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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 31, 2021 1:00am-1:31am GMT

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this is bbc news. i'm simon pusey. our top stories: diplomacy or deterrence. president biden�*s phone call to president putin laying out the us position over ukraine. a key witness speaks publicly after ghislaine maxwell was found guilty of grooming underage girls to be abused byjeffrey epstein. wildfires have forced the evacuation of thousands of people from their colorado homes in what's being called a life threatening situation. and after the launch it's the make or break moment for the james webb space telescope, as it starts to unfold its super—sized sun shield.
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hello and welcome to bbc news. us presidentjoe biden has again told russia's president vladimir putin that the us and its allies will respond decisively if russia further invades ukraine. this during the second call between the two leaders in less than a month, amid concerns over russian troops massing at the ukrainian border. a kremlin spokesperson said that putin had made it clear that any new large—scale sanctions would be a colossal mistake. our washington correspondent gary o'donoghue has the details. president biden and vladimir putin spoke for 50 minutes. and if you need any kind of indication of how serious the situation is, this is the second time in three weeks that had a call between one another to discuss the situation on the ground. we understand that the discussion was robust and serious, substantive according to the americans. joe biden
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lead—out two paths, according to his officials, one of diplomacy and discussion, where russia could de—escalate and get back to the negotiation table, but also a separate path, he said, that would be about deterrence and serious consequence. and of course america has already threatened to impose new sanctions on russia if it doesn't de—escalate and also to provide more military aid to ukraine and also reinforce other nato countries in the region. for its part, russia has said the discussion was constructive and it said any kind of sanctions the americans talking about would lead to a complete breakdown in the relationship. they are looking for a legal guarantee that ukraine will never be allowed to join nato and america is not prepared to give that. so all the focus now is on these new talks in the new year after the orthodox christian christmas, which will take place in geneva, in brussels, in vienna, involving russia, the united states,
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nato, other european countries to try to hammer out some kind of an agreement. but both sides are a long way apart at the moment and this is— west stand of looks set to continue for several weeks yet.- several weeks yet. gary o'donoghue _ several weeks yet. gary o'donoghue there. - for more on this, i'm joined by evelyn farkas, former us deputy assistant secretary of defence for russia, ukraine and eurasia for president obama, who was in the situation room when russia annexed crimea in 2014. it's good to have communication, obviously, between the us and russia, but the rhetoric all seems pretty samey. i'll be getting anywhere here? , ., , , here? obviously when the russian president - here? obviously when the russian president said - here? obviously when the russian president said to | russian president said to president biden "i'd like to talk." it was a smart decision to say yes, i will be got the phone and talk to you. the problem is, i'm afraid, what president putin is doing here is essentially gathering intelligence to try to figure out how firm the result is in the united states and across our nato alliance and our relationship with european
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union. and he may also be trying to figure out whether these discussions injanuary will actually yield something that he wants, he being vladimir putin, and if he finds that either we appear to week all we appear unwilling to meet him in the middle, he may move militarily anyway before those january talks. militarily anyway before those january talke— militarily anyway before those january talka— militarily anyway before those january talks. both sides have described the _ january talks. both sides have described the talks _ january talks. both sides have described the talks as - described the talks as constructive, which means at least we are not going backwards. how important is the g7 in all of this, they recently warned of massive consequences?— consequences? the g7 is critical, _ consequences? the g7 is critical, especially - consequences? the g7 is critical, especially when l consequences? the g7 is i critical, especially when you talk about sanctions, you know, the russians have bragged about their ability to withstand sanctions, but this next round, this is why, as your correspondence, there are little bit more worried, the next round involves banning the russians from using this with inter—bank system, that would hurt them. there are other things that the lives of countries could do, the g7, could do to curtail russell's
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economic power, certainly if we decided to do something in the oil and gas sector, that would be difficult, but we could certainly do it as we have done with iran. certainly do it as we have done with iran-— with iran. you are in the pentagon _ with iran. you are in the pentagon when - with iran. you are in the pentagon when russia l with iran. you are in the . pentagon when russia sees crimea, are there any similarities here or are they to different things? i similarities here or are they to different things?- to different things? i think the only similarities - to different things? i think the only similarities we . to different things? i think l the only similarities we have learned the only way to try to deal with vladimir putin is through strength, through being firm, through spelling out potential consequences, should he move any further into ukraine. that's the biggest lesson from the past. in 2014 we really didn't have the forewarning that we have right now. right now we are able to see what's going on. and i think one credible threat we can make to the russians is that we will share all the intelligence we have an real—time intelligence with the ukrainian military. that would be something, i believe, the russians would find disconcerting, to say the least. ,., disconcerting, to say the least. , , ,
