welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is gavin grey. our top stories: flooding and mudslides kill more than 180 people, as a storm sweeps across the southern philippines. catalonia's sacked leader urges madrid to let him return to the region and take charge. as the california wildfire becomes the largest in state history, we meet the prison inmates helping to tackle the flames. and the bid for russia's presidency begins in earnest as some of the candidates seeking vladimir putin's job are announced. hello and welcome to bbc news. i'm gavin grey. a tropical storm that's wreaked havoc in the southern philippines has left 180 people dead. more than 70,000 people have been
forced from their homes. the island of mindanao has been the worst hit area so far and a state of emergency has been declared in several locations there. the storm has now begun to travel west, hitting the popular resort islands of palawan. andy moore reports. clinging to the neck of his rescuer, a young boy is carried across the floodwaters. there was little sign of official help here, just villagers doing their best to rescue each other with fragile ropes. in a country used to devastating storms, this took many by surprise. the authorities said too many people had ignored warnings to leave coastal areas and riverbanks. many of the casualties were on the main southern island of mindanao. this man said houses were getting flooded, but people couldn't escape, so they got caught in the strong currents and swept away. many places were hit by landslides.
flimsy houses were buried beneath tons of debris. the red cross is helping co—ordinate the relief effort. we've already provided water and hot food, and we're going to be distributing non—food items, blankets, mosquito nets, and certainly hygiene kits for those who are in the evacuation centres, so we can alleviate the suffering of many of the folks there. the philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons every year. this particular storm is not over yet. and, as it passes over warm, tropical waters, its winds are set to grow again in strength. andy moore, bbc news. storm tembin is now heading towards vietnam. helen willets from the bbc weather centre has the latest. storm tembin is on the cusp of becoming a typhoon. now, it has intensified as it has moved away from the philippines over
open waters, and it is heading its way towards southern and central parts of vietnam. it is expected to weaken again as it does so, but nevertheless it will still pack a punch, with some ferocious winds, some coastal flooding, with large waves because of the strength of the wind, and a significant amount of rainfall, perhaps 150—200mm of rainfall for the likes of ho chi minh. and it strengthens the north—east monsoon as it passes. that is why also some central parts really from da nang southward are at risk of some very wet weather with further flooding rains, mudslides and flash—flooding. so clearly a lot of potential very destructive weather is on its way. we will keep you updated. that storm isn't the only disaster that the philippines has to contend with at the moment. at least 37 people have been killed in a fire that swept through the top floor of a shopping mall in the southern city of davao. it started on saturday morning, trapping people inside the four storey building.
president duterte visited the burning mall and met the families of the missing. the sacked catalan leader carles puigdemont wants to be sworn in again as the regional president after parties that support independence from spain won a majority in thursday's election. speaking from self—imposed exile in belgium, he urged the spanish government to let him return for talks. as james ransley reports the political instability isn't bringing down catalonia's christmas spirit. christmas toy: ho, ho, ho! merry christmas! catalonia may be facing a political crisis, but it certainly has not dampened the holiday cheer of some locals. translation: people are in the christmas mood, because one thing has nothing to do with the other. of course, there will be christmas dinners where people will discuss politics. but, in the end, the primary thing is the people. nothing will happen. so what next for catalonia? that is what everyone in the region is wondering after elections that, once again, gave pro—independence parties a majority.
