welcome to newsday. reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines — new covid guidance comes into force across england, with quarantine for infected people being reduced from ten days to seven. this decision has been informed by the advice from our clinicians at the uk health security agency, who've looked at this very carefully. and they are very comfortable that the protection is provided by making this change so that people can leave isolation after day seven as long as they've taken these two lateral flow tests and the results are negative, that the protection it provides
is very similar to ten days of isolation without tests. president biden announces new measures to tackle the omicron variant, promising free testing and 10,000 new vaccination sites. london's high court orders the ruler of dubai to pay more than $700 million in a divorce settlement to his ex—wife, princess haya ofjordan. and we take you back to a time when mobile phones looked like this to explain why the first ever text message has live from our studio in singapore, this is bbc news. it's newsday. hello, and welcome to our viewers in the uk and around the world. it's 8am in the morning in singapore, 7pm in the evening in washington and midnight in britain, where from today, new guidance is coming into force across england. it will allow people who have tested positive for covid—19 to reduce their self—isolation from ten days to seven.
it comes as the prime minister, borisjohnson, confirms they'll be no new restrictions before christmas, but warned measures will come in soon afterwards. 0n those new self—isolation rules, here's the uk health secretary, sajid javid. well, we want to reduce the disruption to people's everyday lives caused by the pandemic. so, today, we will be cutting the self—isolation period from ten days to seven days for those people that take a lateral flow test on day six and day seven and the result of both those tests are negative. this decision has been informed by the advice from our clinicians at the uk health security agency, who've looked at this very carefully. and they are very comfortable that the protection is provided by making this change so that people can leave isolation after day seven as long as they've taken these two lateral flow tests and the results are negative, that the protection it provides is very similar to ten days of isolation without tests. of course, anyone who leaves
after day seven under this new procedure, they should continue to remain cautious, but we're also very clear that the very best way to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our community is to make sure you get boosted if you're eligible. is it the reality with so many people off sick having tested positive at the moment that this is needed in order to keep the nhs and indeed other sectors of the economy going? i that this is a very sensible, balanced and proportionate step to take. of course, this new variant is spreading very rapidly. it's disrupting many people's lives. it's great that when people do get infected that they are properly isolating. i think that clearly helps to stop... ..prevent infection, but it's important also to look at how we can have policies that will help to minimise that. and this step, again informed by our clinicians, i think is a very sensible way forward. meanwhile, israel is the first country in the world to make a fourth covid vaccination dose widely available.
people over 60 years old and medical workers will now be able to receive anotherjab. those eligible will be able to receive their fourth jab from three months after their third dose. israel's vaccination programme has been amongst the most successful in the world, with third doses offered from july to combat the delta surge. the prime minister, naftali bennett, said the measure would help overcome the 0micron wave, and he urged israelis not to waste time in getting their latestjab. in the us, president biden has been setting out his plans to step up the fight against the 0micron variant. the federal government will distribute 500 million free covid tests in the new year, something it's never done before. it's also draughting in military personnel to support hospitals which are already feeling the pressure as the 0micron variant takes hold. separately, in the uk, borisjohnson has confirmed
there will be no new covid restrictions before christmas, although his chancellor has announced a new package of support for businesses hit by the latest covid wave. 0ur correspondent gary 0'donoghue reports from washington. more than 2 million people a day are travelling home for christmas through america's airports, and many of them are worried. the way i look at it is as long as we've been fully vaccinated and we're always masked up, we should be ok. but it's quite dangerous still. i don't think anything's100% safe unless you stay in your house the entire time, so, yeah. 0micron has exploded in the united states. in the space of two weeks, it's gone from less than i% of new cases to almost three quarters. so, for a second time in less than a month, president biden has announced more measures, extra vaccine sites and, in a change of direction, free home testing kits. i'm announcing today . the federal government will purchase one half billion
— that's not million, - billion with a b — _ additional at—home rapid tests with delivery- starting injanuary. we'll be getting these tests to americans for free. - those free at—home tests won't be available until next month, so testing sites like this recreation centre are opening up all over the country. and 1000 military, nurses and doctors are being readied in case the hospitals get overwhelmed. while cases have been rising sharply, one encouraging sign is that hospitalisations haven't gone up anything like as much as they did earlier in the pandemic. but infections amongst the unvaccinated could change all that. we've first got to get the 50 million or so people who are eligible to be vaccinated who've not gotten vaccinated. that is critical. if you want to keep the level of spread in the country as low as possible, which would get us back to some degree of normality, you've got to get those unvaccinated people vaccinated.
