welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore. i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines: as governments around the globe brace for the omicron effect — britain sets a record for new covid infections for the second day in a row. will it be a difficult night for borisjohnson? votes are counted in a by—election that could heap more pressure on the prime minister. a gang in haiti releases twelve hostages working for an american missionary group — more than two months after they were kidnapped. and comedianjohn cleese talks to newsday as he starts a new tour of south east asia. he shares his views on cancel culture in a forthright interview with me.
one of the great problems these daysis one of the great problems these days is that everyone wants to be right and nobody wants to listen to other people's opinions. live from our studio in singapore, this is bbc news. it's newsday. it's nine in the morning in singapore, and one o'clock in london where the the uk has announced record covid infection figures for the second day in a row — as the world health organization says the new strain — omicron — is spreading at an unprecedented rate. more than 75 countries have omicron cases. a top uk health official says the variant is probably the most significant threat we've had since the start of the pandemic. meanwhile presidentjoe biden has said that the omicron variant has now arrived in the united states. our medical editor fergus walsh starts our coverage.
what do you want for christmas? for millions it is a booster. these people in newcastle today were prepared to wait for hours for a covid vaccination bus. it was a record day for booster jabs, but also covid cases. boosters offer the best protection against omicron, but there is huge uncertainty whether they will blunt it enough to keep hospital admissions below last january's peak. even if it is milder, because it is concentrated over a short period of time, you could end up with a higher number going into hospital on a single day. that is certainly possible. the numbers of confirmed omicron patients in hospital are still low for now. it will be weeks before we have hard evidence that we show how serious the omicron wave will be. we need about 250 individuals in hospital before we can make
an assessment compared to delta. and also a vaccine effectiveness assessment. the earliest we will have reliable data is the week between christmas and new year and probably early january. one group at higher risk from covid are pregnant women who, today, were finally made priority group for vaccination. between may and october during the first six months of the delta variant more than m00 pregnant women were admitted to hospital in the uk with covid. 96% of them were unvaccinated. 17 of those pregnant women died. four babies died in the first month of life from covid. it also increases the risk of having a premature birth. valerie is 32 weeks pregnant and had her booster in oxfordshire on monday, but it meant a long queue.
i had to wait for one and a half hours in a queue, which is painful because i have pelvic girdle pain which makes it hard to stand or to walk. in addition, i was very nervous, as was everyone there in the queue. everyone is nervous because they thought the boosters might run out because it was a walk—in clinic. the prime minister was again banging the booster drum at a vaccination centre in kent. he urged the public to be careful when mixing with others this christmas. we are not closing things down or asking people to cancel things but what we are saying is that people will understandably not want to catch covid in the next few days, or ever, and the sensible thing to do is to get boosted now and exercise caution, that is what we are saying. and the queen is leading
by example, cancelling a pre—christmas lunch for extended family due to take place at windsor castle. fergus walsh, bbc news. well, a short time ago presidentjoe biden warned that the omicron variant is starting to spread much more rapidly in the united states and urged americans to get vaccinated or boosted. due to the steps we have taken, omicron has not yet spread as fast as it would otherwise as has done as has happened in europe. but it is here now and it is spreading and it will increase. forthe it is spreading and it will increase. for the unvaccinated we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death. for yourselves and your families and the hospitals who are soon overwhelmed. but there is good news. if you are vaccinated and have a booster shot you are protected from severe illness and death, period. numbertwo, booster shots work. number three, booster is a free, safe
