this is bbc world news, i'm simon pusey. our top stories: american prosecutors charge the parents of a teenager accused of a massacre at a school, saying they share responsibility. i will reiterate today that gun ownership is a right, and with that right comes great responsibility. the first data on the omicron variant of covid suggests vaccines are less effective at stopping it spreading, but they do make the symptoms less serious. it's possible that the omicron variant is able to overcome and cause infections even in previously vaccinated people. however, if they develop only mild illness, that means that the vaccines are still providing protection. scientists say they can now use gene—editing technology to determine the sex of mice, creating female
or male—only litters. and the religions reinventing themselves on social media, as spiritual content on tiktok grows at a rapid rate. hello and welcome to bbc news. we begin in the us state of michigan, where in a rare move, prosecutors have charged the parents of an alleged school shooter with involuntary manslaughter. this was the scene at oxford high school on tuesday. four people were killed and seven injured in the shooting. ethan crumbley was charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death and four counts of first—degree murder. authorities have now issued a fugitive warrant forjames and jennifer crumbley. but in a joint statement to the bbc, the family's lawyers said the crumbleys
"are not fleeing from law enforcement" and had left town on the night of the shooting "for their own safety". here's the oakland county prosecutor announcing the charges a little earlier. it's imperative we prevent this from happening again. no other parent or community should have to live through this nightmare. i have shared previously, and i will reiterate today, that gun ownership is a right and with that right comes great responsibility. based on the information and evidence i have received, today i'm announcing charges against the shooter's parents, jennifer and james crumbley. the charges are as follows — james crumbley is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. jennifer crumbley is also charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. earlier i spoke to vinoo varghese. he is a wall street criminal defence attorney and former prosecutor. i asked him how unusual these kind of charges against the parents are. well, i've been practising for 22 years,
i was a prosecutor for six years, a criminal defence attorney for the last 16. i have not seen a case like this where prosecutors have charged parents for the actions of their children. as you know from that side of the pond, there are school shootings here, they've become commonplace, it seems, to us, but you haven't seen any parents charged. so what this is, though, for the prosecutors is a perfect set of facts. you have the kid trying to buy ammunition, getting caught, the mother telling him not to get caught. you have the situation where they see the drawing the day of — hours, just hours before he shoots, him not being taken out of school. and earlier in the week, the parents bragging about buying this gun for this minor. so you have a lot of facts here for the prosecutor to work with, and i'm actually impressed by both the speed and the simplicity of the charges against them, saying
they exhibited gross negligence in supervising their minor. from the other perspective, this is a case for gun rights advocates and they will come hot and heavy. i imagine the defence will be funded by the nra and other groups advocating for this. crosstalk their theory is a simple one. - their theory is, "how could i be held responsible "for somebody else's actions? i didn't pull the trigger." so this will be an interesting legal fight. vinoo, you talk about gun rights there — what are the implications in terms of gun control? because, as you say, this is probably going to spark a wider debate, right? absolutely. i mean, right now the united states supreme court is deciding whether people can have — carry guns in new york city, right, in my backyard, and whether they can conceal weapons, and that's going to be a big case and have a lot of implications. this is different, though. this isn't about the right to own a gun or where you can carry it, it's about whether the parents exercised
due caution in preventing this from happening. look, the school is also on the hook here. at that point where the parents refused to take the kid, the school should have kicked this kid out, should have checked his bag — there was no reason for them not to have done that, especially when the parents were not cooperating, so the school is going to face tremendous lawsuits. they're not going to be charged criminally, as the prosecutor said in the press conference, but they will face severe and a number of civil lawsuits from this. and where do we go from here? because obviously, you know, a warrant has been put out for the parents�* arrest, right? yeah, i mean, it's an interesting situation. the lawyer said they are not fleeing, that they're going to turn themselves in for the arraignment, that they tried to — they only left because of — they feared for their own safety. we'll see what happens in the next couple of days if they turn themselves in, because this is going to be a fight that will be played out for a long time — assuming that they actually sit — stand to face trial. vinoo varghese there. to the coronavirus pandemic now.
