmas parties? advise a - christmas parties? advise a political opportunity opportunity too tempting for the opposition leader. figs too tempting for the opposition leader. �* , ., , ~ ., leader. as millions were locked down last ear, leader. as millions were locked down last year. was — leader. as millions were locked down last year. was a _ leader. as millions were locked down last year, was a christmas _ leader. as millions were locked down last year, was a christmas party - last year, was a christmas party thrown — last year, was a christmas party thrown in — last year, was a christmas party thrown in downing street for dozens on december the 18th?|
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thrown in downing street for dozens on december the 18th? i can thrown in downing street for dozens on december the 18th?— thrown in downing street for dozens on december the 18th? i can tell the riaht on december the 18th? i can tell the right honourable _ on december the 18th? i can tell the right honourable gentlemen - on december the 18th? i can tell the right honourable gentlemen natural| right honourable gentlemen natural guidance was followed completely in number ten, guidance was followed completely in numberten, —— guidance was followed completely in number ten, —— that all guidance was followed completely. and can i recommend he does the same with his own christmas party? boris recommend he does the same with his own christmas party?— own christmas party? boris johnson was not at the _ own christmas party? boris johnson was not at the said _ own christmas party? boris johnson was not at the said event _ own christmas party? boris johnson was not at the said event but - own christmas party? boris johnson was not at the said event but did i was not at the said event but did not squash the suggestion it happened. he not squash the suggestion it happened-— not squash the suggestion it happened. not squash the suggestion it ha ened. , ., , happened. he is not denying it. he sa s no happened. he is not denying it. he says no rules _ happened. he is not denying it. he says no rules were _ happened. he is not denying it. he says no rules were broken, - happened. he is not denying it. he says no rules were broken, both i happened. he is not denying it. he says no rules were broken, both of those _ says no rules were broken, both of those things cannot be true, prime minisien _ those things cannot be true, prime minister. he is taking the british public— minister. he is taking the british public for— minister. he is taking the british public for fools. groenendijk type one public health messaging is so vital. _ one public health messaging is so viiai. how— one public health messaging is so vital, how can the public trust a prime _ vital, how can the public trust a prime minister when he thinks it is what _ prime minister when he thinks it is what will— prime minister when he thinks it is what will poor him and one for everybody else. i what will poor him and one for everybody else-— what will poor him and one for everybody else. what will poor him and one for eve bod else. . , ., everybody else. i had said before he is talkin: everybody else. i had said before he is talking total _ everybody else. i had said before he is talking total nonsense. _ everybody else. i had said before he is talking total nonsense. this - is talking total nonsense. this mi . ht is talking total nonsense. this mightjungle _ is talking total nonsense. this mightjungle nerds _ is talking total nonsense. this mightjungle nerds for the might jungle nerds for the government mightjungle nerds for the government right now but this place is waiting anxiously for more information about the new covid
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variant. will mps be asked to back tighter rules again? the government repeat the sudden clamp—down of last christmas? we have spoken to an attendee of the alleged gathering on december 18 last year, they said there were several dozen people with food, drink and games and it went on past midnight. reasonable interactions in a workplace were allowed to learn that socialising was meant to be off limits, lockdown was meant to be off limits, lockdown was back the next day. 12 months on, with doubts again about this christmas, it is deeply awkward for number ten. christmas, it is deeply awkward for numberten. for christmas, it is deeply awkward for number ten. for now, the prime minister and, number ten. for now, the prime ministerand, of number ten. for now, the prime minister and, of course, the public, must wait in a kind of limbo. the countdown to clarity about the new covid variant could still take a couple of weeks, but until then, none of us will know what this christmas will bring. let's look at the latest coronavirus
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figures for the uk. there were just over 118,000 new infections recorded in the latest 24—hour period, 171 deaths of people who died within 28 days of a positive covid test. more than 18.5 million people have now had the boosterjab. at westminster, the government has outlined more details of its 10—year plan to reform the social care system in england. while reforms — including an £86,000 cap on care costs — were outlined in september, today's announcement details how they'll spend £1.7 billion of money raised by a new health and social care levy. the government will be investing £300 million in housing, with a focus on increasing the range of new supported housing options. and £500 million will be spent on the social care workforce over the next few years, focusing on training for staff. but labour says the plan "falls woefully short of the mark" and fails to deal with immediate
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pressures facing the social care system. our social affairs editor alison holt reports. tick "clinician" in the corner. and then push "go". this is the sort of gym session that helps steve maintain his strength. i set it for an hour. he broke his neck in a car accident as a teenager. he has live in support as well as daily visits from care workers like jasmine. the ambition of the government plans is to make it easierfor more people to live independently, partly with the help of technology and adapted housing. obviously, i can do so much myself, but there is a lot i can't do, that's where the carers come in. how important is it that the government gets this right and really invests in care? oh, definitely. you know, unless a miracle does happen with me, but it's...|�*m going to need it for the rest of my life. so far, no delays in...
