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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 31, 2020 8:00pm-8:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news with the headlines... i'm simon mccoy. several hospitals in london and the south east of england say they are under extreme pressure due to the sheer weight of covid cases — patients are being moved as intensive care units reach capacity. we're on our knees begging for people to do their part... to take the pressure off. but we are shattered. the end of a nearly 50—year marriage. the uk leaves the trading bloc of the eu tonight. and goodbye 2020, hello 2021! this is the scene live in dubai as the city begins its new year celebrations. in wuhan, china, the new yearwas welcomed with a mass street party — a packed scene where the covid pandemic began. we'll find out how different
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countries are welcoming in the 2021. hello, and welcome if you're watching in the uk, on pbs in the us, or around the world. and stay with us for the latest news and analysis from here and across the globe. let's stick with those fireworks in dubai, to celebrate the new year. fireworks and a laser show on the burj khalifa — the world's tallest building in downtown dubai. i could tell you about the 1371 kg of fireworks they are using, i could probably tell you what the technicians had for lunch. but we just want to watch and listen.
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not with the usual crowds but being watched on television around the world. those scenes in dubai. many countries have decided to cancel the usual new year celebrations. but some have plenty to celebrate. this was the scene in wuhan — the capital of hubei province in china — several hours ago. the new year was welcomed with a mass street party, exactly one year after the city reported an unknown pneumonia
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outbreak to the world health organization that was later named covid—19. in many other parts of the world, celebrations had to be scaled back or cancelled, because of surges in coronavirus. in stockholm in sweden, the mood today has been much more sombre. new year's celebrations were replaced with the bells in the country's 13 cathedrals ringing for ten minutes — to honour the memory of the victims of the coronavirus pandemic. here in the uk, the new year arrives as the country is battling a record number of coronavirus infections. most celebrations across the country have been cancelled, including the famous london fireworks. joining me now is our correspondents james shaw, who is near the edinburgh castle, and emma vardy, in belfast city centre. james, traditionally this is a huge night in scotland, but not today?
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that's right. edinburgh's hogmanay party is recognised around the world as one of the biggest, most exciting, most lively new year's parties you can go to. people come from around the world to be here at this time normally, but not tonight. and looking at scenes around me, it is such a strange atmosphere, looking down the royal mile in front of me with edinburgh castle behind me. everything is so quiet, just 1—2 people out, perhaps looking at the illumination of the castle. but on the main shopping street through the centre of edinburgh, there would be 80,000 people, centre of edinburgh, there would be 80 , 000 people, soundstages centre of edinburgh, there would be 80,000 people, soundstages the length of the street, a big concert going on in the city park next to that main street. events going on, fireworks all night, none of that is going on. the only traditional event
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happening tonight is a loan paper will appear on the ramparts of edinburgh castle just before midnight to play for the new year. the scottish government is crystal clear about what people should do — stay at home only with your own household, don't party anywhere indoors or outdoors with other people, and similarly from police scotland, they have said they will advise people and encourage people to obey and follow the restrictions. and if they don't, as an ultimate sanction, their hefty fines which could be imposed. so it is so strange that in this year of coronavirus which has been so difficult, it ends in this quiet, subdued, strange way in edinburgh, almost the capital of the new year's celebrations, with everyone wondering what next year will be like here in the rest of the world of. indeed, that's what we are all asking. emma in belfast, a very
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similar mood, i guess? that's right, a very, very deserted town centre here for new year's eve. belfast doesn't have any official fireworks like edinburgh. but this is usually a very lively city. right now, northern ireland is in the first of six weeks of lockdown, and this first week has the highest restrictions yet. there's an 8pm curfew, people mustn't go out after 8pm except for those essential workers, of course. so the streets will be very bare in town centers across northern ireland tonight, just a few buses around here now taking essential workers to and from their shift. of course you can see their shift. of course you can see the city centre is lit upjust their shift. of course you can see the city centre is lit up just as beautifully as any other night, but it will be very still and very silent across northern ireland. and there have been some very stark warnings from the health minister here, who has said to people, "don't even think about having any house parties behind closed doors,
