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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 29, 2021 3:00am-3:31am GMT

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welcome to bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: russia's supreme court bans one of russia's most renowned human rights organisations, sparking protests in moscow. record covid infection figures from france to the us to the uk as the british government defends its decision not to introduce further restrictions in england. china says its astronauts are being put in danger of a collision with satellites launched by elon musk. archival footage: opening night on theater row in manhattan. - and once upon a time it was like that, but can broadway survive the closures this festive season as covid wrecks the shows? and a magical reunion: the cast of harry potter
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are back together for a 20th anniversary special on new year's day. hello. thanks for joining hello. thanks forjoining us. we start with the situation in russia. for more than 30 years, the human rights organisation, memorial, has been chronicling the abuses of the soviet era to ensure that the crimes and victims are unearthed and are not forgotten. but now, the supreme court has banned russia's oldest human rights organisation, liquidated it, to use their language, accusing it of violating a law requiring groups to register as foreign agents. it comes at the end of a year in which the kremlin has cracked down vigorously on its critics. the us secretary of state, antony blinken, has described it as an "affront" to human rights.
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our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg reports. more and more, it feels as if russia is turning the clock back. "liquidate," the judge says, as she orders one of russia's oldest civil rights groups, international memorial, to shut down. the n60 was found to have broken russia's draconian foreign agents law. "disgraceful decision," the reaction from the gallery. it's100% a political thing. and the substance of this political decision is just one more step from authoritarian regime to totalitarian. for more than 30 years, memorial has been shining a light on one of the darkest chapters of russian history, what became known as the great terror. it's been painstakingly cataloguing the victims
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ofjosef stalin's mass repressions. up to 20 million soviet citizens are believed to have been sent to the gulag, to stalin's prison camps. hundreds of thousands were executed. memorial was set up to keep their memory alive. the founding of memorial in the late 1980s was a symbol, a symbol of the soviet union opening up and facing up to its past, to the crimes ofjosef stalin. the shutting down of memorial is a symbol, of how in russia today, the past is being reshaped, rewritten, and how civil society is under attack. vladimir putin has been using history to try to foster patriotism, so he focuses on the glories of russia's past, like the victory in world war ii. through this annual reading
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of names of the victims of political repression, memorial has tried to remind russians of their tragic past. now, though, it's being silenced. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. earlier, i spoke to simon adams. he is the president of the center for victims of torture. it is the largest organisation in the world that treats survivors of torture and also advocates for its global eradication. i asked him if the writing was on the wall for memorial. i think the writing was on the wall because this ruling is notjust about rewriting the past, actually, it's also about choking, strangling, banning one of the last independent human rights voices in russia. and although a court made the ruling, the real decision is very much one that's coming from vladimir putin and it is part
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of his campaign, as your reporterjust said, to actually control the past in order to control the present. yes, the message there from grigory yavlinsky was that it is one more step from authoritarianism regime to totalitarian — do you see it as that dramatic? i do, actually. i think the term �*0rwellian�* is overused as a kind of political metaphor, but this is a little bit like something out of a 1984. as i said, putin wants to control the past because he thinks it will help him control the present, and memorial is a threat to that. it documents the crimes of the stalin era, the purges, the gulags, the torture chambers where million died and they've got a database of 2.6 million victims. but it also has a modern element, it has a human rights centre that documents modern human rights violations and it's compiled a list, for example, of 420 political prisoners, including one alexei navalny. for putin, there are no political prisoners in russia and there can be no discussion about what stalin did
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in the past, other than to say he beat the nazis in the second world, war and so, therefore, memorial has to cease to exist. you mentioned if you like the memorial sister organization — the memorial human rights centre — and there is a court case indeed in a matter of a few hours, in fact, a supreme court looking at the validity of keeping that going. the assumption would be it will follow suit, it will be told to liquidate as well, and that's the point you make about chronicling current issues? absolutely. i mean, if you were a betting person, i think you could bet that the so—called independent court in russia will find that memorial sister organisation, the human rights centre, is also — as putin himself has described them — an extremist organisation that supports terrorism simply by publishing a list of political prisoners in russia. so again, this is very bad, very bad for civil society in russia. simon adams there.