now the separatist leader, carles puigdemont, has said he wants to return from self—imposed exile in belgium, and continue as president. translation: i am the president of de generalidad right now, and i have not stopped being it, even if they sacked me by decree of the spanish government, which has failed in catalonia. puigdemont, who is threatened with arrest in spain, has called for dialogue with the spanish government, led by mariano rajoy, even if that falls short of independence. translation: what i say is let's talk. let's talk about everything, but above all, about what catala ns want. but mr rajoy insists on talking to this woman first, ines arrimadas, the leader of the centrist ciudadanos party. they have the largest individual vote, even though it is unlikely they can form a coalition. and, if and when talks between madrid and the separatists
do take place, it is not clear what would be different this time. of course, the spanish government will say no to their proposal of a legal referendum. so, in less than half a year, we will be on the same situation that we were before the elections. as the crisis continues, it is the economy that is most at risk. tourism is suffering, and already, more than 3,000 companies are moving their legal headquarters out of catalonia. james ransley, bbc news. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. a ceasefire has started come into effect in south sudan — the latest attempt to end the civil war that has engulfed the country for four years. earlier cessations of hostilities have failed, and over a million south sudanese have fled their country. this ceasefire is meant to be just the first step. negotiations will follow and, if progress is made, eventually fresh elections will be held. 32 people have been killed in a bus
crash in rajasthan in india. officials say the driver lost control of the vehicle, which broke through a guard rail and fell 30m from a bridge. most of the bodies have been retrieved and the injured taken to local hospitals. it was carrying passengers to the ramdevji hindu temple. the former president of peru, alberto fujimori, has been taken from prison to a hospital suffering from low blood pressure and an irregular heart beat. —— and an irregular heartbeat. the 79—year—old is serving a lengthy prison sentence for corruption and human rights violations committed during his government's fight against left—wing guerrillas in the 1990s. california's deadly wildfire has now become the largest in the state's recorded history. the blaze, which has been burning for more than two weeks, has scorched an area greater than new york city, brussels and paris combined. among those tackling the flames are thousands of prisoners, some of whom have been given
a new sense of purpose by the work, as our correspondent james cook reports. it's pretty challenging. sometimes, we're right there, right next to the fire. compared to being in prison and being here, it's completely different. here, you feel free. you're out in the world. the biggest change for me is mental, because i've never pushed myself as hard, ever, in life. california has 4,000 inmate firefighters, men and women. cutting firebreaks is risky work — two have died this year — but there are rewards, too, in reduced sentences and a sense of purpose. after being in this programme, ifeel like i've been rehabilitated and ifeel like i can go out there and achieve anything i want to, because i've done this.
this is so hard. we were allowed inside this prison camp in malibu. there are no walls or fences here. violent or volatile prisoners are not allowed to join the programme. with a job like this, there is only time to think about the work. latoya najar is serving four years for causing the death of her 7—year—old son in a drunken car crash. the attraction for me was because of my crime, i could come out here and do something positive. it's challenging mentally to get over something. i'm never going to get over it but to try to ease my mind and this has helped. with california facing more frequent and more destructive fires, some critics call this slave labour. but the project is voluntary, it may reduce re—offending and it provides some measure of redemption. everyone is like, "we love you, firefighters". we all wave back and we wave to the kids. it's amazing, yes.
the work may be exhausting, it may be dangerous, but in the words of one prisoner, "it's better than twiddling your thumbs injail". james cook, bbc news, in southern california. venezuela has expelled two foreign diplomats — —— meanwhile, london zoo has been closed after a fire broke out ina shop and cafe near the meerkat enclosure. a number of staff were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and shock, as the blaze was brought under control by 70 firefighters. adina campbell reports. rising flames and large plumes of smoke were captured on social media just before dawn. the fire started in the animal adventure cafe, and then spread to a nearby shop. at its height, more than 70 firefighters dealt with the fire, and brought it under control just after 9:00am. one person was taken to hospital and eight others were treated
at the scene for smoke inhalation and minor injuries. this is quite a complex site and we've had to put certain cordons in place for people's safety because the building has been so seriously damaged. vets at the zoo confirmed that a 9—year—old aardvark called misha died in the fire, and four missing meerkats are also thought to have been killed. we are all really upset by this incident, because this is one of our most—loved animals in the zoo, misha, and the meerkats are also held in great affection by all of us who work here, but frankly by all of us who love london zoo. for those who turned up today, it wasn't the christmas visit they had hoped for. we travelled down from nottingham today. oh, that must be disappointing. yeah, it is a bit, but as long as the animals are ok. we are very disappointed, we came from a long way,
from brazil, to see it. and it's closed, and sad. poor animals. some of the staff who live on site here were called to the scene immediately and started moving the animals to safety. today, the zoo has been closed. it would normally have been a very busy day, being so close to christmas. tonight, though, staff have confirmed the zoo will reopen tomorrow. three quarters of the cafe and shop has been affected by the fire, as well as half the roof. the cause is still unclear. adina campbell, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: a mission with a message — we meet a group of nuns on a mission to encourage female empowerment in nepal. we saw this enormous tidal wave approaching the beach, people started to run, and suddenly it was complete chaos. united states troops have been
trying to overthrow the dictatorship of general manuel noriega. the pentagon said the operation was 90% successful but failed in its principal objective, to capture general noriega and take him to the us to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle was hastily taken away. the russian flag was hoisted over what is no longer the soviet union but the commonwealth of independent states. day breaks slowly over lockerbie, over the cockpit of pan am's maid of the seas, nosedown in the soft earth. you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys high, a football pitch wide, falls from 30,000 feet. christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkroda, where there were anti—communist riots ten days ago. this is bbc news.
