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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 12, 2021 2:00am-2:31am GMT

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hello and welcome to bbc news, i'm simon pusey. president biden has promised federal aid after tornadoes devastated at least five us states, flattening whole towns. the worst hit state is kentucky, where the governor, andy beshear, says at least 70 people have been killed, many of them in a candle factory in the town of mayfield. there have been reports of deaths too in arkansas, missouri, tennessee and illinois, where six amazon workers have been confirmed dead after the roof of their warehouse collapsed. our north america correspondent
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nomia iqbal reports. the scale of the destruction has been extraordinary. in the dead of night, dark funnel clouds roared across six states in four hours at a speed of 220 mph, obliterating everything in their path. this small town of mayfield in kentucky has been hit hard. workers on christmas shifts at this candle factory were buried by several tornadoes that came hurtling in the dark. it is thought up to 110 people were inside. a0 have made it out. this has been the most devastating tornado event in our state's history. and for those that have seen it, what it's done here in grace county and elsewhere, it is indescribable. a state of emergency has been declared in kentucky as a huge rescue operation gets under way, but authorities
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are facing huge challenges. the police station in mayfield has been destroyed and firefighters have lost equipment. there is no power. nearly 200 troops from the national guard are helping, and more than half of the population in this town are without electricity and water in one of the coldest months of the year. millions of americans knew extreme weather was coming. they have been issued with weather alerts for several weeks. this country is used to tornadoes. there was one here in kentucky earlier in the week. but this swarm of tornadoes has stunned people due to its speed and ferocity. in the southern state of arkansas, a nursing home was badly damaged, killing at least one person, injuring several and trapping more than a dozen others inside. in the midwest state of illinois, an amazon warehouse with up to 100 people inside was ripped apart
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after the roof partially collapsed. president biden has called it an unimaginable tragedy. we still don't know how many lives were lost or the full extent of the damage. but i want to emphasise what i told all the governors. the federal government will do everything, absolutely everything, it can possibly do to help. forecasters say the storm has now weakened, but americans are being urged to get ready for more severe weather as the storms continue to sweep across the country. let's look at some other stories in brief: the us state department top officialfor europe, karen donfried, is to travel to ukraine and russia for talks about moscow's huge military build—up on the ukrainian border. foreign ministers from the g7 economic powers have been meeting in britain to try to present a united front to moscow. people in the pacific territory of new caledonia are voting in a third and final referendum on independence from france. pro—independence campaigners are boycotting the vote. the territory's voters rejected breaking with france in 2018 and again last year.
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a supreme courtjudge in brazil has ruled that foreign visitors will need to produce a covid vaccination certificate in order to enter the country. the ruling invalidates controversial regulations issued previously by the national health agency, who demanded only a negative pcr test for foreigners arriving in brazil. tens of thousands of people have marched through vienna to protest against a covid vaccine mandate for all adults. since the rules came into effect last month, anyone who hasn't been vaccinated or recently contracted covid—i9 has only been able to leave home in special circumstances. around 1,400 police officers were on duty to oversee the protest. farmers in india have begun leaving camps on the outskirts of delhi, where they have been protesting for more than a year. after winning their battle with the government over agricultural reforms, many are now headed back home on convoys of tractors. india's prime minister, narendra modi, agreed to scrap the reforms last month
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in a rare u—turn. staying in india, where the country's leading manufacturer of syringes and needles has urged the government to allow its operations to resume. factories run by hindustan syringes and medical devices have been forced to close to tackle pollution in delhi, but the company says the covid vaccination programme is being disrupted. don't forget there is much more on our website. you'll find all the news, sport, business and lots more besides, updated 2a hours a day. just head to or download the bbc news app. the prime minister's office has acknowledged that borisjohnson briefly took part in a quiz in downing street a year ago, saying the event was to thank staff for their hard work during the pandemic. it was at a time when london was in lockdown and no social gatherings were allowed. the sunday mirror has published a story including a picture in which borisjohnson can be seen sitting
