this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. cheers in california's electoral college as their votes confirm thatjoe biden won the us presidential election. and in washington, outgoing president trump announces his attorney general — william barr — will be leaving by christmas. the whole of london is to move into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions from wednesday after a sharp rise in the number of cases. in china, questions about the alleged forced use of people from minority communities in the country's huge cotton industry.
in the past thirty minutes, the us state of california's electoral college has given its votes tojoe biden. the result means that mr biden now has three—hundred and two votes, taking him over the two—hundred and seventy needed to confirm him as president of the united states. before california's announcement, forty eight states had already declared — only one, hawaii, is still to do so. this was the moment the formality was confirmed. thank the formality was confirmed. you secretary lima. i announce thank you secretary lima. i will now announce the tally of the vote for the office of president of the united states. for joseph the office of president of the united states. forjoseph r biden of delaware, a democrat, eyes 55, knows
zero. we can now speak to our north america correspondent, david willis, who is in los angeles. that is now official. and recognised by the outgoing president, david? not at all. and probably will never be, in fact. not at all. and probably will never be, infact. donald not at all. and probably will never be, in fact. donald trump distracting attention away from that with other news that we will get onto ina with other news that we will get onto in a 2nd. but those 55 california electoral college votes, enough to putjoe biden over the top as far is the 270 needed in the electoral college is concerned. it deals another blow to donald trump whose mounted of course, so many legal challenges trying to overturn the outcome of the presidential election by claiming voter fraud. those are unsubstantiated
allegations of course. there's been 59 legal challenges so far. according to one persons count of theirs. and the trump campaign is saying that the legal challenges will continue. the electoral college votes now sent to washington well they will be counted onjanuary votes now sent to washington well they will be counted on january six. is it mrtrump they will be counted on january six. is it mr trump and his team of lawyers able to challenge that? there are reports that they will attempt to do so. this is a joint session on the 6th of january. of the house and senate. they basically gather to count the votes that are been cast today. but you know what? it's almost impossible to think with a democrat majority in the house of representatives to any challenge at that point in the process could be successful. it's starting to look well, it looks some while ago,
somewhat desperate. it's looking particularly desperate now. now that the electoral college has declared the electoral college has declared the media here and other independent bodies have been saying for a long time thatjoe biden was indeed the victor of this presidential election. and those closest to donald trump now departing. bill barr the attorney general over the weekend over the weekend he described as a deposed king ranting. he's not going to be imposed for much longer. this is really extraordinary timing to stop because the tweet from donald trump came almost within seconds of the california state assembly casting its electoral college votes. that putjoe biden over the top as far as this election is concerned. donald trump tweeting and i quote here, just had a very nice meeting with the attorney general bill barr at the attorney general bill barr at the white house, our relationship has been a very good run. i'll come
onto that just a has been a very good run. i'll come onto thatjust a 2nd. he has done an outstanding job. he goes on to say the attorney general deputyjoe rosen will become acting attorney general. it is not been a good relationship at all. a toxic relationship at all. a toxic relationship between the two. magically after bill barr said that the justice department magically after bill barr said that thejustice department concluded there was no evidence of fraud in there was no evidence of fraud in the last presidential election. he also held back the fact that a justice department investigation has been ongoing into joe justice department investigation has been ongoing intojoe biden said son hunter biden. something that infuriated president trump who believes that were such information had been out... david, david is frozen there. we caught the end of that. donald trump furious at the attorney general hadn't pursued the investigation further into hunter biden.
joe bidens on. the united states has recorded it's 300,000th death from coronavirus. the grim statistic was reach just hours after the first vanccine — outside of clinical trials was administered to an american citizen. sandra lindsay — an intensive care nurse in new york got herjab on camera in an effort to help boost public confidence in the vaccine. she said she hoped this was the beginning of the end of a long, painful period. nick bryant reports. this was a made for television moment staged in new york, the city that for months became the epicentre of this viral onslaught. the first recipient was a health worker on the covid front line — sandra lindsay, an intensive care nurse at a medical center in queens. i feel hopeful today, relieved, ifeel like healing is coming. i hope this marks the beginning
to the end of the very painful time in our history. there were twin emotions of rejoicing and relief. at this medical facility alone, they have treated more than 100,000 covid patients. and it was watched remotely by new york's governor, andrew cuomo, who has been so prominent in america's coronavirus response. this vaccine is exciting because i believe this is the weapon that will end the war. it is the beginning of the last chapter of the book. but now we just have to do it. the vaccine doesn't work if it is in the vial, right? there we go. the nationwide roll—out is already under way, the most ambitious vaccination programme in the history of america. the aim is to administer some 20 million doses by the end of the year, and some 100 million doses by the end of february. the vaccine is a shot
in the arm for the us economy, and they were punching the air when the new york stock exchange opened for trading. and just minutes after that first vaccine in new york came this tweet from the outgoing president donald trump. this precious cargo is now being delivered to all 50 states and it cannot come soon enough. america has just passed another awful milestone of 300,000 coronavirus deaths. nick bryant, bbc news, new york. the world health organisation says its investigating an apparently new strain of coronavirus that's been identified in london. the organisation's emergencies director, dr mike ryan, said the authorities were looking at the significance of the evolution. it comes as london is being moved to england's highest level of coronavirus restrictions — saying the rise in cases in the capital threatens to overwhelm hospitals.
