welcome to bbc news. i'm rich preston. our top stories: new covid rules have been announced for england, but the prime minister's accused of trying to deflect attention from a political scandal. pharmaceutical giant pfizer says a 3—jab course of their covid vaccine is effective against the omicron variant. and the beijing boycott grows now canada and britain say they won't be sending officials to the winter olympics. and the japanese billionaire who's become the latest space tourist.
hello and welcome to the programme. there are increasing doubts about the new coronavirus restrictions announced by britain's prime minister, borisjohnson, amid public anger over allegations his staff held parties in breach of lockdown rules last year. the new restrictions include that from monday people in england will be encouraged to work from home wherever possible. but more immediately, from friday, face masks will have to be worn in most public indoor venues. and the nhs covid pass will now be mandatory for nightclubs and other venues with large crowds. but the anger over the alleged christmas party last year and the video of government advisers apparently mocking the restrictions has led many mps to question the prime minister's credibility. laura kuenssberg reports. hemmed in, borisjohnson stuck with two ugly problems that are mashed together.
what happened under his own roof, which has sickened some of the public, and what he reckons needs to happen now to push back the virus. the danger tonight is the fiasco of problem one, which makes problem two much harder to solve. with the variant spreading at lightning speed, he and the country's most senior scientists were back on the platform. we can't yet assume that omicron is less severe than previous variants. so, while the picture may get better and i sincerely hope that it will, we know that the remorseless logic of exponential growth could lead to a big rise in hospitalisations and, therefore, sadly, in deaths. and that is why it's now the proportionate and the responsible thing to move to plan b in england. how can you stand at that lectern exactly where some of your team laughed and joked about covid—19 rules and told people they must now follow your new instructions,
and are you really asking the public to believe that you had no idea what was going on under your own roof? the british public, notwithstanding the point that you make, can see the vital importance of the medical information that we are giving. the usually icy cool professor whitty seemed angry too, but pleaded with you to separate political shenanigans from protecting health. people get very angry, including colleagues and friends when they feel that it's unfair. and the prime minister said that in the house of commons and he said it today. that's quite different from people, ithink, wanting to actually know what's going on and then make decisions. and i think those two need to be separated. the reason for that outrage is apparent in toe—curling confirmation in a practice press conference that there was a party in downing street last christmas when socialising was banned for all. this fictional party was a business meeting and it was
not socially distanced! one of the aids who was laughing, allegra stratton, emerged from her house today. those jokes turning to tears. denying the party won't have been her decision and she has paid with herjob. my remarks seemed to make light of the rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey. that was never my intention. i will regret those remarks for the rest of my days and i offer my profound apologies to all of those at home, all of you who lost loved ones, who endured intolerable loneliness and struggled with your businesses, i am truly sorry. and this afternoon, i am offering my resignation to the prime minister. thanks for your time. yet there's simply no chance her exit would be the end of questions to borisjohnson. at lunchtime, he started with an apology and announced an investigation. i understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing number ten staff seeming to make light
of lockdown measures. and i can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules, mr speaker. because i was also furious to see that clip. and, mrspeaker, iapologise, i apologise unreservedly. i've asked the cabinet secretary to establish all the facts. the prime minister, the government spent the week telling the british public there was no party. all guidance was followed completely. millions of people now think the prime minister was taking them for fools. and that they were lied to. and a moment for mps to raise the agony of constituents who lost loved ones. she is devastated and appalled at recent revelations as to what has gone on in downing street.