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near two colleagues. here is our political correspondent chris mason. because of the covid restrictions in the uk, but most particularly in london, social gatherings between people who didn't live together were banned. for the last couple of weeks, the last ten days or so, there has been story after story after story relating to gatherings that took place in downing street and the broader british government which have raised questions about whether they were within the spirit or even the letter of the rules. the latest incarnation of this, as you say, in the sunday mirror, has just been published in the last hour or so and in particular a picture. the bbc was reporting the other day that there had been a quiz that had taken place, organised by number ten, with some people taking part virtually and others physically in the building. what was striking about the development in the last hour is the picture that we can see there. the prime minister popped into this room, one of the state rooms in downing
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street, to surprise his staff and host a round of this quiz. you will see there is a gentleman to his right, pictured on the left, who has tinsel wrapped around his neck. now, i'm told that neither of the two people you can see in the picture — there is someonejust to the prime minister's left to the right of the screen who you can't see now we have zoomed in. but those two people, we're told, are members of his closest staff who had come in to help him with the technology, the whole business of zoom or whatever it is, remote contributors. there were other teams and groups of staff in the different departments of downing street, i'm told, that did take part in the building but were doing so, i'm told, from their own desk. scientists have warned that without further restrictions, the uk is facing a wave of coronavirus infections injanuary that could be larger than any seen before. people aged between 30 and 39 in england will be able to start booking their boosterjabs from monday. here is our health correspondent katharine da costa. at vaccine centres around the uk, the race is on to get
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even more jabs into arms and boost our defences against what may become the biggest wave of covid infections we've seen so far. people were lining up to get their shots at this vaccine centre in grimsby. it's more worrying, i think, because you just — we don't know exactly what's going to happen, so it's basically just to be safe. ijust want to protect people, as well, that i'm going to be in contact with. the new 0micron variant is spreading fast, doubling every 2.5 days. new modelling has looked at what that might mean for how things might pan out in england under plan b. it is not a prediction but sets out a range of possible outcomes. so what does that mean for cases? researchers expect a substantial wait, bigger than last winter, when daily cases peaked at more than 50,000. there is still a lot
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of uncertainty about how many may end up in hospital, because we still don't know whether 0micron causes more severe illness. and many people are fully vaccinated, which should help. by the and of april deaths may range from 25,000 to 75,000, depending on how well vaccines perform. but scientists are hopeful they will still provide good protection against serious disease. the research also looked at the impact of introducing new restrictions. working from home was enough to reduce the impact of 0micron in the most optimistic scenario, but in the most pessimistic outcome, it would take lockdown with schools open to prevent intense pressure on hospitals. what we do know is that very stringent restrictions come with their own downsides. they can be devastating for individuals, families and businesses, especially in the lead—up to christmas, so policymakers have some very difficult decisions to make. the government focus now is on ramping up the booster campaign to 500,000jabs per day, with more age groups expected to be invited soon.
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scientists say three doses are now needed to protect against 0micron infection. we know that the booster doses give very effective protection. we do not know how long it will last. it may not be very long lasting. but the booster doses will be crucial. we cannotjust rely on the vaccine campaign to control those. we must wear masks and do all the other things we have learned to do too. health officials say this more contagion variant could cause more significant pressure for the health service. the scottish government is considering further restrictions from next week. the westminster government says current measures in england remain proportionate, and it will take further action if needed to protect lives and the nhs. katharine da costa, bbc news. household contacts of people who have tested positive for covid in scotland are being asked to isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status or even if they have had a negative pcr result. our home affairs correspondent david cowan reports.
