welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore, i'm mariko oi. the headlines: new studies suggest the omicron variant, though highly contagious could be milder, with fewer people needing hospital treatment compared to previous covid variants. but as the uk records over 100,000 new cases for the first time, there are warnings that the sheer number of infections could still overwhelm health services. a well—known statue commemorating the tiananmen square massacre is removed from the university of hong kong. nearly a week after a super typhoon struck the philippines we report from a popular tourist island that's been left devastated.
you can see up there on the roof, has been torn off like a can of sardines. 90% of buildings here have been damaged. and scientists in china reveal a perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo from at least 66 million years ago. live from our studio in singapore, this is bbc news — it's newsday. preliminary results from three scientific studies suggest that the 0micron variant may be milder than first feared, with patients running less risk of needing hospital treatment. the news comes as the uk recorded more than 100,000 new cases of coronavirus. 0ur medical editor fergus walsh reports. another record day for covid cases
and for boosterjabs, but as the 0micron wave surges, at last some positive early evidence from three separate studies, all indicating it poses less of a threat than the delta variant. research by imperial college london found around a 40% reduction in the risk of being admitted to hospitalfor a night or more compared to delta. a scottish study suggested there was a 65% lower risk of being hospitalised with 0micron, but it was based on only a few cases. while in south africa, 0micron patients were thought to be around 75% less likely to need hospital treatment. rather than 0micron being intrinsically milder, scientists think this is partly due to the build—up of immunity from previous infections and vaccination. but it is still good news. there are grounds for some very cautious optimism.
i put it no stronger than that. if you're unvaccinated, then you run a really big risk because it's so contagious, and they are the people who are tending to fill up the beds, especially in intensive care. but a lot of protection from vaccination. new treatments continue to be rolled out, such as antiviral pills like molnupiravir, which should keep many of the most vulnerable from falling seriously ill once infected. the concern is the huge number of cases, even if mostly milder, could still lead to a dangerous spike in hospital admissions next month. so, the scale of the 0micron threat remains uncertain. fergus walsh, bbc news. let's get a little more detail on those preliminary studies which suggest that the 0micron variant could be milder than first feared. professor aziz sheikh is the lead author of the edinburgh university study. he explained the findings.
so, in essence, we've got three core findings here. and we've been in the fortunate position of really being able to track the entire scottish population. so, the first is that we've seen 0micron just run through scotland incredibly rapidly. the first case was towards the end of november, november the 23rd, and then in the three to four weeks subsequently, we've seen that it's become the dominant variant in scotland. so, it's basically swept through the population very rapidly. the second issue and a big unanswered question that we've been grappling with is what's the risk of severe outcomes? and by that we mean covid—19 hospitalisations or deaths. what we've been able to show when we do analyses adjusted for all sorts of other situations such as age, sex, underlying comorbidities, vaccination status, is that with the relatively few
cases that we've got, it seems like 0micron is basically around two thirds less likely to result in hospitalisation than delta. so, these are early data, but that seems to be a consistent finding across our analysis. the third thing that we've looked at is what's the impact of third or booster vaccination doses. and what we're seeing is as a result of these booster doses, protection against developing omicron—associated covid—19 is substantially increased. the head of the world health organization has told a news conference that there should be enough coronavirus vaccines for all adults around the world by the end of march next year. tedros ghebreyesus said the supply of vaccines for the covax scheme was increasing. however he warned wealthy countries were rushing to give booster jabs at the cost of poorer countries carrying out initial shots. blanket booster programmes
are likely to prolong the pandemic rather than ending it. by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate. no country can boost its way out of the pandemic. and boosters cannot be seen as a ticket to go ahead with the planned celebrations without the need for other precautions. there's much more on our website about all the developments on this story, including this analysis by our health and science correspondent, james gallagher, about the latest studies on the impact of the 0micron wave. a well—known statue commemorating the deaths of students protesting in beijing's tiananmen square has been removed from a university campus in hong kong. the removal of the eight metre—high copper statue,
created by danish sculptor, jens galschiot, was ordered back in october. construction workers are said to have laboured overnight to dismantle the piece, known as the pillar of shame. the artwork, which depicts piled up corpses and anguished faces, was one of hong kong's few remaining public memorials to tiananmen square. the bbc�*s danny vincent is in hong kong and gave us this update. in october, the university contacted the sculptor to declare that essentially this statue, following legal advice, needed to be removed. after that, they set a deadline for the removal. the deadline passed and it wasn't clear when the statue would be removed but end of the morning, construction workers started covering up the statue. they put up yellow barriers, surrounding the statue,
which is on the university campus of hong kong and then in the early hours of the morning, construction workers came, the statute was removed, it was put into a container and driven away. so this is one of the last public places to remember the students that died in 1989. many would argue that hong kong has changed substantially since the introduction of the national security law. in the past, tens of thousands of hong kong residents would gather amass at victoria park to remember the people that died on that day. that has stopped. the people that have organised those past vigils, that group has been disbanded. many of the leaders have been arrested.
