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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 28, 2021 4:00am-4:31am GMT

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this is bbc news, our top stories. america's leading health body halves the isolation period for patients with asymptomatic covid, from ten days to five. france gets tougher on covid restrictions — working from home becomes compulsory, as infection rates exceed 100,000 a day. heavy snow batters the us western states leaving thousands without power and causing travel chaos. tributes to the ant man, e0 wilson — one of the world's leading comservationists dies aged 92. as hollywood box—office takings continue to tumble,we ask if it's because of covid, the films or the movie—goers themselves?
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welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. 0micron infections continue to soar in many parts of the world, and that is triggering some very different responses from governments and authorities. after seeing a record high of more than 100,000 new cases on saturday, france has announced tougher restrictions. remote working is now compulsory and public gatherings have been cut to 2,000 people for indoor events. in contrast, in the uk, with cases also reaching record highs, health secretary sajid javid has said there will be "no further measures before the new year, but of course people should remain cautious." and in the us, where joe biden�*s top medical advisor dr anthony fauci has warned that there could easily be 500,000 cases a day in the coming weeks,
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the centers for disease control has halved the recommended isolation time for people with asymptomatic infections, from ten to five days. we'll have the details on that change in the us and the science behind it in a minute, but first we start with the new measures in france. the bbc�*s azaday moshiri reports. with the festivities over and memories made, france is now snapping back to the reality of the pandemic. president macron convened a remote cabinet meeting to review the latest data on the 0micron variant. and his government's verdict is clear — cases are surging, and more restrictions are needed, at least for the next three weeks. starting on monday, all public gatherings will be limited to 2000 people for indoor events, and 5000 for outdoor ones. all spectators will have to be seated at concerts. food and drink can only be consumed while seated
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at bars and restaurants. and they will be banned on all public transport as well as cinemas. working from home will be mandatory three days a week, where possible. and masks will be compulsory in outdoor city centres in addition to public transport. france's prime minister said he knows this all sounds like a film without an ending. translation: i know these measures can sometimes i make people feel fed up, but since the start of the crisis, the president, like his government, has sought only to protect you. the government is preparing for a huge wave of cases, having already hit a record number in the last few days, registering more than 100,000 positive cases for the very first time, which is why france is offering a third booster shot after three months instead of four.
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but there is a fear that hospitals could buckle under the pressure, and that more measures will be needed. translation: with the omicron variant, continuing to expand - would not only put pressure on hospitals but especially pressure on all of society, because there will be up to 1.5 million people who would have to self—isolate each day. the government has warned it will introduce passes that will make vaccines mandatory for certain activities by january 15th, if parliament approves. but it did stop short of imposing a full lockdown on new year's eve. a silver lining, as france prepares for a fifth wave of the pandemic. so let's return to the situation in the us, where isolation for
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asymptomatic covid patients is being halved from ten to five days. dr peter chin—hong is an infectious disease specialist and a professor of medicine at the university of california san francisco. i asked him for his thoughts on the new recommendations. we don't have a lot of time to wait for the best data. in a large sense it is driven by the workforce, if you think about health care and airlines, they all have a common denominator. if you were positive under the old rules, and people were asymptomatic, you had a covid prison sentence for ten days, and i think that was wreaking havoc on all facets of life, frankly. the trouble is, our assumption was you needed ten days to be shot of it. can you explain a little bit
