this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. another day another record — more than 93 thousand new cases of coronavirus recorded in the uk in the past 2a hours. as casesjump sharply in the us — the country's top health official warns of the risks of not getting jabbed. clearly unvaccinated individuals are really at a high risk of serious involvement including hospitalisation. british prime minister borisjohnson suffers another blow, as the civil servant appointed to investigate if gatherings in downing street last year breached covid restrictions, steps down from the inquiry. ghislaine maxwell's defence team
winds up their case — as the british socialite says she will not testify in the sex trafficking case. she denies all wrongdoing. hello and thank you for giving us your company on bbc news. hello and thank you for giving us your company on bbc news. we begin with more evidence — if any were needed — that the omicron strain of coronavirus is continuing to spread rapidly around the world. the headline figures are coming from europe — in particular, the uk. in the last 2a hours, for a third successive day, the number of infections has reached a new record high. just over 93—thousand cases were confirmed in that time frame — that's nearly 60% more than a week ago. the increase in people being treated in hospital though, is less dramatic —
163 across the uk — just 2%t more. it's unclear whether this means the new variant is weaker — or the uk public have gained more protection. meanwhile — in the us — cases are jumping sharply too. america's top expert, says it's vital everyone gets their boosterjab. we are facing a very important delta surge and we are looking over our shoulder at an oncoming omicron surge. clearly, unvaccinated individuals are really at a high risk of serious involvement, including hospitalisation. the fully vaccinated are doing much better off. the optimum protection is fully vaccinated, plus a boost, so the bottom line of what we have been telling you all along, it is critical to be vaccinated. if you are vaccinated, it is critical for optimum protection to get boosted. elsewhere, in europe,
countries are rapidly introducing new measures to try to slow the spread of the omicron variant. ireland has announced new restrictions, ordering bars and restaurants to close from early on sunday. the moves were introduced despite opposition from a number of lawmakers in the parties of the governing coalition. denmark has also reported new cases at record levels. the government there is closing cinemas, theatres and concert halls, and restricting the opening hours of restaurants. the french prime ministerjean castex has warned the omicron variant will become dominant in the country early next year. france has mobilised the army to help with vaccinations, has banned big public parties at new year, and new travel restrictions on people coming from the uk are due to come into force in a few hours�* time. with health care systems across europe now starting to come under strain, the president of the european commission says vaccination is the key to fighting omicron. we know that our health care systems are overstressed right now.
and this is partly linked to the number of unvaccinated patients. in conclusion, the answer can only be to increase vaccination including children above five years old, boosting and projective measures. that has to be the answer we give to this new variant. it's still only been around a month since the omicron strain was first identified — and scientists are finding out more about it all the time. a study carried out at imperial college in london suggests that the rate of protection given by having been previously infected with covid, could be as low as i9%. the overall risk of reinfection — or catching covid again — is 5.4 times greater than with the delta variant. but the study seems to confirm that a third, booster shot, can provide around 85% protection against severe illness.
let's put all of this into context now with professor peter hotez — the dean of the national school of tropical medicine at the baylor college of medicine in texas. he was asked how worried we should be about omicron over the festive period. we have a few things going on at the same time. first of all we do have. we expected a big delta wave that would be hitting us around this time. we were looking at a pretty severe delta wave injanuary, that is because we have under vaccinated our us population. we have still only vaccinated about 60% which means 40% are unvaccinated, still lots of holdouts and we can talk about why, but then when he can to omicron, based on what happened with alpha and delta, where there was a four to six week lag between the peak you were seeing in the uk from the time and picked up in the united states, we once again thought we had four to six weeks, meaning it would happen in the middle ofjanuary, and unfortunately, it looks
like that is not the case. it is now gearing up now. tragically, we are going have this combined wave hitting us during the holidays, and then the third piece to this, which not a lot of people talking about, but one that i'm quite concerned about, even after people get the third immunisation, if they are more than a couple of months out from the third immunisation, we are seeing a fair bit of breakthrough symptomatic illness from the omicron variant, not so much to get them sick enough to land into hospital but enough to knock out the health care workforce, so they have to stay at home, and i think that's the third piece to this, delta, number one, omicron surge number two, and an already depleted health care workforce now going to have to have a lot of absences, which will add to the stress of our already stressed health care system, so a lot to worry about.
