tv BBC World News BBC News December 21, 2021 5:00am-5:31am GMT
this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. tackling omicron — president biden is due to outline new measures, as the variant sweeps across the us, making up nearly three—quarters of new cases. boris johnson faces calls for clarity over possible new covid restrictions as businesses fear finances could be hit over the christmas period. a jury in new york considers its verdict in the sex trafficking trial of the british socialite, ghislaine maxwell. japan carries out the death penalty on three prisoners who'd been on death row for several year — in the first executions since 2019.
and covid won't stop play. the english premier league will continue over christmas despite rising infections amongst its players hello and welcome. omicron now makes up nearly three quarters of new coronavirus cases in america. president biden will outline plans to tackle the variant later today. outside the us, more countries have introduced restrictions to deal with rising cases. mark lobel reports. texas was bracing itself for an micron storm. now it reports what is believed to be the usa's first related death. look how quickly over the past week in the states omicron in purple
here has taken over the delta variant, represented in orange, in new cases. variant, represented in orange, in new cam-— in new cases. three, two, one, ha . . in new cases. three, two, one, happy new— in new cases. three, two, one, happy new year! _ in new cases. three, two, one, happy new year! so _ in new cases. three, two, one, happy new year! so is - in new cases. three, two, one, happy new year! so is it - in new cases. three, two, one, happy new year! so is it ten i happy new year! so is it ten da s happy new year! so is it ten days until — happy new year! so is it ten days until 2022, _ happy new year! so is it ten days until 2022, its - happy new year! so is it ten . days until 2022, its dominance, including 90% of new cases here including 90% of new cases here in new york, will no doubt feature injoe biden's stark warning for the country's unvaccinated in an address expected later on tuesday. but in boston, there is anger that only the vaccinated will soon be allowed to enter restaurants. and the compulsory jabs for all city employees will be dished out. in washington it is indoor marks —— mask wearing that is back on the menu like in california and new york. such is the spread of omicron, keeping the country's borders close to southern africa is now looking fruitless.— africa is now looking fruitless. ~ ~ , africa is now looking fruitless. ~ , , fruitless. we will likely pull back on that _ fruitless. we will likely pull back on that very _ fruitless. we will likely pull back on that very soon -
fruitless. we will likely pull - back on that very soon because we have enough infection in our own country and we are letting in people from other countries that has as much or more infection than the southern african countries.— infection than the southern african countries. they believe that vaccines _ african countries. they believe that vaccines and _ african countries. they believe that vaccines and prior - african countries. they believe that vaccines and prior levels l that vaccines and prior levels of covid—i9 infection are helping to keep the disease milder but scientists warn against complacency as... just against complacency as... just a month ago. _ against complacency as... just a month ago, abaco _ against complacency as... jut a month ago, abaco was reporting its lowest number of cases in 18 months. last week, it is reported the fourth highest number of cases in a single week so far. pare highest number of cases in a single week so far.— single week so far. are so alarm bells _ single week so far. are so alarm bells are _ single week so far. are so alarm bells are ringing - single week so far. are so . alarm bells are ringing across europe. as the eu approves a fifth vaccine. this one from the us firm novavax. the german chancellor sitting his italian counterpart, wants a booster campaign is not enough and more restrictions will be needed even for the vaccinated. all as
the head of the world health organization pushes for difficult decisions to be made sooner with his blunt new message in the run—up to christmas, warning the world that an event cancelled is better than a life cancelled. mark lobel, abc news. —— bbc news. let's get more on that data from the cdc which suggests omicron is now dominant in the us. dr anne rimoin is professor of epidemiology at the fielding school of public health at ucla. your reaction to the announcement that omicron is now the most dominant strain. we are now over 70% of cases. i think it is a big alarm that should be going off to everyone that this is going to be a very, very difficult next couple of weeks. this virus is
spreading very, very quickly. more quickly than i think anyone has anticipated and we are going to see a lot of people that will get l that will potentially be hospitalised and die. will potentially be hositalised and die. �* w hospitalised and die. and those that will get _ hospitalised and die. and those that will get seriously _ hospitalised and die. and those that will get seriously ill, - that will get seriously ill, are they likely to be those who have not had vaccines? i are they likely to be those who have not had vaccines?- have not had vaccines? i think the evidence _ have not had vaccines? i think the evidence is _ have not had vaccines? i think the evidence is very _ have not had vaccines? i think the evidence is very clear - have not had vaccines? i think the evidence is very clear and | the evidence is very clear and we see this over and over again, globally. your chances of getting infected, your chances of getting severely ill and hospitalised or dying is a significantly lower than those that are unvaccinated. it is the unvaccinated that will really drive this in terms of severe outcomes but it is going to be also very important to get roosted because boosters are going to make that additional difference between becoming infected and not for those who are vaccinated. the wor is those who are vaccinated. the worry is at _ those who are vaccinated. the worry is at the _ those who are vaccinated. the worry is at the moment, certainly for parts of the uk mattel me if this is the same in the us, it is not clear yet