and people have been arrested for inciting and taking part in what was seen as an illegal assembly onjune four last year. so many would argue that china's influence is growing quite at a rapid rate here in hong kong. and the city has transformed significantly since of the national security law. indeed, with those arrests, i understand it is increasingly difficult to express opinions but has there been much public reaction to this? not yet. i mean, it is still relatively early in the morning and people will be waking up to the news that the statue has been removed but, like you said, it was expected that it would be removed. it was not clear at what time and on what date but the removal came relatively suddenly. it seems it was done perhaps in a way to minimise widespread attention. it happened at night, it happened in the dark and construction workers covered up the statue
in white sheets and yellow barriers to ensure that people could not see the actual dismantling of the statute but what we do know is that the statue has now been removed from the university campus and i think this once again marks a significant change here in the freedoms or the perceived freedoms or how people will perceive the freedoms here in hong kong. danny vincent in hong kong for us. let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines: brigitte macron, the wife of the french president, is to sue over false claims circulating on the internet that she is transgender and was born male. the false report first appeared on a far—right website and has since been circulated by conspiracy theorists. brigitte macron has been married to emmanuel macron since 2007. she has three adult children from herfirst marriage. the european commission has launched legal action against poland, saying it has serious doubts about the independence and impartiality of its
constitutional tribunal. it's the latest episode in the long—running dispute about the polish government's sweeping changes to thejudiciary. poland now has two months to respond to the charges — it's already accused brussels of ovestepping its powers. it's nearly a week, since a super typhoon hit the philippines, killing at least 375 people, and leaving hundreds of thousands without shelter. one of the worst affected areas was the popular tourist island of shargo. from there, our correspondent howard johnson sent this report. devastation as far as the eye can see. super typhoon rai first made landfall here last thursday, packing winds in excess of 150 mph and dumping huge quantities of rainfall. this dramatic footage captured the moment a new sports hall, doubling as an
evacuation centre, was torn to shreds. there was no protection, there was no roof, there was no wall. we was literally lying down there. and the entire nature force was, like, bashing on us with full power, with full force. we had nothing there. the governor of the island estimates that 90% of buildings have been damaged. this is my house. this man shows me to where his home and convenience store once stood. i'm scared because, my children, there's no more food, and then my house is broken from the typhoon. i don't know how i'm going to start again my store and my home. this is a scene that we have seen many times. the roof has been ripped off like a can of sardines. the metal�*s been torn back. glass has smashed up there. and you can see the roof in tatters down here. and so many people are without
shelter at the moment, and people here are calling for more support. they need more aid, they need more water, more food. and, at the moment, the supplies are coming through, but they're not getting through quickly enough. prices for filtered bottled water have doubled in the last week, forcing some to find other sources. this family are drawing water from an old well, but it isn't clean. diarrhoea cases are on the rise here. it's bad for the stomach, but we don't have a choice. we need to drink. we don't have safe water to drink. at the island's badly damaged airport, aid is getting through but in limited quantities. 0utside, residents have been waiting for up to three days for a flight off the island. it's leading to a sense of panic. there's nothing. there's no system. we have to figure it out ourselves. that's it.
the real pandemic is not having a system. sorry. as night falls, a newly arrived philippine red cross team help islanders to speak with loved ones using their satellite phone. help is on hand here, but there needs to be a lot, lot more. howard johnson, bbc news, siargao island. a jury in the trial of the british socialite ghislaine maxwell, has decided to reconvene after christmas, after failing to reach a verdict on wednesday. ms maxwell, a close associate ofjeffrey epstein, denies eight counts of sex trafficking and other crimes. 0ur correspondent barbara plett—usher has been following the trial in new york. the jury deliberated for two full days, but it wasn't able to reach a verdict before christmas. and the court has now recessed for the holiday weekend. thejurors are considering six counts against ghislaine maxwell of grooming and transporting girls for sex.