in new york, they've seen record numbers of cases in the past few days, leading the mayor to offer a $100 incentive to those getting a boosterjab. it will not be a normal christmas once again. gary 0'donoghue, bbc news, washington. professor peter chin hong, an expert in treating infectious diseases from the university of california in san francisco, says biden�*s measures are more of damage control than prevention. i think many people are worried that too little, too late is the theme of the speech. there's certainly things that will be good for stopgap measures, like 1000 medics and nurses, increased ppe like gloves and masks for health care workers, but some of them would be a little bit too late. it'll be injanuary. i think 0micron will have probably gone by the east coast
by then with half a billion tests, but do realise that the country has 330 million people, so that doesn't go very far. and increasing vaccination sites would be beneficial, but again if much of it is coming injanuary, many people many people are worried that it wouldn't be in time for the surge that's upon us right now. professor, i know there's a lag in data between infections, hospitalisations and more severe cases, but what are the early indications telling you about the severity of omicron? the data is mixed. if you look at the south african data, it turns out that maybe in contrast to delta, when about 20% of folks get hospitalised, even if you say 2% of 0micron cases get hospitalised, that's still 2% of a larger group of people who may become infected. plus south africa may not be like other countries, and a study from the imperial college show that maybe
hospitalisations may not be that different. nevertheless, you know, we are worried notjust about people coming in, but of having enough health care workers to take care of the folks. cos if you think about somebody, even if they may get a mild infection, they're on a prison sentence of covid isolation for ten days, taking them out of the workforce. so, a hospital isn't just a physical bed, it's the people taking care of the people coming in. that's a really good point. just to say that israel is now recommending a fourth vaccine for some people. does that mean that we're going to be in this sort of endless loop of vaccines every six months and are you concerned people mightjust end up losing interest or the will to get vaccinated? that's such a great point. i think it depends on what your goalpost is. if your goalpost is prevention of infection, and i dare say that we're moving towards maybe
accepting a mild infection or asymptomatic case more and more. versus preventing somebody from getting severely ill, using hospital resources. if you think about the latter, i would say with two doses, we are mainly there as a society. three doses as a booster, definitely there, even for older and immunocompromised individuals. but to think about prevention of infection, we'll be in this endless loop of probably getting a booster every so often. so, it all depends on where we are. i think if 0micron sneaks through the world, the vaccinated get breakthrough infection, that resulting hybrid immunity may be enough of a superpower to fend off additional variance. let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines. michael flynn, the a long—time
adviser to former us president donald trump, is suing the congressional committee investigating the deadly january 6th attack on the us capitol. mr flynn's lawsuit alleges that a subpoena issued to him was too broad in scope and punishes him for constitutionally protected speech he engaged in as a private citizen. germany has become the latest european country to tighten its coronavirus restrictions, although the new measures won't come into force until after christmas. private gatherings will be limited to ten people from the 28th of december, nightclubs will be closed and large organised events, including the bundesliga football matches, will take place behind closed doors. it's being reported that the national hockey league, which has teams based in canada and the us, will not send its players to compete in the men's tournament at the beijing winter olympics. it's understood that the causes are disruption caused to the nhl season by the pandemic, meaning games have to be rescheduled, and concerns over infections and quarantines.