how risky this variant is in terms of how unwell people will be. ., , ., �* be. right now we still don't have good _ be. right now we still don't have good answers - be. right now we still don't have good answers for - be. right now we still don'ti have good answers for this. be. right now we still don't i have good answers for this. it is true that in south africa there is cases that are much less severe that are not requiring the same hospitalisations, icu, stays, not the same association with deaths. however, south africa has a different make up in terms of age distribution than the uk, the rest of europe and then the us. so we are in valley —— very early days and we have to see how it plays out and it isn'tjust about how severe it is even it if —— if it is slightly less severe than delta, we're going to see a tsunami of infections and that is going to put health systems under very severe duress. the other thing — under very severe duress. the other thing we _ under very severe duress. the other thing we should point out is they are not all inside with
closed doors trying to stay warm especially given that omicron seems to be highly infectious in terms of, it transmits very quickly. it is winter in — transmits very quickly. it is winter in the _ transmits very quickly. it is winter in the northern - winter in the northern hemisphere so we are seeing, what we are seeing is people indoors, close proximity, it is the winter holidays, the perfect opportunity for this virus to be spreading so i think there are a number of factors, we can'tjust say it is going to be less severe or less of a problem, we're going be proactive and tried to drive infections down and what we do know is that boosters will make a big difference in people who are already vaccinated and of course those who are yet to be vaccinated should be getting vaccinated should be getting vaccinated if they are able. ﬁi< vaccinated if they are able. ok sto we vaccinated if they are able. ok stop we appreciate your time once again and i am sure we will speak to you again as this pans out in the year ahead. you very much indeed. we have more on omicron later in our
bulletin of course the variant has caused a big rise in cases in the uk. the prime minister boris johnson says there will be no new covid restrictions introduced in england for now, but that he is not ruling anything out. businesses have been stressing the need for a longer term plan. our political correspondent damian grammaticas reports. under the microscope now, not the virus that the government's approach to tackling it. when many were hoping to clarity ahead of christmas there is instead uncertainty. covid cases are surging and boris johnson and his cabinet met yesterday. they had yet to decide on any of the key questions. our new covid measures required for england? if so, how soon and how severe? we sent an e—mail on tuesday to everyone and it basically told them you will be charged if you don't let us know, please let us know and we had maybe 150 cancelled but we have maybe 600
-- 6000 cancelled but we have maybe 600 —— 6000 bookings so 150 is not that bad. two verity of omicron isn't so severe, people are going to be angry and if you don't lock down now and it is, people are still going to be angry so... you can't win either way. angry so... you can't win either way-— angry so... you can't win either way. so for now, the vaccination _ either way. so for now, the vaccination drive _ either way. so for now, the vaccination drive goes - either way. so for now, the vaccination drive goes on . either way. so for now, the | vaccination drive goes on no new restrictions. several ministers in mrjohnson's cabinet are reluctant to see more enacted, concerned about the effect on the economy and wanting more data on how this new covid wave is impacting hospitals. laboursays new covid wave is impacting hospitals. labour says there is a vacuum of leadership. instead of bein: a vacuum of leadership. instead of being hamstrung _ a vacuum of leadership. instead of being hamstrung from - a vacuum of leadership. instead of being hamstrung from his - a vacuum of leadership. insteadl of being hamstrung from his own cabinet and hiding from his own backbenchers, it is time that borisjohnson stopped putting the politics of the conservative party ahead of public health and level with the country. it public health and level with the country-— public health and level with the country. it is understood the country. it is understood the health — the country. it is understood the health secretary - the country. it is understood the health secretary sajid i the health secretary sajid javid is in favour of cutting the length of isolation for people who have tested positive for covid ten days to seven if clinical advice supports the
change. it would help seeing staff absences. on the advice that people should work from home and the advice that it is proven to work to prioritise who you have contact with. they need clarity soon. they have critical decisions in the coming days about whether to go ahead with events planned in the coming weeks. the businesses _ the coming weeks. the businesses have - the coming weeks. the businesses have the i the coming weeks. tue: businesses have the data, the cancellations, less turnover, not making profits, they are carrying the staff in carrying the cost so that evidence is there. about omicron and what it will be in the future we might not know but the damage is being done now. for might not know but the damage is being done now.— might not know but the damage is being done now. for now they are waiting _ is being done now. for now they are waiting for _ is being done now. for now they are waiting for the _ is being done now. for now they are waiting for the government i are waiting for the government and the decision that could come at any time. damian grammaticas, bbc news, westminster. let's get some of the day's other news. police in the philippines say the number of people who've died after a super typhoon hit last week has risen to more than 375.
