tv BBC World News America PBS December 24, 2019 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
narrator: funding for this presentation is made possible by... man: babbel, a language learning app that teaches real life conversations and uses speech recognition technology. daily 10 tinute lessons are voiced by native speakers and they are at babel. b-a-b-b-e-l.com. narrator: funding was also provid by... the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum-kovler foundation. pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you, thank you. woman: and now, bbc world news.
>> this is "bbc world news i'm samantha simmonds. as australia's bushfires burn out of control. communities rally around those fighting the flames. >> christmas sr pping already my daughter. erjust thank you vy much. samantha: dramatic scenes in hong kong as police clash with otesters joined christmas eve demonstrations fo. a weeklong offensive in the rebel-held pronce of idlib. ♪ samantha: and telegrams from around the world join locals in bethlehem for christmas eve celebrions.
samantha: hello, and welcomeo "bbc world news." it is christmas morning in australia, but hundreds of families are spending the day in emergency shelters, unable to celebrate in their homes as the cotry battles one of its worst bushfire disasters and useful to figures released byighters in new south wales real nearly 1000 homes have been destroyed. conditions have eased, but another extreme heatwave is due later this week. prime minister scott morrison was criticed for going on holiday during the bush fires. he has returned and apologize for being with us of he says volunteer firefighters who work the federal public sector will begin an extra four weeks paid leave. mercer reports from new south wale phil: koalas and other australian animals are the unseen victi of the fires.
much of the habitat has byen dest and the survivors need all the help they can get. the true extent of australia's bushfire crisis is gradually emergi, as the charred remains of devastated towns are inspecd. nce the start of july, authorities here in new south wales say that almost 1000 homes fires.een stroyed by the bush this property was devoured ty flames thae up through a gully. communities like this televised by fires that in many places recently burning out of control. >> we want to make sure you guys -- phil: the damage would be far worse without the efforts of volunteer firefighters. here in buxton, local seven showing appreciation to those who have been worki round-the-clock to keep the town say. >> just overwhelming support. presents an stuff for the kids.
fchristmas shopping alrea my daughter. you very much phil: to boost the emergency efforts, the australian prime minister scott morrison says volunteer firefighters who have jobs in the public service will be givenour weeks paid leave. some have been battling the fires for months, and with n end in sight to the crisis, a long, dangerous summer lies ahead. mecer, bb -- phil mercer, news, new south wales. samantha: a news reporter at abc in sydney who has been covering the fires has the lest. >> luckily conditions have eased. we are seeing cooler weather across the country, and firefighters in new south wales have taken advantage of that. we have some 2000 firefighters
in new south wales alone working on christmas day, ging up their time to basicalk to otect communities in and ar sndney and on the new south wales south coast. samantha: what kind of help and support are many hundreds of families getting? >> a lot of support through various government departments. we heard about the federal government giving leave to volunteers. we are also seeing many of the different government departments giving grants and a lot of volunteer organizations helping to giveomnities something is agreed to live in. 'reg seets and lots of people going to family and friends. really 1000 --nearly 1000 homes destroyed in new south wales alone. closed ijalisco around 4:00 last night. that was so people could go and have christmas. that means basically most families have sorted out a
temporary situation for themselves. samantha: what are conditions looking like over the next few hours and days? >> well, we had a bit of a mixed blessing. we have had a little bit of rain, in some coastal areas around 15 millimeters unfortunately, that rain has actuly hampered conditions in line. the main fires in the blue mountains, it is a drizzle, and thum is meant there isity, which means they cannot do the back burning. they f are waiti the bit of moisture that is there to dry off so they can do containment operations. e next few days are all about protecting properties. we have seen another heatwave on the weekend and towards new year's eve. samantha:he have been more violent clashes in hong kong between police and antigovernment protesters who have been holdinchristmas eve rallies in shopping mall's and otherreas popular with tourists. the city is reeling from the
seven straight months of protests, originally sparked by apped extradition bill. reporter: not much evidence of festive cheer in hong kong this year. security forces firing tear gas, once again squared up to tigovernment protesters doing their best to protect themselves with umbrellas. caught up in the chaos, tousts d families out and about to take it the christmas lights. denstrators also occupied a number of shopping malls in kowloon. but it soon turned ugly, asth plaincloes undercover police moved in. prseveraesters were arrested and dragged away. others were injured, as officers struggled to restore calm. all of this on christmas eve.
