tv BBC News at Ten BBC News November 26, 2021 10:00pm-10:30pm GMT
as global stock markets fall in reaction to the news, we'll be asking just how worried we should be. also tonight — the first image of one of the 27 people who drowned in the channel this week — 24—year—old maryam mohammed amin from kurdistan. we have a special report on the people smugglers who continue to profit from this lethal trade — as britain and france are at loggerheads over what to do. and the east coast of scotland and northern england take a battering — with freezing gale—force winds and snow. i'm in stonehaven tonight. 25,000 homes here in the north—east of scotland have been left without power and there are reports of people stuck on trains. and coming up in the sport, on the bbc news channel — wales women thrash greece to keep
alive their hopes of qualifying for their first world cup. good evening. there is growing anxiety over the discovery in southern africa of a new variant of coronavirus. the world health organization has designated it a �*variant of concern�* and given it the greek name 0micron. there are fears that the highly mutated 0micron might be more transmissible — and that vaccines may be less effective against it. it's been circulating in south africa for several days, and today officials in belgium said they'd discovered the first case in europe. from midday today, the uk suspended direct flights from several countries in southern africa — and from 4am on sunday, anyone arriving here from those countries will have to quarantine at their own expense for ten days in an approved hotel. many other countries, including eu member states, have also restricted travel
from southern africa. with ourfirst report tonight, here's our medical editor fergus walsh. after months of opening up, the newly named 0micron variant means travel restrictions are back. at heathrow, the last flights from south africa arrived this morning. i feel extremely relieved, because who knows how long this is going to last? we've been told we have to isolate at home, so that shouldn't be too bad. from sunday, only uk and irish residents will be allowed in from six southern african countries, and they will have to pay to quarantine in a hotel. the travel restrictions mean catherine will miss her niece�*s wedding in south africa. it is devastating. they have held back this wedding for two years for us, so we were all going to be together, which was really important. and literally we were off
on the 9th, and now we're not. the health secretary said the new variant may pose a substantial risk to public health, so the restrictions were necessary. i want to reassure this house that there are no detected cases of this variant in the uk at this time, but this new variant is of huge international concern. several coronavirus mutations have already made the covid pandemic worse. the alpha variant, identified in kent, drove a huge wave of hospital admissions and deaths here last winter. the delta variant, first detected in india, was even more transmissible, and is currently the dominant strain worldwide. on paper, the new variant looks worrying, with twice the number of mutations found on delta. around 30 of these are in the spike protein, the key the virus
uses to unlock our cells and these changes may help it evade our body defences. but so far we don't know whether the variant causes more severe disease, whether vaccines will be less effective or drugs won't work. it's the sheer number and type of mutations that has scientists here troubled. some of them have never been seen in a combination like this before, and many of them we've seen in various variants of concern so far, but it's the complexity of the mutations that we're seeing today, and the effects that it may have on both the immune response and transmissibility that are a huge concern. with belgian recording europe's first case of the 0micron variant, the european commission in brussels called for a suspension of air travel to affected african countries. we do know that mutations could lead to the emergence and spread of even more
concerning variants of the virus that could spread worldwide within a few months. it is now important that all of us in europe act very swiftly, decisively and united. vaccine companies say they can prepare updated versions of their jabs, perhaps within 100 days, if the 0micron variant is found to evade immunity. fergus walsh, bbc news. as we've just been hearing, the first confirmed cases of the new variant were found in south africa and botswana. the suspension of travel by the uk and other countries will affect travellers from there, as well as from namibia, zimbabwe, lesotho and eswatini — which was swaziland. the south african government and scientific community have criticised the move, saying it will cause more damage than good. from there, our africa correspondent, andrew harding reports. a technical university in pretoria,
south africa, this afternoon. this is where the new variant was first properly identified, spreading fast among students. obviously, this is so overwhelming, we are all worried, but the management took a decision to suspend all social gatherings and social activities. the impact here has been swift, with many countries now following britain's lead in banning flights from south africa. so, this morning's arrivals injohannesburg and cape town could be the last for some time. it is absolutely ridiculous that they have imposed it again so quickly, without really investigating this new variant. the timing for south africa could hardly be worse. it's summer here, and the tourist industry was hoping for a big boost after two wretched years of lockdowns and red listings. no wonder south africa's foreign minister has criticised the travel ban, calling it rushed, economically damaging, and urging britain to reconsider.
