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tv   BBC News at Ten  BBC News  December 10, 2021 10:00pm-10:31pm GMT

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confirmation from official new data that the omicron variant of coronavirus is growing much faster in england than delta. omicron could be the dominant variant in the uk by next week. a senior cabinet minister says the situation is seriously worrying. we face a deeply concerning situation. we know that we have the highest number of covid infections across the united kingdom recorded today since 9th january. we know that the omicron variant is doubling every two to three days in england and possibly even faster in scotland. its first minister nicola sturgeon warns of a "tsunami" of omicron cases and cautions against christmas parties. today's analysis shows two doses of a covid vaccine provide much lower levels of protection against omicron, but a third
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booster increases it significantly. also tonight: failures by the metropolitan police were responsible in part for the deaths of three of the four victims of the serial killer stephen port, an inquestjury has found. tragedy in mexico — over 50 people are killed after a truck carrying migrants from central america crashes and overturns. and the final dramatic strait this weekend for the formula one season — what can lewis hamilton do to clinch the title in abu dhabi? and coming up in the sport, on the bbc news channel: england hit back in the ashes. dawid malan and joe root give the tourists hope heading into day four. good evening.
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fresh analysis of data tonight on the omicron variant of coronavirus has revealed what the government is calling a "deeply concerning" situation. the figures confirm that omicron is growing rapidly in all regions of the uk and could be the dominant strain here within the next week. the uk health security agency is suggesting that vaccine protection against mild symptoms is substantially reduced, but that a third boosterjab is 75% effective in preventing any covid symptoms. even if the symptoms are generally more mild, there are fears the nhs could still be overwhelmed if too many people become infected. here's our medical editor fergus walsh. the omicron variant is spreading incredibly fast, despite our highly immunised population. the growth rate is even more rapid than last christmas, when the alpha wave hit and very few of us had been vaccinated. new analysis shows that having two vaccine doses is unlikely
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to stop omicron infection. however, boosterjabs will give around 75% protection against a mild infection. both two and three doses should give significant protection against severe disease, but to what extent is still unclear. it's the sheer growth rate of omicron which is worrying scientists. it may produce the biggest wave of infection so far in this pandemic. if we continue to double in this rate, then i would expect that without any mitigations, we could have 100,000 or 200,000 cases, or even more by the end of the month in the case numbers that we see every day. what we don't know is how many of these cases will translate into hospitalisation. what we do know is the more cases we have in the community, the more pressure that will put on hospitalisations. even if omicron is causing mostly a milder illness than delta, which some early data
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from south africa suggests, a huge wave of infection here could still result in a sudden peak of hospital admissions within a matter of weeks. the government is not ruling out further measures beyond plan b to control omicron, but no one yet is using the l word — lockdown. we absolutely do need to keep everything under review. i think the approach that we're taking is proportionate, we recognise the importance of balancing people's ability to get on with their lives with the need to protect them against this virus, but action is absolutely required, and as new data comes in, we will consider what action we do require to take in the face of that data. care homes were especially hard—hit in earlier covid waves. under new guidance, residents in england will be allowed a maximum of three visitors, and more vaccination teams will be deployed to offer boosters.
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the omicron puzzle is still being pieced together. for now, it remains unclearjust how big and how serious it will prove. fergus walsh, bbc news. the government's latest coronavirus figures for the uk show there were over 58,000 new infections recorded in the latest 24—hour period. on average, over 19,000 cases were reported per day in the last week. close to 7,500 people were in hospital with covid as of yesterday. there were 120 deaths — that's of people who died within 28 days of a positive test, which means the average number of deaths over the past seven days was 119. the total number of people who've died with covid now stands at 146,255. on vaccinations, 89% of people aged 12 and over have now received a first dose. and 81% have been double jabbed. and more than 22 million people have
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received their boosterjab. scotland's first minister nicola sturgeon has expressed deep alarm at the growth of the omicron variant, saying they face a tsunami of cases. she said that from tomorrow all household contacts of any covid cases should isolate for ten days, regardless of vaccination status and even if they initially get a negative pcr test. she also urged people to cancel work christmas parties. our scotland correspondent alexandra mackenzie reports. another christmas overshadowed by uncertainty. with a sharp increase in daily covid cases, the scottish government said the omicron variant is likely to be the dominant strain within days. to be blunt, because of the much greater and faster transmissibility of this new variant, we may be facing, indeed we may be starting to experience, a potential tsunami of infections.
