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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 16, 2020 4:00am-4:31am GMT

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did well but he ginger this is bbc news. our top stories: a senior republican finally break ranks with donald trump. mitch mcconnell — the most powerful us republican, after the president — congratulatesjoe biden on his election win. safe and 94% effective — medical tests open up a path for the approval of a second us vaccine. days before covid restrictions are relaxed in england over christmas, two leading medicaljournals say that would be a mistake and could cost countless lives. us president—electjoe biden picks his former rival pete buttigieg as secretary of transportation. if confirmed he'll be the first openly gay member of an american cabinet. and a royal deal with spotify — the duke and duchess of sussex
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agree to produce and host a series of podcasts. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. the republican majority leader in the us senate, mitch mcconnell has formally acknowledged thatjoe biden won last month's presidential election. it's the first sign of a split between the party's leadership and donald trump — who still maintains, without any evidence, that he is the rightful winner of november's vote. here's mitch mcconnell on the senate floor on tuesday. so, today, iwant to congratulate president—electjoe biden. the president—elect is no stranger to the senate. he's devoted himself to public service for many years. i also want to congratulate the vice president—elect,
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our colleague from california, senator harris. beyond our differences, all americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president—elect for the very first time. with more on the significance of this development, here's our north america correspondent david willis. this is a very senior republican basically urging members of his own party to draw a line under this very contentious election cycle and sign off on the fact that joe biden is in fact the victor. the electoral college has spoken, mitch mcconnell said today and he also went on to congratulatejoe biden and kamala harris on their victory. it does seem as though those remarks have made the dam burst in a sense anyway. we have had senior republicans, senate republicans coming out since than to offer their congratulations tojoe biden. as far as donald trump though is concerned, the white house press secretary kayleigh mcenany said today that they were continuing to pursue litigation, although what that litigation might actually entail following the fact that so many lawsuits have been dismissed already really is
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something of a mystery. and david, we were saying before thatjoe biden, much is made of his reputation as a dealmaker, a guy who can work across the aisle in congress, but mitch mcconnell is very, very tough. he made president obama's life very difficult. this puts so much pressure on the result in georgia. it is really important for the democrats to win control of the senate, otherwise joe biden‘s administration is in trouble right from the start. you are absolutely right and georgia is a southern state that was once solidly republican of course. it has now become something of a swing state, particularly bearing in mind thatjoe biden won georgia by about 12,000
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votes, taking away from donald trump. there is everything resting on that special election on the fifth of january, just three weeks from now. you're absolutely right. it could determine how much of his agenda joe biden is able to get through congress. it could also have ramifications for his cabinet nominees. and there is a feeling that it is very important that democrats win there with those two candidates in georgia. of course, the republicans feel the same way and both donald trump and the vice president, mike pence have also been campaigning in the state of georgia. the us food and drug adminstration has opened the way for a second vaccine to be approved for use in america. the moderna jab has been found to be safe, and ninety four percent effective. authorisation is likely to happen soon and and shipments of the jab could begin within 2a hours. it comes with the us desperately struggling to contain the virus. dr david diemert is based
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at george washington university. he's been overseeing a moderna vaccine trial there. he says it's important that the jab is rolled out. i think that we need as many different vaccines as we can get. there are only about 30 or a0 million doses that we are going to have of the first two to be licensed or to have approval in the us by the end of the year, and we need over 300 million people to be vaccinated just in the us alone, so we need as many different ones that we can get. what's different about this vaccine and what are the chances of the virus adapting to it? so, both the pfizer vaccine that got an emergency use authorisation last week from the fda and also was approved in the uk and also the moderna vaccine are both what are called mrna vaccines. it is a relatively new type of vaccine but both have been shown to be highly effective. there are other kinds
