this is bbc news with me christian fraser. the new covid variant omicron is turning up in more and more countries as travel restrictions are tightend further. president biden says the new variant is a cause for concern — but not panic. in the uk the vaccination programme will be widened further and the booster programme speeded up. the british socialite ghislaine maxwell goes on trial in new york — accused of trafficking under—age girls, for herformer lover, jeffrey epstein. twitter confirms that its founder jack dorsey has stepped down as ceo with immediate effect. and it's the biden�*s first christmas in the white house — we'll take a look at their decorations and how they compare with the last four years.
hello. within 3 weeks of scientists first detecting the delta variant it was present in 53 countries. omicron has already been identified in at least 15, so it is a fair bet than it is spreading further and wider than is currently known. the uk government, like others in the eu, has moved swifly, placing at least 10 african countries on the red list. it won't stop the spread but it might slow it long enough for the booster programme to offer more protection. most likely the vaccines will be less effective and will need revising but they will give us some degree of protection. so to that end... boosterjabs will now be offered to everyone over 18 in england. and the gap between the second vaccine dose and the booster will be
cut from 6 months to three. all twelve to fifteen year olds will now be offered a second vaccine dose, within twelve weeks. . .. of the first. the scientists say there is no need for panic, but there is need for caution. as our medical editor, fergus walsh reports, there's still an awful lot we don't yet know about this new variant. afteralpha, beta, gamma, delta comes omicron, which scientists think could be the worst variant yet. so is omicron more transmissible? it appears to be driving a rise in infections in south africa, but it's too early to be certain what's happening as cases only started increasing ten days ago from a very low level. the world health organization said omicron shows why the world needs a new global agreement on how to prevent, prepare and respond to pandemics. we should all be wide awake to the threat of this virus. but omicron's very emergence
is another reminder that, although many of us might think we are done with covid—19, it's not done with us. another key unknown is whether omicron causes more severe illness. doctors in south africa say they've been dealing with mild infections from the variant, but cases there are mostly in young adults. the real test will be when omicron starts moving into older and more vulnerable people. perhaps most crucial of all, will vaccines still work? current covid vaccines are based on the original wuhan strain of coronavirus, and train the immune system to recognise the spike protein on its surface. the virus has changed considerably, but the antibodies the vaccine creates still work. omicron has more mutations than any variant so far and there's concern it may be able to bypass our initial defences and cause infection.
but even if it does, another part of the immune system, t cells, should give significant protection against severe disease. i do not want people to panic at this stage. if vaccine effectiveness is reduced, as seems pretty likely to some extent, the biggest effects are likely to be in preventing infections and hopefully there will be smaller effects on preventing severe disease. can we test for it? omicron has a different genetic signature to delta, which often shows up on pcr tests. but only about half of uk lads can pick up the signal. gene sequencing will also help track the spread of the variant here. we all want to know how much of a threat omicron poses, but it will be two to three weeks before science gives
us those answers. fergus walsh, bbc news. so lots of countries putting restrictions on travel to try and stop the spread. australia has delayed its plans to reopen the borders to some foreign nationals. morroco has stopped all incoming flights banning entry of its own citizens for the time being. both israel and japan have banned foreigners from entering. but given the inevitable spread of the variant are travel bans the best way to go? let's bring in dr naomi forrester—soto, a virologist at keele university. what it does show is that it is not just a moral failure what it does show is that it is not just a moralfailure not what it does show is that it is not just a moral failure not to share the vaccination more widely with developing countries, it is a practicalfailure developing countries, it is a practical failure because within the space of three weeks, a new variant will be everywhere.— will be everywhere. yes, i mean, i think there — will be everywhere. yes, i mean, i think there are _ will be everywhere. yes, i mean, i think there are a _ will be everywhere. yes, i mean, i think there are a lot _ will be everywhere. yes, i mean, i think there are a lot of _ will be everywhere. yes, i mean, i think there are a lot of reasons - will be everywhere. yes, i mean, i| think there are a lot of reasons why thatis think there are a lot of reasons why that is happening, particularly about the spread, this virus is able
