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tv   Newsday  BBC News  August 26, 2021 12:00am-12:31am BST

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welcome to newsday. reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines: the united states says it will continue to evacuate people from afghanistan, even after the august 31 deadline. there is no deadline on our work to help any remaining american citizens who decide they want to leave to do so, along with the many afghans who have stood by us over these many years and want to leave and have been unable to do so. is it worth it? is it betterjust staying here in afghanistan for the moment? translation: there's | no way we can stay here. the americans should shoot us or let us through. so what awaits the refugees taken to america? we'll have a special report from the state of texas.
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also in the programme: researchers say booster shots of the covid vaccine may be needed, in the wake of a study suggesting waning protection after six months. and day one of the action at the paralympics in tokyo. australia and china lead the medals table. live from our studio in singapore, this is bbc news. it's newsday. it's 7am in the morning in singapore and 7pm in washington, where the us secretary of state, antony blinken, has said the taliban have made a commitment to allow american citizens and some afghans to leave the country after the end of the evacuation deadline. he said 4,500 us citizens have been rescued so far. in kabul itself, the scramble
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to leave is gathering pace. the pentagon says about 10,000 people are currently at the airport. secunder kermani has this report from kabul. shame on them! they've been through so much already. now wading through sewage in the hope of somehow being able to leave this country. huge crowds are still flocking to kabul airport, under the watch of american and british soldiers. despite the dirt, the dust, the gunshots and the chaos, people are still coming here, and they're coming here in their thousands. here, a makeshift camp has sprung up. most of the people gathered don't have permission to board an evacuation flight. the few that do are struggling to make their way inside. translation: we've been waiting here for six - days and six nights.
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the american embassy told us to come here, but we can't get past all these crazy people. is it worth it? is it betterjust staying here in afghanistan for the moment? there's no way we can stay here. the americans should shoot us or let us through. yesterday, the taliban said they're not in favour of afghans leaving. we saw no sign of them preventing people where we were, but they're clearly frustrated with the scenes unfolding. with time running out, there's a sense of panic amongst those trying to escape. many worry they'll be left behind, like this former british army interpreter who is yet to receive a response to his application. it's very dangerous for us, because from the day the taliban entered kabul, i've changed my home three times.
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so two days, two nights, we are living in one place. he's only got one document from the british army, and it doesn't even say who signed it. but we managed to find his former boss, now a retired soldier in the north of england. i absolutely remember him as one of about eight- interpreters i worked with out in afghanistan on my tour, i and like all of the others that i i worked with, he was a brave, bright, intelligent lad - who actually genuinely wanted to do better for his country. the british government says no—one's life should be put at risk because of their support for the uk's efforts in afghanistan and that it's working around the clock to relocate as many eligible afghans as possible. so are other countries. but these are the last days of the effort, and many who want to leave are set to left behind. secunder kermani, bbc news, kabul.
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well, that was the situation in afghanistan. meanwhile, the uk foreign office is warning people there to stay away from kabul airport due to a "high threat of a terrorist attack". the latest advice says anyone in the area should "move away to a safe location" and that travelling by road was "extremely dangerous", with people alleged to have been "mistreated" on their way to the airport. this follows a previous warning from the us presidentjoe biden that a group linked to islamic state could be seeking to target the airport. meanwhile in washington, the us secretary of state has insisted that efforts will continue to evacuate us citizens and some afghans after the end of the month. here's what antony blinken had to say earlier. as the president said yesterday, we're on track to complete our mission by august 31, provided the taliban continue to cooperate and there are no disruptions to this effort. the president has also asked
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for contingency plans, in case he determines that we must remain in the country past that date. but let me be crystal—clear about this. there is no deadline on our work to help any remaining american citizens who decide they want to leave to do so, along with the many afghans who have stood by us over these many years and want to leave and have been unable to do so. antony blinken there. for more on his message over the evacuations, here's our washington correspondent nomia iqbal. mr blinken was defiant, as we heard there, saying there is no deadline to get afghan allies, us citizens and us troops out, but tell that to the taliban, because they are effectively running the show. he went on to say that they promised, the taliban promised, that they will give people safe passage beyond that deadline, but we have heard reports —
