tv BBC News BBC News December 12, 2021 3:00am-3:31am GMT
welcome to bbc news. our top stories: president biden pledges federal aid as tornadoes devastate a string of us states, flattening whole towns and killing at least 70 people. i'm monitoring the situation very closely, since early this morning. this is likely to be one of the largest tornado outbreaks in our history. a warning that the uk faces a substantial wave of omicron infections next month that might overwhelm the national health service. piling the pressure on the british prime minister — a newspaper publishes a photo showing borisjohnson did take part in a virtual downing street quiz last christmas. and it's going to be a nail—biter! max verstappen beats lewis hamilton to pole position for sunday's formula one title decider in abu dhabi.
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 seventy people have been killed, many of them in a candle factory in the town of mayfield. there've 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 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 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 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. i'm joined now by jack sillin, a weather modeller from cornell university. i gather you have been out taking weather readings. what are conditions like at the moment? in are conditions like at the moment?— are conditions like at the moment? , , ., ., ~ moment? in upstate new york we are seeing — moment? in upstate new york we are seeing the — moment? in upstate new york we are seeing the leftovers _ moment? in upstate new york we are seeing the leftovers that - are seeing the leftovers that brought the severe weather to the midsouth and we register gusts up to 55 mph on the shores of lake ontario and no major issues now that things have settled down. the major issues now that things have settled down.— have settled down. the “obs lasted many i have settled down. the “obs lasted many hours. * have settled down. the jobs lasted many hours. how- lasted many hours. how significant is the length of the tornados? it significant is the length of the tornados?— significant is the length of the tornados? it is significant how [one the tornados? it is significant how long they _ the tornados? it is significant how long they lasted - the tornados? it is significant how long they lasted from i the tornados? it is significant how long they lasted from a l how long they lasted from a scientific perspective. they normally last 30 minutes, one hour, but these are called super cells which means they last many hours due to the fact that have a rotating updraught. the storm that produced the
biggest storm in kentucky, in arkansas, lasted 11 hours, travelling 600 miles and survey teams still have to determine how many tornados the storm produced and how long the storm is on the ground. we may not know those numbers for several days. know those numbers for several da s. ~ ~ , . , ., days. we think pictures of huge devastation. _ days. we think pictures of huge devastation. at _ days. we think pictures of huge devastation. at least _ days. we think pictures of huge devastation. at least 70 - devastation. at least 70 killed. why was he so bad? it has to do with the volatility of the atmosphere. tornados produced when you have both warm, moist air produced when you have both warm, moistair coming produced when you have both warm, moist air coming from the gulf of mexico, cold dry air coming down from canada and the third key ingredient was that the winds changed speed and direction as you go from the surface up into the atmosphere and we had all three ingredients in abundance over kentucky. the final thing that contributed to the storms for us was the fact they did not have to jockey or compete with any other storms nearby. it had access to the full environment, hogging all the energy for itself. normally we see multiple storms in close
proximity competing for atmosphere and energy but in this case we had just one seller able to have plenty of room to breathe and unfortunately focused a lot of the fury on parts of kentucky. we often link many storms like this to climate change, is there anything that can be done in the future with songs like this is this mother nature? we have to do _ this is this mother nature? we have to do a — this is this mother nature? - have to do a little bit of a distinction between this particular storm and storm of this type. this particular storms caused by an area of low pressure, a natural occurrence in the us. any time of the year. but it is true that climate change is making storms like this more common and an analogy could he is to say that your favourite soccer or football player, they scored a goal because they kicked in the right direction but all the training and practice they have done beforehand that makes that more or less likely. similarly, this tornado was produced by thunderstorm forming from a natural process but climate change is making things warmer,
especially the gulf of mexico, making the gulf of mexico warmer, it is shifting the underlying probabilities and making the situation like this is more likely in the future. and of course we wish everyone in the affected areas watching this well. jack sillin thank you so much for bringing us that update.— that update. thank you for havin: that update. thank you for having me. _ that update. thank you for having me, simon. - scientists have warned that, without further restrictions, the uk is facing a wave of coronavirus infections in january that could be larger than any seen before. people aged between 30 and 39 in england will be able to start booking their booster jabs from monday. here's our health correspondent, katharine da costa. at vaccine centres around the uk, the race is on to get 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 wave, bigger than last winter, when daily cases peaked at more than 50,000. there is still a lot 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, for 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. 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 have to 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. while 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. the us and uk have expressed deep concern that russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops at the ukraine border. british foreign secretary liz truss discussed the threat during talks with g7 foreign ministers in liverpool today. from liverpool here's our diplomatic corresondent james landale. russian forces on manoeuvre near the border with the ukraine — at least according to the russian government, which says this is alljust regular training. but western governments are not so sure. they estimate more than 100,000 russian troops are now massed