it's something i'll never ever get over, honestly. that was jane roche who lost her father and her sister too. when i saw the video, it sickened me and was disgusted and thinking, how can a laugh when so many people are going through so much heartache and pain? i'm finding it very hard to swallow, to take instruction from the government, especially after this. this is a miserable and dangerous moment for downing street. it's not just about whether a few dozen staff had drinks in there last year, but whether the truth has been told. whether you can put your faith and what government says from day—to—day, or guidance or even demands from ministers for what you have to do. with the virus creeping back and tighter restrictions too, it's no time for authority to be draining away. the prime minister may be pushing the button on plan b to cope with the pandemic, but this christmas, borisjohnson may need a plan b
for his leadership too. pfizer—biontech have said three doses of their covid—i9 vaccine have been able to neutralise the omicron variant in laboratory tests. the manufacturers say that while two doses offer lower protection against omicron, a third, booster dose increased the neutralising antibodies significantly. pfizer—biontech say that, if needed, they could deliver an omicron—specific vaccine by march. professor saad omer is director of the yale institute for global health. he outlined what's known about the protection vaccines offer against the new variant. i must caution these are early data. these are very early days of us as scientists trying to figure out what would be the utility of three verses two doses. i expect even two doses to provide some protection against severe disease, but i also expect that three doses will have higher protection based on these very initial data. how much higher?
i think it's an open question right now. i know that in this initial fog of war, there will be some initial discrepant results, but it's likely that a scientific consensus will emerge fairly soon, in the next few weeks where we would have enough of an idea to inform actual policy. at this point, the evidence suggests that it is entirely appropriate to recommend taking three booster doses as a precaution against this variant of the sars—cov—2 virus. some people have had one dose, some two, some three. some have had astrazeneca, some moderna, some pfizer. is there a perfect cocktail for the best protection against, in particular, this new variant? so what is looking like right now, and again this is very preliminary results, that three doses would be needed of pretty much any combination.
again, previous studies, and some of them were very nicely done in the uk and there have been us studies as well, show that even combinations of vaccines are fairly effective, so i think the certainty we have is minimal at this point, but the current emerging evidence is pointing towards three doses being needed for protection against the omicron variant. as vaccines are tweaked, especially in response to new variants, how closely is their safety monitored and the frequency of things like adverse reactions? that's a really good question. i think this immunisation programme is unprecedented and so is the vaccine�*s safety monitoring programme that goes with it. so we have delivered over 8 billion doses according to a recent estimate of this vaccine so far and we have had vaccine safety systems,
surveillance systems that have been upgraded to match the magnitude of this programme. so i think, the safety is being monitored and, obviously, these signals, any signals are taken seriously, but what i would be reassured that this is not a novel vaccine anymore. we have experience with the previous adverse events data, but also, we know what to look for, where to look for in terms of risk groups, etc. canada has become the latest country to announce that no government representatives will attend the winter olympics in beijing next year. the us, australia and the uk have already said they won't be sending political representatives. lucy grey reports. first, the us, then australia, the uk and now canada joins a list of countries using the beijing winter games
to make a point about china and accusations of human rights violations. we are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the chinese government. that is why we are announcing today that we will not be sending any diplomatic representation to the beijing olympic or paralympic games this winter. but this isn't a sporting boycott. it's only diplomats who'll stay away despite calls from human rights campaigners, the athletes will still get to go to beijing in february. earlier this week, the us accused china of genocide in its oppression of the predominantly uighur minority in xinjiang province. speak to the bbc, president biden�*s envoyjohn kerry demanded the boycott. we not lecturing. what we're doing something the united states has always done, which is stand up for human rights.
