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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 18, 2021 2:00am-2:31am GMT

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welcome to bbc news. i'm rich preston. our top stories: a record 93,000 new coronavirus cases in the uk: scientists warn that tighter restrictions may be needed "very soon" to control hospital admissions in england. 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 higher risk of serious involvement, including hospitalisation. hundreds of thousands displaced and at least 12 dead as typhoon rai takes its toll on the philippines. british socialite ghislaine maxwell, who's on trial on sex trafficking charges, tells the us court she won't be giving evidence.
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welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. the 0micron strain of coronavirus is continuing to spread rapidly around the world. here in the uk, over 93,000 cases have been recorded in the past 2a hours alone — a new record for a third consecutive day. documents from the british government's scientific advisory group sage, seen by the bbc, suggest additional measures could be needed to slow the spread of the virus. 0ur health editor hugh pym has this report. it was a record day for boosters and unlike many other sites this week, there was no queueing at this walk—in centre in barnsley, set up yesterday. we've got a lot of vaccinators on site and a lot of admin support, so patients
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are getting a really good experience. they are in, they are out and away. but there's a warning that to slow the spread of the virus, the vaccination effort on its own may not be enough. papers from the expert sage committee seen by the bbc suggest that covid hospital admissions could double by the end of this month. scotland's first minister, meanwhile, said her prediction of a tsunami of cases was now coming true with 0micron the dominant strain of the virus. she warned people again to limit social mixing. if what matters most to you is spending time with your loved ones on christmas day — and i think that's what matters right now to most or many of us — don't risk that by going out before then and possibly catching covid, because the reality is if you are mixing with others just now, getting this virus is a real and increasing risk. the spread of 0micron in the uk has led to a french government travel ban on british tourists from 11pm tonight.
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visitors will need a compelling reason to enter france. the virus is already putting pressure on the french health system with a new wave of cases. translation: the hospital icu is currently at full capacity - as patients have been coming in for the past 20 days. 70% of the icu patients are positive covid cases. concerns are growing around europe. the uk's overall covid case rate relative to the population has gone up sharply but france is not that far behind and denmark, in recent days, has seen a steep increase — and that's been linked to 0micron. the danish government is proposing new restrictions, including closing theatres and cinemas and limiting the numbers of people in shops. and in ireland, all restaurants and bars from sunday will have to close at 8pm and there'll be a ban on evening indoor events. there were warnings, too, from the european commission president.
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we know that the 0micron variant is really threatening us. it is spreading at a ferocious pace and potentially has the risk of escaping our vaccines, at least partially. but on that question of vaccines, there's more positive news — a preliminary uk study suggests they may be as much as 85% effective in preventing people getting the new variant, then needing hospital treatment. hugh pym, bbc news. recorded cases are also rising sharply in the united states, while hospitalizations due to covid have jumped by 45% in the last month. the us infectious diseases expert dr anthony fauci says the high transmissibility of the 0micron variant means it could cause many additional deaths, and he's leading calls for americans to get their booster shots. we are in the midst — in the situation where we are now facing a very important delta surge and we're looking over our shoulder
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at an oncoming 0micron 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've been telling you all along, it is critical to get vaccinated. if you are vaccinated, it is critical for optimum protection to get boosted. let's speak to drjeremy faust, who's an emergency physician at brigham and women's hospital. he's in boston. thank you very much for being with us. we heard this morning from anthony fauci. how worried are you about the spread of 0micron, especially with christmas just days away? omicron, especially with christmas just days away? christmas 'ust days away? thank ou for christmasjust days away? thank you for having — christmasjust days away? thank you for having me. _ christmasjust days away? thank you for having me. what - christmasjust days away? thank you for having me. what worries| you for having me. what worries me is a coronavirus variant of any name, whether delta or
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0micron, because we have far too many people who do not have a vaccination yet. there are so many millions of americans who have not elected to be vaccinated. and there are also some people who really need to be boosted, especially older people, people with immune system is compromised or other risks we need to be boosted and that's what worries me the most and it comes at a time when we are heading into a usual cold and flu season, december. so we are really dealing with a lot of once. lastly at this time, we actually had more deaths from coronavirus at this point. however, we did not have influenza season, we did not have a lot of rsv virus, we did not have a backlog of deferred care so that our hospitals weren't on the brink of being overwhelmed by several things at once. add 0micron and in certain areas, there are very dicey moments had, ifear. fix, dicey moments had, i fear. a sense of the pictures of hospitalisations in america and
