in the last few moments, another 20 million people in england have moved into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions as the government tries to stem the surge in case numbers and deaths. three quarters of the population is now in tier 4. deaths from coronavirus soar to 981, that's people who died within 28 days of a positive covid—19 test. the average number of new cases reported per day is nowjust over 40,000. it means on average in the past week, 500 deaths were announced every day. 4.5 years after britain voted in a referendum to leave the european union, both chambers of parliament in london have approved the new free—trade deal that was finalised last week. boris johnson, said britain was marking a new beginning in its relationship with the eu. now on bbc news, hardtalk looks at the highs and lows of 2020.
welcome to hardtalk‘s look back at the highs and the lows of 2020. the lows — well, all of us have had to learn to live with the reality of a global pandemic. it has changed all of our lives. plenty of other stuff happened in 2020, but this year will forever be defined by covid—19. this is my home turf, the hardtalk studio. but for than half of 2020, i couldn't sit here. covid—19 brought with it
lockdown and shut downs around the world and the studio? well, it was suddenly off—limits. 0ur challenge was to ensure covid didn't force hardtalk off air. all we needed was a safe space, some lights, a couple of cameras and a simple laptop. we continued to ask the challenging questions, more necessary now than ever. starting with the pandemic itself. where did this virus come from? how did it spread across the world? it was first discovered in wuhan, but i can't say it's originated from wuhan. it can be found in some countries which have very little connection with china. and also can be found in the globe from people
who've never been to china, so we cannot say it originated from china. there's no doubt that the first case was in china. i'm wondering why you're telling me that it spread all over the world and people who've caught it have never been to china. that is clear because it has become a pandemic, but the question that matters so much... crosstalk. where did it start? i think this question is still up for a scientist to decide. i say covid—19 has demonstrated the enormous fragility of our world. we are on our knees with a microscopic virus, and in my opinion, the main reason is because countries were not able to come together and face covid—19 in a close coordination. let's talk about the president of the united states of america, a man, who you know better than i, has in the course of nine months mused about where coronavirus has come from, he's mused about how to treat it, including thoughts
about using disinfectants. he's directed some of his critique at you personally, saying that you, his chief adviser on his chief adviser on the virus, have made "a lot of mistakes". do you think that leadership from the very top has been an important problem in the us response? i mean obviously when you have leadership that is consistent on their message, that does make a difference. but we have to work with what we have, and what we have is people like myself and my colleagues out there trying to get the correct information to the american public. the damage done by covid isn't just measured in lives lost, but also the economic havoc caused. here in the financial heart of the city of london, they're talking about the most dramatic economic contraction in 300 years, and that means businesses going bust and thousands ofjobs lost. and the uk isn't alone. this is a massive hit
to the worldwide economy. this is not a spanish economic crisis, this is a worldwide crisis. it doesn't matter how good your economy was at the beginning of the crisis. we, for example, in spain were growing above eu average. we were creating jobs, we were making much—needed reforms, but we've all been impacted by this crisis. this is what we call a systemic shock. you and your government have put aside hundreds of billions of euros in a national economic recovery plan. many french people are wondering where on earth this money is coming from? first of all, that is a choice that has been made by all the major member states of the eu because we did not have any other choice but to support our economy, and i really think it was the right choice.
then it will be funded by debt, let's be very clear about that. and there will be the necessity at some stage to reimburse the french debt, but it will be later. the reality is this is actually going to be as crushing a blow for the emerging markets, and the problem for many emerging markets and developing countries, especially in africa, is that they are so dependent on a few commodities, on trade, for recovery that even if they manage to contain the virus and prevent the extensive damage that is likely given they have few resources to bail out firms and people. there is the problem of what happens after. how does the recovery take place ? and they simply don't have the resources for a substantial stimulus. not all the covid news was bad. inside research labs around the world, scientists worked to produce effective, safe vaccines with unprecedented speed.
