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tv   BBC World News  BBC News  March 25, 2021 12:00am-12:31am 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. britain and the european union move to calm tensions over access to coronavirus vaccines. the eu blames astrazeneca for the slowness of their roll—out. india suspends all major exports of the astra—zeneca vaccine following a domestic surge in coronavirus infections. brazil's daily covid—19 death toll passes 3,000 for the first time, as the virus continues its rapid spread. and oil prices climb over fears that supplies could be disrupted, after a giant container ship gets wedged across egypt's suez canal.
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after weeks of tension between the uk and the european union over the distribution of vaccines, a joint statement has been issued, pledging to "create a win—win situation and expand vaccine supply for all citizens". it was a different tone to the one struck earlier by the eu, when the commission proposed tougher controls on exports of vaccines. those plans are due to be presented to eu leaders. here's our europe editor katya adler. a brutal third wave. desperate lockdown protests. a deadly failure so far to get vaccines into arms. eu covid woes are deepening by the day. angela merkel, normally the european symbol of calm and control, suddenly u—turned today on a planned easter lockdown, amid mounting political pressure.
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translation: this whole business has created - even more uncertainty. i deeply regret that and ask for forgiveness. across the eu, there is growing frustration at a roll—out far slower than the uk's. some blame their government, others the european commission. it's now on the defensive, accusing pharmaceutical company astrazeneca of not delivering vaccines promised and demanding extra controls on vaccine exports to richer countries. if astrazeneca had delivered exactly the number of doses which was planned, like they did in the uk, we would be today exactly at the same rate of vaccination as the uk. so we have been heavily penalised, heavily. 0n the other hand, you have eu governments like france or spain that are sitting on millions of astrazeneca jabs and not using them. i'm not sure it's millions, but that's a very good point. we need to try to accelerate the campaign.
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we need to make sure that member states are able to have the logistics to be able to do this. it is true that in the uk, the british government did pretty well in this first phase. the eu says it has already exported over a0 millionjabs in the last two months, a quarter of those to the uk. existing export controls, used once so far, allow brussels to keep hold of vaccines made by companies that owe jabs to the eu. now the commission also wants to be able to block exports according to reciprocity — if the country in question has production facilities but does not send jabs to brussels — and proportionality if its vaccine roll—out is ahead of the eu. "we're not after an export ban," says the commission. "we just want to secure vaccine supply." but the world outside is accusing the eu of vaccine nationalism, and not even all eu leaders are convinced about these new controls.
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some worry they'll disrupt the global supply chain for vaccines, and others that it will further damage already strained post—brexit relations with the uk. ahead of their summit, eu leaders promised vaccine campaigns will take off soon, one way or another. but rising death and infection rates mean the short—term looks bleak. katya adler, bbc news, brussels. india has suspended all major exports of the astrazeneca covid vaccine following a surge in the number of infections in the country. 0ffcials said it was a temporary squeeze on exports due to the rising demand forthe jabs in india. the serum institute of india, the world's biggest manufacturer of vaccines, produces the astrazeneca dose under licence. the institute has already delayed shipments to several countries, including brazil and the uk. the who—backed covax scheme is also affected. 0ur correspondent nikhil inamdar is in mumbai and following developments. this is a temporary squeeze, or a temporary suspension,
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according to government sources that the bbc has spoken to, because domestic demand for vaccines here in india has shot up because the government is speeding up its inoculation programme, and also because people over the age of 45 are now being allowed to take the vaccine starting next month. it's unclear when these exports will resume, but certainly it's a move that will hit several countries, given that the serum institute of india is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer and india has shipped over 60 million doses. that's more than it has used to domestically inoculate its own people. clearly, with the country now in the firm grips of a second wave, it does seem like india's vaccine diplomacy is going to have to take a back—seat, at least for now. nikhil inamdar there. in brazil, nearly 300,000 people have died from covid—i9. with oxygen running low in some of the busiest icus, it is the front line
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in the battle against the virus. it would appear things are going from bad to worse. highly contagious variants are sweeping through the country, creating a tsunami of new infections. brazil is set to pass the grim milestone, just one day after it recorded more than 3,000 daily deaths. it has the second highest death toll in the world. brazil's president, jair bolsonaro, has repeatedly opposed lockdowns and has even threatened to sue governors who implement tighter restictions. on tuesday, amid heavy criticism at home and abroad, he defended his policy with this message for the brazillian people. translation: i want to reassure the brazilian i people and confirm that vaccines are guaranteed. by the end of the year, we will have reached 500 million doses to vaccinate the entire population. we will soon return to normal life. but there are real problems with the vaccination programme, it's unlikely the situation will improve quickly. congresswoman tabata amaral is in sao paulo. we are, by far, in the worst moment of the pandemic here in brazil.