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so—called super spreader events could cost lives. " so—called super spreader events could cost lives." and while it'll be very quiet here inside our hospitals in northern ireland it's a very different story. lots of hospitals here operating overcapacity, lots of warnings about the pressures, and northern ireland has seen record numbers of covid—19 cases recorded over the last few days. that's why we've had those very stark warnings from the health minister. so really the only options for people is sitting home, finishing off the christmas food and watching bbc news on the television, maybe a few zouma calls with people, wishing people a happy new year and hoping that 2021 will be different ina numberof hoping that 2021 will be different in a number of ways of. it's a pretty grim aside from the bbc news, isn't it? a happy new year to you both. several hospitals in london and the south—east of england say they are under extreme pressure because of the current record surge in numbers of coronavirus cases. 0ne senior intensive care doctor has
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gone so far as to accuse anyone who ignores the rules on social distancing as having "blood on their hands". almost 56,000 new cases have been recorded in the uk in the past 2a hours and there've been a further 96a deaths of people who tested positive. here's our health editor hugh pym. a major london hospital today. this critical care unit for covid patients were set up last weekend, in a ward formerly used for patients recovering after major operations. 12 to 14, to 18, it'll 20 by the end of the day. so that's two a day. and then we're full. university college hospital is now caring for more than 200 covid patients. numbers are increasing by 5% every day. today, there was a plea to the public to follow social distancing rules over new year and weeks ahead. what we are really, really on our knees begging is for people to do their part... yeah, to take the pressure.
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once again, we being asked to dig a bit deeper, work a bit... which we are desperately trying to do, but we are shattered. finding enough beds, ventilators and other equipment is one thing but ensuring there are enough staff to cope with the surge in covid patient numbers is a really big challenge. there are relatively high number is absent because of sickness and the need to self—isolate. and hospital management say there are no easy or instant answers. we are over full capacity. we are doing much more than we usually do. so it's excessively busy, so you need staff that is actually educated and trained to care for very sick people and we do not have endless amounts of that type of staff available. some hospitals in the south—east of england are now so stretched that patients arriving at a&e are being treated in ambulances and it emerged today that in some cases, covid patients are having to be sent across
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england for treatment. because in the south—west, we have been less stretched, what we have done is activated systems and processes that we had set up some time ago to find intensive care beds further afield than would normally be the case. so patients have come both to plymouth and bristol from kent. back at uch, they are creating another ward into an intensive care unit, but they know the 20 beds here will fill quickly. with few in any doubt that january will be even tougher. hugh pym, bbc news. in just a few hours' time, the united kingdom will complete its transition from the european union's single market and customs union, bringing an end to a partnership that lasted almost 50 years. legislation to ratify the uk's post—brexit relationship with the eu became law early this morning. 0ur political correspondent alex forsyth reports. it's almost five years since this moment, the date set for a referendum that would change
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the country's course. one of the biggest decisions this country will face in our lifetimes. fast forward through what came next. there were campaigns, promises, heated protests. prolonged negotiations, high—profile resignations. the country i love. behave yourself! parliament paralysed as westminster wrangled, then another public verdict and after this testing year, a last—minute trade deal, a political win for the prime minister. the essential purpose of this bill is to accomplish something that the british people always knew in their hearts could be done. for businesses, it means change as of tonight. this butterfly farm in stratford—upon—avon exports species across the eu. they have been preparing for no checks and paperwork but even with such a deal that is uncertainty. this brexit malarkey should have been sorted out in the summer, then we could have asked the nitty—gritty
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questions to people that might know some answers. my frustration is nobody has known anything. the issue that has so divided here will no longer dominate but it will not disappear entirely. they will still be things to settle as the practicalities of brexit kick in. we left the eu back in january, but things broadly stayed the same — until now. as of 11pm tonight, the changes in our relationship with the eu will start to take effect. the way we trade, travel, work, our immigration system. there might have felt like some false starts before, but this is the moment when we start to understand what brexit really does mean. what was promised in 2016 by the leave campaign does not exist. for those who have campaigned on both sides, sometimes for decades, this a moment to mark. ijust wish i was 21 again, frankly, because, my goodness, what prospects lie ahead of us for young people now to be out there buccaneering, trading, dominating the world again.