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least. in some ways it seems that maybe _ least. in some ways it seems that maybe russia _ least. in some ways it seems that maybe russia is - least. in some ways it seems that maybe russia is already| that maybe russia is already winning there, if they are mining for information, you know, joe biden cannot say no to talks, that looks bad as well. evelyn farkas, that is all we have time for. thank you for coming on. a woman who gave key evidence in the trial of ghislaine maxwell has spoken publicly today, saying she hopes the guilty verdict will bring some solace to other survivors. annie farmer, the only witness to use her real name during testimony, said the case demonstrated that no—one was above the law. maxwell was found guilty yesterday, by a jury in new york, of grooming underage girls to be abused by her friend jeffrey epstein. her lawyers say they will appeal against the verdict. this report by our correspondent aleem maqbool contains some flashing images. good morning, america. guilty. good morning — guilty, a long—awaited verdict... the downfall of the british former socialite, now a convicted sex trafficker, has been headline news here. and one of the four women brave enough to testify to put her behind bars,
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who was abused as a teenager, has been giving her reaction. i wasn't sure this day would ever come. and ijust feel so grateful that the jury believed us and sent a strong message that perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation will be held accountable, no matter how much power and privilege they have. mr maxwell, could we have a statement in behalf of the family, please? there's been no sense of contrition as yet from the siblings of ghislaine maxwell, or regrets for the victims she played a part in sexually abusing. they released a statement saying, "we believe firmly in our sister's innocence, we are very disappointed with the verdict." one of maxwell's lawyers, who questioned the motives of the women who came forward to testify, said this wasn't the end. obviously we are very disappointed with the verdict. we have already started working on the appeal and we are confident she will be vindicated. but legal experts appear
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to agree ghislaine maxwell's chances of clearing the high legal bar to win an appeal are slim. her crimes were carried out during her long association with the disgraced financierjeffrey epstein, who died in prison. but they mingled with the rich and influential, including, famously, prince andrew. their powerful connections left many of their accusers wondering if they'd ever be held accountable. it's been such a long, hard journey to get here. so, yesterday's decision, i think, will take a little while to sink in. i'm pleased that she will never be able again, ever, to hurt anybody else. and, for that, i feel very pleased. all the while she'd been living her lavish lifestyle, she'd been hiding dark secrets. but finally that's all caught up with ghislaine maxwell. aleem maqbool, bbc news, in new york. let's get some of the day's other news. a stranded boat carrying around 120 rohingya refugees
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from myanmar has arrived in indonesia after it was towed by the country's navy. authorities initially refused to help the boat, but local fishermen organised protests supporting the refugees. they also ferried food and water to those on board. local fishermen from aceh found the refugees�* boat drifting in open waters on 25 december. —— israeli officials have approved a fourth coronavirus vaccination. the health ministry says a second booster shot will benefit people with weakened immune systems, who are more vulnerable to the omicron variant. on thursday, the country reported the highest number of cases since september. in south africa, where the omicron variant was first identified last month, authorities say all indicators suggest it has passed the peak of the fourth wave of infections. the government is lifting with immediate effect the curfew it imposed to combat the new variant. it's also easing other restrictions. here in the uk, there are still problems with accessing covid—19 tests. the government has promised that millions more will be made available on new year's eve, as infections break new record highs by the day. eight special hubs are being set up at hospitals across england in preparation for a surge
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in omicron admissions. our health correspondent sophie hutchinson reports. the start of building work on the next wave of nightingale hubs. this one is at st george's hospital in south—west london. the government says it's a contingency measure in case of a surge in covid patients, but there is concern about who will starve them. we would about who will starve them. - would prefer that the government take steps to avoid needing to use that extra surge capacity, purely because they just aren't the number of staff needed to safely provide the care for any patients that are required here, and that's with the priority needs to be, to ensure we've got staff to safely care for people who need care. ., , care. eight nightingale units will be set _ care. eight nightingale units will be set up _ care. eight nightingale units will be set up in _ care. eight nightingale units will be set up in hospital- will be set up in hospital grounds to care for around 100
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covid patients each stopping hospital admissions are now rising sharply in the uk, almost doubling in england in the past week. and that follows several weeks of soaring infections reaching record highs, but many people are still finding it hard to get tested. ~ ., ., . ., tested. we thought would come to the local _ tested. we thought would come to the local pharmacy _ tested. we thought would come to the local pharmacy to - tested. we thought would come to the local pharmacy to see - tested. we thought would come to the local pharmacy to see if l to the local pharmacy to see if they have any lateral flow test, but you don't need to go into see that they are out of stock. ,, ., into see that they are out of stock. �* , , , into see that they are out of stock. �*, , , ., stock. so let's try this one. staff suggested _ stock. so let's try this one. staff suggested we - stock. so let's try this one. staff suggested we go - stock. so let's try this one. | staff suggested we go down stock. so let's try this one. - staff suggested we go down the road to another pharmacy. well, i got lucky. the pharmacist here does have a box of tests. he says, in fact, he gets a delivery every day, but as soon as people find out he's got them they can run out in half—an—hour, just because of the sheer size of the demand for them. the sheer size of the demand forthem. edithburgh, a the sheer size of the demand for them. edithburgh, a teacher in burcher, has covid along with a husband and two children. she is hoping to get back to work next tuesday, but can't find any lateral flow test. �* , , , .