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there will be money to ensure more care staff get the sort of regular training that jasmine receives, but the plans stop short of a professional register for care workers and don't address pay. it is a skilled role, the things that we have to do out in the community, i don't think people realise, you know, we are taking responsibility when we are administering medication. we are trusting that the pharmacy has filled out the list correctly and we are taking responsibility for that. in the house of commons, the care minister describes the ten year plan as a significant step forward after past governments have failed to act. the reform of social care in this country is an issue that has been ducked for far too long, but we will do whatever it takes on this tough challenge, and we will do this to get it right. ministers have utterly failed to deal with the immediate pressures facing social care as we head into one of the most difficult winters on record. and they have failed to set out the long term vision and more
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fundamental reforms we need to deliver a care system fit for the future. so, i'm going to have a look at other alternatives. and care providers like this hartfordshire home care company are already juggling increasing demand and staff shortages. they welcome many of the ideas in the government plans, but say the extra funding won't come soon enough to deal with current pressures. two or three weeks ago, we had 100 people waiting in our local hospital for home care that couldn't be accommodated, and that's notjust by us as a provider, that's by other providers as well, but they couldn't be accommodated because we just do not have enough people to facilitate that. we are going to get you a drink in a minute. and 102—year—old marjorie's day centre has been closed for more than a year. whilst more support is promised for family carers in the future, her daughter would value help now. i would like to see my mum get used to going on that transport,
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go off and have...she is an independent personality, and it's her independence to be able to go out for the day, do her own thing. for many involved in care, the plans are an important starting point. the next step is to see changes happening on the ground. alison holt, bbc news. our main story this evening: the vaccine booster campaign is being stepped up across the uk — with firefighters and soldiers among those called to help out. and the former british number onejohanna konta has announced her retirement from the professional game. here in cardiff, the first minister
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of wales mark drakeford has been addressing an issue that's been a growing cause of concern in parts of wales — and that's the number of second homes and holiday lets in some areas. mr drakeford says there are too many of them — and they're affecting welsh communities and property prices. the welsh labour government — supported by plaid cymru — is proposing tax increases and more planning controls to contain the trend. wales has seen average house prices rise by 15.4% per cent this year — that's the biggest increase in the uk. in some coastal villages such as abersoch on the llyn peninsula nearly half the housing comprises second homes and holiday lets. from there, our wales correspondent hywel griffith reports. winter, and abersoch is in hibernation. on this picturesque part of pen llyn, almost half of the houses are holiday homes. the average property
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price is now £700,000. tom grew up here, but is priced out of his community and living in a caravan. he is a plumber, charlotte is a hairdresser, and they have been on the list for a council house for over a year, in which time little tom has arrived. this is where they will spend their first family christmas while most of the houses in abersoch will be vacant. it's just heartbreaking, really, seeing them so empty. and we are here, trying to raise ourfamily. you try and get into the community, and then you can't live in the community that you want to live in. we've got as much right as anyone else to be living here. but the prices are just way, way beyond us. the problems here on the llyn peninsula are acute, but they are not unique. like parts of cornwall and the lake district, over decades it's become a haven
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for holiday homes, but during the pandemic issues have exacerbated, prices have shot up and tensions have deepened. it has led to a new wave of protests calling on the welsh government to act, especially in communities where the future of the welsh language is under threat. on the llyn, second homeowners already have to pay an extra 100% in council tax. further increases could follow, as well as planning controls. but some of the owners feel they are being blamed when the real failure is the shortage of affordable housing. we are being used as a scapegoat because of failed national policies. if i was a politician, do i want to stand up and say, "i have failed in my duty to nominate the number of homes i've needed ten years ago"? i'll blame someone else, i'll blame the second homeowners. that's easy to do. the first minister says
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there are too many second homes in some parts of wales, but is he searching for a scapegoat? well, i never use the language of blame because i don't think that is helpful to anybody and it is not what we are in the business of doing. what we are in the business of doing is trying to make sure that local people and young people in particular have a fair chance to go on living, growing up and contributing in the communities into which they were born. communities which may have already changed forever. on the llyn, some properties have been bought up by businesses to offer as holiday lets, houses which may never be homes again. while tourism brings in a regular tide of income and investment, what makes these places unique is in danger of being washed away. hywel griffith, bbc news, pen llyn. students at 58 universities in england, scotland and northern ireland are facing three days of disruption because staff have started
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a strike over pay, pensions and working conditions. the university and college union says workloads have become unmanageable — and it's warned that further walkouts may take place next year. some students have expressed anger that having paid thousands in fees their learning is being disrupted again after 18 months of online learning because of the pandemic. our education editor branwenjeffries has the latest. # working nine to five # what a way to make a living #. fed up with her work load, angry about pay and pension changes, university lecturers say they have no option but to strike. shall we pop in here? i met freya who teaches on degree courses, unsure what their future is as a university academic. so i have to reapply for myjob every year. i have no guaranteed hours or guaranteed employment in future. people are being made unwell by their working conditions, and something does need to change. and the money is there