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nicola sturgeon: we may be starting to experience - a potential tsunami of infections. tommy kane and his family are starting ten days of self—isolation, a tough challenge and one many more will share as 0micron spreads around scotland. what did you make of what the first minister said today? it was pretty grim. i thought it was pretty dire. and it was pretty brutal news that i think is going to have an impact on us all. but public health is of paramount importance, and if people need to take the necessary precautions to protect each other then that's what we need to do. last week he went to a football match and a concert in edinburgh, and somewhere along the line picked up the new variant. i have been double—jabbed. i've not had my booster. i know the booster gives more protection,
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so i suppose a bit worried. but my symptoms are, you know, touch wood, up to this point pretty mild. tommy kane is going to spend more than a week in the middle of winter in his summer house. the rest of the family, his wife and their two grown—up children, are at home, self—isolating for ten days, even though they have tested negative for covid. the 51—year—old was a senior scottish adviser to former labour leaderjeremy corbyn, but he has no criticism of the scottish government. i would far rather that the government was honest with us than keep things from us, and i think today what we got was an honest assessment, as much as that was a real blow. i do think that, if we are heading towards further restrictions, then there has to be far greater effort this time around to protect workers. a cherished time of year is just weeks away. in tommy kane's community in west lothian and far beyond, people are wondering what lies ahead. david cowan, bbc news, edinburgh. a man has died after being shot during an incident involving armed officers in west london. the metropolitan police say they responded to reports of a man with a firearm entering a bank and bookmakers
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before getting into a vehicle and leaving the area. armed police stopped the car near kensington gardens 15 minutes later and shots were fired. this is bbc news. our top story: president biden has pledged federal aid after tornadoes devastated a string of us states, flattening whole towns and killing at least 70 people. more on those tornadoes now. a short time ago i spoke to victor gensini, a meteorology professor at the northern illinois university. he explained the significance of this devastating weather event. in one word, historic. we are looking at a legendary tornado event here in the united states, one like we haven't probably seen since 1925 — 18 march 1925 to be exact — which had a tornado occur that took a path length of about 219 miles. and last night, just
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to give you some context, the tornado event probably crossed nearly 400 kilometres, 250 miles, starting just north of little rock, arkansas, passing through the state of missouri, the state of tennessee, and eventually doing probably its most prolific damage in the state of kentucky. right now, many of us are just sort of trying to really unpack what happened yesterday, as it is just absolutely historic. victor, weather is obviously unpredictable, that is the very nature of it. but we didn't really have many warnings, did we, about this? what made it so bad? well, there were actually significant warnings in advance for this storm. i mean, several days in advance the storm prediction centre in northern 0klahoma, which is in charge of issuing severe weather outlooks for events like this, did have some significant outlooks for yesterday's tornadoes. and as we drew closer to the event, tornado watches, which means the conditions are favourable for these types of events to occur,
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were issued hours in advance. and honestly even warnings, which means the tornadoes have been spotted, were also issued as well. the big challenge here is that these tornadoes occurred at night, in the dark. people are sleeping, people are not expecting these types of tornado events to occur — which really creates a lot of exposure and vulnerability, which is always a big deal when we have these types of events at night. would you say it is too simplistic to say that these have been linked to climate change? that would certainly be a simplistic view, yes. there's a lot of things unfolding. there's certainly the climate change angle. there's also the human exposure. 0ur cities are growing larger. we're becoming more vulnerable to tornadoes. and where tornadoes are occurring is also changing with respect to time. we cannot rule out climate change in terms of its contribution to an event like last night. it is probably — certainly not the only cause, or the only
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factor, and certainly research going forward at places like northern illinois university and others will continue to try to address these questions. and given climate change is probably going to get worse and cities are probably going to get bigger, do you expect to see more of these kinds of occurrences? well, if i can hang my hat on one thing, it's that we'll continue to see tornado disasters in the future, regardless of what happens with climate change, as our cities grow larger. it�* is really our research groups and others that are looking at the future of events like we saw last night. if those continue to get more frequent, we'll probably be talking about these events a lot more, unfortunately. you may have heard of robotic surgery, where procedures are carried out remotely. well the technology is improving all the time. now guy's and st thomas's hospital in london has a new robotic device for operations which aims to speed up recovery times and help patients spend less time in hospital. frankie mccamley explains. i got most of my family's
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picture here and this is my dad. nasser was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year. i wanted to get rid of it and that is the basis of how the operation came to be. he was asked if he wanted to be the first person in the uk to have his prostate gland removed by a new robotic system. it's nice to be part of something new within the medicalfield, that in future may contribute a lot of effectiveness, a lot of service to the community and therefore, i had no doubt about it. using 3d hd cameras and remote arms a few metres away from the patient, surgeons at guy's and st thomas's controlled robotic arms in order to carry out complicated operations. this hospital has the largest robotic surgery programme in the country with six robots carrying out operations on all different parts of the body from lungs to tonsils. surgeons here are pioneering new techniques that could soon be used across the uk.