by year's end, mass immunisation had begun in the uk and the us, while china and russia rolled out their own vaccination programs. success, though, depends on public confidence. there is a mounting scepticism evidenced in the united states, to a certain extent in the uk and other countries as well, from members of the public who no longer trust the government, the scientists enough to believe that a vaccine will necessarily be safe. polls suggest that maybe 50% of the public might not take it. that is going to kill our effort to eliminate covid—i9. well, if it gets worse, it will kill it. if 50% of the population are not willing to have the vaccine and we have one that is safe and effective, that would be a disaster. you are absolutely right. it is notjust here, the vaccine hesitancy, the anti—vaccine movement
is also rife and present in africa, asia, latin america. we have to counter that. three words — black lives matter — resonated through the united states and across the world in 2020. the movement wasn't new, but it gained a new energy, new urgency after george floyd, a black man, died under the knee of a white police officer in minneapolis last summer. protests spread across the us and then around the world. race and racism became a massive issue in the us presidential election. right now, we were all shaken by the eight minutes and 46 seconds of the public execution of george floyd, and it shook people who had never...
who had their ears closed or theirfocus in a different direction. he was murdered by a police officer while three other police officers observed. that is absolutely wrong, and quite frankly, if george floyd looked like me, he would still be alive today, and that's a real problem. barack 0bama has said that what he has seen is a far more representative cross—section of america out on the streets this time than he has seen before, including, he says, going all the way back to the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s. do you see that broader cross—section of people at work right now? 0bviously, anyone who looks at the crowds can see the difference. lots of young white people who are involved, and older ones too, are people who are motivated to get out here and do something about these issues.
it all started, in a sense, before the shootings occurred with the election of trump. while america's racial wounds reopened, two 70—something white men fought a surreal campaign for the white house, defined by covid and mutual contempt. a billion and a half dollars from china... not true. after spending 10 minutes in the office and being in air force 2. you cannot look at this election, no matter where you stand personally, you cannot look at this election and feel good about it. you cannot say to your kids and the next generation this is how they should be waged and this is how they should be won. and you can't be an example for the world if you're such a mess domestically, and i believe it is a mess, and i believe it is a problem, and i believe that donald trump and joe biden should make a commitment, and we know it's going to be either the first of the last question in that very first debate — will you accept the election
result? and i pray to god the answer is yes. what if it's not? then god help us. if there is a fair election, he will absolutely accept defeat, and i would encourage him to do that. if the election's stolen, then i think we should go to court. would you just accept that there are some potentially dangerous, maybe even some dark days ahead for american democracy? there are ifjoe biden is elected. if donald trump's re—elected, i think that our economy's going to come back, america will remain strong and we'll keep having world peace. donald trump has been very transparent, and i think he's a great american and world leader. you thinkjoe biden, in his coming four years, will be able to undo all of the perception change that there has been about the united states? these things don't change dramatically, but certainly the mere fact of biden being president and appointing
the people he will appoint, and having the policies he will announce, will give us a window in which to act. we have to seize it. the us presidential election intensified a troubling question — just how healthy is democracy? specifically, is the internet and the ever expanding power of digital technology enabling authoritarian leaders to undermine genuine democracy? i think what you're seeing both in the philippines and in the united states is very similar to what is happening in many democracies around the world, including the uk. and this is the role of technology. facebook is our internet in the philippines. there's 71 million filipinos. we spend the most time on the internet and on social media globally, and i think it's the fifth year running. that's hoot suite and that's their number on social. what's happening is this
astroturf—type manufacturing of consensus, the manipulation of the public on mass scale using facebook has happened here in the philippines. you asked about the popularity of president duterte, that's partly buoyed by a propaganda machine that we got clobbered for exposing in 2016. maria, i have to interrupted because what you are suggesting is democracy doesn't work anymore. if you are talking about, quote unquote, "manipulated public opinion" as you've just done, then you are undermining and delegitimising the notion that the people have a right to choose their governors. if you're saying their opinions are somehow fake or false, then where's democracy? that's exactly what i'm saying. that democracy is essentially dead, and part of what killed it are social media platforms that have become behavioural modification systems. there are governments, both authoritarian and genuinely democratic, who are now united in a conviction that they need a much greater level of surveillance of their populations.