the latest headlines: more than 180 people are known to have died in the philippines in flash floods and landslides triggered by a tropical storm. many more are missing. let's get more on that story. earlier i spoke with lotta sylwander, country representative for unicef philippines. she gave us an update on the situation close to 200 dead. if we look at the whole area of the typhoon. there could be more, we don't know yet. as day has broken, the rescue mission can start looking for missing people in mindanao. we know a number of children have either drowned or gone missing. of course, i think the bulk is adults trying to stay with their homes and trying to save their possessions. we are seeing pictures of some of the devastation.
very, very difficult for you and some of the other authorities to reach the communities affected. definitely. roads have been blocked because of landslides. electricity is down because the electricity poles have fallen and so on. it is a really dire situation and the most important thing right now is really to get to people and start with life—saving inputs. make sure they have clean water. make sure they have something to eat. make sure they get shelter for at least tonight. reallyjust keep them alive, keep them from getting different kinds of diseases at this stage. and of course, often these disasters tend to affect poorer people much, much harder. of course. and in fact, the storm or typhoon passed over some of the absolute poorest areas in the
whole philippines. people live in hard to reach areas. areas which are not really suitable for housing such as close to rivers and streams and steep terrain. that's why we see so many people have been killed by boulders or landslides and it really is something that, you know, the preparedness should be there for people to not to actually live in those areas. it seems that call for people to evacuate in good time before the storm actually didn't have an effect. did people not think it would be that severe or did they have no where else to go? i think both. many people don't have anywhere to go and in one of the provinces which has recently been hit by a very long and drawn out armed struggle, it was difficult for people to move around because they were already displaced.
also, when the winds weren't strong, people possibly became complacent and didn't move in time. now, to a group of buddhist nuns breaking down gender perceptions in the himalayas. they're called the "kung fu nuns" and for the next month they're swapping their religious robes for bike wear, as they embark on a journey through india and nepal to shed a light an ugly truth facing women in the region. virginia langeberg reports. what started as a lesson in self defence came part of their meditation and now martial arts is ingrained in their identity. in the mountains of kathmandu, these buddhist nuns called themselves the kung fu nuns. they are hailed by some as heroes of the himalayas for breaking down gender roles. now,
more than 200 are leaving their nunnery in nepal and swapping their robes for lycra. they are taking their message of female empowerment to the road, cycling to promote gender equality. we are starting our fifth ride today and our main mission is giving awareness and empowerment, eco— friendly environment and human tragedy. nepal is still struggling to recover from the 2000 feet an earthquake and modern day slavery is a growing problem. the human rights commission says it is a more than 23,000 cases of trafficking or attempted trafficking last year. the nuns say they came across several such big while volunteering after the earthquake. we had this idea of
cycling and telling the people, girls are capable of doing anything, they are not useless and that they are not things to sell. they will cycle of 3000 kilometres from kathmandu to delhi and then to the north indian city. bright flashing lights lit up the sky over the us state of arizona on friday evening — leading some people to fear ufos. but while the real cause wasn't aliens — it was traced to space. take a look at this... the first footage of the javan warty pig in the wild has been captured by scientists from a british zoo. the species is under threat
from hunting and habitat loss. victoria gill reports. the javan warty pig, described by some as one of the world's ugliest pigs. the last surveys of the remaining patches of their habitat showed such dramatic declines in these animals that researchers thought the species might now be extinct. this is a really good place, ithink. but, when this team from chester zoo hid motion—activated cameras in the forest here, they were in for a pleasant surprise. we had no idea if they are still there, and how many are left. we were looking through the videos. we saw some monkeys, some forest, something, and then we had the warty pigs and it was like, yeah! this is the first footage ever captured of javan warty pigs in the wild. it was really fantastic, and really good footage — like, the photos showed the big warts, so it was really good. this small wildlife centre in west java has just
a few of the animals in a captive breeding program. these animals are incredibly shy, which is why they were so hard to find. but this captive population that have bred here at cikananga is an emergency population that could be used to repopulate the wild if something does go wrong. at this point, we are really happy that they are still there. so there is still hope, and if we can design some effective conservation projects, then maybe we can keep them. for much of the forest wildlife here, habitat is disappearing rapidly. so, while these particular creatures might not be java's most photogenic residents, scientists hope that rediscovering them might help in the fight to protect their home. victoria gill, bbc news, indonesia. it's been a difficult ashes so far for english cricket fans. they'd have been hoping to be able to look forward to the boxing day ashes test, but australia have already wrapped up the series. patrick gearey reports. in the days since the defeat