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in five or ten years time, most keyhole surgery in this country is going to be done with robotic assistance and it has been a slow growth over the past ten years or so, but we are now at the stage where some of these robots are so adaptable, they can help with so many different types of operations. how have the patients responded? the patients have been fantastic. they have been very positive and thankfully the results so far have been good. in nasser�*s case, his results were everything he and his family hoped for. he is now cancer—free and making every day count. now it's time for sport, with my colleague 0lly foster. the formula 1 championship will be decided sunday, and max verstappen is on hold for the abu dhabi grand prix.
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the pair a little on points at the top of the standings. we have not had that heading into the final grand prix of a season since 197a. hamilton is going for a record eight f1 titles, max verstappen his first, and it is a straight race to the line between the two, or if both fail to finish or out of the points, then max verstappen will clinch the title because of his nine race winds over hamilton's eight. at the top of the premier league, manchester city lead liverpool by one point with chelsea one point further back. that is after all three of them won, all thanks to penalties. city made quite hard work of it against wolves, raheem sterling scoring his 100 premier league goal, a second—half penalty after a debatable handball decision. wolves played half the match with ten men, rothman picking up to yellow cards in the space of a minute before the break. steven gerrard was given a great welcome on his first return to enfield. the aston villa manager had 17
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years as a liverpool player, but it was his old side that came out on top, just the one goal from the penalty, mo salah the scorer after he was fouled. his 21st of the season in all competitions. giroginho scored two penalties for chelsea, including the 94th minute winner as they beat leeds 3—2. arsenal beat southampton 3—0, even though they were missing their captain. manchester united won 1—0 at norwich, thanks to a cristiano ronaldo penalty. in the german bundesliga: in la liga: australia have won the first ashes test by nine wickets. they snuffed out england's faint hopes by lunch on the fourth day in brisbane.
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england were hoping to build on a brilliant partnership between dawid malan and captainjoe root. both were gone in a matter of a few overs from the start. england added just 77 runs for the last eight wickets before they were bowled out for 297. that left australia needing just 20 runs to win. they reached that with ease to go one up in the series. yeah, exceptionally proud. i thought, nathan lyon, i said last night, forget about it, you are never going to get your 400. so it was nice he got that done this morning. i said maybe next summer. but really happy for him, i think he bowled really well yesterday. bitterly disappointing, because we put a lot of work in last night, built up that big partnership, and that was really on me and dawid malan to make the most of that opportunity this morning. credit to australia, they put the ball in good areas. that is all your sport for now.
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the eldest daughter of america's first astronaut, alan shephard, has made a trip to the edge of space at the age of 74. laura shepard churchley took off on board a commercial spacecraft in west texas owned byjeff bezos' blue 0rigin company. mark lobel reports. main engine start. three, two, one. from rural texas to the edge of space. laura shepard churchley following in herfather�*s footsteps 60 years after his pioneering flight as the first american to make the journey, in a spacecraft named after him. mission control has confirmed new shepard has cleared the tower and is on its way to space. it was a once—in—a—lifetime ride on board this fully autonomous six—storey tall commercial flight, reaching an altitude of over 100 kilometres during a thrilling 10—minute trip. long enough to experience zero gravity, though. whoa!
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never seen anything like this. this tops an unforgettable year for human space flight, with private space companies aplenty, including space x and virgin galactic. blue 0rigin launched its first crewed space flight injuly carrying its founder, amazon's jeff bezos. captain kirk himself! star trek�*s william shatner, the oldest person to make it into space, followed in october. this third flight is blue 0rigin�*s first full capacity one, with six people on board, which descended safely back to earth. the 74—year—old's verdict? awesome! awesome, she says. and following in her father's footsteps? i thought about dad coming down, and gosh, he didn't even
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get to enjoy anything i enjoyed. he was working. he was all business. right, he had to do it himself. i went on for the ride. have you seen how small his capsule was? he wasn't doing somersaults, he didn't have your windows. the only way he knew he was weightless was his straps were flying. right, because he was strapped in. underlining just how remarkably space travel has changed since 1961. how it will evolve in 2022 and beyond for the next generation — well, that's anyone's guess. mark lobel, bbc news. finally, long queues formed here in england as limited—edition t—shirts made by the street artist banksy went on sale. the bristol—born artist announced on friday night that the shirts would go on sale at locations in the city.
