tv BBC World News America PBS November 26, 2021 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
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narrator: funding was also provided 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. announcer: and now, "bbc world news". >> hello. this is "world news america." headlines concern a new strain of covid identified in southern africa. it has been identified a variant of concern by the world health organization amid fears it may be more transmissive and more resistant to vaccine. >> right now, many studies are under way. there is a lot of work on going in doubt and other countries to
better characterize the variant itself. >> the united states, european union, japan, and others announced suspension of all air travel from countries located in the area, a move criticized by south africa at the wrong approach. >> stopping trouble very soon becomes superfluous. it is really not the right solution -- stopping travel very soon becomes superfluous. it is really not the right solution. >> hello. welcome to "bbc world news america." it is good to have your company. the first image of one of the 27 people who drowned in the english channel this week has been released. it is something of a bargain hunt because black friday is taking place, but can supply
keep up with demand? for all of you watching on pbs and around the globe, welcome to "old news america." we start with growing concern over the new strain ofovid-19 in south africa. the world health organization characterized it as a variant of concern on friday. there are fears it might be more transmissible and the vaccine may be less effective against it. officials in belgium say they discovered the first case in europe today. the u.s. towards the european union, japan, and others in announcing a suspension of direct flights from those areas. south africa has an -- has denounced the van -- the ban as unjustified. >> the newly named omicron variant means travel restrictions are back.
heathrow received flights from south africa this morning. except in extremely relieved. >> we've then told we have to -- we have been told we have to isolate at home. >> from sunday, only u.k. and irish residents will be allowed in from six southern african countries, and they will have to quarantine in a hotel. the travel restrictions mean catherine will miss her niece's wedding in south africa. >> they held back this wedding for two years for us so we would all be together. we were off on the ninth, and now we are not. >> the health secretary said the new variant may pose substantial risk to public health, so the restrictions were necessary. >> i want to reassure this house that there are no detected cases
of this variant in that u.k. at this time, but this variant is of huge international concern. >> several coronavirus mutations have already made the covid pandemic worse. the alpha variant identified in kent drove a huge wave of hospital admissions and deaths here last winter. the delta variant, first detected in india, was even more transmissible. it is currently the dominant strain worldwide. on paper, the new variant looks worrying, with twice the number of mutations found than delta. around 30 of these are the spike protein, the key the virus uses to unlock our cells, and these changes may help it evade our bodies' defenses, but so far, we don't know if the variant causes more severe disease, if vaccines will be less effective or drugs will not work. it is the sheer number and type of mutations that has scientists
here troubled. >> some of them have never been seen in a combination like this before. many we have seen in various variants of concern so far, but it is the complexity of mutations that we are seeing today and the effects it may have on the immune response and transmissibility that are of concern. >> with belgium recording europe's first case of the omicron variant, the european commission in brussels called for a suspension of air travel to affected african countries. >> we do know that mutations could lead to the emergence and spread of even more concerning variants of the virus. that could spread worldwide within a few months. it is now important that all of us in europe act very swiftly, decisively, and unitedly. >> vaccine companies say they can prepare updated versions of
eir jobs, perhaps within 100 days, if the omicron variant is found to evade immunity. >> the united states is also restricting travel i'm south africa and from neighbing countries from monday. this is what president joe biden had to say a short while ago about the new and emerging variant. >> washington is making sure there is no travel to and from south africa except for american citizens who are able to come back. we don't know a lot about the variant, except it is of great concern, it spreads rapidly. this morning, my covid team led by dr. fauci began studying it. >> the president speaking a short while ago. the first confirmed case of the new variant was found on south
africa and botswana. the suspension of travel by eu countries as well as the u.s. and u.k. affects travelers from there as well as countries in namibia, zimbabwe, lesotho, and former swaziland. our africa correspondent reports. >> a technical university in pretoria, south africa, this afternoon, where the new variant was first properly identified. >> obviously, this is so overwhelming. we are all worried, but the ministry made the decision to suspend gatherings and social activities. >> the impact has been swift with many countries following britain's lead in banning flights from south africa.