not a country wide one. it's damaging to the authority of the prime minister. here in britain a crushing by—election defeat has dealt another blow to the authority of the prime minister, borisjohnson. his conservative party lost a seat it had held for almost two—hundred years. really since the birth of parliamentary voting began in the 1832 reform act. this constituency had 23,000 just two years ago. a very turbulent pairfor had 23,000 just two years ago. a very turbulent pair for mrjohnson right now. mrjohnson, whose party and government have been plagued with allegations of corruption and breaking covid rules. here's what the british prime minister had to say in the wake of his party's defeat. i hear what the voters are saying in north shropshire and, in all humility, i've got to accept that verdict. things have taken one more turn
for the worse for borisjohnson in the past couple of hours. the uk's top civil servant, who has been leading the inquiry into parties at downing street which happened a year ago, potentially in breach of the lockdown rules — has stepped back from that investigation, after being linked to a social gathering. an event was held in simon case's own office in whitehall, while london was under lockdown rules. our uk political correspondent nick eardley takes up the story. the conservative party, boris johnson's party lost this extraordinary lead they had in one of the seats in the uk parliament. they were ahead by 23,000 votes in 2019. they lost their seat in a by election by 6000 votes. that's led to all these questions about boris johnson's authority, his position, how much longer he potentially can stay in power. one of the reasons
that's been attributed to that loss is the continued controversy that the continued leak of stories about allegations of parties or social gatherings around the uk government this time last year when london was in lockdown. now, some of the most serious of those allegations have been about downing street. and to try and stem some of the criticism borisjohnson put try and stem some of the criticism boris johnson put the try and stem some of the criticism borisjohnson put the top civil servant in charge of an inquiry into them. today it emerged that there was a social gathering in simon cases own private office last year around christmas time, exactly a year ago today the 17th of december 2020. that involve people who work for him, they'll get an e—mail inviting them to what was called a christmas party. some took part in the office, some are said to have taken part remotely. but this is called into question whether mr kays
could objectively look at allegations of rule breaking in whitehall if he himself and his team had been linked to one of these events. —— case. in the last half hour it's been confirmed that mr case will no longer see the inquiry into those parties, the cabinet offices put out a statement saying he did not participate himself but he did not participate himself but he did not participate himself but he did give a talk to some of those present at the end of his working day. itjust means that there is this uncomfortable story is going to keep rolling on it comes at the end of a torrid few weeks of the uk prime minister which has laid many questioning his authority and how long he can stay in office. let's get some reaction from the main uk opposition party now. labour's response has been put forward by their deputy leader, angela rayner, who says borisjohnson, as prime minister, must bear responsibility for the large number of parties and gatherings which took place in westminster and whitehall, while lockdown restrictions
were in place. i think boris johnson i think borisjohnson has set the tone for his government and he lives by one rule for him in another room for everyone else. people can see through that now and it's incredibly hard to believe that no one in government knew that these parties were happening and there is a huge amount of evidence now. i do believe that the investigation is evidence there that they need to carry that investigation out very swiftly to restore the public trust and the end over that evidence to the police. because nobody has broke the law. let's get some of the day's other news. the world health organisation has issued the emergency approval of a new coronavirus vaccine in india. covovax has been produced by the serum institute of india. it's part of the covax portfolio, an initative to vaccinate more people in lower—income countries. a popular tourist island is among areas left devastated
after a powerful typhoon ripped through the southern philippines. super typhoon rai made landfall on the holiday island of shargow bringing high winds and heavy rainfall. the tropical storm flattened homes displacing hundreds of thousands of people. so far 12 people are confirmed to have died and the un says some 13 million people may be affected. russia says it is extremely disappointed with signals coming from the united states and nato, in response to its demands for security guarantees from the alliance. russia's long list of requests include asking nato to commit to end its expansion. the white house press secretary said there would be no talks with russia on european security without european allies. the defence team in the trial of ghislaine maxwell, the british socialite and alleged accomplice of the disgraced late financierjeffrey epstein, has wound up its case, claiming that prosecutors have failed to prove her guilt. maxwell denies eight counts of sex
trafficking and other crimes. she chose not to testify. our correspondent nada tawfik has been outside the courthouse in new york. the defence has rested its case today, and it comes after ghislaine maxwell decided not to take the stand in her own defence, as she stood up and address thejudge, she said that there was no need to testify because the prosecution had not proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. so a very defiant response there from ghislaine maxwell, who has been very involved throughout this whole trial, passing notes to her lawyers during cross—examination of the accusers and others who have testified, understating that she will not tell her side of the story on the stand. of course, that would have been a very risky strategy, opening her up to intense cross—examination by prosecutors, but really this trial is moving incredibly fast.