in perth in the third test, when england lost the ashes, the question has been where they go now? well, the answer geographically, at least, is here, melbourne, the mcg, this great cathedral of australian sport, ahead of that great cricketing occasion, the boxing day test. there has also been debate around the reasons behind this ashes defeat. england have now lost eight test matches in a row on these shores. some are blaming county cricket, saying it doesn't produce enough fast bowlers and spinners, whereas others say there needs to be widespread change in the management of english cricket. well, the man at the top of the game is ecb chief executive tom harrison and today, he faced a few bounces of his own from the media but said there is no need for revolution just yet. we have got a young captain who is doing a greatjob and i've been very impressed with him privately and publicly about how he is approaching his captaincy. we have got new players who have come in to the fold and stepped up to the plate. and it is just been disappointing that in the key moments of the key matches, we haven't been able
to turn the screw to get on top of the australians. let's see if we can do that over the next two test matches. well, another area of criticism has come from a somewhat unsurprising source — ricky ponting, the former australian skipper. ben stokes has decided to return home to england from new zealand to spend time with the family. we have built up trust with the public in the way the team that played and the way they would connect with the public are becoming very accessible. 0bviously some of that is impacted by off the field and things like what happened in bristol which was a shocking day for the game but we
will rebuild that trust and get back toa will rebuild that trust and get back to a situation where the public feel very connected to the english team. he has turned his fire onjoe root, the england captain. he says he looks like a boy and he has been soft. well, root was defended by his wicket—keeper, jonny bairstow. look, everyone is going to have an opinion and that is all well and good, but i think rooty is doing a really good job as captain. i think the tactics that he has shown with the ball has been really good and i think he will only grow and learn by doing it. there is very little time for rest over the christmas period if you are an england cricketer — they are preparing right through the festive season and then on boxing day, they will walk out, batting or in the field, at this place. it will be packed to the rafters, it will be incredibly noisy, and i think we will find out one or two things
about england's character. hello again. although it has been a mild run up to christmas and that will continue today on christmas eve, we will notice a change by the end of christmas day. it is set to get much colder. the snow risk will increase and some of us may yet have a white christmas and it could be windy in the next 48 hours. we had some brightness through the day on saturday. this was durham late in the day. we might not see as much brightness. there is an active weather front marching into the north and west of the uk now. we still have tightly packed isobars, so windy weather. they are coming from a mild south—westerly direction and it is behind this weather front that the cold air is lying. it stays north for most and we start on a mild and murky note. there could be some morning fog but not as much as
yesterday morning. it will still be dank, drizzly and grey for most of us as as we move in to this morning. 9s and 10s already as we get to day break. we may see some brightness around inland areas but not as much as yesterday. not as much brightness for northern ireland and scotland because this weather front stays put. it sinks further south as we go through the day but the intensity remains with us for scotland. argyll northwards in particular. it gets heavier through northern ireland through the afternoon. there is a fairly brisk wind and that is why i hope for the likes of the north—east england and north wales, we may see some brightness. we might see it temporarily in northern scotland. as we go through this evening, another weather front joins forces with the one we already have so we are concerned we may see some flooding because it looks like a thoroughly wet 2a hours. as i say, argyll northwards could see 80—100mm of rain over the hills. the winds strengthen ahead of these
two weather fronts as we get into of christmas day. it looks quite squally, the wind, across england and wales. it starts to move across the western side of england, wales, northern england as well, and it is behind that that we get the snow risk. very mild and windy ahead of it to the north of it, for the afternoon and evening, snow could be seen through lower levels of northern scotland and possibly northern england. and then over night across the hills of wales and the south and west. that is because the cold air is coming back. notjust across the north. it looks as though it will filter southwards across many areas by the time we get to boxing day. it will feel markedly colder. that is the weather system i am talking about. it is clearing out of the way. then this weather system which could also bring a risk of snow. please, stay tuned. this is bbc news. the headlines: more than 180 people are thought to have been killed in a tropical storm that has battered parts of the southern philippines. dozens more have been reported missing following flash
flooding and mudslides. there are reports that some villages have been completely buried. the storm is now heading to vietnam. the sacked catalan leader carles puigdemont says he wants to return to catalonia and be sworn in again as the region's president following the election last week. he's currently wanted for arrest in spain on charges of rebellion. a wildfire burning in california is now the largest such blaze ever recorded in the state. more than 1,000 square kilometres have been affected by the thomas fire, which started to spread early in december. a man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a woman working at an aldi supermarket in north yorkshire. neville hord, who's 44, was remanded in custody by magistrates in york. jodie willsher was stabbed to death in skipton on thursday. 0ur correspondent sarah walton sent this report.