square massacre in 1989. thanks for joining us here on "friend -- here on france 24. france has just recorded its highest number of daily cases during the pandemic. the number of deaths is also climbed. president macron has placed his hopes on a vaccine booster campaign to contain this fifth wave and is hoping to pass a law next week that would make vaccination a requirement for social outings. let's listen in to france's health minister. >> is the delta wave starts to subside, the omicron wave is
picking up very fast. today's numbers are not good. they are the worst figures recorded in terms of infections is the beginning of pandemic. from memory, 80 8000 positive cases have been recorded. we are testing ourselves a lot, so we are finding a lot, but very clearly, france's experiencing what all countries affected by this extremely contagious covid variant are experiencing. numbers are doubling almost every few days. >> countries are taking different approaches to deal with the steep rise in cases. in spain, the prime minister has convened a special cabinet meeting this thursday. among many other measures he is hoping to pass a law to make it mandatory to wear masks outdoors. this will be done by decree, meaning without any debate or vote. >> what we are proposing is to intensify the pace of
vaccinations as we did when we set out to achieve 70% full vaccination rate by the end of the summer of this year. we are going to reinforce self protection with the mandatory use of masks indoors and outdoors. third, we will expand the range of tests available so we can prevent the situation we are currently encountering with our compatriots. finally, we will put more resources in the national health system. quickly region catalonia is implementing methods to slow down the omicron variant. a court ruling has imposed a nighttime curfew starting on christmas eve. the region is the first in the country to reinstate the ban. the 1:00 to 6:00 a.m. curfew will apply to areas where infection rates are over 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and will last for 15 days. we earlier spoke to for -- to
our correspondent in spain. >> some of the people in spain, particularly in catalonia, feel this is the ghost of christmas past that has revisited them. they were looking forward very much to gathering with friends and celebrating christmas in a much more open way, and thanks to the high vaccination program -- in catalonia, for instance, 120 five of those towns and cities know they will spend christmas with limitations of up to 10 people on family gatherings, indoors or out, and that may change and is changing many of their christmas plans. they are also in many cases unhappy about that curfew. any young person who had parties planned, and as you know, charles, things go on very late in spain, they will have to cancel that as well because they must be endorsed by 1:00 in the morning. it really depends in spain where
you live. it is a postcode lottery, and that has led some spaniards to say it is a bit unfair. it depends if your regional president has opted for stricter measures than the other ones. some of the people in madrid, for instance, are enjoying a lighter touch, whereas in catalonia, rules are much stricter. the only measure we are certain of across the whole of spain is that wherever you are, indoors or outdoors, you will have to start wearing those masks again. >> other countries are following suit. italy has announced new rules making wearing masks outdoors mandatory and also depriving unvaccinated people from further public spaces in addition to being barred from restaurants, museums, and other indoor activities. they will also be deprived from standing at the counter for a
coffee, for instance. >> to have a glimmer of optimism about the newest covid variant in the u.k. where omicron is now the dominant variant, hospitalizations are on the up, but much less so than for previous waves of the virus. this data seems to show omicron is milder than its predecessor. >> could omicron three less dangerous than previous variants of the virus? that is what findings appear to show. despite a record number of new infections, more than 106,000 cases detected in 24 hours, experts remain positive. their reasons for optimism can be seen on this graph, although as the infection rate is rising, the number of hospitalizations has not gone up in parallel. this official data appears to
show if you contract omicron, you have a 55% lower chance of developing severe illness than with the delta variant. >> [speaking foreign language] >> it is a trend that can also be seen in south africa where the omicron variant was first detected in november. cases are going down there, and the main spike of the wave has not coincided with a similar spike in deaths, but omicron's higher transmissibility rate means it still poses a threat as hospitals can be overwhelmed through sheer volume of cases. >> during an annual end of your press conference, russian president vladimir putin said russia wanted to avoid conflict with its neighbor and the west when discussing the possibility
of a border war with ukraine. both sides appeared to be in favor of dialogue, but will negotiations in january lead to an easing of tension? moscow has moved in tens of thousands of troops to the border in recent months, sparking fears of possible invasion, but it says it wants security guarantees of its own, specifically regarding nato encroaching on an area it has long seen as its own sphere of influence. >> during his annual year press conference, a four-hour marathon, vladimir putin confirmed his outlook over a military buildup on the border with ukraine, though it seems it will come with a red line with moscow if progress is to be made. >> there must be no further expansion of nato eastward. was -- what is not to understand? was it us we deployed missiles
