this is bbc world news. i'm lukwesa burak. our top stories... uk prime minister borisjohson faces fresh questions about christmas gatherings at downing street a year ago — after a photo emerges of him taking part in a quiz. he cannot deliver the leadership this country needs. we have a very important — this country needs. we have a very important vote coming up next week and he _ important vote coming up next week and he can't — important vote coming up next week and he can't even discharge the basic_ and he can't even discharge the basic functions. he is the worst possible — basic functions. he is the worst possible leader at the worst possible leader at the worst possible time.— possible leader at the worst possible time. possible leader at the worst ossible time. , .., ., ., ~ possible time. they can now make their mind up _ possible time. they can now make their mind up when _ possible time. they can now make their mind up when they _ possible time. they can now make their mind up when they see - possible time. they can now make their mind up when they see him l possible time. they can now make | their mind up when they see him on possible time. they can now make i their mind up when they see him on a virtual screen, or their mind up when they see him on a virtualscreen, ora their mind up when they see him on a virtual screen, or a zoom call thanking his team who are in the building because they have to be to respond to a emergency. —— national
emergency. emergency teams search for survivors in six us states after more than 70 people die in the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in us history. g7 foreign ministers warn iran time is running out to rescue the nuclear deal. afghanistan's drug trade is booming in the wake of the economic collapse, with the country now a major manufacturer of crystal meth. britain's nhs is extending its vaccination programme as it tries to get on top of the omicron variant — 30 to 39 year olds in england can book a coronavirus booster jab from tomorrow. people in the french pacific territory of new caledonia vote in a third and final referendum on independence from france. and the battle for the chequered flag as max verstappen starts on pole position to take on lewis hamilton in the formula 1 title decider in abu dhabi.
hello and welcome to bbc world news. britain's labour leader, sir keir starmer, has said borisjohnson appears to have broken the law when he took part in a christmas quiz at downing street, last year — at a time when social mixing between households was banned. the sunday mirror newspaper has obtained a photo of the quiz — showing the prime minister with two people sat next to him. downing street has described the quiz as a "virtual" event. our political correspondent chris mason has the latest — just a warning there is some flash photography in this report. take a look at this. it's december 15th last year,
inside 10 downing street. borisjohnson is hosting a round of a staff christmas quiz. two colleagues are either side of him, one with tinsel wrapped around him. some staff took part virtually from home. others from around the building. a number ten spokesman told the bbc: the bbc had already reported that invites for the quiz were sent out in advance via email, and many people wore christmas jumpers for the day. one source said people didn't seem to realise how ridiculous it was at the time. labour's deputy leader angela rayner has accused the prime minister of being happy to preside over a culture of disregard for the rules
at the heart of government, and claimed he was unfit to lead the country. for day after day, the prime minister and his team tried to brush off, to deny reports of a party or get—togethers around government, when social mixing was banned a year ago. this is the latest in a torrent of stories that suggests otherwise. chris mason, bbc news. our political correspondent helen cattjoins me now. it helen cattjoins me now. hasjust been a it helen cattjoins me now. has just been a weekend criticism, it has just been a weekend of criticism, hasn't it, helen? it hasjust been a weekend of criticism, hasn't it, helen? since that picture _ criticism, hasn't it, helen? since that picture was _ criticism, hasn't it, helen? since that picture was published - criticism, hasn't it, helen? since that picture was published on - criticism, hasn't it, helen? s “ice: that picture was published on the front page of the sunday mirror there has been lots of political reaction to that. opposition coming forward and saying borisjohnson is unfit to lead, we have also had some conservative mps who have been quite critical, saying that the prime minister needs to stop this drip,
drip, drip of pictures and claims that we are seeing about what happened around christmas in number ten last year. the labour leader, sir keir starmer, was asked this morning about this, if he thought borisjohnson had broken the law with this. well, it looks as though he was, and he must have known those other groups were in other rooms, in his own building and, you know, this is very important because he's damaged his authority. he's now so weak, his party's so divided, he can't deliver the leadership this country needs, and we've got a very important vote coming up next week and he can't even discharge the basic functions of government. he is the worst possible leader at the worst possible time. as you heard in the piece earlier, downing street says this quiz was virtual, the prime minister popped in host one round and he appeared virtually. the in host one round and he appeared virtuall . ., ~ , virtually. the education minister nadhim zahawi _ virtually. the education minister
