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tv   BBC World News  BBC News  December 23, 2021 5:00am-5:31am GMT

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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. new studies suggest the omicron variant of coronavirus could be milder than previous variants, with fewer people needing hospital treatment. but, as the uk records over 100,000 new cases for the first time, concern remains that the sheer number of infections could overwhelm hospitals. hong kong's pillar of shame statue commemorating the tiananmen square massacre, is dismantled. we hear from the work's danish sculptor no verdict yet in the sex trafficking trial of the british socialite, ghislaine maxwell. the jury will reconvene after christmas. and celebrating a break
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from pandemic gloom in spain as thousands win a share of the world's richest lottery draw — el gordo, or �*the fat one�*. hello and welcome. three early studies indicated that the 0micron variant may cause milder illness than delta, with patients less likely to need hospital treatment. scientists say the research is good news to a degree but a big wave of infections could yet overwhelm the health provision. here's our health correspondent katharine da costa. early data from south africa
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and now studies in england and scotland are pointing in the same direction, 0micron infections may be milder and leading to fewer hospital admissions. around 40% reduction in the risk of being admitted to hospital from london. a scottish study suggested a 65% lower risk of being hospitalised but it was based on only a few cases. while in south africa, 0micron paces were thought to be around 75% less likely to need hospital treatment. rather than 0micron been fundamentally milder, scientists think it is mainly due to immunity from previous infection and vaccination. it is still early days but scientists say it is good news to a degree. even if a 5096 good news to a degree. even if a 50% reduction _ good news to a degree. even if a 5096 reduction in _ a 50% reduction in hospitalisation occurs, because it is doubling every two days, that 50% will soon be overwhelmed by the increasing
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case numbers so the total impact of 0micron is still very, very significant because it is such a transmissible virus and growing so quickly. in the face of rapidly rising infections, record numbers of boosters are being administered. 30 millionjabbed administered. 30 million jabbed so administered. 30 millionjabbed so far. from the new year, both as will be offered to those over16, as will be offered to those over 16, and those who may be more vulnerable to it. 5—11 —year—olds for the first time, with specific health conditions will be offered smaller doses of the pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart. christmas may be just days away but scientists are working flat out to provide the data governments need to make tough decisions on how best to respond to the virus. katharine da costa, bbc news. still on 0micron and of course the concern remains even if it is milder, the sheer number of cases could overwhelm hospitals.
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the variant is spreading rapidly across europe and around the world, as tanya dendrinos reports. a silver lining just in time for christmas but while preliminary studies suggest the 0micron variant appears to be milder, its rate of transmission is another story altogether. 0micron is already the dominant strain in a number of countries, including the uk, portugal and denmark and according to the world health organization, that will soon be the case right across europe. there is no doubt that europe once again is the epicentre of the global pandemic. the top ten countries with the highest mortality are in europe and central asia. in spain, the variant is believed to account for almost half of all infections. in response to the rapid rise, prime minister pedro sanchez has announced plans to reintroduce mandatory face coverings outdoors. still, there is
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a hint of optimism. translation: this is not march 2020, | and this is not last year's christmas. fortunately, we are living in another time. 90% of people aged 12 and over have been vaccinated. this time last year, nobody was. belgium is also tightening restrictions. from sunday most indoor activities will be banned. cinemas and theatres will close. and there will be a 2—person limit set for shopping. the united states, where 0micron is also the dominant strain, saw its 7—day average of covid—19 cases jump by 25% on the previous week. as festive celebrations draw closer, the message is one of caution. would it be safe for individuals who are vaccinated, who are boosted, to get together with the family in the setting of the home? the answer to that is yes but i want to make sure this is not confused with going to a large gathering
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and there are many of these, parties that have 30, 40, 50 people, in which you do not know the vaccination status of individuals. in china, it is a strict zero covid strategy. more than 13 million people in the city of xi'an have been ordered to lock down, as authorities look to control an outbreak. it has recorded 143 infections since the ninth of december. the country on high alert ahead of the winter games in february. right around the world, it is clear managing the pandemic remains a difficult task. two years on and the balance is still difficult to strike. tanya dendrinos, bbc news. a well—known statue commemorating the deaths of students protesting in beijing's tiananmen square has been removed from a university campus in hong kong. the removal of the eight metre—high copper statue,
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created by danish sculptorjens galschiot, was ordered back in october. construction workers are said to have laboured overnight to dismantle the piece, known as the pillar of shame. we'll hear from mr galschiot in a moment, but first here's the bbc�*s danny vincent in hong kong. in october, the university contacted the sculptor to declare that, essentially, this statue, following legal advice, needed to be removed. after that, they set a deadline for the removal. the deadline passed and it wasn't clear when the statue would be removed. but in the early hours of the morning, construction workers started covering up the statue. they put up yellow barriers surrounding the statue, which is on the university campus of hong kong, and then in the early hours of the morning, construction workers came, the statue was removed, it was put into a container and driven away.