to spread very quickly and before people are symptomatic, as we have already seen with a lot of other variants. that allows the virus to move undetected, really, through populations and particularly if people have asymptomatic infections, that means they are actually getting no symptoms at all and do not know they have got it and therefore are able to spread it and that makes it so difficult to control that even with the best will in the world, most travel restrictions are not going to do the job that we hope they will. ﬁgs going to do the 'ob that we hope the will. �* , , , they will. as fergus said, there is a lot that we _ they will. as fergus said, there is a lot that we do _ they will. as fergus said, there is a lot that we do not _ they will. as fergus said, there is a lot that we do not know - they will. as fergus said, there is a lot that we do not know what i they will. as fergus said, there is | a lot that we do not know what the moment, but is it possible, if the symptoms are mild, that this is doing what viruses do and it is becoming more transmissible, but less deadly, which perversely might be a good thing? yes. less deadly, which perversely might be a good thing?— be a good thing? yes, it would certainly be — be a good thing? yes, it would certainly be a _ be a good thing? yes, it would certainly be a step _ be a good thing? yes, it would certainly be a step on - be a good thing? yes, it would certainly be a step on the - be a good thing? yes, it would certainly be a step on the road| be a good thing? yes, it would i certainly be a step on the road to the virus becoming more endemic and
i think that is what most viraljust that i talk to who have more experience than i do think it is properly how human coronaviruses started in our population, they started in our population, they started as a severe pandemic and then became endemic. if this virus is taking us down that path, that is a slightly less problematic route for us to have a virus that is milder, people get it more often, but it is a much milder disease and people are less likely to end up in hospital or die and that would be a better solution. can hospital or die and that would be a better solution.— better solution. can we tackle the view that is _ better solution. can we tackle the view that is circulating _ better solution. can we tackle the view that is circulating on - better solution. can we tackle the view that is circulating on social. view that is circulating on social media today with the emergence of this variant that vaccinations no longer do much to stop the spread of the coronavirus? what you make of that? , t, a, , the coronavirus? what you make of that? , a, a, , a, that? there is unfortunately quite a lot of truth in _ that? there is unfortunately quite a lot of truth in that, _ that? there is unfortunately quite a lot of truth in that, we _ that? there is unfortunately quite a lot of truth in that, we all _ that? there is unfortunately quite a lot of truth in that, we all hoped - lot of truth in that, we all hoped at the beginning that when vaccinations were developed they would be able to prevent transmission much more than they do,
so we have a lot, that is a real criticism of the vaccinations at the moment, although they protect you against hospitalisations, they do not necessarily prevent you from being able to transmit the virus. the gold standard vaccination could do both. but to have a virus that really reduces the risk of death and hospitalisation was fantastic, it is just not all—encompassing as people would like. i can understand their feeling, but i think that fundamentally it is may be misunderstanding the road that these vaccinations have played in this pandemic and they have done a fantasticjob of preventing people going into hospital. i did fantastic job of preventing people going into hospital.— going into hospital. i did some din um: going into hospital. i did some digging and — going into hospital. i did some digging and in _ going into hospital. i did some digging and in the _ going into hospital. i did somej digging and in the netherlands going into hospital. i did some - digging and in the netherlands they