0ur health editor hugh pym reports. music: away in a manger. the run—up to christmas just won't feel the same across a swathe of south—east england, with new restrictions on meeting members of other households outdoors, though shops will remain open. the move to tier 3 is a response to a steep rise in virus cases in london and parts of essex and hertfordshire, and that's putting more pressure on hospitals. cases were moving up anyway, though the health secretary told the commons of a new development. we have identified a new variant of coronavirus which may be associated with the faster spread in the south—east of england. initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants. we've currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant, predominantly in the south of england. he said there was nothing to suggest the new variant made people
sicker or that it was resistant to vaccines. labour said the picture around england was now less encouraging. overall, the increasing areas are rising faster than the decreasing areas are falling. as things stand, we are heading into the christmas easing with diminishing headroom. the buffer zone these tiers were supposed to provide is getting much thinner. of the top 20 virus hotspots in england, all but two are in the south—east. for example, the london boroughs of havering, enfield and southwark with case increases of more than 50% in the most recent week, and brentwood and thurrock in essex even more — around 80%. the rise in cases, officials said, could put the nhs under great strain. and this will lead inexorably not only to covid deaths directly but it also leads importantly to displacing other health activity that means that other diseases are not
being treated if we don't get on top of this quickly. the health argument for tighter restrictions has been made on the basis of sharply rising case numbers, but there is, of course, an economic impact. tier 3 means bars, pubs and restaurants having to close to customers, apart from takeaways and deliveries, and it should have been their busiest time of the year, especially in london. this restaurant only reopened recently after the lockdown. now they'll have to stop serving customers indoors again, and it's not clear how much government funding will be available. it's a joke. we opened one week ago and we close down this week again. and it doesn't work like that. i'm sure if it goes like that we are all going to close down and find a differentjob. there's been no change to the planned relaxation of the rules over christmas around the uk, though scotland's first minister made a plea for people to be cautious.
just because we can visit people indoors over christmas on a limited basis, doesn't mean that we have to. any indoor meeting between different households obviously creates a risk. the virus will not take a break over the christmas period. local leaders in manchester and some other areas of england that have been at the highest alert level for some time are hoping to be moved down because of falling case numbers but in wales, with hospitals said to be nearly full, there have been calls from some nhs staff for a pre—christmas lockdown. hugh pym, bbc news. let's get some of the day's other news. the netherlands will go into a strict second lockdown, with the closure of all schools and shops for at least five weeks. restaurants and bars will continue to remain closed. anti—lockdown protesters could be heard outside parliament as prime minister, mark rutte, announced the restrictions. senior figures in the afghan taliban have warned the us against breaking a commitment to withdraw troops in
the next six months. speaking to the bbc, they said they would retaliate by resuming attacks on international forces. during the election campaign, joe biden spoke of retaining a small force in afghanistan. the trump administration had agreed to withdraw forces. google says it had restored most of its services that were affected by a massive outage in many countries. users around the world reported problems with gmail, google drive, the android play store and maps. google said the problem hit its authentication system, which is used for logging in and similar functions, and lasted about 45 minutes. the eu's chief negotiatior, michel barnier, briefed ambassadors of all the eu nations on talks with the uk over brexit negotiations. movement and talks on both sides are in agreement. the british side said
the talks remain difficult and both sides have not made significant progress in the recent days. not made significant progress in the recent days. stay with us on bbc news. still to come, we look at the us senate race in georgia which will decide which party controls the senate. saddam hussein is finished because he killed our people, our women, our children. the signatures took only a few minutes but it brought a formal end to three and a half year conflict. conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lies. before an audience of world leaders presidents of bosnia, serbia and croatia put their names to the peace agreement. the romanian border was sealed and
silent today. romania has cut itself off from the outside world in order to prevent the details of presumed massacre from leaking out. from sex at the white house to a trial for his political life lewinsky affair tonight guarantees bill clinton his place in history as only the second president ever to be impeached. this is bbc news, the latest headlines... cheers in california's electoral college as their votes confirm that joe biden won the us presidential election. as well as the last election people are looking ahead to the next one — not in four years' time but a vote in georgia, on the 5th january. it's for two seats which will decide the balance of power in the us senate.