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the danish sculptor jens galschiot says he's perplexed by the decision to remove his artwork in the dead of night. i think they have a right to — in the first place, they have the right to the democracy movement, but they were all in jail, and they asked them to move the sculpture about four days. and then i saw that and then i said, this is my sculpture, this is not a democratic movement sculpture, this is mine and i have leant it out to them to permanently exhibition. so i told the university that, this is my sculpture, you can't take it down, and i want to go and pick it up. and then they took it down this morning. a couple of months ago, i have hired a lawyer, i have hired a construction firm, i have asked them to come there and take care of my security, of course, to take it out of hong kong and nobody will contact me.
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i have worked for that for three months to contact them, and then now they just take it down. a lot of construction workers and they have probably destroyed it, ithink. let's get some of the day's other news: the united states has pledged $200,000 to help the people of the phillippines, following the devastating typhoon which hit last week. there are warnings that more rains could arrive in the next few days, making rescue and rebuilding efforts more difficult. the united states has denied that a man arrested in istanbul on suspicion of giving his passport to a syrian national was a diplomat. turkish police claimed the man worked in the us embassy in beirut. the state department said it was aware of a us citizen being detained in turkey but that he was not a diplomat. a us congresswoman has escaped unharmed after having her car stolen at gunpoint. mary gay scanlon was approached by two men in philadelphia,
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who demanded the keys to her car and drove off. the fbi are helping in the investigation. the democrat serves on the housejudicary committee. in australia, a funeral has been held for one of six children who were killed in a tragic bouncy castle accident last week in tasmania. two girls and four boys, aged between 11 and 12, died after a gust of wind blew a bouncy castle into the air at a celebration to mark the end of the school year. ghislaine maxwell will spend christmas day — her 60th birthday — behind bars, after the jury in her sex crimes trial suspended deliberations on wednesday without reaching a verdict. the judge granted a request from thejurors that they take thursday off and told them to return on monday, after the christmas holiday. 0ur correspondent barbara plett—usher has been following the trial in new york.
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the jury deliberated for two full days, but it wasn't able to reach a verdict before christmas. and the court has now recessed for the holiday weekend. the jurors are considering six counts against ghislaine maxwell of grooming and transporting girls for sex. and the case is narrowly focused on the accusations of four women who say that she facilitated or participated injeffrey epstein�*s abuse of her. the jurors have several times asked the judge to send them transcript of testimony or to clarify certain issues. they will come back on monday to continue deliberating about whether to convict ghislaine maxwell of all, some or none of the charges. in the meantime, ms maxwell will be spending christmas at the federal detention centre in brooklyn, where she's been for more than a year, with this decision still hanging over her. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: the miraculous rescue of madix the cat found alive in the rubble, nine days after a tornado struck mayfield, kentucky.
