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tv   BBC News  BBC News  February 20, 2021 5:00am-5:31am GMT

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this is bbc news. i'm james reynolds with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. a reset for transatlantic relations as president biden recommits to nate and pledges to "earn back" europe's trust. america is back. the transatlantic alliance is back. and we are not looking backward, we are looking forward together. america's top diplomat speaks exclusively to the bbc about the biden team's approach to the world. whether it's climate change, whether it's this pandemic, whether it's the spread of a dangerous weapon, not a single nation acting alone can deal with them effectively. we have to find ways to work together. the united arab emirates says dubai's missing princess
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is being cared for at home. the un human rights watchdog asks for proof that latifa is still alive. astonishing new images sent back from mars by nasa's perseverance rover, showing the red planet's surface in detail. and the reality star kim kardashian files for divorce from her husband, the rapper kanye west, after seven years of marriage. hello and thanks forjoining us. president biden has told world leaders the transatlantic alliance is back, following years of strained relations between the us and europe under donald trump. addressing the annual munich security conference, mr biden said the world was at a pivotal moment, pitting those who thought autocracy was the way forward against those who understood that democracy was essential. in a moment, we'll hear from the us secretary of state, in an exclusive international tv interview. but first, that pledge
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from president biden. i'm sending a clear message to the world. america is back. the transatlantic alliance is back. and we are not looking backward. we are looking forward together. it comes down to this. the transatlantic alliance is a strong foundation — the strong foundation on which our collective security and our shared prosperity are built. the united states is fully committed to our nato alliance and i welcome europe's growing investment in the military capabilities that enable our shared defence. you know, to me and to the united states, and us, we'll keep article — we will keep faith with article 5. it's a guarantee. an attack on one is an attack on all — that is our unshakeable vow.
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the g7 has promised a total of $7.5 billion to help the rest of the world receive coronavirus vaccines. the increase in funding was agreed at a virtual summit. the jabs will be distributed through the un's covax scheme, which isn't expected to start deliveries until the end of the month. critics have accused the g7 of acting too late. in his first international interview, the us secretary of state, antony blinken, has told the bbc that the country is also fully engaged in helping resolve global issues, such as the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and iran's nuclear ambitions. mr blinken has been speaking exclusively to yalda hakim. he is america's new top diplomat. secretary blinken started his career in the white house advising president clinton and then president obama in senior positions on the national security as national security adviser to then vice president biden, he was in the situation room during the raid which killed osama bin laden. he has been biden�*s top foreign policy adviser
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for nearly two decades. now, the president has tasked him with reframing america's relationship with the world. in his first major interview with an international broadcaster, i have been speaking to secretary blinken. what role can washington play in resolving conflicts and helping the international community navigate a path out of the coronavirus pandemic? we are determined, once again, to engage in the world, to show up again, because in the absence of american engagement and the absence of american leadership, then one or two things happens — either some other country tries to take our place, and probably does so in a way that does not advance the common interests and values of the democratic world. president biden and secretary blinken have used the virtual g7 meeting to draw a line under trump's america first policy. blinken told me he is eager to engage with america's allies and adversaries.
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well, i think you heard the president say it — america is back. blinken says the us is willing to meet iran for face—to—face talks on returning to the nuclear deal abandoned by trump. we have a policy in recent years of so—called maximum pressure on iran that has not produced results. in fact, the problem has gotten worse. no upfront concessions. blinken addressed america's complex relationship with china, now under pressure from claims of human rights abuses of the uighur people, and condemned a lack of transparency. it is a striking thing to see china have one of the least open information spaces in the world and yet, of course, it takes advantage of the fact that many of our countries have fully free and open information spaces and china uses that to spread misinformation. there is also the issue of troop withdrawal from afghanistan, which the biden administration has put on pause.