have discovered that those who were vaccinated were 63% less likely to infect those who are unvaccinated, which is quite significant. that begs the question, if that is the case, why are we not vaccinating, for those who wanted, the 5— i2 —year—olds, because in my son's class, there three cases today which they might carry two other people. yeah, it is a really good question and one that as you know, as a virologist i am wrestling with that, the us is planning to vaccinate that age group and they decided it was a good use, but at the moment 5— i2 —year—olds are less likely to get sick from the virus and i think if we have noticed anything from the arrival of omicron, there are vulnerable adults who do need the
vaccination, probably more than that age group, although i have children in that group, so i would not mind them having it, onlyjust to mean that i do not worry about myself waking up and wondering if i need to test them and not send them to school. there are plenty of people out there who need the vaccination because they are vulnerable and they do not have access to it. that discussion does need to be had, particularly given the rise of omicron and the discussions we are having about the need to have a global response to a pandemic rather than an individual country response. i have been wondering about the wisdom of using the greek alphabet. i am going to put the greek alphabet on the screen. there are a lot of letters between delta and omicron, what happened to all those other letters? where variants we did not know of? ., ,., ., ., , know of? there are some variants that have not _ know of? there are some variants that have not become _ know of? there are some variants that have not become as - know of? there are some variants that have not become as famous i know of? there are some variants. that have not become as famous as
delta, they are circulating in other countries are not necessarily spread to europe and hit our radar. i do know that... i to europe and hit our radar. i do know that. . ._ to europe and hit our radar. i do know that... . ., ., , know that. .. i am going to put them on screen. — know that. .. i am going to put them on screen. i — know that. .. i am going to put them on screen, i have _ know that. .. i am going to put them on screen, i have taken _ know that. .. i am going to put them on screen, i have taken i _ know that. .. i am going to put them on screen, i have taken i have - know that. .. i am going to put themj on screen, i have taken i have taken advice. you are your talking about these two. they thought they would miss that one and the second one looks very much like president xi jinping so they got rid of that one and went to omicron. that jinping so they got rid of that one and went to omicron.— and went to omicron. that is correct. recently _ and went to omicron. that is correct. recently the - and went to omicron. that is correct. recently the who i and went to omicron. that is correct. recently the who is j and went to omicron. that is - correct. recently the who is making a concerted effort not to name viruses after people or places so we do not stigmatise those places and people. do not stigmatise those places and eo - le. ., , people. there are nine left, these are the nine. _ people. there are nine left, these are the nine, apologies _ people. there are nine left, these are the nine, apologies to - people. there are nine left, these are the nine, apologies to our- people. there are nine left, these i are the nine, apologies to our greek
friends. those are the nine that are left. if nothing else, we are learning the greek alphabet as we 90, learning the greek alphabet as we go, that is a good thing. thank you very much for coming on. lovely to get your expertise on that. thank you. the trial of ghislaine maxwell — former girlfriend and close associate of the convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein — has opened today in new york. the british publishing heiress has been accused of trafficking four un—named minors, grooming and recruiting them for her former lover to abuse in the late 90s and early 2000s. she has been in a new yorkjail since her arrest injuly 2020. she is pleading not guilty to all charges. the bbc�*s nada tawfik has more. ghislaine maxwell and jeffrey epstein attracted friends in high places, increasing the intrigue around the duo. his death in 2019, under unusual circumstances, only raised more questions, leaving behind a dark cloud of mystery.
