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tv   BBC News  BBC News  January 2, 2021 4:00pm-4:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news with the latest headlines: india begins a nationwide mock drill to test its preparedness for mass immunisation against covid—19. in the uk, as virus cases increase teaching unions demand a two week closure of primary and secondary schools in england. president trump's relations with fellow republicans continue to worsen — now he calls the crucial senate elections illegal. french police shut down an illegal rave, going since new year's eve — with more than 2,500 partygoers.
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hello, and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world — and stay with us for the latest news and analysis from here and across the globe. with the second highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, india has begun testing its plans for a huge vaccination programme. a full—scale rehearsal is now underway, involving tens of thousands of health workers and volunteers across the country. two vaccines have been given the green light — the astrazeneca oxford vaccine and another from a state—run institute. the aim is to vaccinate as many as 300 million people by the middle of this year — that's just under a quarter of the nation's entire population. india has reported more than 10.3 million covid—i9 cases and around 150,000 deaths. 0ur south asia editor, anbarasan ethirajan, has more from delhi. it is going to be a major challenge for the indian health care system because they have never done
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anything like this before. at the same time, you have to inoculate within a few months about 300 million people. india has a lot of experience in terms of mass vaccination programmes. for example, they had this polio vaccinations some time ago and the country is now polio free, so they have the experience and expertise, but they want to make sure the system will cope with such a huge number. this comes the day after the expert panel committee appointed by the government recommended the use of astrazeneca oxford university vaccine and it is being produced in india itself by one of the world's largest vaccine makers, the serum institute of india, and this is the south asian version of that, equal to this oxford university vaccine. and the government hopes that this will be the main answer to this pandemic because this vaccine is cost—effective and it can be transported easily. it doesn't require deep freeze kind of conditions. now, tens of thousands
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of workers were trained and they are being monitored on how the whole process will go off. and they also want to monitor the patients after the vaccination is given, whether there are any side effects, so the logistics, transportation and also the computer system, the software system to manage the whole thing, needs to be calibrated and that is what happened today. india held one of its biggest rehearsals for this vaccination ride. dr lipika nanda is the vice president of multi—sectoral planning in public health from the public health foundation of india. shejoins me now. thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us on bbc news. this is going to be a monumental effort, isn't it, by the indian government? what do you think the main difficulty are going to be getting that vaccine out quickly and efficiently? well, it is going to be a mammoth task. there is no doubt about it. india has a huge
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experience in vaccinating the population. we have, i am sure you have heard of the universal immunisation programme of the government of india, but this is the first time adults are going to be vaccinated, so it is going to be a really big exercise and we are aware that india has several states com pletely that india has several states completely there are diverse from each other, with different levels of public health infrastructure, health systems, in terms of how strong they are. soi systems, in terms of how strong they are. so i think this was a really major effort and i think absolutely necessary to do a drill of this vaccination administration. today, the drill started in all the states, but i don't know whether you are aware a week ago it has started in four states in india, punjab, gujarat, assam and andhra pradesh.
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and today it has happened in 116 districts in the entire country, so it isa districts in the entire country, so it is a huge, but completely necessary , it is a huge, but completely necessary, exercise, to ensure that the kind of glitches, if any, are to be resolved and most importantly looking at, you know, whether the cold storage systems are working or not, what is the transportation mechanism that is going to be used? where is it... how's it going to be administered? how long do you think... forgive me for interrupting, how long do you think it will take for this that seem to be rolled out amongst all the population? well, first of all i don't think all of the population needs to be vaccinated, but the plan is byjuly 2021 at least 300 million people should be vaccinated. and in batches, and in levels of priority, as in other countries, i think that is what has been decided by the government of india, to make sure
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that the health workers and front line workers are in the highest priority at this point of time. and then after that is done, the next level is going to be the delhi operation, plus people with comorbidities and so on and so forth. so that is the plan, as of now. 0k, dr lipika nanda, it is good to talk to you. thank you very much indeed. there's mounting pressure on the british government to close all schools in england for face—to—face teaching for two weeks after the christmas holidays. teaching unions say a move to home learning for most children is necessary to curb the spread of coronavirus. 0ne union has described it as, "the only sensible and credible option." figures released in the past hour show a further 57,725 positive coronavirus cases in the past 2a hours here in the uk — the highest daily total. there have also been a further a45 deaths. here's our education correspondent, dan johnson. in liverpool, teachers are already
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at the head of the queue for tests, but there are more and more voices saying schools should not reopen on monday. it seems to me just to be inexplicable that the government is getting it so badly wrong. we said all schools should be closed for the first two weeks, and we regret to have to say that. we don't want to have to say that schools will close. but ourfear is, if we do not do something now, they will have to be closed for a much longer period later this month. secondary schools will phase the return from the 11th of january, with year groups facing exams this summer in first. the government announced that the majority of england's primary schools would take children back on monday, except in some virus hotspots in the south—east. last night, it had to reverse the patchwork approach in london, so now all the capital's primaries will stay closed. it is good they are safeguarding teachers now, but i think school is the best place for them to be. as soon as they can get back, i think they need to be back.