we are now set to have closing statements from both sides on monday. the defence�*s case, after initially saying they might call 35 witnesses, they rested after calling nine witnesses and none really revealing too much more to help their case. it seems that the defence is really relying on their cross—examination that happened during the prosecution's case of the key four accusers, hoping that they have shown enough doubt injurors minds to avoid a conviction for their client, ghislaine maxwell. stay with us on bbc news. the of terra knows. a 27 year old woman has been arrested on suspicion of child
neglect after four children died in a house fire in south london last night. london fire brigade confirmed that two sets of twin boys aged 3 and 4 were the only people in the house when they arrived. an investigation is underway to find out how the blaze began. the thoughts of everyone at the metropolitan police with the family and friends of the four young boys who lost their lives in this tragic incident, we know it will it come to a great shock to the local community. and as part of that community we are here to offer whatever support we can. at 7pm last night we were called to report of a fire at a residential property. officers responded to the incident alongside colleagues from the london fire brigade and london ambulance service. this has been confirmed four boys who were inside to age three and two age four were brought out but sadly died. they were all related.
this is bbc news, the latest headlines... the uk sets another daily record for infections as more than 93 thousand new cases of coronavirus are recorded in the past 2a hours. as casesjump sharply in the us — the nation's leading expert on health dr fauci urges everyone to get vaccinated. let's go to california now — and a trial which has been fascinating america with a mix of money, celebrity — and supermarket blood testing. it centres around elizabeth holmes — who made a fortune after founding a company which she claimed would revolutionise healthcare — only to be accused of massive—scale fraud. ms holmes wasjust 19 when she founded theranos in 2003. it promised to develop a �*pinprick�* blood test that could diagnose over 200 different diseases.
at its peak, theranos reportedly raised $400 million dollars in investments. the firm also attracted a high—profile board members such as henry kissinger and former generaljim mattis. she signed deals with the retail giant walgreen — and at one point, she was thought to be the richest woman in america. so how did she finish up facing criminal prosecution? this court case came out of claims her company provided inaccurate test results. one witness said she had been given a false positive for hiv when taking the test in 2015. a conventional test at a clinic three months later came back negative. there have also been clams by a whistleblower that many of the tests purportedly done by theranos machines were outsourced to conventional testing facilities. ms holmes denies charges of fraud — she could face 20 years in prison if convicted. i'm joined now by our correspondent peter bowes who is in california for us.
