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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 18, 2020 11:00pm-11:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. us vice president mike pence gets a coronavirus vaccine live on—air at the white house. he calls it "the beginning of the end", but almost 3000 americans are still dying every day from covid—19. with cases raising across the country, with hospitalisations rising across the country, we have a ways to go. the spread of covid—19 is accelerating in the uk, with the crucial r number now back above one. doctors and medical leaders warn of significant pressure on the national health service. and more than 300 schoolboys freed from their kidnapping ordeal in nigeria have been reunited with theirfamilies.
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the us vice president, mike pence, has become the first senior figure in the trump administration to get a coronavirus vaccine, which he called "a medical miracle". and he did so in a very public way, in front of cameras at the white house, along with his wife and the us surgeon general. the move comes as officials are mounting campaigns to quash scepticism about the record—fast development of the vaccine. mr pence said he wanted to assure the american people that while they'd cut red tape, they'd cut no corners. history will record that this week was the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic. but with cases rising
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across the country, with hospitalisations rising across the country, we have a ways to go. and i want to assure the american people that we're going to continue to make sure that our health care providers have all the support and resources they need to meet this moment. but vigilance and the vaccine is our way through, and building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning. 0ur correspondent, nomia iqbal, has more from washington. the vice president wants to build up confidence amongst american people who might be sceptical of the vaccine. that's why he was there alongside his wife, the second lady, karen pence, who also took the vaccine. also there was the surgeon general, jerome adams, and he explicitly made the point of how he's a black man. as an african—american, he wanted to appeal to ethnic minorities in particular, who have scepticism in vaccines.
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polls suggest about a third of african—americans say they wouldn't take the vaccine. but as you say, yes, president trump is notable in his absence. when the pfizer vaccine was rolled out last weekend, he did tweet at the time saying that he would take it when it was appropriate. and he's been tweeting again today, and he mentioned how the moderna vaccine, the second vaccine, had been authorised, but it hasn't so far. we are still waiting for the fda to approve that after it was recommended to do so by an outside adviser body yesterday. and just to add — the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, has received a vaccination as well today, and the president—elect, joe biden, is expected to take it next week. hospitals across the south east of england have begun cancelling the us house of representatives has passed a two—day extension
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of federal funding bill that will prevent a partial government shutdown. the interim measure would give more time for negotiations on a $900 billion emergency coronavirus relief package and $1.1; trillion to fund the government till september 2021. the bill has to be approved by the senate and signed into law by president trump. some breaking news coming to us in the last hour. boeing officials "inappropriately coached" test pilots during recertification tests after two fatal boeing 737 max crashes. that's according to a us senate report released on friday. the report says that the testing of a safety system that was key to fatal crashes was against protocol.
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the senate report also suggests that boeing and federal aviation administration officials sought to cover up "importa nt information" that contributed to the crashes. 346 people died in the crashes, leading to the worldwide grounding of the 737 max. we will have more on the story on bbc world news. hospitals across the south east of england have begun cancelling non—urgent operations with some struggling to cope with double the number of covid patients than they had in the spring. it comes as government scientists have expressed growing concern about the new variant of covid—19 amid fears it could be making the virus more infectious and harder to contain. today, the prime minister said he was hoping to avoid a third national lockdown in england, but acknowledged that rates of infection had increased very much over recent weeks. here's our health editor, hugh pym.
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routine operations were going ahead at this hospital in the south of england today, but increasingly nhs managers across the system are having to consider postponements. more covid patients are coming in, and it's a challenge to find enough beds. and that's causing problems in a&e as well. we're now at a really dangerous point where we could tip into finding it incredibly difficult to manage. now we've got crowded departments with covid as the additional burden, which is a really scary and challenging place to be. and you can see this as we're increasingly getting ambulances queueing outside departments. 0ne covid patient at this hospital has made a plea for families to think very hard before travelling at christmas. he thinks his teenage son may have
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unwittingly passed on the virus. if you saw the look on my son's face when i was fighting for my breath, you would not want to send these children all over the country to see their family. the prime minister, on a visit to the north west, did not rule out the possibility of england following northern ireland and wales into a post—christmas lockdown. obviously, we're hoping very much we'll be able to avoid anything like that, but the reality is that the rates of infection have increased very much in the last few weeks. here where i am in the north west, in bolton, they've actually done a fantasticjob in bringing it down. and the data shows that case numbers are rising in most, but not all parts of the uk. the latest survey of community infections by the office for national statistics suggests that in england, one in 95 people had the virus last week, with an increase in case rates, notably in london, the south east, the east and the east midlands. there were declines in other areas.