and convenient. 60 million people have been boosted so go and get your shot today. go and get roosted if you have had your first two shots, if not, go have your first shot. that meant go and get boosted. in the uk, counting is underway in the north shropshire by—election in what's being seen as another big test of prime minister boris johnson's leadership. voters are electing a new mp following the resignation of owen paterson, who resigned in the wake of a huge row over his conduct, after he was found to have broken lobbying rules. the conservatives have held this seat for almost 200 years, but any defeat is likely to intensify questions over borisjohnson�*s leadership. joining me now from the election count in the nearby town of shrewsbury is our correspondent elizabeth glinka. great to have you on the programme again. when we last spoke you said that counting
was getting under way. where are we now with that in terms of how many votes have been counted and what the turnout has been like? in counted and what the turnout has been like?— has been like? in fact, the accounting _ has been like? in fact, the accounting has _ has been like? in fact, the accounting has only - has been like? in fact, the accounting has only really| has been like? in fact, the - accounting has only reallyjust started in the last ten minutes. we do not actually have a turnout figure so far. unofficially, purely out of italy, today we heard a town —— a turnout that was slightly higher than otherwise expected for a cold day in december. but we are at the point in the evening now where really this is all about those little messages flying around and people suggesting that one party has won or another party has won. we obviously do not know that result yet but that is where we are with individual candidates, parties, party workers managing expectation, perhaps, suggesting that they may have it all the other side does, that is what is going on
at the moment. really, this has become quite close in a way that a couple of months ago no—one would have expected. this is a safe tory seat in normal circumstances and alan patterson's majority was just under 23,000. patterson's majority was just under23,000. so patterson's majority was just under 23,000. so the fact that we are having a conversation about the liberal democrats possibly pushing this and managing to turn over a huge majority is an incredible thing in itself. but that is where we are. tonight, i have to say i have been in the accounting hall for the last 30 minutes or so and there are many concerned conservative faces in there. by the same token, i don't think the same token, i don't think the liberal democrats are counting their chickens. they will tell you that this is still on a knife edge but some of the other parties involved in the elections, speaking to labour mac and the greens, they also suggest that they think it has been a good night for the liberal democrats. still up in the balance at this stage and
some worried conservative faces because, if the lib dems do manage to do the unimaginable and actually met when here that would be a huge load to the prime minister, borisjohnson, prime minister, boris johnson, and prime minister, borisjohnson, and his personal popularity. because, anything, whatever criticisms there are of the prime minister, one thing he has always been is a winner in the eyes of his supporters and if they lose here, if the conservatives lose this seed having held it was such a big majority, that really will be a blow. . ~ majority, that really will be a blow. ., ~ , ., blow. indeed. thank you, elizabeth. _ blow. indeed. thank you, elizabeth, for _ blow. indeed. thank you, elizabeth, for keeping - blow. indeed. thank you, elizabeth, for keeping us| elizabeth, for keeping us up—to—date with all of the latest developments in that by—election in north shropshire. now let's head to pulse in hong kong. hong kongers will head to the polls on sunday in the first legislative council elections since the passing of a controversial electoral reform law. the new law allows a pro—china panel to vet candidates and allow only those it deems �*patriotic�* to participate.
