this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. iran's president rouhani blames israel for the assassination of a top nuclear scientist, saying his country won't be deterred from its nuclear ambitions. a warning that hospitals in england could become overwhelmed with coronavirus cases, if mps don't back new restrictions. new figures reveal a million more americans caught covid in less than a week — 1500 people are now dying every day and health workers are feeling the strain. the eu's chief brexit negotiator, michel barnier, and his uk counterpart are resuming face to face talks in london in an attempt to agree a post—brexit trade deal.
a worrying weekend for 13,000 workers at some of the uk's biggest retail names, the group that owns topshop, dorothy perkins, and miss selfridge is on the brink of collapse. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world — and stay with us for the latest news and analysis from here and across the globe. we start in iran where the country's president claims the assassination of its top nuclear scientist will not slow down hassan rouhani has blamed israel for the killing of mohsen fakhrizadeh.
he was killed on friday in an ambush on his car by gunmen in the town of absard, east of the capital tehran. speaking at a cabinet meeting, president rouhani accused israel of trying to create "chaos" but said his country would not fall into a "trap". iran's supreme leader ayatollah ali khamenei has promised retaliation for the killing, tweeting that the scientist's nuclear work will continue. there have been demonstrations in tehran over the assassination, with protesters calling for revenge against israel and america. israel has not commented, but it has previously accused mr fakhrizadeh of masterminding a covid nuclear weapons programme. 0ur security correspondent gordon corera reports. the scene of an ambush. the highway where gunmen targeted a vehicle carrying one of the most important figures in iran's nuclear programme. mohsen fakhrizadeh was a scientist and senior defence official. but western intelligence services have long believed he was the driving force in iran's quest for a nuclear bomb. iran has always said its nuclear programme was peaceful — but it's been claimed fakhrizadeh was leading work on project amad to develop a weapon. in 2018, he was singled out
by israel's prime minister. this is how dr mohsen fakhrizadeh, head of project amad, put it — remember that name, mohsen fakhrizadeh. so here he is, right here. and he says, "the general aim is to announce the closure of project amad." but then, he adds, "special activities" — you know what that is. iran's foreign minister quickly responded to his death with this tweet... israel is widely assumed to have been responsible. but why now? iran's nuclear programme was constrained under an international deal signed in 2015.
but in 2018, donald trump pulled the us out of the deal — and iran has been growing its stockpile of nuclear material. mr trump is reported to have looked at — and then decided against — a military strike just two weeks ago. but israel may now be seeking to take advantage of the window whilst he's still in office. this is very clearly timed in order to impede restoration of the iran nuclear deal. trump has made it very clear he's wanted to kill the deal, he hasn't succeeded in four years, he has two months left. and this is an effort to do so in order to provoke iran's own hardliners into resisting diplomacy. the killing is already causing anger in iran, but it's not yet clear how it might retaliate — and what that would mean for attempts to resurrect the international deal. iran has been under economic blockades for the last few years. it is a country of 80 million people
facing the most severe covid pandemic in the region under sanctions in which it cannot access basic medicines and health care, and medical equipment for its people. it is important to bear that in mind, and the iranian government surely is aware of the extreme pressures it's facing at home. emergency vehicles were still at the scene hours after fakhrizadeh's death. the struggle over iran's nuclear programme has been going on for close to two decades. but, in the midst of an american presidential transition, this looks set to be a moment of tension and uncertainty. gordon corera, bbc news. drjulie norman is a lecturer in politics and international relations at university college london — with a particular focus on the middle east. she told me more about the security concerns raised by this attack. one of the things the iran regime
will be looking into now, how intellgience got so close to an important scientist to carry out an attack. and this is just months after another assassination of an al-qaeda operative also in iran, so this is definitely a blow to their security apparatus and their own intelligence. does it matter from the nuclear programme's point of view if he's dead? certainly fakhrizadeh has been a leading figure in their nuclear programme for decades, which they have always maintained is for peaceful processes, but he has been cited by america and israel as being a leader in the more military and weapons capability side. that being said, the weapons programme has presumably developed over the decades with him in the leadership role, but what we heard from iran is that the programme will not stop with his assassination, and i think it can be assumed
there would be others who would still be carrying the programme forward. but this is still quite a blow for the iran nuclear development. in the light of presumably mr rouhani saying that retaliation will follow at some point, unspecified and in what form he didn't say, israel has apparently put its embassies on high alert. again that's not greatly surprising given the tensions between the two countries. perhaps more interesting is the potential impact onjoe biden, the us president—elect‘s hopes of re—entering the iran nuclear accord that donald trump left a couple of years ago. that's exactly right. we've heard from biden throughout the campaign, and in the past few weeks, that one of his priority foreign—policy items would be to re—engage with iran alongside european allies to try and come to some diplomatic agreement with regards to the nuclear deal from a few years ago, or building on that in some kind of way.
