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tv   BBC World News Today  PBS  December 24, 2021 5:00pm-5:31pm PST

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♪ ♪ narror: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: pediatric surgeon. volunteer. topiary artist. 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". anchor: hello,. here are your headlines. new records for covid in the u.k., the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began and many have reported to have the virus on a single day last week. millions around the world face travel disruption over christmas as the surge in omicron cases sees more than 2000 flights canceled because of staff shortages. at lease 39 people are killed after a ferry caught fire in southern bangladesh. and the queen is expected to give a very personal christmas message this year, her first since the death of her husband, prince philip. ♪ [singing]
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and pope francis delivers the traditional christmas eve ms from st. peter's basilica. ♪ anchor: hello and welcome if you are watching in the u.k., on pbs in the u.s. or around the world. the u.k. has recorded its ties number of daily coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, more than 120,000. it's the third day in a row that cases have topped 100 thousand, with 122,186ases recorded today. a separate survey from the office for national statistics found on december 19, an estimated one in 35 people in the u.k. had coronavirus, the equivalent of 1.7 4 million. in london, the ratio is higher,
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one and 20 people will likely to have tested positive for covid, but despite soaring cases, earl findings suggest the omicron variant is milder than delta and leads to less hospitalization. the head of the u.k. -- agency called a glimmer of christmas hope. european countries are also reporting record numbers of cases today, 94,000 in france d more than 50,000 in italy, which has joined greece and spain an introducing mandatory face coverings outdoors. thailand has reported its first omicron cluster, 21 infections, an outbreak traced to a belgian couple that traveled to the country. here is more from our health editor. correspondent: london is the epicenter of the surge, and new figures suggest a one in 20 people in the city now have the virus, either omicron or delta. the data comes from the office for national statistics, which
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tests people from tens of thousands of households, picking out those that do not have symptoms. the latest survey points to a faster spread around the u.k. >> we areeeing quick increases in prevalence across the country. and across all ages. the numbers are at the moment a small in the upper 70's. correspondent: this chart shows how rapidly infections were rising as measured by the ons. at the end of last week and into the weekend. to more than 1.7 million people with the virus. there were differences around the u.k., though. in england, one in 35. in ireland, one in 40. wales, one in 45. scotland, one in 65 people with the virus. omicron cases are rising rapidly, but it is less likely to put people in hospital according to new research, than delta.
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and official say it is reassuring. >> theres a glimmer of christmas hope found in the findings yesterday, but it is not at the point where we can downgrade the serious threat. the findings have shown some preliminary analysis in small numbers, which shows individuals coared to delta are about 45% less likely to --. correspondent: but it is finally balanced. if there are more omicron cases and that will make people ill enough to receive hospital treatment, as well as increasing staff sickness, adding to the considerable pressure on the nhs. >> as the increasing absence rates, the lines hospital, he ran the staff: for ambulances available, and there are not any left -- that is taking its toll. correspondent: efforts are being made to get the booster program
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into the heart of local communities. here in a restaurant in bradford. >> we are creating access where our communities are. we i bringing the vaccines here to make it as easy and accessible as we can. correspondent: boosters ll b available on christmas day and boxing day in england, though not in the rest of the u.k. today, no shortage of taks for a christmas eve jab. >> i want to get it done because i want to see family. it's easy please he, around the corner. >> it made sense to do it, so i am doing my bit forhe community and everybody else. correspondent: as people enjoy christmas attractions, prospects for new year reamin -- remain uncertain. anchor: earlier, hugh expined whether england would follow the other u.k. nations into tighter restrictions after the festive period. correspondent: there are two directions of travel for the
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data, which makes it hard to read the overall picture. first of all, cases are rising. there was aurge picked up at the end of last week, described as sobering by the head of the ons. real, quite a sharp increase. but then, as we have been hearing through this week, various pieces of research have pointed to the fact it's less severe in terms of people who end up in the hospital than delta. it seems in the government the picture is leaving until early next week, no decisions yet about meetings or whether there needs to be further announcement about restrictions. nothing is being rolled out. they need the data. that is why the office of national statistics is updating its survey. but what is causing a concern is the continued rise of hospital numbers with covid in london, and also the prospect of more apps and sees across the nhs and other parts of the public