you have been watching this trial and particular interest. this is a nationwide scandal, isn't it? ﬁlm. nationwide scandal, isn't it? oh, it's huge- _ nationwide scandal, isn't it? oh, it's huge- this — nationwide scandal, isn't it? oh, it's huge. this is _ nationwide scandal, isn't it? oh, it's huge. this is a _ nationwide scandal, isn't it? i it's huge. this is a massive nationwide scandal, isn't it? oi, it's huge. this is a massive story across the country but especially in silicon valley. i think for all of the reasons of the intrigue that you just laid out there. the fact that she became a huge celebrity. she was part of a start up company that within the space of a few years became valued at some $9 billion and at the heart of it this testing kit, just a few drops of blood could supposedly identify potentially hundreds of different diseases up to 240 different tests. if true it could have revolutionised the medical industry especially testing when people of course are well used or perhaps going to the doctor and having to give a vial of blood, this
would change things, it would've been available in stores, and high street gamez. but not true. it essentially came to light through the warnings of members of the company itself. some of the employees actually sent e—mails to elizabeth holmes, these were shown in court telling her that this simply didn't work. the heart of the allegation is that she essentially ignored that and continued to raise from some very high—profile figures make it tonight millions of dollars in terms of investment. the interesting _ in terms of investment. the interesting thing _ in terms of investment. the interesting thing is - in terms of investment. the interesting thing is blood test results can make a real difference in peoples lives. we've mentioned someone who was given a false positive of hiv for hiv. another woman had been told she miscarried which would a terribly traumatic thing to hear only for the baby to be born successfully. presumably, there's also a risk that people might�*ve been given false confidence with the blood test and therefore
not on the kind of things they needed to do which might then have prevented them getting a serious illness. , .. , ~ prevented them getting a serious illness. , , ~ ., illness. yes, exactly. ithink one ofthe illness. yes, exactly. ithink one of the huge _ illness. yes, exactly. ithink one of the huge concerns _ illness. yes, exactly. ithink one of the huge concerns about - illness. yes, exactly. ithink one of the huge concerns about this| illness. yes, exactly. i think one - of the huge concerns about this case is that it involves peoples lives for the potentially life and death situations. there is a lot of intrigue surrounding the scenario of big money being invested into a startup in silicon valley. i gotta say, there is a lot of support for her because she laid out a vision. and one of the things that was discussed at length during the case was she would talk to investors or potential investors and spell out her vision for this device and five, 15 years time. but the prosecution would come back and say, "well, what about now, it is it working now and did the investors know that? it born out of the fact of in a sense that's how silicon valley works with the big money people will pour money into a project that they think has
potential in the future without perhaps understanding all the detail. and in this case and very detailed scientific information of how it actually works. but they saw the potential. there are two very distinct sides of the story. of course her claim is that she wasn't lying, she wasn't making up the stuff and she genuinely believed that it had enormous potential in the future. . , that it had enormous potential in the future-— that it had enormous potential in the future. . , , the future. elizabeth as you said is facin: the future. elizabeth as you said is facing these _ the future. elizabeth as you said is facing these charges. _ the future. elizabeth as you said is facing these charges. if _ the future. elizabeth as you said is facing these charges. if she - the future. elizabeth as you said is facing these charges. if she were i the future. elizabeth as you said is| facing these charges. if she were to be found guilty, i know there was talk of the jury was going out on friday, if they were to find guilty, what sort of sentence could she potentially face? she what sort of sentence could she potentially face?— what sort of sentence could she potentially face? she is facing 11 char: es potentially face? she is facing 11 charges fraud _ potentially face? she is facing 11 charges fraud and _ potentially face? she is facing 11 charges fraud and conspiracy - potentially face? she is facing 11 - charges fraud and conspiracy charges was that they are complicated charges and of course every sentence if she's found guilty will depend on whether she found guilty of all those charges are just sort of the eight some of them. one of the great challenges for thejury
eight some of them. one of the great challenges for the jury is to decide without any doubt at all that she is guilty on those charges and clearly our defence lawyers raised as a seat many potential doubts as to whether she really set out to deceive these people. let's say she is found guilty on all the charges she could be facing several decades in prison. the price of being so young, i guess. thank you so much for giving us the fascinating background if disturbing background to this story. the united states has renewed its call for a ceasefire in ethiopia, after the united nations human rights council ordered an independent investigation into violations by all sides in the conflict. state department spokesman ned price said he was gravely concerned by reports detailing the mass detentions and killings of ethnic tigrayans. there's a very large, very vocal ethiopian expat community here in the united states, and they're divided along the same ethnic lines that fuel the conflict. as barbara plett usher now reports.
