tv DW News LINKTV November 30, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm PST
berlin. a new clue and a warning about the new coronavirus variant. governments in more than 50 countries have been tightening travel restrictions to slow the spread. the who warning people over 60 not to travel. the netherlands confirming the new variant has been in europe longer than we ought. also coming up, and emergency pandemic meeting with german
chancellor angela merkel. the man who will replace or later this week reportedly saying he is in favor of a coronavirus vaccination mandate for everyone in the country. plus, what is russia doing on its border with ukraine? nato foreign ministers are meeting to discuss worries over a possible invasion. france this does its highest honor on josephine baker, a black woman born in the u.s. gave hercog and spirit, to freedom to the french. ♪ i'm brent goff. to our viewers watching on pbs in the united states and a live view around the world, welcome. the netherlands today confirmed two people there tested positive for the new omicron coronavirus variant more than a week ago.
the world just learned about the variant five days ago. worries are growing along with the list of reactions, which have included more and more travel restrictions. >> all of the world, countries are shutting their gates to international travelers. so great is the fear of the latest coronavirus mutation, omicron. that is despite limited research on the strain first identified >> as we don't have been a full picture of this variant, as long as we don't know how well were not well the existing vaccines are working, how the treatment is catching up, how transmissible it is, how severe it attacks people, wneed to use the measures we know and we need to use the measures we know that work. >> despite uncertainty over how well existing vaccines protect against this new threat, health officials are urging people to get the jab.
>> even if the new variant becomes more widespread, the vaccines we have will continue to provide protection. the effectiveness of these vaccines is waning over time and it is becoming increasingly clear people will need to extend their protection with a booster. >> madrona has said it is like -- vaccine maker modernity has said it will be likely the vaccines will be less effective against omicron. british prime minister divorce johnson has pledged booster shots for all u.k. adults in the next two months. the greek government has made vaccinations mandatory for the over 60's. even before omicron's destructive potential has become known, governments are preparing
to fight back. brent: we want to bring in a professor. he is with the institute for experimental virology in the german city of hamburg. it is good to have you on the program. we have learned today the omicron variant has been here circulating in europe longer than we thought, more than a week ago. what more do we know about that and how important is that? >> that is an interesting piece of information but i would not say it means it was circulating. the netherlands, it was found out we had cases starting from the 19th of november, which probably tested positive. we don't know by what means it has been established. but if that is true, it means this proceeds -- this precedes the first reportsrom south africa.
the south african examples originated from november 14. it could mean this variant could potentially have been spread in europe bore travel bans. these are all things we don't know. we don't know if they had any relations to travel to south africa. it might well have been contained. in that case, it does not mean the strain is already circulating in europe. there are still a lot of question marks. brent: in the netherlands, the number of new infections is double what it was last winter. is there any possibility the new variant could be driving the increase in new cases
considering you have people who are vaccinated now compared to a year ago when you did not? >> there is no possibility of that being the reason for this because that variant, we have pretty good sveillance in europe and good sequencing. clearly that variant s not been circulating in the general population in the neerlands or in any country in europe for a long time. we have very good surveillance in the netherlands. also a negati in gmany. -- also in germany. it is possible has already arrived here. there are certain clusters of the variant, which still have been under the radar. but those clusters if they exist will still be very small. brent: the world health organization has positioned itself against travel bans, which have popped up in the last
few days, but it is recommending people over the age of 60, people who are most vulnerable, that they postpone their travel plans. is that enough to slow the spread of this variant? >> i don't think so. it will help but i don't think it is sufficient. as we discussed before, the question is if it has already arrived in europe, every measure is going thelp. if it is t yet in the general population, we have to do as much as we can to delay spread of the virus. more efficient than just asking people not to travel. brent: we appreciate your time and your insights tonight. thank you. >> you're welcome. brent: german chancellor angela
merkel and regional leaders across germany have crisis talks today as the country's coronavirus infection rates sore. angela merkel and the man who will replace her this week as well as germany's 16 federal leaders discussed how they should respond to the fourth wave of infections. firm decisions will not be announced until this coming thursday. that is despite spiraling cases and the new variant having been detected here. earlier today, the country's constitutional court ruled that tough measures brought in to curb coronavirus infections last year were legal and that potentially paves the way for future tough for measures to take effect. -- tougher measures to take effect. we want to go to our correspondent covering the story for us in berlin. these decisions postponed until thursday. we are seeing overflowing intensive care units in hospitals.