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while out celebrating with friends, the advice came to think carefully about mixing in crowded spaces and about deferring work christmas parties. i can understand them making a knee—jerk reaction, because yes, you don't the nhs to be overwhelmed. i don't think people will follow the rules as much as - they did maybe in previous years. whether they're getting used to it and accepting it. - this glasgow restaurant is one of many that have suffered cancellations. we are sitting in a space that would have had a table of 10, but they cancelled this morning off the back of the advice they have been given by the government. we have picked up some smaller tables to fill it, but it's the uncertainty that really hurts us the most. this is not the news anyone wanted to hear, it is not the message the first minister wanted to deliver, especially again in the run up to christmas, on what should have
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been one of busiest party nights of the year. but the scottish government wants to act now, due to the rapid transmission rate of this new variant. if you have a room of 100 people and a single unknown omicron case is in that room, you could in the days after that find 50, 60 or 70 positives. that's what we're trying to prevent. some people were out in glasgow city centre tonight, others decided to stay at home and put the celebrations on hold once more. alexandra mckenzie, bbc news, glasgow. in an effort to tackle the omicron variant, from today, face coverings are now compulsory in most indoor venues in england. masks must be worn in theatres and cinemas, museums and places of worship. they had already been mandatory in shops, on public transport, and in hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons.
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but they are not compulsory in hospitality venues like pubs and restaurants. our business correspondent caroline davies reports. the excitement of a christmas theatre trip. buying a balloon is optional. masks are not. # finding new adventures is the best #. this matinee performance of peppa pig in london was one of the first since the rules have changed. although there were plenty of masks here, there was a mixed reception to wearing them. obviously kids can't wear masks so it makes no difference really, because kids are coughing and stuff in there, so it's all a bit of hit and miss, really. we quite liked it, we were quite happy. i'm very happy to be wearing a mask. it was quite nice, it was all so close and it's good to wear them. yeah. many theatres, including this one, have been continuing to ask people to wear masks while watching performances, but today, that becomes a legal requirement. theatres are also delighted that they're able to keep operating during the important festive period. our bookings are very,
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very healthy and i think with what has just been put in with the mask mandate, i think we'll be fine. masks are already mandatory in venues like theatres and cinemas in scotland, wales and northern ireland. how difficult will it be for staff to enforce? they can't keep coming in disturbing the film. we've got to get the message to the customers and hope that they kind of follow the guidance themselves, really. the government has acknowledged it will be difficult to enforce the rules and it doesn't expect junior members of staff to put themselves at risk, but that they should work with the local authorities and the police if needed. # and when he was only halfway up he was neither up nor down #. after a difficult christmas period last year many venues have welcomed masks, if it builds confidence and means the show can go on. caroline davies, bbc news. our medical editor fergus walshjoins me. how worried should we be? time for
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concern, how worried should we be? time for concern. but — how worried should we be? time for concern, but not _ how worried should we be? time for concern, but not panic. _ how worried should we be? time for concern, but not panic. there - how worried should we be? time for concern, but not panic. there is - concern, but not panic. there is huge uncertainty about what we are in for with omicron. the maths look clear on infections, it is doubling every two or three days and we are heading for the biggest wave of infections. but that is infections, not hospitalisations. even if only a few of those lead to people needing hospital treatment, few of those lead to people needing hospitaltreatment, if few of those lead to people needing hospital treatment, if there is a huge number of cases it could be significant pressure on the nhs. so the advice is get vaccinated, because even if it doesn't protect against infection, it should offer a lot of protection against severe disease, do regular lateral—flow tests and work from home and if you're socialising this christmas, make sure it is well ventilated, a really chilly message in the run up to christmas.—
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downing street has rejected suggestions that borisjohnson turned down an offer by his director of communications to resign, after it that emerged jack doyle was at the christmas party at number ten last year, which would have broken covid rules. two sources told the bbc that mr doyle offered his resignation, but that mrjohnson would not accept it. this year's downing street christmas party has been cancelled. here's our political correspondent ben wright. besieged on three fronts — his authority, competence and integrity under scrutiny. after a torrid week for borisjohnson there is no sign the pressure on the prime minister is easing. for a start, continuing questions about a party held in downing street last december — one of three gatherings now being investigated by the country's top civil servant. cabinet secretary is i'm sure investigating all these questions so we will see the results of that in due course, but last christmas i was spending my time