>> it is absolutely ridiculous, moving so quickly without investigating this new variant. >> the timing for south africa could hardly be worse. it is summer here, and the tourist industry was hoping for a big boost after two richard years of lockdowns and red listings. no wonder south africa's foreign minister has criticized the travel ban, calling it rash, economically damaging, and urging prison to reconder -- urging britain to reconsider. >> today, africa is gearing up for a likely fourth wave, but scientists insist that trying to isolate countriesr regions makes no practical sense >> we saw with the delta variant that within three weeks, 53 countries were reporting cases of the delta variant, so
stopping travel from one country or even a small group of countries very soon becomes superfluous. it is really not the solution. >> could there be one upside to the arrival of this new variant? in recent months, south africa's vaccine rollout has slowed down, the same as in other african countries, partly due to shortage of vaccines but also do to public apathy. year of the new variant could change that. -- fear of the new variant could change that. >> hopefully we get past the new stage and vaccinated. hopefully i will be safe. >> for now, te focus is on this south african laboratory and the scientists trying to unlock the secrets of the virus' new mutations. >> the senior emergencies officer d covid-19 manager at
the world health organization is on the line from copenhagen. what work has been going on since november 9 when the first variant specimen was found? >> as you say, it was only a couple of weeks ago that this variant really emerged in the picture. since then, it was only a few days ago that it was first put on the open access sequence platforms that virus sequences are shed with, so it is really this week that this has really come to our attention at the international level, and there is a layer of work already going on, a lot of information being shared, especially from our south african colleagues, and i think that is something we really have to recognize -- the openness, the transparency, and the meaningfulness of sharing this information will have global implications. >> as all countries have found
and some have learned to their cost, some countries have not been as open about not just new variants but in some cases case numbers. in terms of the information that has been supplied, what are the concerns about this variant? what is it that is making people go, hang on a minute? why is this bad enough to be getting its own name that people are so anxious about? >> that's right. it is particularly worrying because based on its mutation profile, it looks quite different, significantly different. it has 32 mutations around the spike proteins, the area of the virus that is important when transmitting, and some of these mutations we know about because we have seen them in other
variants, but others are totally new, and it is this constellation of mutations that we don't really understand very well yet, so that is why it is of particular concern at the moment. of course, we are also looking at transmission patterns in south africa where it has seemed to displace the delta variant, which had been dominant in all of the country. >> concern about the new variant has triggered steep falls on the financial markets. in new york, the dow jones closed down 2.5%. in london, the ftse 100 dropped 3.6%, the most significant decline it has seen in more than a year. there were bigger falls in europe with the dax in germany falling more than 4%. the french president has accused the british prime minister of not being serious after mr. johnson sent him letter, which
he simultaneously posted on twitter. france has withdrawn an invitation to the home secretary to attend a meeting this weekend to discuss the crisis following the death of 27 people who drowned on wednesday trying to reach the u.k. >> the road between paris and london is getting colder. the political distance of little wider each day. here in the migrant camps, caught between the two governments, they know what it takes to bridge the channel and what the risks are if you fail. two days ago, a boat capsized, killing 27 people. tonight, the first victim was named. her fiance said he was messaging her as the dinghy began to lose and. -- began to lose air. her father spoke to the bbc.
>> from germany, she went to france, and in france, she got into this slaughterhouse. the whole world talks about europe as a place that is calm, that is pleasant. is this what calm means? around 30 people dying in the middle of the sea? this is a sin to put people through this. >> this tragedy has put pressure on paris and london to mend the rift over how to cck -- how to tackle the channel crossings. >> macron says you are not serious. is he right, minister? >> mr. johnson said cooperation between european partners was the way to solve the migrant crisis. >> that again underlines that this is a problem that we have to fix together. >> but france has accused the prime minister of doublespeak. last night in a series of tweets, mr. johnson said he had written to the french president with some proposals.
he tweeted the letter, too, calling for joint patrols and suggesting that all illegal migrants who cross the channel be returned to france. this he said would break the business model of the criminal gangs. france is irritated by mr. johnson's style of diplomacy, and it shows. >> i'm surprised when things are not done seriously. we do not communicate between leaders on these issues with tweets or published letters. we are not whistleblowers, come on. the ministers are trying to settle a serious issue with serious people. >> tensions between france and the u.k. built up over a range of issues are becoming increasingly public. the home secretary was due here in calais this weekend to discuss migration, but since mr. johnson's tweets last night, she has been disinvited, though you
-- though u.k. officials are in paris to discuss the issue. no invitation needed here. through it all, migrants plan their next crossing attempts. we met one queuing at a food distribution truck. he is undeterred. >> it is my dream to go to the u.k.. >> never, not to stop. not to stop, never. >> neither disaster nor diplomacy has stopped the rhythm of these crossings, an alternative to the promises of people smugglers can feel as remote here as the alize palace or downing street. >> you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come, it is bargain
hunt black friday, but can supply keep up with the very considerable demand? international peacekeepers have been deployed on the solomon islands with thousands of protesters calling on the prime minister to resign. >> armed police are guarding the prime minister after crowds descended on his home. police fired tear gas and warning shots to clear them. the protesters want the prime minister to resign. he says only parliament can sack him. the solomon islands' decision to switch diplomatic recognition from taiwan to china appears to have triggered the unrest. australian soldiers are being called in to help restore order.