we have this new variant we don't know much about. why are politicians kicking the can even if it is a day or two? a day or two can mean life or death for people. >> you are right. the official answer is they want to wait until thursday. they want to think about the details and go back to the regional parliaments to consult with them. another important part of the answer is that germany has been finding itself in somewhat of a political vacuum in this transition period between the outgoing government and the incoming government. there has not been a clear allocation of responsibilities and it comes to the handling of the pandemic and we are seeing the results of this. olaf scholz knows that all eyes are on him and his coalition government and this will be the first big stress test. also knows his coalition partner, the free democrats come ran their reelection campaign
the platform of no more lockdowns and restoring civil liberties to people so he will have to do some convincing to get them on board with harsher measures. all the while, experts have been sounding the alarm bells for weeks and german politicians are being seen as acting very slowly. brent: harsher measures. we have less than 70% of the population that has been fully vaccinated. one of the lowest rates in western europe. today, olaf scholz said he would support a vaccination mandate for everyone in germany to take effect as early as february. what has been the reaction of that? that is a major policy change. >> it is indeed. the debate has been going on for weeks but it goes to show under how much pressure olaf scholz is to actually do something. he said -- you said the vaccination rate here in germany is low. they want to ramp up pressure.
take another tool and that would make germany follow the example of the neighboring state of austria. in the past, germany has already required health workers and soldiers to get the jab, but expanding this mandatory vaccination really does mark sort of a change in policy. brent: especially as one chancellor is leaving and a new chancellor is coming to power. our political correspondent with the latest here in berlin. thank you. nato foreign ministers met today to disguise a response to russia's military buildup on its border with ukraine. about a month ago, the u.s. reported russian troops were gathering in large numbers in several cities near the russian border with belarus and ukraine. russia says it is entitled to put its troops anywhere on its own territory and insist they pose no threat. nato and ukraine say moscow may
be preparing to launch an attack. >> the meeting of nato's top medic ministers comes at a tense time -- top diplomatic ministers comes at a tense time. they have pledged their support to ukraine and are calling on russia to standdown. >> we stand united in our aim to deter any aggressive actions. we: pressure to be transparent, de-escalate and reduce tensions. any future russian aggression against ukraine would come at a high price and have serious political and economic consequences for russia. >> the appeal follows growing concern over russian troops seen amassing near the ukraine border in early november. the build up sparked fears of a possib invasio ukraine responded with its own show of force, military exercises in the border region.
>> we have complete control over our borders. we are fully prepared for any escalation. >> tensions are rising between russia and the west over ukraine's new bid to join the nato military alliance. for the kremlin, and expansion of military aid to ukraine is a redline. >> what are we to do in such a scenario? we will have to crate something similar in relation to those who threaten us in that way and we have the capacity to do so. >> ukraine already had a war scare withussia rlier this year. in april, russia deployed thousands of troops within striking distance of ukraine. moscow called it a military exercise and said the troops were being withdrawn. western military experts say the maneuvers this november were less visible, perhaps on purpose. >> we don't have clarity into
moscow's intentions, but we do know it's playbook. -- we do know its playbook. >> tensions remain with no end in sight. brent: here is a look at some of the other stories making headlines around the world. in the unit states, police and emergency personnel have been called to a shooting at a high school north of detroit. we understand at least three students have been shot dead. police say the suspected shooter, a 15-year-old, was arrested and that a handgun was recovered. the u.s. has removed the colombian former rebels from its list of terrorist organizations. the revolutionary armed forces of colombia fought the government for decades. they signed a peace deal in 2016 and formerly disarmed and dissolved. in sudan, protesters voiced their opposition to what they say was a bad deal ending last
month's coup. that deal put the ousted prime minister back in office. they accuse him of betrayal in favor of the military pin a roadside -- of the military. a roadside bomb in kabul has injured at least five people. the explosion happened near a government school. no group has claimed responsibility yet for the attack. the people of lebanon are facing one of the most severe and prolonged economic recessions the world has ever seen. the united nations says over half of the population is living in poverty with millions of people struggling to make ends meet and feed their families. our reporter met with one family that is struggling to survive. >> behind these doors, silence.
here in beirut, many children are forced to go to bed hungry. we are on our way to meet a waste collector who refused to speak to us outside closed doors. the culture that has great value for pride makes any men feel shamed to open up about his incapacity to provide food to his family he spends most of his time at home. he used to work as aestaurant manager but e to the economic crisis in lebanon, the restaurant had to shut its doors, leaving him with no choice but to be a waste collector. he now earns the equivalent of less than two u.s. dollars a day. the crisis has led to a 90% devaluation of the local currency. >> if i buy water for today, i get a loaf of red or two. -- a loaf of bread or two. i would not afford to buy anything else extra et -- extra
to eat. >> he suffers from a heart condition, which he believes is a consequence of spending sleepless nights searching for a better future for his children. they now use their school notebooks for games instead of learning to he can no longer afford to pay for the school. his eldest son has dreams of a very different future. i wouldike to be a mechanical engineer and a football player. i love school and all my friends. i really miss studying. drucker the children crave chocolate and juice but their father is unable to fulfill any of their desires. over 55% of the lebanese population currently lives below the poverty line. the country is experiencing hyperinflation. essential items remain in short supply in lebanon. politicians seem to have only
their personal and sectarian interest in mind instead of helping the most vulnerable here. to give you a clear picture, this bag of milk costs the equivalent of seven u.s. dollars in country where the minimum wage is 32 u.s. dollars. children born into the crisis are not getting adequate nutrition or reaching vaccinations. >> we need all of the leaders in lebanon to step up and to harness all of the resources that are available to them to really make sure the future of children is not rest. >> the international community has promised financial assistance. but no promises can lift his spirit. >> i have reached a stage of despair where i can assure you that tomorrow will not be better. >> he is one of many in lebanon who find it impossible to
visualize any end to their suffering. brent: in the united states, the number of migrants trying to cross from mexico has been a business boom for human traffickers. for migrants, the journey through the texas brush is costly and dangerous and possible only with the help of people smugglers. but not everyone makes it. one texas county is struggling to keep up with a number of those who perish. kate brady reports from brooks county. >> no other county in the unforgiving texas brush has reported as many migrants dead as here in brooks county, texas. it is considered a last boundary for organized crime to smuggle drugs and people into the u.s. via the rio grande valley. >> the smugglers push these people to the limit where they are -- where they mentally and physically fatigued for >>
brooks county has already recovered 115 migrant bodies this year and the toll rises almost every week. what you can see behind me is a stash house. this is located about an hour away from the u.s. mexican border. migrants are moved from house to house along their journey. those who make it to these houses are often regarded as being the lucky ones as the traffickers will then pick them up and take them further north to another city. those who don't make it to the stash houses have often perished along the way. across the exhausting trails, a local human rights charity has set up water bottles. the county itself has erected more than 10,000 placards with numbers that migrants can call in the hope that help will come before it is too late. >> we do have a lot of calls where they call in and their last moments before they die.