not that that seems very likely, at least not in the short term. today, south africa is gearing up for a likely fourth wave, dominated by this new variant, but scientists here insist that trying to isolate countries or regions makes no practical sense. we saw with the delta variant that within three weeks, 53 countries were reporting cases of the delta variant, so stopping travel from one country or even a small group of countries very soon becomes superfluous. it's really not the solution. but could there be one upside to the arrival of this new variant? in recent months, south africa's vaccine roll—out has slowed down. it's the same in other south african countries, partly down to a shortage of vaccines, but also due to public apathy. fear of the new variant
could change that. hopefully, we get past this stage. are you vaccinated? i'm vaccinated, so hopefully i'll be so. hopefully i'll be safe. for now the focus is on this south african laboratory and the scientists furiously trying to unlock the secrets of the virus�*s new mutations. andrew harding, bbc news, johannesburg. concerns about the new variant have triggered steep falls on the financial markets, wiping off billions of pounds. the ftse 100 share index closed down 3.6%, its biggest decline in more than a year. but there were bigger falls in europe — with the dax in germany falling over 4%. and in the us — the dow closed down by 2.5%. well, a group representing travel companies in the uk said the new restrictions will be devastating for some firms. 0ur transport correspondent katy austin is at heathrow airport tonight.
another blow for the travel industry. yes. flights into the uk from south africa and those five other african countries are now temporarily suspended and the hotel quarantine system kicks back in from sunday morning. and even then it is only uk and irish nationals and uk residents who can arrive into this country from those places. some flights have been cancelled, a lot of people's plans have been disrupted, but really i think the travel industry is going to have the closest eye on how things develop from here. for the past few weeks there have actually been no country is on the red list. it has been blank. and now we've had a reminder that actually things can still change and they can change very quickly. travel businesses will say they understand the public health reasons for the decisions that are being taken. but they will be very nervous about the
prospect of any knock to consumer confidence at a time when actually bookings had been looking up. katie austin my thank you. the government's latest coronavirus figures for the uk show there were just over 50,000 new infections recorded, in the latest 24—hour period. on average, over a4,000 cases were reported per day in the last week. 7,633 people were in hospital with covid as of yesterday. there were 160 deaths, that's of people who died within 28 days of a positive test, which means the average number of deaths over the past seven days was 125. the total number of people who've died with covid now stands at 144,593. 0n vaccinations, 88.5% of people aged 12 and over have now received a first dose. and 80.4% have been double jabbed. and more than 16.7
million people have received their booster jab. let's get a final thought from our medical editor fergus walsh. daily cases over 50,000 in the uk, and some really strong warnings around this new variant. how worried should we be right now? cases have been high here since july. hospitaladmissions cases have been high here since july. hospital admissions and deaths have actually fallen a bit but no doubt the nhs is under pressure. the last thing it needs is a potentially more serious variant. 0micron, like all the variants of concern, is named after a letter of the greek alphabet. the mutations it has looked pretty dreadful on paper, but it is almost all theoretical at present. it will be 2—3 weeks before we know where we stand. but the idea that vaccines are suddenly going to stop working i think it's very unlikely. they have proved highly effective against other variants so far. even a small drop in efficacy would be worrying and would lead to more severe disease but the key
message is if you offered your first, second or a booster dose it is the best protection you can have. finally, just seven in 100 people in africa are fully immunised. a reminder that if we don't vaccinate the world this pandemic will never end. , ., ~' , ., the world this pandemic will never end. , ., ~ , ., , the world this pandemic will never end. , ., ~ ,_,, end. fergus, thank you. fergus walsh there. the first of the 27 people who drowned in the channel on wednesday has been named, as 24—year—old maryam nuri mohammed amin, who came from kurdistan. her image was released as the diplomatic war of words between britain and france over the illegal crossings intensified. president macron accused borisjohnson of not being serious, after the prime minister sent him a letter — which he also put on twitter — calling on france to take back anyone making the crossing. france also withdrew an invitation to the home secretary to a meeting this weekend to discuss the crisis. lucy williamson reports from calais. the road between paris and london is getting colder. the political distance