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i think the government should have done this a long time ago. done a harder lockdown, done it sooner. and i think we should have been stricter a bit sooner, really. my wife is a key worker, so it means we have no choice but to send our son in to school. whether it is the right thing or not, or how safe that will be for him, i think is where our concern is now. that we do not have another option for childcare, and we have to put him in, but at what risk? there is a lot for the government to consider here. the new strains, the rise in transmission rates, pressure on the nhs, and the demographics in different communities. it has always said keeping children off school would be a last resort. but there is growing pressure to extend closures beyond london and parts of the south—east, and teachers are calling for decisions to be made quickly, but clearly. we appreciate it is a fast—moving situation. the government must be getting different health advice all of the time. but schools do need to plan. we will be opening for quite
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a few pupils next week, and we will need two rotas of staff — one to deliver to vulnerable pupils, pupils without decent internet access, pupils with sen needs, and another to deliver high—quality online learning. all of that takes time, and this decision could have been made two weeks ago. teaching unions are discussing the situation this afternoon, and at least one said it isn't safe for staff to be back in the classroom next week. there is also a legal challenge for the government's rationale for reopening on monday. everyone recognises the practical difficulties of learning from home, but that's already a reality for many children in the next fortnight, and possibly longer. dan johnson, bbc news, in south—east london. kevin courtney is the joint general secretary of the national education union, which represents the majority of teachers — and has called
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for all primary schools in england to move to learning online for at least two weeks. cani can i ask you, first of all, kevin, what is the science you are using behind this call to move all online learning for primary schools for the next two weeks? sure. can i also say that we represent all its support staff, as well as teachers and our union. but the science that we think the government is ignoring is minutes from sage of their meeting on december 22 that were published on december 22 that were published on the 31st of december, and there is minutes from sage say that the r rate will not be below one if schools are open during the november lockdown —— might like during the november lockdown. and they were saying that they will need a period of time to look at that. imperial college, there was a research paper, niall ferguson, and author of that, who was also on sage, saying the same thing. the london school of
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hygiene and tropical medicine that they had on the 23rd john edmunds, one at the authors of that and all of those papers are saying the same thing, but government should close schools. that is my slight interpretation of what they say because the r rate won't be below one if they don't. before christmas, we had, again, looking at government statistics, cases going up very fast among secondary statistics, cases going up very fast among secondary age pupils and primary age pupils, so that they we re primary age pupils, so that they were the highest covid—19 rates of any of the age demographics. and thatis any of the age demographics. and that is the science that we think has to be acted on. what do you say to parents and carers, many of whom face great difficulty in terms of their work and their childcare? who are thinking right now, look, i can't do two weeks of primary school. i need my kids to going to school. i need my kids to going to school. i need my kids to going to school. i can't cope. school. i need my kids to going to school. ican't cope. i mean, school. i need my kids to going to school. i can't cope. i mean, i have great sympathy with those parents. we think the government should have been acting on this very much longer ago. we called for a two—week circuit break at half term and then
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four rotors in secondary schools. we think that would have kept cases down. the scottish government has delayed the reopening of schools to the 18th of january stop the government here has delayed the reopening of secondary schools until then and now quite a number of primary schools. we are saying it does have to go further, if you can genuinely say you are following the science. we also think that acting now, acting early, that is the message you get from this pandemic the whole time is don't wait until cases have gone up the whole time is don't wait until cases have gone up and up and then try and manage them down. that takes a lot longer. takes action now, get the cases to fall after christmas and then put in place measures that can keep cases low. you have to remember is that they have a legal right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions. do you consider primary schools, if they do reopen next week, unsafe conditions? would you expect people, workers, teachers, support staff, not to work? we do consider it unsafe, based on the science that we have been outlining,