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i want to turn to covid issues now. france has reported a record high number of new confirmed coronavirus cases on tuesday.
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there are restrictions on socialising in the other nations that form the uk — wales, scotland and northern ireland. our health correspondent sophie hutchinson reports. a vaccination centre in lambeth in london, among the boroughs worst affected by omicron in the uk. staff here say there is no shortage of demand forjabs. i'm a schoolteacher, i've got to go back. there are zero mitigations in class. and i don't want to get sick. i'm 57 years old so i'm quite frightened of that and i don't want to pass it on to my loved ones. it's really important because i'm a recently retired senior head of education at university college, so i preach it to my staff so i have to jolly well do it as well! unlike the rest of the uk which has increased restrictions, the government in england is relying on vaccinations to get the country through the latest wave of covid. we do watch very carefully all of the data and we have had some good news that it does seem to be a bit milder in terms of severity, but we do watch the hospitalisations
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and we do watch the number of people in hospitals all the time. the data the government in england are monitoring in particular are for hospitalisations, which are increasing, but are still far from the peaks of previous waves. and in london, which has been worst hit by omicron, the number of patients in icu beds at hospitals like this and others are still well below worrying thresholds. despite the latest figures showing record high infections in the uk relating to the christmas period, some scientists say that the spread of the virus in england seems to be slowing. cases are still rising. i think suggestions a few days ago that we might have actually started to peak, i think was probably not borne out yesterday, but on the other hand cases are not increasing as rapidly as they were a week or so ago. i think we can be fairly certain that they're not doubling every couple of days now.
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but the virus in wales is now growing exponentially, mirroring what happened over the last few weeks in england. our rates are quite stable, around the 500 per 100,000 mark until a week or ten days ago. it's now heading towards the 1,000 per 100,000 mark. this data that we've published today is just before christmas so we still have to watch and see what the christmas mixing and the new year mixing is going to produce. back in england the decision not to add further restrictions has been described as a lifeline for pubs, bars and clubs by the hospitality sector. it also says allowing people to go out on new year's eve signals better times ahead. it's notjust about new year's eve for us. i mean, it's bigger than that. it's the start of a recovery and we believe that we've created safe environments for people to come out and socialise, and we think it's the best scenario,
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given the fact that if we'd have closed we potentially would have seen more house parties and more illegal events which would have been counter—productive. but there are concerns about the wider impact of 0micron on the nhs. hospital leaders say while many people are coming in to hospital with covid but not because of covid, staff are also getting infected. it's very clear that as soon as you get 0micron circulating significantly amongst the community, of course, it will be circulating amongst nhs staff. we are now having to redeploy staff to fill the gaps that are being left in critical and essential services by staff who are off with covid—related absences. along with vaccinations, the government in england is urging people to remain cautious and if possible to celebrate outside on new year's eve. it will assess whether more restrictions are needed injanuary. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. idid want i did want tojust i did want to just add the figures we've had from the us
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on increase in infection because it really is a growing number at the moment. the latest recorded is 4111278 new cases on tuesday, so that is a record high since the out of the pandemic stopping those figures coming from the centres for disease control. china has issued a complaint about the us tech entrepreneur, elon musk, over his activities in space. beijing says that there have been two near misses between its new orbiting space station, and satellites launched by mr musk�*s companies. the chinese have raised the issue with the un's space agency, although the incidents have not yet been independently verified. let's talk about all this with former nasa astronaut leroy chiao. thank you very much forjoining us. it is true, satellites are being launched up all the time and space that isn't really that crowded there? there is