our communication center is a little bit disappointing because it is a hopeless feeling. they're telling me, come find -- come find me. but it is like, where. >> in recent weeks, county authorities have struggled to keep up with the number of fatalities. help has been drafted in from both state and federal level. this is a temporary morgue provided by the state of texas. the missing migrants program has helping -- is helping identify people. >> little bibles, rosaries, tattoos and usually the virgin mary is on there somewhere. that helps. it really does. >> after they have been identified, the remains of the deceased can be returned to lod ones. often relatives already waiting for them in the u.s. looks county authorities know it is only a matter of a few days before more bodies are found. brent: almost half a century
after her death, the entertainer and civil-rights activist josephine baker has become the first black woman to become honored at paris 's pantheon. as well as her artistic career, she was active in the french assistance during world war ii. stuck in isolation but not a coronavirus and forced one. dozens of customers at britain's highest altitude pub got a longer stay than they had planned last weekend and that is because a snowstorm cut off access to the building and forced them to spend several nights in the pub. the visibility outside was not good but they say the drinks indoors were. >> it was a different kind of locked down for a group of 61 brits. they were not sck at home but inhis remote pub in yorkshire
in northern england. they came to watch an oasis cover been and ended up snowed in for several days. >> people were willing to share and get where they could. the ones that were supposed to be sleeping in a tent, they slept on the floor. >> the weather forecast was poor but nobody expected so much snow. the doors were blocked and roads unsafe to travel. but instead of giving in to frustration, the stranded guests decided to make the most out of their captivity and keep the party going. >> it w good. we have had karaoke. we have had pub quizzes. boardames, card games. people helping to clear tables, wash up. everyone has gotten on board
with it all. >> standing at roughly 530 meters above sea level, it is known as britain's highest pub and it is not the first time guests get snowed in. >> people came as strangers. it is a bit cliche. dara blood of -- there are a lot of friends leaving to three days later -- there -- there are a lot of friends leaving. >> the guests already starting -- already talking about a reunion next year. brent: we want to go back to the story about josephine baker pitchy became the first black woman to be honored at paris's pantheon muzzle liam almost a century -- at the on mausoleum -- at the pantheon mausoleum. standing by now in paris as our correspondent. she has been following the
ceremony for us. let's talk about the timing of this pit josephine baker passed away 15 years ago. why is she being honored in this extraordinary way now? >> it is of course a political gesture and it is a fairly grand gesture. president macron has made here. we have to think about the election campaign that is more or less beginning pit elections in france are in the spring. -- and it -- more or less beginning. elections in france in the spring. when it to give a signal to the left-leaning part of the french puic that he has also their man because the last weeks have been dominated by extreme right wing campaigning that often came close to hate speech with regard to racial diversity and with
regard to the muslim population in france. macron chose this moment and he chose josephine baker. this absolutely extraordinary career who overcame obstacles to become this outstanding person to give a signal to people and say, this is who we are. we don't want racism. we don't want to split the country and we want to be a diverse nation. brent: that was barbara reporting from paris. you are watching dw news from berlin. after a short break, i will be back to take you through the day. our mandatory coronavirus -- are mandatory coronavirus vaccinations coming to germany? if the new german chancellor has his way, they possibly will as early as february. we will explain after the break. ♪
>> world news and analysis from france 24. i am marco and, these are the headlines. josephine baker interred at the pantheon in paris, honored among the great and good of friends, the first lack woman to receive such an honor. omicron cases in the netherlands predate those in south africa and botswana. more cases are reported around the world, the world health organization says travel bans will not stop the virus crossing borders. eric zemmour