they are preparing for resistance. the curfew has been extended after the previous one failed to stem the violence. they can only clean up and wait for it all to end. >> let's get more now on our top story this hour -- the new covid-19 strain designated a variant of concern by the world health organization. the u.s. and eu are among those announcing the suspension of direct flights to affected countries including south africa. its tourism minister spoke to me earlier to give me her view on the global reaction to the emergence of the new omicron variant. >> it is a tough day and a disappointing day for us because we have been here before, and we thought we had worked our way out of the red list, but unfortunately, we find ourselves back in again. >> do you understand the circumstances in which countries like the u.k. and european union and in the last few minutes
united states have imposed these bands -- bans? >> i understand how you perceive africa as just one mess of lance very far away, but we in south africa have a very similar system to yours. we have a group of scientists who study the trends around the world, who study the mutation of the virus, and advise us on a regular basis, and they discovered that in botswana, which is our next-door neighbor, there was a variant that was mutating faster than we have thought and we've got to alert the government. how we get involved in it is a matter that concerns us very much because we have had very good relations with the high commissioner here.
there was no consultation, and we are bound by the who requirements to report any significant information -- >> and you did just that. >> we did just that, yes. >> no one is claiming tardiness on south africa's part. equally, people who have been on holiday in south africa are left to come back. his is not surprising, is it, that they will impose some restrictions until they know more about this variant? the criticism before was that they did not do it with the delta variant and as a consequence, a lot of people died. >> they did put us on the red list with the delta virus -- >> i was thinking more of india where it was first identified. do you see my point? >> yes, i see your point. i see the correlation between that. however, we have had very good relations, and we expected there
to be a continuation of an inquiry of this matter because we are caught between the dictates of what the situation would require we do, which is report when we find something that is as dangerous as this one is. >> our correspondent talks more about an announcement. >> this comes at a time when the world cricket board, the governing body for cricket here, has said that it was like an earthquake hitting the sport, the racism crisis that has engulfed the club. of course, what has happened over the last few weeks has raised seriousuestions about the culture and governance within the game, and that is the focus of the 12 points agrd by
the game today. this talk point action plan covers a full review of the dressing room issue in english cricket, the removal of barriers preventing ethnically diverse players from getting from the recreational level to professional ranks and making cricket grounds more welcoming for everyone, including the food provision in the use of alcohol-free zones. boardroom diversity targets have been set with a deadline of april next year, and if the counties don't meet those targets, they can expect to have their funding well -- their funding from the world cricket board withheld. we spoke to someone who says he does not expect this to be a silver bullet, but he hopes it is a good start. >> no sooner have you cleared away all your turkey from thanksgiving, if there is anything left, that is, than the annual shopping extravaganza
black friday is upon you. this weekend, shoppers in the u.k. are expected to spend over 12 billion dollars. our correspondent has more. >> it would not be black friday without big tv's, gadgets, and appliances flying off the shelves. this vast distribution hub is home to britain's biggest electrical retailer. it is that are most important time of year. >> it truly has been a perfect storm. we are taking on more warehousing space. we have more stock than ever in our stores, and we recruited over 3002 hundred employees across our business, so we've got drivers and warehouse, so we have everything we need. >> how many playstation 5's? >> never enough, but we are
getting more. >> they are still processing an order every second here. this shopping bonanza will test many retailers to the limits, but it's the ones with the deepest pockets and the biggest clout with suppliers who will likely fare the best. >> they sell a bit of magic at this small shop in york. potions and drinks. they don't do black friday, but they do need to conjure up more stock. >> the biggest iue is not having enough products on our shelves to sell. stock has been stopped at every stage. it is frustrating and it's sad. >> there are fewer deals this year, and some are not all they're cracked up to be, but shoppers are spending. >> i always love a good deal, especially on black friday, yeah
. >> we did not plan on spending as much money as we have, but we saved a lot of money. >> this could turn out to be the biggest black friday yet it retailers deliver the goods. >> i'm sure. thanks very much for your company while narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial services firm, raymond james. man: bdo. accountants and advisors. narrator: funding was also provided 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. ♪ ♪
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> brangham: good evening. i'm william brangham. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight: a new variant. a highly-muted and highly transmissible strain of covid-19 emerges in south africa, causing markets to fall and prompting new travel bans around the world. then, searching for justice. why dozens of men in louisiana have spent most of their lives behind bars, after the state reneged on their plea agreements. and,he tipping point. the millions who rely on the colorado river for water face an uncertain future amid an unrelenting drought. >> the severity of the drought is undoubtedly worse because of climate change. >> brangham: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.