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getting trade deals over the line. we now know this man, number ten press chief jack doyle, was at the event on december the 18th. sources have told the bbc mr doyle offered borisjohnson his resignation but the prime minister would not accept it — something downing street denies. the second political headache facing the prime minister concerns his costly flat refurbishment. downing street has said officials are now liaising with borisjohnson�*s adviser on standards, lord geidt, following the publication of a report yesterday into how the work was paid for. hi, nice to see you. sir keir starmer, today meeting people helping in the aftermath of storm arwen, stopped short of calling for mrjohnson to quit, but... he's not fit for office and because he's not fit for office he won't resign, and the question really is for tory members of the cabinet, tory mps, to ask themselves, are they prepared
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to put up with this? for now the answer is yes. many tory mps are miserable but they're not yet mutinous. one former cabinet minister told me he thought borisjohnson was being let down by number ten, with no common sense and little political nous, and tory mps are likely to stick with mrjohnson so long as he still looks like an electoral winner, and a by—election in shropshire next thursday will put that to the test. before that, the third problem facing borisjohnson. on tuesday, parliament will vote on new covid measures for england, including vaccine passports for some venues. more than 50 conservative mps have said they plan to rebel against the government, so there's little respite for number ten, which today cancelled this year's christmas party. ben wright, bbc news, westminster. the families of four men who were murdered by a serial killer have accused the metropolitan police
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of homophobia, after an inquestjury found that police failures probably contributed to the deaths of three of the victims. anthony walgate, gabriel kovari, daniel whitworth and jack taylor were killed in barking in east london by stephen port over a 16—month period starting in 2014. port was eventually jailed for life in 2016. here's our home affairs correspondent daniel sandford. four lives cruelly cut short by a serial killer. fashion student anthony walgate from hull, gabriel kovari from slovakia, young chef daniel whitworth from kent, and forklift driver jack taylor, from dagenham. an inquest found today that police errors contributed to three of the deaths. thejury said... immediately afterwards, the bereaved families welcomed what they felt had been the only
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conclusion the jury could have reached. the inadequate investigation by the metropolitan police into the deaths of anthony, gabriel, daniel and jack should be on public record as one of the most widespread institutionalfailures in modern history. and britain's largest police force could do nothing except apologise. it is a devastating finding. our thoughts are with everybody who loved these young men. we are so sorry for their loss. i give my own and the met's heartfelt apologies. it all began injune 2014, when 23—year—old anthony walgate was found dead outside stephen port�*s flat in barking. it was port who had called the ambulance, and almost immediately, the police errors started mounting up. the mistakes are too many to list, but they went on for 15 months before port was finally arrested for murder. and by that time, three other young men were also dead. after anthony died and port reported
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the body, detectives missed this record on the police national database of port with a man who could barely walk after taking the date rape drug, ghb. on his computer, port constantly searched for young men being raped while unconscious on drugs. but it was never examined. anthony's mother says a competent police investigation would've stopped port there and then. all the other victims would have been saved if they could have actually been bothered to investigate anthony's murder. port was arrested for lying about moving anthony's body, but he remained on bail, free to kill again, and within weeks, in a nearby church graveyard, two more bodies were found. first, gabriel kovari and then daniel whitworth. he had what appeared to be a suicide note in which he also said he'd ta ken gabriel's life. detectives just accepted that, when simple checks would have shown that the two had never met. in march 2015, port was jailed
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for his earlier lies. for a while, the killing stopped, but so did any further investigations, and in september 2015, after he'd been released, the body of jack taylor was found. cctv showed him walking with a stranger, but his sisters had to beg officers to use the pictures in a public appeal. we asked, we were told no. we asked again, we were told no, and then eventually they listened to us and they did put it out. the sisters' handwritten notes show how they had spotted the key suspicious factors linking the deaths that the police had missed. they now want the incompetent officers involved to be sacked. i don't think they should be in the position they're in any more. i don't think they should have theirjob. our world was tipped upside down, but they get promoted, they get to carry on their lives. the metropolitan police has not accepted that one of the reasons the investigations into the four men's that were so poor
