welcome to bbc news, i'm lewis vaughan jones. our top stories: britain and the european union remain far apart as talks between borisjohnson and eu chief ursula von der leyen in brussels end without agreement. but despite no deal, negotiations to break the trade talks deadlock will continue, with a firm decision expected by sunday. the us passes another coronavirus milestone — reporting its highest one—day increase in deaths since the start of the pandemic. facebook is facing a major us lawsuit that could force the company to sell off instagram and whatsapp. for the first time ever, human—made objects are about to outweigh all animals and plants on the planet.
hello, welcome to the program. talks to try to agree a post—brexit trade deal between the uk and the european union have concluded with both sides saying there are major differences to bridge. the british prime minister, borisjohnson and the european commission president, ursula von der leyen, met over dinner in brussels. both have agreed talks on a deal will continue until sunday, when a firm decision will be made. a source in mrjohnson's office said he didn't want to leave any possible route to a deal untested. without a trade agreement, tariffs will be imposed on goods from the start ofjanuary and trade will be disrupted by increased border checks. our europe editor, katya adler, gave us this update on the events of the evening. she said it was a lively and interesting discussion. we've heard from the uk
that it was a frank discussion which would imply that it wasn't necessarily so friendly. i think both sides totally agree that gaps still remain. as you say, talks will resume tomorrow, will go on until sunday. is sunday the deadline or is it just the latest deadline? of course, we have seen so many brexit deadlines come and go. to take a decision on the future of the talks we're told by the end of play on sunday could mean to carry on talking or it could mean of course announcing a deal or no deal. the very firm deadline that we have is the end of the year, the 31st of december. it's then that the transition period ends. that's when the uk fully comes out of the european union, it legally did so on the 31st of january. practically, it has remained in the eu's single market and customs union for the rest of this year. as of the 1st of january, no longer. and it was by the end of this year that the two sides wanted
this trade and security deal in place. tonight, that still looks like a very far off hope but we had news today that if you remember the brexit divorce deal on the protocol to deal with the practicalities from northern ireland, the implementation of that agreement has been going very badly this year and suddenly this week everything has clicked into place. so, it is possible even if at the moment that trade deal, it just looks very troubled indeed. remember there are three main sticking points still there that have been there for months. that's the rights for eu fishing communities to access uk waters after brexit. its competition regulations. the eu says, "uk, if you want to have preferential access "to our single market, then you need to sign up to some principles on fair competition," says the eu. and the third point is the governance of the deal — how do you police it
once it's in place? if either side breaks their word, what kind of penalties can be in place? those are the three outstanding issues, and they were discussed tonight. so it could be that even though not much progress was made tonight, some sense of progress was there, or it could also be that neither side wants to take the blame for walking away first from these negotiations because a no—deal situation will be chaotic and costly and difficult for both sides. and so neither ursula von der leyen, the european commission president who tonight at dinner represented all 27 eu countries, nor boris johnson would want to be the ones to say, "right, i've had enough," and have that chaos on their shoulders. so with the sunday deadline looming, i asked our news reporter, paul hawkins, what the two sides will be talking about over the coming days. talking about the three sticking points that we just highlighted there, namely fish, governance, how you will police
the deal once it comes into force, and then the level playing field. probably taking up most of the time, the level playing field, competition rules, the eu saying that if you want access to our single market, you'll have to have certain agreed environmental regulations and rules for businesses and if you try to drop or minimise those, that gives your businesses an unfair advantage over ours and it would be unfair hence why we need a level playing field, why we all need to sign up and the uk saying that the whole point of brexit is that we leave and follow our own rules! trying to reconcile those two differences will take up most of the time i imagine. that seems a significant conundrum to try and sort out but that is what they are trying to sort out over the next four days. what about this evening in brussels? i know you're desperate for me to ask about the menu and what they ate, so what was on the menu?