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so yes, in this country people have the right not to work in unsafe buildings and unsafe settings, and that can be unsafe for them and u nsafe for that can be unsafe for them and unsafe for the community. if a building worker turned up at work andi building worker turned up at work and i think the building might fall down on passers—by, they can refuse to work there and you can take action to protect others as well. we think that it is unsafe, based on what sage has said about the r rate, based on the imperial college, the london school of hygiene and tropical medicine. those studies talk about the possibility of there being an increased propensity of a new variant of the virus to spread amongst children. we need more science on that. they have also talked about the new variant being so much more transmissible that we will have to take more steps to get it down. we know that the members of our union got sick... some of them died over the christmas period. so there is the concern for our members. there is also the concern for pa rents members. there is also the concern for parents and grandparents, and we
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don't think it is safe, we think there should be a period of closure to get those cases down to make sure they have fallen well below where they have fallen well below where they were before christmas. they have fallen well below where they were before christmasm they have fallen well below where they were before christmas. it is vital that that happens. 0k, kevin courtney, thank you very much indeed. the us government's top infectious diseases expert, dr anthony fauci, has said he doesn't agree with british plans to increase the time between doses of coronavirus vaccine from 21 days to 12 weeks. the uk has changed its strategy, to allow more people to get the first dose of coronavirus vaccine. it follows a rapid acceleration in the speed of spread of the virus, caused by a much more infectious element of the disease. iran is accusing israel of trying to provoke war by attacking us forces in iraq. foreign minister mohammad javad zarif tweeted that intelligence from iraq indicates israeli agents are planning to attack americans — he warned president trump to be careful of a trap, saying any fireworks would backfire badly. fresh from the humiliation of being overruled by congress on his defence bill,
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president trump's relationship with many in his party is continuing to worsen. he's now claimed that next week's key senate elections in georgia are "illegal and invalid." that's frustrated republicans trying to motivate voters to go to the polls. 0ur washington correspondent, lebo diseko, joins me now. for the audience at home, explain why is this so strange for a republican sitting president to tell people that these elections in georgia are invalid? well, i think you have to understand how important the georgia senate run—offs are. essentially, the outcome of these run—offs will determine who controls the senate and as you will remember, during barack 0bama's time, if you don't control the senate pushing through your agenda can be very difficult. and equally, if you do control the senate, it makes it a lot more easy. now, republicans are at the moment trying to rally the bases, try to get people in georgia
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to get out and vote on tuesday in these senate run—offs. and you have got the president saying that they are invalid and criticising, really, the validity of these elections. now, the specific issue that donald trump seems to have taken issue with isa trump seems to have taken issue with is a mechanism that is quite technical, but is ram something called signature matching that happened during the general election. he has taken issue with that. i must add that the supreme court has in previous rulings said that that was perfectly fine, the measures by which that happened. but now you have got a situation where donald trump is going to georgia on monday himself to try to rally the troops, try to get voters out to vote, but at the same time saying that this election is invalid. and just to add, one of the candidates is actually a self isolating at the moment, he is quarantining because he came into contact with somebody
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with coronavirus. so for republicans on the ground it has got to be quite a difficult situation at the moment. lebo diseko, 0k, thank you very much indeed. you're watching bbc news. you're watching bbc news — the headlines: india begins a nationwide mock drill to test its preparedness for mass immunisation against covid—19. in the uk, pressure grows to shut more schools as coronavirus infection rates rise. unions are demanding an immediate two—week closure of all primaries and secondaries in england. more than 2,500 people have attended an illegal rave in brittany, in defiance of french coronavirus restrictions. it started on new year's eve and went on for more than 30 hours. at least three police officers were injured in clashes with some party—goers. the prefect of brittany said officers were faced with a difficult choice between breaking up the gathering and keeping everyone safe. translation: clearly the organisers