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in wales, with one in 90, and scotland, with one in 100, there were also increases. in northern ireland, one in 215 had the virus, with case rates no longer decreasing. inevitably some of those infected will become seriously ill and need hospital treatment, and that's what's putting pressure on the nhs front line. there have been warnings today about the impact on staff. people are still traumatised and fatigued, not only from physical tiredness, but from the psychological impact of dealing with covid and working in very different ways to usual. now we're looking down the barrel of what looks like a third wave, so, you know, we're very concerned, and the impact of five days over christmas is something we're very concerned about as well. many hospitals across the south east are under increasing strain. nhs leaders in kent say
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they will cancel nonurgent operations because of the increasing covid patient numbers, and in other areas they need to be ready for a possible surge into the new year. austria will enter its third coronavirus lockdown from december 26—january 2a as the country fights to bring down its coronavirus infection rate. for the first three weeks, nonessential stores will close as will services such as hairdressers. a planned series of mass testing will be carried out next month, and from january the 18th, stores and restaurants will open again for those who test negative. 0ur correspodnent bethany bell is in vienna. well, austria's second hard lockdown ended just 11 days ago, and the result of that hard lockdown was that they did manage to bring down the infection figures quite a lot, from 9000 or so in november to about under 3000 at the moment. but there are concerns that
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that is still too high, that there is pressure on the hospitals here, and there has been a lot of expectation here that something like this would happen. now the government has said there will be another hard lockdown from boxing day onwards, and it's going to be coupled with these mass tests. and they're trying to incentivise people to take the mass tests three weeks into january, and also they've got plans to regularly test teachers, people like hairdressers, anybody who works closely with other people will injanuary be tested very regularly from now on. the chancellor, austria's leader, has said that he hopes life can return to something like normal by the summer, but he warned that there were hard months ahead. yes, bethany, iunderstand the last mass testing wasn't
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particularly well—received, so as you said an incentive. a lot of talk about austria's skiing season as well. yes. austria is allowing the slopes and the ski lifts to open on christmas eve, but there are a lot of tough restrictions around them, and basically... and there are also quara ntines for anybody coming from abroad, so basically skiing will really only be possible for people who are local or who live close enough to go for a day trip to the slopes. the hotels will remain shut until the 18th of january. restaurants will stay shut, so there's nowhere for people to stay. if you're coming from abroad, you'd have to quarantine for ten days, so really skiing is something very much for locals over christmas. and local areas will have the option to open or close those areas as they feel like. italy will go into a nationwide
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lockdown over most of christmas and new year. prime minister giuseppe conte has orderd bars, restaurants and nonessential shops are to close for two set periods to prevent a fresh surge in cases. shops will still be able to open for a few days between christmas and new year. the announcement ended days of indecision within italy's coalition. sweden is recommending for the first time that people wear facemasks on public transport as it tightens measures against the coronavirus. the government has so far resisted introducing lockdowns, but today said people should wear masks when travelling at peak times. it has also reduced the number of people allowed to meet in restaurants and go to shops and gyms. sweden's king carl gustaf has said his country failed in fighting the coronavirus after the country recorded 350,000 cases and more than 7000 deaths.
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more than 300 schoolboys abducted in northern nigeria a week ago are expected to be reunited with their families shortly. officials in katsina state said the boys were found in a forest in neighbouring zamfara, where they'd been left by their kidnappers. victoria uwonkunda reports. the schoolboys were taken by bus to the state capital, katsina. some were still wearing their school uniforms, others clutched blankets and some looked clearly distressed and confused. the boys were flanked by armed police as they walked to meet the governor. 0ne told reporters that the kidnappers had barely fed them. at a news conference, the state governor thanked security forces. i also use this opportunity to praise and thank the efforts made
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by the entire security apparatus of the state, of the country, for what they did. more than 340 schoolboys were kidnapped on the 11th of december after an attack on the school in kankara town. the islamist militant group boko haram claimed responsibility. however, authorities say bandits were behind the attack. the government insists no ransom was paid, but that the boys were released after negotiations with the kidnappers. security has been an issue in north—eastern nigeria in recent years. and the recent kidnapping has echoes of the attack on a school in chibok in 2014, where almost 300 schoolgirls were abducted by boko haram. while many questions remain and the circumstances of the boys' release is still unclear,
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their immediate ordeal is over. the next step — reunion with their parents and families. victoria uwonkunda, bbc news. for privacy reasons, we've had to blur theirfaces. now we can bring you the latest pictures out of katsina, where some parents have reunited with their children. look at that. they had a six day ordeal but are now safely home. stay with us on news, still to come, sony pulls one of the year's most—anticipated games — cyberpunk 2077 — after gamers complain of bugs and glitches and crashes. music. chanting.
