anchor: welcome back to the france 24 newsroom. thank you for joining us. these are the headlines. the eu imposes sanctions on a russian private military contractor that brussels accuses of carrying out secret operations on behalf of the kremlin. british health authorities announced the first death from the omicron variant of covid-19, set to become the dominant variant in london in the next 48 hours. and following a series of errors, and embarrassing redraw for the champions league of 16. anger from fans and clubs alike.
♪ welcome back. the european union announced today it has imposed sanctions on a russian private military cracked or -- military contractor, accusing them of carrying out clandestine operations on behalf of the kremlin, and human rights abuses. this is alleged to have happened in a number of countries, among them ukraine in the central african republic. moscow denies wrongdoing and president putin says private military contractors have the right work and pursue interests anywhere in the world provided they don't break russian law. here is what the eu's top diplomat had to say. >> the activities of this group
reflects russia's hybrid warfare. they present a threat and create instability in a number of countries around the world. anchor: let's get more analysis from a researcher at oxford university and a specialist in russian foreign policy. thank you for joining us. what, if anything, are these sanctions likely to change? >> i don't think the sctions are going too much forhe largerroups -- group's effectivenes in their operations. it's also important to note that it's already under sanctions by the u.s. for a year and that hasn't deterred them. what it might do is because of countries using them to have second thoughts because clients will be dealing with a blacklisted entity. anchor: absolutely.
you mentioned mali, a thorn in the sight of france and the french government extremely angered by that. do you think that was a deliberate provocation? samuel: i think it's a reflection of the fact that the french are drawing a redline and putting a lot of pressure on mali not to accept russian terrorism assistance. -- counterterrorism assistance. initially they wanted to pass on responsibility to the europeans but that is not happening at the same pace as a few months ago. the sanctions against this russian group is another warning shot to not deal with them. anchor: for people watching who don't know much about the wegner group, what sort of activities are they involved in? and how big an organization are we talking about? samuel: it's difficult to tell how big they are, he doesn't have a website or a corporate headquarters, and if you ask russians involved, they say it
might not even exist as an organized entity. but the wagner group has been in operation since 2014 and carries out counterterrorism operations, political interference, the guardianship of mining assets and oil assets, especially in countries like libya, and ask at the behest or with close relations to russian services, including the gro. anchor: is there any scope for western governments to consider partnership with the group when it comes to counterterrorism, which let's face it, would be mutually beneficial, surely? samuel: the tactics is using counterterrorism, but it is against the grain of what would be considered acceptable. in the central african republic,
they have been involved in civilian casualties good there is -- casualties. there is less regard for civilian life. also, they have a tendency to synthesize autocracy promotion with katter tenant -- counterterrorism. they see that as a bulwark against extremism. we saw that in mozambique. they helped the president raid the elections. also in syria. they have a disregard for civilian deaths, and that keeps the west from dealing with them. anchor: president putin denies that the wagoner group -- wagner group represents the russian state in any way, is that true? that i a true statementsy becausehey are very clear links to the chain of command between the group and the
kremlin. these were uncovered a few months ago by a bbc documentary onibya. it revealed the role of the group with orders fr the russian state between 2018 and 2020. the is less evidence in other theaters like the central african republic, but in syria in ukraine, the goals are strikingly similar to the kremlin. those cowansville silaritie asell as e smoking gun evidence in -- those coincidental similarities as well as the smoking gun evidence in syria. anchor: they are talking about an unprecedented raft of sanctions and brussels today in the event russia does invade ukraine. this is slightly off-topic, but is that a likely scenario? how likely does it look that ukraine wi be invad? samuel: i don't think it is that
likely there will be a fu-scale iasion of ukraine. i thi russia benefits from stoking raisman ship, testing -- brinksmanship and testing western revolve, and it rallies nationalism around the flag. that's what i think is most likely to happen. thisrisis in the ukraine could be a more protracted version of what we saw in the spring or in 2018, where i was in ukraine to witness this escalation, and le like 20. i don't think the russians see an easy path to territorial expansion in those areas. they have faid before and it is hard to imaginehe more successful this time around. because things have not changed. ukraine has javelin antitank missiles, they did not before. anchor: i could talk with you for hours. thank you for sharing all of