here's danny vincent. jasonis jason is in full campaign mode. he is one of the few candidates running in the election considers himself not establishment. last year the authorities postponed the election due to the pandemic. since then the political landscape of this city has changed. if landscape of this city has changed-— landscape of this city has chanced. u, changed. if i can enter the legislature, _ changed. if i can enter the legislature, at _ changed. if i can enter the legislature, at least - changed. if i can enter the legislature, at least i - changed. if i can enter the legislature, at least i can. changed. if i can enter the i legislature, at least i can ask for a political change, political improvements. if we just ignore it then that gives the government full house in the government full house in the legislature and what will be the result? they will be sorry till the end of days. there is no improvement on our democracy. there is no improvement on our democracy-— democracy. hong kong is preparing _ democracy. hong kong is preparing for _ democracy. hong kong is preparing for its - democracy. hong kong is preparing for its first - preparing for its first legislative council election since the introduction of national security law. this year, only three of the 153 candidates running consider
themselves pro— democratic. pollsters are predicting a 30 year low voter turnout. beige and has imposed a sweeping reform of hong kong's electoral system. it means that only candidates in deemed patriotic are eligible to stand. it leads many to question if this election is simply a show. last year, the entire pro—democracy camp resigned en masse following the disqualification of alleged —— co— councilmember. it was later followed by the arrest of 47 pro—democracy candidates who stood in an unofficial primary election. one year on they remain in custody under the suspicion of violating the controversial national security law. critics say hong kong's political freedoms have been dismantled. pro— establishment candidates say the changes in hong kong have helped to restore stability.— hong kong have helped to
restore stability. look at the ast. restore stability. look at the past- we _ restore stability. look at the past. we could _ restore stability. look at the past. we could not - restore stability. look at the past. we could not do - restore stability. look at the i past. we could not do anything previously in the legislature. people were asking questions and doubting the government and doubting the central government and this is the whole purpose. this is what they want to show to the world.— this is what they want to show to the world. this man was once a democratic — to the world. this man was once a democratic party _ to the world. this man was once a democratic party lawmaker. i a democratic party lawmaker. this year, the largest opposition party in hong kong is not putting forward any candidates to run. mr wong is now an independent. he says he wants to become elected in order to bring about change to the system. we order to bring about change to the system-— order to bring about change to the system. we did not get real democracy _ the system. we did not get real democracy and _ the system. we did not get real democracy and maybe - the system. we did not get real democracy and maybe in - the system. we did not get real democracy and maybe in the i the system. we did not get real. democracy and maybe in the next ten years but we are hopeful. we hope for universal suffrage and we hope for a real democracy in hong kong. but if we don't do anything we can get nothing. we don't do anything we can get nothinu. ., ., ., , we don't do anything we can get nothinu. ., ., .,, , ., , nothing. hong kong was promised a hiuh nothing. hong kong was promised a high level— nothing. hong kong was promised a high level of— nothing. hong kong was promised a high level of autonomy - nothing. hong kong was promised
a high level of autonomy and i a high level of autonomy and political freedom for 50 years after it was returned to china from the uk. 2022 marksjust 25 years since the handover that critics claim beijing's moving towards full control of the city. danny vincent, abc news, hong kong. —— bbc news. 12 missionaries held by an armed gang since october have been released in haiti. five others — from the us and canada — have already been released. they were all abducted in october after they visited an orphanage in an area east of the capital port—au—prince which is run by a powerful criminal gang. the bbc�*s will grant is in mexico with more. a two month ordeal for the 17 hostages, 16 americans and one canadian is now over. group included several children including an eight—month—old. obviously it has been met with great celebration by the ministry in ohio who put out a statement saying that they
praised god that they are safe. we glorify god for our answered prayers, they say. and certainly it has been in two month period of intense negotiations with the gang who took this group in port—au—prince and at one stage were asking for $1 million per hostage. there is no word at this stage whether any ransom was paid. either way this will be the result that the us state department would have wanted and the families and indeed the haitian government. nevertheless this remains a difficult situation for ordinary haitians. gain control of the capital is near universal and the instances of hostages and abductions continues to be very, very widespread and while this high—profile case involving foreigners is over, many ordinary haitians still face extremely difficult security situation in their cities.
that was will grant therefore us. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: a huge rescue effort in the philippines as a super typhoon batters its southern coastline. saddam hussein is finished because he killed our people, ourwomen, our children. the signatures took only a few minutes, but they brought a formal end to 3.5 years of conflict — conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives. before an audience of world leaders, the presidents of bosnia, serbia and croatia put their names to the peace agreement. the romanian border- was sealed and silent today. romania has cut itself off from the outside world i in order to prevent the details of the presumed massacre i in timisoara from leaking out.
from sex at the white house to a trial for his political life — the lewinsky affair tonight guaranteed bill clinton his place in history as only the second president ever to be impeached. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm karishma vaswani in singapore. our headlines: as governments around the globe brace for the omicron effect, britain sets a record for new covid infections for the second day in a row. votes are being counted in the north shropshire by—election. the result could heap more pressure on borisjohnson. now, in the philippines a storm known as super typhoon rai has made landfall, bringing with it heavy rains and winds exceeding 100mph.