this really throws a wrench in those plans, and makes it very difficult for the biden administration coming in to follow—through on that kind of agenda, and it also puts iran in a difficult position to come back to the negotiating table so soon after a strike like this. something like this will embolden hardliners, especially in the lead up to iran's own elections, which are coming up later this spring. doctorjulie norman, thank you very much. reports quoting rebellious forces in tigray region say ethiopian government forces have begun an offensive to capture the regional capital. these are pictures of ethiopian military heading in for tigray as prime minister abiy ahamed launched a final offensive. debret—sion gebremichael, the leader of the tigray people's liberation front has told reuters in a text message mekelle was under "heavy bombardment". claims from all sides are difficult to verify since communication is controlled since fighting began
three weeks ago. the cabinet office minister, michael gove, says hospitals in england could be overwhelmed, if the government's new coronavirus restrictions aren't voted through next week. some conservative mps are unhappy with the tougher tier system, which begins on 2 december. in a newspaper article, mr gove urges mps to ‘take responsibility for difficult decisions' and argues the virus isn't confined to constituency boundaries. here's our political correspondent, jonathan blake. preparing for life after lockdown under much tighter measures than before. kent will be one of the places in tier 3 of the new system, which many conservative mps argue is unfair. we had tier version one a couple of weeks ago. we have just lived through lockdown version two. but now we have vastly more people moved up a phase, despite being told, this is the last push, this is the new panacea, get through this, and we will start
seeing the sunny uplands. from next wednesday, the vast majority of england will be under the high or very high covid alert level, tiers 2 and 3, where no household mixing is allowed indoors. 0nly cornwall, the isle of wight and the isles of scilly will be placed under looser restrictions, in tier 1, or medium risk. less than 2% of the population. defending the new measures, the cabinet office minister michael gove has said the previous tiers weren't effective enough, and tighter restrictions were grimly, inevitably necessary. writing in the times, he warns the level of infection is still threateningly high, and the pressure on hospitals severe. it comes as the number of people in hospital with covid—19 in four nhs regions of england reached higher totals this month than during the first peak of the pandemic. the thing that really worries us is that if we get very large numbers of covid patients injanuary, and we have a cold snap, there will be a danger
that the nhs gets overwhelmed. labour hasn't yet decided if it will support the new measures, but warns that changes to economic support for businesses will leave local authorities stretched to breaking point trying to help. meanwhile there is some extra advice for the christmas period, when the rules will be relaxed. government scientists say people should consider meeting outdoors where possible. children should share bedrooms with their parents if staying overnight. and quizzes might be a good alternative to board games, which involve close contact. the government's likely to get its way here at westminster, despite opposition from mps, and so restrictions will remain a reality across england well into the new year. jonathan blake, bbc news. we can speak now to labour's shadow public health minister, alex norris. he's the mp for nottingham north. nottingham and nottinghamshire will be in the tier 3 very high alert level.