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of vaccines, other make—ups that are being tested and hopefully will also be approved, but sure, they could be confused, but i think us as clinicians have to be as upfront and explain in simple language what we are giving to people. 94% effective sounds great. i guess it still means that about one in 20 people, it will not work for them. will also be the concerns that there are with the pfizer vaccine that say pregnant women should not take it, people who have the kind of allergies that necessitate them carrying an epipen? the type of allergic reaction that's been reported with the pfizer vaccine in the uk, those two cases have not been observed with the moderna vaccine in the clinical trials, and i should point out they were not observed in the trials of the pfizer vaccine either. as far as pregnant women, neither of them are going to be contraindicated in pregnant women. the advice that has been given
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by the fda is that use in women who are pregnant should be made in consultation with their provider but they are not contraindicated. it sounds as though it will prevent many people developing covid—i9. do you know yet whether it will stop people who are asymptomatic spreading it? we do not know that yet, but we will be getting that information. it is too early for all the data to be analysed and the samples that have been collected to be tested to answer that right now. you're right, it does stop people from getting sick, and when you said before that one in 20 might still get the virus, it might not be as bad or as severe. we do know that both the moderna and the pfizer vaccines prevented people from getting severe illness, even if they did get infected, so an added bonus. there's growing pressure on the four home nations of the united kingdom to make changes to the covid rules agreed for
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the christmas period. further talks will take place tomorrow amid concerns that the guidelines as they stand will lead to a very significant rise in cases. two leading medicaljournals have joined forces to warn that easing the rules for a 5—day period is ‘rash‘ — and will cost many lives. the bbc‘s health editor hugh pym reports. christmas mixing will be a big mistake, that's the bleak message from two publications representing health and medical leaders. if the rules agreed by the uk's administrations which allow some household mixing aren't changed, they argue that virus cases will escalate and the nhs will be overrun. the real striking, stark truth of the matter is that our health system is not going to manage if we allow the current trend to continue on top of the super spread
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event that will be these five days of christmas with three or more households meeting. people will find it hard to stick to those rules. but ministers were sticking to the line that people should make their own decisions within the rules set out. we have to trust the british people to act responsibly and do the minimum necessary for them within their family situation. but we should recognise it has been a very difficult year for many families. many families will want to come together. but the government at westminster is facing calls to look again at the planned easing of restrictions over christmas. i say to everybody, look at the evidence as it is, the last two or three days have seen a spike in infections going up, notwithstanding the tiered system. we can't stand back and ignore that, this needs to be reviewed and this needs to be done pretty urgently now. and scotland's first minister suggested there might need to be a rethink. it's important we have that discussion across the four nations, given family patterns across the uk, but i do think there is a case for us looking at whether we tighten the flexibilities we are giving any further both in terms of duration and numbers of people meeting.
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the politicians will have to gauge public opinion. spending time together was not going to be the best thing... joe has already cancelled a christmas trip to see his sister. i think people just have to be sensible this year. and really think deeply about what really matters to them. but others have made plans they say will be hard to change. the turkey‘s on order. £15 turkey. if there's onlyjill and i for christmas dinner that's a hell of a lot of turkey to eat. you're happy to have your injection today? yes. vaccination centres are now up and running including this one at barnet football club where they're hoping to get through 350 jabs each day, starting with the over 80s and the first appointments today. vaccination centres like this may have got under way but it will take at least four weeks and two jabs to build up protection and the process of getting through the most vulnerable patients will take time. and doctors in this north london area are very concerned
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about the rising case numbers they're seeing now. it is a phenomenal threat, it is very, very worrying. the number of cases and results coming in with patients being covid positive and actually unwell, especially at this time of year when we have the easing of the lockdown, people are mixing with each other, mixing with families, it's rising. some european countries are tightening up in response to higher infections but allowing a little leeway over christmas. the uk's governments will continue talks tomorrow on how to strike the balance. hugh pym, bbc news. european countries are being forced to tighten restrictions ahead of christmas following record daily cases and deaths this month. the netherlands has announced a new five week lockdown while germany will enter a hard lockdown from wednesday. anna holligan reports from the hague. the dutch had been dreaming of a relatively relaxed christmas, but over the weekend, photos of crowds cramming into city centres combined with an infection rate that's now almost double the dutch government's worst