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especially this split between people who are vaccinated and not vaccinated.— not vaccinated. that is the s - lit not vaccinated. that is the split because _ not vaccinated. that is the split because i _ not vaccinated. that is the split because i have - not vaccinated. that is the split because i have yet i not vaccinated. that is the split because i have yet to j not vaccinated. that is the - split because i have yet to see lately, when i see patients, any sign that the vaccine is not doing itsjob. it any sign that the vaccine is not doing its job. it does seem to provide protection, the data seems to show that and clinically that's what i see. we saw some patients admitted to the hospital who had not been vaccinated ever so that's not surprising. we are now seeing much more coronavirus than we saw and we can send those people home if they are doing well, which is what we do with the vaccinated people. so just in my last shift in the hospital yesterday, just in my last shift in the hospitalyesterday, i just in my last shift in the hospital yesterday, i saw people who had coronavirus and the ones who were seeking, one was sick that i really saw was unvaccinated and the vaccinated people were doing well, they went home, so that is where hopeful and up and of course we need much bigger datasets to make that conclusion, that we know just make that conclusion, that we knowjust how make that conclusion, that we know just how well the make that conclusion, that we knowjust how well the vaccines are doing in terms of that hospitalisation protection. but anna globally far, i have not
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seen anything that suggests the vaccines don't perform well in their most crucial aspect michael vaughan anecdotally. you have the message of get your shot and get your booster shot, is this a message that we will start to hear every six months and is there a risk that people will tire of that?- people will tire of that? there is a risk of _ people will tire of that? there is a risk of that, _ people will tire of that? there is a risk of that, yes, - people will tire of that? there is a risk of that, yes, and - people will tire of that? there is a risk of that, yes, and i - is a risk of that, yes, and i think we have to be very clear about why we are boosting. i think that boosting can decrease infections temporarily and that's very important for some populations but i don't necessarily think that boosting just to decrease infection is sustainable and it brings up tremendous equity issues because when you have that is your goal, suddenly the demand for vaccine in high income countries will skyrocket. so i don't think that that should be how we do it for most people. i think that an annual shot could be in order and we may need to tailor that to whatever variants are going around. there is something to be said for over boosting both in terms of an immune response, your t
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cells which other cells that tell you, tell the respondent, an infection to keep you from getting sick, those cells actually mature over time and become more robust in their response. if you boost too soon, three orfour response. if you boost too soon, three or four months, response. if you boost too soon, three orfour months, you could inhibit that we don't want that to happen. so i think we need to boost intelligibly, that means a lot of people should be boosting right now, so there is no question about that, we are many populations, especially over but older are over boosted, but we want to make sure that we do not cause alarm and fatigue and we know what we're getting in exchange for those new doses. so there is a lot to balance and a lot of nuance but i think we can do it because we've learned so much. thank you for being with us, we appreciate your insights. 12 people are now confirmed to have died in the philippines due to super typhoon rai but authorities are still trying to reach some badly affected areas and say the death toll could rise. the typhoon made landfall
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on the tourist island of siargao on friday, levelling homes and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. the united nations says some 13 million people may have been affected. sara monetta reports. after the storm, the devastation is everywhere. on friday, super typhoon rai pummelled the southern and central regions of the philippines, tearing roofs off buildings, uprooting trees, toppling power poles and flooding villages. these paradise islands, popular tourist destinations, are now cut off from the world. local airports are damaged and communications are down. more than 300,000 people had to flee their homes, and now they are in dire need for help. we had to bring ready—to—eat meals because people are on roofs in flooded areas and they are waiting to be assisted. we've already fed 20,000 people with hot meals
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and we are looking at not only the evacuation service but those outside who have stayed in their homes or have lost their homes completely. it's a really bad situation. search teams are working to reach all those stranded by the floods. several people are still missing. rescuers fear the death toll might rise. the philippines is often affected by such huge typhoons but the effects of climate change may be making them more frequent and more powerful, meaning scenes like these may sara monetta, bbc news. the british socialite ghislaine maxwell, who's facing sex trafficking charges in the united states, has told the court she won't be giving evidence. ms maxwell said there was no need to testify because the prosecution had failed to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. she denies grooming girls for the late convicted paedophilejeffrey epstein.