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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. 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.
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this is bbc news. the latest headlines — the us vice president, mike pence, has encouraged americans to get vaccinated against coronavirus, as he gets his jab live on tv at the white house. the spread of covid—i9 is accelerating in the uk, with the crucial r number now back above one. doctors and medical leaders warn of significant pressure on the national health service. plans by the uk government to test more than 5 million school pupils in england for coronavirus when they return from the christmas break injanuary has been branded undeliverable. the comments come from teaching unions, school governors, the church of england and colleges. ministers announced the plans yesterday along with a staggered return to the classroom. but schools says it will be impossible to recruit and train the thousands of people needed to carry out tests in the next two weeks.
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0ur education editor bra nwen jefferys reports. think about what's gone well, first of all, this term. the last lessons before christmas, but not all pupils will be back at the start of term. well, we made it. can you believe where we started back in september? doing his best to be cheerful in assembly, but the head expects to work through christmas on testing. i feel absolutely physically and emotionally exhausted after what has definitely been the toughest term ever in 20 years in teaching. when i heard this news two days ago, i actually felt rather broken, because ijust thought how are we going to get all of this done in the time frames that we've been given? it just feels overwhelming. to set up school testing means finding a large, well—ventilated room. separate swabbing and processing areas. staff to test, process, record and clean.
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these could be volunteers or agency staff. 0nline training before testing starts. and getting consent from parents. it's a massive logistical exercise. we're testing, as i said, 5.5 million secondary school students. this is a very good news story. and it's all about making sure we can keep the schools open. this afternoon, the government was warned it might not be possible. school governors, teaching unions, the church of england and colleges, all saying this is rushed and chaotic, and telling schools that if they can't manage it, they don't have to have testing in place for the beginning of term. parents now face some teenagers being at home, not in school, when term starts. it was sprung on us yesterday, so it's childcare in the new year if both of them go back, or if only one of them goes back. we don't know yet.
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goodbye, chaps. happy christmas. term is over, but not for all teachers. government advice on testing is due to arrive just before christmas. branwen jeffreys, bbc news. the chief constable of greater manchester police has resigned after the force was placed into special measures. ian hopkins, who is on sick leave, said he would step down with immediate effect. the force, the second largest in england, was found to have failed to record 80,000 crimes in a year by inspectors, who said its service to victims was a "serious cause of concern". like so many regions of the world, central america has been hit hard by the pandemic. and the damage by hurricanes in november has left many there homeless. these hardships have helped fuel the mass departures of migrants from honduras in recent days as people hope to get to the united states.
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0ur central america correspondent will grant reports. it's an all too familiar sight. a few hundred impoverished central american migrants travelling together before dawn, carrying only their children, a few possessions and hopes for a better life up north. certainly, they say, it can't be any worse than the one they're leaving behind. translation: we ask the new president of the united states to help us. we cannot live here anymore. they lost everything to eta and iota, the two hurricanes which battered central america in just two weeks in november. the two storms hit with phenomenal force, causing flooding across swathes of the region. and when the floodwaters receded, the extent of the devastation was laid bare. entire communities were ravaged, family members lost, homes destroyed, livelihoods gone.
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huge areas of crops and agricultural land have been ruined, too, with many harvests completely washed away. the un warns climate change is driving more and more central americans from their homes, exacerbating an already dire situation created by drug gang violence and the economic downturn from covid—i9. people don't flee because they want to. people flee because they have to. because they find no other option, they find no other recourse in their communities or in their countries to, you know, to live, to get by. so it's really a matter of being forced to flee. the challenge facing central america's politicians is huge, both in providing short—term humanitarian aid following the storms and in finding longer—term solutions to global issues of poverty, violence and climate change.