the worst flooding malaysia has seen in decades has left at least 17 dead, with fears that number will rise. three days of torrential rain has partially submerged entire towns and villages, forcing 60,000 people from their homes. government agencies have been accused of failing to issue storm warnings or send enough support. what's thought to be the largest divorce settlement in british legal history has been agreed. a high courtjudge has awarded around $725 million to princess haya ofjordan in a long—running dispute with herformer husband, the ruler of dubai. the princess, who is a7, is the sixth and youngest wife of sheikh mohammed. she fled to the uk from dubai with her children in 2019, claiming she was in fear
of her life. last year, the high court in london ruled that the sheikh had illegally hacked his estranged wife's mobile phone as well as those of her bodyguards and legal team. he has denied ever having an intention of harming the princess. 0ur security correspondent frank gardner told us more about the settlement. this is pretty much the culmination of a very long—running court battle between one of the world's richest men, sheikh mohammed bin rashid al maktoum, who is a huge figure in the horse racing world. he is also the ruler of dubai, and the youngest of his six wives, princess haya ofjordan, daughter of king hussein ofjordan. as you said earlier, she fled to britain in early 2019 with her two children, saying she was terrified. a gun was placed in her
room with a bullet in it. a helicopter landed on the lawn of her palace with somebody saying that he had orders to take to a prison in the middle the desert. all because she said she discovered what had happened to other daughters of the ruler of dubai who had been abducted. he has denied this, but the high court here in britain stood this up. it didn't probably help her case that she had an affair with her bodyguard, and when that was discovered, he was understandably very angry, wrote a poem that went public called you lived, you died, and she interpreted that as a death threat. she fled to britain where she continued to get threats from anonymous people saying we can reach you wherever. she took the case to court to try to safeguard, to put in place, which she has now got today, a huge financial settlement to safeguard her security and that of her two children, because she worries that harm will come to her and that they will be abducted. he has issued a statement saying he has only ever wished to provide the best for his children and
he has nothing more to say about this case. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme, trouble for the tourism industry — we'll tell you how the new 0micron variant is once again affecting visitors to thailand. the world of music's been paying tribute to george michael, who's died from suspected heart failure at the age of 53. he sold well over 100 million albums in a career spanning more than three decades. the united states troops have been trying to overthrow the dictatorship of general manuel noriega. the pentagon said it's failed in its principal objective, to capture noriega and take him to the united states to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle was hastily taken away. in its place, the russian flag was hoisted over what is now no longer the soviet union, but the commonwealth of independent states. day broke slowly over -
lockerbie, over the cockpit of pan am's maid of the seas nose down in the soft earth. i you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys i high, a football pitch wide, falls from 30,000 feet. i christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkodra, where there were anti—communist riots ten days ago. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm karishma vaswani in singapore. 0ur headlines — new covid guidance comes into force across england, with quarantine for infected people being reduced from ten days to seven. president biden announces new measures to tackle the 0micron variant, promising free testing and 10,000 new vaccination sites.
foreign visitors to thailand will once again have to isolate after the government decided to halt quarantine—free travel due to the spread of the 0micron variant. thailand only reopened to international travellers in november, and the move is a crushing blow to the country's tourism industry, which has suffered throughout the pandemic. it comes as other countries across asia also tighten their border controls following the emergence of the new variant. for more on this, we can cross live to malaysia and join gary bowerman, who is the director of check—in asia and also an asian travel analyst. wonderful to have you on the programme. let's start byjust trying to understand how much of an impact you are seeing from thailand slamming the brakes now on quarantine free travel, which was meant to really reignite the tourism
sector there.— really reignite the tourism sector there. good morning. actually right. _ sector there. good morning. actually right, you _ sector there. good morning. actually right, you use - sector there. good morning. actually right, you use the l actually right, you use the phrase crushing blow. telling was at the forefront of reopening tourism in southeast asia and pretty much asia—pacific. there were few countries in the region that were as open as thailand to international business. it's been open since the beginning of november and numbers were starting to increase, perhaps not reaching the levels that were expected and certainly nowhere near the levels of 2019, but there was some growth. when sleep we are moving into the key season, the peak season of december, january and february for thailand's of these measures to be taken now, that each of the seriousness that thailand is taking 0micron before the tourism industry, it takes everything back perhaps a year but that's where we were a year ago and for the industry not just in thailand but the signals that sends out across southeast asia and asia—pacific, it's gloomy right now. asia-pacific, it's gloomy right now. ., , ., ,., now. indeed, and if you point out this is—