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test. i've been trying since yesterday. _ test. i've been trying since yesterday, going _ test. i've been trying since yesterday, going onto - test. i've been trying since yesterday, going onto the | yesterday, going onto the government website and refreshing hourly to get them sent to our home, because we can't go to a place to pick them up, and they have been messaging friends and asking if anybody has any spare that they can drop off, but the issue is everybody is in the same position and if they do have some at home, they are holding onto them themselves. so we're now down _ onto them themselves. so we're now down our — onto them themselves. so we're now down our final _ onto them themselves. so we're now down our final box - onto them themselves. so we're now down our final box of - now down our final box of lateral_ now down our final box of lateral flow tests stop by the government says 8 million lateral_ government says 8 million lateral flow tests will be available by tomorrow, but mark burton, — available by tomorrow, but mark burton, who runs the six pharmacies in north—east england, hasn't seen any extra sunply. — england, hasn't seen any extra su -l . �* ., ., supply. i've tried ordering an additional — supply. i've tried ordering an additional supply _ supply. i've tried ordering an additional supply this - additional supply this afternoon and that order was rejected. so, unfortunately, we're going to have to start to turn people away the current supplies are exhausted. it's very frustrating when you've got people in front of you and you are unable to have them the tests that they are asking for.
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and a lateral flow tests become even more important from tomorrow in northern ireland and wales. as in england, people with covid will be able to end itself isolation earlier after seven days, rather than ten, if they can get the test and get two negative results. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the james webb space telescope begins to unfold its sun shield in a complex process involving hundreds of moving parts. the most ambitious financial and political change ever attempted has got under way with the introduction of the euro. tomorrow in holland we're 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.
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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 this is bbc news. the latest headlines: president biden has again told russia's president putin that the us will "respond decisively" if russia invades ukraine. after ghislaine maxwell is found guilty of grooming underage girls to be abused byjeffrey epstein,
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a key witness says she hopes it will bring some solace to other survivors. wildfires in the american state of colorado have destroyed hundreds of homes and prompted the evacuation of 30,000 people in two towns north of denver. the national weather service described it as a life—threatening situation and ordered the residents of louisville and superior to leave. six people have been treated in hospital for injuries. i'm joined now by meterologist christina sanjuan. what is the situation right now in colorado?— what is the situation right now in colorado? the latest update from officials, _ in colorado? the latest update from officials, they _ in colorado? the latest update from officials, they believe - from officials, they believe this fire was caused by a downed power line however we have very strong wind gusts and it got up to about 110 mph earlier this afternoon and it does not look like to head up even as we head into the overnight hours.- even as we head into the overnight hours. would you say this is a perfect _ overnight hours. would you say this is a perfect storm - overnight hours. would you say this is a perfect storm with - this is a perfect storm with strong winds and also very high
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temperatures? shill strong winds and also very high temperatures?— strong winds and also very high temperatures? all the elements are there for _ temperatures? all the elements are there for the _ temperatures? all the elements are there for the fire _ temperatures? all the elements are there for the fire danger- are there for the fire danger to be so extreme. we are in an extreme drought in this part of the state because we have not gotten much moisture and we have those incredibly strong winds like we are seeing right now and it makes it a bad situation worse in terms of fire crews trying to get a handle on the fire.- fire crews trying to get a handle on the fire. how are --eole handle on the fire. how are people coping _ handle on the fire. how are people coping and - handle on the fire. how are people coping and have - handle on the fire. how are people coping and have the authorities done enough to help? it authorities done enough to hel ? , , authorities done enough to hel? , , ., , ., help? it is very devastating the videos _ help? it is very devastating the videos we _ help? it is very devastating the videos we are - help? it is very devastating the videos we are seeing i help? it is very devastating - the videos we are seeing coming out. people that potentially could go home and not even have a house in the first place. we have lots of resources and i know our governor had issues a state of emergency. they are responding appropriately and doing the best and everything they can. doing the best and everything the can. 5; :: :: :: :: doing the best and everything the can. as i: :: :: , .,, they can. 30,000 people evacuated. _ they can. 30,000 people evacuated. that -