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we have different covid variants that are spreading really fast. we still don't have a decent vaccination plan. so far, for you to have an idea, we have vaccinated only 5% of our population. and we are talking about a president who has been speaking for an entire year against vaccines, against the use of masks, against social distancing, and who only yesterday, after an entire year, announced he's going to create a crisis committee. i want him to take it seriously, to look at all the families who have lost loved ones, to stop denying the crisis, denying the pandemic, to give a stop to his populism, to all this negligence. i'm sure that we have lost thousands of lives that could be spared if we had a president, if we had a leader, who takes the whole situation seriously. and for me and for many others in congress, the cost
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of keeping him in power is way too high. that's why we are seeing, for the first time, broad coalitions that are uniting — people from the left, from the right, from the centre. congresswoman ta bata amaral. as the vaccine programme rolls out around the world, renewed attention is being paid to the treatments doctors have available to give patients with covid—i9. american pharmaceutical company pfizer says it has begun an early—stage clinical trial for an experimental antiviral pill that could stop the virus in its tracks. according to the drugmaker, lab studies of its new treatment show promise. if trials are successful, they say medication will be given to those with early symptoms of coronavirus — before they get really sick. so why the need for covid treatment when there are vaccines? earlier, i spoke to arnold monto, professor of global public health at the university of michigan. the vaccine is not 100% effective, not everybody gets the vaccine. and besides that, vaccines
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have to be specific to what we're trying to prevent. as we get variants, we may need an antiviral if the vaccines don't100% protect the virus. tell us more about the pill, what you think it could do. the pill could be used, again, for early treatment. we really don't have a very good antiviral for covid—i9. we thought remdesivir might be the one, but it's not really a totally good treatment, so we really need another antiviral treatment. if we go back to flu pandemics, we have been very successful, even before vaccine was available, in using antivirals to control transmission — again, because vaccines have to be,
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number one, administered, number two, available, and also match what is circulating. if it works, is it something you expect we would buy over the counter? would it be prescribed on rare occasions? well, i think it would be prescribed. some companies are trying to take our anti—flu antivirals over the counter, but antivirals are specific to the virus that's circulating, and you need to know what you're treating. it's not like treating the common cold symptomatically. because it is an antiviral, it works against a specific virus. what if vaccine—hesitant people now say, "well, look, i will skip the vaccine entirely because there might be a pill i can take later on"? well, first of all, you've got to get in, you've got to get treated. and there are side effects, or serious consequences, of being infected.
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we all want to prevent infection, and it may be that an antiviral could be used in targeted prophylaxis as well. if you're exposed to somebody with covid, it might be that an antiviral would work in that situation, but you don't want to be taking an antiviral all the time. vaccines give you long—term protection, an antiviral only short—term. professor arnold monto there. defence officials in tokyo and seoul say north korea may have fired a ballistic missile into the sea of japan. if confirmed, it would be pyongyang's first ballistic missile test since the biden administration took over in the united states. a statement from south korea's joint chiefs of staff spoke of an unidentified projectile. japan said no debris had fallen within its territory, but the coastguard warned ships not to approach fallen objects.