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sector. those factors are being watched by a ministers. anchor: the u.k. government is relaxing immigration rules, so social care workers from abroad can help alleviate staff shortages in britain. the measures are expected to take effect in the new year, and will be in place for at least 12 months. care providers are experiencing high vacancy rates and turnover, and at the pressure on staffing is made worse by the recent spread of omicron. as we ha been hearing, the new variant is spreading quickly in parts of europe. on thursday, france reported a new record high in the number of daily infections. in spain, where the wearing of face masks outdoors is compulsory, 73,000 cases on thursday represented the third consecutive high in as many days. so, a coffee will be enforced in tonight in catalonia, where residents are banned from leaving their homes between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
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we have a research professor at the barcelona institute for global health on what the situation is like there. >> we are concerned about the situation. we are witnessing an unprecedented increase in the mber of cases, with 25,000 more cases today than we had two days ago, with more than 100 points in the incidents in the increase between two days agoa nd today -- and today. and with increasing pressure on the health system, we are getting warningsrom intensive care units that we are seeing more cases being admitted. eve if the new variantn is less severe, because we also have a predominantly well vaccinated population with over 80% of the population having received two or more shots, we are seeing lots of pressure to the health system, and cases that require hospitalization. what is happening is this huge increase in the number of cases,
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even though the new cases may be less severe, it's having a toll in the cases that end up being severe -- we recognize the vaccine is protected against severe disease, but because of the enormous amount of new infections, there's a proportion that do require hospitalization. so it is important that the population understands that even though we are sar with the vaines, we are not completely safe. and we are not completely protected against hospitalization. anchor: the doctor there. the virus has the worded christmas plans, and it is continuing to wreak havoc on international travel. more than 2000 flights have been canceled today because of staff shortages. on the first christmas in two years that australians could travel between states over the holidays, more than 100 domestic flights from sydney to melbourne tother cities were canceled, as were hundreds of u.s. flights
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with united saying the omicron cases had a direct impact on their flight crews and the people who run their operation. passengers with the airlines delta and lufthansa have also been affected. our north american correspondent has been giving us the latest from the u.s. correspondent: well, airliners are trying their best to inform passengers of what has happened, delta and united the main airliners, said they did send it te messages and they are trying to help those that are stranded. but omicron has really taken a hold of the country. three weeks ago it was first detected, now it accounts for 70% of new coronavirus cases. so, there was a warning to americans by dr. anthony found, the top infectious disease expert here, that the omicn variant would spread very quickly. it's very tramissible. we know that and we are seeing that. and and has had a huge impact on travel.
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and i think that many americans, like people across the world, were hoping that this christmas would not be the same as christmas 2020. millions had plans to travel, not just by airplane but by car, but now that has been amended because of this variant. some people are trying to be cautious about it. there's restrictions that have me back into place. it looks like this christmas will be a repeat of last christmas. anchor: disappointing for many people who thought, well, we have gotten past the disruption caused by restrictions and travel bans. now we are allowed to travel again. but now we have this in the works. do we have a sense of how much longer the disruption will continue and when people can feel it is safe to travel thout risk oflans being upended? correspondent: it really, you know, one of those situations at that is hard to really guess at. many people thought, we got
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vaccinated, we got our second vaccination, we are now being boosted, we are masking up and doing every thing we have been told to do, so when i have chatted with people in d.c., which has returned to its mask mandate, they thought that everything would be ok.. but this omicron variant took people by surprise, as i mentioned. and dr. fauci warned that it is going to be a rocky few months. president biden is still confident that america will come through this, he is employing people to be vaccinated. bearing in mind that many people in the country still do not want to be vaccinated, let alone get a booster shot that do not even necessarily stick to the restrictions. you go to fferent states and everybody has their different roles. but there is a warning that this was going to happen, so as i said, it is really disappointing for americans and people across
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the world who had holiday plans, which have now been scattered. anchor: at least 39 people have been killed after a ferry caught fire in bangladesh. it had sailed from the capital and was bound for a southern town with hundre of passenrs on board. at the time of the fire, it was near a town. our correspondent is reporting from the capital. correspondent: the fire is believed to have started in the engine room at about 3:00 a.m., when most passengers were sleeping. it spread as the ferry traveled alg the river in the early hours. the fire went on for hours before it was put out. as many as 500 people are reportedly on board, some them drowned after jumping into the water. >> my father, myself, my nephew and my sister were traveling together. when the fire broke out, i gave my baby to a man.