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and obviously we've got our correspondents on the ground there — that, in some cases, the taliban aren't letting people through right now, so it will be like after that deadline? but i think the us is very confident — certainly, that's what came out of mr blinken�*s press conference — that given how well they say the evacuation mission is going so far, they will get everyone out that wants to get out by next tuesday. yeah, nomia, there's been some speculation in the american press, a question i think also asked tojen psaki at the white house, that the us is offering cash or some sort of quid pro quo to the taliban to facilitate these evacuations? what have you heard on that? yeah, there were reports that came out after that g7 meeting on monday that cash came up. and cash is a big issue here because the taliban doesn't have any of it. they don't have access to the central bank or international monetary fund,
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which the afghan government had, and they need the money if they want to run the country. and that money is protected by us institutions and international institutions. now, the taliban really wants international recognition. they want legitimacy. look at how many press conferences they keep doing. and, of course, western countries do not recognise the taliban as a government in any shape or form, so those are cards that could be played against the taliban. we don't have any concrete evidence that that leverage is being used against them at the moment. nomia iqbal there in washington with her analysis of the situation. you can get much more analysis on the rapidly developing situation in afghanistan on our website. there, you'll find a live page updated with the latest developments as those evacuations from kabul airport gather pace. well, let's take a look
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at some other stories in the headlines today. all children in china will begin to study the political ideology of the chinese president, xijinping, as part of the national curriculum. from kindergarten through to university, china's ministry of education said the new material would strengthen resolve to follow the ruling communist party and cultivate patriotic feelings. the latest us intelligence report into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic is inconclusive, according to us media reports. it looked at whether the virus could have been the result of a lab—leak or passed from an animal to a human. the subscription website 0nlyfans, known for its adult content, has announced that it will delay making changes to prohibit sexually explicit photos and videos from october. in a tweet, the website now says it has suspended the policy change. however, it has not specified whether the delay will be permanent. armenia's parliament has descended into a mass brawl as the country remains split following last year's defeat in a war with azerbaijan. local media says chaos erupted
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when a ruling party minister described some former defence ministers as "traitors", prompting water bottles to be thrown. bottles and hand sanitisers have since been removed from the chamber. still to come a bit later in the programme, we report from texas to find out what happens to afghans fleeing their country once they land in the us. but first, protection against coronavirus starts to reduce within six months of people being fully vaccinated with the pfizer or astrazeneca vaccines. new research suggests that booster vaccines will be needed at some point to maintain protection. 0ur health correspondent sophie hutchinson has this report. more than three—quarters of adults in the uk have now had two doses of a covid vaccine, but how long that protection lasts is a crucial question. sarah, a head teacher,
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received her second dose in april, but injune, after her family all caught the virus, she became infected too. 0bviously, i'd been shielding at home, i'd been staying in different rooms, keeping doors and windows open, wearing masks in communal areas of the home. so i'd hoped not to get it with my double vaccine, but i knew there was always a possibility of getting it. it was obviously very disappointing to get it in the end, and my symptoms were just like that of a heavy head cold, really. i didn't have to stop working, i was working from home throughout that period. i had to rest a little bit more than usual, but i felt like it was a much lighter version than i had the year before. sarah's one of a growing number of people who've been infected despite being double—jabbed. today's study by the zoe covid team adds to the evidence that vaccines lose some effectiveness over time. it found protection from infection, with both the pfizer and astrazeneca
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vaccines, reduced slightly within six months of the second dose. but for most, the vaccines still seem to prevent severe disease. what this study tells us is that we have to keep an eye on the level of immunity and track it as time goes on, so that we can make a prediction, one month, three months, six months into the future, of when a booster might be required. and infections have been rising sharply in some parts of the uk. scotland, where schools have gone back, hit another record high today, well over 5,000 new cases, with more than a third among teenagers and children. experts are warning the new term is likely to be difficult. so i think we do need to be braced for a challenging period. exactly how high the numbers will be, it is very, very challenging to predict that. where i think we can be more confident is that levels of mortality are going to remain low, because we have study after study that still
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shows the vaccines are working. cornwall�*s rocketing rates of infection have been blamed in large part on a music and surfing festival. preparations are well under way for this weekend's reading festival, where thousands will gather, and where there are crowds, there is likely to be covid. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. the situation with booster shots for instance, or the situation in afghanistan, you can get in touch with me. i'm on twitter — @bbckarishma. look forward to hearing from you. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: as vice president kamala harris wraps up a diplomatic charm offensive in south east asia, we examine china's growing influence in the region.