that with us. researcher at oxford university, think you very much indeed. in other news, the british health authorities have today announced the first death from the omicron variant of covid-19. it was first detected in late november and already accounts for more than 40% of all new infections in the london area. it is forecasted to become the dominant variant in the next 48 hours, prompting thousands of people to come forward for a vaccine booster shot. we have more. reporter: it is believed to be the first country to announce a death from the mutation. the british government confirmed monday one person has died from the omicron coronavirus variant as the u.k. estimate about 200,000 people are infected with the strain. the prime minister has launched an ambitious program to curb what he is calling a tidal wave. >> in the capital it probably
represents about 40% of the cases. by tomorrow, it will be the majority of the cases. it is the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, that is something we need to set on one side and recognize the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. reporter: scores of people are lining up at vaccine centers for the booster. the nhs website crash from high demand. they aim to offer all adults are booster by the new year. >> to meet our ambitious target, the nhs will need to deliver a record number of jabs. until now, the highest number we have delivered in a single day in the u.k. was over 840,000. we will not only need to match that, but to be that everyday. reporter: since omicron's detection in november in the
u.k., teva restrictors have been imposed, including remote working, masks in public places and vaccine mandates. parliament is set to vote whether to enforce further measures. 146,000 people have died from the virus in the u.k., one of the highest death tolls worldwide. anchor: now to tunisia, where president saied says parliamentary elections will be held next year, and a referendum on constitutional reform will be held in july. however, he said parliament will be suspended until a new one is elected. while president saied sacked the government five month ago, suspending parliament and seizing key powers himself. for the first time ever, the israeli prime minister has been received for a public meeting by the de facto ruler of the united arab emirates. during the historic talks today,
they discussed a number of issues, notably iran. peter o'brien has more. reporter: naftali bennett biddi ng farewell to a new friend, after becoming the first ever is really head of state to visit the united arab emirates. he said they were setting an example of how to make peace in the middle east. >> throughout the day we had meaningful, in-depth and straightforward talks about our nations, about the region and our economy and technology and what we can do together. reporter: after years of tension , rapprochement between israel and several states began under the u.s. abraham accords. commercial flights between the countries have been operating since then, and earlier this year they opened respective
indices. this historic visit is another step closer. the leaders discussed further economic cooperation as bennett looks to secure a free-trade agreement next year. the issue of iran was also likely discussed. it was not mentioned publicly by either of the leaders, but israel's ambassador confirmed it was on the agenda. the two sides share concerns about tehran's nuclear capabilities. israel suggested last month setting up joint deficiencies -- defenses with other gulf arab states. anchor: let's get a check of some of the top sports stories. i am joined by simon. let's begin with a rather embarrassing incident for uefa. simon: a crushing moment. the governing body made a succession of mistakes during the draw for the champions
league, forcing them to stage a redraw and with some teams clearly big losers when that happened, including real madrid, who will now play psg. bear with me, this is very technical. the confusion started when villa real drew manchester, despite they were in the same group. that affected the rest of the draw when he knighted were excluded from following matchups when they should have been -- when united were excluded from following matchups when they should have been allowed. a redraw decision was taken and that decision was encouraged by both teams, with uefa apologizing for the mistakes. let's look at the final draw.
munich will play against sulzberger. -- salzburg. manchester united against madrid. liverpool and inter will battle it out. paris now take on madrid, livid with the redraw. >> we would like to say that what has happened today is very surprising, regrettable, and very difficult to understand. especially since the whole planet and millions of football fans were watching. anchor: many people are asking how did this happen? simon: uefa blamed the mistake on a technical issue. the computer did not tell them that the swaps between madrid
and manchester united were not ssible. even if this is true, these are the directors of the football governing body in they should be able to spot and know the regulations well enough to avoid this kind of embarrassing and damaging situation and say hang on, this is not possible, and carry on. they spotted the first mistake but did not make the right adjustments afterward, which led to the situation. anchor: a few red faces at uefa. thank you, simon. thanks to you for watching. stay with us on france 24. ♪ >> ♪ you don't love me anymore ♪
♪ >> welcome to france 24's weekly using show. if you are a fan of 1950's 1960's rock 'n' roll, you are in for a treat this year, as we welcome howlin jaws. they have just released their first album. i am pleased to be joined here with them. can you tell us a little bit about the story of the group?