thousands have been evacuated from their homes and schools in the storm's expected path have been closed. the bbc�*s philippines correspondent howard johnson reports. power and communication lines remain down on siargao island, a tropical idyll popular with backpackers and surfers. normally abuzz with updates from social media influencers, the area has fallen eerily quiet. it is hoped the philippine air force will land on siargao island tomorrow to assess the extent of the damage. philippines' state meteorologists say typhoon rai is now moving towards two other islands, bringing with it winds of up to 165 kilometres per hour and inundating the central philippines with heavy rain. videos posted on social media show the philippine coastguard helping to move families from flooded coastal and riverside communities. thousands of people had evacuated their homes before the typhoon hit, but the united nations has warned that more
than 13 million people live in areas likely to be affected by the storm. the international federation of the red cross has described typhoon rai as "a monster storm" and said that climate change was making typhoons more ferocious and unpredictable. howard johnson, bbc news, manila. let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines. lawyers for ghislane maxwell started her defence on thursday. she's accused of grooming underage girls for abuse by the billionaire jeffrey epstein. it's thought they will call dozens of witnesses, although it's not yet clear if the 59—year—old will take the stand herself. the english premier league has been forced to postpone a number of games due to the pandemic. there's been outbreaks at clubs and calls in some quarters for the league to take a break completely. a covid outbreak at spanish football team real madrid has also grown. the club says another four players have tested positive, including marco asensio.
comedians from dave chappelle in the us tojohn cleese in the uk have spoken out about cancel culture — the practice of cancelling, or publicly expressing disapproval or putting social pressure on people. in an interview with the bbc, mr cleese addressed this topic. he's in asia for a new comedy tour in the region. he spoke to me earlier. wonderful to have you on the programme, john.— programme, john. nice to be here. i know— programme, john. nice to be here. i know you _ programme, john. nice to be here. i know you are - here. i know you are particularly - here. i know you are l particularly interested here. i know you are i particularly interested in talking about cancel culture. i think it is fair to say. in fact you are making a documentary about it. what it is the bout cancel culture that interests you?— interests you? well, it's a relatively _ interests you? well, it's a relatively new _ interests you? well, it's a l relatively new phenomenon interests you? well, it's a i relatively new phenomenon and, because, it affects comedians because, it affects comedians because a lot of us do jokes that the cancel culture people, the woko people don't think are right, don't think are correct.
so i've been asked to do the programme so i've been exploring it. i've been reading quite a lot of books and been trying to understand what it is all about. trying to understand what it is allabout. but trying to understand what it is all about. but it is quite a complex matter and it seems to be boiling down to the fact that, i think, be boiling down to the fact that, ithink, some be boiling down to the fact that, i think, some people are rather overprotected to have. i mean we all want parents to be protective, but we don't want them to be overprotected give, because that raises children that are not, perhaps, very well going to adapt to the real world. i think is very important that things should go wrong and that minor bad things should happen, because that helps people to learn to become a little bit tougher when they go out into the world, which is not a terribly friendly place a lot of the time. and if we overprotected them then i think they doesn't work very well. but, john, you know, some would say that what you are suggesting is... crosstalk. why do you say but? why don't