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translation: if we do not want hordes of central americans seeking to go to other countries where there are better living conditions, we have to create walls of prosperity in central america. it's a sentiment echoed by many such leaders over the years, yet little changes for those facing the hardest of choices. remain in the region at the mercy of the elements, the gangs and the collapsing economy, or leave their land for a distant shot at prosperity in united states. after hurricanes eta and iota, many more will risk the latter. will grant, bbc news, mexico. sony has halted the worldwide sale of one of the most highly—anticipated video games of all timejust days after its release, while microsoft is offering refunds to anyone who bought it. customers complained that cyberpunk 2077, which broke sales records with more than 8 million preorders, kept crashing and freezing, despite developers spending almost ten years working on it. here's what the game is about,
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as explained by actor keanu reeves, talking to bbc sounds. motion capture, baby! i spoke to ali jones, a reporter for gamesradar, who's been covering cyberpunk‘s development for the last few years. the developer of cyberpunk 2077 has built up a lot of goodwill over the course of the last five of so years, and over the last seven days, we've seen an awful lot of that goodwill evaporate, basically.
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it's interesting, isn't it, that they have admitted they didn't pay enough attention, a bit of transparency there, because they didn't actually show the game on the last generation consoles? no. review copies didn't go out for ps4 and xbox one until very late on. that's generally not considered a good sign, but, yeah, the last generation consoles, already issues really have appeared. reviewers had access to the pc version, and the p55 and xbox series x versions seem to run quite well, but the ps4 and xbox one version suffer from performance issues that don't make the game unplayable by any means, but certainly don't live up to the expectations that the developer has set and that the audience has had for the game as well. loving this next story. two orangutans have arrived injambi, indonesia years after being smuggled into thailand. poachers in southeast asia
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frequently capture the critically endangered animals to sell as pets. they spent years there but are undergoing rehabilitation before going back into the wild. hello. friday brought us another wet and windy day. the rainfall was particularly heavy and persistent in the west. river levels have been rising across parts of wales, south west england, scotland, too. this was the picture in ceredigion. we've had plenty of flood warnings around, and there could still be a bit of disruption with flooding as we head into the weekend because there's a bit more rain in the forecast. it won't be persistent. there will be scattered showers and some sunshine in between as well. so, friday's rainfall was courtesy of this cold front, which is going to be clearing away towards the east. low pressure to the northwest of the uk, so showers rotating around the area of low pressure. and the winds coming from a slightly cooler direction, so the bluer colours returning to the map. still mild for the time of year, but not as mild as it has been. so we start saturday, then, the early hours, some rain across the east of england which slowly pushes out of the way,
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and then a return to sunnier skies and plenty of scattered, blustery showers blowing in. always most frequent in the west and on the south coast as well. gusts of wind right about 30—40 mph for some of us, perhaps touching 50 mph around those exposed coasts in the south west. a blustery sort of day. again, mild but not as mild as it has been, with temperatures about 10—11 degrees for most of us, butjust about 12 celsius down towards the south east. there could be some hail and some thunder mixed in with some of the scattered, blustery showers as they rattle through on that brisk breeze. they're going to continue overnight, so clear spells and scattered showers mainly into sunday. it is going to be a slightly cooler night than we've seen recently, still frost—free, really, across the board with temperatures getting down to around about 5—7 degrees first thing sunday morning. through the day on sunday, pretty similar to what we see on saturday. again, some sunshine, some scattered showers, perhaps fewer showers compared to saturday and it looks like they will tend to fade away later on in the afternoon. a touch cooler as well, temperatures around about 8—11 degrees on sunday and perhaps rain
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waiting there in the wings. moving on into monday, looks like this area of rain, a low pressure system, will move its way in from the west. some uncertainty about exactly how far north that gets as we head into the middle part of the coming week, but it is looking unsettled to start this coming week, certainly some rain, some blustery conditions to come around about wednesday. headed towards christmas eve and christmas day, things turn a little bit drier and a little bit cooler, too. there could be a bit more flooding for the first part of this coming week, and then cooler and drier conditions by the time we get to christmas. bye— bye.
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this is bbc world news,
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the headlines the us vice president, mike pence gets his coronavirus vaccine shot on live tv, to encourage people to have the injection. it's confirmed that president—electjoe biden will receive his vaccination on monday. hundreds of schoolboys have been reunited with their families a week after they were abducted from their school in northern nigeria. government officials said all three—hundred—and—forty—four of those who were kidnapped were freed and that local bandits were responsible the spread of covid—i9 is accelerating in the uk —— with the crucial r number now back above one. health leaders are warning of significant pressure on the health service in the lead up to christmas. as talks continue the eu's chief negotiator tells the european parliament time is running out to reach a brexit trade agreement. michel barnier says it is "the moment of truth" for both


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