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was that they were gay. it comes at the end of a terrible yearfor it comes at the end of a terrible year for britain's largest force. first of all the force realised one of its own officers had kidnapped and murdered sarah everard, then it was accused of institutional corruption by a panel looking at the failed investigation into the murder of daniel morgan. and now a jury has said three men could have been saved from a serial killer if officers had simply done theirjob better stop the partner of one of those men has called on the head of the force, cressida dick, to resign, but interestingly other relatives did notjoin interestingly other relatives did not join that call. interestingly other relatives did notjoin that call. daniel sandford, thank you. as you heard, the families of the victims claim that homophobia was a factor in the metropolitan police's failure to investigate the murders properly. but while admitting failings, the police deny this. daniel de simone has been speaking to two people close to the victims. daniel whitworth and ricky waumsley were an ordinary couple,
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but when daniel was murdered by the serial killer stephen port the met police refused to class his partner as next of kin. we'd been in a relationship for four years. we'd been living together for three. he says it was because they were gay. police have admitted ricky's treatment was wrong. i felt like i was being put to one side and i felt like they were being homophobic towards me. if it was a straight woman who had been found dead and that was my partner, i think i would have been treated very, very differently. a fake suicide note falsely linked daniel to another victim, gabriel kovari. it stated daniel had killed gabriel, but had really been written by their murderer, stephen port. but police wouldn't show ricky the note, meaning he couldn't say what he thought of it, and they ignored an
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alibi he gave daniel. ijust assumed that being the police they would look into all of this, because that's their job. a friend of gabriel kovari, second to be killed, was ignored by police when he linked the deaths and warned of the threat to gay men. john pape says the port case resonates with the finding of institutional racism after an earlier scandal — the murder of stephen lawrence in the 1990s. the definition of institutional racism was the collective failure of an institution to provide an appropriate and professional service to a minority group, and i think if you co—opt that as a definition of institutional homophobia, this investigation ticks every box. the met accepts failing stephen port�*s victims but denies that homophobia played a role. those who knew and loved the dead
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men say there must be a full acceptance of what went wrong before change can occur. daniel de simone, bbc news. 55 people have been killed and dozens injured in mexico when a lorry and its trailer crashed and overturned. around 160 people, including young families and children, were in the trailer. most of them were migrants from central america, seeking a new life in the united states. will grant's report from chiapas in southern mexico contains some distressing images. it was already known as one of the most dangerous journeys in the world for people fleeing violence and poverty in search of a better life. at least 160 people, among them families with children, were crammed into a lorry�*s trailer, which overturned on a corner and crashed into a bridge. the doors flew open, throwing those inside onto the tarmac. the driver, who it's said may have been speeding, fled the carnage. dazed survivors were treated
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at the site and taken to nearby hospitals, but many migrants ran away for fear of being detained and deported. they cannot bear the idea of returning to central america in the grip of extreme poverty, gang violence and climate change which is destroying their livelihoods. these people were ready to risk everything to reach the united states, paying thousands to drug cartels who run the profitable people smuggling routes north. for many though it cost them their lives. soon the process of identifying the bodies will begin and they'll be returned to their families in guatemala and honduras. but even these violent deaths won't deter many for long. for central america's poorest, the choice between a dangerous journey or a life of unending poverty and violence is no choice at all. will grant, bbc news, chiapas. let's take a look at some of today's other news. a man described as one of the uk's
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most prolific online sexual predators has been jailed for 32 years. abdul elahi targeted almost 2000 victims from his bedroom computer. he persuaded them to send explicit photos for money and then blackmailed them into committing extreme sexual demands. the high court has ruled julian assange can be extradited to the us to stand trial. the wikileaks founder faces charges there for leaking classified documents. assange's extradition was blocked injanuary due to his mental health. the judges were reassured by us promises to reduce the risk of suicide. michael nesmith, the guitarist and singer in the �*60s pop group the monkees, has died at the age of 78. famed for his green beanie hat, nesmith went on to be a successful solo musician, film maker and investor in movies and music. sunday will see the climax of this
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year's formula one world championship in abu dhabi, when either lewis hamilton or max verstappen will come out on top, in what is arguably the most intense title decider in the sport's history. our sports correspondent natalie pirks has this report from abu dhabi. it's the ending all formula 1 fans wanted. today saw one of the final practice sessions ahead of sunday's winner—takes—all showdown. and for the teams tied at the top, the season has been intense — not that they'll admit it. this is the moment. how are you sleeping, how are you feeling? actually, very good. there's only two situations in life, when you are part of life, this is when you're in love and when you race. it's just fantastic to have it reach to the final race, and it's all—or—nothing. but there's been no love lost between red bull and mercedes this season. the champion is out of the race, and that's a big crash! the rivalry burst into life at silverstone, with eventual winner hamilton refusing to give an inch.