the chief scientist of the world health organization says the new omicron variant could become dominant around the world. the number of countries detecting the coronavirus variant is increasing every day. but the who also says it's too soon to know if omicron causes a more serious illness, and people shouldn't panic. the surge in south africa, where the variant was first identified, has accelerated further. there were more than 16,000 new cases announced on friday — up from 11,500 the day before. scientists there say the omicron variant appears to spread more than twice as fast as delta — which has so far been the most contagious variant. however, they warn that this is a preliminary figure and there's a lot of uncertainty in the research. after germany announced new restrictions for the unvaccinated on thursday, ireland has announced limits on the size of attendances at indoor events for its entire population, and a restriction of no more than four households socialising in a private home. as more cases emerge, so does the data about the effectiveness of the treatments.
here's the world health organisation's chief scientist with what we know so far. it's possible that the omicron variant is able to overcome and cause infections, even in previously vaccinated people — we are seeing that now with a lot of previously vaccinated people who are the first to be reported with omicron. however, the fact that they are not getting sick — and again, we have to waitand see — but if they develop only mild illness, that means that the vaccines are still providing protection. here in the uk, the decision to offerjust the pfizer or moderna vaccines as a covid booster appears to have paid off, after trials showed that they give the best overall response. seven differentjabs were tested — researchers also said there were good signs that the vaccines still protect against the omicron variant. our medical editor fergus walsh reports. amid the gloom over omicron and its potential threat, some encouraging news. it was back in the summer that nearly 3,000 uk volunteers got
one of seven different covid vaccines as a booster shot three months after their second dose. thank you very much indeed, everybody. for those boosted with pfizer after two doses of astrazeneca, their antibody levels were 25 times higher than a control group after one month. when pfizer was given after two pfizer shots, antibody levels rose eightfold, but from a much higher initial level. moderna and other combinations also worked well. the study didn't look at omicron. it has mutations in the spike protein, which may make antibodies less able to bind onto it and prevent infection, but the bigger the antibody army, the better. t cells, another part of the immune system, were also significantly boosted. these can spot and destroy infected cells. the study showed boosters worked well against beta and delta variants, so it's likely they will also protect
from serious disease with omicron. all of the vaccines actually showed a good t cell response. for the antibodies, moderna and pfizer were very high. we're very hopeful that the vaccines will provide a broad protection against multiple variants, although we can't say for certain at this moment whether they're going to work very well against omicron or not. in south africa, the first real—world evidence has shown omicron may evade some of our immunity — scientists have found a surge in the number of people being reinfected with covid. but we still don't know whether omicron causes more serious illness, and what ability it may have to spread in the uk, where so much of the population is double or triple jabbed. fergus walsh, bbc news. let's get some of the day's other news. pakistan's prime minister has condemned what he called
a horrific vigilante attack on a sri lankan man who was lynched after being accused of blasphemy. imran khan said the burning alive of priyantha kumara after he was beaten by an angry mob was a day of shame for pakistan. the us economy created far fewerjobs than expected in november. employers in the world's largest economy added just 210,000 jobs for the month — that's less than half the figure for october. a court in the philippines has ignored objections of president rodrigo duterte and ruled that the country's first nobel laureate, the journalist maria ressa, can collect her prize in norway. but ms ressa, who was awarded the prize for efforts to "safeguard freedom of expression", still needs permission to travel from two other courts. scientists in britain have used gene editing technology to create female—only and male—only litters of mice. they say their technique could eventually be applied to chickens to ensure that only egg—producing females are hatched. our science correspondent
pallab ghosh reports. half of these chicks are useless to the farming industry because they're male and don't lay eggs, so they have to be killed. that problem could be solved thanks to a breakthrough that enables scientists to reprogramme animals to produce only females. some 6 to 7 billion male layer chicks are killed every year shortly after birth at a point when they have a nervous system and are capable of suffering. we would like to be able to move to a system where those same eggs are laid, but instead, never hatch. scientists at the francis crick institute in london have found that the system was successful in mice, and they think it'll work on chickens. the researchers here have found a way of deactivating a gene involved with embryo development. the system can be programmed to stop either male orfemale embryos from developing using a technique called gene editing.