thank you for being with us on bbc news. do you think this is the tier system, giving the pressure the hospital is currently under, that is the right i think we knew that having been in national lockdown for the last month or so, that we weren't going to come out of it with no rejections at all. everybody expected there to be some sort of system. michael gove has been very clear for the percent actually the system the previously didn't work —— very clear for the first time. we are taking the time for a very strong and considered look at the government's proposals. in the end the logic is that you will support this because to vote it down would mean there was nothing in place for when the national lockdown is lifted first thing thursday morning?” think that is a shrewd analysis, ta ke think that is a shrewd analysis, take it or leave it proposition, but that does not mean we are not good to ta ke that does not mean we are not good to take ourtime that does not mean we are not good to take our time between now and then to get the best information and
to push for better support. in particular with business, there is no extra support for businesses in tier 3. the hospitality industry is going to be really hard hit at christmas, so we have real concerns there. also, we want to know how different parts of the country can come out of their cheers. so we are meeting with government scientists on monday to hopefully improve the process. this seems to be summer weather would be common because, in saying there is enough detail, —— this seems like something where there would be common cause. what would affect the different level of restrictions on infection rate? in a sense, are you asking for something it is almost impossible to be precise about? we are not asking for a crystal ball judgments precise about? we are not asking for a crystal balljudgments about what is going to happen, but we are asking for the basis on which judgments are made and i think that is fit enough to ask for that. my constituents have been asking me to the last a0 hours about why we are in tears to the last a0 hours about
why we are in tier 3 rather than tier 2 and it is clear, having talked to some of the government scientists, that we are right on the cusp of that. it is right, i think, to get the information, but the key thing for me is, if we are going to that top tier, either in nottingham orfor the that top tier, either in nottingham or for the vast majority of the country, we have to have support for business at this time, because otherwise the economic impact is going to be really severe. i think we are right to push for that. i know that there is a cross—party push, so i think the government need to listen. on the question, part of the problem here, according to some analysis report is published on saturday, is that measures and financial support, what was available for the highest tears, with more of england going into the highest tears from their stay, that support is being withdrawn. the impression given by the press release you have given out, that you don't see the logic. the basic principle we have taken throughout the greater the predictions, the greater the need for support. is
obvious. at the moment a pub or restau ra nt obvious. at the moment a pub or restaurant in tier 3 in my community can't open, where one in tier 2 cancer with alcohol with a supernatural —— tier to conserve alcohol with a substantial meal. what we are seeing is the midlands and the north being critically hit by that, and we think this is a strange time to be withdrawing support. let's not forget, the hospitality sector, this is a prime time of yearfor them hospitality sector, this is a prime time of year for them at christmas. the government are really missing this one, it is quite hard to understand why, which is why we will spend our time pushing and that between now and tuesday and beyond, if necessary. thank you for being with us on bbc news. the number of coronavirus cases recorded in the united states has passed 13 million, as the pandemic continues to surge. nearly 265,000 americans have died with covid—19. around 90,000
are in hospital. a further spike in the infection rate is expected, as millions have travelled for the thanksgiving weekend despite public health warnings to stay at home. 0ur north america correspondent david willis reports. in the worst affected nation on earth, coronavirus cases are growing at an alarming rate. the united states added more than a million new cases of covid—19 in the space of less than a week, and on hospital wards and amongst health care workers, the strain is starting to show. when the news says we've reached a new death toll, i don't understand that. but as a frontline health care worker, i can understand, and i can describe the sound a zipper on a body bag makes. health experts urge people to avoid travelling over thanksgiving, fearing the holiday weekend could turn into a super spreader.