now. indeed, and if you point out this is the _ now. indeed, and if you point out this is the sort _ now. indeed, and if you point out this is the sort of - now. indeed, and if you point out this is the sort of key - out this is the sort of key peak travel season for southeast asia. so given the back of of what you have described, what is your outlook for 2022 for southeast asia and travel companies and the sector? . �* , travel companies and the sector? . v . travel companies and the sector? ., �*, ., ., sector? that's a tough question- _ sector? that's a tough question. i— sector? that's a tough question. i think- sector? that's a tough question. i think one | sector? that's a tough | question. i think one of sector? that's a tough - question. i think one of the golden rules we have learned and travel over the past two years is not really to make too many long—term predictions. things can happen so fast is is a dynamic and very fluid situation. to say globally right now 0micron is back in control and the coronavirus has taken control over travel again. you mentioned that they are of course this is the peak seasons we were looking at the year—end christmas and new year booking season. if we go back tightly to october and november, you'll recall that some countries in the region were starting to open more liberally. thailand of course, singapore was scaling up its vaccinated travel lanes, cambodia and the philippines wanted to reopen quietly and they look at this peak season but also the lunar new year
period at the beginning of february which is a really important travel period across asia—pacific. now that looks as if that's really not going to happen in any numbers at all right now. countries as you said have reinstalled travel barriers mechanism such as increasing quarantines, wrapping up more testing for people when they come back to their own countries little low when they visit another country. so the immediate future looks very bleak. beyond that i guess we have to really look at getting through this immediate period which is the northern hemisphere winter season because you would be expending a lot of demand into southeast asia over the coming months would be from europe and north america. particularly given that most a specifics with buckets are closed to thailand right now. so the immediate future does not look too good but i think we have to take it quarter by quarter. thank you so much, gary, for joining us on newsday for your thoughts on the travel industry in asia and how is been
affected by 0micron. they may seem a little old—fashioned these days, but when they first pinged onto our phones, text messages were the last word in cool. now the first text ever sent has been sold for more than $120,000. it was auctioned in paris as a non—fungible token. nina nanji reports. text messaging, it's hard to imagine a world without it, but do you know when people first started texting each other? it was almost 30 years ago, in december1992. and that first message simply said, "merry christmas." translation: engineering teams were working in the 1990s - to develop the technology to transmit sms messages, and on december 3, 1992, neil papworth, who was part of this engineering team, seen from his computer the sms
"merry christmas" to a vodafone manager in the united kingdom. now that piece of digital history has gone under the hammer. it was sold by vodafone for $120,600 in the form of a non—fungible token, or nft. nfts are a type of digital asset that has surged in popularity this year, with nft artwork selling for millions of dollars. the buyer, whose identity was not disclosed, will receive the replica of the original communication protocol that transmitted the sms. vodafone says it plans to donate its proceeds from the sale to the united nations refugee agency. nina nanji, bbc news. who would've thought a text which is could fetch that much money? i would which is could fetch that much money? iwould have which is could fetch that much money? i would have paid more
to mine over the years. an inspirational story for you now of a life transformed. adeoye fawaz�*s life has changed since he recently won the chess in slums tournament in lagos. the 19—year—old bus conductor, who was living under a bridge in oshodi, a surburb in lagos, has now become a popular face in the country after winning the chess competition. the bbc�*s daniel henry picks up adeoye's story about the competition that's transfomed his life and others like him. translation: i want to use chess to change my life - and become a star. i want people to know me. adeoye fawaz is 19 years old, and he's a chess champion in nigeria's largest city, lagos. translation: i learned tailoring hard living - with my parents, but i later came to lagos to seek a better life. i became a bus conductor and started living under the oshodi bridge. adeoye and many of his friends learned to play the game from a group called chess in slums. tunde daniel organised the chess tournament. i started thinking about them, about those boys that have been neglected on the streets and left to fend for themselves