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do stay with us here on bbc news. still to come: egyptian authorities try to free a huge container ship that's become wedged across the suez canal. i'm so proud of both of you. let there be no more wars or bloodshed between arabs and israelis. with great regret, the committee have decided that south africa be excluded from the 1970 competition. chanting
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streaking across the sky, - the white—hot wreckage from mir drew gasps from i onlookers on fiji. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: britain and the european union move to calm tensions over access to coronavirus vaccines. the eu blames astrazeneca for the slowness of their roll—out. brazil's daily covid—i9 death toll passes 3,000 for the first time, as the virus continues its rapid spread. new york's senate has passed a bill banning solitary confinement for more than 15 days in its prisons and jails. the un considers more than 15 days in solitary as torture because of the psychological damage that can result. but there are more than 60,000 inmates in solitary in the us, so what impact does that have on the prisoners? hilary andersson sent this special report — a warning, you may find this distressing.
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we have all now experienced lockdown in our homes. but try to imagine being confined to a room the size of your bathroom for 22 hours a day. that is solitary confinement. in new york, i met candie hayley. candie was held on remand at rikers island jail here for a crime she didn't commit, then accused of breaking prison rules. she was put in isolation. if hell had a description or a definition, it would be solitary confinement. the cell was like an elevator that you're stuck in for 2h hours. with no indication of how long she would be there, candie could only see one way out. i wanted to kill myself. i swallowed pills. i cut my arms. a pencil, a pen, whatever
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i could find to cut my arms up. how long can a human endure isolation? for candie, it was three years. for albert woodfox, it was a5. he spent most of his life in a cell alone, trying not to lose his mind. the very first time i experienced a claustrophobic attack, i was sleeping, and i woke up and the bunk above me was right there, you know, about a couple of inches from my face. that was your perception? yeah, and i couldn't move. it felt like the atmosphere itself was closing in on me. you get this feeling where you are being smothered almost, you know. woodfox, accused of killing a prison guard, has long maintained his innocence. he was released in 2016. the length of his incarceration
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shocked many around the world. he's become a leading figure in the fight against solitary. for years, this man, burl cain, was his jailer. cain didn't want to comment on specific inmates. he's had years of experience with maximum—security prisoners and believes solitary is essential to present safety. the united nations has defined more than 15 days in solitary as torture. what do you say about that? i'm not torturing them because i'm going to feed them good and we're going to try every day to get them to come out there and live peacefully with the others. but until he says that, until he wants that right, i have no choice but to protect the others, leave him over here. some american states are trying to reduce the use of solitary confinement. but in others, like here in louisiana, solitary is still widely used,
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sometimes even for children. that's him. i met ronnie peterson. this, solan, his adopted 13—year—old son. had lots of friends, he made friends really easy and he just wanted to have a good time with everyone. two years ago, solan, who had adhd, set fire to a bin at school. he was taken to juvenile detention. like many young offenders, he was put in solitary for misbehaviour. i could talk to him through a little bitty four—inch window. and you could tell it was kind of breaking him down. we were told that he was going to get out that night, or at the latest the next morning. but he didn't. this is footage of solan�*s cell block on his fifth night in solitary. a guard sees that solan has hanged himself. i got a phone call at two o'clock in the morning saying that he was dead. solan�*s parents gave permission for use of this footage
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to highlight the horrific consequences of putting their 13—year—old in solitary. you don't really feel a whole lot in the moment. erm... you kind of go numb and you're in shock. i mean, he was a normal teenage boy and he was happy most of the time. solan�*s family think solitary confinement should be banned, but many americans would see that as going soft on prisoners. so, more than 60,000 inmates remain in solitary today, alone with their minds. hilary andersson, bbc news. let's get some of the day's other news now. virginia has become the 23rd us state to abolish the death penalty. virginia became the first southern state to repeal the death penalty since the us