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he said they had been created to show support for the four people about to go on trial accused of pulling down the statue of slave trader edward colston. the shirts quickly began appearing for resale online, with one seller asking for £9,000. that's 11,945 us dollars. a reminder of our top story: president biden has said the federal government will do everything it can to help six american states recover from one of the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in us history. he has declared a state of emergency in kentucky, where more than a hundred people are feared to have died. in illinois, at least six people were killed when the roof of an amazon warehouse collapsed. mr biden said emergency housing would be offered to those affected, tens of thousands of whom are without power or water. there are also reports of deaths in the states of arkansaw, missouri and tennessee. tornadoes also struck mississippi. you can reach me on twitter.
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i'm @sipusey. time now for the weather with stav. hello there. the second half of the weekend is going to remain fairly u nsettled. a lot of cloud around on sunday but one thing you will notice, particularly in england and wales, is it will be very mild indeed. further north there will be outbreaks of rain tied in with this area of low pressure, keeping a watch on this area of low pressure, it is going deepen as its the north—west of the uk to bring jails, even severe gales, to the far north—west of scotland. but it will bring some rain to the north and west and it will scoop up very mild air across much of the country, particularly for england and wales. we start sunday on a rather cloudy note. some mist and low cloud, a bit of drizzle as well, some brightness breaking into the afternoon. particularly across eastern
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areas, we have but rebound pushing across areas of the irish sea and eventually pushing up into central parts of scotland by the end of the day. north of here, the far north—east of scotland will be quite cool, but very mild for the time of year, further south, could see 14 or 15 degrees. sunday evening onto sunday night, we see this deepening load bring a swath of heavy rain and gales to the far north—west of northern ireland and certainly for western scotland, especially the hebrides, that is where we will see the strongest of the winds. it will push into the north of scotland by the end of the night, leaving a legacy of blustery showers and slightly cooler air. england and wales will continue to see this weather front bringing outbreaks of rain, particularly across wales and in towards the south—west. here it's going to be mild, it's looking a bit cooler further north. for monday, we start the new week off on a bright note across the northern half of the country, here we will have some blustery showers, wintry on the hills, england and wales will be played by this weather front so it could be quite cloudy and quite wet in parts of wales and into northern england, i think the south—east quadrant could be a bit drier, perhaps a little bit brighter. that weather front clears away from england and wales
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into tuesday, we start to see high pressure building in the south, but you will notice low pressure to the north of the uk. that will bring wet and windy weather for a time, but after wednesday, certainly thursday and friday, it looks like that area of high pressure will wind out, push northwards and clear the wet and windy weather away from the uk, and we will all be in the mild air. this upcoming week is looking pretty mild for this time of year. we will start off unsettled, particularly in the north, then it will settle down. it's likely to be really cloudy with limited sunshine and some mist and fog overnight.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: president biden has pledged federal aid after tornadoes devastated a string of us states, flattening whole towns and killing at least 70 people. amazon says it is "heartbroken" after six of its workers were killed when the roof of their warehouse collapsed when it was hit by a tornado in illinois. the uk prime minister's office has acknowledged that borisjohnson briefly took part
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in a quiz in downing street a year ago, saying the event was to thank staff for their hard work during the pandemic. it was when london was in lockdown and no social gatherings were allowed. scientists are warning that the uk faces a substantial wave of 0micron infections next month that might overwhelm the national health service. the 0micron variant is thought to be spreading quickly and health officials have renewed their call for everyone eligible to come forward for a covid boosterjab. now on bbc news, it's time for dateline london. hello, and welcome to the programme which brings together columnists on uk newspapers, bbc specialists and internationaljournalists who write, blog and broadcast from dateline london.


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