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they can. 30,000 people evacuated. that is - they can. 30,000 people evacuated. that is a - they can. 30,000 people . evacuated. that is a massive number. are we likely to see that number right? hopefully not. i that number right? hopefully not- i have — that number right? hopefully not. i have full— that number right? hopefully not. i have full faith - that number right? hopefully not. i have full faith of- that number right? hopefully not. i have full faith of the i not. i have full faith of the firefighters will get some containment on this so it does not reach out into other parts of the state and also the good news, if there is any in the situation, will be that we will have some snow coming in and that should assist via chris. i guess it is all dependent on conditions. —— assist fire crews. it sounds like the fire is so big that it will be hard forfire is so big that it will be hard for fire services to control on their own?— their own? absolutely and it limits what _ their own? absolutely and it limits what we _ their own? absolutely and it limits what we can - their own? absolutely and it limits what we can put - their own? absolutely and it limits what we can put into i their own? absolutely and it i limits what we can put into the air in terms of doing water drops because it is too winded to send anybody up in a plane or helicopter so they are just doing the best they can on the ground. doing the best they can on the round. ~ ., ,. doing the best they can on the round. ~ ., y., ., ground. would you say there are any preventative _ ground. would you say there are any preventative measures - ground. would you say there are any preventative measures that l any preventative measures that can be taken into the future or is this just can be taken into the future or is thisjust one can be taken into the future or is this just one of those
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things? it is this just one of those thins? , ., is this just one of those things?— is thisjust one of those thins? , ~ ., , is thisjust one of those thins? , ~' ., , ., things? it is kind of 'ust one of those things. _ things? it is kind of 'ust one of those things. we_ things? it is kind ofjust one of those things. we want i of those things. we want people. we knew we were going to have a high fire danger but something as a player line coming down, it kind of is one of those things that you would not be able to prevent. —— warned. not be able to prevent. -- warned-— not be able to prevent. -- warned. , ., , , ., ., warned. obviously at the moment we do not know— warned. obviously at the moment we do not know but _ warned. obviously at the moment we do not know but what - we do not know but what happened but there will be an investigation. stay safe and thank you for ringing us up—to—date in colorado. a swiss biologist is pioneering a new way to increase by a diagram of —— biodiversity. when this biologist moved here in the 1980s, the land was dry and barren. now rivers and wildlife have returned to this
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corner of brazil. it is down to a new method of funding he developed, providing food production with reforestation. he calls it sent tropic agriculture. a system like this mirrors the local ecosystem where it is implemented. instead of having just cocoa trees, which are the main species everywhere, you have trees producing fruit on the top, to the bottom.
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his methods are now being used across brazil, including in the country's driest regions. this, began farming here three years ago. —— this farmer. now, by carefully selecting
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different types of plants, water is effectively painted on the land. nelson produces honey and fruit throughout the year. both climate change and deforestation are threatening biodiversity in brazil while at the same time relation growth is increasing demand forfood. farmers like this believe both challenges can be solved
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together. joao fellet, bbc news. the arduous reconstruction process is underway on the spanish island of la palma where a volcano erupted in september. excavators are digging their way through the solidified lava flows while engineers are working to ensure conditions are safe. the eruption of the volcano was declared over on christmas day, after three long months of spewing ash and molten rock over the island. more than 3,000 buildings were destroyed along with hundreds of acres of farmland, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. the james webb space telescope, launched on christmas day, is starting to unfold its sunshield in a complex process involving hundreds of moving parts. all of them have to trigger at the right time and in the right order for the telescope to work. our science editor, rebecca morelle, has the story. mission control: and lift off! the moment of launch for an astronomy mission like no other, as the james
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webb space telescope blasted off. then the rocket casing opened up, and the telescope was released into the darkness of space, with a million—mile journey ahead. but, as it travels, it has a fiendishly difficult task to do — unfolding. it's so big, we didn't have any rocket that's big enough to launch it, you know, fully deployed. so, we had to build this telescope to be folded up, to fit inside the rocket. this is really, really difficult engineering. but, you know, nasa has never shied away from doing hard things and so i have full confidence that it's going to work. unfurling the sun shield is the most difficult part of this process. it's enormous — the size of a tennis court. first, its two halves are lowered into position. then, the booms are deployed. the operation involves 400 pulleys, 400 metres of cabling and more than 100 release mechanisms that have to fire at exactly the right time.