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about the infection period and how long we might still harbour it? yes, several reasons went into this recommendation. first, overall, we are not in the same place as we were in the fall of 2020 when the guidelines were last updated. we have had vaccines since then and more therapeutics, so if you think about that timeline when you are infected and when you are most likely to transmit, if you think about alpha, it was said to be about five days, delta four days, and 0micron is thought to be three days, much of that data comes from the oslo event when scores of people were infected with 0micron. that is the thinking — two days before, three days after. call it five, and you wear a mask for the additionalfive days, we think the probability of transmission then is low. and even if you do get
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transmission, we have antibodies and increasing oral options that will be available. we are more comfortable with treating covid. as a vaccinated person, we know you are very unlikely to get serious disease, hospitalisation and death, very different from november 2020. does it bother you, this new regime? i appreciate there is an economic call for it, a business sense to it, but as a medical man and a scientist, are you anxious? i am a little anxious, to be honest, david, because we don't quite have the amount of data we had in the previous version. we know for example, if i call up the old data, you can take up to 11.5 days for everyone to sort of transmit, if they are going to transmit from an initial infection. so i guess the tail end is what makes me nervous. i am nervous about whether or
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not folks are going to wear masks after those five days, because you are not out of the woods just because you are in society, it doesn't mean you are not capable of transmission. and are you going to wear the right mask? cloth masks are not going to be enough for 0micron we think, and you need something better, at least a well fitted surgical mask if not an n—95 mask. an israeli hospital is giving people a fourth shot of the vaccine, as part of a clinical trial, to determine whether it might stem the further spread of the virus. the trial in tel aviv includes 150 healthcare workers who received their third shot no later than august this year. israel is considering a fourth dose, a second booster, for vulnerable people. the infections have been surging in recent weeks despite the comprehensive vaccination programme. let's get some of the day's other news. geologists in iceland
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are warning that a series of tremors near the capital reykjavik could signal that a new volcanic eruption is on the way. thousands of mini quakes have been recorded in recent days. experts say the cause is magma moving beneath the earth's surface. they're warning tourists to stay away, although it's not clear if and when any quake might happen. two football teams in france have been thrown out of the french cup because of fan violence. lyon and paris fc were punished after crowd trouble forced the abandonment of their french cup match earlier this month. both clubs can appeal against the decision. bush fires are raging in southern chile, burning up more than 12,000 hectares so far. the largest fire has destroyed homes in the nuble region, leaving behind only metal rooftops. planes and helicopters have been mobilised to try to contain the fires. record amounts of snow are falling in western
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and northern japan, blocking roads and railways and disrupting flights. thousands of homes are without power. forecasters say the amount of snow this season is twice that of an average year. daniel wittenberg reports. a white christmas and the nightmare afterwards. japan's freezing weather has generated an amount of snow this winter that, in the worst affected places, is twice that of an average year. the heaviest snowfall started on christmas day. in the city of hakone, east of kyoto, 68 centimetres fell in 2a hours. just as people wanted to hunker down, more than 3000 households were left without power. for those on the move, piles of powder have caused a standstill. traffic lights and motorway signs hide from the chaotic scenes, after a truck driver lost control on a major road, prompting long tailbacks.
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dozens of flights have been grounded, with holiday travel plans disrupted. planes shiver on the tarmac. and almost 200 passengers had to spend the night on stranded trains. there is no let—up in sight. more snow is forecast along the coast of japan's sea. and residents are being asked to stay at home, with weather officials warning of potential avalanches. a pretty festive picture, perhaps, but for many, a frustrating one. daniel wittenberg, bbc news. heavy storms have battered western regions of the us, leaving thousands without power. almost 30 inches of snow fell in california at the weekend causing major disruption and road closures. meanwhile, other western us states continue to be battered by heavy snow storms including the state of washington. we checked in with fox 13 seattle meteorologist abby acone for the latest.