but china strongly denies the human rights abuse claims. it calls the boycotts a "smear campaign" and says the officials hadn't even been asked to come in the first place. translation: china has not invited any australian - government officials to attend the winter olympics, and no—one would care about whether they came or not. the australian politicians�* political posturing and hyping for their own political interest will have no impact whatsoever on beijing's successful hosting of the olympic games. and the international olympic committee would prefer people to focus on athletes, not politics. we have been concerned, with the athletes we welcome that they participate, that they are supported by their national government, and the rest is politics and our political neutrality, the principle is applied. but with china threatening
to retaliate and other countries considering whether to join the boycott, the ioc may not get its wish for the needs to take centre stage any time soon. stay with us on bbc news. still to come, let there be light: the giant 12—point star marking the latest stage in the building of barcelona's la sagrada familia basilica. john lennon was shot at the entrance to the dakota building, in the centre of new york. there's been a crowd here standing in more or less silent vigil and the flowers have been piling up. the 14th ceasefire of this war ended at the walls of the old city of dubrovnik. this morning, witnesses said shells were landing every 20 seconds. people are celebrating the passing of a man
they hold responsible for hundreds of deaths and oppression. elsewhere, people have been gathering to mourn his passing. imelda marcos, the widow of the former president i of the philippines, - has gone on trial in manila. she's facing seven charges of tax evasion, _ estimated at £120 million. she pleaded not guilty. the prince and princess of wales are to separate. a statement from buckingham palace said the decision had been reached amicably. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: new covid rules have been announced for england, but the prime minister's accused of trying to deflect attention from a political scandal. pharmaceutical giant pfizer says a three—jab course of their covid vaccine — is effective against the omicron variant.
a court in minnesota has been hearing opening statements in the trial of a former minneapolis police officer who fatally shot daunte wright during a routine traffic stop, earlier this year. kim potter has denied the charges — saying the 20—year—old was killed when she accidentally pulled out her gun instead of her taser. i'm joined now by our correspondent nomia iqbal who can tell us a bit more about what is happening. reminders of the details of this case. reminders of the details of this case-— reminders of the details of this case. , ., ,, this case. this happened back in a - ril this case. this happened back in april this — this case. this happened back in april this year _ this case. this happened back in april this year and - this case. this happened back in april this year and if - this case. this happened back in april this year and if you i in april this year and if you think back to that time it is when there was the ongoing trial of the former police officer derek chauvinist later convicted of murdering george floyd. people were already on edge. and 20—year—old daunte wright had been driving his and was stopped by police because they said he had expired license plates. they then found there was a warrant out for his arrest and they tried to detain him, there was a brief struggle
and body camera footage shows that the police officer, former police officer kim had shouted taser and shot him. he then got back into the car and drove the car for back into the car and drove the carfor a back into the car and drove the car for a few minutes before crashing into another one and he later died from a gunshot wound. now mrs potter, as you mentioned, in her defence said that she was trying to make an arrest and she used the wrong done, that is her defence. she had tried to get her pistol which is on the other side of the body and this is what the prosecution are saying, this is a woman who had 26 years of experience and how could she not have known which gun to use? she is charged with two manslaughter charges for his death. . ~ manslaughter charges for his death. ., ~' , ., , manslaughter charges for his death. . ~ , . manslaughter charges for his death. ., ~ , . ., death. thank you very much for that. germany's new chancellor, olaf scholz, leader of the social democrats, has been sworn in, bringing to an end angela merkel�*s 16 years as the head of government. he's just the fourth chancellor
of germany in nearly a0 years — as our correspondentjenny hill reports from berlin. in the powerful heart of europe, a new political era has begun. no pomp, little ceremony. olaf scholz isn't known for his charisma or stirring speeches, but the social democrat and former finance minister's style, his manner, his politics, remind many germans of angela merkel, and they like him for it. mr scholz had promised the country a new government for christmas. his other pledges, to create a fairer, more liberal society, and a climate friendly country, may be harder to keep. angela merkel has done a greatjob but i think now it was a time for something new, something more green. translation: now we have something different - but they have to prove themselves. that mr scholz managed to form
a government at all is seen by some as nothing short of a miracle. he will have to hold to get an unusual coalition. the social democrats, the greens, and the business friendly free democrats are not natural bedfellows. this is an historic day for germany and there is a real sense of excitement at the political changes unfolding here. what the rest of the world wants to know is what does this mark a significant shift in germany's wider positions and policies? for now, it seems the answer is no. olaf scholz championed the eu, likes a multilateral approach. his government plans to spend more on defence and will stick to nato commitments. you might see some shift on russia and china, in tone at least, if not in substance. this man was once angela merkel�*s foreign policy adviser. the outside world will be surprised that there will be much more continuity and change. there are many people who like to have this type of stability in germany.