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i'll be feeling a sense of regret, as will many people in the country, and others will feel elated by what's happened and that's a reflection of the division. but we now have to move on and come back together as a country. the ports and borders may be the first to feel the impact in coming days and weeks, but whether time for rejoicing, regret, or resignation this is the start of a wider change in our relationship with those across the channel. alex forsyth, bbc news. i'm joined now by anna cavazzini, who is a german mep and chair of the eu parliament's single market committee. thank you for your time, a happy new year to you. i will want to point out a tweet you put out earlier in the day. you said this was a good moment to post this picture. it underlines clearly a sadness that you have? yes, i feelvery, very sad today. and you mentioned my tweet — i posted tweet saying we always
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leave a light on, and people from the uk commented on my tweet expressing their sadness as well that they are leaving the eu for good. so for me, of course it is a data look at the future, but also to reflect a little bit the last years and our common history with sadness. you used the phrase "we will always leave the light on in the eu house for uk friends." you hope one day this will be reversed?” for uk friends." you hope one day this will be reversed? i thinkl also want to give confidence to other people who didn't want to have the brexit, all the people who saw the brexit, all the people who saw the turmoil in the european union who wanted their children to study with erasmus in the european union who cannot do that any more. i wa nted who cannot do that any more. i wanted to give comfort to those people. i still hope we have close relationships in the future, and even properly negotiate in some parts like the erasmus programme, even closer contact in the future
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again. and who knows what might happen? there may be another government in the future, people might feel there are many disadvantages to not being in the eu any more, but the most important thing is we have a deal, but who knows what happens in some years? anyone who talks about an amicable divorce hasn't been through one. in the long term, things might settle? i think it's good that the conflicting negotiation time is over, and i hope that we can try to normalise their relationship a little bit more again — for example, concentrating on student's exchange, ferment citizens to try to meet each other again and also to look at the relationship. and i think it is
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important that the trade, the big, big trade — we have a deal, this is good, so there won't be a really sharp cap. there be a lot of changes, but not the sharp cap that we we re changes, but not the sharp cap that we were all of for some moments when it looked like there would be no deal at all. i think it is really important to concentrate on the things that we have in common, on the things that ties together and making business together, but also on the exchange of. we are a few hours away from a new year, so it's time to clear the deck. be honest, when you first heard that britain was considering a referendum on leaving the eu, did you ever think it would happen? i'm a very optimistic person and, to be very honest with you, i didn't think it would happen because i was thinking, "0k, there is so much benefit." there are also problems and i
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understand not everyone was entirely happy with the eu's policies. but my philosophy was always that i want to change the policies instead of leaving, and that's why i'm a parliamentarian. i want to make the eu better by being inside the eu. so i never believed it would happen, but you always see the negative news and negative complaining can be stronger than positive campaigning if there's not enough people resisting this negative complaining. i think that's what happened in the uk. a great pleasure to talk to you and happy new year to you. thank you very much. happy new year. colorado health officials say they may have found a second case of the coronavirus variant that was first identified in the united kingdom. colorado governor announced one confirmed case on tuesday, marking the first time the variant had been officially documented in the united states. yesterday, california became the second state to identify a case of the variant and, on a call with the californian governor, dr anthony fauci said he wasn't surprised by its spread. i'm not surprised that you have a case and likely
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more cases in california. and we likely will be seeing reports from other states, colorado were the first to do that. i think you're going to start seeing it because if you have that much of a prominence of this in the uk with all the travel, not only directly to the united states but through other countries intermittently like where you go from uk to france, france to the united states, etc, then canada has cases. so, i don't think that the californians should feel that this is something odd. this is something that's expected. let's take a look in a bit more detail about the situation in the us. covid cases continue to remain high across america. there were 229,349 in the last 2a hours. there were also 3,808 people who died with covid in the last 2a hours — that takes the total across the us to 310,259 covid deaths since the pandemic began. in colorado, meanwhile,