a little wider each day. here in the migrant camps, caught between the two governments, they know what it takes to bridge the channel and what the risks are if you fail. two days ago a boat capsized, killing 27 people. tonight the first victim was named as 24—year—old maryam nuri mohammed amin from iraqi kurdistan. herfiance said he was messaging her as the dinghy began to lose air. herfather, mourning her death in irbil in northern iraq, spoke to the bbc. translation: from germany she went to france, translation: from germany she went to france. and _ translation: from germany she went to france. and in — translation: from germany she went to france, and in france _ translation: from germany she went to france, and in france she _ translation: from germany she went to france, and in france she got - to france, and in france she got into this — to france, and in france she got into this slaughterhouse. the whole world _ into this slaughterhouse. the whole world talks about europe is a place that his _ world talks about europe is a place that his calm, that is pleasant. is this what— that his calm, that is pleasant. is this what carr means? around 30 people dying in the middle of the sea? this is a sin to put people through— sea? this is a sin to put people
through this. this tragedy has put pressure on paris and london to amend their rift over how to tackle the channel crossings. macron says you aren't serious. is he right, prime minister? meeting the polish prime minister today, mrjohnson said cooperation between european partners was the way to solve the migrant crisis. and of course that again underlines that this is a problem that we have to fix together. but france has accused the prime minister of doublespeak. last night in a series of tweets, mrjohnson said he had written to the french president, emmanuel macron, with some proposals. he tweeted the letter too, calling forjoint patrols of french gendarmes and uk border force, and suggesting that all illegal migrants who cross the channel be returned to france. this, he said, would break the business model of the criminal gangs. france is irritated by mrjohnson�*s style of diplomacy, and it shows.
translation: i'm surprised - when things are not done seriously. we don't communicate between leaders on these issues in tweets or publish letters. we're not whistle—blowers, come on. the ministers will work seriously to settle a serious issue with serious people. the tensions between france and the uk, built up over a range of issues, are becoming increasingly public. the home secretary, priti patel, was due here in calais this weekend to discuss migration, but since mrjohnson�*s tweets last night, she's been disinvited, though uk officials are in paris today to discuss the issue. no invitations needed here, though. through it all, migrants plan the next crossing attempts. like moez from saddam, among those we met queueing for a food distribution truck. he is undeterred by the deaths of 27 people in the channel this week. would he stop trying if he thought he'd be sent straight back to france?
this my dream, to go to uk. if come back to france, again go to uk. never not to stop, not to stop, never. neither disaster nor diplomacy has stopped the rhythm of these crossings. an alternative to the promises of people smugglers can feel as remote here as the elysee palace or downing street. lucy williamson, bbc news, calais. despite the obvious perils of the channel crossing, people have still been attempting it in the days since the tragedy, with smuggling gangs trying to convince them that the journey is safe. from france, fergal keane reports. from paris, all routes lead north. the city that is a hub for information, for contacts. many of those en route to the uk
have often arrived here first. after what's happened, a lot of the smugglers are lying low. but we've been given a phone number for a man who's offering to get migrants across the channel to the uk still. i'm going to team up with a colleague to try and get in touch with this man. i meet our arabic—speaking colleague in a paris suburb. because of his continuing work investigating the gangs, he doesn't want to be identified. he's now ready to make contact with the smuggler. an automatic message came out saying, "thanks for the communication. souza the iraqi at your service." so i'm going to ask him the possibilities to cross from france to uk. soon after, driving towards calais, there's a message from the man calling himself souza the iraqi. so now he's back writing to me and his response was, "walaikum assalam, darling." and he wrote also 2,000 euros each person.
and, unprompted, he sends us video after video. migrants being rescued by border force, on an english beach, shouting his praises. the arabic text reads, "reached britain, thank god, souza the iraqi." so i will write now, "i'll come to calais today. is it really safe after what has happened?" so he wrote, "no, it's not true, nothing happened. it's safe." later, when we revealed we were from the bbc, souza the iraqi wouldn't talk about his operations. over years i've followed the smuggling journey, from turkey where traffic threatened us with a gun...