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this is part of the big picture, thejet stream directly over the west coast. we have been pummelled by significant mountain snow, so there is a degree of normalcy. we see this kind of winter weather. but this is extreme snow. especially for what we are seeing in california, oregon and washington. and into the great plains and even the rockies as well. what sort of impact are you seeing across the country? how badly is it affecting you all? in seattle we average six inches of snow per year, we got that in a day, some spots got more than a foot. typically in seattle and the puget sound lowlands we don't have the equipment to clear it quickly, so it stopped traffic
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on a busy holiday weekend. 0n interstate 80, from the foothills to the nevada state line, a lot of people just completely stranded, not able to finish their holiday travel. that is not fun, we understand that much. you have got snow on the ground so obviously it is cold, but i was reading that in some parts of the country, the temperatures and the wind chill are falling as low as —55 fahrenheit — is that possible? right. you know what, david, those numbers should be illegal, because that is extreme and dangerous cold. in seattle, we dropped to 17 fahrenheit earlier today, believe it or not that's 91 degrees colder than the triple digits we had injune, we had a high of 108 injune, the third consecutive day in triple digits, would have been 42 celsius. so this is the biggest
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temperature swing we have seen in seattle in recorded history. stay with us on bbc world news, still to come. the punishment handed down to the captain and first officer of a freighter that caused an environmental disaster in mauritius. the most ambitious financial and political change ever attempted has got under way with the introduction of the euro. tomorrow in holland they are going to use money that we picked up in belgium today and then we will be in france and again it will be the same money. it has got to be the way to go. george harrison, the former beatle, is recovering in hospital after being stabbed at his oxfordshire home. a 33—year—old man from liverpool is being interviewed by police on suspicion
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of attempted murder. i think it was good. just good? - no, fantastic. that's better. j big ben bongs. this is bbc world news, the latest headlines. america's leading health body halves the isolation period for patients with asymptomatic covid — from ten days to five. france gets tougher on covid restrictions — with working from home becoming compulsory, as infection rates exceed 100,000 a day. tributes have paid to e0
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wilson one of the world's leading naturalists and conservationists, who's died aged 92. wilson was an award—winning biologist and professor at harvard and duke universities and earned the nickname of the natural heir to charles darwin. let's remember his legacy with close friend steven pinker, cognitive scientist at harvard university. thank you very much for your time. that's quite a title to carry around, the natural heir to darwin. what made him so special? he to darwin. what made him so secial? . , to darwin. what made him so secial? .,, ., , , , special? he was a superb biologist _ special? he was a superb biologist. he _ special? he was a superb biologist. he said - special? he was a superb biologist. he said most i biologist. he said most children went to a bug phase and he never left his. truly an expert on everything to do with insects, particularly ants. he tested on biodiversity, how
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many species in a given region, what causes there to be diversity of species or a small number, does it depend on area, migration inward and outward? he was a great synthesiser. he probably came to attention when he wrote a book or a sociobiology, attempting to formulate laws of behaviour rooted in darwin's theory of natural selection. rooted in darwin's theory of naturalselection. he rooted in darwin's theory of natural selection. he had chapters on insects, reptiles, fish, primates, and then he thought he would add, for the fun of it, a chapter on one particular species of parochial interest to many readers, namely homo sapiens. that is when it hit the fan.— when it hit the fan. you said he did it _ when it hit the fan. you said he did it for _ when it hit the fan. you said he did it for the _ when it hit the fan. you said he did it for the fun - when it hit the fan. you said he did it for the fun of- when it hit the fan. you said he did it for the fun of it, i when it hit the fan. you said he did it for the fun of it, he said human behaviour was a product of genetic predetermination. did you agree with him? i predetermination. did you agree with him? ., �* ~' predetermination. did you agree with him? ., �* ~ with him? i don't think you would have _ with him? i don't think you would have said _ with him? i don't think you would have said that. - with him? i don't think you would have said that. he i with him? i don't think you - would have said that. he would have said we could understand