well, if you are having a row with — do you know what, they called the withdrawal agreement a divorce so you're having dinner with your ex—wife and one of the major disagreements was fish. we had a big row overfish and then over dinner you served me fish. what does that mean? are there hidden messages there? what do you do? they had scallopss for the started and steamed turbit for the main. a lot of fish on the menu! and fish has taken up a lot of time in media coverage in talks and it is an important issue for everyone involved but it is a tiny fraction of the economy. less than 0.1% of the british economy is fishing and yet there is a huge
symbolism to fans of brexit, brexiteers saying now that we are leaving, it is our waters and ourfish and the eu can't come in our waters and have our fish. so there is an ongoing disagreement about coming into our waters and if you do, how many fish are you allowed to take et cetera, and the eu is saying is that we cannot fish in your waters and you cannot sell your fish in the eu market. three quarters of british fish end up in european union, so disagreements there as well. meanwhile, supermarkets are being given three months to prepare for additional checks that will be carried out on goods being transported to northern ireland from great britain after the brexit transition period ends on new year's eve. the agreement reached by the uk and eu is designed to stop food supplies being disrupted next year. when the transition period ends on new year's eve, england, scotland and wales will leave the eu's single market for goods. northern ireland effectively won't. at the moment there are hardly any checks on goods travelling between great britain and northern ireland. but from january ist, deal or no deal, there will be new rules
governing trade across the irish sea, that companies big and small are trying to get to grips with. our ireland correspondent emma vardy reports. becoming cut off from great britain through new brexit red tape was one of the biggest fears for businesses in northern ireland, because food exported over the irish sea will be subject to new checks once northern ireland becomes a gateway to the eu. now, supermarkets will have an extra few months to get their paperwork in order, but smaller companies are still awaiting answers. retailers like myself, we do probably a third of our business in december, for christmas, and we just have not had a chance to look at what's happening in brexit. you know, we've just been trying to get over the year with covid. the new rules on bringing products into northern ireland will apply whether there's a trade deal or not. today's announcements make the picture a little clearer for companies on what they're having to gear up for. but make no mistake — this all still amounts to a huge shift in the trading status of northern ireland
for years to come. today, michael gove tried to reassure traders that there would be no disruption to food supplies. british sausages will continue to make their way to belfast and ballymena in the new year. and we've also got time for reciprocal agreements between the uk and the eu on agri—food, which can be discussed in the months ahead. it was welcomed by supermarkets, after previous warnings the changes could have limited the range of goods they send to northern ireland's shelves. we'd been preparing for the worst, so, frankly, if there had been no deal, we were confident we would have been able to continue to supply our stores in northern ireland, but obviously this should make it easier. for manufacturers that bring raw materials over the irish sea, some relief today that new tariffs will be minimised. but, like this firm which makes plastic goods, from hairbrushes to aeroplane parts, the real challenge is dealing with new documentation over
where their products are sold on. what difference does the added paperwork make to your business? the bureaucracy, we think, is going to be one of the major burdens of brexit, unfortunately, we understood that from the start, and that is indeed a cost burden for business. and the tracking and trace required to understand where materials are actually consumed, and which products, and ultimately which markets in which they're sold into, that's a very complex process. there are just 22 days left before the brexit transition period ends, but even then, it's not the final destination. all these new trading arrangements for northern ireland will continue to evolve well into the future. emma vardy, bbc news. the united states has passed another grim milestone in its fight against covid—i9 afterjohn hopkins announced coronavirus deaths rose by at least 3,112 on wednesday. it's the highest reported one day increase since the pandemic started. i'm joined now by our washington correspondent,
nomia iqbal. hi, just took through numbers then. yes, covid-19 infections and hospitalisations have been surging across the us and there is that grim milestone of more than 3000 deaths in one day. as well as that, there is also a number number that has emerged. there has been more than 106,000 hospitalisations of people with the infection and of course, this is all playing out as the country awaits approval of two vaccinations. it has got to clear those regulatory hurdles by the fda before it can be rolled out. the chief adviser for donald trump's operation warp speed, which is the initiative aimed at rolling out the vaccination, says that if that approval comes potentially this week, then we could start to see the