nadhim zahawi was _ virtually. the education minister nadhim zahawi was defending i virtually. the education minister nadhim zahawi was defending itj nadhim zahawi was defending it earlier. mr; nadhim zahawi was defending it earlier. ~ , . nadhim zahawi was defending it earlier. g ., ., earlier. my e-mail box full of --eole earlier. my e-mail box full of people thinking _ earlier. my e-mail box full of people thinking that - earlier. my e-mail box full of people thinking that he - earlier. my e-mail box full of people thinking that he is - earlier. my e-mail box full of people thinking that he is at | people thinking that he is at perties _ people thinking that he is at parties with guests and all sorts of things— parties with guests and all sorts of things happening, they have to make their mind _ things happening, they have to make their mind up, the prime minister on a virtuai— their mind up, the prime minister on a virtual screen on a zoom call thanking — a virtual screen on a zoom call thanking his team who are in the building — thanking his team who are in the building because they have to be to respond _ building because they have to be to respond to— building because they have to be to respond to a national emergency, now they can _ respond to a national emergency, now they can make their mind up. just to say on _ they can make their mind up. just to say on this, — they can make their mind up. just to say on this, i— they can make their mind up. just to say on this, i am not taking anything _ say on this, i am not taking anything away from this, the prime minister— anything away from this, the prime minister has said the cabinet secretary will investigate all alleged events including in other departments and report back. it is interestin: departments and report back. it 3 interesting because we have the north shropshire by—election coming up north shropshire by—election coming up and the threat on the back of that of a possible vote of no confidence.— that of a possible vote of no confidence. ., . ., , ., , confidence. there are certainly lots of unhappiness _ confidence. there are certainly lots of unhappiness amongst _ confidence. there are certainly lots of unhappiness amongst the - of unhappiness amongst the conservative party about the way this has unfolded over the last couple of weeks. there is frustration when you talk to tory mps about the perceived failure of
downing street to get a grip on the story and to stop these details coming out quite like this. and it is a big week in election terms, with a by—election in north yorkshire which should in normal times be a safe conservative seat, so any change there would be a huge shock. it is a big week because mps will vote on these public health measures we have been talking about, that comes in on tuesday and even though labour is going to back them so they will likely pass and become law, there are about 60 conservative mps so far to say they will not support them, so you can expect a lot more internal argument as this week progresses.— week progresses. thank you very much, week progresses. thank you very much. that _ week progresses. thank you very much, that was _ week progresses. thank you very much, that was helen _ week progresses. thank you very much, that was helen catt. - week progresses. thank you very much, that was helen catt. goodj much, that was helen catt. good morning to you peter, first off, what do you make of what has taken
place? there has been a real change in mood, hasn't won an astonishing change in mood and what has been fascinating has been the language that labour has been using since the start of the problems for the prime minister on this sleaze front, in terms of owen paterson, the language that labour has been using and angela rayner is probably the best poserin angela rayner is probably the best poser in parliament borisjohnson, certainly gets under his skin and makes her point very well is that kind of language about one rule for them, one rule for the rest of us. you have been taking us for fools them, one rule for the rest of us. you have been taking us forfools is another phrase they use, the joke is over, you hear that language reflected back a lot in terms of interviews with people who are not interviews with people who are not in the westminster bubble. there is a serious cut through, when you have ant and dec criticising you two nights in a row, this is what people are talking about on trains and buses and workplaces across the country. this is very serious for
the prime minister. it is reflected in the opinion polls, another one today has his personal polling rate being in the negatives of double figures, and the fact that labour have taken a substantial six point lead in a couple of opinion polls as well so this is very serious for borisjohnson. in terms of what is in the sunday mirror today, the political editor there has done a greatjob in getting that story out, but i don't think that particular one story will be the game changer. it is a succession of these stories, the unrelenting pressure on the prime minister. truth? the unrelenting pressure on the prime minister.— the unrelenting pressure on the prime minister. why do you think this is happening _ prime minister. why do you think this is happening now, _ prime minister. why do you think this is happening now, and - prime minister. why do you think this is happening now, and why i prime minister. why do you thinkj this is happening now, and why is prime minister. why do you think i this is happening now, and why is it coming from within the party, but first off, steve baker is relaunching conservative way forward. he says i'm not calling for the prime minister to resign but to rescue his position. you are a former special adviser to four