..to athens where we confronted a gang selling fake passports to migrants. arrest one, another one pops up. the market provides a lot of money to these people, so there is always a replacement. for 20 years, the police have had the feeling that they're emptying the sea with a small spoon. in calais tonight there are still many willing to risk dangerous journeys, driven by poverty,
conflict into the clutches of ruthless men. fergal keane, bbc news, calais. in a moment we'll speak to our europe editor katya adler, who's here with me. but first, let's go live to downing street tonight, and speak to our political correspondent iain watson. how serious is this row between britain and france? usually, reeta, tragedies tend to bring people closer, but these deaths seem to have highlighted the differences between the uk and french governments. borisjohnson is under huge pressure from some of his mps to do more to stop the small boat setting sale of our shores in the first place, so perhaps it was unsurprising that he chose to publish that letter to president macron. but downing street are insisting tonight that everything he asked for in that letter, the joint patrols, the attempts to send refugees back across the channel, this had all been pushed for
privately but had made very little progress. you ask me specifically how serious is this row. today has been dominated by megaphone diplomacy, but behind the scenes there are quieter attempts to try to get the relationship back on an even keel get the relationship back on an even keel. so it is a move to try to get priti patel ri invited to meet her french counterpart this weekend, and in any case she spoke to him just a few hours ago about the migrant crisis, so the lines of communication remain open. the uk is continuing to pay by instalment £54 million to try to improve surveillance and patrols on the other side of the channel, but the atmosphere is a bit more negative now than it was, there is no doubt about that, and labour are blaming the prime ministerfor about that, and labour are blaming the prime minister for this. about that, and labour are blaming the prime ministerfor this. they say borisjohnson has exercised a grave error ofjudgment. idin. say boris johnson has exercised a grave error ofjudgment. grave error of 'udgment. iain, thank ou. katya, that's the view from downing street — what are they saying in france
about all this? this is a franco british war of words over the channel. france is being extremely critical of the prime minister, making public that letter of proposals that he sent to emmanuel macron, and the french president said it shows that he is not serious about working with france. france also says that the prime minister is concentrating more on domestic politics as regards migration, but domestic politics exist in france too of course, and president macron is heading towards a very tough presidential election injust a few a very tough presidential election in just a few months. he wants to sound nationalist, he wants to sound resolute, and he doesn't really feel that he has that much wiggle room on migration. and as for going public, that was a very public slap down from president macron about boris johnson's letter, and it going public. and so i think the tone between the two sides is really sour at the moment. how constructive was it for france to this invite the
home secretary from that meeting with eu immigration ministers at the weekend? everyone does need to sit around a table if progress is to be made in lives saved.— made in lives saved. katya adler, thank yom _ a girl of 12 has died after being attacked in the street by a group of teenage boys in liverpool city centre. ava white was with friends when it's thought they were involved in an argument — it's thought she was attacked with a knife and suffered what police have described as catastrophic injuries. four boys aged between 13 and 15 have been arrested on suspicion of her murder. danny savage reports. ava white was 12 years old. last night she came into liverpool city centre as the christmas lights were switched on. she never made it home. she was fatally stabbed. today, police sealed off a large part of the city's shopping area, investigating the killing of a year eight schoolgirl. any 12—year—old dying in these circumstances would be shocking.