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finally, the material is pulled taut, and the five layers of the sun shield, each as thin as a human hair, separate. the whole process has been rehearsed again and again on earth, but doing this in space will be nail—biting. it's made of floppy material and it has to be held onto by a series of pins, which release one by one, pull it out, make it tight, release another bit, pull it out again, until slowly, over days, you pull out this tennis court sized object. so, for many people working on the project, that's where the real nerves are. the sun shield protects the telescope from the heat and light of the sun. the difference between the hot and cold sides is huge — 300 degrees celsius. the telescope needs to operate in the coldest and darkest conditions to see the most distant stars. for the first time, we'll be able to see all the way back to the time when these very first galaxies formed. and that will allow us
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to actually get images of them, verify that they are the very first galaxies, and then we can study how galaxies have evolved over the history of the universe. the images that eventually come back from james webb will be even more spectacular than these, taken by hubble. but there's still work to do. the sun shield will take several days to open, and that's just the start of this complex unfolding process. with so much at stake, it's a tense time for the team. rebecca morelle, bbc news. a reminder of our top story: after a phone conversation between the presidents of russia and the united states which centred on ukraine, the white house said president biden urged russia to de—escalate tensions over the concentration of thousands of russian troops on ukraine's border. he urged russia to pursue a diplomatic solution, but made it clear that the united states and its allies would respond decisively if russia futher invades ukraine.
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stay tuned right here on bbc news. hello. the unusually mild weather is set to stick with us as we see out the end of 2021. we had temperatures up to 16 degrees on thursday, about eight degrees above average, and for the next few days, it stays exceptionally mild and quite blustery, too. the winds coming in from the south or the south—west and drawing in the air right from the subtropics, from the canary isles right up towards the uk and actually across much of central europe as well. so, to start off your friday morning first thing on new year's eve, we've got temperatures already well in double figures, some places not falling below about 13 degrees. now, through the day, then, new year's eve this is, we're looking for a bit of rain around. it's going to clear out of northern ireland into parts of central and southern scotland. also rain clearing away from the east coast. and actually much of england,
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wales and northern ireland should see a bit more sunshine than we've seen over recent days, so a drier, brighter feel. temperatures up to about 15, 16, possibly 17 celsius. just a little bit cooler across the northern half of scotland, but there should be some sunshine here. now, we could well break some records. the warmest ever new year's eve was back ten years ago in 2011. colwyn bay got to 14.8 celsius, so we are set to see temperatures probably a degree or so higher than that. heading through new year's eve night now, if you've got plans, it's looking mostly dry, still very, very mild. could be some patchy rain across some northern and western areas as we see in the new year 2022. but new year's day once again looking very, very mild. we've got this very narrow band of showery rain which is going to cross its way slowly eastwards, followed by sunshine and showers for many areas. showers mainly towards the north—west, so quite a bit of dry weather for new year's day on saturday. and again, you've guessed it, exceptionally mild.
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13—16 celsius for most of us on new year's day. then that very mild air that's been with us starts to gradually ease away towards the near continent. we've still got mild air with us certainly from a south—westerly direction, but temperatures probably starting to come down just a notch as we head through sunday and into the first week of 2022. so, sunday really is going to be a day of some sunshine, but also plenty of showers. you can see a rash of showers across the uk, and temperatures somewhere between about 10—13 degrees, still above average, but not the exceptionally mild weather of the next couple of days. looking ahead into next week, then, fairly unsettled, not quite as mild as it has been lately. bye for now.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: president biden has spoken on the phone with vladimir putin, urging the russian president to de—escalate tensions over ukraine, but making it clear the us would respond decisively if russian troops cross the border. president putin says any new sanctions against russia would be a colossal mistake. wildfires in the american state of colorado have destroyed hundreds of homes and prompted the evacuation of 30,000 people in two towns north of denver. the national weather service has described it as a life—threatening situation and ordered the residents of louisville and superior to leave. the family of ghislaine maxwell is backing a legal appeal against her conviction in new york on charges of grooming under age girls. she faces a lengthy prison sentence after a jury found her guilty on five charges that she procured young teenagers to be abused byjeffrey epstein.
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ministers in scotland and wales are urging people to think

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