the red cross says it's carnag" in many areas, with no power, no communications, and very little water. thousands of military, coastguard and fire service personnel, have been deployed to help in the relief operation. the chilean currency, the peso, has fallen by 4% to a record low against the dollar following the victory of the left—wing candidate, gabriel boric in sunday's presidential election. mr boric won 56% of the vote, beating the far right candidate jose antonio kast. mr boric will be the country's youngest president ever. researchers in britain have found the largest ever fossil of a giant millipede. analysis of the discovery by cambridge university suggests the creature was as long as a car and weighed about 50 kilos. the species crawled across the earth more than 300 million years ago. although millipedes typically feed on decaying plant matter, scientists say it might have been carnivorous.
thejury in the trail of ghislaine maxwell have begun their deliberations in herfederal sex trafficking trial. in the closing arguments, prosecutors called her a sophisticated predator. ms maxwell has denied grooming underage girls for abuse by the late paedophile jeffrey epstein between 1994 and 2004. barbara plett usher is following developments. jurors have to decide which version of events to believe. the prosecution has does —— argued that ghislaine maxwell was crucial to jeffrey epstein's operation. she made the teenagers feel comfortable, she was partial, smiling, a coverfor mr epstein. she knew exactly what she was doing after she sent them into a massage room with them. the defence sets is that no she didn't know because mr epstein kept secret from her and she is being punished for his crimes,
a scapegoat. the other issue is the credibility of the four women who have accused ghislaine maxwell in the complicity of the abuse. the defence says they didn't mention her alleged role in her initial interviews with law enforcement and is only doing now because they are motivated to money. the prosecution says the similarities in their stories actually show the playbook by which miss maxwell operated to recruit and groom them and that in fact these women had already received pay—outs from jeffrey epstein estate so if their motivation was money that they wouldn't have gone through the testifying at this trial. —— through the hell of testifying at this trial. we don't know how soon the jury will take that we may get a verdict by christmas which is ghislaine maxwell's 60th birthday. barbara plett—usher there. japan has executed three prisoners by hanging for the first time since 2019. the prisoners had been on death row for several years since being convicted of multiple murders in the early 2000s. more than 100 inmates
await execution injapan, where support for capital punishment remains high. our tokyo correspondent rupert wingfield hayes has more. japan has a very unique system and certainly human rights groups and people campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty here has said it is a very cruel and unusual system. in a large part notjust because of the use of hanging and the fact that japan along with the united states are really the only major industrialised country that continues to use execution as a form of punishment, butjapan has is very specific way that it is done which is that the inmate on death row may spend many years not knowing if this date, which day, is going to be their last day before they are put to death. they are only told literally on the morning that it happens so these three men, as they were all men, would have been woken up this
morning before dawn and told, "you are now going to your execution this morning", and thatis execution this morning", and that is the first they would have known of it and they would have known of it and they would have sat there for many years not knowing exactly when it was going to happen. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: how south african scientists are investigating a new theory regarding covid—19 variants — we'll bring you that story in just a moment. the world of music has been paying tribute to george michael, who's died from suspected heart failure at the age of 53. he sold well over 100 million albums in a career spanning more than three decades. the united states' troops have been trying to overthrow the dictatorship of general manuel noriega. the pentagon says it's failed in its principle objective to capture noriega and take him to the united states to face drugs charges. m its place. — the russian flag was hoisted over what is now— no longer the soviet union, but the commonwealth of independent states. | day broke slowly
over lockerbie, over the cockpit of pan am's maid of the seas, nosedown in the soft earth. you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys high, a football pitch wide falls from 30,000 feet. christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkoder, where there were anti—communist riots ten days ago. to this is bbc news, the latest headlines: president biden is due to outline new plans to tackle omicron, as the variant sweeps across the us, making up nearly three—quarters of new cases. boris johnson faces calls for clarity over possible new covid restrictions as british businesses fear finances could be hit over the christmas period. south african scientists —
hailed globally for their discovery of the omicron covid variant — are investigating the "highly plausible hypothesis" that the emergence of new covid—19 variants could be linked to extensive mutations taking place inside infected people whose immune systems have already been weakened. the bbc�*s africa correspondent andrew harding sent this report. in this crowded neighbourhood outside cape town, one in four adults is hiv positive. over the years, south africa has taken impressive steps to manage the epidemic, dispensing drugs that allow people to live healthy lives. but millions of people here and around the world are not on hiv medication.- world are not on hiv medication. ., ., , ., medication. there are lots of issues. some _ medication. there are lots of issues. some don't - medication. there are lots of issues. some don't want - medication. there are lots of issues. some don't want to l medication. there are lots of. issues. some don't want to be tested and they don't want to know. i think it is the stigma around hiv.—