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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 that it's failed in its principle objective to capture noriega and take him to the united states to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle| was hastily taken away. m 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, nosedown in the soft earth. you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys high, a football pitch wide falls from 30,000 feet. christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban
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lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkoder, where there were anti—communist riots ten days ago. this is bbc world news, the latest headlines: new studies suggest the 0micron variant could be milder than previous variants, with fewer people needing hospital treatment. a statue commemorating the tiananmen square massacre has been removed from the university of hong kong. former uk prime minister gordon brown says the failure to distribute coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries is a stain on our global soul. he said people were realising the virus would come back to haunt every country, without a push to get the whole world vaccinated next year. so far, eight billion covid vaccines have been administered worldwide, but the vast majority have been given in high and middle—income
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countries. naomi grimley reports. 2021 was the year 8 billion vaccines were administered across the world but the vast majority have been given richer countries, only one in four african healthcare workers have been vaccinated, for example and a former british prime minister says that should change. it minister says that should chance. , . , minister says that should chance. , ., , ., ., change. it is really a stain on our global— change. it is really a stain on our global salt. _ change. it is really a stain on our global salt. we _ change. it is really a stain on our global salt. we had - change. it is really a stain on our global salt. we had a - our global salt. we had a surplus of vaccine in one part of the world, indeed. mining, and not enough in another part of the world. it affects us all because people are starting to realise that if we allow the disease to spread in poorer countries and then mutate, it comes back and haunts even the fully vaccinated. mr comes back and haunts even the fully vaccinated.— fully vaccinated. mr brown wants world _ fully vaccinated. mr brown wants world leaders -
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fully vaccinated. mr brown wants world leaders to - fully vaccinated. mr brown wants world leaders to try | wants world leaders to try again, at the start of the new year, to make vaccination across the world a priority. the world health organization says 98 countries have not been able to meet the target of vaccinating 40% of their populations by the end of the year. without more progress, who officials are warning the pandemic will drag on for longer. pandemic will drag on for loner. , longer. getting the vaccine for those who _ longer. getting the vaccine for those who need _ longer. getting the vaccine for those who need them - longer. getting the vaccine for those who need them most. longer. getting the vaccine for i those who need them most must be a priority for every single government, notjust some. we need to also be able to use tools to drive transmission down because, if we did not we will continue to see the virus change and the virus threatened us in ways that brings us closer to the beginning rather than closer to the end.- than closer to the end. 2022 will be the — than closer to the end. 2022 will be the third _ than closer to the end. 2022 will be the third year- than closer to the end. 2022 will be the third year of- than closer to the end. 2022 will be the third year of the l will be the third year of the pandemic. the question remains, will it be the year that vaccines finally become available everywhere? naomi grimley, bbc news.
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the tornado that struck kentucky recently devastated hundreds of peoples lives. but for hoot gibson it led to a small miracle. he had an office cat, madix, and he feared he'd lost him. but... well perhaps we should let him explain, because we can talk to hoot now. wonderful to see you both, and madix has just been sitting there so sweetly and nicely waiting for us to come to you. how is he doing and how are you doing, hoot? i’m how is he doing and how are you doing. hoot?— doing, hoot? i'm doing great, he's doing _ doing, hoot? i'm doing great, he's doing great. _ doing, hoot? i'm doing great, he's doing great. right - doing, hoot? i'm doing great, he's doing great. right now. doing, hoot? i'm doing great, | he's doing great. right now he doesn't like to be held that much so he is going to fight me a little bit but he is doing well. we took to the vet after i found well. we took to the vet after ifound him sunday and you can see he's not crazy about this, and he checked out fine. but it's a miracle that he made it in this disaster. he was gone nine days and we found him
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sunday and it was exhilarating. as you say it is a miracle. we can see those lovely pictures now when you found him. he was discovered nine days after this devastating tornado hit mayfield and the pictures of destruction, just our testament to the severity of that storm so it really was a miracle that nine days later you found him, seemingly unharmed. unharmed. i went through _ seemingly unharmed. unharmed. i went through sunday _ seemingly unharmed. unharmed. i went through sunday around - seemingly unharmed. unharmed. i went through sunday around four l went through sunday around four o'clock and i'd really given up that he was going to be alive and i was looking for, the matter of fact though i was going to look for a wedding dress that was on the third floor, didn't find the wedding dress and then heard a faint meow and i called his name and i heard another meow and it just froze me and i thought oh my gosh, he's alive. so i got on facebook and said can people please come and help me. are called two of my employees and they got up there, one went in they got up there, one went in the back, we kept calling, we kept hearing these faint cries