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we're in the midst of a very rigorous review of the policy toward afghanistan but what we do know already, in the initial conclusion we have come to, is that it is vitally important for us and others to press the parties to make good on the commitments that they have already made. antony blinken has had a front row seat to history over the past 30 years. now, he is leading the foreign interest of a deeply polarised country during a global pandemic. it is a diplomatic in tray that is not for the faint—hearted. yalda hakim, bbc news. and you can see yalda's full interview with secretary of state anthony blinken this weekend across bbc news. let's get some of the other main stories. a young woman has become the first protester to die in the anti—coup demonstrations in myanmar after she was shot in the head. 20—year—old mya thwe thwe khaing was critically injured last week when police tried to disperse protesters using water cannon, rubber
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bullets and live rounds. argentina's health minister, gines gonzalez garcia, has resigned after he was accused of helping a friend — who is a journalist — jump the queue for the coronavirus vaccine. in total, ten people allegedly received vaccinations without following the proper procedure. the former health minister said the innoculations were the result of "unintended confusion". the uk supreme court has ruled that the taxi app uber must classify its drivers as workers rather than self—employed. uber had argued its drivers were independent contractors. the ruling could leave it facing a hefty compensation bill, as well has having wider consequences for the gig economy. the un human rights watchdog has asked dubai for proof that one of its ruler�*s daughters — sheikha latifa — is alive. the uae says princess latifa is being cared for at home. she had accused herfamily of holding her hostage in secret recordings obtained by the bbc. mark lobel reports. i am a hostage, and this villa
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has been converted into a jail. the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of dubai's princess latifa continues, last heard from via a smuggled mobile phone in solitary confinement. she blames herfather, dubai's powerful ruler sheikh mohammed bin rashid al maktoum. friends released this footage, having not heard from herfor months. now the un wants answers. given the serious concerns about sheikha latifa, we have requested that the government's response comes as a matter of priority. we did ask for proof of life. two years ago, the uae released these photos as proof sheikha latifa was ok when similar concerns were raised after she tried to flee the city—state. but the other person pictured here, the former un human rights commissioner mary robinson, says she was horribly tricked after taking part.
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campaigners don't want to see the same mistake again. we would like to see the united nations bring an independent team to visit princess latifa wherever she is in the uae, verify proof of life themselves, be given free after mounting international pressure, the uae embassy in london released a statement, saying: but that has made her supporters even more nervous. our concern is now that they may well be drugging her and she is no doubt in a worse situation than she was before. as the princess�* current condition remains unknown, the us secretary of state told the bbc he will look into the
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case, and that the us takes human rights seriously. nasa has released remarkable new high—definition colour images from mars taken by its rover �*perseverence�* — which landed on the red planet on thursday. it shows the robot heading down to the ground to make its landing. perseverance has a large amount of data in its memory banks which it is gradually offloading to earth. our science correspondent rebecca morelle has the latest. nasa's perseverance rover being lowered to the surface of mars — an image taken from above, two metres away from touchdown. that image and the details therein really pull us humans here on earth into the result of all of that hard work. you are brought into the surface of mars. you are sitting there. on the upper—left of the image and the lower—right of the image, you can see these little dust plumes in that, on the surface of mars,
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are kicked up by our engines. and here's one of the landing site — the shadow of perseverance is clearly visible. and this close—up of its wheel is intriguing the team. we'll be looking forward in the coming weeks and months as our instruments get checked out to look closer at these rocks. by the edge of the wheel is a rock and one of the first things we noticed was that it has a lot of holes or �*bugs�* in it, and so the science team is now thinking about what this might mean. it's the start of the rover�*s two—year mission, and its main objective is to search for signs of life. rover whirrs. perseverance is in an area called thejezero crater. it was once a huge lake. you can see the river flowing into it and out of it. and this purple area is a beautifully preserved river delta where microorganisms could once have lived. this is one of these existential questions — "are we alone in the universe?" and what i can say is
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all the raw materials, the building blocks are there for there to be life, so it would be — if there's going to be life, it should be in this type of environment. the rover survived a perilous descent, travelling at the speed of a bullet before a supersonic parachute helped it to the ground. and this is where it was made — it's a fabric factory in tiverton, devon. it was a nerve—racking moment for them. i could hardly watch. and then it sort of really hit home, you know, there's lots of things that could go wrong. but it all went right and all of us — the whole team and everybody working at heathcoat — was elated that we had another successful mission. over the next few days, the rover�*s instruments will be switched on and many more images will start to come back, including a video of its descent. then perseverance will be ready to start investigating its new home. rebecca morelle, bbc news.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: presidentjoe biden has used a virtual global security summit to recommit to the transatlantic alliance and pledge to "earn back" europe's trust. the new us secretary of state antony blinken has been speaking to the bbc about america's stance on coronavirus, climate change and iran. the reality tv star kim kardashian has filed for divorce from the rapper kanye west after seven years of marriage. there has been speculation surrounding a breakdown of their marriage for months. here's the celebrity blogger perez hilton. they were kind of like a much more accessible jay—z and beyonce. whereas jay—z and beyonce are extremely private, it felt like we saw many major moments of kim and kanye�*s relationship played out before our eyes — from his very public proposal to her in a stadium, to their marriage, to their children being born,
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to their troubles and, public �*incidents�*, as i would politely call what he suffered from last year. just talking about that. given what we know about some of their personal struggles — and it is a matter of public record — and of the struggles that america has come to reflect on with other stars, including britney spears, do you suspect that there would be actually more sympathy this time around when we cover a divorce or cover people's personal struggles? i would hope that we could lead with empathy and compassion, especially because there is four young children here who are of age, in school and understand what is going on with their parents. you know, it is being reported that kim had been over the marriage for a long time but she felt that last year was not the right time to file for divorce because kanye, in her mind — and in that a lot of the public — was struggling. so i'm optimistic, actually, as a result of this divorce