senior conservative cabinet ministers. steve was questioning the team around the prime minister. what do you take from that?— do you take from that? there are definitely questions _ do you take from that? there are definitely questions in _ do you take from that? there are definitely questions in terms - do you take from that? there are definitely questions in terms of i do you take from that? there are i definitely questions in terms of how the prime minister is being advised. every politician takes advice from all sorts of quarters, notjust those paid to advise them but the buck has to stop somewhere and there are people who feel that, allegra stratton, i worked with her as a bbc journalist a long time ago, people think she has been thrown in front of the bus for this, i'm not sure about that but i think it is right she resigned and i know that resignations have been offered from other senior aides as well and the prime minister must have the best people around him serving him. there are some very — people around him serving him. there are some very good _ people around him serving him. there are some very good people in downing street who work very long, hard hours, making sure the prime minister has all of the information and advice he needs to do hisjob but i don't think it is necessarily
disloyal to borisjohnson to say that there isn't a problem within downing street at the moment and some people think he is part of course. it some people think he is part of course. , some people think he is part of course. , ., ,. ., some people think he is part of course. , ., ,. ., ., ,, course. it is fascinating that steve baker is relaunching _ course. it is fascinating that steve baker is relaunching the _ course. it is fascinating that steve baker is relaunching the way - course. it is fascinating that steve . baker is relaunching the way forward group that caused so many problems for theresa may when i was in government for three and a half years. baker, an absolutely lovely man, created huge problems for the government and will probably continue to do that for boris johnson. but steve baker certainly feeling the brand of conservatism that boris johnson feeling the brand of conservatism that borisjohnson is presiding over isn't his brand of conservatism and absolutely no suggestion that he will leave the conservative party, but a suggestion he will challenge borisjohnson, he said he tried that before with theresa may and got there in the end, but it is something that is very worrying for borisjohnson and the people around him, you could argue some of what has happened in the last few weeks is a form of tittle tattle, but at
the heart of it, there are major, very important trust issues. what is even more important is the fact that 60 conservative mps are on the record saying that they will vote against these measures on tuesday. it is to the days since boris johnson got a majority of 80 and it was unthinkable on that day two years ago, i remember it because i was working on the election, that borisjohnson would be in this position in such a short period of time. it is a really difficult one for the prime minister. taste time. it is a really difficult one for the prime minister. we have run out of time. — for the prime minister. we have run out of time, peter _ for the prime minister. we have run out of time, peter cardwell, - for the prime minister. we have run out of time, peter cardwell, thank l out of time, peter cardwell, thank you very much indeed. people in england aged between 30 and 39 can book their booster jab from tomorrow. the acceleration of the vaccination programme comes as scientists warn that the uk could face record levels of infection, without further restrictions. dr susan hopkins, the chief medical advisor at the uk health security agency and said she expects
the omicron variant to spread to unvaccinated people. we are still in the early days of understanding omicron and how it affects people. secondly, clearly, if you have had a prior infection or you've had vaccination, we would expect you to have less serious disease. however, the sheer weight of numbers that look like they're coming towards us with the omicron infection means that it will find those people who are unvaccinated or who have had a poor response to the vaccine for their underlying immune condition and that will mean that we will still see individuals in hospital. in the confirmed cases in the uk at the moment, we have only had a very small number over the age of 70, who are the people we see with the most severe disease in hospital, so i think it is early days for us to tell. in south africa, even although they are reporting that there is a lot of mild disease and a lot of people are coming into hospital with covid rather than because of covid,
it is still causing a rapidly increasing number of beds over the last ten days. emergency teams in six us states are continuing to search for survivors following one of the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in us history. more than 70 people died in kentucky, including dozens in a candle factory, and the death toll is expected to rise above 100. the state's governor said it would be a miracle if anyone else was found alive. there have been reports of deaths too in arkansas, missouri, tennessee and illinois, where six amazon workers have been confirmed dead, after the roof of their warehouse collapsed. our north america correspondent nomia iqbal reports. the scale of the destruction has been extraordinary. in the dead of night, dark funnel clouds roared across six states in four hours at huge speeds. they tore through a path of more than 200 miles in kentucky,
