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tv   BBC World News Today  PBS  December 17, 2021 5:00pm-5:31pm PST

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♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... woman: architect. bee keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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announcer: and now, "bbc world news". ♪ >> hello, this is bbc news i'm lewis vaughan jones. the headlines -- another day, another record. more than 93,000 new cases of coronavirus and the u.k. in the last 24 hours. as cases jump in the u.s., the leading expert on health takes note of what is happening in the u.k. and warns about not getting jabbed. >> clearly unvaccinated individuals already high risk of serious involvement, including hospitalization. [cheering] lewis: a huge setback for u.k. prime minister boris johnson as his party loses one of its safest seats for the first time
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in newly 200 years. >> i hear what the voters a saying and in all humility, i have got to accept that verdict. ♪ lewis: and north korea marks 10 years since kim jong-un came supreme leader. ♪ hello and welcome to the program. we begin with more evidence, if anyone needed it, that the omicron strain of coronavirus is continuing to spread around the world. the headline figures are coming from europe right now, in particular the u.k.. in the past 24 hours for a third successive day, the number of infections reached a new record high. just over 93,000 cases were confirmed in that timeframe.
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that is nearly 60% more than a week ago. the increase of people being treated in hospitals less dramatic, 160 three across the u.k., just 2% more. and it is unclear whether this means the new variant is weaker or the u.k. public have gained more protection. in the u.s., cases of jumping sharply. america' is top expert says it is vital everybody gets a booster jab. >> we are in the midst of a situation, now facing a very important delta surge and we are looking over our soldier at an oncoming omicron surge. clearly unvaccinated individuals are at a really high risk of serious involvement, including hospitalization. the fully vaccinated are doing much better. optimum proion is fully vaccinated plus a boost. so, the bottom line of what we have been telling you all along, it is critical to get vaccinated. if you are vaccinated, it is critical for optimal protection
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to get boosted. lewis: that is the u.s.. elsewhere, in europe, countries are introducing new measures to try to slow the spread of the omicron variant. ireland announced new restrictions, ordering bars and restaurants to close from early sunday as it tries to reduce contact a halt the spread of the variant. the moves were introduced despite opposition from a number of lawmakers there. the parties of the governing coalition. denmark also reported new cases at record levels. the government they are his closing cinemas, theaters and concert halls and restric the opening hours of restaurants. that will start to happen from sunday morning for at least four weeks. and the french prime minister has warned that the omicron variant will become dominant in the country in early 2022. france mobilized the army to help with vaccinations, has banned big public parties at new year's and travel restrictions
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on people coming from the u. are due to come in force in a few hours' time. with health care systems across europe now starting to come under strain, the president of the european commission says vaccination is the key to fighting omicron. >> we know that our health care systems are overstretched right now. this is partly linked to the large number of unvaccinated patients. in conclusion, the answer can only be to increase the nation to include children above five years old, boosting protective measures. that has to be the answer we give to this new variant. lewis: it has still only been about a month since the omicron strain was identified, and scientists are finding out more all the time. a study by imperial college in london suggests the rate of protection given by having been previously infected with covid could be as low as 19%. the overall risk of reinfection is 5.4 times greater that that
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with the delta variant. but the study seems to confirm that a third booster shot can provide 85% protection against severe illness. let's put all that now into context with the dean of the national school of tropical medicine at baylor college of medicine in texas, in the u.s. i spoke to him earlier and asked him how worried we should be about omicron over the festive. it'-- the festive periods. >> we are looking at a pretty severe delta wave in january. it is because we have under vaccinated our u.s. population. we have only vaccinated about 60%, which means 40% are unvaccinated. l lots of old doubts, and we can talk about why, but when it came to omicron, based on alpha and delta where there was a four