and the case is narrowly focused on the accusations of four women who say that she facilitated or participated in jeffrey epstein�*s abuse of her. the jurors have several times asked the judge to send them transcript of testimony or to clarify certain issues. they will come back on monday to continue deliberating about whether to convict ghislaine maxwell of all, some or none of the charges. in the meantime, ms maxwell will be spending christmas at the federal detention centre in brooklyn, where she's been for more than a year, with this decision still hanging over her. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: we look at the effects of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns on childrens�* mental health. the world of music's 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 said that it's failed in its principle objective to capture noriega and take him to the united states to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle| was hastily taken away. 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.
this is newsday on the bbc. i'm mariko 0i in singapore. 0ur headlines: new studies suggest the 0micron variant, though highly contagious could be milder, with fewer people needing hospital treatment compared to previous covid variants. a well—known statue commemorating the tiananmen square massacre has been removed from the university of hong kong. the pandemic has left children falling behind academically. but parents fear their kids�* mental health is suffering too. this month, a mckinsey report found nearly a third of parents in the us are worried about their child's mental health. those concerns are higher among black, hispanic and asian families. laura trevelyan went to meet one mother and her daughter in new york city to find out how they're dealing with the pandemic. a festive outing forjackie and her daughter, jordyn. for the first—grader,
it's exciting to be in town. jackie worries about her six—year—old, though, who developed anxiety during the pandemic after her preschool classes ended abruptly. i came out of the pandemic with some anxiety myself, and so i'm passing through the skills i picked up to cope with my own anxiety to her. so, we have a bedtime routine where before she goes to sleep, i'll sit with her, in the dark sometimes, we'lljust talk about the day, the things that bothered her. she's really good at communicating herfeelings when she has a safe space. so, we do that, we talk. anxiety is something that carmen llerena is dealing with in the classroom. it's really interesting to see how children are processing even the way that they treat each other. she teaches kindergarten and first grade in east harlem, which was hit hard by the pandemic, and families lost loved ones and livelihoods. for me, the most telling is the separation anxiety. if there's a staff member absent, there's a lot of anxiety around that.
"is so—and—so going to be back? why aren't they here?" at the beginning of the school year, we saw that separation anxiety from families lasts a little longer than it usually does. usually after day two or three, the crying has subsided when we're saying goodbye to our grown—up. but it's certainly lasted a little longer. the effect of the pandemic on education is still unfolding. but one thing's clear here in new york city — enrolment is down, as parents either don't feel safe sending their kids back to school, or they've left the city altogether. i spoke to bruce fuller, a sociologist who studies early childhood, about the effects of all this pandemic anxiety on how kids learn. we've long known that its social, emotional comfort and motivation children feel that provides the foundation for cognitive growth and pre—literacy development, oral language development. so, if kids
are feeling anxious, if they're wearing masks in pre—k, theyjust don't have that immediate social interaction and base—level confidence upon which learning occurs. jordyn�*s preschool and kindergarten years were upended by the pandemic, yet she's doing well at school academically and learning to deal with her anxiety. we do breathing, she does breath work. we do some meditation music that helps settle her in the evening also. so, we're coping, it's getting better. just as kids get back on track, parents are hoping the 0micron variant doesn't mean a return to remote learning this winter. the unknown is yet another source of anxiety. laura trevelyan, bbc news, new york. zimbabwe has begun paying out us dollars bonuses to government workers as a cushion against the effects of price increases and a falling local currency. when the public began rejecting
the inflation—hit zimbabwe dollar, authorities effectively abandoned it, in favour of international currencies like the us dollar. the bbc�*s shingai nyoka reports from harare. long lines form outside a foreign—exchange bureau. some spent the night here. a recent government policy allows those who earn local currency to exchange it for up to $200 us in cash. translation: everything now is charged in us dollars. - my rent, goods in many shops and even schools are now demanding us dollars. translation: the exchange rate offered here is better compared l to the black market rates that we found on the street, which kill our ability to provide for our families. it is why we are here like this. the zimbabwe dollar, reintroduced in 2019, has devalued by 25% in the last three months, and it's
slowly being rejected. the thirst for us dollars is everywhere. the people here are awaiting to collect us dollars cash sent by their relatives living abroad. authorities say a lot of it will end up on the black market, a market it blames for the collapsing local currency. the size of zimbabwe's currency black market is staggering. everywhere, illegal currency traders sell us dollars to individuals and importers, but at double the official rate. last year, the government began auctioning the greenback to businesses to try to kill the black market. inflation tumbled from about 800% to just over 50% a year. it's been welcomed by big business. we have experienced significant growth in the first and second quarters of 2021. the currency issue presents a risk to the growth already experienced. it also presents a risk to the growth that is anticipated.