is that, in your view, taking the historical perspective, a power that we should right now be happy to invest in our government? well, i'm not against surveillance per se. i think it's a very important technological tool that can help humanity fight against this epidemic and against future epidemics, and we need to use it. but we need to use it responsibly and carefully, so we don't end up losing our freedoms in order to get protection from epidemics. for the first time in history, it is becoming feasible to monitor everybody all the time, and notjust what we do, but even what we feel. like we already know that corporations and governments can know that you are now watching this show. and they can, and if you watch bbc hardtalk, they can get from that all kinds of things
about your political views, about your artistic tastes, even about your personality. but this is still limited. they don't know yet what you're actually feeling as you're watching us, but once you have under—the—skin surveillance, you can know that. if you wear a bionic bracelet that constantly monitors your body temperature, your heart rate, your blood pressure and other biometric data, it can know if you have fever, but it can also know if you're angry or if you feeljoyful, or if you're bored. to go under the skin, collect biometric data, analyse it and understand people better than they understand themselves, this i believe is maybe the most important event of the 21st century. the moment when a system out there knows me better than i know myself. if 2020 put american democracy under enormous strain, it also asked questions
of the world's most powerful authoritarian governments. can repression eliminate dissent? vladimir putin's most high—profile opponent in russia, alexei navalny, was poisoned. his narrow escape from death surely a chilling signal to all opponents of vladimir putin. in china, president xijinping took a tough line against the pro—democracy movement in hong kong, imposing new security laws in the territory. if you come to hong kong right now, you see that life goes on as always, and nobody‘s in fear, nobody‘s fleeing the country, quite the contrary... i think you may be mistaken, i think people are fleeing the country. because they have every confidence in the government. as you know, nathan lau, who is one of the leaders
of the movement for democracy and fundamental reform in hong kong, has fled the country because in his words, he says what we are seeing is the start of a bloody cultural revolution and he cannot continue his political activities in your territory. i think it's a political ploy. he is free to go and free to come back, there is no law against him as such and nobody persecuting him or prosecuting him, but he would like to make use of what he's doing as a political ploy. the secret police agency just started to operate in hong kong, and we still don't know how far they will go, how many political activists they will arrest. maybe one day they could use the national security law to arrest all the leading figures in hong kong, so i think this is not something that we fantasise, the threat does exist. the respected levada institution, which does polling
in russia month on month, at the moment, they say that their polls show he has about 60% support amongst the russian people. do you accept that? it's a little bit tricky to make polls in any authoritarian state. it's a little bit like trying to make polls in nazi germany, and saying, "0h, everybody loves hitler." if you're saying no, you will be killed the next day. right now as we're talking, one membertalking, one member of pussy riot is injail and possibly facing criminal charges, there is no official charges yet, but there were two searches of his apartment and the cops were talking to him because this is about him organising our riots. no, i don't approve vladimir putin when they make a poll.
three years ago, i went to venezuela to see for myself one confrontation between an authoritarian government and a determined opposition. this year, i was able to talk freely to one of my interviewees who's previous words to me were shouted from a prison cell. i spent four years in a military prison, then i spent a year and a half in house arrest, and then i spent another year and a half in the spanish embassy while i was under asylum. i never wanted to leave venezuela, but the circumstances at the moment led me to take the decision which i did not want to take for many years, to go out and work towards the freedom of venezuela from exile. it's something that
many venezuela ns have been forced to do. you are in madrid. nicholas maduro is still in the presidential palace. your capacity to engineer change is now lower than it has ever been before. have you lost hope? no, i've never lost hope, stephen. and as i said before, we fall down and we rise up again because this is about our lives, and they will not beat us because we will not surrender, and i can assure you that, and that's not me saying this, it's millions of people that are committed to this fight until the end. this year will forever be remembered for covid—i9, but in truth, it's been very far from the worst pandemic the world has ever seen, and thanks to the roll—out of vaccines, hopefully next year we will put it behind us. but perhaps we should see the coronavirus as part of a wider wake—up call. 0ur relationship with the natural world is