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he's the first african—american to win the presidential nomination of a major party, and he accepts exactly 45 years ago to the day that martin luther king declared, "i have a dream." as darkness falls tonight, an unfamiliar light will appear in the southeastern sky — an orange glowing disc that's brighter than anything save the moon — our neighbouring planet, mars. there is no doubt that this election is an important milestone in the birth of east timor as the world's newest nation. it'll take months and billions of dollars to repair— what katrina achieved injust hours. - three weeks is the longest the great clock has been off—duty in 117 years, so it was with great satisfaction that clockmaker john vernon swung the pendulum to set the clock going again. big ben chimes
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this is newsday on the bbc. i'm karishma vaswani in singapore. 0ur headlines: evacuations continue, but huge crowds remain at the airport in kabul. with next week's deadline looming, the race to get out is gathering pace. the united states is pledging to continue to evacuate people from afghanistan, even after the august 31 deadline. as the us military evacuates afghans who worked with american troops out of kabul, in states across america, plans are being made for their arrival. 200 are heading to austin in texas. for afghan americans in the us waiting for news of family trying to get out, it's an anxious time. the bbc�*s laura trevelyan has been speaking to some of them.
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haroon abassy leads a protest in austin, texas, by afghan americans who work for the us military and are calling for their families to be evacuated from afghanistan. peoplejust want to bring theirfamily here because they are in danger, so that is why we're here. i work, and because of my work, my family is going to be butchered or killed. haroon was an interpreter for the us army and settled here seven years ago. now he's desperately worried about his parents in kabul. they left our house, they locked the door. the only thing they took with them was some food items and one pair of clothes, so they locked the door and they are sleeping outside the airport. they are afraid if they go back, of course, the taliban have already found out that their son was a translator, so they cannot go back. for the afghans who are being evacuated and are about to arrive here in texas, volunteers are unpacking the donations which have been pouring in. despite the polarised politics of immigration in the us, staff believe that afghans
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will be welcome here. the people who helped us overseas, it's a special category that really does speak across political boundaries and rural, urban, and people understand that these are people who we really need to help. andy hogue of the local republican party agrees, but he says the biden administration has bungled the withdrawal so far and things may get even worse. i hope they make a decision that does not result - in a tectonic shift of afghanis coming to the united states. j i'm hoping it will resultl in those who need to be here for safety reasons to be here and those that need - to stay and fight for- afghanistan staying put. the last thing we want is. a brain drain in afghanistan, where their best and brightest are either being silenced - by terroristic activities or are being flighted l to america. amid this debate over who gets to come here from afghanistan, tim kennedy is deploying from texas to the middle east to support the evacuation of the afghans who work
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for the us military. he is a us army sniper and veteran of the war. what is it that you hope you will achieve on this mission to afghanistan? that's hard. it's a hard question. i hope that i can preserve and protect human life. as many people that want to live and not to have to live under the tyranny of the taliban, that want to be contributors to a free world and free society, man, i'll fight for that. i'll die for that. that's the america that these former translators believe in, but theirfaith in us might has been tested. now they can only wait and pray theirfamilies make it out of afghanistan alive. laura trevelyan, bbc news, texas.
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i want to bring you some breaking news now that is coming through from the us embassy. we understand that the us embassy has advised... information that is coming through from the us embassies, were they cite a security alert, remaining americans not to travel to kabul airport at this time. that's the information that we have at the moment. we will sure to be bringing you more news as and we get that. the us vice president kamala harris has been visiting vietnam as part of an effort to increase us engagement in the region, in the light of china's growing influence. vietnam is battling its biggest covid—i9 outbreak yet, with hanoi under strict lockdown and troops deployed to ho chi minh city. kamala harris said it was an uncertain time.