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what is traditionally called human nature, namely our drives and motives and learning abilities. it came from the process of biological evolution unless you are a creationist, which means the kind of forces which means the kind of forces which lead to emotions and desires to become installed in cars could be explained by how they enhance the reproductive abilities of our ancestors. that is the core of natural selection. not our particular behaviours, it would be insane to say that everything we say or do came from a revolution, but rather the overall plan or human nature.— but rather the overall plan or human nature. ok, i'm with you on that. human nature. ok, i'm with you on that he _ human nature. ok, i'm with you on that. he clearly _ human nature. ok, i'm with you on that. he clearly had - human nature. ok, i'm with you on that. he clearly had an - on that. he clearly had an exceptional scientific brain. what is perhaps slightly more rare about him, he was a double pulitzer prizewinner for the ants and on human nature. he was a great writer. he
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ants and on human nature. he was a great writer.— was a great writer. he was a fine writer. _ was a great writer. he was a fine writer, not _ was a great writer. he was a fine writer, not typically - was a great writer. he was a fine writer, not typically for| fine writer, not typically for academics who tend to be awful writers. he also thought big, he wrote a book called conciliar hunts, based on the enlightenment idea, that divisions between disciplines like chemistry and biology, but also the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, were arbitrary. but it was a continuous landscape of knowledge, that the product of knowledge, that the product of human nature are what we call the arts and society, so there is no place where natural science ends and the human fields of study, like the humanities, the arts and the social sciences, humanities, the arts and the socialsciences, begin. 0n humanities, the arts and the socialsciences, begin. on top of that, he wrote a book called biophilia in which he said we all have a love of life, and we
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like green space and parks, natural preserves, and it could be a kind of basis for enhanced conservation effort. namely it speaks to a human need. he claimed we werejust speaks to a human need. he claimed we were just not happy in—built environments in the way we are in natural environments.- way we are in natural environments. . ., , environments. he will certainly ahead of his — environments. he will certainly ahead of his time _ environments. he will certainly ahead of his time in _ environments. he will certainly ahead of his time in that - ahead of his time in that respect. stephen, thank for joining you us. the captain and first officer of a ship that caused an environmental disaster in mauritius have been sentenced to 20 months in prison. both men were found guilty last week of endangering safe navigation. sylvia lennan—spence reports. these were once clear waters, pristine beaches, but all of this was contaminated by thick, black oil, leaking from this ship, the mv wakashio, a japanese owned vessel that was sailing from singapore to brazil, when it ran aground injuly, 2020. the freighter spilt more than 1000 tonnes of fuel, releasing a toxic tide that damaged wildlife,
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corals and mangroves. it is one of the worst environmental disasters that mauritius has ever seen. during the trial, the ship's captain, sunil kumar nandeshwar, admitted to having a few drinks during a birthday party on board the vessel and to having given instructions to approach mauritian waters, to gain access to mobile phone networks, so that the crew could contact their families. he had left the first officer at the helm. both men were found guilty of endangering safe navigation and sentenced to 20 months in prison. translation: it is a very harsh sentence, considering _ the offence that was committed. it is extremely rare that a court does not take into consideration the rules of remission for a guilty plea. the two men have been in police custody since august, 2020, meaning, that with time served, they can now return home to india and sri lanka respectively. the ship's insurers have agreed
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to pay compensation of $2500 each to hundreds of fishermen and fishmongers for the loss of earnings caused by the spill. sylvia lennan—spence, bbc news. as we reach the end of the year, hollywood is counting its box office losses as the pandemic continues to prevent large sections of the audience returning to the cinema. in the us, takings are set to reach $4.4 billion by the end of the year, which sounds like no mean feat, but that's down 61% on 2019, the last year where covid—19 wasn't a factor. globally, box office receipts this year were around $20 billion, again not be laughed at, but half of what the studios made in 2019. so far, only one film this year has grossed more than $1 billion across the world — spider man: no way home —
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compared to nine films in 2019. so is fear of covid stopping audiences setting out to the local mutliplex, or has the rise of streaming and on—demand changed the way we consume movies for ever? paul dergarabedian is a senior media analyst at comscore and gave me his opinion. an incredible year and a half, almost two years, really, for the movie theatres in particular. movie theatres shutting down essentially in march 2020, and since then, it's been a real roller—coaster ride at the box office. like you said, the takings seem impressive at 20 billion globally expected, 4.4 billion in north america, which is around half, and in the case of north america, less than half of what we earned in 2019, but it is double what we earned in 2020 on both counts, so kind of a good