but with the central bank only supplying about 30% of companies' needs, the black market is in resurgence. in a tacit admission that the currency�*s failing yet again, government workers are being paid their year—end bonuses in us dollars. this published author with two degrees and a 17—year career earns $29,000 local a month. about three months ago, i think the money was worth about a bit more than $200, so it's being whittled down, by effect of about $20—30 every month. so, every monday, i've got to cover that gap. i've got to think of a method of getting that money. with most franchises and shops charging either in us dollars or the local currency at the black market rate and in open defiance of the law, the fear is that zimbabweans could one day reject their currency, just
as they did in 2009. shingai nyoka, bbc news, harare. now to quite a remarkable discovery, scientists have found a perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo. it was discovered in southern china and thought to be at least 66 million years old. dr fion waisum ma was part of the research group, she says it's "the best dinosaur embryo ever found in history". this fossil was discovered in southern china in around 2000 and then it was hidden in storage for years, so it wasn't until 2015 that the curator of the museum sorted through the boxes in storage and rediscovered the fossil, and then they arranged a very detailed fossil preparation, so they removed the rock covering they removed the rock covering the skeleton and finally we see this amazing fossil. this dinosaur belongs to a theropod dinosaur belongs to a theropod dinosaur group that existed
during the cretaceous and they are always described as birdlike because they are covered with feathers, they don't have any teeth but they have a big so for the particular specimen we see it has a very unique posture with the body curled up and it's head in between its leg and this posture is very similar to what we see in a late stage embryo of a living bird. what an incredible _ embryo of a living bird. what an incredible discovery! - embryo of a living bird. what an incredible discovery! and| an incredible discovery! and thatis an incredible discovery! and that is going to end the final edition of newsday for 2021. of course we will have a lot of special programmes over the holiday season right here on bbc world news and newsday. we will be back on the fourth of january but for now, from all of us here in singapore and london, thank you so much for watching and happy holidays. we will see you in the new year, karishma will be back on the
fourth of january so don't get to tune and. thanks for watching. —— don't forget to tune in. hello again. well, it's been another chilly day wednesday, but the trend is as we go into thursday the weather is turning increasingly mild. however, over recent hours, we have seen some freezing rain in scotland. that's liquid rain that can freeze on impact. you can imagine the roads and the pavements becoming very icy in some of the deeper scottish valleys for a time. but this time yesterday, it was very cold. temperatures were down to about —10 into parts of aberdeenshire. quite a contrast with what we've got at the moment, but aside from some of those valleys, the temperatures are stilljust about below freezing. for the most part as we head into thursday, it's actually getting milder. and across western areas — 12 degrees in plymouth, 11 in belfast , it is going to be a mild start to the day
for these areas on thursday. now, thursday, there will be a lot of cloud around. we've got weather fronts bringing rain. the heaviest rain moves quickly across from northern ireland into northern england and scotland as well. further southwards, cloud, a few spots of rain, no great amounts, though. some brighter weather for wales and the south west later on, but look at the temperatures. northern ireland, most of england and wales seeing temperatures into double figures and reaching highs of 13. but still relatively cool across the far north of england and across much of scotland. now through thursday night, our weather front stops moving northwards, and itjust weakens really in situ over scotland. so, there will be a lot of cloud here, still bits and pieces of light rain, some drizzle, some mist and fog patches over the hills as well. and heading into christmas eve, there's probably also going to be some mist and fog across parts of england and wales, so we could have poor visibility for a time. through christmas eve, then, we've got another band of rain that's going to be moving into northern ireland, across wales and south west england. it does become a little bit drier for northernmost areas of scotland, but we've got some showers around and they're likely to be wintry showers into shetland.
now, for christmas day itself, we've still got this temperature contrast that we've been talking about for a number of days. now, it looks like it's going to be sunny and cold across northern scotland, but i suspect there'll be some wintry showers affecting eastern areas. so, that is a mixture of rain, some sleet and some snow. it's mild across the south west. you're just going to get rain and temperatures into double figures, but in between, there's a small chance that we could see a few flurries over the high ground of northern england and perhaps the southern uplands of scotland. but that's more of a perhaps. beyond that, into boxing day, many of us will keep the mild weather conditions, but still relatively cool air loitering in scotland. that's your weather.