on the border — enough, they claim, for an invasion. that is something these ministers say they are determined to prevent. the foreign secretary and her g7 counterparts want to act together and put on a show of unity that russian aggression would be wrong and would come at a high price. it would be extremely serious if russia were to take that action. it would be a strategic mistake and there would be severe consequences for russia. and what we're doing this weekend is working with like—minded allies to spell that out. the options these ministers are considering are mainly economic sanctions against russia, sanctions diplomats describe as being of a completely different order. so could they threaten to stop this, the new gas pipeline between russia and germany, fully laid but yet to open? abandoning this would hit russia hard, but europe's economy would suffer too. tomorrow the g7 foreign
ministers are expected to issue what is described as a forceful statement warning against russian aggression. they won't spell out specific sanctions, but diplomats say all options are on the table. certainly today, the message was as united as the greeting was safe. today, the great democracies that have been gathering here have sent a strong message of support to ukraine. well, of course we're all very concerned with the military build—up at the ukrainian border. that's why we're calling for de—escalation. they are all, one minister said, in deterrent mode. the question is whether the messages being heard in moscow. on that, much depends. speaking to reporters in his home town of wilmington delaware, presidentjoe biden stressed that he has warned vladimir putin of the consequences of invading ukraine. i have made it absolutely clear
to president putin, this is the last thing i will say that if he moves on ukraine the economic consequences for his economy will be devastating. devastating. number one. number two, we will find it required that we will have to send more american and nato troops in the western flanks, all of those nato, countries who have a sacred obligation to defend them against any attack by russia. numberthree, the russia. number three, the impact russia. numberthree, the impact on all of that on russia and its attitude on the rest of the worlds view on russia would change remarkably. he would pay a terrible price. so, we will continue to provide for, we have and continue to provide for, the defence capacities for the ukrainian people. amy mackinnon is a national security and intelligence correspondent with the foreign policy magazine in washington. she was previously based in moscow.
shejoins me now. vladimir putin has often referred to function as just what the west does time and time again and oftenjokes about that. does time and time again and often jokes about that. what sanctions have an effect this time? . ., , ., sanctions have an effect this time? . ., ., ., , time? sanctions are a fairly blunt object _ time? sanctions are a fairly blunt object but _ time? sanctions are a fairly blunt object but us - time? sanctions are a fairly blunt object but us officials from the 0bama administration do certainly believe in 2014, the first time russia invaded ukraine, sanctions to deter them from pushing deeper into territory but it's hard to know, it is hard to know what the criminal�*s calculus is and whether or not this will determine this time around. what other options though the us and eu have?— what other options though the us and eu have? their keeping cards close _ us and eu have? their keeping cards close to _ us and eu have? their keeping cards close to their— us and eu have? their keeping cards close to their chest - us and eu have? their keeping cards close to their chest but . cards close to their chest but this is not the first radio with sanctions on russia. some likely potential targets are russian banks, companies, potentially sanctions on russian foreign debt and all the arcs in the inner circle of president putin and getting them from swift financial
systems and they other cars on the table. its, systems and they other cars on the table. �* , , , ., systems and they other cars on the table-— the table. a big buildup on the border, 100,000 _ the table. a big buildup on the border, 100,000 on _ the table. a big buildup on the border, 100,000 on the - the table. a big buildup on the i border, 100,000 on the troops. what are their objections at the moment? it what are their ob'ections at the moment?— what are their ob'ections at the moment? , , ., .,, the moment? it seems that most russian analysts _ the moment? it seems that most russian analysts i _ the moment? it seems that most russian analysts i have _ the moment? it seems that most russian analysts i have spoken i russian analysts i have spoken to say this is a messaging exercised by the kremlin, they trying to get the attention of the west and united states and therefore the call between president putin and president biden on tuesday was extremely important. what matters now is whether biden has delivered a difficult warning to determine — to deter him from invasion and us officials tell us they believe that president putin has not decided yet whether they will invite so there is a lot riding on what will happen in the next few weeks — — and whether will invade. germany and other countries depend on gas from russia? i think there are certain concerns that if some of these