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filing that kanye is hopefully in a better place and according to reports, they are amicable. she nor he are asking for sole custody, they have a prenup in place. everything as of now seems to be very cordial and coordinated. do we get another album, do we expect, from kanye west? more episodes of reality show from kim kardashian? how might this work professionally? absolutely, both — both is a yes and yes. kim and herfamily are going to begin the final season of their reality show, keeping up with the kardashians, and then later this year... sorry, it is going to end? it is going to end?! yes! did you miss that memo? i missed that! i had no — i thought it was going on for ever! no! but — but while that show is ending, they've already got another show announced. ah! a partnership with abc — uh, with disney. in america,
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it will air on hulu. internationally, i believe it will air on this network called starz. so i fully expect the first season of the new kardashians reality show to be about kim, the single woman now. and as for kanye, he has been spending a lot of time over the last year—plus in wyoming, where he owns a very large ranch and where he has a studio and has been creating a lot of music and his fashion there. his whole team is in wyoming — which he loves, for some reason. perez hilton. president biden says he'll sign a major disaster declaration for texas as the full extent of the crisis caused by a severe freeze and a huge power failure becomes clear. just under 60 deaths across the us have been attributed to the freezing conditions. nearly half of all texans — around 13 million people — have had water services disrupted. hospitals in some hard—hit areas have had to transfer
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patients elsewhere due to shortages. the state's energy grid is up and running again but many homes are still without power as workers rush to repair damaged or frozen powerlines. in the last few hours, the governor greg abbott offered strong criticism of the state's independent energy provider. i have ordered the state legislature to investigate exactly why ercot fell short here and to make sure this never happens again. listen, we know that you folks at home have faced struggles by going without power. we want to make sure that whatever happened in ercot falling short never happens again, even if it means the state stepping up, providing funds to ensure that all of the machinery that froze up and was unable to generate the power you need, that may require funding. the state of texas should step up and provide that funding.
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governor greg abbott of texas. staying in that state. a little earlier i spoke to maria mendez, border reporter for texas public radio, about how the dangerous conditions are affecting those attempting to cross into the us. the storm has impacted migrants. immigration has still, in a sense, continued in the sense that, you know, federal authorities have reported that they have had to go into the rio grande to try to protect migrants who have been trying to cross, despite freezing temperatures, and authorities have been worried about their officers and migrants alike getting hypothermia and, you know, other migrants who are still waiting to seek asylum in mexico have been braving this cold weather, basically in tents, and so a lot of immigrant groups have been trying to help them stay warm. do we know how many people have been trying to cross the border in such terrible weather?
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i don't have any big figures but there have been a few reports in the last week or so from different field officers for federal authorities. the case that i mentioned earlier was from the eagle pass area and another really significant case that wasn't here on the border but was north of us, in san antonio, local authorities intercepted a call for help from migrants that were in a refrigerated truck and in that case, you know, when they arrived on scene, they said that hundreds of them fled into the cold weather and again, authorities were concerned about them being out there without proper equipment, as the area there was still seeing snow. what about migrant reception or detention centres — have they been affected by a disruption to power supplies and water supplies? yes.
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immigrant advocates have been saying that they are concerned about the conditions in detention centres because they have been hearing from migrants in some centres that they lost power and, you know, federal agencies have confirmed they experienced some intermittent outages. they did say that they had generators, but advocates say that the migrants have reported being really cold. and another detention centres where power remained, other advocates have said that migrants have told them that they lost water and only had a limited supply of bottled water. and even in normal conditions, hygiene is always an issue or a concern in detention centres, so there has been a lot of concern about that. we have reported a lot in recent days about the storm's effect on the state of texas, but what about this storm's effect on northern mexico? yeah, so mexico actually imports a lot of natural gas from texas, and so what
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happened on sunday and monday was the natural gas lines froze, and so mexico was also left without a lot of its energy supply, and so almost 5 million mexican consumers, mostly in northern border states, were left without power. it's also affected manufacturing industry along the border. it is estimated that they will have losses of at least $2.7 billion because of these outages. maria mendez there. the duke of edinburgh is expected to remain in hospital into next week for observation and rest. the duke, who's 99, walked into hospital on tuesday. he's said to be in good spirits. buckingham palace has confirmed that the duke and duchess of sussex will not return as working members of the royal family. the confirmation means prince harry and meghan will return their honorary military appointments and royal patronages. here's our royal correspondent
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nicholas witchell. the bond which was once so close has, in every formal royal sense, been shattered. the breach, in terms of the business of royalty, is complete, and bar a complete about—face by the sussexes, it is final. for harry, then, perhaps, a sense of long—sought freedom. for william, one imagines, a deep sense of disappointment. today's news is not unexpected. in the year since harry and meghan made their last appearance at a formal royal engagement at westminster abbey, the gulf between them and the rest of harry's family has grown ever wider. the couple have bought a house in california, negotiated deals with us media companies, and made it clear that they relish their new life. at midday today, buckingham palace confirmed that they would not be returning as working members of the royal family. a statement said that
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following conversations with harry: the statement finished: this was the sussexes�* response: they finished their statement by saying this: for harry, the loss of his military roles — particularly as captain general of the royal marines — will be particularly hard.