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supreme court reinstated the punishment in 1976. the new law, set to go into effect injuly, comes as a major shift for virginia, which has put to death more people in its history than any other state. facebook says it's blocked a group of hackers in china who used the platform to spy on uighur muslims overseas by infecting their devices with malicious software. the social media giant said the group targeted under 500 uighur activists, journalists and dissidents living in the us, canada, australia, turkey and other countries. one of the world's most important shipping routes, the suez canal in egypt, has been blocked by a grounded giant container ship. more than 10% of global trade passes through the canal, which connects the mediterranean sea to the red sea. the hold—up has sent oil prices to higher levels on international markets. our global trade correspondent dharshini david has the story. there are bottlenecks on the daily commute, and then there's this — a ship the size of the empire
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state building, blocking one of the busiest shipping lanes, after being blown aground by strong winds, it's claimed. behind the stricken ever given, a mounting queue of marine traffic, carrying cargo from oil to clothes and food. whereever they hail from — china, the middle east or south asia — they are going nowhere. seen from above, the problem is clear. ships have grown to match our appetite to consume more, but they are ill—suited to a waterway that's just 205 metres wide. this canal, connecting the red sea and the mediterranean, was originally built 150 years ago. it's still crucial for modern trade. the ever given ran aground at 5:40am on tuesday morning. it's one of 52 ships a day that travel through this passage of water. they carry 12% of global trade, worth over £2 billion per day. there is no easy alternative route, so this disruption could be costly.
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the suez canal is blocked for, what, the third time in its history. how damaging could that be to global trade? when we think about exports from china, they will take about 10% longer, in terms of shipping time, to arrive at their destination. and when we think about the importance of chinese products for the production of goods all over the world, we have to be worried that this will still have major consequences. they're hoping tug boats, diggers and the tide will refloat the ship. tonight, a side channel has been reopened to divert some traffic, but it could take weeks to deal with the consequences of this disruption. however mighty the forces of globalisation, we're all vulnerable to the whims of nature. dharshini david, bbc news. so what impact is this having on shipping and the markets?
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a little earlier, i spoke to randy giveans. he's senior vice president of maritime shipping equity research at the investment bank jefferies. this is certainly a pretty bad trafficjam when it comes to global shipping, right? there's about 10—12% of global trade goes through the suez canal, so when you have a ship stuck, right, there are 80—120 ships that are waiting to get through, either south of it, further down in the red sea, or north in the mediterranean, so either way, it's causing a massive backlog in congestion. and we know the container market, container ship market, is extremely tight. just look at all the congestion here in the united states, off the us west coast in california, throughout europe, throughout china. loading and discharges is taking time. now you throw this on? clearly, container rates and container shipping rates are going higher and higher. and we're also seeing the same thing now with tankers. tanker rates have been relatively weak, just because of the high inventory
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levels, 0pec is trimming production, all of these things. but even an event like this, which you would think is relatively small, is causing big moves in crude prices — 3%, 4%, 5% higher today — as well as shipping rates. we've seen it for the suezmaxes, which are the largest ships that can go through the suez canal. they're stuck, so now they have to go around south africa if this persists for more than a couple days. so, really, time will tell, to see how long this ship is stuck in the middle of the canal. so, those ships who are currently waiting in the red sea, they obviously want to get out and try and push the ever given away if they could. if they can't, are they really going to consider going all the way around south africa? if so, how long would that take them? yep. there's a few options they have, right? one is wait it out, hope that egypt and any other governments involved there can dredge the canal a little bit. they get a lot of high—powered, horse—powered tug boats, right, to pull this vessel... just to give you a quick context, this vessel is 400 metres long, that's four
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football fields, almost the empire state building, and it carries 20,000 teus. to put that in reference, one teu is what you see on the back of an 18—wheeler, or a lorry across the pond, right? this ship is massive. so, the question is, if it's only going to be a couple of days, these other vessels will wait it out, although there's a security threat there. they're literally sitting ducks here in the red sea and in these other holding cells. or if they say, "if this might last another five, seven, ten days, we might as well even go around south africa, right?" and to answer your question, that would add probably 8—10 days for the voyage. they have to obviously go back to the red sea, down around south africa, then up around west africa, up into europe. so that's the real balancing act right now. do we wait and hope it gets resolved in two or three days? or do we just take our medicine and go another route? randy givea ns there. randy giveans there. now, do