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there have been 330,859 total cases of the virus detected, and 11,750 people have died of covid in the state since the pandemic began. colorado state governor, jared polis, said he didn't think the variant is widely prevalent in the us. this was not exactly the kind of new year's gift that we wanted from the united kingdom. but nevertheless, we suspect this virus is likely in many states. the variant, isolate it — at a triumph for them, colorado scientists were the first to discover the variant, isolate it — at a triumph for them, it was part of our colorado national guard. we fully expect that it is already here, as you indicated, there's so much travel and commerce between our two nations. we also know that it's not widely prevalent, because we've also been analysing strains on a number of cases, and it's not yet the predominant strain in our country. i think in colorado, about one in six coloradans have had covid at this point, and nationally it's one in five. and you know, we are fortunate to be
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among the lucky ones. i had very mild symptoms, and my partner had to be hospitalised for two days. he was fine and we're all back to full fighting form. but we're among the lucky ones, and the most important thing for folks is to wear masks, avoid parties or being with others this new year's eve, and it's important to celebrate in our own homes. let's look at some of the day's other news... israel says it is now administering 150,000 coronavirus jabs a day. it's hoped that all of the most vulnerable people, along with key health workers, will have been vaccinated by the end of january. israel says palestinians living in east jerusalem are being included in the programme. china has confirmed that it's imprisoned a uighur doctor, gulshan abbas, for being involved in terrorism. but her family in the us said she'd been imprisoned for 20 years because of her relatives' activism in america. the us government has called for her release.
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the bosnian government has ordered authorities to reopen the bira migrant centre — which closed three months ago after local opposition. hundred of migrants have been sleeping out in the freezing cold since aid agencies pulled out of another camp, called lipa, when authorities refused to connect water and electricity, leading migrants evicted from the camp to burn it down in protest. guy de launey reports. this might look like some kind of exodus, but in fact, these people have spent the past week getting nowhere fast in northwestern bosnia, and now they're trudging back to where they started. these buses were supposed to take them to a military barracks in the south of the country. it would have offered them some shelter from the harsh bosnian winter, but the local authorities refused to take them, and after 36 hours of sitting on buses, they ended up back on foot and baffled. since last night, we
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were in the buses there. they were telling us and they were excusing us, "you guys will be sheltered to survival." we don't know that, they didn't say exactly that, what's going to happen with you guys, but something good will happen with you. but unfortunately, they commanded that, "you have to leave the buses and you have to go back to lipa." this is lipa, or at least what's left of it, and this is why its former residents were trying to move. fire swept through this camp near the border with croatia last week, destroying almost all the accommodation that had housed around 1,500 people. but incredibly, this currently seems to be the best that bosnia can do for these men who travelled up the so—called balkan route in the hope of reaching the european union. some of the camp survived the fire and hundreds of people had been staying here, but aid agencies say it's not safe, and they've been urging bosnia
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to work with the international community to find a proper solution. translation: i think the whole chain of international players has failed. i think it is the defeat of europe and our european society and spirit. the red cross is still serving food at the burnt out camp, and the bosnian national government has ordered the reopening of a facility in the nearby city of bihac. but aid agencies fear the local authorities will block any move, so these people could be out in the cold well into the new year. guy de launey, bbc news, ljubljana. let's look ahead to 2021 now — with the latest part of our series from our expert correspondents. today, it's science — with major events planned both on and off our planet. here with her preview is our global science correspondent rebecca morelle. this is going to be a critical
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year for climate change. the coronavirus pandemic meant that a major un meeting was postponed. now it will take place in 2021, in glasgow, in scotland. nations will be revealing how they intend to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. which means we will find out if their commitments are ambitious enough to stop the worst effects of climate change. scientists say it's vital we push for a greenerfuture, because the window to act is closing fast. up in space, or eyes will be on mars. a trio of spacecraft will soon be arriving at the red planet. the united arab emirates hopes to make history by becoming the first arab nation to put a spacecraft into orbit around mars. china will be entering a new era in space, too, by attempting to land a six—wheeled rover. and nasa is also trying for a first. it will be testing a mini mars helicopter to see if it can fly