around hiv. and that is a problem- _ around hiv. and that is a problem. not _ around hiv. and that is a problem. notjust - around hiv. and that is a problem. not just for - around hiv. and that is a l problem. not just for them around hiv. and that is a - problem. notjust for them but potentially for a world now battling a new covid pandemic. that is because people with untreated hiv have weakened immune systems and if they catch covid as well, then the new virus can linger inside them for months.- new virus can linger inside them for months. your immune s stem them for months. your immune system would — them for months. your immune system would kick _ them for months. your immune system would kick a _ them for months. your immune system would kick a virus - them for months. your immune system would kick a virus out i system would kick a virus out fairly quickly if fully functional. in somebody where immunity is suppressed, that virus may be able to continue for many months, replicating and making more mutations, mutating as it goes. scientists huntin: mutating as it goes. scientists hunting for — mutating as it goes. scientists hunting for new— mutating as it goes. scientists hunting for new covid - mutating as it goes. scientists hunting for new covid variance j hunting for new covid variance here in south africa have already detect that two cases of extensive mutations occurring in people with untreated hiv. but that is also happened a dozen times in other parts of the world. igrate happened a dozen times in other parts of the world.— parts of the world. we see many mutations _ parts of the world. we see many mutations which _ parts of the world. we see many mutations which raised - parts of the world. we see many mutations which raised to - parts of the world. we see many mutations which raised to a - mutations which raised to a
plausible explanation that individuals who are immune suppressed for many different reasons here could be a source of virus evolution. this reasons here could be a source of virus evolution.— of virus evolution. this is a delicate — of virus evolution. this is a delicate subject. _ of virus evolution. this is a delicate subject. many - of virus evolution. this is a i delicate subject. many people living with hiv across africa already face stigma and scientists do not want to add to that. they point out that there are many other reasons why people's immune systems can be weakened including malnutrition, cancer treatment and diabetes. there is also concern here that while africa may be home to the world's biggest hiv epidemic, the continent should not be seen as a focal point for new covid variance. we saw five variants that we have right now come from four different countries that make continents. so to scapegoat africa in a situation where things have risen in other continents is simply outrageous. the answer,
scientists say, is to speed up the rollout of covid vaccines in africa, to prioritise all those with weak immune systems and to make sure that people with hiv are given all the support they need. andrew harding, bbc news, johannesburg. new zealand has delayed its plans to gradually reopen its borders, in response to the rapid global spread of the omicron variant. it is also lengthening the time that travellers arriving in the country must spend in quarantine facilities. let's speak to our correspondent in australia, shaimaa khalil — who's in sydney. lovely to see you again. no surprise at all to hear that new zealand is cracking down. it is not a surprise but it will be a disappointment for many many new zealand families here in australia. last month the new zealand government had announced a phased reopening of its international borders and
its international borders and it was going to start on january 17 for new zealand citizens and visa holders here in australia and then it was going to be for new zealanders anywhere in the world and then by the end of april 2022 it was going to be for any fully vaccinated visitor from any part of the world. another start of that phased plan has now been delayed to the end of february and of course it will affect the travel plans for many families here in australia. remember, this is the end of the school year, the start of the school holidays and many families would have been waiting forjanuary 17 to reunite with loved ones. of course this was going to be the start of new zealand opening up to the rest of the world. we heard from the covid—19, covid—19 response minister chris hipkins who acknowledged the disappointment for the families but also said that the omicron variant is transmissible as it is and it throws cu rveballs
transmissible as it is and it throws curveballs and that this was the best way to try and help new zealand control the spread of omicron. remember, they are in a much better position than they were after the delta variant outbreak that happened a few months ago, there are now more than 90% double vaccinations across the nation in new zealand and the community cases are trending down, they are dropping and have recorded about 28 today and of course these feel like out of this world numbers but the big test will be what happened here in australia, you know, australia opened its international borders albeit partially here in new south wales, in victoria and the act and they have seen an increase in the number of covid—19 cases and i think this is going to be the big test for new zealand. how is it going to handle reopening borders, how it is going to respond to the spread of covid—19 and, right now, they are trying to buy time to
help control that as it happens now. ., ~' help control that as it happens now. . ~ , ., help control that as it happens now. . ~ ., latest there. now it's time to get all the latest from the bbc sport centre. hello, i'm chetan pathak with your sports news. english premier league clubs have chosen to fulfil their festive fixtures despite ongoing covid—19 disruption. there were a record 90 positive tests last week in the english top flight with six games postponed at the weekend. clubs have been advised if they have 13 fit players, plus a goalkeeper, they should play their games and as things stand all matches will go ahead as scheduled. meanwhile the premier league says 77% of players have had two covid vaccination jabs, that's fewer than in the top leagues in spain, italy, france and germany where the numbers are over 90%. the national hockey league says it hopes to avoid a full shutdown — despite a rise in the number of covid cases in north america.