the sex of a mammal is determined by its chromosomes. females have a pair of xs, males have an x and a y. the process involves inserting half the gene—editing molecule into the father's y chromosome, and the other half into the mother's dna. after mating, male xy embryos containing both halves of the gene—editing molecule will not develop, but female embryos will grow normally. gene editing can be used to make other genetic changes. these piglets are resistant to a lung disease that often devastates herds. the government is considering whether to allow the use of the technology by the farming industry. pallab ghosh, bbc news. this is bbc news, the headlines: in a rare move, us prosecutors have filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of a teenager accused of shooting dead four students at his school in michigan. the world health organization
says vaccines may not be able to prevent people from infection with the omicron strain — but they do seem to make its effects far less serious. talks in vienna aimed at reviving the international nuclear deal with iran have faltered with european diplomats expressing disappointment and concern. they say tehran has backtracked on diplomatic progress made. iran's top negotiator suggests that his counterparts should come up with their own proposals. talks are due to continue next week. the us secretary of state, antony blinken, says iran has some very important decisions to make in the days ahead. the window is very, very tight because what is not acceptable and what we will not allow to happen is for iran to try to drag out this process while continuing to move forward inexorably in building up its programme. so we've said all along that if the path to a return to compliance with the agreement turns out to be a dead end, we will
pursue other options. trita parsi is executive vice president of the quincy institute for responsible statecraft and an expert on us—iranian relations. he says relations between us and iran still look tense despite the new administration of us president biden. certainly, but at the same time, the outcome that we saw from vienna is exactly the one that all sides expected, that after five months of a pause when the new iranian team comes into the negotiations, they are going to take stronger, more forward leaning positions, and the united states and europe are going to reject those. so this is exactly what we expected to happen. the good news is that they have decided to reconvene, and to reconvene soon, and it's in the next round that iran data, we will really see whether the appetite for compromise is sufficient on both sides or not. the us and iran so often coming in topics from completely different angles and so often at loggerheads.
is there not a chance that this could be a wasted opportunity for the us to rebuild relations, obviously after the trump administration? certainly. i mean, i think the opportunity that was lost is truly one in which the trump administration withdrew from the deal because at that point, all sides were living up to the agreement, the iranians were adhering to all of the elements of the agreement, and if it had continued to be successful, there would have been an opportunity to be able to expand onto other issues, other areas of dispute in which tensions between those two countries, but also between iran and neighbouring countries in the region could be reduced. that opportunity was lost, and now, unfortunately, i think the path that the biden administration chose, which was to negotiate its return rather than just returning to an executive order increasingly looks as if it may have been the wrong path to go forward. you're saying the wrong path there. just how different is the current us administration to trump's one, and what have we seen so far that really suggests that maybe they'll take a different path
to what trump was doing? well, i mean, first of all, i think the biden administration, i think, had a genuine intent to go back into the agreement. i still think that they do, so in that sense, obviously, they are fundamentally different from trump. but if you're sitting in tehran, if you're an ordinary iranian, you're not seeing any difference because the maximum pressure strategy of the trump administration, all of those sanctions that he reimposed and then added on to those, they're still in effect, biden has not lifted a single one of them, not even as a form of a goodwill gesture to show that he's different. so if you're sitting in tehran, unfortunately, you're not seeing that much of a difference. in terms of iran, we often talk about a complicated system of governance in iran. just — what kind of factions are at play here? are there different sort of factions in terms of the country and what they want to come out of this deal? there certainly are several different factions, but what you have in iran right now is a situation in which the hardliners have essentially consolidated
all levels of power in iran in their own hands. so it is less of a divided government than it was jcpoa actually was being negotiated. but this new government, nevertheless, seems to have a bit of a chip on its shoulder and it wants to prove that it can get a better deal, that it will bargain harder than the previous government, and mindful of the fact that most of the people who are currently in the iranian negotiating team were not in the negotiating team before, they did not have this experience of negotiating with the united states, there is a lack of experience there that may very well end up to prove to be decisive in a negative way. the actor sir antony sher has died aged 72. sir antony, who had cancer, was widely regarded as one of the country's finest contemporary classical actors, with a long association with the royal shakespeare company. david sillito looks back at his life. deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world, scarce half made up. antony sher�*s richard iii, a scuttling,
spidery malevolence. it went beyond mere good reviews to become the portrayal against which all others are measured. when they are gone, then must i count my gains. your hair's nice. howard kirk in the history man, the defining �*70s campus radical. perhaps we should just add his name, say... i think my biggest problem is being young and beautiful. it is my biggest problem, because i have never been young and beautiful. arnold, the drag queen in torch song trilogy, another olivier award—winning role. oh, i've been beautiful. antony sher was also an accomplished writer and painter, but this career had begun with rejection from rada. they sent a letter saying, "we strongly recommend that you think about another career" — which, you know, at that time was, you know, really puts you on the line. gay, jewish, south african — growing up, he felt very much the outsider.