and are evolving to criminals, con artists and drugs. chess in slums have trained 500 children and helped 100 of them to go back to school in nigeria and burkina faso. translation: the first time they came, we thought - they came for something else, but as time went by, we understood they had good plans for us. i want people to understand that there is no one born without a talent. since adeoye won the tournament, his story has been trending on social media. many nigerians are contributing to the group to sustain their project. around $58,000 has been donated so far. we don'tjust want to stop here. there's still so much more to do. we still need to get all of them off the streets, you know, and get them back to school. translation: i don't want to | live under the bridge any more. i want to live in a decent place. i don't want to join louts any more. remarkable story there. i don't
know about you but i have certainly tried to play chess before with my daughter, in fact, and she's much better than i am an 11 years old. i wishi than i am an 11 years old. i wish i had started a little earlier but i suppose the lesson in all of this is it's never too late to learn. just before we go, an amazing survival story to bring you now from madagascar, where a government minister managed to swim to shore when his helicopter crashed after spending 12 hours in the water. serge gelle, the secretary of state for police, was one of two survivors from the crash, which happened during a mission to inspect the site of a shipwreck. he apparently used one of the helicopter�*s seats as a flotation device. he said in this video, posted on twitter, that he managed to keep going because he told himself that his time to die hadn't come yet. words to live by indy is we try
to make it through this pandemic. that's all for now. stay with bbc world news. hello again. well, we're going to see some changes in our weather pattern through wednesday as this area of cloud that's just out in the atlantic starts to encroach. that will eventually bring some rain, particularly into western areas, with milder southerly winds spreading in as well. before we get there, though, it's a chilly start to the day with some patches of frost for central and eastern areas of the country. in some of the deeper valleys in scotland, we're seeing temperatures of, what, —9, —10 degrees, so a very cold start here. now, through wednesday, as i say, this area of rain is on the way, and it's going to be arriving pretty quickly in northern ireland accompanied by those strengthening southerly winds. so, it will be turning progressively milder here pretty quickly through the day. elsewhere, a few brighter spells across central and eastern england, perhaps for northern scotland, too, but generally a lot of cloud further west with that rain continuing to push its way northwards and eastwards through the day.
top temperatures around about 4—7 for many, but as that rain bumps into that colder air, well, some of those valleys could still have temperatures below freezing. so, there is a risk, and quite a significant risk i think, of seeing icy conditions out on the roads through wednesday evening, either due to freezing rain or rain falling on frozen surfaces. now, for thursday, we've got another weather front that's set to move its way in. now, i think it may well start off with rather murky conditions across much of the country, a few mist and fog patches over the hills, and rain. well, that rain's going to be heavier, particularly swinging across northern ireland, northern england, into parts of scotland as well. very mild in the south, 13 degrees, but we're starting to get some colder air spreading into the far north of the uk. and for christmas eve, we'll continue to have those kind of temperature contrasts. another weather front, this one concentrating rain across northern ireland, wales and the south west of england, still with mild air here. further north, we've got those chillier conditions with wintry showers beginning to spread in across the northern isles. and for saturday, which of course is christmas day,
we're going to have this battle zone somewhere across the uk. now, this is not set in stone. it could move a little bit further southwards perhaps over the next few days. for the north of the uk, we may well see a few snow showers, that is a possibility. the south west more likely to see cloudy skies, grey conditions, rain and mild weather. and there's a small chance we could see something a little bit more disruptive, but itjust depends where this boundary ends up being. at the moment, it's here. cold air to the north, milder in the south west, but watch this space.
the headlines and all them main news stories for you at the top of the hour as newsday continues straight after hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. many of us have an inclination to categorise artists. it's an easy, maybe a lazy way, of signalling where we think they fit in the creative universe. but my guest today defies labels. nitin sawhney�*s creative output is dizzying. he's a musician brought up in an indian family in britain who fuses different musical traditions. and on top of that, he writes film scores, he djs, promotes various cultural initiatives — oh, and he was a successful comedian, too. so what are the common threads in this prolific creativity?