>> gimeno-traver is meant to be a joyful holiday, some of us -- even though today jo meant to be ul holiday, some of us are in jail. some have been arrested. our fight has not ended yet, and wehod continue our fight. >> this year, christmas eve seems to be the time to fight. not just christmas eve, but also new year's eve. we will use more festivals and the future to voice our demands until the government response. reporter: the government has been forcencto make some sions. but these pro-democracy protests have now been going on for seven months,om and as the year c to a close, there is no end in sight. samantha: let's bring you some live c pictures from vaticy, where the christmas eve mass is being held. is is the seventh christmas
in the meantime, in s, five people are reportedly among the latest casualties of a weeklong offensive by syrian government forces backed by russia in the mainly rebel-held province of idlib. the operation has caused tens of thousands to flee towards the turkish border, and doctors are struggling to do with mass casualties. thebcorld service middle east editor as the latest. reporter: he has found time and again he will take every inch of the country at -- at one point just -- just rhetoric.mply him but now it is true in a sense. he has 70% of the country under his control. idlib may be pushing and pushing. people will remember earlier this year, there was major concern there was going to be ai government off that would cause a new commensurate catastrophe. that was stopped when russia and
turkey brokered a cease-fire. that has been in place for meveral months, but it has been broken time and gain. what we see in the last week is a fully new offensive being luoh, and this is a drive t take back the whole of the country and went back idlib, but it is also a strategic attempt by the syrian government to take full control of the main highway that runs through the country, which, as part of the cease-fire deal, was supposed to have been made safe. the fighting that is happening now is going a bit deeper into lib around that area. atthat is the main sic aim at the moment of the government. the tactics used our to bombard viages from r. kelly, people running scared, tens of thousands -- bombarvillages from artillery, people running scared, tens of thousands have run toward the turkish border. ndschool was hit a five women and two children were killed. samantha: let's take a look at
some of the other stories making news. in northern burkina faso, militants killed 35 mostly female civilians after attacking a military outpost. authorities say around 87 insurgents and locals sigourney forcesied in the clash. the president has declared two days of national mrning and responsible to it is the latest deadly incident in the ongoing battle between the west african country and the islamist insurgency. three members of a british family have drowned on a holiday reso in spain. nagement about l hotel say they are working with authorities to find out what happened. a father and die daughter who died weresh briti and the sun had american citizenship. new figures from japan show that fewer babies were born there this year than any time since records began. there were 500,000 more deaths than births in japan this yearme despite govent efforts to lift the birth rate. ngjapan's ruliork culture puts many people off starting a
family. stay with us on "bbc world news ." still to come, the boat-loading process that went badly wronggon the galapa we will show you what happens next. >>ld the wf music has been paying tribute to george michael, who has died from suspected hear flure at the age of 53. he sold well over 100 million albums in a career spanning three decades. >> united states troops trying ofoverthrow the dictatorship general manuel noriega. the pentagon says it has failed in its principal objectim to capture d taken to the united states to face drug charges. >>ammer and sickle was hastily taken away. the russian flag was wasted over what is now no longer the soviet union but become wealth of independent states. >> day broken slowly over lockerbie, over the cockpit of the pan am nose-down in the
software. you n see what happens when the plane eight stories high and football pitch wide falls from 30,000 feet. >> christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 is. thousands went to midnight mass, where there were anti-communist rights 10 days ago. that -- riots 10 days ago. samantha: this is "bbc world news." the latest headlines -- nearly 1000 homes have been tstroyed as australia's bushfires continburn out of control. pro-democracy protesters in hong kong have clashed with pole in shopping malls and tourist areas. the russian gornment has successfully tted a country want alternative to the global internet. details of what the test involved were vague, but according to the ministry of
communications, it does not augment a changes. russia also announced plans to create its own a technology journalist has been telling me aborn how this in alternative works. >>rt by taking the core of the internet, the valve, if you can thing of it, at the russian border,ndaking control through internet service providers who provide internet connections at home and also ituntries involved in the infrastructure o samantha: how easy would it be to stop other internet providers providing internet in the country? >> but it is kind of difficult, but in a country like russia where you have relatively strict regime and relatively central control over things like , telecommunicatio is easier than elsewhere. we have precedent in places like iran and china and north korea. samantha:sehat is your ment of what the country is trying to do with this?
>> it is interesting, samantha, because the reason that russia wants to do this is to get control back over its internet. its very concerned about the fact that an organization that controls the entire internet infrastructure is based in the united states. they see it as an attempt at an online landgrab, essentially, to wrest back control they can take over any sort of discussion and any use of social media, anything like that, as have en in protests in iran last month, where they shut on the internet, and hong kong and china elsewhere. this is the new battleground for all sorts of communication. samantha: in practice, how easy will it be for them too this? >> well, it is relatively simple for russia, because all they have to do is switch on and off the big taps that will control the internet coming into the country. they have much more ability to do that.