the fallen heiress�* trial may yet provide the most explicit details to date. in this indictment, ghislane maxwell is charged with six trafficking and recruiting and grooming for underage girls for epstein to abuse between 1994 — 200a. what the jury here in new york will have to decide is whether she is being made a scapegoat for epstein or if she was his chief enabler. that abuse included sexualised misogyny, the sexualised misogyny developed into sexual encounters, for which maxwell, in some instances, was present and participated. she has pleaded not guilty. legal experts say this is one of the most high—profile cases to trial a woman for allegedly facilitating a sex trafficking operation. whereas she had enormous power, she had enormous resources, what we are going to see that in contrast, the other victims did not have that and so, she is really a difficult person
to engender sympathy for and i think that is going to be a real challenge for the defence in this case. ghislane maxwell's life before she met epstein was very different, but not without its own drama. she was the youngest child of the late disgraced newspaper baron robert maxwell. part of her appeal to epstein was her circle of rich and famous friends, including prince andrew. her trial comes at a very inconvenient time for the royal, as he fights of his own separate civil lawsuit by one of epstein's most outspoken accusers, virginia giuffre. ghislaine tells me that i have to do for andrew what i do for geoffrey. i and that made me sick. ijust didn't expect it from royalty. - she said epstein and ghislane maxwell forced her to have sex with the duke of york when she was just 17 in london, new york and the us virgin islands. prince andrew has previously denied all of the allegations
and his attempts to put the scandal behind him have so farfailed. ian maxwell says at least one sibling will be present every day of his sister's trial. it is impossible for me to think that she would have been engaged in these really horrendous charges that she is now facing. they do not stack up in any single way and all those people who do not know her, but who have some regard for the system ofjustice that operates in the united states, they should suspend theirjudgment. her case is expected to last six weeks, after which herfate is in the hands of the jury. nada tawfik, bbc news, new york. sarah krissoff, is a former assistant us attorney — she worked 10 years as a federal prosecutor in new york, until very recently. great to have you on the programme. your experiences as a federal
prosecutor in six trafficking and crimes against children, outline for us the seriousness of these charges and what she is facing if she is convicted. and what she is facing if she is convicted-— and what she is facing if she is convicted. these are incredibly serious charges, _ convicted. these are incredibly serious charges, essentially i convicted. these are incredibly - serious charges, essentially maxwell is charged with conspiracy to commit the crimes and aiding and abetting the crimes and aiding and abetting the crimes and consequences for those crimes are just as serious as if she was charged with the crime and she is charged with some substance of crimes related to a particular victim and she is looking at a significant prison sentence if she was to be convicted. you recently were _ she was to be convicted. you recently were in _ she was to be convicted. you recently were in the - she was to be convicted. you recently were in the southern district in new york and you must know the personalities involved. pick out some of them for us, particularly thejudge, pick out some of them for us, particularly the judge, who pick out some of them for us, particularly thejudge, who is pick out some of them for us, particularly the judge, who is the judge and what sort of attitude might thejudge have judge and what sort of attitude might the judge have two this trial? absolutely. i left the us attorney's
office in mid—october and i am familiar with the personalities on both sides of the aisle and the judge. thejudge in particular is a very demanding, very thorough judge and i am sure in that climate, both teams, the prosecution and the defence are making sure that they conduct themselves very carefully, cautiously and they understand that they are under the scrutiny of the court as well. we they are under the scrutiny of the court as well.— court as well. we don't have “ury selection in ﬂ court as well. we don't have “ury selection in uk i court as well. we don't have “ury selection in uk trials, * court as well. we don't have “ury selection in uk trials, but i court as well. we don't have “ury selection in uk trials, but ash court as well. we don't have jury selection in uk trials, but as a i selection in uk trials, but as a former prosecutor, how important is this first day? they are whittling down a panel of 60 prescreen jurors down a panel of 60 prescreen jurors down to a panel of 12 with ultimates, how crucial is that if you are prosecutor? the ultimates, how crucial is that if you are prosecutor?— you are prosecutor? the “ury selection �* you are prosecutor? the “ury selection process * you are prosecutor? the “ury selection process is i you are prosecutor? the jury. selection process is important you are prosecutor? the jury - selection process is important and it was very complex. it started with a questionnaire which is actually