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certainly a — that crowded there? there is certainly a number _ that crowded there? there is certainly a number of - certainly a number of satellites up there and now that we have seen the proliferation of what we call low earth orbit satellites, like star link, this will become more and more of an issue but it is not unusual, it issue but it is not unusual, it is not unusual for the issue but it is not unusual, it is not unusualfor the iss issue but it is not unusual, it is not unusual for the iss to change its orbit to dodge a piece of orbital debris or something like a satellite and something like a satellite and so it is i don't want to say routine but it is not unusual. 0f routine but it is not unusual. of course we are tracking all of the objects that we can in space that a soft ball and so russians and the chinese so this kind of thing when you are operating a space station is pretty much a normal part of your operations. i pretty much a normal part of your operations.— pretty much a normal part of your operations. i was going to sa , is your operations. i was going to say. is there — your operations. i was going to say, is there any _ your operations. i was going to say, is there any kind - your operations. i was going to say, is there any kind of - your operations. i was going to say, is there any kind of air- say, is there any kind of air traffic control up there? it sounds like there isn't but i was just looking at the figures. elon musk�*s starling satellites, his product 1600 of them stopping his got authorisation from the us to put up 12,000. this does feel like a problem that is about to get potentially exponentially
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worse. de get potentially exponentially worse. , ,, ., , worse. de starling satellites are in a higher— worse. de starling satellites are in a higher orbit - worse. de starling satellites are in a higher orbit than - worse. de starling satellites| are in a higher orbit than the space stations, neither the international space station of the chinese base station, so they really shouldn't be much of an issue, it will probably only be an issue when they are getting up to their final orbit or when they are de— orbiting themselves and i want to add to that starling satellites have actually been made intelligent if you will in that when they are nearing their end of life they will plan a d orbit and actually d orbit themselves to come down and burn up in the atmosphere, trying to be more responsible and notjust leaving dead satellites if you will orbiting up there. it is will orbiting up there. it is probably _ will orbiting up there. it is probably fair _ will orbiting up there. it is probably fair to _ will orbiting up there. it is probably fair to say - will orbiting up there. it is probably fair to say that it's not as if there are innocent parties and guilty parties. every country seems to have wanted to issues in this sort of sphere at the moment. i'm not trying to put you on the spot either but does this feel a bit political to you?- a bit politicalto you? yeah, i'm not sure _ a bit politicalto you? yeah, i'm not sure exactly - a bit politicalto you? yeah, i'm not sure exactly why - a bit politicalto you? yeah, | i'm not sure exactly why the chinese lodged a complaint with the un. they are certainly not a governing body and of course
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the countries and other entities all co—ordinate together about what they are launching into which orbits and so it is a little bit surprising to me. i heard about the near misses if you will and when we say near miss it's not like it almost literally at the space station, around each vehicle up there, there is a box, kind of a key powder zone that the governing entity takes monitors and if it looks like a piece of debris or a satellite might get close to that box as a precaution, usually the space station or other vehicle is manoeuvred, changes its orbit slightly to give a little more margin. slightly to give a little more mar: in. ., , slightly to give a little more marrin. ., , ., ,, slightly to give a little more maruin. . , ., ,, , margin. that is reassuring but they have _ margin. that is reassuring but they have a — margin. that is reassuring but they have a feeling _ margin. that is reassuring but they have a feeling that - margin. that is reassuring but they have a feeling that this i they have a feeling that this is a story that is not going away. thank you very much indeed for your expertise. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: they say the show must go on, but broadway is struggling this festive season. how much damage is covid
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inflicting this time round? the most ambitious financial and political change ever attempted has got under way with the introduction of the euro. tomorrow in holland we are going to use money 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, i 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 - of attempted murder. i think it was good. just good? no, fantastic. that's better. big ben bongs
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this is bbc news. the latest headlines: protests in moscow — after russia's supreme court decides to close memorial international, the country's most prominent rights organisation. france and the us hit record high numbers of infections — with the 0micron driving a huge surge in cases in both countries. the leader of the palestinian authority, mahmoud abbas, has met the israeli defense minister benny gantz in israeli territory. it's thought to be his first visit to israel in more than a decade. a senior palestinian official said that during the 2