you just explore whatjose? it you just explore what jose? it isjust a turn you just explore what jose? it is just a turn of phrase. crosstalk. that is precisely what i'm about to do if you would give me the opportunity to do that. i want to ask you, there are people out there who, having heard your views, would consider them to be old—fashioned and not taking into consideration the feelings of people who have been hurt by some of these comments. and i want to give you the example, for instance, in britain, where racist behaviour, for instance, was couched as a bit of banter. is that acceptable in your view, as a joke? is that acceptable in your view, as ajoke? i is that acceptable in your view, as a joke?- is that acceptable in your view, as a joke? view, as a 'oke? i think it's a very poor — view, as a joke? i think it's a very poor question. - view, as a joke? i think it's a very poor question. i'd i view, as a joke? i think it's a very poor question. i'd like l very poor question. i'd like ou to very poor question. i'd like you to answer _ very poor question. i'd like you to answer it. _ very poor question. i'd like you to answer it. well, i very poor question. i'd like you to answer it. well, it's| you to answer it. well, it's hard, because _ you to answer it. well, it's hard, because it's - you to answer it. well, it's hard, because it's so i you to answer it. well, it's i hard, because it's so scattered and it has so many different ideas in i don't know which place to start with to answer it. what i've said is the important thing is that people
are protected to the right degree, not overprotected and not under protected, so the question becomes what is the right degree. now, the practitioners of cognitive behavioural therapy, which is a very successful therapy, which is used a lot to treat depression and anxiety in young people, say that the woko ideas are pretty much the opposite of what they used to make people less depressed —— woke. it doesn't matter whether that is old—fashioned or new fashioned or even from the earlier 12th century, that is a very interesting idea and needs to be explored without using these emotional terms like "people being heard" and all this kind of thing. let's try to be a little bit more calm about it and use less emotional words. crosstalk. you are going to ask me about being here in singapore to do
shows and in bangkok, or is that at the back of your agenda?— that at the back of your arenda? ., . ., , agenda? no, we certainly did ask ou agenda? no, we certainly did ask you about _ agenda? no, we certainly did ask you about that, - agenda? no, we certainly did ask you about that, john. i agenda? no, we certainly did| ask you about that, john. why have you chosen asia as a place to do these comedy shows? particularly in the middle of a pandemic. particularly in the middle of a pandemic-— particularly in the middle of a pandemic. well, it's very hard to ian pandemic. well, it's very hard to plan at _ pandemic. well, it's very hard to plan at the _ pandemic. well, it's very hard to plan at the moment, i pandemic. well, it's very hard to plan at the moment, as- pandemic. well, it's very hard | to plan at the moment, as you might have noticed, i don't know, you probably realise that sometimes a new variance comes along on very short notice and causes a great deal of disturbance very, very quickly. so these shows were arranged some time ago when there was a good chance that the delta variant was coming under control. then the omicron one came up about three weeks ago which changed at all. but our plans have been set way before that. does that make sense to you? that. does that make sense to ou? , ., , ., you? yes, indeed, does. have ou had you? yes, indeed, does. have you had to _ you? yes, indeed, does. have you had to change _ you? yes, indeed, does. have you had to change your- you? yes, indeed, does. have| you had to change your routine at all because of the pandemic or make adjustments to it? ida.
or make ad'ustments to it? no, i haven't or make adjustments to it? no, i haven't started _ or make adjustments to it? no, i haven't started to _ or make adjustments to it? tip, i haven't started to write it yet because they don't do it for three weeks and they have a great deal of material that i have accumulated over the past 15 years, the first time i started doing this kind of show was 2006, so i'm going to choose the material i think is right. but i have been asked to baseit right. but i have been asked to base it on a talk i have which is about why there is no hope. the main central point of which is the fact that one of the great problems these days is that everyone wants to be right and nobody really wants to listen to other people's opinion. listen to other people's opinion-— listen to other people's oinion. ., ., , , opinion. you, in that sense, if ou opinion. you, in that sense, if you could _ opinion. you, in that sense, if you could elaborate _ opinion. you, in that sense, if you could elaborate a - opinion. you, in that sense, if you could elaborate a little i you could elaborate a little bit more about what that means when you think that people are not listening to each other, is that your sense of what is happening?— that your sense of what is happening? that your sense of what is haueninu? , , . happening? yes, very much so. i mean, happening? yes, very much so. i mean. the _ happening? yes, very much so. i mean, the historians _ happening? yes, very much so. i mean, the historians used i happening? yes, very much so. i mean, the historians used to i mean, the historians used to say about the english that we had a great ability for compromise and that was why we were quite successful. they