he liked the idea of disguise and his home became the shakespearean stage. many of his greatest roles directed by the man who would become his husband, greg doran. hail, rome! ..titus andronicus... victorious in thy mourning weeds. ..iago... the moor already changes with my poison. ..lear. do not make me mad! troubled, complex, compelling. the characters of sir antony sher. sir antony sher — who has died at the age of 72. laos has opened a six billion dollar railway that's more than 400 kilometres long. previously, the small country only had four kilometres of railway track. it has been built as part of china's belt and road initiative designed to strengthen beijing's economic power in the region. our south—east asia correspondent jonathan head explains.
for paul and landlocked laos this is a big moment. rubber technology from its giant neighbour, china. an opportunity to demonstrate the friendship of two communist run states. —— 21st—century rail technology. translation: it is an achievement, _ technology. translation: it 3 an achievement, transforming community security trust from a landlocked country to a land linked country.— landlocked country to a land linked country. chinese media has been giving _ linked country. chinese media has been giving this _ linked country. chinese media has been giving this project i has been giving this project extensive coverage. a new milestone in xijinping �*s initiative. it extends its influence and technology around the world. china hopes this railway will eventually join others. chinese built, of course, planned for the rest of southeast asia although not all
countries have welcomed this expensive kind of investment as eagerly as laos. laos badly needs better transport infrastructure but is this new high—speed railway the answer? thinly collated and with low incomes, most of its people will not be able to afford the kind of ticket prices needed to pay off the huge debt incurred by the project. government has already borrowed heavily from china and other countries to build dozens of dams which are accused of causing massive environmental damage. for all the pride taken in a railway line which surpasses those in most neighbouring countries, this may not be what laos needs right now. jonathan head, bbc news. religions are reinventing themselves on social media. from nunsjumping on the latest online trends, to imams and otherfaith leaders preaching on instagram. now research commissioned by the bbc shows that religious content, especially on tiktok,
is growing faster than average. our global religion reporter sofia bettiza has the story. religion is adapting to new social media trends fast. short videos like these are becoming really popular. on tiktok, this hashtag has 9 billion views. #diwali has over 2 billion. the hashtag #islam more than 60 billion hits. these nuns dedicate their entire lives tojesus christ but after they're finished praying, this is what they get up to. they're making a video on tiktok. we gotta go, we gotta go, we gotta go... don't you think that some people might not take you seriously? i think there's a lot of stereotypes about nuns out there. there is an idea that you lock
yourself into an institution, like, all the rules, all you are giving up. so when we share those videos, we really want to show that we are human and we live. and to say they have fun is an understatement. they do pranks... (screams, laughs) ..orjump on the latest tiktok trend. what kind of comments do you get? 0h, they range. yeah, they range, they range. there is like a whole strand of folks who are like, "i don't even know how i got on nuntok. like, how did they appear, but i'm here to stay". from a convent to a mosque and this is the biggest in the uk. for thousands of years people have come into places of worship to learn more about theirfaith. but now religious messages are echoing through tiktok, instagram and other social media platforms and that means they're reaching people who might never come to a place like this, or speak
to a priest, an imam ora rabbi. sabah decided to became an imam when he was 17. i don't want you to ever give up. just start by reading one verse a day, because it puts life into perspective. thanks to his videos people have found him online and have come to him with all sorts of problems. it's also been a platform where people turn to me with questions that might not relate to faith. they might be dealing with drug abuse, they might be dealing with relationship issues and i try to help them to the best of my ability. it's happening in every major faith around the world. in china, these buddhist monks have gained such a large following on douyin, the chinese version of tiktok, that tourists travel to their temples just so they can meet them. the nuns pray for everyone who comments on their videos. would you pray for someone who has left a hateful comment? oh, more. absolutely. yeah, watch out.