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and all of a sudden larry hollowed, i think i've located him, and he was somewhere down in a hole and it was nine days. of course he went through a of course he went through a tornado and then he went through 25 degrees temperatures and then he went through three solid days ofjust torrential rain so it really was a miracle, and madix, maybe he is going to be an inspiration for people to see the bright side of things. i people to see the bright side of thin . s. ~ , of things. i think he will be, that is exactly _ of things. i think he will be, that is exactly what - of things. i think he will be, that is exactly what we - of things. i think he will be, that is exactly what we all l that is exactly what we all need! they do say cats have nine lives but it sounds like he shot through about eight of them in that one night. how regular are tornadoes in your bit of the world? is this something that you and madix have ever experienced before? perhaps not to that severity but it's not something you are totally unused to? ida. but it's not something you are totally unused to?— but it's not something you are totally unused to? no, we have tornado warnings _ totally unused to? no, we have tornado warnings and _ totally unused to? no, we have tornado warnings and watches i totally unused to? no, we have | tornado warnings and watches in the area, and you know i've never personally seen a tornado
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and i really didn't take this one serious until the last ten minutes before andy alerts on my phone were going off and i'd decided to go to a friend's house and sit in the basement and then when i got out of the basement and went toward my home, there was debris everywhere. according to the weather channel it was probably the worst recorded, longest tornado in the history of time, but it devastated the town, how this cat or anybody could have lived through the direct hit is a miracle and i was shocked when i saw it and he was healthy! he wasn't beat up or anything, he is now living at my home, and i'm shocked. and my home, and i'm shocked. and my family is shot. my two sons and two daughters, we are just beside... i think he wants down if that's ok. he's had enough of me. cats don't like to be
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held but you got to see him and, it'sjust unbelievable. and, it's just unbelievable. and and, it'sjust unbelievable. and he has become a hero. i hope that people that see this cat and see this programme today get some inspiration that there is some good in disaster. 0ur town has suffered immensely and god does shine his light on us and i got define that cat. he has been my cat for a long period of time and all the customers and everybody that came in just customers and everybody that came injust loved him. they wanted to know where madix was, so a lot of people were astonished that we found him and asked me what about madix and asked me what about madix and i had to say he probably did die. �* �* ~ ., did die. but he didn't! we are so thrilled — did die. but he didn't! we are so thrilled that _ did die. but he didn't! we are so thrilled that he _ did die. but he didn't! we are so thrilled that he didn't, - so thrilled that he didn't, this is exactly the kind of happy story we all need at this time and so sad to see those pictures of devastation and mayfield but so glad that you
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and madix and yourfamily are well and we wish you the very happiest of christmases. indie happiest of christmases. we wish ou happiest of christmases. we wish you a — happiest of christmases. - wish you a merry christmas. thank you much, good night. now it's time to get all the latest from the bbc sport centre. hello i'm chetan pathak with your sports news. we start in spain where real madrid will go into the winter break eight points clear at the top of la liga. karim benzema scored twice in the first seven minutes as real made a dominant start at athletic bilbao. sancet did pull a goal back for the hosts three minutes after going 2—0 down but that was the end of the goals, it finished 2—1. the champions atletico were beaten for the fourth game in a row as they lost 2—1 at granada which means diego simeone's side are 17 points off top spot. liverpool bossjurgen klopp says managers will meet with the premier league on thursday to discuss issues around the pandemic. nine of the past 20 top—flight games have been postponed, but premier league clubs decided on monday to continue with the busy festive schedule.
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meanwhile takumi minamino was liverpool's hero on wednesday night at anfield as he scored a 95th minute equaliser in the quarter finals of the english league cup against leicester city, with the score three all. the match went to penalties which liverpool won, they'll face arsenal in the last four whilst chelsea will play tottenham, a good night for klopp who made 10 changes from the last game with several players out with covid. with a busy fixture list and growing concerns around covid cases, liverpool captain jordan henderson says he's worried that player welfare is not being taken seriously. former captain steven gerrard now the aston villa boss, says the covid situation at his club is changing by the hour and that's proving tough for players. we have a situation at the weekend where one of the players was reluctant to get out of his car because he had some symptoms, he's got a young family, so totally understand the situation and how he felt at the time and that's where i've got to be there for him and support him in the best way
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we can and so have all of the staff, we got a major responsibility to listen to the players and deal with every situation as it comes your way. to the suzuki cup where singapore drew 1—all with indonesia in the first leg of their semi—final. witan sulaeman's first half goal gave the home side the lead at the singapore national stadium, but ikhsan fandi scored the equaliser in the 70th minute the two sides will meet again in the second leg on saturday. the nba's postponed the brooklyn nets game scheduled for thursday at portland because the team doesn't have the league—minimum eight players available because of covid. the nba made the announcement on wednesday its the eighth postponement of the season because of virus—related reasons and the third consecutive nets game to be pushed back. thousands of people have been celebrating in spain after winning a share of the prize pot in the world's richest lottery. el gordo, or "the fat one" hands out prizes from a total fund equivalent to more
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than two point $seven billion. " $2.7 billion. but instead of having a single multimillionaire winner, there are thousands of winners every year. sergi forcada reports. it's the event that kicks off the christmas season in spain. a tradition going back more than 200 years which is now considered the biggest lottery draw in the world. the winning numbers are revealed in song by schoolchildren. these were the lucky five digits this year. the top prize, el gordo which means "the fat 0ne". the rules allow for the same number to be sold multiple times, so the prize fund gets split between several winners across the country. this year, the top prize landed in madrid and the canary islands.