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he was trying to save the baby, but now we cannot find them. please, let us knoif you find it their whereabouts. >> i was on the first floor. suddenly, the rear side caug fire. the engine had problems earlier. the windows had curtains. and the curtains trapped the smoke, which killed most of the people. correspondent: ferry accidents are not uncommon in bangladesh. they are usually blamed on lack safety standards and overcrowding. this accident was the latest in a string of similar incidents in the country. hundreds have drowned in the past 10 years. but the fire that engulfed this ferry adds a new layer of horror to the story. anchor: the authorities in russia have reported another successful test of the country's hypersonic missile weapons system. the president announced the news
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and a government meeting on friday. it is said to be the first time that several muscles were launched simultaneously. he described it as a step in strengthening security and improving the country's defense capabilities. w we will go to the vatican, where the pope has been holding the traditional christmas eve mass. the head of the catholic church urged cardinals and bishops to embrace humility this season, saying that pride, self interest and the glitter of our armor was perverting their spiritual lives and corrupting the mission of the church. ♪ [singing] anchor: images from the vatican. the lien is expected to give a personal christmas message tomorrow, the first since the
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death of her husband. she will speak beside a framed photo of the couple taken during their anniversary in 2007, and she will wear the same brooch she wore on her honeymoon. there are some images in this report from our correspondent. ♪ correspondent: rehearsing at windsor for their part in the christmas broadcast, a central band of the royal legion, who will play the national anthem. this year's christmas message, a still issued by buckingham palace, will be a personal one. the queen is wearing a brooch that she wore on her honeymoon. beside her, in photograph of her and prince philip, taken in 2007 when they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary. has been eight months since prince philip's death and so for the clean has not spoken publicly about how much he meant to her. hr broadcast will be an opportunity for her to do so. within the royal family, mindful
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that this will be the queen's first christmas without her husband, arrangements have been adjusted so she will not be alone. the prince of wales and duchess of cornwall will be with her. other members of the family wil also be there. absent, of course, will be the duke and duchess of sussex. from their home in california, th issued a photograph, saying happy holidays, showing harry and megan with their son and daughter. their daughter pictured for the first time. and so at the end of the year, touched by personal sadness and family tensions, thoughts will look ahead to next year and the celebrations to mark the queen'70 years ons the throne. and there is the question of the queens health. it is always a sensitive matter, it has particular significance after recent concerns, and given
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that next year is the year of her platinum jubilee. the queen will certainly want to be involved as fully as possible in the jubilee, and there will be another event of special significance, a service of thanksgiving for the life of the duke of a number, which will take place at westminster abbey in the spring. nicholas witchell, bbc news. anchor: christmas eve celebrations have been taking place in bethlehem, including an annual procession led by the roman catholic church. mass will start in two hours at the church called at the nativity, built on t spot where it is believed jesus was born. tom bateman reports. tom: in major square, they wait for the biggest night of the year -- the christmas procession follows the route believed to have been taken by mary and joseph. it's a march of faith. but seasons greetings thi year
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are mainly between the locals. these are a fixture of christmas in major square, and you can feel the energy. what is missing are the international visitors and pilgrims that would usually be thronging the square, and that is a devastating blow for the second year running. they need tourism to keep surviving. the glimmers of tourism restarting last month have gone, derailed by rder closures due to the new covid variant. >> people trying to find joy and happiness from nothing, so it is very interesting, it's very oppressive. >> since the beginning of 2020, everything has been closed, hotels are empty. >> it is very difficult, people, especially those working in the tourism sector, they -- their houses. tom: the characters of christmas
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come to le in is factory. abraham is the only worker today. normal, he would be joined by four more. for palestinian christians, life has been a challenge, says this man, whose family has run a shop for decades. >> we could keepur workers to the moment, but it is hard. i i have two shops. the one on the major square, it has been 24 months and no income. it is not normal. tom: but at christmas, there is always light to look up to, as this town celebrates, it remains a hope against the odds. anchor: the most powerful telescope ever to be launched into space will blast off tomorrow. it is traveling 1.5 million kilometers from earth and will look back in time to the first glows after the big bang.