columbus blue jackets and montreal canadiens are the latest teams to have matches suspended because of several positive test results among players. it means that more than a quarter of the teams in the nhl will be out of action until the weekend at least — with many having two matches postponed and all cross—border games off until thursday. dozens of matches have to be re—scheduled. the spread of covid across north america could also potentially affect the ice hockey tournament at the winter olympics in beijing in february — with questions around the usa and canada's participation. in my opinion it is a smart decision. i don't know who would really want to go under those circumstances, you know? especially, ijust put myself in that situation with the family and there is zero chance that you want to run the risk of being stuck over there. it makes it not too enticing. so i think it is the right decision
that comes to the way... if you don't go. and the worst—kept secret in basketball has been confirmed with steve kerr officially announced as the new head coach of the usa men's national team. he coached the golden state warriors to three nba championships and takes overfrom gregg popovich, who led the usa to the olympic title in tokyo earlier this year. kerr was his assistant — and he's been charged with leading the americans into the 2023 world cup and the olympics in paris 202a. kerr's set to be the 16th different coach to take the usa men's team to an olympic games. 13 of the previous 15 have won the gold medal: i will have all the top business stories right here next so don't go away, we will see you in just a moment.
hello there. it's been a cloudy and chilly start to the week. things will change. from midweek, we'll start to see atlantic air coming our way. that means temperatures will be rising, but we're also going to find some rain. but what about christmas? well, i'll try and answer that question later on. we start, though, cold in many places on tuesday morning, particularly in the clearer skies in scotland, with a frost in the north. we could see some pockets of frost across some western parts of england and wales, but the prospects of some sunshine during tuesday, which will be good news on what is the shortest day of the year. it's the winter solstice. these are the sunrise and sunset times, but, of course, after tuesday, the days do get longer. we do have some sunshine across northern parts of scotland, some sunshine at times coming through across wales and western england, but more cloud further east. still that blanket of cloud in northern ireland,
southern scotland that will push its way into the central belt and make it feel quite chilly here. temperatures on the whole similar to what we had on monday, and near—normal, really, for this time of the year. but it's from wednesday that the weather starts to change because high pressure that's kept it quiet for so long is moving away. and instead, we've got a big low out in the atlantic. that's going to push bands of rain our way. but we start wednesday with a widespread frost in scotland, england and wales. some early sunshine, but it clouds over from the west. the wind starts to pick up. we've got this band of rain mainly affecting northern ireland, pushing into wales and south—west england and then into parts of scotland later on, bringing in some milder airfor western areas. but for many parts of the country, it's still another chilly day. that band of wet weather moves northwards and eastwards overnight, and then with low pressure still out to the west, another band of rain sweeps around that as well. so we're going to find some wet weather moving northwards and eastwards again during thursday. could stay wet
for most of the day across the northern half of scotland. elsewhere, that rain does clear through. we get some sunshine following on behind. and with a south—westerly wind, just look at what it does for the temperatures — widely in double figures across northern ireland, england and wales. as the winds fall light, though, overnight, and if you're going to be travelling into christmas eve, it could be misty with some patches of fog around in the morning. and then we have that battle between the milder air and colder air that's in the north. now, for many, it looks like we'll stay in the milder air for christmas day, but if there is going to be a white christmas, at the moment, it only looks likely in northern parts of scotland.
this is bbc news with the latest business headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. prime minister boris johnson refuses to rule out further covid restrictions, as the hospitality sector demands urgent financial help. the lira launches a comeback, surging some 20 percent off record lows after the turkish government announces new measures to support the struggling currency. and out with the old and in with the new — after a pandemic hit 2021 we take a look at some of the key trends which are likely to dominate the coming year.