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to six week lag between the peak you were seeing in the u.k. to the time it picked up in the united states, we again thought we had four to six weeks, meaning it would happily in the middle -- it would happen in the middle of january. unfortunately, it seems that is not the case. tragically, we are going to have this combined omicron-delta wave hitting us during the holidays. and the third piece to this which a not a lot of -- which not a lot of people are talking about, even after people get their third immunization, if they are more than a couple months out from their third immunization, as are a lot of heth-care workers, we are seeing a lot of breakthrough, symptomatic illness from the omicron variant. noso much to get them sick enough to land in the hospital, but enough to knock out the health care workforce so that they have to stay-at-home. i think that is the third piece to this, delta, number one, omicron surge number two, and an already-depleted health care workforce now, and we are going
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to have a lot of absences which will add to the already stressed health care system. lewis: thanks to the doctor talking to us about things to worry about. let's get to other news -- the world health organization has issued the emergency approval of a new coronavirus vaccine in india. covax has been produced by the institute of india as part of the covax portfolio, and initiative to vaccinate or people in low-income countries. a popular tourist island is devastated after a powerful typhoon ripped through the southern philippines. the super typhoon made landfall on a holiday island, bringing high winds and heavy rain, threatening homes, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. so far, 12 people are confirmed to have died. the u.n. says 30 million people maybe affected. russia says it is extremely
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disappointed with signals coming from the u.s. and ate out in response to its demands for security guarantees from the alliance -- u.s. and nato in response to its demands for security guarantees from the alliance. the white house press secretary said there would be no talks with russia on european security without european allies. ♪ two japan now -- at least 27 people are feared dead after a fire in a building in the city of osaka. poce are investigating whether the fire was started deliberately. officials were alerted friday morning, with footage showing lack and windows on the fourth floor after it was extinguished. our tokyo correspondent gives us this update. reporter: from what the police and fire service in osaka are saying, it is looking more likely that this was a deliberate arson attack on this clinic. witnesses have apparently told
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the police and fire service there that they saw a man in his 50's or 60's entering the building this morning, carrying some sort of container inside a paper bag that was leaking what they said was flammable liquid. of course, this is all anecdotal , it is not confirmed. the identity of the alleged attacker, we have no idea about at this moment. but it sort of does fit together, because all of the people who are dead appear to have been inside this one small clinic on the urth floor of this building. and it appears the fire began, or was sat, at the entrance to the clinic, and -- or was set at the entrance to the clinic, and took hold quickly. people inside the clinic had nowhere to go. it is an old building. fire safety standards for the building were not very good, there was no second fire escape at the back of the building, so
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people trapped inside that clinic had nowhere to go, and were overcome by smoke and apparently died on the spot fairly quickly. fire services were called out extremely quickly. they were there when m -- there within minutes, but out the fire within a half-hour. nonef the other floors of the building were even affected, it wasn't a big fire, so that is why its so shocking to see how many people have apparently died. but now that we know it looks like it was deliberate, perhaps it is more understandable. i have to say, the more we learn , the more it looks very, very similar to an arson attack on an animation studio in they of kyoto two and a half years ago. in that case, a disgruntled, older man who had a grudge against the animation studio took a can of petrol, spread it around the entranceway and set fire to it and in that case,
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ended up killing 36 people and injuring dozens of others. it was a horrific attack, and this one is looking similar. lewis: thanks to rupert for bringing those grim details of that fire. here i britain, a crushing election defeat has dealt another blow to the authority of prime minister boris johnson. his conservative party lost a seat it held for a most to hundred years. the result comes in the middle of turbulence for mr. johnson. his party and government have been plagued with allegations of corruption and breaking covid rules. here is what the british prime minister had to say in the wake of his party' is defeat. >> i hear what the voters are saying and in all humility, i have got to accept that verdict. lewis: things have gotten even worse for boris johnson in the last few hours. it has emerged that the u.k.'s top civil servant, who had been leading an inquiry into alleged
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christmas parties at downing street which happened a year ago, a potential breach of lockdown rules at the time, well, he has stepped back from leading that investigation after being linked to a social gathering. an event was held in simon case's old office in whitehall while london was under lockdown rule let's go to westminster and u.k. political correspondent nick heard -- nick. take us on a quick timeline, what is going on here? reporter: the conservative party, boris johnson's party, lost this extraordinary lead they had in one of the sea in the u.k. parliament. they were ahead by 23,000 votes in 2019. they lost the seat in a high election by 6000 votes -- the seat in election by 6000 votes