no candidate reached 50% first time around, so there's a run—off. these are people lining up in atlanta to cast early votes — today was the first day for that. the stakes are very high. if the democrats flip both seats they will have control of the senate. if they don't, the republicans will stay in control. eric ham is a republican political analyst and joins me now from washington. all eyes now on georgia. what sort of numbers turned out today? there's been something of an argument about the number of voting stations that have been allowed to open this time around. that's right. in fact what we are seeing is after the election of 2020 that saw we are seeing is after the election of 2020 that sanoe biden become the first democrat to win the state of georgia sends bill clinton back nearly more than 20 years ago, you are now seeing less of polls open
for this runoff. that will not only shape the balance of power in the us senate but also the balance of power and all of washington. and will have and all of washington. and will have a tremendous impact onjoe bidens agenda going forward. in terms of voting in person, it looked as if trump was going to win georgia. but ultimately, he didn't. what about mail in voting for this? we are actually saying for georgia right now the request for a mail in ballots is very similar to what took place in the general election. it appears as though the fervor and excitement for voting in georgia is just as high as it was when donald trump was on the ballot. 0f just as high as it was when donald trump was on the ballot. of course we know donald trump lost the election by 12,000 votes. but here's what's interesting, joe biden actually won the primary buy more votes tha n actually won the primary buy more votes than what he got in the general election. many attribute
that to the fact that during the run up that to the fact that during the run up to the general election, donald trump was actually saying that the election would be rigged and that the process would be invalid. many believe that tamped down on the number of people who came out and voted. and because not only are we seeing the president continue with his narrative but also those two senate republican candidates are also doing the same. there is a concern in georgia that we could see a lower turnout from republicans in theirs all important race. 0k, joe biden is going there tomorrow. how tight does it seem? right now based on the little bowling dater that we re on the little bowling dater that were seeing the races are in a dead heat with rafael warnock only up by a half a percentage point on kelly leffler. the incumbent senator right now and joe awsat is actually trailing his challenger incumbent
senator perdue by about a percentage point. so both are in the margin of error would suggest it's going to be a very, very tight race. and all believe that he could come very much down to the wire. really exciting. this is just down to the wire. really exciting. this isjust a down to the wire. really exciting. this is just a few days before inauguration. that working to get this result as you say it will change the whole political landscape if they do flip. that's right. not only is it coming days before the inauguration but the race itself is actually on january five. january six is the day that the congress is scheduled to ratify the resident electjoe bidens victory over donald trump. so all eyes are going to be on washington leading up to that ratification. because you got that georgia raised that will certainly have an impact and of course the inauguration. so things are by no means actually settled in washington right now. everyone is still very
much in campaigning mode. thank you forjoy on bbc news. the bbc has learned that hundreds of thousands of people from ethnic minorities, including the uighur community, are being forced by the chinese authorities to pick cotton in the far western region of xinjiang. china's cotton crop, which makes up a fifth of the world's total supply, could be far more dependent on forced labour than previously thought. the chinese government denies the claims, saying that a program to transfer more than 2 million people into factories and fields is part of a massive poverty alleviation campaign. 0ur china correspondent john sudworth reports. xinjiang makes mountains of cotton, a fifth of the world's total and our investigation will only heighten concerns about this product, although the evidence wasn't easy to find. they're waiting for us. we're turned back at checkpoints...
we'll pay, we'll pay. ..stopped from filming... we'll pay. ..questioned. .. ..and followed. the one behind is also following us. this is one site we're trying to get to — a giant re—education camp. but, more recently, something else has being built next door — a textile factory. days after its completion, a large group of people can be seen being moved between the camp and the factory. wow, and this is the factory here, its extraordinary... from the ground, it's clear the factory and accommodation blocks are all now one single site, plastered with communist party slogans. but when we get out to film... we are entitled to film in public anywhere in china... china says these places are simply about creating jobs, but everywhere we go, there's this extraordinary effort to stop us documenting any of it.