we pray our senior sisters on those comments. sofia bettiza, bbc news. and before we go, as we get closer to the holidays, you may have noticed father christmas popping up in a lot of places — shopping centres, parades and even in this aquarium in budapest! these seasonal divers are there to feed the fish, avoid the sharks, and spread some christmas cheer to visitors. there's even a small tree decorated with shells at the bottom of the tank. aquarium officials say they started the tradition a few years ago. the sharks and fish are given extra food during the holiday season. that is just about it from me for now. you can reach me on twitter — i'm @sipusey more news on our website as well. stay tuned to bbc news.
hello. we have a rather cold and windy weekend to come and there'll be some wet weather at times, especially on saturday — some showers or some showery rain and hill snow. drier for many on sunday. throughout the weekend, though, a chilly wind to contend with. what's going on? low pressure close to scotland as saturday begins will run south through the north sea as the weekend goes on. around it, showers or some longer spells of rain and hill snow, especially on saturday, and it's also dragging in another push of chilly air from the north—west. and it's not what those without power or working to restore power after storm arwen want to hear but it is going to be a rather cold weekend ahead with temperatures starting like this for saturday morning. just a few spots close to freezing, just a hint of frost here and there. there'll be early rain across eastern england clearing
away to sunny spells, but then this curl of rain and hill snow through scotland, northern ireland, pushing into more of northern england, wales and the midlands as we go on through the day. north—west scotland starting to brighten up in the afternoon — just a few showers. the far south of wales and much of southern england, a lot of the day is going to be dry. it's blustery wherever you are — these are average speeds. some stronger gusts around particularly western coasts — 40—115 mph or so, so a risk of gales here — so it will feel colder than these temperatures might suggest, which are already down compared with what we had on friday. saturday evening and night, it's central and eastern parts of england with outbreaks of rain. some snow to the higher parts of the pennines and peak district. a few showers in the west but some clear spells, too, and where you have the clear spells, a greater chance of a frost going into sunday morning, especially in the countryside. and on sunday, well, the low pressure's here. for many, it's far enough away to allow a drier day but close to that across especially eastern parts of england,
there'll be some outbreaks of rain around. they may just fringe into eastern scotland at times and also push a little further west towards the midlands. much of scotland, northern ireland, wales and the western side of england, bar the odd shower, will stay mainly dry. there'll still be a very brisk north—northwesterly breeze to contend with, so it will feel colder than these temperatures might suggest. and temperatures don't change much in the week ahead and especially during the first half of the week, it looks like we're going to have to contend with more wet and, at times, very windy weather.
the headlines: prosecutors in michigan have charged the parents of a teenager accused of murdering four students at his high school. james and jennifer crumbley have also been charged with manslaughter. their son ethan carried out the mass shooting with a semi—automatic pistol bought by his father. the first data on the omicron variant of covid suggests vaccines are less effective at stopping it spreading. scientists in south africa have reported a huge surge in the number of people being re—infected. it's the first real—world evidence indicating the new variant may evade immune defences. and a team of british scientists have used gene editing technology to create female—only and male—only litters of mice. the technique could prevent the destruction of hundreds of thousands of unwanted mammals used in research — and millions of male chickens culled because they don't lay eggs. an independent review has described the chaotic scenes