hitting the small town of mayfield hard. workers on christmas shifts at a candle factory were buried by several tornadoes that came hurtling in the dark. it's thought up to 110 people were inside. a0 have made it out. this has been the most devastating tornado event in our state's history, and for those that have seen it, what it has done here, and in grace county, and elsewhere, it's indescribable. a state of emergency has been declared in kentucky, as a huge rescue operation gets under way. authorities are facing huge challenges. the police station in mayfield has been destroyed and firefighters have lost equipment. there is no power. nearly 200 troops from the national guard are helping and more than half the population of this town are without electricity and water on one of the coldest months of the year. this used to be a petrol station,
and the only reason we know that is because of a solitary petrol pump that is still standing in the middle of the forecourt. all the others have blown over. and the kiosk, where you go in to pay for your petrol, has completely disappeared. it's lost underneath all this rubble. in the southern state of arkansas, a nursing home was badly damaged, killing at least one person, injuring several, and trapping more than a dozen others inside. in the midwestern state of illinois, an amazon warehouse with up to 100 people inside was ripped apart after the roof partially collapsed. at least six people are dead. president biden has called it an unimaginable tragedy. we still don't know how many lives are lost or the full extent of the damage. but i want to emphasise what i told all the governors, the federal government will do everything it possibly can do to help. forecasters say the storm has now
weakened, but americans are being urged to get ready for more severe weather as the storms continue to sweep across the country. nomia iqbal, bbc news, kentucky. the g7 summit is under way in liverpool this weekend with iranian nuclear ambitions dominating the talks. speaking at the summit, the uk foreign secretary liz truss said iran had one last chance to come to the negotiating table. this is the last chance for iran to come to the negotiating table with a serious resolution to this issue which has to be agreeing with the terms of thejcpoa. this is the last chance, and it is vital that they do so. we will not allow iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,
and it is vital that they come to the table and are serious about negotiations. people in the pacific territory of new caledonia have been voting in a third and final referendum on independence from france. voters in 2018 and again last year rejected breaking with france. early turnout was sharply down on the two previous polls, with pro—independence campaigners boycotting the vote. our correspondent, phil mercer, says the referendums are the result of the numea accords. yes, this is all part of the numea accord signed in 1998 which followed a decade of violence in new caledonia and what the accord set out was a path to potential independence. it was a 3—step path involving three votes, three referendums as you say,
one in 2018, another in 2020, and the third today, so the new caledonians, having the opportunity to stick with the status quo, to stick with this alliance, these ties with france, or to go it alone, and as you say the early indication is that the voter turnout is lower than in previous votes because of that call from secessionist leaders for its supporters to boycott the vote, because of concerns that the covid—19 pandemic has made campaigning unfair, and that is why they are calling for their supporters to abstain. and fears of unrest as well during this poll. potentially, given that 40% of the population are indigenous people, there has been concern that if voters who have been urged not to go to the ballot box could vent their frustrations elsewhere and, to that
end, france has sent about 2000 extra police officers to make sure that security is maintained. france itself has tried to stay out of the debate, whether it says yes or no to independence, but the french president emmanuel macron said that france would be "less beautiful" without new caledonia and to give you an idea of how far it is from france, it is about 20,000 kilometres, so this is a vote that has global ramifications. phil mercer, there. afghanistan is responsible for the vast majority of the world's heroin supply and now it's also emerged as a major manufacturer of crystal meth. as the country faces economic collapse since the taliban's rise to power, the drug trade there is booming. our afghanistan correspondent secunder kermani has this report. they are one of afghanistan's most lucrative exports. but these drugs are destroying
lives here and abroad. there's heroin, and increasingly now, crystal meth. around 80% of the world's heroin supply originates from here. afghanistan's opium poppy fields. before the taliban takeover, opium traders paid off corrupt officials and sold the black paste secretly. now they've been allowed to open up stalls in markets. we are driving through a bazaar where opium is being sold openly. much of it is then going to be processed into heroin. the taliban are not stopping drug production —
in fact, they've been taxing it for years. but they don't want journalists to see it being traded. that is why we are filming from inside the car. you call yourselves an islamic government but you are allowing drug production. isn't that hypocritical? translation: under the islamic emirate, before 2001, the growing and selling of opium dropped to zero. right now we're trying to find alternatives. we cannot take this away from people without offering them something else. eradicating this is good for us in the international community, so the world should help too. for years, poorfarmers have relied on opium to provide for their families. now, as afghanistan's economy collapses without international support, and water levels continue to drop, many see it as the safest crop to grow. opium destroys a lot of people's lives.