some chose to ignore that advice, although bargain hunters were noticeably thinner on the ground on what's known as black friday, traditionally america's busiest shopping day of the year. some, though, see a deadly virus has little deterrent. kyle camped outside a video game store for two nights to get his hands on a cut—price playstation 5. it gave me some big concerns that we would all be squashed up less than six feet together. i try to wear my mask as much as possible to limit the risk of getting covid, in case there was someone who had it. but i felt for the most part pretty safe. away from the shopping malls, online sales are booming this year. by the end of the holiday season, they're expected to reach $10 billion, a a0% increase on last year. whilst his successor has vowed to make tackling the coronavirus his number one
priority, the current occupant of the white house has seemed more focused on perfecting his golf swing and disputing the result of the election. donald trump once again found himself in the rough after an appeals court judge in pennsylvania rejected an attempt to prevent certification ofjoe biden's victory there. certainly i will, certainly i will. and having said on thursday that he would leave the white house if the electoral college formalised mr biden's victory nationwide, the president then appeared to backtrack, writing on twitter, but whether mr trump likes it or not, joe biden will be the president onjanuary the 20th,
at which point he will be responsible for the country's response to a virus which is now spreading so fast that officials in los angeles county, the largest county in the country, are preparing to introduce tough restrictions aimed at keeping people at home. some wonder here if a long, dark winter might be just beginning. david willis, bbc news, los angeles. a funeral worker has apologised after taking a photo of himself by the open coffin of the argentine football legend diego maradona, who died on wednesday. claudio fernandez was seen standing next to maradona's body alongside his son. 0ur south america correspondent katy watson reports from buenos aires. in death as in life, maradona was feted by millions of argentinians. they've marked his passing these past few days, and the country is still officially in morning. so this news that funeral workers
posed for pictures next to his body has angered many here. in the poor neighbourhood where diego maradona was born, people are still paying homage to the football player at his old childhood home. people here feel particularly protective of him. this man has lived next door for most of his life. hugely proud of his former neighbour, but feeling pity, too. translation: let's see how long you last being diego maradona. i have lots of money and can buy what i want, but i'm not in charge. i can't even control buying t—shirts. i go in, and outside is a sea of people. down the road, i meetjuan. he played on these dusty pitches with maradona as a teenager. this was the ground that the world's best footballer learnt
to play on before moving on to the professionals. translation: yes, he was talented, but the team we played in was also pretty skilful. we never imagined he would be number one or even the best football player player on the planet. diego maradona's humble beginnings inspired many here in argentina. he was one of us, the people say, he understood us. but that level of records, or recognition he struggled with at times, he was love to the of obsession — an obsession that will only continue to intensify it with his passing. face to face talks have resumed in london to reach agreement on a brexit deal between the eu and the uk. the eu's chief brexit negotiator michel barnier said deep divisions remain. borisjohnson has also spoken to the irish prime minister and underlined his commitment to reaching an agreement, which respects the uk's sovereignty. staying in the uk —
and around 13,000 people employed by one of the high street‘s biggest retailers — arcadia — are waiting to hear if theirjobs are safe — with the company said to be on the brink of collapse. administrators could be appointed to the group — which owns brands such as topshop, dorothy perkins and burton — as early as monday. here's our business correspondent, katy austin. the festive season is approaching, but there's tough news this weekend for the 13,000 people working for arcadia, with their employer on the verge of collapse. the group had its troubles before the pandemic, already shedding jobs and closing stores. experts say it had failed to adapt as retail changed. new fashion businesses which are digital native have found it much easier to adapt to the shopping climate now. it's not easy for any big company who's an old company to adapt in the same way as a new one can do. arcadia's owner, sir philip green, had built a huge clothing empire, but in 2015, he sold bhs for £1,
and the department store chain collapsed the following year. do you mind not looking at me like that all the time? it's really disturbing. leaving him first facing fury from mps, then coughing up hundreds of millions to plug the gap in bhs‘s pension scheme. he was definitely a man of his time, but that time has been changing dramatically in recent years, and then we've had the pandemic, which has catapulted it further forward. his style worked really well some years ago. it's worked less and less well. in a statement, arcadia said the forced closure of its stores during the pandemic had had a material impact on trading across its businesses. if the administration process does kick off on monday, the group's 500 shops will continue to trade when they're allowed to reopen in england and ireland, and a buyer will be sought. the question then is if buyers can be found for arcadia's brands, and who they might be. katy austin, bbc news.