after 16 years, the merkel era is over. earlier, she wished mr scholz luck. he will need it. germany is experiencing its worst covid wave to date. the chancellor's first task — to develop, like his predecessor, a reputation for managing a crisis. jenny hill, bbc news, berlin. let's get some of the days of the stories now. instagram has called for a body to determine best practices to keep young people safe online. he was answering allegations that the app was harmful to children. a saudi man arrested in paris on tuesday on suspicion of involvement of the
killing of jamaal khashoggi suspicion of involvement of the killing ofjamaal khashoggi has been released. prosecutors say it was a case of mistaken identity. donald trump �*s former chief of staff has filed a lawsuit against the congressional committee with contempt over his refusal to testify in the investigation into the january capital riots. mark meadows specifically names the democratic leader of the house of representatives, nancy pelosi, in the suit alongside nine members. and talks on reviving the 2015 he run nuclear deal are due to in vienna on thursday. the us delegation will participate indirectly with the us special envoy arriving in vienna this weekend. last week saw the talks falter with european diplomat saying that tehran had, as they put it, backtracked on diplomatic progress. ajapanese billionaire has become the latest space tourist. yusaku maezawa was welcomed on board the international space station — along
with his assistant and a russian cosmonaut. he's due to spend 12 days orbiting the earth — as the bbc�*s tim allman reports. for most of us, our holidays begin with us checking into our hotel and making sure that we have got our room key. things were a little more complicated for yusaku maezawa, who had to contend with a carefully co—ordinated docking 350 kilometres above the earth's surface. next is spaceflight participant yusaku maezawa. he certainly got a friendly welcome as he floated on board the international space station. and lift—off. a few hours earlier, he had blasted off from the baikonur cosmodrome, the first tourist russia had taken to space in more than a decade. the exact price for the trip remained a secret, but some speculate he may have spent somewhere in the region of $50 million for his high
altitude holiday. space tourism is a relatively new business. it was in 2001 russia through the first tourist into space, the american entrepreneur dennis tito. ten years later, nasa retired its shuttle programme and needed to use russian rockets to reach the space station, which meant there was no room for any cosmic tourists. but in 2020, with the successful docking of elon musk�*s spacex dragon capsule, nasa could ferry its own astronauts to the iss and russia once again could offer wealthy holidaymakers a trip to the stars. but there is competition out for these tourist dollars. jeff bezos and sir richard branson launching their own rival businesses, although they do not go as far as the international space station. as for yusaku maezawa, he had the opportunity to speak to family and friends back home. once this trip is complete, he says he wants to fly
around the moon. tim allman, bbc news. now to the depths of the oceans where scientists in indonesia say their recordings of fish croaking and growling are the reef coming back to life. listen to this. clicks, growls. the recent they used underwater microphones could hide your phones to record these some of which have never been recorded before, they use —— they provide a measure of the health of the reef. a new milestone has been reached in the construction of barcelona's famous basilica, la sagrada familia. just in time for christmas, a colossal 12—point star, with a width of more than 7 metres has been illuminated, perched on top of the newly completed tower of the virgin mary. tanya dendrinos reports.
an imposing icon of the barcelona skyline. and this, the newest piece of the la sagrada familia puzzle. the completed tower of the virgin mary adorned with 800 windows. on its pinnacle, a 5.5 ton 12 point start illuminated for the first time. below, a sea of onlookers thankful to witness history. translation: just like an opening _ history. translation: just like an opening for _ history. translation: just like an opening for everyone, - history. translation: just like an opening for everyone, a - an opening for everyone, a light of hope for everyone. with no exception. light of hope for everyone. with no exce tion. �* ,, �* with no exception. translation: it was very emotional _ with no exception. translation: it was very emotional because - it was very emotional because it has been under construction for such a long time and little by little come to fruition. even the eyes of the vatican were on the occasion. translation: were on the occasion. tuna/mom- were on the occasion. translation: .,. ., ., ., translation: peace and good wishes for this _ translation: peace and good wishes for this cordial - wishes for this cordial franciscan reading. ijoin all of you from rome at this moment.