very common in high profile cases in new york. they used a questionnaire to weed out people who may have prejudice or bias a certain way, to weed out people who simply were not available to sit on the jury for the duration of the case. after doing the questionnaire, they moved to questioning of the individualjurors by thejudge and questioning of the individualjurors by the judge and then the attorneys were able to argue to the court to dismiss certain individuals for cause and then ultimately this morning, the parties got to exercise their strengths to dismiss jurors and whittle the jury down and the judge is going to sit 12jurors and whittle the jury down and the judge is going to sit 12 jurors as well as six alternate jurors in case any of the 12 jurors are not able to complete the trial or complete the deliberation in the trial, then they
all turn outjurors willjump in and do that. all turn out “urors will “ump in and do that. . , all turn out “urors will “ump in and do that. ., , ,., all turn out “urors will “ump in and do that. ., , ., all turn out “urors will “ump in and do that. ., , ,., ., , do that. clearly some of these crimes were — do that. clearly some of these crimes were committed - do that. clearly some of these crimes were committed more | do that. clearly some of these - crimes were committed more than 20 years ago, alleged crimes, we are told that the defence will be calling a psychiatrist that specialises in memory and trauma. clearly, former prosecutor's position, you would know that they are going to try and pick holes in these recollections.— are going to try and pick holes in these recollections. absolutely. i think that is _ these recollections. absolutely. i think that is expected _ these recollections. absolutely. i think that is expected and - these recollections. absolutely. i think that is expected and the - think that is expected and the prosecutors are certainly expecting that and in this case, i think it is clearfrom the charging that and in this case, i think it is clear from the charging instruments and the pleadings in the case, the case is primarily going to be based on the testimony of those victims and frankly, i think a couple of those victims are probably the most important victims for the government. they will testify about what they remember and i am certain there are things that they do not remember well and certain details they may not be able to recall
because these events happen so long ago, but i expect they will be confident in what they do remember and the indictment, in this case the superseding indictment in this case which was only filed in march, really sets out what i think we can expect the victim's testimony to be. it is a day that the victims have waited a long time for one they probably thought they would not get given the suicide of epstein, but i wonder if that is something the defence will pounce on and they might say that the only reason she is in the dock is because epstein is not. �* , , ~' . not. absolutely. i think the defence attorne s not. absolutely. i think the defence attorneys will _ not. absolutely. i think the defence attorneys will certainly _ not. absolutely. i think the defence attorneys will certainly try - not. absolutely. i think the defence attorneys will certainly try to - attorneys will certainly try to discredit the victims, they have to do that very carefully, right, because the jury is necessarily going to have some sympathy and empathy for those victims and so, the defence is going to have to do
that carefully to try and discredit or undermine testimony without being too aggressive or overtly aggressive about it. . , too aggressive or overtly aggressive about it. ., , ., ., too aggressive or overtly aggressive about it. ., , ., about it. sarah, it is good to get our about it. sarah, it is good to get your exoertise — about it. sarah, it is good to get your expertise and _ about it. sarah, it is good to get your expertise and i _ about it. sarah, it is good to get your expertise and i hope - about it. sarah, it is good to get your expertise and i hope you i about it. sarah, it is good to get. your expertise and i hope you will come back on as the trial gets under way fully. it is interesting to hear your thoughts. thank you. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: more than a hundred thousand people in the uk are facing a fourth day without power in the aftermath of storm arwen at the weekend. scotland's first minister and snp leader, nicola sturgeon, has promised to double payments for low—income families with children. she told the snp conference that it would involve "hard choices elsewhere in our budget" but eradicating child poverty was "essential." it means that from april next year, child payment will increase to 20 pounds per week. the first minister said more than one hundred thousand children under the age of six would benefit from the payments. nicola sturgeon also outlined plans
to improve early years education. doubling, yes the doubling of state funded early years education and childcare. every three and four—year—old and two—year—olds from the most vulnerable backgrounds are now entitled to the same number of hours in early years settings as older children get in school. this policy saves parents thousands of pounds a year, but much, much more importantly, it gives children the best start in education. more than a hundred thousand homes across the uk are without power tonight for a fourth day in the wake of storm arwen that battered the uk with winds close to 100 miles an hour. our north of england correspondent fiona trott reports. are you all warm enough? battling the elements. but this is indoors.