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those who had a ticket like this one will get 400,000 euros and there were thousands of smaller prizes. translation: my wife did not believe it. - she turned the tv on and began to scream. she looked at the ticket and checked that the number was correct. we are not used to winning. there was joy amongst winners and also lottery shop owners who sold the lucky tickets. translation: you never expect this. _ you always have the idea of selling the first prize. it seems like sometimes it happens. translation: i can't believe it, i'm shaking right now! - the run—up to this year's draw was less cheery than usual, with lottery ticket sellers protesting that their commission hasn't increased in 17 years.
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you can reach me on twitter — i'm @bbcbaxter. in the meantime, do stay with us, there is a lot to come. hello again. well, it's been another chilly day wednesday, but the trend is as we go into thursday the weather is turning increasingly mild. however, over recent hours, we have seen some freezing rain in scotland. that's liquid rain that can freeze on impact. you can imagine the roads and the pavements becoming very icy in some of the deeper scottish valleys for a time. but this time yesterday, it was very cold. temperatures were down to about —10 into parts of aberdeenshire. quite a contrast with what we've got at the moment, but aside from some of those valleys, the temperatures are stilljust about below freezing. for the most part as we head into thursday, it's actually getting milder. and across western areas — 12 degrees in plymouth, 11 in belfast , it is going to be a mild start to the day for these areas on thursday.
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now, thursday, there will be a lot of cloud around. we've got weather fronts bringing rain. the heaviest rain moves quickly across from northern ireland into northern england and scotland as well. further southwards, cloud, a few spots of rain, no great amounts, though. some brighter weather for wales and the south west later on, but look at the temperatures. northern ireland, most of england and wales seeing temperatures into double figures and reaching highs of 13. but still relatively cool across the far north of england and across much of scotland. now through thursday night, our weather front stops moving northwards, and itjust weakens really in situ over scotland. so, there will be a lot of cloud here, still bits and pieces of light rain, some drizzle, some mist and fog patches over the hills as well. and heading into christmas eve, there's probably also going to be some mist and fog across parts of england and wales, so we could have poor visibility for a time. through christmas eve, then, we've got another band of rain that's going to be moving into northern ireland, across wales and south west england. it does become a little bit drier for northernmost areas of scotland, but we've got some showers around and they're likely to be wintry showers into shetland. now, for christmas day itself, we've still got this
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temperature contrast that we've been talking about for a number of days. now, it looks like it's going to be sunny and cold across northern scotland, but i suspect there'll be some wintry showers affecting eastern areas. so, that is a mixture of rain, some sleet and some snow. it's mild across the south west. you're just going to get rain and temperatures into double figures, but in between, there's a small chance that we could see a few flurries over the high ground of northern england and perhaps the southern uplands of scotland. but that's more of a perhaps. beyond that, into boxing day, many of us will keep the mild weather conditions, but still relatively cool air loitering in scotland. that's your weather.
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this is bbc news with the latest business headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. markets rise as research suggests the omicron variant could be milder — but experts urge caution a new weapon in the armoury. the us clears pfizer's covid pill for emergency use but doses could be in short supply the cost of keeping the lights on — europe's energy crisis deepens as gas and electricity prices hit new highs. plus — gone smishing! fake delivery text messages expected to hit record levels this week — find out how to avoid the scams


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