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you want a sign that the much delayed tokyo 0lympics might be getting under way this year? we will show you. these are live pictures now from fukushima, japan, where the tokyo 0lympic torch relay is about to get under way. the journey of the flame starts here inj—village at the national football training facility — and what was the front line base during the aftermath of the nuclear accident. you are currently seeing speeches by some of the deed stories. when we get a different camera shot, you will actually be able to see that torch. it will be carried by approximately 10,000 torchbearers, one after another, until they make it to tokyo injuly for the another, until they make it to tokyo in july for the start another, until they make it to tokyo injuly for the start of the games on the 23rd ofjuly. the games, of course, have been delayed. there are particular instructions for those along the route, they are not allowed to cheer for fear of the coronavirus, but i think people injapan will be finally looking at these pictures and
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ready to believe that the much delayed 0lympic ready to believe that the much delayed olympic games will now be going ahead this summer. to stay with bbc news. —— do stay with. hello there. the weather's looking pretty unsettled over the next few days and it's going to be turning a bit colder as well. before we get there, though, today on the satellite picture, we can see some thick cloud developing to the west of the british isles. and this is going to be moving its way across northern ireland, with a little bit of rain here developing over the next few hours. more general rain and cloud heading into western scotland, so wet weather into the highlands, the western isles and perhaps pushing into 0rkney as well as we head into the first part of thursday morning. so for these northwestern areas of the uk, cloudy with rain at times. now, there will be a few showers elsewhere developing through the day across england, also some spells of sunshine, but towards eastern england, we're going to have a zone of convergence. this is where the winds bash together and make a line of showers. and if you happen to live
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in this kind of area, that's where the greatest chance of showers are, whereas across the midlands and across the south coast, your chance of showers is much lower and there should be more in the way of sunshine. in the sunshine, temperatures widely around 13 or 11; degrees across england and wales. a bit cooler across scotland and northern ireland, 10 to 12 celsius, about 10 where it stays cloudy with rain. now, it is going to be turning colder. colder air that's just to the west of greenland at the moment has our name on it, and it's going to be arriving across the british isles as we head into friday behind this stripe of rain, which is our cold front. so, this band of rain, squally winds on it, will push its way eastwards across england. then, sunshine and showers follow. cold enough for a little bit of snow across some of the higher mountains across the northwest of the uk, and those temperatures really taking a plunge. just 7 degrees celsius in both belfast and in glasgow through friday afternoon. now, beyond that, into the weekend, it does stay pretty unsettled. often, the weather's going to be quite windy and there will be some rain around as well. of the two days, probably
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saturday the better of it, but quite cloudy across western areas with some patches of rain, more general rain spreading into northern ireland. and all the while, we'll have gusty winds. temperatures still below par for the time of year, about 9 to 12 celsius on saturday. and on sunday, we've probably got some heavier rain on the way, working into some central portions of the uk. to the south of this area of rain, temperatures not so low. we're looking at highs of around 12 or 13 degrees. but cold still in scotland, about 8 to 10 — below average, then, for the time of year.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: britain and the european union have said they will work together to try to resolve a dispute over access to coronavirus vaccines. in a joint statement, they said they would seek a "win—win" deal to increase supplies for both sides. the talks came after the eu threatened tougher measures to curb the export of delivery shots. india has suspended all major exports of the astrazeneca covid vaccine following a surge in the number of infections in the country. the foreign ministry said it was a temporary measure due to the rising demand forjabs across india. brazil's daily covid—19 death toll has passed 3,000 for the first time. as the virus continues its rapid spread, hospitals are close to collapse. 0pposition leaders say the government of president bolsonaro has been slow in negotiating vaccine supplies, leaving brazilians facing delays in receiving jabs. now on bbc news...

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