you've known each other since kindergarten and then junior high school, but at one point do you decide to make a band? >> probably around 12 or 13 years old, because we were listening to lots of music growing up and we learned english by listening to albums and watching movies. so it came rather quickly. we meant the third member of the band who is not here right now but yeah, around 13. marjorie: why this focus on rock ability and what people -- rock abilly and what people refer to as punk rock? >> we were listening to punk rock and 50 stuff and we noticed it is the same energy as 30 years earlier. punk existed before that. marjorie: excellent. you have released your first
studio album, congratulations. what effect does it have on one's soul to release your first album? >> relief. >> a good effect. >> we were working on it a long time and with the pandemic, it was delayed. so yeah, relief. marjorie: why the title "stranger effect"? >> many things, this album is a love letter to the 1960's, the melodies and all of that, and there is a song that ray davis wrote for dave barry at first, i think. it is called "stranger effect." at first i thought it was a love song and then i thought he was talking about drugs. for us, it was, the strange
effect is what the music does to me. and the words essay, you make my world seem right. so yeah, it is a love letter. >> rock 'n' roll is often tainted with melancholy or other feelings not just party and cars. [laughter] >> fast cars. marjorie: how about we take a look at one of your tracks, this is "heartbreaker." ♪ one of the tracks you can find on howlin jaws's new album.
love stories seem to play a big part of your songwriting. how much of them are autobiography and how many are fantasy? >> probably 100% autobiographical? >> a bit of both, like 50-50. some songs about breaking up and stuff like that -- i've been with my girlfriend for 12 years or something. i did not break up with her, but i still write about it because it is a way of putting things out. >> i guess sometimes there is one sentence, one verse that will be autobiographical and then other stories, you make up a character. >> you make up a story because sometimes it feels good to put on paper or in the song. marjorie: there are gre stories to draw inspiration from as well. what about your instruments? are they vintage of the era or do you cheat?
>> we have vintage stuff. because of the pandemic, we did not go and drink and party as much, so we had more money than usual. we bought big amps. now our backs hurt a lot when we tour. but it sounds great. marjorie: talking of touring, you just came off of a tour. how was that supporting someone else and showcasing your record? >> it was great, they are super friendly, super good musicians and super funny. the whole crew is perfect. we had a good time and it was really nice to finally play the songs on stage. because we have been ready for quite a long time now. it was great to play them live. marjorie: i read somewhere toward with -- toured with wanda jackson. can you tell us about that it
sounds incredible? >> it was incredible. our drummer was playing one song with her and i was just here to introduce her, because a lot of bandmembers did not speak english. they brought me along. ladies and gentlemen, the queen of rock 'n' roll, wanda jackson. it was super fun. >> it was one of her first proper tours. marjorie: how can you top that now 10 years on? is there anyone else you would like to perform with? >> well, paul mccartney. [laughter] marjorie: what are your plans for 2022. >> we will be touring, i hope. we have a big show on the 20 for
the february, looking forward to that. and to tour everywhere. we will go to spain. marjorie: maybe america at some point? >> fingers crossed, yeah. >> u.k., too. american music, too, of course. marjorie: let's look at some other releases this week. we are going to start with alicia keys, back with a new album entitled "keys," her eighth album, and she says she viewed it as a homecoming to her classic album, quote alicia keys -- "alicia key" ♪
>> ♪ never fade away there just frozen in time ♪ marjorie: alicia keys. what do you think of that new track? >> she is a great singer. marjorie: and the piano is important. >> sounds great. marjorie: you know how john lennon -- i always bring this up with french rock and rollers -- french rock is like english wine. are you proving the contrary? >> the english should start doing good one because we are proving them wrong. marjorie: with climate change, that is happening as well. we will move now to a punk band, they are french, and draw sound from electro clash. they are called periods, a
subtle wordplay on menstrual cycles. here is a track taken from their ep, called "breakups" in english. ♪ marjorie: periods with their new track. apparently you have toward with her before. >> we have met her a few times, she is really cool. marjorie: thank you very much for taking the time to come onto the "encore" show. remember, "stranger effects" is
out. you can catch all of our culture stories on our social media platforms and france 24.com. the latest news comes up in a few minutes, which gives a few time -- gives us just enough time to play out with nick cave and warren ellis, from a soundtrack. it is said to be a heartfelt a haunting film projects. ♪ >> ♪ we are not alone we are not alone we are not alone we are not alone ♪
12/13/21 12/13/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from new york, this is democracy now! >> definition of hell on earth. people have lost everything. it is just terrible. amy: horrible. at least 100 people are feared dead after tornadoes devastated towns in eight states from kentucky to arkansas.