if opium is banned, what will happen to you guys and your families? the taliban regularly haul these addicts off to rehab centres. but many end up straight back here. for now, more drugs look set to hit the streets, both in afghanistan and across the world. secunder kermani, bbc news, afghanistan. one of the most thrilling formula one seasons comes to a climax today. lewis hamilton will race max verstappen in the abu dhabi grand prix. the pair are currently level on points, but vertsappen starts in pole position.
f1 journalist inga stracke is in abu dhabi. when you are in the paddock you can feel the tension building, you can cut the air, it is goose bumps material. i'm standing in front of the entrance to the racetrack, there are buses filing in, people coming in super cars, everybody wants to go here. the race has been sold out, people are begging for passes and it is going to be amazing. what is this going to come down to, skill, orthe car? maybe luck, who knows? it is going to be a fun packed race and i am really proud of being here, being part of formula 1. the 22 races this year, a calendar that at the beginning of the season with the pandemic a lot of people didn't really think could happen and it has come to, well, even points for the two title contenders and i hope they both make it
to the finish line and that the race will be decided at the finish line and may the best one win. just tell us about the temperaments of both drivers today, that we will all be watching. you have lewis hamilton who has gone through his moments then you have the young max verstappen as well. you couldn't write a movie script better. and this is real life, this is formula 1. this is brilliant for the fans. you have sir lewis hamilton, coming from a non—moneyed background, has worked his way up, and is probably, ahead of his eighth world championship title, you have max verstappen, son of a racing driver and a go—kart driver mum who has been groomed, grown up wanting to become world champion. you have mercedes, the top car producer, you have red bull, the energy drink, with a formula 1 team. it couldn't be any more different and the characters couldn't be any more different but they have one
thing in common, they are racers, and when the lights go off, it is pure racing and hopefully no politics. hello, hello, everyone. i hope you're doing all right. now, for many of us, it's a much milder day across the uk. we are importing milder air from the south, but coupled with that, quite a lot of cloud around. it's not going to be a gorgeous, kind of sunny, mild day. we do also have some rain around. let's have a look at the big picture. first off, then, this is the main feature of our weather today. really, we have an area of low pressure here and this weather front will bring clouds and some rain in the low pressure, bringing some stormy conditions to northern parts later. but it's also the vehicle which is helping draw up this much milder air from the south. and i think many of us will feel that as we head through the day. that is the weather front perched across northern ireland into the north of england, then moving northwards into scotland as we head through the day.
further south, areas that saw quite a lot of rain in places yesterday should be drier, a bit of brightness as well. some mist and fog lingering for a time across parts of wales and southern parts, i think. but we could see some hill fog elsewhere, top temperatures, a bit of a contrast, 13 or 1a celsius for many of us whilst further north, the very far north of scotland and the northern isles, about 7—8 celsius. let's return to the pressure chart. and there's that area of low pressure that i was talking about earlier on. now, this is likely to bring some very unsettled conditions across western parts of scotland and the north of scotland as we head through tonight. gale force winds, gusts up to 80, potentially higher, miles per hour, as we head through tonight. behind this and blustery showers, some of these potentially turning wintry. and then we have this feature moving into southern and southwestern parts. lows tonight, however, 11 or 12 celsius, not a cold one, everyone, but it will be cooler further north. now as we head through the day tomorrow this weather front
is likely to stall. it'll just sort of lose interest and not really want to go anywhere. and as a result, it could bring quite a bit of rainfall across parts of wales into the north of england and some central parts as well. this is also a bit of a boundary — areas to the north of this drier, brighter, northern ireland, seeing quite a bit of sunshine, hopefully, but it will be colder. these showers continuing across parts of scotland, whereas further south, cloudy, murky with some rain, but also milder, 12 or 13 celsius our highs. now, this area of high pressure tries to build. as we head through this week, a few weather fronts skirting northern parts. but under the high pressure, quite a bit of cloud cover, quite misty and murky at times.
daughter of an anti—nuclear campaigner who took her on marches against the siting of american missiles in britain. and as liz truss told me the last time she appeared on political thinking, she also used to chant on the streets of scotland. this week, she gave an important speech in which she criticised those and what she called fashionable circles for being ashamed of our past and too doubtful about the future. it's the sort of plain speaking that makes her a favourite amongst tory activists and was dubbed the new mrs t. liz truss, welcome back to political thinking. great to be here. do you remember what you said to me about diplomacy last time we sat in the studio? i've completely forgotten, nick. "i'm not very diplomatic." how does it feel being the country's top diplomat? i think it depends on the way you interpret the word diplomacy. i think what i was getting