first few injections happening this weekend. but we're still waiting that to happen. but that grim figure of more than 3000 deaths per day is a really stark reminder of the devastating impact the pandemic is having on his country. what are the thoughts there on weight these numbers are rising so weight these numbers are rising so startlingly? well, it is getting colder. you know, the time of year when the pandemic is at its worst because of the temperature. but also, the approach of the pandemic has been criticised by many people, namely the democratic party, who say that because it has been state by state, each state has been left to its own devices on how to handle it because of course we are going through a very difficult presidential transition at the moment. you have got the outgoing president, mr trump, who is far more focused on
overturning the election result. you have the incoming president, mr biden, who said that when he gets into office, he wants to make it a plan to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in his office, about a third of the population. 0n office, about a third of the population. on top of that, there are many people sceptical of the vaccine. and you have a sizeable amount of people in this country who are anti—vaxxers. and on top of that, we have the cold weather. experts are urging americans to avoid unnecessary travel and those big family get—togethers as we approach christmas. thank you nomia iqbal. let's get some of the day's other news. president—electjoe biden's son hunter has said he's under investigation for potential tax violations. in a statement released by the presidential transition team, hunter biden said he was confident a review would demonstrate that he'd handled his affairs legally. the french cabinet has approved a bill aimed at tackling radical islam after a recent series of attacks by extremists. the draft law, part of a long—term drive by president emmanuel macron
to uphold secular values, tightens rules on home—schooling and hate speech. some critics have accused his government of using it to target religion. the veteran palestinian politician hanan ash—rawi has confirmed her resignation from the leadership of the palestine liberation organization. mrs ashrawi said the organisation needed more young people to re—invigorate it. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: how one brazilian woman is finding a way around the pandemic restrictions to bring festive cheer to disadvantaged children. john lennon was shot at the entrance to the dakota building in the centre of new york. there's been a crowd here standing in more or less silent vigil, and the flowers
have been piling up. the 14th ceasefire of this war ended at the walls people are celebrating the passing of a man they hold responsible for hundreds of deaths and oppression. elsewhere, people have been gathering to mourn his passing. imelda marcos, the widow of the former president of the philippines, has gone on trial in manila. she's facing seven charges of tax evasion, estimated at £120 million. she pleaded not guilty. the prince and princess of wales are to separate. a statement from buckingham palace said the decision had been reached amicably. this is bbc news, the latest headlines:
britain and the european union remain far apart as talks between borisjohnson and eu chief ursula von der leyen in brussels end without agreement. but negotiations to break the trade talks deadlock will continue, with a firm decision expected by sunday. the us government wants to break up facebook over concerns it's abusing its dominance in social media to crush smaller competitors. federal and state regulators have sued the company, saying it's become a digital monopoly and should be ordered to sell off instagram and whastapp, which have billions of users. new york's attorney—general, who is leading a coalition of 48 states suing facebook, explained why they decided to take action. for nearly a decade, facebook has used its dominance, and monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users. by using its vast troves of data and money, facebook has squashed or hindered what the company
perceived as potential threats. they have reduced choices for consumers, they have stifled innovation, and they degraded privacy protections for millions of americans. i've been speaking to ron knox from the advocacy group the institute for local self reliance — here's his reaction to the move. i think it's right. i think it's correct. this is an important lawsuit and the allegations in the lawsuit are very, very areas. —serious. there was a congressional investigation in the united states that lasted 18 months. a report from the investigation came out in october and detailed a lot of same allegations that now appear in these lawsuits. it showed that facebook is a monopoly, right? just to clear that up, it is a monopoly on what? social media, thanks for asking.