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case scenario has meant there's a sense of inevitability about the christmas crackdown, which ironically means the dutch will be celebrating under what constitutes the country's toughest lockdown yet. translation: i'm sad that it has to be done, but it is important. yeah, i think that it's necessary. yeah, unfortunately. so, from today, all nonessential stores are closed, along with things like museums, cinemas, theaters and amusement parks. restaurants, cafes and cannabis coffee shops can keep on serving takeaways only. and lots of these pink signs have been going up in protest from businesses that feel as though they're being unjustly targeted without enough state support to keep them afloat. traditional german christmas markets aren't as busy this year. most have already been cancelled, and a hard lockdown is coming into force as the number
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of deaths and infections has been surging. nonessential shops and schools will close from the 16th of december until the 10th of january. after weeks of national lockdown, travel restrictions within france are being eased today, meaning families can get together over the festive break. the infection rate remains stubbornly high, though. a nationwide curfew will be in place from 8pm in the evening, which will be lifted on christmas eve, but not on new year's eve. italy is currently seeing the highest number of deaths since the end of march, and prime minister giuseppe conte has told italians to expect a more sober christmas without gatherings, hugs and kisses. there'll be a travel ban in place between different regions, but he reassured people father christmas is exempt from all global travel restrictions. until now, the netherlands has been reluctant to impose some of the stricter measures
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adopted by neighbouring nations. but with the number of covid—related deaths now approaching 16,000, hospital admissions increasing, infections rising sharply and pressure on the health sector intensifying, a full—blown lockdown comes in later than many had hoped. anna holligan, bbc news, in the hague. stay with us on bbc world news — still to come: a royal deal with spotify. the duke and duchess of sussex agree to produce and host a series of podcasts. music. chanting. saddam hussein is finished because he killed our people, our women, our children. the signatures took only a few minutes, but they brought a formal end to 3.5 years of conflict, conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives.
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before an audience of world leaders, the 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 the presumed massacre in timisoara from leaking out. from sex at the white house to a trial for his political life, the lewinsky affair tonight guaranteed bill clinton his place in history as only the second president ever to be impeached. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: a senior repuiblicans finally break ranks with donald trump, mitch mcconnell, the most powerful us republican, after the president — congratulatesjoe biden on his election win. joe biden has nominated his former rival, pete buttigieg,
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to be transportation secretary, a move that would make him the first openly gay member of an american cabinet. mr buttigieg is the former mayor of south bend, indiana and campaigned for the democratic nomination for november's election, but later dropped out of the race and supported joe biden. i've been speaking to adam wren, contributing editor at politico who's spent a lot of time covering pete buttigieg. i asked him what he made of the appointment. when you look at it on paper it really begins to make sense. president—elect biden is someone who has compared pete buttigieg to his late son beau biden, who passed away. buttigieg is really taking on a position that biden himself had under president 0bama in 2009 when he oversaw the distribution of the federal stimulus act money in transportation projects across the country and that is going to be potentially one of buttigieg's primary tasks here if there is a stimulus bill passed around infrastructure, so this is a position where he will really be across the country doing ribbon cuttings as highways and bridges
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are opened and restored. mr biden has made it clear that one of his first priorities will be this $2 million infrastructure bill, transportation being a key part of that. it's a very different deal from being mayor of south bend? that's right. south bend has an entire city budget of about $300 million, and the transportation department's budget is roughly $87 billion, with a b, so he is really moving into a position where he is going to be over about 55,000 employees and a really sprawling federal department, so he's really stepping up in terms of responsibility. and of course it shouldn't matter that he is gay and his husband of course is also a big media figure but it puts down a marker, it is actually important.