in xinjiang, a whole culture is under suspicion. more than a million uighurs and other traditionally muslim minorities are thought to have been swept into the camps, viewed by china as potential islamist separatists. but, each year, more than 2 million others are being gathered for something else. giant new factories and textile mills, hundreds of them, where they face strict controls and political indoctrination. "the first thing our workers have to learn is to love "the communist pa rty", this factory boss says. but now, the bbc has seen evidence that shows uighurs are also being sent en masse into the cotton fields. one day, my family will disappear from this world... mahmoud, not his real name, left xinjiang three years ago
but his family still lives there. and my mum told me, like, she is picking the cotton for the garment officers. it's like our duty to do that work. they willjust go because they are so afraid of being taken to jail or somewhere else. newly uncovered documents show the scale. 150,000 pickers sent to one area, almost as many again organised for another. they're given ideological education and "the lazy", the authorities say, are being taught "the glories of work". the evidence suggests that the real intention here in xinjiang is the dismantling of an entire culture and its rebuilding through the total control of people's families, their faith, their thoughts and, on a massive scale across the fields and factories of this region, in the work that they do. in a written statement,
the chinese government said... it said... but the researcher who unearthed the documents believes they have major implications for the global fashion industry. for the first time, we not only have evidence of uighur forced labour in manufacturing, in garment making, we have evidence of a massive state—sponsored forced labour scheme involving hundreds of thousands, over half a million, of ethnic minorities and it's directly about the picking of cotton. in terms of global supply chains, now that's a game changer. as we leave xinjiang, we pass this prison camp complex, thought to contain multiple factory buildings. it's the first independent footage of this truly colossal site,
a final chilling reminder that here, mass incarceration and mass labour are closely connected. john sudworth, bbc news, xinjiang. a reminder of our top story... cheering. cheers in california as their electoral college votes confirm joe biden won the us presidential election. it took him over the 270 threshold required to win the presidency. minutes after the electoral college vote was decided, donald trump announced on twitter the departure of the us attorney general, william barr. he said he would be gone by christmas. the outgoing president has issued increasingly hostile comments about mr barr since he declared that the department ofjustice had found no evidence of widespread election fraud despite mr trump's assertions to the contrary.
we are back in half an hour's time. we are back in hello. the government has issued a legal order demanding greenwich council in london withdraw its advice to schools that they should close from tomorrow. the education secretary, gavin williamson, said continuity of education was a national priority. here's our education editor bra nwen jeffreys. arriving for what could be their last day, parents told schools were being advised to move online, leaving them facing a sudden childcare crisis. it's just too short notice to get any sort of childcare arrangements in place, so you would either be taking the day off unpaid,
coming up to christmas, which is just not doable. they have to do what they have to do. it's a shame, though, that things have been left till the last minute. this is something that should have been done ages ago. schools in greenwich are the first to get this advice from their council, but ministers insist schools must stay open. schools have found themselves caught up in a political battle, and in the end, they have to make their own decisions, so this primary school has told parents that learning will move online from the end of today. but some secondary schools who are academies and have much more freedom from the local authority have told parents they will be staying open until the end of term. at a testing centre, london's mayor warned of rising cases, calling for all secondary schools to shift to remote learning. if you can't keep these schools covid—safe in the last few
days before christmas, it's better to err on the side of caution and revert to online teaching for these few days, make the schools covid—secure over christmas, so in january they can reopen. another london labour council went further, asking schools to move online. tonight, in a dramatic intervention, this legal order from the government. greenwich council will respond in the morning. the government says it would enforce this in court. greenwich council will respond in the morning. very different in wales where classroom teaching ended last week, rapid testing promised there in schools in the new year. but one union leader told me in england, schools were caught between ministers, councils and parents. teachers are caught
between a rock and a hard place. parents are voting with their feet we have increasing numbers of students out of school anyway which means there is a toxic mixture of problems for teachers to deal with. as schools slog through the last week of term, a political battle over who decides they stay fully open. branwen jeffreys, bbc news. footage has emerged of a near miss at a railway level crossing near norwich. the images released by the rail accident investigation branch show two cars clearing the tracks just half a second before the train passes through. the train's driver had slammed on the brakes, slowing it to a0 mph as it went over the crossing. that was a very narrow escape.
this is bbc world news. the headlines — joe biden has been formally certified as the next president of the united states, with results from electoral colleges in all but one us state giving him 302 votes. president trump announces that his attorney general, william barr, will be leaving office before christmas. barr said the department ofjustice would continue to pursue allegations of voter fraud. the united states has begun its mass coronavirus vaccination campaign, with an intensive care nurse in new york the first to receive the injection. their biggest inoculation campaign comes as the number killed by the virus passes 300,000. the world health organization says it's investigating an apparently new strain of coronavirus that's been identified in london.