increasingly fragile and unstable, and you can see it in our ecosystems and in climate change, and the consequences will be with us long after the virus has been tamed. the figures suggest that there are around 170,000 chimpanzees in the wild today, and at the turn of the 20th century, it's believed there were more than 1 million. do you think we humans have completely failed chimpanzees and so many other species? well, we're certainly failing them, but in the same way we're failing our own future generations of human beings. we've been for a long time stealing the future of our children, grandchildren, we're still stealing it today. we have terribly harmed this planet. this has led to the climate crisis, which if we don't get together around the world and do something about it soon,
will lead to the end of life on this planet as we know it, and that includes us. it's our disrespect of nature, of the natural world and of animals that's led to this pandemic, this covid—19 pandemic, and it led to climate change. and let's face it, as best we know at the moment, this whole pandemic is a result of the fact that we were abusing the natural world, we were perhaps trafficking animals from different parts of that world alive, into markets where we were mixing them in an unnatural situation, and this disease has crossed into humans, which is something we have feared for a long time. well, how far do you take this thought? it strikes me the danger is that a lot of people watching this programme around the world will have lost theirjobs, will find their own families in an economic crisis, and will be saying it's
fine for this guy who's obsessed with nature to talk about seizing the positives, but frankly, the negatives are overwhelming, and i need myjob back, i need the economy to kick start again, i need, frankly, the old ways to come back, so don't tell me that they can't come back. i'm with you all the way until you got to old ways. cos i'm saying here's an opportunity to generate new ways, new jobs, new economies, here is an opportunity to say we can create a more sustainable existence for ourselves and other species on this planet, we have the knowledge and technology, and now we have been forced into an opportunity to think about taking that, and here, we have an opportunity to put in play all of those jobs, to generate those economies, retrain people so that they can experience a similar quality to life that they had before, but one which is not a result of damaging the very world that they want to prosper in. let's be honest, many of us will be glad to see the back of 2020, but let's end with a positive thought.
this year has taught us valuable lessons about the importance of preparedness, priorities and strategic planning. maybe next year we can take a better path. happy new year. hello. snow and ice continue to be hazards for some as we move into the final day of 2020. still very much in the cold air across the uk, temperatures widely well below freezing through the early hours of thursday morning, with the potential for some freezing fog across parts of england and wales. for new year's eve, it's a cold day wherever you are. for most, a mixture of wintry showers with some sunshine,
but across scotland through the morning, a more general spell of rain, sleet and snow sliding its way southwards and also into northern ireland as well. as the morning wears on, that snow will tend to become confined to higher ground, just pushing to the far north of england through the afternoon. a few wintry showers for parts of northwest, southwest england, west wales. the further south and east you are, mainly dry with some sunshine once any freezing fog has lifted through the morning. still a cold northerly wind, particularly biting for parts of western scotland and northern ireland. not quite as cold across scotland and northern ireland compared to wednesday, five or six celsius the top temperature here, compared to just two or three celsius further south. through the final hours of 2020, we see this band of wintry showers just continuing to sink their way southwards, but most of the snow by this stage should be over higher ground. bit of wintry mix across scotland, quite a few showers along the east coast, where temperatures will hold up to around four or five celsius at midnight. head inland, they'll be closer to freezing. a few showers developing across northern england, parts of northwest wales, maybe south west england through the early hours
of new year's day. but also once again, the potential for some freezing fog developing across central, southeastern parts of england and wales as we head through the early hours of 2021. another cold night but not quite as cold as recent nights, but some places still getting a few degrees below freezing. so here's how we start 2021, with still a fairly messy picture, low pressure to the east of the uk and frontal systems still just trying to slide their way across. not much on them, but certainly through new year's day, there will be a fair few showers around, particularly for east and northeast coasts. and a few of those will penetrate their way a little bit further inland. still the chance they could be wintry, particularly over higher ground. the further south you are across the uk, much more cloud around, and temperatures still not much higher than five or six celsius. looking ahead, then, to the first weekend of 2021, it stays cold, we'll see fewer showers but still the risk of some ice and snow in places. bye— bye.
this is bbc news. a very warm welcome to our viewers in the uk and around the world. my name is mike embley. a landmark moment in the fight against coronavirus. the uk becomes the first country in europe two vaccines. a new beginning in britain's relationship with the european union. prime minister boris johnson's assessment as parliament backs the new post—brexit free trade deal. after a landslide, the search for those feed missing in buried houses in residential area outside norway's capital. the republicans raise more objections to the us election result. the trump administration still claims it was fraudulent.