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i know that he'll be personally gutted, just as i was, that he's not allowed to pull a military uniform on any more. to the individuals that serve in it and those that require care beyond it. supporters of meghan understand why she wants a new life. the press drove her out of here and if she was going to stay here any longer, i think they would probably have made her ill because it isn't a relationship that most americans are used to. so, one of the royal family's most popular members, a man for whom, over the years, there's been great sympathy and admiration, now faces a very different future. the way back to royal duty has been closed. he can never again wear military uniform. harry's future lies in california with his wife and family. nicholas witchell, bbc news.
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a couple of stories before an italian hikerfound that man's best friend lived up to his name, after he broke his ankle in the alps. the dog, called ash, stayed with the 33—year—old, who spent a week in the foothills with no phone signal to call for help. he dragged himself to a stream and said ash kept him warm through the freezing nights and helped raise his spirits. let's stay with animals. if in doubt, stay three flamingos apart — that's the message from the los angeles zoo to people paying a visit. after months of closure because of the pandemic, the zoo has finally reopened and the animals have company. staff say the creatures seem pleased to see the visitors, especially a gorilla named evelyn who loves to interact with humans. that is not evelyn. it was like any other day at the zoo, except everyone was wearing masks and no more than 400 people per hour could come and keep evelyn and herfriends company. more on our website. you can reach me on twitter.
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i'm @jamesbbcnews. do stay with us. hello again. we have mild and windy weather as we head into the weekend but for some of us, it will also work out to be pretty wet. we've got a slow—moving weather front across western areas and along the front, pulses of thicker cloud, pulses of heavy rain working in. we're working in. going to see those rainfall we're going to see those rainfall totals to mount up. heavy rain across the high ground in western areas. we've got a number of flood warnings in force in scotland, one or two for england, and some in force as well into wales. warning, because through the course of saturday, over the hills and the high ground, 100—200mm. all that rain falling
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on the high ground will work down into those river catchments and just increase the risk of seeing some flooding issues then into wales. the rain here is pretty heavy at the moment as well. further north and west, something a bit drier for a time in scotland and across eastern england but it is going to be a mild start to the day, no matter where you are on saturday. so for saturday, most of us will have at least some rain at times. it's gonna be windy and mild. however, across parts of eastern england and perhaps central england as well, it looks like it will be brighter, hazy sunshine around, and very, very mild indeed so real mixed fortunes from place to place. not a bad start to the day in scotland. probably a nice sunrise in to start off across parts of eastern england. further west, the rain pouring down. and the rain turning heavier for a time in northern ireland, turning wet in scotland through the afternoon. now, temperatures for all of us will be on the mild side — 12—14 pretty widely. however, across eastern england, 16 degrees or so possible — very, very mild for the time of year. our weather front still on the charts then through saturday night and into sunday, although the activity starts to wane somewhat.
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the rain won't be as heavy and it will start to turn a good deal drier for scotland and northern ireland with much more in the way of sunshine here for the second half of the weekend. it's across parts of england that we'll probably see some rain, perhaps starting to wiggle back towards wales, but it doesn't look like it will be quite as extensive or quite as heavy. another mild one coming up, another fairly windy day. again, it is across eastern england where we will see the highest temperatures on sunday — highs of around 15 degrees or so. into next week, well, we've got another of these slow—moving weather fronts coming into western portions of the uk so again, there is a risk of some further localised flooding into the new week.
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rebecca morelle, bbc news. this is bbc news, the headlines
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president biden has told world leaders the translatlantic alliance is back after years of strained relations between the us and europe under donald trump. addressing the annual munich security conference, mr biden said he wants to lead the west, against what he called, a global assault on democracy. the us secretary of state antony blinken has told the bbc that america is fully engaged in helping resolve global issues — including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and iran's nuclear ambitions. in his first international interview mr blinken stressed the importance of worldwide vaccination against covid—i9. the united nation's human rights watchdog has asked dubai for proof that one of its ruler�*s daughters — sheikha latifa — is alive. the uae says princess latifa is being cared for at home. she had accused herfamily of holding her hostage in secret recordings obtained by the bbc.


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