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our science editor has more. rebecca: it has taken 30 years to develop, cost more than $10 billion, and has involved thousandof scientists. now the james webb space telescope is ready to lauh, to begin the most ambitious astronomy mission ever attempted. >> it isolutely the biggest and most complex and most powerful telescope we have ever attempted to send to space. we are extremely eager to get the telescope into space, but i think it will work and i think it will, again, completely revolutionize how we understand the cosmos. rebecca: it is a successor to e hubble telesco which has given us amazing images, but this one will be more powerful, its mirror is three times bigger, which can reveal parts of the cosmos we have never seen before. gazing at the heavens can help us answer the biggest questions, like where we come from and how
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did we get here? this telesco will help us look back in time, further than before, to 13.5 billion years ago, revealing light from the very first stars to shine. we will be able to see the earliest galaxy formation, and whether they spiral into space like our own milky w. other planetary systs will also come into view, allowing us to discover whether life exists on other worlds. scientists will be able to study every phase of cosmic history. >> we think the first stars might be really huge, burning really hot and brightly, and will die very quickly, possibly with huge explosion. but we have not seen it yet, and we hope that this is something we will find with the new telescope. rebecca: beforit can take images, the most difficult task is ahead -- it's so huge it has
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been folded up. it must unfurln space and mechanisms need to fire at exactly the right time, in the right order. if anything goes wrong it is game over. >> we know there are many ways it could fail, so that means rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. it has been folded and unfolded many times. we have examined it many times and said, not quite right, we have to fix that. it's challenging. rebecca: it is a tight fit, as it is lowered over the folded telescope, the rocket. this is high-stakes, but if it works it could lead to discoveries that scientists have not even dreamed of. anchor: baby has become the christmas number one for a record fourth consecutive year. proceeds from the track will go
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to the trestle trust food banks. it features appearances from some well-known faces, as our correspondent reports. ♪ >> ed shearon and elton john. correspondent: two of music's biggest names helping baby make history withis fourth christmas number one in a row. >> it is amazing that once again the british public have backed the song, and have raised an incredible amount of money, and have shown a light on the trestle trust and of the food banks of the u.k. thank you. i cannot believe we did it again. correspondent: the network of food banks provides thousands of emergency food parcels every day to people looking -- living in crisis. they will receive profits from the single, something that started in 2018 when lad bab and his wife had the idea of
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giving the famous song a makeover for charity. >> we built this city on sausage rolls. correspondent: it continued in a year after that. >> i love sausage rolls. correspondent: and the year after that. ♪ >> don't stop believing oh, that sausage roll failing ♪ ♪ >> ♪ it is christmas tim♪ ♪ correspondent: now they have exceeded the record of consecutive christmas number ones tha was shared with the spice girls and beatles. and at the same time, has helped raise tens of thounds of pounds for those in need. >> ♪ it's christmas ♪ ♪ [laughter] anchor: we want to bring you an important update on the whereabouts of somebody who has a very busy night ahead, it's the big man in red, santa claus. that is norad's santa tracking,
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showing us where he is heading. he's apparently going to 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; puuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ ♪ narrator: you're watching pbs. ♪ da-da-da-duh-da-da-da♪ ♪ da-da-da-da-da-da ♪♪
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♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: pediatric surgeon. volunteer. topiary artist. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman fountion. 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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