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to make a change, and i think that's where some of the frustration comes from. the union says young academics could lose a third of theirfuture pension. there is a hole in the pension fund, but the size of it is disputed. the issues behind this strike have been brewing for years, but, most of all, the feeling that teaching in a university, which used to be a very securejob, is now much more vulnerable and uncertain. in belfast, support from passing drivers, lecturers at some universities in both northern ireland and in scotland are also on strike. so what do students make of the disruption? it worries me a little bit. but i think, kind of, for me, i support it. i wouldn't want to be assessed on something that we didn't actually get taught, but i think at the same time, we don't mind too much,
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the situation that we might miss some in—person lectures. i'm very much in - solidarity with them. on the other hand i do i understand the students' frustrations that with covid and everything that's - happened, all of our studies have been disrupted. - going on strike won't alter the fact that the uss trustee who runs the scheme has decided that more money is needed. speaking for universities in the pension scheme, one vice chancellor told me change had to happen. universities in england have been warned to minimise the effect of strikes on students. there are many things that we can do in universities to make sure that the students don't suffer. we can change deadlines, we can change teaching methods, we can change assesment. more universities, including some in wales, mayjoin the strikes. union members at another 42 are being reballoted — raising the prospect of more disruption injanuary. branwen jeffries, bbc news. tens of thousands of people
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in the north of england have spent a fifth night without electricity — after storm arwen left infrastructure badly damaged. energy networks say at present there are around 30,000 households still without power. 15,500 of those are in the north—east of england, 7,000 in the north—west, and 7,500 in different regions of scotland. power has now been restored to almost every home in wales — as our correspondent fiona trott reports. a new day and a new problem. if we move all of this here... they are working 300 miles from home, and will be here for many days yet. their work is welcome, and it comes with an unexpected reward. we have been without power since about, oh, seven o'clock on friday night, and we've coped, but boy am i glad to see these people, and apparently they are from bedford as well.
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i think they deserve some beer. working to restore electricity here is taking a long time. now the distributor is offering financial support. what we have announced today is a package of measure for our domestic customers, asking customers to get in contact with us on our dedicated storm support line or email such as we can help them and agree on what we can do with them. things like reasonable price of accommodation, hot meals, or even if they've sorted out their own portable generator, to get them back on. five miles away at this farm, they have 300 cows to milk, twice a day, and are relying on one generator. we have to have electricity to run the machines to milk the cows, and it won't wait. otherwise they get very uncomfortable, health problems, etc. further north in aberdeenshire, linda and paul are still without power and water. they haven't showered for five days.
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as time has gone on, i think we've become more and more exhausted. so, it's really been a struggle, slowly this granite building is getting colder and colder. here in scotland, local authorities have been told they can apply forfunding through the emergency scheme to help these communities. and communities across the uk still need help. when you run a farm, you can't move into a hotel, and they are facing their sixth cold night. rural communities like this one i guess to working in the crisis but they say they need more support and they say they need more support and they have not the choice to wait it out with temperatures at —1 tonight or move on to a hotel. they are hoping the financial assistance
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announced today will help. tennis news — and the former british number one johanna konta has announced her retirement from the professional game. johanna — who's 30 — reached the wimbledon semifinals in 2017 — and was the first british woman to do so in 39 years. she's been speaking to the bbc — joe wilson reports. for a few summer days in 2017, it felt likejohanna konta had —— was british sport. she reached the semifinals of wimbledon, the first british woman to do that since the 1970s. british tennis history is made! but there was far more to her career. semifinalist at the french and australian opens too. jo konta won several titles on the tour, but injuries have caught up with her and now she leaves the sport with gratitude, not regret. the fact that i stayed resilient and i stayed joyful in that process of trying... ijust trying to be a successful tennis player, i think it those things that enabled me to, in the end, have those successes. born and raised in australia
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to hungarian parents, johanna konta came to england as a teenager. the drive and ambition always visible in her tennis took her to numberfour in the world. and she learned how to deal with the media, too — her way. somebody who presumably wants to go on from here, learn from this, and win a grand slam one day. is it not something you need...? please don't patronise me. i wasn't patronising... no, no, you are. in the way you're asking your question, you are being quite disrespectful and you are patronising me. i am a professional competitor who did her best today, and that's all there is to that. well, she is keen to do more broadcasting in the future. in a time before emma raducanu, johanna konta took british tennis to a level not witnessed in the women's game for decades, and she can retire knowing she gave everything. joe wilson, bbc news. time for a look at the weather with susan powell.
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skies are clearing across the uk and as the sky is clear the temperatures are falling away. a combination of the usual winter phenomenon of frost but also colder air from the north as we go through the night and pick up a northerly wind. difficult conditions for those without power and heating and cold enough to turn the showers across scotland to snow, even down to sea level, and wintry as they head inland. ice a risk for north—eastern scotland and the north—eastern scotland and the north—east of england and wales in the south—west. an area of showers diving in from northern ireland through the night. perhaps wintry here across the higher ground on thursday. always the chance of a wintry element to the showers that will continue to pick up of the north sea through thirsty daytime but for the majority of the uk thursday will bring a bright crisp
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day with

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