don't see much sign of that now. i'djust don't see much sign of that now. i'd just see a loss on either side absolutely convinced they arrived without really being interested in trying to look at the fact and the theories that are involved in these kind of things. if you look at america now and it's highly polarised society, you realise that people really aren't listening to each other at all, because the donald trump supporters watch fox news and get one version of the news and get one version of the news and other people watch other channels and get a different version of the news. they both think that the version they are getting is right, which is naive. , ., ., ., ., naive. john, i want to ask you about your — naive. john, i want to ask you about your thoughts - naive. john, i want to ask you about your thoughts on i naive. john, i want to ask you l about your thoughts on another comedian. they don't know if you know this american comedian, dave chappelle, faced a huge backlash... we comedian, dave chappelle, faced a huge backlash. . ._ a huge backlash... we are back en cancel— a huge backlash... we are back en cancel culture, _ a huge backlash... we are back en cancel culture, yes. - a huge backlash... we are back en cancel culture, yes. my- en cancel culture, yes. my thought we were going to be talking aboutjoe's and comedy. they are not interested in doing this interview anymore so i believe you now. bye—bye. that was john cleese
speaking to me earlier. you can watch the entire interview again online and see the story and reaction to his comments on our website or via the bbc news app. that's all for now. stay with bbc world news. thank you forjoining me. do stay with us me. hello. thursday brought an east—west split to the uk weather—wise. well, certainly in terms of where we had the blue sky or where we had the grey sky. across parts of eastern scotland and down the eastern side of england, some were treated to a largely sunny day from dawn until dusk, where it was the reverse across some western areas. a view from wales, cloudy from dawn until dusk. it's the cloud that's going to win out for friday and the weekend. high pressure, lots of settled weather to come, but trapped underneath this high pressure, plenty of cloud. now, where there will have been some clear spells overnight — parts of eastern scotland, northeast england — a frost to start friday, but also some mist and fog around, and particularly through parts of yorkshire, the east midlands and east anglia. some dense patches in places, perhaps affecting travel, and some may lingerfor much of the day in a few spots. you get the idea for the forecast, though,
for friday with lots of cloud around. the cloud thick enough to produce a bit of drizzle here and there. breezy with it through the channel islands into parts of south—west england, south wales. through here, though, there could be a few sunny spells, as there will be towards parts of scotland and again north—east england. temperatures on a par with thursday, although just tending to go a little bit lower, and that's a trend that continues through the weekend. friday night into saturday morning, a lot of cloud around, some mist and fog. again, the clearest skies in scotland, so this is where we're most likely to get a frost as the weekend begins, but there could be a few pockets, too, towards north—east england. with that area of high pressure i showed you earlier, a lot of settled weather over the weekend. a lot of cloud, it'll be mainly dry and again temperatures just starting to edge down a few degrees over the weekend. and still quite breezy on saturday through the english channel, channel islands, far south—west of england. could be a few brighter breaks here as there may be towards the far west of wales, more particularly into scotland.
elsewhere, a good deal of cloud, fewer temperatures in double figures at this stage, it's mid to high single figures. and plenty of cloud around again on sunday, could be drizzly in a few spots, but there's also a chance of seeing one or two brighter breaks here and there. now, for the most part, temperatures in single figures. it will brighten up into next week, but the trend is for things to turn even colder as we go through the rest of the week in the lead—up to christmas. apart from that, what exactly is on our way christmas weather—wise, remains to be seen.
we will have the headlines and news stories for you at the top of the hour street after this programme. muffled speech. yes. archbishop, hello. it's adam fleming. hello, adam. how are you? thanks very much for doing this. sorry we are not there in person. well, i think you are very wise. chris mason is here in the same studio as me. hi there. hello, chris. how nice to see you. yeah, nice to talk to you.