shops in france havejust reopened four weeks after the country enforced a partial lockdown to fight the resurgence of coronavirus. french stores are hoping for a sales bonanza on black friday, which the government put back by a week to stop online retailers getting an unfair advantage in the run—up to christmas. meanwhile it was a similar story in the city of geneva where shoppers queued to get into nonessential shops that have been closed since november 1st, due to the rising numbers of covid—19. the measures in geneva were the strictest of the second wave in switzerland — which also saw the closure of bars and restaurants in the region. the american singer, cher, is in pakistan to mark the end of a long campaign to free an elephant living alone at islamabad zoo. the elephant, named kaavan, became the focus of a campaign by animal rights activisits amid concerns about the conditions
in which he was being kept. the singer has paid for the 36—year—old asian bull elephant to be flown to a new sanctuary in cambodia. a rare plant has reappeared in the uk, more than a century since its last confirmed sighting. known as grass—poly, the pink flower came out of hiding after seeds were disturbed during restoration work at a pond in norfolk. scientists say conservation efforts could lead to the return of other forgotten species. and finally — a lot of christmas lights are going up this weekend — and if you're planning to impress anyone with a grand "switching on" ceremony — here's a valuable lesson in the importance of timing. 4. 3. 2. 1... that was the mayor of bridgwater, in somerset, england — and a council colleague — being a bit slow with the ceremonial plunger. a council spokesman said
they were glad the lights had brought "more happiness than we planned". now it's time for a look at the weather with louise lear. the weather story this weekend is a little bit drab and dreary, i'm afraid. at least it is milder than it has been this week. many woke up to scenes like this. a lot of low cloud, misty and market conditions. it may well linger for much of the day. two weather fronts it may well linger for much of the day. two weatherfronts bringing some light on patchy rain to the moment. to the north, the best of the sunshine. to the south, starting to drag on more of a south—easterly flow, so milder airfor many. the rain is fairly light and patchy, this has been the story so far. it has been drifting out of cornwall, up has been drifting out of cornwall, up to wales and into the west
midlands and continues to move its way steadily north. it will weaken off as it does, so a band of light and patchy rain continuing to drift northwards. quite a lot of cloud generally across england and wales. the best of the sunshine, northern ireland and much of scotland through the afternoon. he'd it won't be quite as warm. after that cold start, temperatures are likely to peak at around 5—7 . further south we could see double digits, 11—13 the expected high. as you moved out of saturday to the early hours of sunday morning, the cloud continues to drift northwards, acting like a blanket, which is very nice indeed, thank you. we could see the clear skies lingering on the parties of scotland. in sheltered and rural clients we could have a touch of frost. —— rural glens. temperature is holding up, but another grey and drab started the day, likely to linger throughout the whole of sunday. the best of the brightness into the far north—east, may be wet
in producing a little bit brighter weather to the afternoon, but temperatures, widely 8—10 . we might see 12 across the south—west and the channel islands. as you move out of a sunday and into monday, this weather promo pushing, bringing outbreaks of rain. 0nce weather promo pushing, bringing outbreaks of rain. once again brings a change wind direction. a milder area, the yellow tone, is going to be pushed out of the way and we will see a return to something a little cooler as we go through the week. yes, the potential for cooler as we go through the week. yes, the potentialfor some rain around on monday, but as we head towards friday, noticeably cooler and some of the showers on higher ground could once again turn one today. —— wintry.
hello and welcome to the programme bringing together bbc specialists with the foreign correspondents who file their stories to audiences back home with the dateline london. this week: england emerges from lockdown — only up to a point. why has ethiopia's man of peace turned to war? in washington, transition begins but isjoe biden too invested in the past? to discuss all that, we're joined by stefanie bolzen, uk and ireland correspondent for germany's welt; the author agnes poirier who writes for the french weekly news magazine marianne; with me in the studio, mark urban, diplomatic editor for the bbc‘s daily news programme newsnight. after the good news about vaccines, a harsh reminder this week that covid—19 will shape our lives for months. notjust the restrictions that almost everyone in england will be
under when the current lockdown ends next week, nor the christmas rules agreed — for once — between all four countries that make up the united kingdom. the sharpest reminder came from chancellor rishi sunak, boris johnson's finance minister, whose promise to level up the uk so that all regions share in its prosperity was leavened by the state of the economy. shrinking 11.3% in 2020, not recovering for a full two years. indeed five years from now, it'll be 3% smaller than had been expected. stefa nie stefanie bolzen, when you look at those figures, we are told that the british economy has not shrunk this much since the great frost of 1709, not sure how they worked that out, but there you go. the government has a lot more power now than it has in those days to ship the economy. what you make of rishi sunak‘s response? it has been very interesting to see how the chancellor, who was also supposed to be