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that right. is the first lgbtq nominated cabinet official in the history of the country who is openly gay. some lgbtq interest groups here in the united states expressed some frustration that biden hadn't yet picked someone who fit that profile but today's announcement has been welcomed with open arms by them. and he does say himself that he's a deeply nerdy figure. i know you've pointed out before that he particularly loves a game that is actually very suited to his new brief. that's right, he likes the game ticket to ride, there's a european edition and a us edition as well where essentially the goal is to draw cards and build a network of trains across a number of states or countries and provinces, so he will be doing that, but on a much larger scale now, and it is notjust a board game but real dollars and real trains, potentially, so he is kind of a nerdy person who has a technical love of real wonky
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policy—oriented stuff. the canadian fashion designer peter nygard has been charged in the united states with trafficking women and girls for sex. prosecutors say the designer lured dozens of women to venues in the us, the bahamas and canada over a period of decades. more than 70 women have launched a class— action lawsuit accusing mr nygard of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking. he has previously said his name will be cleared. the islamist group boko haram says it abducted hundreds of schoolboys who were taken from a boarding school in northern nigeria on friday. this happened in katsina state, in the north—west of nigeria. about 800 students were at the all—boys government science secondary school when the attack and at least 333 students are still missing. one boy managed to escape byjumping out of a window, but he hasn't seen his twin brother since.
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translation: i was afraid, totally afraid. but what frightened me the most was that my brother would be in danger. when i looked for him, i couldn't see him. boko haram's claim of responsibility has not been confirmed. the state governor of katsina has tweeted: "the abductors of our children have made contacts with the government and talks are ongoing to ensure 0ur correspondent mayenijones is in kano. the reason why this attack is particularly significant is because this shows that boko haram's area of activity, if it's true that they carried out this latest kidnapping, is expanding way beyond where they've traditionally been active in the north—east of the country. this would be the first attack of its kind in this part of nigeria, which is frankly a quite worrying trend.
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there's growing and strong criticism as to the president's performance when it comes to tackling security in the country. if you'll remember, he was elected in 2015 on the promise that he would tackle the problem of security, particularly when it came to jihadi violence. earlier this year, there were protests in the north—west of the country because kidnapping here has been such a huge issue, and i think that this latest kidnapping — particularly the number of students involved, 300 of them, some as young as ten years old — is really a big blow to the buhari administration and their performance on the security front. the duke and duchess of sussex have announced they are launching a podcast with their audio production company "archewell audio", on spotify — signing a multi year deal with the audio streaming giant. the announcement was made via a promo released on the platform and we can have a listen to some of that. should we, should we start? no, ladies first? no, say it cos i think it sounds
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really nice with your accent. what, archewell audio? yeah. archewell audio. imean... really? shall we? yeah, let's do it. hi, guys, i'm harry. and i'm meghan. one of the things my husband and i have always talked about the couple will make their debut in a holiday special set to be released this month just in time for christmas. in a statement, spotify said that the couple will create content that, in their words, "uplifts and entertains audiences around the world" and feature "diverse perspectives and voices." well someone who's perfectly placed to comment on this story is podcaster and author kristen meinzer. kristen wrote the book so you want to start a podcast and has also hosted a podcast specifically about the royal couple, called when meghan met harry. i asked kristen what she made of their latest move. recent i think this is the perfect next thing for them to do. just about everybody has a podcast now, don't they, what gives them the edge? i guess they will have no problem getting guests. there is that, and there are a lot of pod casts out there, according to google, there are at least two million and there are some statistics that suggest maybe half a million new podcasts
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have started justin's covid because there are a lot of people stuck at home, as it is an understandable question, do we really need more pod casts? maybe, maybe not, but we need more megan and harry, they no longer have the sussex royal instagram and webpage, all of those things that used to exist when there were senior members of the royal family are gone 110w of the royal family are gone now and this gives those of us who are fans a chance to have a more intimate connection with them again, i would argue may even more intimate than what they gave us an instagram because we were hearing somebody‘s voice and when they are in yourears, somebody‘s voice and when they are in your ears, it feels a bit more like companionship, closeness more than just glancing at a picture. going by the tease, the trailer, people who like these, this is the kind of things, this represents all the things that are policed about the couple. what will be different from the couple, what can we expect from it? i think what we will hear is something more intimate
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because until now, most of what we get from meghan or harry is them at a pr event or charity event and this is different, it is them giggling and talking to each other and calling each other nicknames. and they are even humming together at a certain moment and it sounds sweeter than normal, more than a speech, and they make great speeches, but this is different. they have a multimillion dollar deal with netflix and now spotify. big footprints in the social media landscape? absolutely, but it makes sense and if you look at barack 0bama and michelle 0bama, they are doing the same things as them and why not? they are international global superstars and the world wants more of them so why not give us what we want and do good in the world?