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and a half hour meeting they'd discussed the importance of creating a climate that could lead to a political solution to the israeli—palestinian conflict. professor david makovsky is the director of the project on arab—israel relations at the washington insitute. i asked him why the meeting is taking place now. first of alljake sullivan visited israel last week, biden�*s national security adviser. while clearly the topic was iran, he did raise the palestinian issue and inquired about progress. i think israel is not looking to widen any differences with the united states at this time. secondly, i think for abbas himself, he has kind of been relegated to the margins, that people have not discussed him and he has not been an interlocutor, so i think this brings him back albeit briefly to the headlines. and also i think there is a consensus right now on the need to do economic measures between israelis and palestinians. for this israeli government,
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that is a hybrid from left—centre—right, this is one issue where they do agree. if there was actual negotiations on solving the issue, on dealing withjerusalem and the like, the government would fall apart. and abbas, there is also differences over final status but i think economic issues could at least get things moving because they've been just stuck for so long. let's get some of the day's other news. turkish authorities have detained 16 people on suspicion of operating a religious book store linked to islamic state. there were clashes with police as they tried to shut the store down it was accused of operating without a license. the parents of a 14—year—old girl who was accidentally shot dead by a los angeles policeman have demanded justice following the release of body camera footage of the incident. valentina 0rellana—peralta was hiding with her mother
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in a fitting room of a clothes shop when the officer opened fire on a suspect who was attacking a woman. indonesia has lifted its ban on the boeing 737 max aircraft three years after a domestic flight involving the plane crashed, killing all on board. the incident involving the lion airflight, along with a later crash in ethiopia, led to the plane being grounded globally. the indonesian transport ministry said it had evaluated now, as the old song goes, the neon lights are bright on broadway, but theatres are staying dark this festive season as a new surge of covid—19 hits the great white way. the 0micron variant has forced a number of shows to close as productions suffer outbreaks of covid—19. just today, star hugh jackman announced he'd tested positive, and as a result, performances of the music man will be cancelled tilljanuary.
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it's the latest in a long line of shows to do so. over the busy christmas period, 10 of the great white way's biggest shows shut down, including hamilton, the lion king and and moulin rouge, all citing covid—19. whilst four broadway shows have announced they will close down completely. michael riedel is the feared theatre columnist for the new york post, and gave me his thoughts on where broadway goes from here. when we started to reopen here on broadway in the fall when we thought everyone is going to be vaccinated and everybody wants to go back to seeing a great broadway show again, this is an enormous setback. and a lot of shows are not going to be able to survive this herky—jerky movement that's going on, and there are literally people who went to broadway shows, they were sitting in their seats at 7:00 and then the stage manager would come out and say, "sorry, "tonight's show has to be cancelled because of a covid "outbreak among the cast" and this devastating, devastating perception
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for this industry that keeps new york afloat for all these years. i mean, this is a business that makes $2 billion a year. which is a lot of money, i get that. but, look, covid aside, there have always been illnesses that might affect any member of any cast so there's always a way around that, isn't there? they can get their stand—ins, get their support cast in? well, the problem is that when you have so many people getting attacked with covid, if you have stand—ins attacked, the understudies attacked and the principles attacked, you lose your base at some point. so there are not enough people to go on with the show, and the frightening thing, david, is that people i believe now and i've talked to a lot of my friends who are not in the theatre, but who want to buy tickets, they're thinking, "do i really want to go and see a show "that's going to get cancelled at the last minute?" and that has wreaked havoc — havoc with ticket sales. and i guess it's also probably fair to say that if you go to see huthackman, you really don't
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want to see a show when he's not in it. the substitute does not really match up. well, not to drop a name, but i was in touch with hugh today, emailing him, and i heard that he had covid, and i have covid too by the way, and i've been boosted up the wazoo, and he and i both said that it is like a mild cold, and what we cannot compute and what america, what you guys, what the world has to get together with is, if it's just going to be a cold, you cannot shut down an industry. he told me he could have performed tonight because it was just a cold, but everything gets shut down and that is a recipe for financial disaster. that is a massive issue, i agree with you on that. just very briefly, though — what does broadway do? we are hearing of shows closing, literally finishing, kaput, how's it going to get through this? it remains to be seen.