it's a monopoly in the social media market, and when faced with new competition from instagram and whatsapp decided it was a concern and that it was worried about instagram because of its invasion and large user base and that of competing, against these companies on merits, in the marketplace, we willjust buy them! it's exactly what the antimonopoly laws are intended to prevent. it's an important lawsuit. it is the right time against the right company. what about reddit, tiktok, snapchat and others? there are other products out there but nothing like facebook, nothing even close to the size of facebook, right? half of all americans over the age of 13 get on facebook every single day and it's the way they connect with family, friends and no other platform like that.
so, the allegations and lawsuits make that clear. i think when it saw instagram and whatsapp, similar kinds of connectivity and user bases, and it went after those again with money and power and it took them out of the market. that is the problem. if that is the problem, why weren't those purchases blocked at the time? for a couple of reasons. fdc that was reviewing those deals at the time, so it is unclear, you know, precisely why it made those decisions, but what was reviewed in a lawsuit that without today was honest about what it planned to do with these companies. for example, facebook said that it was going to keep whatsapp separate, it wasn't going to integrate its data in any way, and whatsapp users had nothing to worry about.
what actually happened was after the competition was cruched through the merger, facebook did exactly that. it integrated the data. now whatsapp and facebook have the same database, the same users, and it's not what they said was going to happen. 0k, just finally because i'm afraid we're out of time, but i want to get your thoughts on this very, very briefly if you can. lawsuits like this tend to spend a long time in the courts, they are very, very difficult. chances of this actually being a success from the attorney general‘s point of view? i think the chances are good. these lawsuits rely on the companies' own internal documentation, which shows this is what it intended to do, which was to kill competition, they can be very compelling for a federal court judge, i think. the chances of success are high, in this case. the entire weight of plastics, bricks and other human—made things is soon set to overtake that of all living organisms on earth such as animals, plants and fungi, for the very first time. that's the assessment
by a group of scientists who published the result of their studies in the magazine ‘nature'. earlier i spoke to will steffen, emeritus professor at the australian national university about how the weight of human—made objects is calculated. we make an estimate on how many animals there are, how many wild animals there are. you know what their mass is and so on, so you can calculation. it's probably a bit trickier in terms of plants, but nevertheless we have a good idea of what we call nature biomes, rainforests, temperate forests, savannas, deserts, and we can get an average for the mass above ground, what we call above ground biomass, that is the stuff you see, plus the roots. those things have been studied by ecologists for a long time and we do have, i think, the processes to scan it out and work out how much mass there is in the natural world. 0k. so we've done those
calculations, you've got the entire weight of everything human made, the entire weight of everything natural, human—made staff is now heavier. why does that matter? it's just another interesting indicator for what we call the anthropocene, a proposed new geological epoque that is driven by the absolute human domination of the natural world. and the changes in climate and changes in the aspects of the planetary machinery. i think that is another statistic indicating just how much humans are now dominating the structure and functioning of the system. was this something you were expecting? not expecting, but it's not surprising. there is another related indicator which shows much the same thing, that is if you look at all of the energy that humans have produced and consumed, electricity, other forms of energy, since 1950, again, the mid—20th
century, that is larger than all of the energy consumed by humanity in its entirety from the beginning of humanity up until 1950. so these two indicators are internally consistent. we have had a massive increase in consumption of energy since 1950, and of course that leads to a massive increase in the stuff that we are making and consuming. so there are a number of indicators that show this 1950 break point in human activity. an experimental rock belonging to elon musk has exploded. it was being tested as part of the company plans to was being tested as part of the com pa ny pla ns to eventually ta ke com pa ny pla ns to eventually take humans and cargo to mars. it had made a successful launch from spacex base in texas previously. no—one was on board.
