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tv   BBC World News Today  PBS  November 26, 2021 5:00pm-5:31pm PST

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♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... woman: architect. bee keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. woman: the rules of business are being reinvented with a more flexible workforce. by embracing innovation, by looking not only at current opportunities, but ahead to future ones. man: people who know, know bdo.
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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". >> this is bbc world news, the headlines. the national world health organization identifies a new strain in southern africa, over concerns it may be more infectious and more resistant to vaccines. >> a large number of mutations, and some of them have new characters. right now, there are many studies underway. there is a lot of work going on in south africa and other countries to better characterize. >> the eu is leading to the
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suspension o all countries with cases of the new variant, a move criticized in south africa as the wrong approach. >> stopping travel from one country or even a small group of countries soon becomes superfluous. it is really not the solution. >> how to resolve the migrant crisis in calais, as a diplomatic row breaks out. and the england and wales cricket board publishers and antiracism action plan in response to a scandal. ♪ welcome to those watching on pbs and around the globe. we start with growing concerns over the emergence of a new strain of covid-19 in south
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africa. the world health organization has categorized it as a variant of concern, and lane -- and named it the greek letter of omicron. belgium detected the first case in europe. south africa has announced the measures tak against the country, calling then unjustified. here is a statement from the world health organization. >> the variant is a concern, because it has concerning properties. this buried has a large number of mutations, and some of these mutations have similar characteristics to it right now, there are many studies underway. there is a lot of work going on in south africa, and it could work in terms of stability, severity, and so far, there is little information, but studies
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are underway, so we need researchers to have a plan to carry those out, and w.h.o. will inform the public and our partners and our member states as soon as we have more information. once a variant is classied, it is important that we have good information around the world, including genomic sequencing, because we want to detect t variant. it is also important that studies are undertaken in the field and also the studies need to understand changes in severity, changes on the impact and diagnostics, therapeutics, or the vaccine. >> the.k. was one of the first countries to react to the new variant, announcing travel restrictions on thursday, as fergus walsh reports. fergus: after months of opening upe newly named omicron variant means travel restrictions are back. at heathrow, the last flights from south africa arrived this morning. >> who knows how long this is
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going to last? >> we have been told we are going to have to isolate at home, so that should not be too bad. fergus: from sunday, only u.k. an irish residents will be allowed in from six southern african countries, and they will have to pay to quarantine in a hotel. the travel restrictions mean this woman will miss her knees's wedding in south africa -- n iece's wedding in south africa. >> we were all going to be together, which is really important, and literally we won't come overnight, and now we won't. fergus: health secretary said the new variant may pose a 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 the u.k. at this time, but this new variant is of huge
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international concern. fergus: 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 and is currently the dominant strain worldwide. on paper, the mu variant looked worrying, with twice the number of variants found on delta. the issues on the spike proteins, the key to unlock our cells, and these changes may help it evade our bodies' defenses. but so far, we do not know whether the variant causes more severe disease, whether vaccines will be less effective, for drugs won't work. it is the sheer number and type of mutation that has scientists here troubled. >> some of them have never been
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seen in a combination like this before, and many of them we have seen in various variants of concern so far, but it is the complexity of the mutations that we are seeing today and the effects that it may have on both the immune response and transmissibility that are of huge concern. fergus: the next few weeks will require a science detective work in labs to determine the threat posed by this variant. travel bans will slow the spread but will not stop it going global if it has a competitive advantage over other variants. fergus walsh, bbc news. >> as we have just been hearing, the first confirmed cases of the new variant were found in south africa and botswana. while the eu and the.k. travel bans when in effect in those countries, the measures will also impact those traveling from namibia, zimbabwe, and others. from south africa, our africa
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correspondent andrew harding has this report. andrew: this is where the new variant was first properly identified, spreading fast. >> all of this is so overwhelming. but we made the decision to suspend all social governments and social activities. andrew: the impact here has been swift, with many countrs now following britain's lead in ban ning flights from south africa, so this morning's arrivals in johannesburg and cape town could be the last for some time. >> it is absolutely ridiculous that they imposed it again so quickly, without really investigating this new variant. andrew: the timing for south africa could hardly be worse. it is summer here, and the tourt industry was hoping for a big boost after two wretched years of lockdowns.
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south africa's foreign minister has criticized the travel ban, calling it "rushed, ecologically damaging," and urging britain to reconsider. that is not very likely, at least not in the short term. today, south africa is gearing up for a likely fourth wave, dominated by this new variant. . but scientists here insist that trying to isolate countries or 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 stop being shoveled from one country or even -- so stopping travel from one country or even a small group of countries really becomes superfluous. it is really not the solution. andrew: but could there be an upside to the arrival of this new variant? in recent months, south africa's vaccine rollout has slowed down. it is the same in other african
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countries, partly down to a shortage of vaccines, but also due to public apathy. fear of the new variant could change that. >> hopefully we get past this stage. >> are you vaccinated? >> i am vaccinated, yes, so hopefully i will be safe. drew: for now, the focus is on this south african liberatory, with the scientists furiously trying to unlock the secrets to the virus' new mutations. andrew harding, bbc news, johannesburg. >> let's head to south africa now antalk to dr. should beer, professor at the university of whitmore . thank you so much for joining us today. first of all, do you have a view on whether travel bans are necessary, especially in scenarios like this, where much is known about the actual virus? >> good evening.