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we will see when we get out of this pandemic, if we can get out of it, we will see if people are still willing to buy a ticket and sit with 1,500 other people to see if they're going to be safe. if they don't feel safe, there is no broadway, there is no west end. and that's it. the death of famed nfl coach and commentator, john madden, has been announced. he was 85. madden became a fixture as a television analyst after retiring from coaching. he won 16 emmy awards during a 30—year television career. madden led the then—0akland raiders to theirfirst super bowl victory over the minnesota vikings in 1977. he was inducted to the pro football hall of fame in 2006. many of the cast of the harry potter film franchise have reunited for a 20th anniversary tv special called return to hogwarts to be broadcast on new year's day.
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azadeh moshiri has the full story. and a warning that her report contains flashing images. with just the wave of a wand, the gang is back together. back in the world of potter with its lavish banquets, old classmates and its old foes. stars from the beloved franchise are back for a 20—year anniversary special called return to hogwarts. some of us haven't seen each otherfor, like, years, so it's just been a joy. yeah. like an unexpected joy. i really didn't know how it would feel. i wouldn't be the person i am without so many people here. i've watched you grow up and i've seen kind of. every stage of your life. 0ne person's missing, though. the woman who created it all — jk rowling. but it's unclear whether the recent controversy surrounding the author over transgender rights has anything to do with it. even so, this new year's day could still be magical. azadeh moshiri, bbc news.
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20 years has come and gone like that, hasn't it? you can reach me on twitter. i'm @bbcdavideades. the run—up to the new year is going to be really exceptionally mild, near record breaking in fact. and notjust on one or two days, but really quite a prolonged spell of very mild weather, some four days or so. it's not really going to cool off until around january 3 or 4. but this is the map showing the warmth in the atmosphere. if you look at the subtropical atlantic here, just to the west of the canaries, south of the azores, there is a current of warm air that's spreading in our direction, it'll spread across western parts of europe and then deeper into more central and eastern parts of europe. in england, for example, this is how mild or warm it could actually get — 17 degrees. compare that to the average of 8 degrees celsius.
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now, at the moment, it's not quite so mild. in fact, in scotland, with the clear skies in some eastern areas, quite a nippy start to the day. i mean, not desperately cold for this time of the year. but still, temperatures, i think, around freezing or below in some of the glenns, 5 degrees in some of the eastern parts of england. but 1a degrees in plymouth at 6am, so that's the mild air which is following this warm front here, which will be moving across the uk, bringing a spell of rainy weather for many of us. then that weather front will clear to the north, the skies should also brighten up a little bit. and temperatures mid teens — mid teens widely across england, wales, a little bit fresher in the north, but they could max out at around 17 degrees celsius in the south—east of the country on wednesday and also on thursday. now, here's another weather front that's coming in from the south, some wet weather particularly reaching parts of wales. in fact, that warmer weather moves further north too. we are talking about 16 degrees in hull, 17 degrees in the east and the south—east of the country. now, here's new year's eve, and it does look as though we are on track for one of the mildest
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new year's eves on record. i mean, it remains to be seen how mild it will be, but by day, we're talking around 15, 16 degrees. you get the sense that it's notjust the one day that's going to be mild. we are talking about multiple days here with mid teens across many parts of the country. so a new record—breaking, i think, new year's eve on the way. bye— bye.
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this is bbc news.
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the headlines: russia's supreme court has banned one of the country's oldest human rights organisations. the court ruled that memorial must be disbanded for breaking the law on foreign agents. there have been protests outside the court, while us secretary of state antony blinken has called it "an affront to human rights." there's been a record number of covid infections in france — almost 180,000 new infections recorded in a single day. the us has also seen a record high with more than 440,000 cases on tuesday. both countries are struggling to contain the 0micron variant. china says its astronauts are being put in danger of collision with satellites launched by elon musk. the spacex founder is facing a social media backlash in china after beijing claimed its space station had two "close encounters" this year.
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now on bbc news, curtain up on coventry.

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