it's devastating for the family and, i think, many people who have 12, 13—year—olds will be, just can't believe that's happened. as the day wore on, people came to leave flowers. some of them new ava, many of them didn't. just shocked that such a terrible thing could happen here. she was just so small and loving and kind, and she was one of the most kindest people i've met. i know the group myself and they were all so lovely. and the fact that she's been talk so early in life, it's not nice, it's not a nice thing to see or hear about. businesses in the crime scene cordon stayed closed for most of the day but in the communities ava white was part of, people tried to sum up whom she was. ava was a thoughtful, considered girl. - she looked for the - positive in everything. she was a much loved member of the school community-
and she just made friends with absolutely everyone. j she took everyone under her wing, and just a genuinely— nice little girl. a passer—by who saw what happened to ava tried to help her. paramedics then came and treated her at the scene before taking her on to alder hey children's hospital. but she died a short time later. in the moments after the argument involving ava last night, those involved were seen running away. police later arrested four boys aged between 13 and 15. they are now being questioned by detectives on suspicion of murder. danny savage, bbc news, liverpool. the met office has issued a rare red weather warning for north—eastern for northeastern parts of the uk — that means people are being advised not to travel in those areas. the warning is because of storm arwen moving in from the east. travel disruption has already been extensive, and trains between edinburgh and england have been cancelled. this was portsoy on the moray firth this afternoon,
buffeted by high winds. and waves crashed over harbour walls here in the village of gardenstown in aberdeenshire, with snow falling in braemar, close to balmoral castle, in royal deeside. our correspondent lorna gordon is in stonehaven on the north—east coast of scotland for us now. lorna, very difficult conditions there. , . , , lorna, very difficult conditions there. , ., , , ., ., , there. yes, a huge sweep of the east coast is being — there. yes, a huge sweep of the east coast is being battered _ there. yes, a huge sweep of the east coast is being battered by _ there. yes, a huge sweep of the east coast is being battered by this - coast is being battered by this store with this red warning for wind meaning there is a potential danger for life in place from north of aberdeen to middlesbrough in the north—east of england, and the conditions really are brutal. there is driving rain dropping temperatures, and wind forecast agusta up to 90 mph. 25,000 homes have been left without power tonight, conditions on the roads are described as treacherous, and police are warning people not to travel.
there is significant disruption on the rail network as well, and there are reports of people stuck on trains because fallen trees blocking the lines. network rail says they are sending stuff to help, but that it could take some time. of course because the worst of this storm is hitting overnight, we won't know the full extent of any damage caused until the morning. full extent of any damage caused untilthe morning.— full extent of any damage caused untilthe morning. lorna, thank you very much- — untilthe morning. lorna, thank you very much. lorna _ untilthe morning. lorna, thank you very much. lorna gordon _ untilthe morning. lorna, thank you very much. lorna gordon there. - the leader of plaid cymru, adam price, says the party's co—operation agreement with labour in the welsh senedd will change the lives of thousands of people. party members will vote on whether to endorse the three—year co—operation agreement tomorrow. for wales to be free we must first be united and that is what this cooperation agreement sets out to achieve. it launches us on a pathway to a united wales, one that sooner than perhaps we think will find it both comfortable and natural, indeed essential, tojoin the world community of normal, independent nations.
the draw has been made for the play—off games for next year's men's football world cup, with teams hoping to secure one of three remaining european places in qatar. scotland and wales could meet for a place in the finals if they can beat their respective opponents ukraine and austria. and italy and portugal can't both make it to the finals — they face the prospect of meeting each other if they win their play—off matches. the games will be played early next year. now, love it or hate it, the annual shopping extravaganza black friday is under way. it's no longerjust a day. some retailers have been offering deals since the start of the month. this weekend, shoppers are expected to spend over £9bn that's up 15% on last year. but it's the first big test for retailers as they prepare for the christmas rush, and the question is — can supply chains cope? our correspondent our correspondent emma simpson reports. emma simpson reports.
it wouldn't be black friday without big tvs, gadgets and appliances flying off the shelves. this vast distribution hub in newark is home to britain's biggest electrical retailer. it's their most important time of the year, but the pressure's really on. it truly has been a perfect storm of shortages across the board, so we've taken on more warehousing space, we've got more stock than ever in our stores and we've small shop in york — recruited over 3,200 colleagues across our business. so we've got the drivers, the warehouse staff, we've got everything we need to deliver this peak. how many playstation 5s do you have, then? never enough of the ps5s, but we've got some and we're getting more. black friday deals started even earlier this year to help spread the demand. even so, they're still processing an order every second here. this shopping bonanza is going to test many retailers to the limits, but it's the ones with the deepest pockets and the biggest clout with suppliers who'll likely cope the best.