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in the extremely thin martian air. and lift off! the rise of starliner. and we should also see the launch of a new private spacecraft. following the lead of the us company spacex, the aerospace giant boeing has built the starliner capsule, which will take astronauts to the international space station and back. but an early test flight had problems. so the world will be watching to see if the company can get its spacecraft back on track. also in 2021, the uk's new polar research ship will be heading to the arctic. the vessel, which was almost called boaty mcboatface after a public vote, is now named after the british naturalist sir david attenborough. it will undergo its first ice trials to see if it can operate any tough polar conditions. and if it passes this test, the ship will head to antarctica at the end of the year. another priority for 2021 will be nature. countries will gather in china for the convention on biological diversity. a major target will be to get
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at least 30% of the world's land and seas protected by 2030. and because 2021 finally see the james webb space telescope? don't forget you can get in touch with me on twitter — i'm @bbcsimonmccoy. good evening. the sun has set on what was a chilly final day of 2020. temperatures for some barely got above freezing. there was a covering of snow on the ground in places, and this is how it looked from space. this is the recent satellite picture. you can see speckled shower clouds that have been moving across parts of wales and the south west as those showers clear away. we could see some icy stretches here. through the night, we've got a band of cloud with some rain, sleet, and hill snow moving across northern england into north wales. i think it will mostly be over high ground that we see the wintry weather. at lower levels, it'll mainly be rain. some slightly less cold air tied in with that weather system but elsewhere, where we see clear skies particularly, it is going to be
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a really cold and frosty night. a foggy night, too, and a foggy start to new year's day across parts of east anglia and the south east — perhaps into central—southern england as well. generally speaking, england and wales will have quite a cloudy day with some patchy rain, sleet, and hill snow at times. brighter skies and sunshine for northern ireland and scotland — albeit with some showers particularly for northern coasts, and temperatures between 3—7 celsius at best. as we move out of friday into saturday, we will keep high pressure to the west of us. low pressure to the east driving up fairly gentle northerly wind, not a particularly windy day on saturday. but that wind will bring some showers into northeast scotland, eastern coasts of england as well, maybe one or two for pembrokeshire and the far south west of england. those showers could be wintry over high ground. a bit of sunshine elsewhere, highs between 1—6 celsius. now, for sunday, a subtle shift in the wind direction. the wind starts to come round to more of a north—easterly. that will feed increasingly showery conditions into eastern areas.
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those showers again wintry over high ground but with some shelter further west, should be largely dry with some sunshine, another cold day for all of us. and that shift in the wind direction is because this area of high pressure will be re—orientating itself moving towards the north of the british isles, lower pressure to the south. that is going to drive a pretty strong easterly wind across our shores as we head into next week. it's going to feel quite raw at times, i think, in that wind with some pretty cold air in place. we will see some showers of rain, sleet, and snow particularly across england and wales. brighter for northern ireland and scotland, but staying chilly for all of us.
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this is bbc world news. the headlines...
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several hospitals in london and the south—east say they are under extreme pressure because of a surge in coronavirus cases. one senior intensive care doctor said anyone who ignores the rules on social distancing has "blood on their hands". the uk will complete its brexit transition from the european union in just a few hours, bringing an end to nearly half a century of close political and economic links. the new arrangements come into force at midnight, brussels—time. around 900 migrants, mostly from africa, south asia, and the middle east, have been left stranded at a burned—out camp in bosnia. they returned to the site after an attempt to shelter them in a military barracks failed. wuhan, china has marked the new year with a mass street party one year after first reporting an unknown pneumonia outbreak to the world health organization. many global celebrations have been scaled back or cancelled because of coronavirus.


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