of you from rome at this moment-— of you from rome at this moment. ., ., ., ., ., , moment. la sagrada familia is the masterpiece _ moment. la sagrada familia is the masterpiece of _ moment. la sagrada familia is the masterpiece of architect i the masterpiece of architect anthony goudy, construction began in 1882 and almost 140 years on it is still going. the aim was to have complete by 2026 to mark the centenary of goudy�*s f. but it has been further delayed after construction was halted due to the pandemic. when the elusive completion date does eventually roll around it will be the tallest church in the world, bringing goudy�*s vision to life. a reminder of our top story before we go. new covid rules have been announced in england but the prime minister has been accused of using the rules to divert attention from a political scandal. and in other news, the pharmaceutical giant pfizer says a three jab because of the covid vaccine has shown an early result to help curb the effects of the omicron
variant. there is much more on our website and i can be reached on twitter. hello again. storm barra of course has been dominating our weather picture over the last couple of days with strong winds, heavy rain and some upland snow as well. but look at these big rocks. the seas have been chucking them onto the coastline of west wales. you know the seas are pretty angry when they throw brick—sized lumps of rocks at you. there is barra, it continues to feel it's getting less intense. we do have a window of slightly clearer weather that's set to come in during thursday. that means we'll see these showers that we got at the moment fading away over the next few hours. but it's going to be quite chilly for those heading out across northern england and scotland, temperatures as low as —2, —3 degrees celsius as you perhaps head outside the door first thing in the morning. but for many, a fine start to the day. in fact for some of you, it should be a lovely sunrise. the early rising sun
illuminating this lump of cloud, the next weather system not taking long to move its way in and bringing rain back to northern ireland, west england and wales. but also eventually bringing some milder air into the south—west where temperatures reach around 11 degrees through the afternoon. still for most of us, it's another fairly chilly run with 6 or 7 degrees celsius, more typical temperatures. as we head into friday, that area of rain, perhaps with a little bit of mountain snow clears out of the way. we'll be left with these north—westerly winds. those north—westerly winds bringing a lot of sunshine, sparkling visibility, but also a number of showers. the showers will always be most frequent across the north—west, they will be some that reach right across the midlands, perhaps down towards even parts of southern england. temperatures, well, similar to recent days, still quite chilly around 6 or 7 degrees celsius. but the weather is set to change as we head into the weekend. another area of low pressure responsible for the change, this one is going to be bringing south—westerly winds in, particularly across parts of england and wales.
could be some mist and fog patches first thing in the morning. so, for some, it could be quite a murky start and it's not entirely dry, we've got outbreaks of rain piling and particularly through western areas of the country, although probably not a huge amount of rain across eastern most areas. temperatures rising through the day, 12 degrees toward south—west england and heading into sunday, that milder air will continue to push its way eastwards and northwards. by the time we get to sunday afternoon, most of you will see temperatures into double figures and the milder spots on sunday you could see temperatures as high as 14 degrees. then it looks like it will stay quite mild into next week.
this is bbc news. the headlines: britain's prime minister, borisjohnson, is facing questions over the effectiveness of his latest coronavirus restrictions. there's growing public anger over mrjohnson�*s failure to fully explain how a christmas party for his own staff last year did not breach lockdown rules in place at the time. pharmaceutical giants pfizer—biontech have said three doses of their covid—19 vaccine have been able to neutralise the omicron variant in laboratory tests. the manufacturers say that while two doses offer lower protection against omicron, a third booster dose of the vaccine increased the neutralising antibodies significantly. germany's new chancellor, olaf scholz, has thanked his predecessor, angela merkel, and promised to build on her achievements. the two politicians, who worked together in the previous coalition, held a handover ceremony in berlin.