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i think it is completely naive for any country to believe that they can prevent the mutation of the variant by banning travel from a country. there is absolutely no contact with any of the south african countries, and yet what we have come to learn about the virus over the past two years now is this virus is able to disseminate readily, so it is simply not going to work, unless you impose restrictions on every country, effectually, you have basically engaged in something that won't work. >> so much is unknown about this virus and this particular one today. what do you suggest the government to do? >> we need to have a measured approach, like with anything else.
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in july, there was another variant known as the c12 variant, which was a combination of the delta and beta variance, which by itself would have been decimating. however, the delta variant very much terminated. so what needs to happen? it will not be much use in the medium term. what we need to do, yes, is impose some sort of expectations to and from the country, ensure that basically before they depart the country, and perhaps when they arrive in the country where they are traveling too, but imposing a blanket ban on a handful of countries is extreme to believe that that is going to prevent the spread of the virus. >> briefly, do you believe the situation would be different if the vaccine rates in south africa was a lot higher?
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am i right in saying only about 35% of the population is fully vaccinated? >> the percentage of the population fully vaccinated is quite low. but at the end of the day, it is not just about vaccines. we experience ongoing situations with the virus, and yes, new variants are likely to transpire should there be new variant -- should there be a virus circulating, as in south africa. but we need sequencing programs globally. in the absence of having this in place, there are other variance that are elsewhere, underway that simply because no sequencing is taking place. >> dr. shabir madhi, thank you so much for your time.
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we really appreciate it. now let's look at some of the day's other news. the turkish court has ruled that -- should stay in prison after fourears in detention without a conviction. turkey has been under international pressure to release him. he faces charges for charges in 2013 and a failed coup years later. updates from theattlefield. and it's more than year long war with tigre armed rebels unless it is approved by the government. this is footage of the prime minister, who said earlier this week he would head to the front lines to direct the conflict of tigre and rebels, before they made it to the capital found a
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survivor of a coal mine disaster in western siberia that left 15 people dead. they say the man's situation is critical but not fatal. this is the deadliest mining accident in the region and grades -- in decades. stay with us on bbc world news. still to come, a five point plan to tackle racism in response to allegation. ♪ >> president kennedy was shot down and died almost immediately. the murder of john kennedy a disaster of the free world. the first of a new generation of leaders. >> riz training -- resigning as the leader of the party.
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"it is a funny old world." angela merkel is germany's first woman chancellor, easily securing the majority she needed >> the balloon had to be abandoned, but nobody seems to mind very much. as one loc comedian reported, it is not hot air we ed, it is hard cash. >> nine days of morning following the death of fidel castro. it was an alliance that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war over the cuban missile crisis. ♪ >> this is bbc news. our top story, the world health organization designates a new covid strain, found in southern africa, as a variant of concern. the move fears a mutated variant could be more infectious and
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resistant to vaccine. hello and welcome, if you are watching on pbs in the u.s., all around the world, and stay with us for the latest news and analysis from here and across the globe. french president emmanuel macron has accused the u.k. of not being serious about dealing with the migrant crisis. european ministers will meet on sunday to discuss the situation, after 27 people drowned on wednesday trying to reach the u.k. mr. macron is concerned that the invitation has been withdrawn. this is in response to the u.k. prime minister, boris johnson's, public call to take back migrants who cross the channel. lucy williamson reports. lucy: it is getting colder. the political distance a little wider each day. here in the migrantamps, caught between the two governnts, they know about barriers in communication.
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>> macklin says you are not serious. is he right, prime minister? >> mr. johnson said cooperation between european partners was the way to solve the migrant crisis. p.m. johnson: that again underlies the problem we have to fix. lucy: boris johnson is accused by france of using the migrant crisis for his own little ends. johnson sent out a series of twts, saying he will listen to emmanuel macron with a number of proposals. he tweeted, calling for u.k. border officers and suggesting that all illegal migrants who cross the channel be returned to france. this, he said, would break the business model of the gangs. france is irritated by mr. johnson's style of diplomacy, and it shows.