on the border near the united states? no. you are demanding guarantees from me, but it is you that must give us guarantees immediately, right now. >> need to's eastward expansion in waves since the collapse of the soviet union has long concerned moscow. pressure's recent axing of its own military muscles has sparked concerns of a military intervention. moscow denies western accusations it is planning to invade, though, and washington is hopeful the situation can still be diffused. >> the only aggression we are seeing at the border of russia and ukraine is the military buildup by the russians and the bellicose rhetoric by the leader of russia. president putin said he was encouraged, and i'm paraphrasing here, by the fact there are
plans for diplomatic talks in january. we also believe that is the best th and the right path forward. >> kiev, for its part, has criticized both the eu and nato for what it sees as lackluster support. >> russia a target for criticism in its policy as well. france and allies have condemned what they called mercenary forces in mali. ports have said that russian mercenaries could be deployed to help its government battle islamist militants linked to al qaeda and islamic state. to lebanon now where covid restrictions are also being announced. the tourism ministry has ordered restaurants and hotels to
require visitors to prove -- present either a certificate of covid vaccination or a negative pcr tests before entering, measures that will increase the strain on the local economy which was already in turmoil over the past few years. this is especially being the country's christians during this holiday period. our correspondence in beirut have this report. >> less presence, more prayers -- that's the motto alexander's grandmother is hoping to teach him. >> before this crisis, we used to do our expenses with accounting, but now we cannot afford that. we have taught them you only get one present and not whatever you wish. >> alex and lena will be playing with their older toys, like many children, this year as 70% of
the population continues to be affected by poverty. an ngo aims to provide over 35,000 parents and children with free gifts and shoes over the course of six months. this year, he explains that attempts to help have been met with hardships. >> [speaking foreign language] >> despite the challenges, the lebanese are still able to feel some joy in christmas markets across the country.
>> we still want to celebrate christmas officially. >> while the lebanese can experience the christmas spirit in these markets, they only have the hopes for a better future to guide them through the holiday season. >> university of hong kong removed a statute to commemorate the protesters who were shot in tiananmen square in 1989. it stood as a symbol of the speech now after two decades, it is gone, the latest victim of beijing's crackdown on the semiautonomous territory. >> under cover of night, workers removed "pillar of shame," a 26-foot sculpture of twisted bodies and 50 faces. it depicts the killing of pro-democracy supporters in tiananmen square in 1989.
thursday morning, students and onlookers at the university of hong kong tried to catch a glimpse of the spot where the statue once stood. >> i don't think people expect this thing would happen in universities with the most freedom of expression or freedom of speech, and they tried to become the first ones to remove every part of history inside of campus. >> the piece was erected in 1987. the last year of britain's occupation of hong kong. for years, it symbolized a wide range of freedoms, unlike mainland china where the events have largely been erased. the university cited legal reasons for dismantling of the statue. over the past two years, beijing has cracked down pro-democracy demonstrators in hong kong. under the security law, which
grants china the ability to step in and curb protests and speech, several pro-democracy leaders of tiananmen square demonstrations have been arrested. >> thanks for tuning in to "france 24." we will be back with more headlines in a few moments. ♪ and joy.sents bravery, freedom, >>his is the breakout performance of the legd josephine baker. >> she was dancing the charleston in france.
nobody knew about this dance. >> 1920's paris had never seen anything quite like it. >> feeding into this whole idea of the exoticism of africa that the french held. >> she took racist cliches, she laughed at them, and then she used them for her own ends. from this moment, josephine baker would be catapulted to fame to become the world's first black superstar. >> [speaking foreign language] >> [speaking foreign language] >> [speaking foreign language] >> [speaking foreign language] >> in this special program, brian brilliant baker tells us what it was like to be the child of one of the most famous performers of the century. she was also a war hero and
civil rights activist. nearly 50 years after her death, josephine baker is being honored with a monument to celebrate french icons. >> when did you realize how famous your mother was? >> when i was a kid, i realized she was famous. when i was an adult, i realized she was famous and courageous. she was always speaking about the present and future for us.
>> we are doing our interview in a new theater in paris where a show about josephine baker's early life is playing. her mother was very hard on her. she went to work for white people who mistreated her, and the fact that she was mixed race was hard because white people thought she was too black and black people thought she was too white. how did she learn to dance? >> she did not really learn. when she was a kid in the street at home. >> she knocks her knees together, she makes funny faces and goes cross eyed. she was noticed in new york by a lady called caroline dudley.
she'd been charged to create a show that in 1985 became a massive hit. >> [speaking foreign language] >> people either loved it or hated it. it was done at a time when france was sort of ripe for an experience that they perhaps felt was primitive but because of its primitiveness pure. >> paris felt in love with my mother and provoked her to stay forever. >> this was the first time a white man offered her his hand to help her step down from a train. it was the first time a white man opened a door for her and served her coffee. >> they were welcomed as performers and could walk down the street that led up to this theater.