ethiopia civil war is 7000 miles away and it's right here in this kitchen on this campus. gabriel's family is from the northern region of tigre, the epicentre of the conflict, the theme that consumes our art. �* , ~ conflict, the theme that consumes our art. 3 ~' .,, conflict, the theme that consumes ourart. 3 ~' , conflict, the theme that consumes ourart. �*, ~ ,., our art. it's like opening up a channel and _ our art. it's like opening up a channel and a _ our art. it's like opening up a channel and a passageway i our art. it's like opening up a - channel and a passageway taking us all back there. but what better way to create with painting? there's so many other things i could do with that, i could destroy myself with it. ., ., ., ., that, i could destroy myself with it. for more than a year the ethi0pian — it. for more than a year the ethiopian army _ it. for more than a year the ethiopian army had - it. for more than a year the ethiopian army had been i it. for more than a year the - ethiopian army had been battling rebels and their allies. thousands are dead. human rights abuses committed on both side. parts of the country pushed into famine. tigre ends in the us a desperate. the ethiopian government has blocked most aid and communication to the north. ~., , ., .,,
most aid and communication to the north. ., north. many have lost contact with their relatives _ north. many have lost contact with their relatives i _ north. many have lost contact with their relatives i can't _ north. many have lost contact with their relatives i can't sleep - north. many have lost contact with their relatives i can't sleep at - their relatives i can't sleep at night — their relatives i can't sleep at night because i'm thinking about all of them _ night because i'm thinking about all of them. ~ , , . night because i'm thinking about all ofthem. ~ , . . of them. who's starving, which were the starving? — of them. who's starving, which were the starving? what _ of them. who's starving, which were the starving? what you _ of them. who's starving, which were the starving? what you think- of them. who's starving, which were the starving? what you think about i the starving? what you think about what the us _ the starving? what you think about what the us is _ the starving? what you think about what the us is doing? _ the starving? what you think about what the us is doing? the - the starving? what you think about what the us is doing? the us - the starving? what you think about i what the us is doing? the us stepped in, international community has not stepped _ in, international community has not stepped in — in, international community has not stepped in. they've allowed us to 'ust stepped in. they've allowed us to just suffer — stepped in. they've allowed us to just suffer and suffer. so what is it that _ just suffer and suffer. so what is it that was — just suffer and suffer. so what is it that was about to do, what other options do — it that was about to do, what other options do we have other than to fight _ options do we have other than to fight back?— fight back? outside the state department _ fight back? outside the state department a _ fight back? outside the state department a chance - fight back? outside the state department a chance to i fight back? outside the state i department a chance to personally plead their case. irate department a chance to personally plead their case.— plead their case. we are not iranorin plead their case. we are not ignoring you _ plead their case. we are not ignoring you want _ plead their case. we are not ignoring you want to - plead their case. we are not ignoring you want to listen l plead their case. we are not | ignoring you want to listen to plead their case. we are not i ignoring you want to listen to you. don't think that were not thinking of ways to be supportive of all sides of these conflict come of all the communities.— sides of these conflict come of all the communities. what you see here in washington _ the communities. what you see here in washington is _ the communities. what you see here in washington is a _ the communities. what you see here in washington is a reflection - the communities. what you see here in washington is a reflection of i in washington is a reflection of what's happening in ethiopia. the fighting is taking place between ethnic groups and the demonstrations here also showcase those ethnic divisions. across town supporters of the ethiopian government insists that the west as got it wrong. the americans are calling for a cease—fire and negotiations with the rebels who are advancing on the capital. irate
rebels who are advancing on the caital.~ �* rebels who are advancing on the caital. ~ �* ., ., capital. we can't negotiate with terrorists! _ capital. we can't negotiate with terrorists! would _ capital. we can't negotiate with terrorists! would you _ capital. we can't negotiate with terrorists! would you negotiate| capital. we can't negotiate with i terrorists! would you negotiate with isis? terrorists! would you negotiate with isis? no _ terrorists! would you negotiate with isis? no. you wouldn't. so it's not, they— isis? no. you wouldn't. so it's not, they are _ isis? no. you wouldn't. so it's not, they are not — isis? no. you wouldn't. so it's not, they are not equal partners. they kill, the they are not equal partners. they kill. they raped. _ they are not equal partners. they kill, they raped, people die. my aunt, _ kill, they raped, people die. my aunt, my— kill, they raped, people