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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 addressed the judge, she said that there was no need for her 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, and her stating there 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 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,
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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 sown enough doubt injurors' minds to avoid a conviction for their client, ghislaine maxwell. 0ur correspondent nada tawfik in new york. another high—profile trial that's been fascinating the american public is that of elizabeth holmes, once feted as the country's richest woman. she's facing fraud charges in a case that's drawing to a close in california. ms holmes wasjust 19 when she founded her silicon valley company theranos in 2003. it promised to develop a �*pinprick�* blood test that could diagnose over 200
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different diseases. the venture raised over $400 million, acquiring high—profile board members along the way, including henry kissinger. but complaints about flawed technology soon flooded in after customers received inaccurate results. then, a whistle—blower revealed that some samples were outsourced to other medical companies. ms holmes denies defrauding patients and investors. if convicted, she could face 20 years in prison. robert weisberg, a professor of criminal law at stanford university, explained more about the arguments ms holmes relied on in her defence. it's almost as if she's asking the jury to pick whichever one that works. one of them is the silicon valley story, that laypeople — that is to say people who are not silicon valley experts — have to understand that great innovation occurs through trial and error and we have to tolerate some error and that statements she made have been denounced as lies were, shall we say, aspirational. but then we shift to some other
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stories she's told abut herself, such as, gee, she really didn't have that much control of the company and that a lot of the bad acts attributed to her were really done by her then partner — and, indeed, her personal partner — a mr sunny balwani, who himself will be on trial. taking that a step further, she put on evidence that she had been emotionally abused in a very, very deleterious relationship with mr balwani, so he had virtually taken her mental autonomy away and things she apparently said she had no control over — she had essentially been brainwashed. and then, on some other matters she actually did a strange manoeuvre by sort of confessing to the jury, "yes, i shouldn't have done that but i feel really bad about it", as if she is making a plea for sympathy and not for innocence. robert weisberg from stanford university. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the cat and the canary islands — we'll tell you about the feline survivors of a major volcanic eruption.
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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 - in timisoara from leaking out. from sex at the white house
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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. hello. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: as the uk records another record number of covid infections, scientists are warning that tougher restrictions will be needed in england "very soon" to control hospital admissions. the british socialite ghislaine maxwell, who's on trial in new york on sex trafficking charges, has told the court she won't be giving evidence. well, 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 200 years. the result comes in the middle of a turbulent period for mrjohnson, whose party and government have been plagued with allegations of corruption and breaking covid rules by holding christmas parties during lockdown.
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on friday night the country's top civil servant, the cabinet secretary simon case, stepped down from the role, after it emerged an event had been held in his own office. 0ur political editor, laura kuenssberg, reports. all: three, two, one! cheering. they might not do subtle... it turns out that if you take the people for granted, there is a price to pay. ..but there was nothing subtle about the lib dems' dramatic burst of the tory bubble in this by—election. thousands upon thousands of voters switched sides. anger with the conservatives means a new lib dem is on their way to the commons. i think this is a watershed moment and i think we brought new hope to the whole nation, who have been so worried and fed up with borisjohnson. we've now beaten the conservatives in two of their safest seats this year. cheering and applause. at about 4:15am, the liberal democrats smashed what had been a tory majority of over 20,000 in north shropshire, tired but jubilant after weeks of claims of sleaze and misbehaviour in downing street.