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>> i am surprised when things are not done seriously. we don't communicate between leaders on this issue, but weeks of published letters. >> come on, the ministers will settle this issue. lucy: the tensions between france and the u.k. built up over a range of issues that have become increasingly public. home secretary patel was due here, but since the tweet last night, she has been disinvited. the officials are in paris today to discuss the issue. as officials try to bridge the political divide, migrants here are planning day after day to bridge the channel. one we met is undeterred this
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week, but he would stop trying if he thought he would be sent straight back to france. >> this is my dream, to go to the u.k. if i come back, again i will go to u.k., never will stop, i will not stop. lucy: neither disaster nor diplomacy has stopped the rhythm of these crossings, an alternative to the promises of ap smugglers, believing the fear here down -- people smugglers, believing the fear down here. lucy williamson, bbc news. >> a professor of forced migration at oxford. thank you so much for joining us. today, was this avoidable? >> it was completely predictable and avoidable. it is a human tragedy that should not have happened, and it stems from a couple of things, first of all, the fact that there are more people being forcibly displaced around the world than at any other time in
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the past, and there are no alternatives others and use -- other than to use smugglers. this is a failure of the french government, a failure of the british government, and a failure of the global cooperation. >> people are trying to escape conflicts in their homelands in desperation. what happens next? >> what happensext is we need to have a serious level of cooperation between the u.k. and france and between the u.k. and its european partners, despite the brexit-related challenges. what needs to happen is the u.k. needs to be serious about its commitment to provide asylum to desperate, vulnerable people. we know the people crossing the english channel, for the most part, are in need of protection. most of the refugees come from syria, afghanistan, iran, iraq,
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sudan, yemen, countries where there is violence, o of authoritarianism. they are in need of protection, and people have a right, under international law, to seek asylum. we have to make that possible. one way would be for the u.k. to say let's provide safe passage to a certain quota, of refugees recognized in france or europe, to come to the u.k. we have to share that responsibility in a way that is serious and cooperative. >> briefly, the relationship between france and britain seems rather tenuous. it seems to be deteriorating rather than getting better. i mean, you know, what are your hopes here, hoping that relationship perhaps gets better, but what do you think needs to happen to help people who are so desperate at the moment? >> we need to move beyond pandering national sentiment, beyond the common denominator,
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and we need clarity on both sides that lives are at stake. children lost their lives. a pregnant woman lost her life. this is a very serious situation. never before have s many people drownein one incident in the english channel. they need to get above the lowest common denominator of politics into a serious commitment to leadership, irrespective of the domestic political gains that come from showing strength and sovereignty over migration issues. we need to put human lives first. >> and just very briefly, there are those who will be saying well, you know, we wanted to close our borders here in the u.k. we voted for brexit. what would you say to those people, who would say, "these people should not be coming over in the first place"? >> i think it was a misleading expectation that brexit would lead us to close our borders, and i think it would be a very sad indictment, for instance,
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britain's proud history of protecting refugees, if we no longer taken desperate, vulnerable people fleeing human rights abuses. the numbers are relatively small. the numbers over the last year of asylum-seekers coming to the u.k. is over 30,000, and that is in the context of a world with 82 million displaced peoe, about 26 million refugees. countries like turkey has 7 million refugees, columbia with 1.7 million, so this is relatively few, and they can make a contribution to our society. >> professor alexander betts, thank you so much. new england and wales cricket board has published a 12-point action plan to tackle racism and also distribute nation -- and also discrimination in the game. it follows azeem rafiq's testimony about the abuse he faced at the cricket club. laura squirrels has more. laura: the governing body for cricket here has said it was
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like an earthquake hitting the sport. the racism did not fit the club. what has happened over the past few weeks, over the testimony of azeem rafiq and others, has raised serious questions of the culture and governance within the game, and that is the focus of the 12 points agreed by the game today. this 12 point action plan addresses the culture in english cricket come all the way up to the international level, removing barriers preventing ethnically diverse players from getting from the recreational level to the professional rank. and making it more recommend to everyone -- and making a more welcoming to everyone and the use of alcohol-free zones. targets have been set with a line of april next year, and if that counties don't meet those targets, they can have their funding withheld.
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tom harrison, who is in charge of the sport today, says it will not be a silver lead, but what he hopes for today is a good start. they have >> been so many allegations of racism over the last few weeks -- >> there have been so many allegations of racism over the last few weeks. have you heard from any of those alleging racism to this action plan? laura: a former cricketer who has alleged he was abused while at the cricket club, those investigations are being investigated by the county and the city. he went through the plan with me, and he sayse does welcome the action plan. what he wants to see as the momentum behind the drive to tackle racism and improve diversity is maintained, that it is not fade away as the news addendum was on. he said when he found his the dressing room was a horrible place to be, and he hopes no one else goes through that same experience. >> laura scott there.
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a reminder of our top story, the world health organization made a new variant detected in south africa, on the con, -- omicron, and the eu has joined the u.k. in suspending flights from respected that from affected ar narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial seices 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. ♪ ♪
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narrator: you're watching pbs.
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♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... woman: architect. bee keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. woman: the rules of business are being reinvented with a more flexible workforce. by embracing innovation, by looking not only at current portunities, but ahead to future ones. man: people who know, know bdo.

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