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and that has led to questions about boris johnson's position and how much longer he can potentially stay in power. one of the reasons attributed to that loss is the continued controversy, ctinued leak of stories about allegations of parties or social gherings around the u.k. government this time last year, when london was in lockdown. now, some of the more serious allegations have been about downing street. to try to stem the criticism, boris johnson put top civil servant, simon case in charge of the investigation. today, it there was a social gathering in simon case's own office last year around christmas time, a year ago today, december 17, 2020. that involve people who work for him, they got any mail inviting them to a christmas party, some are said to have taken part
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remotely, some in the office, but this calls into question whether mr. case could objectively look at allegations of rule breaking in whitehall if he himself and his team had been linked to one of these events. in the last half-hour, it has been confirmed m case will no longer oversee the inquiry io those party speed the cabinet office has put out a statement saying he didn't participate himself, he did give a talk to some of those present at the end of his working day. but it means this uncomfortable story for boris johnson is going to keep rolling on. and it comes at the end of a torrid few weeks for the u.k. prime minister, which has many questioning his authority and how long he can stay in office. lewis: an extraordinary sequence of eventsn westminster, thanks for talking us through them. do stay with us. still to come, counting the cost
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of last year' as wildfires in south america. as many as 17 million animals have lost their lives. ♪ >> before an audience of world leaders, the presidents of bosnia, serbia and croatia put their names to a peace agreement. ♪ >> the rumanian border was sealed and silent today. romania has cut itself off from the outside world to prevent details of a presumed massacre from leaking out. >> from sex at the white house
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to a trial for his political life. the lewinsky affair guaranteed bill clinton his place in history is only the second president to be impeached. ♪ lewis: welcome back news, i'm lewis to von jones -- i'm lewis vaughan jones. u.k. sets another daily record for infections as another 93,000 coronavirus cases are reported in the last 24 hours. as cases jump in the u.s., the nation's leading expert urges everyone to get vaccinated. next, brazil's forests saw some of their worst wildfires on record in 2020, destroying 30% of the largest tropical wetland. a new study revealed at least 17 million animals were killed in those fires, killing reptiles,
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birds and primates. bbc science correspondent victoria gill has more and a warning, you may find these images distressing. daria: -- victoria: almost 40,000 square kilometers of trical wetland ravaged by fire andow, wildlife body count provided the first estimate of the number of reptiles, mammals and words that were killed throughout 2020. researchers worked in an area just 48 hours chapter fire swept through. they walked more than 100 kilometers across the wetland, counting and examining every data animal they found. they used the tally to estimate the total number lost. how difficult is it for scientists to get a grasp on whathe damage was? >> it was difficult for many reasons. fire was still happening in many regions and roads were devastated. there was a lack of smoke, so it was really hard to reach some
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reons to do the research. victoria: this is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. the majority of what researchers founwere small rep aisles that are usually abundant here, but wildfires also killed mammals, birds, reptiles threatened with extinction. >> if we see a higher frequency of these fires happening in the next years, we will have more impact to the devastation and also the species. victoria researchers say the scientific snapshot of devastation could help make the case for proper fire management to protect the world's largest wetland. as the climate warms, more must be done, they say, to avoid wildfires the natural world might struggle to recover from. victoria gill, bbc news. lewis: let's look at the civil war in ethiopia now. the united nations says all
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sides are committing severe human rights violations. this is more than a year after the conflict started. in a special session friday, in geneva, the u.n. human rights council warned the situation could interior rate into genelized violence. the u.s., which has been involved in mediation attempts, has the largest ethiopian community overseas in washington dc. our north american correspondent barbara pratt usher has been hearing from s of them. barbaro: the ethiopian civil war is 7000 miles away and it is right here in this kitchen. brielle's family is from the northern region of tigray, the epicenter of the conflict and the theme consumes her art. >> it is like opening a channel through this passageway taking us all back there. but what better way to deal with your pain? there are so many things i could do with that.