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game on. at monza, they both crashed out, leaving verstappen with a grid penalty. radio: that's what you get - when you don't leave the space. and the pressure ramped up in saudi arabia last weekend. oh, they touched! and they've collided! for me, this has been the best season in formula 1 history. i think verstappen is sort of bordering more on the schumacher—esque ruthlessness, do anything to win, whereas i think lewis maybe drives with a bit more integrity, and he's going to eclipse everyone else's records after this. at 24, verstappen is 12 years hamilton'sjunior, and many believe he's the guy to end this era of mercedes dominance. but if hamilton were to win his eighth world title on sunday, well, he would make sporting history and overtake the legendary michael schumacher. so, just how do you compare greatness? hamilton and schumacher only raced against each other for three seasons, until the german made way at mercedes for hamilton. but the 2008 champion proved he was no pretender to the crown and has won every title since 2014, bar one.
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hamilton has more wins, more pole positions and more podium finishes than the german. and now, the two greatest drivers in formula 1 history are locked on seven titles each. but red bull are chasing their own fairytale. they believe a verstappen win would be a triumph of david over goliath. i think it would be our biggest achievement. i think with the intensity and the level of the competition and, you know, lewis hamilton in a mercedes, with the strength that they have, if we can beat them — wow! that would be something that we could have only dreamt about this time 12 months ago. the scene is set for a high—stakes game on sunday. something's gotta give. natalie pirks, bbc news, abu dhabi. that's it. now on bbc one, time for the news where you are. have a very good night. bye— bye.
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welcome to bbc london. i'm victoria hollins. it's been quite a chilly day and we've got a cold night on the way, a widespread frost expected in the early hours of saturday morning, particularly across eastern and central areas of the uk. many towns and cities will fall to around freezing or below. but out towards the west, not quite so cold — in fact by this stage on saturday, the weather will be turning milder as an advancing warm front brings cloud and also some outbreaks of rain. of course, when i say warm front, relatively warm for this time of year, because it won't be all that warm at all. in fact, cloudy with outbreaks of rain lasting all afternoon — yes, it's 12 celsius out towards the west, but not particularly appealing. 6—8 celsius for the east of the country, still fairly nippy on saturday, anywhere from aberdeen down to norwich. it'll turn milder as we head toward sunday and into next week, temperatures in some parts of the country could be around 13—14 celsius.
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this is bbc news, the headlines. president biden has said he's very concerned by a supreme court decision to leave a strict new abortion law in place in texas. it's being challenged by abortion providers in the state. president biden has acknowledged that inflation is affecting american families, after the annual rate in the us hit its highest level in nearly forty years. higherfuel, food and housing costs contributed to prices rising by 6.8% in november. the high court in london has ruled thatjulian assange should be extradited to stand trial in the united states. the wikileaks founder faces charges linked to the leaking of classified military documents. mike nesmith — the guitarist in the sixties band the monkees — has died at the age of 78. the group was formed as an american version of the beatles, with a string of hits and a successful tv series.


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