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borisjohnson, the party is over. thank you very much. thank you. many of the prime minister's mps pin the blame for this staggering result on the chaos under his roof. does he? i'm responsible for everything that the government does and of course i take a personal responsibility. what people have been hearing is just a constant litany of stuff about politics and politicians — and stuff that isn't about them. but it keeps coming. it's emerged that this man's team — simon case, the most senior civil servant in the country — had a virtual quiz in the office called �*a christmas party�* during lockdown. he was the one meant to be investigating whitehall parties. but tonight, miraculously, he stepped aside. another revered, perhaps even feared, civil servant sue gray will ask the questions instead. 232. shame! jeering.
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it is the latest in a series of missteps and mistakes for number 10. it began when the government tried to change the rules on mps' behaviour when a tory was found to have broken them. forgive my absence during some of the morning... that unleashed a torrent of claims about big money for second jobs. then the cringe worthy footage of number 10 staffjoking about their christmas party. and then on tuesday, the biggest rebellion against this government so far. around half of tory backbenchers voted against plans for covid passports. if more limits on our lives are needed. the prime minister simply cannot count on their support. borisjohnson is no stranger to drama, to epic highs and chaotic lows, but the political danger to him right now is real and intense. being pounded by voters in what should be the safest of tory seats is the finale of a terrible month brought about, in part, by a series of mistakes and misjudgements
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in number 10 itself. there are strong, public and fierce private calls for him to change how he does business, and warnings tonight of what might happen if he does not, or cannot. the prime minister is now in last orders time. two strikes already — one earlier this week in the vote in the commons, now this — one more strike and he's out. the prime minister has always had enemies inside but a former leader who backs him warns he has to change. he is our leader and he will lead us to the next election. he will? are you sure of that? well, as long as he wishes to do it, he has the right to do it. the party has to get behind him and he has to deliver on the basis that downing street and the departments are themselves structured and disciplined, and that will be the key litmus test. i mean, you are essentially saying he has to change and he has to make sure that the way his government operates has to change, or else? well, that is always the signal sent by the public
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when they feel that things have gone wrong. and the answer to that is very simple — it's not more of the same. number 10 may take some comfort from the fact that this by—election was a lib dem, not a labour breakthrough, but the cold reality — it's the prime minister who is being put on notice. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, downing street. let's get some of the day's other news. the united states says it's prepared for dialogue with russia over its security demands, following the publication by moscow of a long list of proposals to the us and nato, including a commitment to end any expansion of the alliance. moscow's call for security guarantees comes as thousands of russian troops are massing on the border with ukraine. iran has opted to adjourn talks in vienna aimed at salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal. european negotiators have called on the tehran authorities to try to reach agreement as quickly as possible when discussions restart in the new year.
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diplomats from france, the uk and germany reiterated that the negotiations were — quote — "rapidly reaching the end of the road." and the world health organization has issued emergency approvalfor a new coronavirus vaccine in india. covovax has been produced by the serum institute. it's part of the covax portfolio, an initative to vaccinate more people in lower—income countries. for nearly three months we have been telling about the volcanic eruption taking place in the canary islands. in the last few days the seismic activity appears to have stopped. the clean—up operation will be immense, though, as thousands of buildings were destroyed. but it's notjust people who were affected — as the bbc�*s tim allman reports. the survivors of this volcano come in all shapes and sizes.