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because meghan and harry, like barack 0bama and michelle, have said they want to do good in the world, great connections and high causes they care about and this is a way for them to do that and also to have a more intimate relationship with those people out there who want to hearfrom them. now, just before we go, many people will be hoping for a visit from father christmas in the next couple of weeks, but his visit came a little too early for one man in peru's capital lima. this father christmas, and his little helper, are actually undercover police officers. rather than the traditional entry down the chimney, this pair came equipped with a sledgehammer which made short work of an alleged drug dealer's front door. after the suspect had been restrained, some handcuffs were quickly unwrapped to complete the arrest, followed by the discovery of cannabis, cocaine and a handgun. more on all the news, national and international any time on
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the bbc website and on our twitter feeds. thank you so much for watching. hello there. tuesday night started on a dry note, but it's turned increasingly wet and windy during the early hours of wednesday courtesy of this deep area of low pressure moving up from the south, the centre of it moving across the republic of ireland. a swathe of rain and gales spreading across much of wales, western england, northern ireland and into scotland. so, wednesday's going to certainly start very windy, with gales at times. but the winds will slowly ease down through today. and there will be heavy rain for many of us. now, the heaviest of the rain will be across northern and western areas through the morning, pushing northwards across scotland. meanwhile, this band of rain will spread eastwards, exiting wales and western england and arriving towards the eastern side of england late in the day, although not reaching the far south east and east anglia probably until after dark.
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a windy day for all, though not as windy as how the day will start. we'll see plenty of showers pushing into northern ireland and western scotland. some of these will be heavy. temperature, on the face of it, 9—11 degrees, which is fairly mild for the time of year, but when you factor in the wind, it might not feel quite as mild. now, that rain eventually reaches the far south east during wednesday night. it clears away and then we're into clear spells and blustery showers. some of these will be heavier across some western areas. but because of the strength of the wind and the showers around, it's going to be a largely frost—free night, with those lows of 5—7 degrees for many of us. so that's wednesday's low to the north of the uk. we're in between weather systems for thursday, so a brief respite before the next system arrives later on thursday and into friday. so, for thursday, we should see quite a bit of sunshine around, some areas staying dry altogether across eastern scotland, eastern england. most of the showers will tend to be across western areas and they could pep up to produce longer spells of rain later in the day, particularly in the far west,
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as this frontal system arrives. and it will be quite mild here, generally mild, but those values a little bit lower across scotland and eastern england. then as we head on into friday, you can see plenty of isobars and active weather fronts right across the country. it's going to be very wet indeed with some heavy rain in places, and very mild, too, though as we head on into the weekend, slightly cooler air will push in from the west. so friday is very mild, very wet and windy, the risk of flooding in places. we'll see sunshine and showers as we head on into the weekend. it'll start to turn cooler, particularly on sunday.
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this is bbc news, the headlines: mitch mcconnell, the most powerful us republican after the president, has finally broken ranks with donald trump, and congratulated joe biden on winning the presidential election. mr mcconnell also urged fellow republicans not to object to the result when congress meets to ratify it. a second coronavirus vaccine looks about to be approved for emergency use in the us. the food and drug administration says the moderna jab is safe and 94% effective, and can be stored at higher temperatures than the vaccine developed by pfizer and biontech. if approved, shipments could begin within 2a hours. pressure is increasing on the uk government to revise its relaxation of covid restrictions in england over christmas. days before the changes are due to take effect, two leading medicaljournals are saying they would be a mistake and could cost countless lives.


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