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barbara: for more than a year, the ethiopian army has been battling rebels and their allies. thousands are dead. human rights abuses, committed on both sides, parts of the country pushed into famine. tigrayans in the u.s. are desperate. the ethiopian government has blocked most aid and communicions to the north. many have lost contact with relatives. >> i can't sleep at night because i am thinking about them. which one is starving? barbara: what you think of what the u.s. is doin >> the u.s. has not stepped in, the international community has not stepped in, they allowed us to suffer. wheth -- what other options do we have other than to fight back? barbara: outside the state department, chance to plead their case. >> don't think we are not thinking of ways to be supportive of all sides in this conflict, all the communities of the ethiopian people. barbara: what you see in
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washington is a reflection of what is happening in ethiopia. fighting there is taking place between ethnic group said demonstrations here also showcase those ethnic visions. -- ethnic divisions. across town, supporters of the ethiopian government insist the west has it wrong. the americans are calling for cease-fire and negotiations with rebels who are advancing on the capital. >> we can't negotiate with terrorists. would you negotiate with isis? no, you wouldn't. they are not equal partners. >> they kl, they raped, the people died. my aunt, my uncle, my family is there. i don't know if they died or are still alive. barbara: rebel leaders known as the tplf once governed the country with a heavy hand on dollar presented by mentally -- presented by many -- they are rick -- heavy hand and they are
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resented by many ethiopians. >> they don't want engagement that is demonizing the government in supporting the cause. barbara: ethiopians in america where there identities with a passion but have different ideas of what ethiopia is. bbc news, washington. lewis: it is 10 years since kim jong-un took power in north korea at the age of just 27. he just attended a memorial in pyongyang marking his father, kim jong-il's death a decade ago. the country is in crisis, the economy crippled by sanctions and border closures to prevent the read of coronavirus. laura bicker looks at kim jong-un's time as a leader. laura: he was too young, too inexperienced. they predicted his downfall. but kim jong-un has defied the
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odds and survived as leader of north korea. when he took over from his father 10 years ago, there were doubts among the elite. >> who in the world would like a hereditary succession? what would a 27-year-old know? it makes no sense for him to run the country. laura: but his people were forced to revere him. ♪ >> every morning, all these songs praisg kim jong-un in these loudspeaker broadcasts by trucks that wake people up. ♪ >> bigger, bolder state propaganda built an image of a brighter, more mern north korea. but hopes that the country would open were short-lived. all forgn influences from music to drama have been banned.
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often, the penalty is death. >> even culturally, the singing styl shows they are just not confident in their own regime. laura: when it came to foreign policy, he has played a poor hand well. his pursuit of nuclear weapons put his tiny, impoverished country at the center of the world stage. >> we were ordered to make the world immune to north korea's nuclear program. if the international community continues to discuss north korea having nuclear weapons, they will think the well, north korea has new your weapons, not that big a deal. laura: north korea has been hit by crippling sanctions to curb its weapons program, but it has made little diffence. >> the north can never give up its nuclear weapons, as it considers it vital to the survival of the regime. laura: the country is now in crisis. the border has been sealed to
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prevent the spread of covid-19. vital supplies have not been able to get through for nearly two years. >> in the end, if there is no sanctionselief, the regime could be under threat. kim jong-un knows this well, so to release sanctions, hampshire he would come to talks. laura: this key anniversary has kim jong-un at a crossroads. what he does next will decide his future and that of his people. laura bicker, bbc news, seoul. lewis: that is it for me f the moment. i will be back with headlines in a couple moments. meantime, more line on the bbc news app. you can get me on social media, on twitter i am not -- i am at @lvaughanjones.
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narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial services firm, raymond james. narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ ♪ narratoryou're watching pbs. ♪ da-da-da-duh-da-da-da♪ ♪ da-da-da-da-da-da ♪♪
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♪ ♪ narrator: fundinfor this presentation of this program is provided by... woman: architect. bee keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.


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