die. my aunt. my uncle, _ kill, they raped, people die. my aunt, my uncle, my— kill, they raped, people die. my aunt, my uncle, my family i kill, they raped, people die. my aunt, my uncle, my family is i kill, they raped, people die. my. aunt, my uncle, my family is there. i aunt, my uncle, my family is there. i don't _ aunt, my uncle, my family is there. i don't know— aunt, my uncle, my family is there. idon't know if— aunt, my uncle, my family is there. i don't know if they _ aunt, my uncle, my family is there. i don't know if they die _ aunt, my uncle, my family is there. i don't know if they die are - aunt, my uncle, my family is there. idon't know if they die are still- i don't know if they die are still alive _ i don't know if they die are still alive. , ., , ,, ., .,, alive. the rebel leaders known as the tpl f ones _ alive. the rebel leaders known as the tpl f ones govern _ alive. the rebel leaders known as the tpl f ones govern the - alive. the rebel leaders known as| the tpl f ones govern the country with a heavy hand and are deeply resented by many ethiopians. the us is treading a fine line. the americans are talking to the ethiopian government. that's not the enauaement ethiopian government. that's not the engagement that _ ethiopian government. that's not the engagement that ethiopian _ ethiopian government. that's not the engagement that ethiopian people i engagement that ethiopian people want _ engagement that ethiopian people want. what do they want? they want support— want. what do they want? they want support they don't want support as demonising the government and supporting the cause of the tpl out. ethiopians _ supporting the cause of the tpl out. ethiopians in america where their identities with passion. but they have different views of what ethiopia is and that is deepening.
that is it from us for now. thank you so much for your company. that's bbc world news. hello there. many parts of scotland and northern england have been sunny today. it did start off really cold, and it stayed chilly all day, but at least we've had the sunshine to compensate. the weather watcher picture behind me shows a lovely sunset there in the wirral. it's been a different story for other areas, particularly across southern parts of england into wales and northern ireland, rather grey, gloomy skies, some mist and murk and also a little bit of drizzle in the air. our area of high pressure is holding onto our weather through the rest of the day and indeed into the weekend. it's going to bring a lot of dry weather overnight. the cloud tending to return to many central areas, some dense mist and fog patches developing as well across northern and eastern england. but under those clear skies, temperatures will be plummeting down to freezing or below,
so cold here versus much milder conditions further south, where we hold the thickest could. ——cloud very little change into the weekend, our blocking area of high pressure will continue to bring a lot of cloud around. it's going to stay mostly dry, bar the odd spit or drizzle, and it will start to turn a bit cooler, temperatures will be coming down a bit during the course of sunday. saturday, though, again, it's a rather grey picture for large portions of england and wales, northern ireland. best of any brightness, again, across northern and eastern england and up and in towards scotland. some dense fog patches could linger on, you will have to watch out for that. but generally where we have the sunshine feeling quite cool after the cold start, we will see something a little bit milder where the cloud will be thickest. through saturday night, again, many places will be cloudy. there will be some clear spells, central and northern areas, again, a touch of frost and some mist and fog, but where we hold onto the cloud, the thickest of the cloud no lower than 6—8 celsius. sunday is a similar story, a lot of cloud around. should be largely dry, but there will be the odd spot of drizzle here and there, probably the best of the brightness further north.
you will notice the temperatures beginning to edge down a touch. could still see ten celsius in plymouth, but single figure values elsewhere. monday is a similar story, a lot of dry weather around, quite a bit of cloud and gloominess in places, probably the best of the sunshine through central and northern areas. again, it's going to be a little bit fresher than what we've had over the last couple of days. now, beyond monday, there is a bit? what happens in the run—up to christmas? we've got some cold air moving down from the north versus a milder air moving in from the south, so the uk will become a battleground of the air masses. stay tuned to the forecast.
this is bbc news, the headlines for a third successive day, the number of coronavirus infections in the uk has reached a new record high. just over 93—thousand cases were confirmed — that's nearly sixty percent more than a week ago. covid cases have also been rising across europe. denmark, ireland and france are all introducing new measures to try to stop the spread. the uk's top civil servant has removed himself from an inquiry into alleged christmas parties held at downing street during last year's lockdown. an event was held in simon case's office — his spokesperson said he played no part in it. the british socialite, ghislaine maxwell — who's on trial in the united states on sex trafficking charges, has told the court she won't be giving evidence. she denies all charges. her defence has rested their case.