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the threats we face are accelerating more rapidly. we have all felt this deeply, both as covid—i9 has taken millions of lives around the world and as our world has come together to develop and distribute vaccines that are saving millions of lives. 0ur south east asia correspondentjonathan head explained the strategic importance of the visit and the promise of an additional i million vaccines to vietnam. the biden administration is trying to claw back what it believes is lost us influence, lost over many years but lost during the trump administration, where president trump focused mostly on china, paid very little attention to south east asia. president biden said he wants to reverse that. vice president harris�*s visit is an important part of that re—shifting again back to this region. and vietnam actually did very well on covid last year. it was almost a poster child for controlling it. all the countries in this region have been hit very hard by the delta variant and very few of them have been able
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to vaccinate large parts of their population, they're very short of vaccines. vietnam interestingly shorter than most. and this is one area where the us can do very well because china started vaccine diplomacy earlier in the year. in vietnam, the population is actually quite anti—chinese and the government was quite reluctant, didn't take any vaccines from china, but all the countries that took large amounts from china are now very concerned about the effectiveness of those vaccines. so this push by the us to offer vaccines is an open goal for them. and indeed vice president harris has offered partnerships in medical technology, pandemic preparedness, she opened the first branch of the cdc, the center for disease control, the us one, in hanoi today in vietnam, so she is capitalising on it as much as possible. because after all, in the wake of what's going on in afghanistan, it's quite hard for the us now to be presenting itself as, you know, a really powerful ally to countries in this region. i think there will be much more wait—and—see on that line.
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well, asjonathan head was saying there, the crisis in afghanistan has certainly overshadowed kamala harris�* visit, so where does all this leave the us given the growing chinese influence in the region? joining me from here in singapore is james crabtree, the executive director in asia of the international institute for strategic studies. great to have you on newsday, james. how successful do you think the us vice president's visit has been? has she achieve those goals of this trip, to rejuvenate us commitment to the region? i rejuvenate us commitment to the re . ion? ~ , rejuvenate us commitment to the reuion? ~ , . region? i think it is a mixed picture. _ region? i think it is a mixed picture. judged _ region? i think it is a mixed picture, judged by - region? i think it is a mixed picture, judged by four- region? i think it is a mixed i picture, judged by four months ago, when people in this region were saying, america's forgotten about us, nobody has come, and the last two months has been quite successful, including kamala harris's trip and secretary austin, the defence secretary, before that. did kamala harris come here
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with the ideas and fresh thinking to give beijing something to think about? i think thejury is something to think about? i think the jury is definitely still out. think the “my is definitely still out. , . , think the “my is definitely still out. , ., , think the “my is definitely stillout._ still out. james, lots of countries _ still out. james, lots of countries in _ still out. james, lots of countries in this - still out. james, lots of countries in this part i still out. james, lots of countries in this part of still out. james, lots of- countries in this part of the world often find themselves stuck in the middle between superpower present and the superpower present and the superpower of the future, china. what did they want to get out of this visit, do you think, the singaporeans in the vietnamese? i think, the singaporeans in the vietnamese?— vietnamese? i think both singapore _ vietnamese? i think both singapore and _ vietnamese? i think both singapore and vietnam . vietnamese? i think both l singapore and vietnam and vietnamese? i think both - singapore and vietnam and other countries in the region one a sense the us is here to stay, that it sense the us is here to stay, thatitis sense the us is here to stay, that it is not going to cut and run, as was the risk under president trump, and that's why afghanistan plays into this, but they also want to know that the us is going to be helpful. they don't want america coming and making things worse with china and destabilising the region, they want america to come and solve problems, like how to recover from covid, how to do more trade, how to get more vaccines and how to solve other problems, or anything of the governments of artificial intelligence to cybersecurity,