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were prepared to resort to violence if confronted by law enforcement. when we saw that, we decided to pull them back and control the area. and from 10pm on new year's eve, no vehicle was able to enter the rave site. 0ur correspendent in paris, hugh schofield, explains why the police decided not to shut down the rave. they are obviously under a lot of pressure and the government is under a lot of pressure now because there is an awful lot of criticism about why this rave party was allowed to go on for so long when everyone else is in lockdown, when the police are out enforcing curfews around the country, how come 2,500 people from across france and indeed from abroad were able to dance, party away for 36 hours from thursday evening until saturday morning? the right, the far right in particular, are very, very critical of the government, which is why they are reacting now by saying when you are at the... ..of the department, saying that it is a very difficult decision. they were faced, not just
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by ravers, but at the beginning by people who were reacting violently. they say they tried to stop it and after that it became a matter of simply containing it, they thought it was the best decision simply to circumscribe the warehouses where the rave was going on and then fine people, check people as they left and that is what happened. it has now more or less ground to a halt, this rave party, with a large number of fines imposed on people as they left. but you can see where the government finds it all acutely embarrassing because this is like a sort of large number of people thumbing their nose at the government, when everyone else is knuckling under. hugh schofield there. from july 2019 to march 2020 australia witnessed its most intense bushfire season on record. blazes swept across 2a million hectares of land, affecting every australian state, destroying more than 3,000 homes and killing or displacing nearly 3 billion animals. at least 33 people died
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in what is now known as australia's black summer. one year on, the bbc‘s australia correspondent, shaimaa khalil, has returned to some of the worst affected areas. it was the bushfire season australians had feared. conditions were dry for months and the heat was soaring. but nothing prepared them for the catastrophic blazes they faced. australia's black summer shocked the nation and the world. a year ago i met russell scholes, a volunteer firefighter in the town of balmoral. his house was burned to the ground while he was helping his next—door neighbour. he and his wife now live in a converted garage on the same land. it will be many months until their new property is built. 0ur living conditions are better than what they were, but they're still pretty harsh. all the dead trees around us remind you of the fire. you can't get away from it. it is there and it's there to remind us.
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if we get the hot days and huge winds, that really starts to make the hairs on your back stand on end. itjust makes you feel — not again. you know, we don't want that again. last summer's bushfires were unprecedented in their ferocity and the huge destruction that they caused. most scientists agree that climate change played a big part in creating the catastrophic fire conditions and a royal commission enquiry now says that further global warming is inevitable within the next 20 years and that australians should prepare for more extreme weather. new year's eve was a defining moment of the bushfire season. oh, my god! this was the town of rosedale in new south wales on the day. holiday—makers and locals sheltering on the beach, watching in horror. oh, my god! two—thirds of the homes here were destroyed. i felt very focused on just staying alive.
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and, secondly, doing what i could with our defences to save our property. but ultimately that wasn't possible. the radiant heat was just too strong. jack egan survived after taking shelter in a fire bunker. it was a life changing moment. he quit his job and focused full—time on campaigning for more action on climate change. we're a canary in a coal mine here. we have to play our part as the canary that broadcasts to the world "watch out, it's coming for you "and it's coming fast!" but the climate debate is politically divisive here. fossil fuels, especially coal and gas, are among australia's most valuable exports and the government has so far resisted pressure to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. our policies won't be set in the united kingdom, they won't be set in brussels, they won't be set in any part of the world other than here, because it's australians' jobs
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and it's australia's economy and australia's recovery from the covid—19 recession that matters to me and my cabinet in the decisions we take. in areas battered by the bushfires there are now signs of life. but most experts say that unless something is done quickly to address the climate crisis in australia and around the world, this level of devastation will become the norm. shaimaa khalil, bbc news, new south wales. sport, and for a full round—up from the bbc sport centre, here's gavin ra mjaun. and we'll start with the news that the french champions paris saint germain have confirmed mauricio pochettino is their new manager pochettino left tottenham just over a year ago and there's been a plenty of speculation on where the argentinian would move, among europe's top clubs. pochettino, who was a psg player between 2001 and 2003,