>> at the age of 19, this young woman left behind as segregated america for a new, freer life in france. she soon became the toast of the town. went she was the muse of the cubist. because of -- they all wanted to paint her. the big fashion designers wanted to dress her. >> even beyonce in recent years war that banana scare. -- nana skirt -- banana skirt. what was she so famous? that's i think this kind of energy, generosity, and a way of being single with a sexy body and nice face, she had a charm, unique. >> by the 1940's, as an established star, josephine baker embarked on her most
daring mission yet -- she became a spy for the french resistance. >> [speaking foreign language] >> when the germans and nazis were invading france, she decided to cooperate with the directive because she was feeling that france had given her so much, she had to give back and fight the racism and anti-semitism, so she decided to hide in the castle and become a kind of secret agent. >> as she was a star, she had access to embassies where they were -- where there were key people, and she was able to collect information for the intelligence. >> [speaking foreign language]
>> normally, french people sign up with resistance right at the start of the work in 1939. >>ere you there when she received france's highest metal, the legion of honor? >> yes, but i was five years old. i asked the general in chief of the fren army if i could go in his helicopter. that was more interesting to me. >> following the war, josephine baker marriage -- married a french orchestra leader. they spent most of their time in a french chateau. she longed for children. >> [speaking foreign language]
>> [speaking foreign language] >> the children were called the rainbow tribe, and they truly were rainbow. there were asian children, there were children of african descent, there were french children. >> [speaking foreign language] >> [speaking foreign language] >> how did you come to be adopted? >> i am born when there was a war between the nigerian and french people. my parents were killed.
she discovered me with other kids. she saw that i was born the same day in the same month as her, and she said it was a sign. >> what did she tell you later on about why she wanted to adopt you and your brothers and sisters? >> sunday evening, she was doing her favorite plate. spaghetti the bolognese way. >> growing up in the chateau, was it like a fairytale? >> it was like if you work in a vacationolony. we were 12, always playing in
the big castle. we were thinking we are not a normal family and our mother is not very normal, too, in a certain way. >> ♪ >> by the 1950's, she was a worldwide performer, a war hero, and she lived in a castle, but her mission for equal rights and social justice was far from over. >> in 1951, she went to the united states and performed in several places she refused to perform for segregated audiences. >> i have a dream that some day, this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. >> in 1963 at the march were possibly the mostamous speech was made, josephine baker also
took to the podium. >> she was the only woman to speak there, and she wore her french military uniform with all of her medals displayed, speaking for about 20 minutes. >> she sent a message -- i stand behind you in the fight over segregation, and at the same time, i chose the french republic, and it was the french republic that made me. >> josephine baker continued her humanitarian work until the end of her life, and she never stopped touring. >> [speaking foreign language] >> [speaking foreign language]
♪ >> the show she does in paris is called "josephine." it is her last time on stage exactly 50 years after her first appearance in 1925, and it is a triumph. the rolling stones are there. there's royalty and international stars of the theater. >> [speaking foreign languag >> [speaking foreign language] >> at the end of her 14th performance, she's tired. she goes home, she takes a nap, and she dies. >> [speaking foreign language]
>> what was it like when you saw all those people gathered for her funeral when she died? >> we were doing our school time in the monte carlo, but we could see on tv a lot of people, a lot of the audience of my mother, some military people, some politics, some artists. >> how old are you? >> 17 years old. >> people see her as this tremendous icon for stage performance. they see her as this representative for civil rights. they see her as this person who was willing to give her life for her adopted country of france. there are significant moments for each of those things, but i think josephine would have wanted to be remembered most for being a good mother. >> what do you think of your mother being honored for her
place in the pantheon? >> and honor. president macron told me that she would stay as an example of french values. >> in a world of divisions where things are breaking apart, through her entrance, she is bringing us together, and, quite frankly, it feels good. >> what do you think she would have said about being honored with a place in the pantheon? >> she would have been surprised. then she would have made me a protest to saying no, it's too much. but then the president of france would say josephine, the nation and i have decided. then she would have said yes and she would have been very moved and proud.
12/23/21 12/23/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! pres. biden: nobody saw it coming. who so i coming? amy: while president biden says no one saw the omicron variant coming, global health advocates have long warned that if we don't vaccinate the world, the pandemic will not end. we will look at why oxfam has filed a shareholder complaint