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and those are the areas where people are waiting and watching and seeing, does america have the capacity to play this problem—solving role in this region or are people just going to drift towards china because of its economic gravity? —— governance of artificial intelligence.— governance of artificial intelligence. governance of artificial intellience. , ., . intelligence. james, on that, . iven intelligence. james, on that, given the _ intelligence. james, on that, given the fact _ intelligence. james, on that, given the fact that _ intelligence. james, on that, given the fact that there - intelligence. james, on that, given the fact that there has | given the fact that there has been some speculation, criticism of the us cosmic foreign—policy efforts in afghanistan, rather, how much do you think asian officials will be looking at that and concerned that, one, this has damaged us credibility in the region and, two, the us might just be too distracted to focus on asia? i just be too distracted to focus on asia? ~' ., just be too distracted to focus on asia? ~ ., .,, . .,, on asia? i think not as much as ou on asia? i think not as much as you might _ on asia? i think not as much as you might imagine. _ on asia? i think not as much as you might imagine. everyone . you might imagine. everyone in the world has been watching the her indices at kabul airport, and clearly this is not a good for the united states. it's very difficult situation. i other hand, we have to be difficult about saying, just because things are difficult in afghanistan, america going to behave differently in the way it behaves with japan or korea
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or taiwan. it behaves with japan or korea ortaiwan. however, people in the region are now going to be watching for signs of american unreliability. they are primed for this in the afghanistan aftermath, so it is very important if you're an american policymaker to give those signs cut intact to the opposite. make sure your committed to the region in new and imaginative ways. that is where kamala harris's trip was ok, but if you look about what you talked about on vaccines and trade, not very much in the way of specifics. not very much in the way of specime— specifics. james crabtree, thank you _ specifics. james crabtree, thank you for _ specifics. james crabtree, thank you forjoining - specifics. james crabtree, thank you forjoining us i specifics. james crabtree, | thank you forjoining us on newsday. anticipation is now growing for the second day of the paralympics in tokyo, but day one has been jam—packed — with 2a medal events in track cycling, swimming and wheelchair fencing. day one saw china win four golds in fencing and one in swimming, as li zhang overtook great britain's tully kearney. that's it for newsday. thanks so much forjoining us. we will
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have much more for you on the channel. do stay with bbc news. hello there. we just had the hottest day of the month on wednesday. and it was western scotland the place to be. looks lovely in the sunshine and temperatures reached 27 celsius. now, it won't get as hot as that again through the rest of the month because we've got this weather front moving down toward the southwest of the uk. it's bringing in cloud, one or two spots of rain just for a while, and as that weather front moves through, so we introduce a cooler wind off the north sea. that's blowing in cooler air and it's dropping the temperatures as well. we start with some fog, though, quite extensively across northern ireland in the morning. not so much fog in scotland. the fog will lift. the cloud that we start
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with in wales and the southwest will break up. sunshine for many western areas. but the wind will continue to blow in more cloud to the eastern side of the uk. should get more sunshine, though, for the northern isles, some areas of cloud lingering across some easternmost parts of scotland. much of the country, though, seeing the sunshine and temperatures 23, maybe 2a in the west of scotland this time. could make 22 or 23 in fermanagh and tyrone. always warmer for wales, western parts of england. down the eastern side, a lot of cloud, a cooler wind as well. and around the coasts in particular, temperatures could be no better than 16 or 17 degrees. there could be a hint of sunshine now and again, but generally it's going to be pretty cloudy at headingley for day 2 of an exciting test match. not quite so chilly on friday. by this stage, the cloud is pushing more towards wales and western parts of england, and that means we should get a bit more sunshine for the eastern side of england. there will be some areas of cloud for scotland and northern ireland, some spells of sunshine too, and temperatures are back down to around 19 or 20 degrees typically, perhaps a little lower than that in the far north and east of scotland. heading into the weekend, big area of low pressure is bringing lots of showers into central europe. they're not far away
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from the southeast on saturday, but over the weekend, it's high pressure that should tend to dominate. always a wind coming in from the north sea, some brisk winds for the southeast of england. should be a fair bit of sunshine, though, i think, on saturday, some patchy cloud bubbling up here and there. and in the sunshine, again, across western scotland, we could see temperatures up to 22 degrees. second half of the weekend, still dry, high pressure around, bit breezy and cooler around some of those north sea coasts, a bit more cloud perhaps coming into scotland and northern ireland, sunshine for england and wales and temperatures typically 19 or 20 celsius.
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this is bbc news. we will have the headlines and all the main news stories of the top of the hour as newsday continues straight after hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i stephen sackur. the chaotic evacuation operation still under way at kabul airport has put a harsh spotlight on two decades of us and nato military commitment in afghanistan. it looks and feels
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like the strategic defeat. but what does it


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