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has signed a contract with the club untiljune 2022. spurs are up to third in the english premier league table, after beating leeds 3—0. it's their first win in the league for almost a month. they are now four points behind liverpool and manchester united. harry kane had already scored from the penalty spot, when he put son heung—min through to make it 2—0 just before half time. son with his 100th goalfor the club. toby alderweireld made it 3 early in the second half. to the other games in the premier league this afternoon, crystal palace 2—0 up against struggling sheffield united. an early goalfrom jeff schlupp there. wolves travel to brighton later. then it's arsenal against west brom, with mikel arteta looking for his third win in a row after a poor run of form. we needed those results, that's for sure, but we need a much longer run than that. there are things that we have done much better to get the result in the last two games, but there are things that still we have to do better and improve. confidence—wise, obviously,
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it is a completely different scenario when you win lots of matches, everybody is playing with more freedom, more belief, the pressure... ..gets released a little bit and then that is always a positive thing for performances. fulham's premier league match against burnley at turf moor tomorrow has been postponed, after further positive coronavirus cases at the west london club. their trip to tottenham hotspur was called off hours before kick—off on wednesday, with the club reporting several positive coronavirus tests. an outbreak at manchester city caused their game at everton on monday to be called off. the former india captain sourav ganguly is in a stable condition after suffering a mild heart attack. he was admitted to hospital in kolkata with chest pains and he's said to be responding well to treatment. ganguly, who's a8, is now the president of the indian cricket board. that's all the sport for now. you can, of course, get all the
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latest sports news on the latest sport website. we will see you soon. gavin, thank you very much indeed for all of that. you're watching bbc news. now it's time for a look at the weather with helen. good afternoon. it looks as if the cold weather is with us for a few days yet, which means that the showers, when they come along, are falling as snow. mostly over the hills, but at lower levels as well. and ice becomes more of an issue, of course, after dark and when the surfaces are below freezing. and this could well be quite damp the surfaces where we have seen the frequent showers today — across northern and eastern scotland, northern england, wales, the midlands, southern and western parts of england, too. but we will start to pick up some showers elsewhere, as well, because temperatures have barely risen 3—4 degrees above freezing by day. 0bviously, by night, they will plunge below freezing quite quickly once again. and the showers just keep coming onto those surfaces, and so damp surfaces with temperatures below freezing
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means ice is a real risk. and it will be another harsh frost under the clearer skies across north—western areas overnight. the frost a little less harsh further south, but nevertheless still a frost, still a cold start as we move into sunday. slight difference is that high pressure builds towards the north on sunday, so we pick up more of a north—easterly as opposed to the more northerly wind we have had today so there will be a difference in the distribution of the showers. one or two may actually get across to western scotland, some getting across the higher ground in northern england, and more potentially for east anglia and the south—east — of rain and sleet mostly but some snow certainly possible over the hills because it is another cold day after a cold start. with more of a wind, quite a bracing wind starting to pick up through sunday and monday. so although temperatures will reach 3—5 degrees above freezing, it will feel colder, particularly in the south, with those winds. further north and west, more sunshine under that area of high pressure, but equally a hard frost, some patchy fog. as i say, that set—up stays with us through monday and tuesday. that strong east,
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north—easterly wind with us. in fact, something a little more prolonged, potentially, rain and sleet—wise across southern and eastern areas, the channel islands as well on monday. again, with the intensity, it could bring the snow down to relatively low levels. there will be a scattering of snow showers or wintry showers elsewhere coming in off the north sea. so, the better, drier, brighter weather will be further north and west, but it is going to feel cold even in that sunshine and notably so with that brisk wind in eastern and southern areas. but perhaps something a little bit more unsettled wednesday and thursday. that is one we are watching. as ever, the warnings are on the website.
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hello, this is bbc news with maryam moshiri. the headlines: pressure grows to shut more schools. unions are demanding an immediate two week closure of all primaries and secondaries in england. a new warning over hospitals in parts of the uk. the president of the royal college of physicians says some are now facing a worse situation than at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic. the government is to open ten additional covid testing centres across england for hauliers heading to france to speed up processing at ports. india begins a nationwide mock drill to test its preparedness for mass immunisation against covid—19. french police shut down an illegal rave that had been underway since new year's eve — with more 2,500 partygoers.


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