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news/bad news scenario. considering where we were a year ago, we are in a pretty good spot, especially with spider—man doing $1 billion of business. and obviously the success of streaming, partly a covid success in a strange sort of way, that brings in its own revenues which don't count in the box office sense, but does it signal a change forever? or will we get back to those packed cinemas? i think we are going to get back to the packed cinemas, but it will take a little longer than we expected. considering the proliferation of streaming, how great to have it at home, that is wonderful for people who don't want to go out, but the fact spider—man did as well and it did, venom, some of the other big blockbusters like that, generally those films which have youth appeal have done very well. the films that opened in theatres first did better,
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they actually performed better in theatres, because that was the only place you could see them. and then when they hit the small screen, they are more coveted and desired, films have a greater prestige when they go into the movie theatre first. but definitely the industry is learning how all the new dynamics are coming to bear in terms of the box office and streaming. the main stories today have focused on the rise of the 0micron variant. doctor anthony gauci said infections could reach 500,000 per day in the united states. the us health authorities have halved the recommended isolation period for people who test positive
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for people who test positive for covid—19 without exhibiting symptoms as they try to balance disease prevention and keeping the economy open. that is bbc news, thanks for watching. the big weather story for the rest of this week, and of course that means the rest of this year, is all about exceptionally high temperatures. this chart shows the temperature compared with the average. as these deep red colours spread northwards across the chart, that shows that temperatures will be significantly higher than we'd expect them to be at this time of year. daytime highs of 16—17 degrees, some very mild nights. there will be some rain at times as well, and during tuesday, it's this area of low pressure responsible for bringing some wet weather. and on the southern flank of that low, also some quite windy weather. so, as our area of low pressure slides eastwards, we will see outbreaks of rain through the morning across parts of england and wales. a lot of mist and murk and low
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cloud around as well. should brighten up from the west. northern ireland and scotland certainly turning brighter by the afternoon. 0nce any early fog has lifted, there should be quite a lot of sunshine around. relatively light winds in the north, but down towards the south, particularly for western and southern coasts, we're likely to see gusts of 40—50, maybe 55 mph. and still quite a split in temperatures for the time being. 5—6 degrees in northern scotland, 12—13 in southern england. then as we head through tuesday night into the early part of wednesday, a drier, quieter interlude before another band of rain swings its way in from the west. a little bit chilly again across northern parts of scotland, very mild down towards wales and the south west of england. and for wednesday, that band of rain associated with the frontal system will continue to journey its way north—eastwards, so we will see some wet weather for a time on wednesday. clearing many areas quite quickly. that rain lingering, though, for a good part of the afternoon in northern scotland. behind it, there will be some spells of sunshine, some areas of cloud, too. but some increasingly mild conditions, 15—16 degrees in the south, 13 there for belfast,
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ten in glasgow. the milder air is journeying northwards. it will continue to do so on thursday. quite a cloudy day for many, some mist and murk, some rain especially in the west. best chance of any sunshine in eastern parts, but highs of 16 or maybe 17 degrees. but even northern scotland will be up into double digits by this stage. another quite windy day in prospect. for friday, new year's eve, a lot of cloud around, some rain, especially in the west. best of any sunshine in the east, and still milder than it should be for the end of december. highs of 11—16 degrees.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: the us health authorities have halved the recommended isolation period for people who test positive for covid—19 without exhibiting symptoms. the centers for disease control now says that infected but asymptomatic people should stay home for five days and wear a mask around others for a further five. france has become the latest european country to tighten covid restrictions, in the face of rapidly rising cases there. the government has stopped short of imposing a curfew, though, despite daily infection rates exceeding 100,000. employees have been told to work from home for three days a week, where possible. and a powerful storm has struck the western united states, leaving thousands of people without electricity and causing travel chaos. nearly a metre of snow fell on parts of california, seattle and oregon in less than 24 hours.


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