with christmas less than three weeks away, and the coronavirus pandemic far from over, people across the world are wondering how they'll be able to celebrate. well, one possible solution is on show in brazil. tom brada reports. it's the question millions of people are asking — how can we celebrate christmas during the coronavirus pandemic? well, a woman in brazil has come up with a clever way to raise festive spirits while still keeping people safe. this is fatima sanson, every year she dresses up as mrs claus, handing out gifts and hugs to disadvantaged children in belo horizonte. this year she isn't giving up the tradition, but doing it all through a specially sanitised curtain. translation: i really liked mrs claus' hug, it was warm and nice, i liked it a lot. brazil has been hit particularly hard by the virus. there have been more than 6.5 million registered coronavirus cases and thousands of people
have lost their jobs, meaning fatima's work is all the more welcome. translation: i hope that days will come in next year we can hug more, that we can feel that human warmth, because we need it. it's not just the families who are enjoying the benefits of the festive ingenuity. translation: i feel great as well, because of the pandemic, today was the first time i hug someone since february. the coronavirus means this will be a holiday season like no other. but with a bit of creativity, the virus hopefully won't get in the way of christmas cheer. tom rada, bbc news. a reminder of our top story. return and the eu are continuing to talk about the deal following talks between borisjohnson deal following talks between boris johnson and ursula deal following talks between borisjohnson and ursula von der leyen. both sides say large
gaps remain between them. that is it from me. you can reach me on twitter — i'm @ l vaughanjones this is bbc news. goodbye. hello. in comparison to recent mornings, thursday gets off to a relatively mild to start but not very inspiring skies for the majority first thing. a lot of cloud around, gloomy, and we will be stuck with that cloud in many areas throughout the course of the day. it's courtesy of an area of low pressure, a big area of low pressure which actually is a combination of smaller low pressure centres — one to the south—west of the uk this morning could bring some showery rain in here. the tail end of another one to the north—west will, i think, bring some more persistent rain through the course of the day into western scotland, gradually tracking it a little further eastwards. some showers will push across wales into the north—west of england as the day pans out as well. the best chance of any brightness probably in a few sheltered eastern spots
across east anglia stretching up into lincolnshire. temperatures around average at best, typically 8—9, perhaps 11 for plymouth. but look towards the west and you'll see another band of rain approaching. now, this one tends to mean business. it will produce some heavier rain for all areas as it tracks its way eastwards. it's tied in with another one of those smaller low—pressure centres we saw as part of that big one at the start. but clear skies look like they could just hang on overnight to give us a patchy frost from the north—east of england and eastern scotland initially on friday. but the day overall is dominated by increasing winds and some rain pushing its way eastwards, but this area of low pressure will also manage to pull in some comparatively mild air to the south of the uk. you can see the amber colour here on the air mass picture behind me. so, actually, if we do see the sun coming out on friday, it could well turn out to be one of our warmest afternoons across the uk if we compare the whole of the weekjust gone. and the best place to see the sun at the moment,
it looks like probably southern counties of england. we could widely see double figures here where the cloud lingers. further north, though, and some rather persistent rain, probably 7—9 just about covers it. now, for the weekend — blink and you'll miss it but there's a little ridge of high pressure in there. yes, that low still whirling away towards the west but saturday looks like a quieter, clearer, drier day. but as you can see, that low isn't giving up the ghost any time soon. for saturday, a little bit cooler, quite cloudy, but not a bad day. sunday, milder but we're back with the wet and windy conditions.
britain and the european union remain far apart as talks between borisjohnson and eu chief ursula von der leyen in brussels end without agreement. but, despite no deal, negotiations to break the trade talks deadlock will continue, with a firm decision expected by sunday. the us has passed another grim milestone in its fight against covid—19. the johns hopkins coronavirus resource centre has announced that deaths rose by at least 3,112 on wednesday. it's the highest reported one—day increase since the pandemic started. facebook is facing a major lawsuit in the us over concerns it has become a digital monopoly that is stifling competition. if it loses, facebook could be forced to break up the company and sell off instagram and whatsapp. now on bbc news — click.