the internet is essentially controlled by undersea fiber-optic cables. every single country has a internet connection and that feeds into a global network. once russia has ctrol of that, as it does because of state domination, it can do that quite easily. not the onl is thing they are trying to restrict, is it, because they are looking at trying to make smartphones made in russia with russian technology a software the only ones available. >> indeed,nd this is one of the really interesting things about this, samantha, is actually theeason why russia so concerned about wresting back control of the various bits of technology, whether the internet or social media or th apps we use on smartphones, is internet interfe of beingof able to delve into apps rkd social netand play about with them. that fear mostly is driven by the actions we believe russia is doing elsewhere through whether
it is interference in elections, allegedly, or in actually inhakey infrastructure and the hardware that controls power and water.electricity systems, maha: india's cabinet has approved the allocat more than a billion dollars to conduct a detailedlaensus and poon survey next year. there are fears that the database could be used to build a register of citizens against which there have been widespread protests. there have beealmorees across india against the proposed register and a citizenship law. reporter: students, activists, and women a company by or to the cold to express anger against the contentious citizenship law. crics say it is anti-muslim and goes against the values of the anger is spreading across india despite bans and internet
shutdowns. >> t it inspire communities across india against thi act. reporter: the authorities have gonehe with allocating more than a billion dollars to connect a detailedsu cand population survey next year. there are fears that the database could be used touild a citizenship check on national the protests have the nrc. government by surprise. a senior minister has assured will not rc lamented for the time being. >> there is no discussion being gone on on nr c. the prime minister is right, ere is no discussion either in the cabinet or pollen. parliament. when it happens, it won't be reporter: the latest move by the government is seen as a tactical retreat.
at this 24 people have been killed in the violence, but the protests are spreading from city to city. for the first time, people across india are standing up to thedu hationalist government. how this will play out in the coming weeks will have a long-lasting impact on india samantha: staying in india, this is probably not how most people tend to spot a play, in eastern india woke up to this unusual sight of a plane stuck well and truly underhis bridge in the middle of a busy road, the result of an obvious lack of communication to theco transport any. to get out, it looks like they cut off the tires of the transport and pulled it out from under the bridge. not an easy jam to get out of their bank. authorities on the
ecologically sensitive galapagos lands are watching to see if there will be any further oil leaks after the loading of a boat went speccularly wrong. niuador's environment er said that while oil spill into the water, it had been contained. there are worries aboutri reco the boat and that more could leak out. reporter: it is one of the most delicate ecosystems in the world. generator was loaded onto a boat filled with thousands of meters of fuel, concern immediately turned to rare and endangered species that called these waters home. e while ecuadorian government is keen to strs no animal or plant life waste affecd by the fuel that leak into the water, pulling the bt out will be a
delicate operation. >> there are concerns about the fuel that is part of the barge's operation, and which apparently is still in the barge. don't know how much fuel has been released. we will know once a check has been done. reporter: as the lands thatd famously helpe inspire charl darwin's theory of evolution, they are home to a huge proportion of wildlife not found anywhere else on the planet. that inclus nearly 20% of marine species. the government is acutely aware of the need to contain the damage. hydrocarbnd absorbing cloths had been put contain any more possible fuel leaks. the government says that while the accident was serious, quick work to stem the leak avoided ao causing a lo damage. samantha: pilgrims from around the world have been gathering in the city of bethlehem, revered
by christians as the birthplace of jesus, to celebrate christmas in the holy land. thousands converged on the town in the israeli-occupied west bank forti festies taking in and arrcnd the cof the net to 50. barbara plett-usher sent this report. a:barb this is double hems time of year when it invites the world to celebrate the story of a humble birth that changed history. it is a condition fo palestinian scouts to set the psce of festivities. this time, perhawith an extra t spring inir steps. bethlehem is enjoying its busiest first season in decades, aright spot despite dark times for the palestinian economy. and for betehem's christians, there is a special gift from the vatican, a splinter of wood believed to be fm jesus's manger. itl, is smalut a big boost for our community decimated by waves of immigration. yet in the holy christmas cheer is always wrapped in political realities.
the procession of christian leaders from jerusalem crossed into bethlehem through an raeli army checkpoint, a concre barrier that separates the two citi. >> if we look to our realities, politics, social economics, we have not so much hope. on the other side, in the communities, commitment, volunteers desire especially in the youth to do something for their society and their families. barbara: the patriarch will be leading e midnight mass in major square, at the church where jesus is said to have been it is america's ms. here, lots y sparkling lights and ha people tonight -- it is a merry christmas or, lots of sparkling lights and happy peoplintonight. but his region, the situation is fragile. or have the only permanent thing is faith -- perhaps te only permanhing is faith. samantha: let's go live to bethlehem, where tst midnight
chs vigil is taking place, presented over by the presiding legend archbishop. let's listen in. >> cistmas cannot be an countered if we remain closed and frozen. christmas is the day where once again where we stand -- are we with the shepherds on their journeys, god with us in our defe and that of the world, or are we locked inur palaces, our certainties -- samantha: very much talking about the political situation, it seems, as bethlehem is in the west bank town, occupied west bank territories.
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc uf >> woo good evening, i'm judy woodrf. on the newshour tonight, no end in sight: the shelling civilians continues in syria, and how the suspicious death of a humanitarian working in the country is raising concerns. then, the trump agenda-- efforts by the president to resist new environmental rules, now a rallying cry on the campaign trail. plus, a look back at the decade in culture.a view of the most important .ontributions in the arts over the last ten yea and... >> ♪ god rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay ♪ >> woodruff: ...united we sing:t members united states armed forces share another holiday classic. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.