sanctions extend to the energy sector, russia could limit gas flow to europe that would exact a very punishing toll on the russian economy as well because they are very dependent on hydro carbons. we they are very dependent on hydro carbons.— they are very dependent on hydro carbons. we have seen --eole hydro carbons. we have seen people talking _ hydro carbons. we have seen people talking about - hydro carbons. we have seen people talking about januaryl people talking about january when vladimir putin and russia may make a move but thank you very much for speaking to us. 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. there's a warning that the uk faces a substantial wave of 0micron infections next month that might overwhelm the national health service. the uk prime minister's office has admitted that borisjohnson briefly took part in a quiz at downing street a year ago — with two people sat next to him — at a time when coronavirus restrictions in london meant social mixing between households was banned. the sunday mirror has obtained a photo of the quiz,
the sunday mirror has obtained a photo of the quiz, described by number ten as a "virtual" event. here's 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 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 someone just 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. people in the pacific territory of new caledonia are voting in a referendum on independence from france. some campaigners are by coating the vote. a
supreme courtjudge in brazil has ruled foreign visitors will need to produce a covid vaccination certificate to enter the country. it invalidates controversial regulations issued previously by the health regulators. tens of thousands of people have marched through vienna to protest against a covid vaccine mandate for adults. anyone who has not been vaccinated or recently contracted covid—19 has only be able to leave home in special circumstances. police officers were on duty to oversee the process. farmers in india have begun leaving camps where they have been protesting for over a year. many are now headed back home on convoys of track is. now it's time for sport, with my colleague 0lly foster. the formula one championship
will be decided. lewis hamilton and max verstappen level on points and we have not had that for the final race since 1974. it is a straight race to the line between the two. if both failed to finish, max verstappen will clinch the title. manchester city are leading liverpool by a point after all three top teams one thanks to penalties for raheem sterling got his 100th premier league goal after a debatable handball decision. walls played half the match with ten men. ——
wolves. steven gerrard was given a warm welcome. just the one goalfrom a given a warm welcome. just the one goal from a penalty. given a warm welcome. just the one goalfrom a penalty. to genius go to penalties for chelsea, as they beat leeds. bayern munich extended their lead to six point after coming from behind to win that match.
australia have won the first ashes test by nine wickets. england were hoping to build on a brilliant partnership between malan and joe root but both were gone in the matter of a few overs. they were bowled out for 297, leaving australia needed just 20 runs to win reach that with ease to go one up reach that with ease to go one up in the series.— up in the series. exceptionally roud. up in the series. exceptionally proud- so _ up in the series. exceptionally proud. so many— up in the series. exceptionally proud. so many different - proud. so many different stories within the game. i thought nathan lane — i told him he would never get his 400th, said maybe next summer but really happy for him getting it. but really happy for him getting it— getting it. bitterly disappointed - getting it. bitterly . disappointed because getting it. bitterly - disappointed because we getting it. bitterly _ disappointed because we put a lot of— disappointed because we put a lot of good work in last night, building — lot of good work in last night,
building a _ lot of good work in last night, building a big partnership and it was— building a big partnership and it was really on me and malan to make — it was really on me and malan to make most of the opportunity but credil— to make most of the opportunity but credit to australia. that is all your — but credit to australia. that is all your spot _ but credit to australia. that is all your spot now. - —— sport. 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! 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 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. you can reach me on twitter.
i'm @ si pusey. thank you for watching and stay tuned. hello there. the second half of the weekend is going to remain fairly unsettled. a lot of cloud around on sunday but one thing you will notice, particularly in england and wales, is it going to be very mild indeed. further north there will be outbreaks of rain tied in with this area of low pressure, we're keeping a watch on this area of low pressure, it is going deepen as it passes the north—west of the uk to bring gales, 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 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, leavinga 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 plagued 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. very mild here, a bit fresherfurther north.
that weather front clears away from england and wales 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 win 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.
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 seventy people. amazon says it's heartbroken, after six of its workers were killed when the roof of their warehouse collapsed when it was hit by a tornado in illinois. 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. foreign ministers from the g7 wealthy countries have been meeting and are said to be unified in their concern over russia's military build up on its border with ukraine. the us state department top official for europe, karen donfried, is to travel to ukraine and russia for talks. now on bbc news,
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