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these cats were found by members of the spanish civil guard. their home is almost certainly destroyed. and their owners, for now, a mystery. translation:— owners, for now, a mystery. translation: when we arrived here we found _ translation: when we arrived here we found them _ translation: when we arrived here we found them crossing i translation: when we arrived | here we found them crossing the lather. they approached us and we fed them. we give them water. —— lava. we fed them. we give them water. -- lava.— we fed them. we give them water. -- lava. we have also been checking _ water. -- lava. we have also been checking if _ water. -- lava. we have also been checking if they - water. -- lava. we have also been checking if they have i water. -- lava. we have also been checking if they have a| been checking if they have a microchip to find out if they have an owner so we can return them to them. but not every creature on the island was so lucky. the bodies of wild animals and birds have been sent away for analysis as to a cause of death. whether it was rivers of red hot lava engulfing everything in their path or the poisonous gases filling the skies above. all that volcanic magma and rock is calling, now. giant black scars criss—crossing the land. and then there is the ash. so much ash. houses, cars, football
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pitches, buried be on—site. translation: pitches, buried be on-site. translation:— pitches, buried be on-site. translation: ., , translation: you can see there are rumours _ translation: you can see there are rumours that _ translation: you can see there are rumours that have _ translation: you can see there are rumours that have not - translation: you can see there are rumours that have not been l are rumours that have not been able to support the weight. there arem of ash.- able to support the weight. there arem of ash. some have beuun there arem of ash. some have begun the _ there arem of ash. some have begun the long, _ there arem of ash. some have begun the long, arduous - there arem of ash. some have i begun the long, arduous process of trying to clear up the mess. but who knows how long that will take. there is hope this volcanic eruption will be declared officially over before christmas. 0ne life gone, eight still to go. tim allman, bbc news. before we 90, tim allman, bbc news. before we go, we go to south america, and in colombia, an ngo is using pedal power to tackle exclusion in society. te llevamos — "we take you" — ensures that people with disabilities, and the elderly, can enjoy a bike ride round envigado, near the city of medellin. the ngo custom—makes the bikes to accomodate wheelchairs and walkers, and volunteers accompany the cyclists round the bicycle lanes on a sunday evening. this one — a special
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christmas event. that is it from us for the time being. you can reach me on twitter. i'm @richpreston. hello. scotland and northern ireland have the lion's share of friday's sunshine, even these areas are likely to turn cloudier as we go on through the weekend. a weekend which will for most places, bring plenty of cloud. despite that, it will be dry, it will gradually turn cooler as that weekend goes on, as well. there is an area of high pressure right across the united kingdom giving plenty of settled weather as we go through the weekend. but trapped underneath that, there is a lot of cloud. now, where there have been clear spells overnight and into the morning, in scotland and northern england in particular, this is where we will wake up to the lowest temperatures and there will be frost in places too.
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but there will also be some sunny spells and fog across the eastern side of england in particular, dense in places, some patches lingering all day in a few spots and thick enough to be affecting travel. in terms of where we see some sunny spells, scotland, northern england, westernmost parts of wales, far south of england, maybe a few brighter breaks in northern ireland at times. temperatures mainly around six or 10 celsius, but there it will be colder, fog lingers and there will be parts of scotland that stay just above freezing all day long. as we go on through saturday night, again, its way out for all those breaks in the cloud, particularly into parts of northern england and scotland, you'll find the lowest temperatures that create the risk of seeing a frost going into sunday, picking up the areas in blue here. the cloud, temperatures will not fall too far from where we've been during the day. but that cloud will be back again on sunday and again, there's a risk of seeing some dense fog patches in places to begin the day.
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in terms of any sunshine on sunday, notjust the higher ground in scotland, northern england and wales venturing into the hills you're most likely to see some sunshine through the valleys below, may well be stuck underneath cloud. and overall, it is trending cooler on sunday and getting colder still as we go into the new week. now, high pressure will eventually give way as we go deeper through the week. but then the big question mark about how quickly these weather systems from the atlantic, or indeed if they will at all, move—in and provide a change to more unsettled weather in time for christmas. so, colderfor a time next week, more widespread overnight frost. but if you're looking at your app and the forecast online, yes, it may look as if it turns unsettled just before christmas, but there's still a lot to play for in the details.
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this is bbc news.
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the headlines: another 93,000 cases of covid have been recorded across the uk, a record total for the third day in a row. the government's scientific advisers say more stringent restrictions will be needed very soon in england to prevent covid hospital admissions reaching 3,000 a day. ghislaine maxwell, who's on trial in the us on sex trafficking charges, has told the court she won't be giving evidence. ms maxwell said there was no need to testify because the prosecution hadn't proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. she denies grooming girls for the late convicted paedophile, jeffrey epstein. borisjohnson says he takes personal responsibility for the conservatives' by—election defeat in north shropshire. he said there had been too much focus on the conduct of politicians rather than measures which could improve people's lives. some of his mps have urged him to make changes.
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now on bbc news, bbc wales investigates


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