the crosshill nursing home in county durham has been without power for three days, and they're trying to keep warm any way they can. a neighbour donated this small patio heater. to get everybody away - from the coldest place you've ever wished to be in, _ suddenly very cold, from the storm. they come round now through the night every hour. how much do you want electricity to come back on? oh, i would love it to come on. i think we all would, - and i think the staff would, because they've had very hard work with it _ i don't think some of them have hardly slept much. i potatoes coming! some staff are even taking food away to cook it in their own homes. but they're frustrated too. it would be nice to know how long. if on friday we knew it would be a few days then obviously our contingency would have been different than the fact we are going hour by hour. it is notjust our residents at risk, which i've said. it's also the fact we're quite lucky because we are all together
and have a lovely community. what about the poor old person, vulnerable person, who lives on their own and nobody knows about? they are potentially the people who they are going to find in a few days having not unfortunately survived this. we really feel for our customers in these circumstances and our team are really doing their very best to get the lights back on. so i ask for people to be patient with us. we are really trying very best to help them and we are going to be there for them and we will keep them informed as to how we go. the effects of storm arwen are being felt across the uk. at this nature reserve at st abbs in berwickshire, around 800 grey seals have perished. in aberdeenshire residents in torphins are bracing themselves for a third cold night. stores have been set up with hot food and drinks. in abergele in conway, itv have confirmed the i'm a celebrity programme will be scrapped for a third night while work continues to repair damage there. back at the nursing home,
more help has arrived. a massive generator donated by the local funfair. i'd just like to give something back, you know. idon't mind. kindness is keeping them going. in these pandemic times it is the community once again helping to keep people safe. fiona trott, bbc news, county durham. i noticed today, in what i know was a very serious press conference at the white house, there were a lot of baubles in shot. which i found a tad distracting. not that i begrudge a bit of tinsel in the current climate. but what do we make of that, is it me or is it a bit overkill on the baubles. what do you in your house, do you go full monty around the fireplace like that? it's quite traditional isn't it? anyway this is a job normally given to the first lady — and this isjill biden's first attempt at putting out the decorations.
the theme this year is �*gifts from the heart'. (00v 2 so it features lots of photographs of former presidents and their families — including donald trump. you see!! that there is the spirit of christmas. good evening. i'm sure you don't need me to tell you that in many parts of the uk, it has been a very cold day, with afternoon temperatures in the staffordshire moorlands no higher than one degree above freezing. but changes have been beginning to take place. we've had more cloud rolling its way in from the west. with that, the first signs of some milder air, which made its presence felt in western scotland, because while it was a very grey afternoon for many here, a little bit damp and drizzly, temperatures got all the way up to ten degrees. and that milder weather is now working its way eastwards. with it, a lot of cloud, some mist and murk, some spots of rain and drizzle, but temperatures by the end of the night for many of us will be in double digits. ten degrees there for cardiff, for plymouth, for belfast.
11 in liverpool as we start the day. a very different feel, much milder than it has been, but with lots of cloud, some splashes of rain and drizzle here and there, especially in western and northern areas. we will see a few brighter glimpses developing here and there, but then during the afternoon, this band of heavy and persisent rain will approach northern ireland, also starting to affect the western side of scotland. still very chilly in the far north, but for most of us, temperatures for tomorrow afternoon will be up in double digits. now, through tomorrow night, this area of low pressure is going to cross the uk, and it will be deepening as it goes. so, that means we could see some really quite strong winds. at this stage, it doesn't look like we'll see anything like the windy weather we had over the weekend, but still the potential for some really gusty conditions around western coasts and also perhaps for eastern scotland and north east england. we'll have to keep a close eye on that one. and then for wednesday, the winds start to come down from the north, and that sweeps away the milder air. temperatures will begin to drop once again. through wednesday, we will see some sunny spells, but some showers around as well.
and some of those showers will turn wintry, especially over higher ground in scotland, where we could see snow to quite low levels. and temperatures through the afternoon dropping away, 4—10 degrees as we end wednesday. now, for thursday, this little ridge of high pressure will topple its way in. that means we'll see some drier weather, but then during thursday night, a band of rain and temporarily some snow in places will work its way eastwards. and behind that, things will turn milder once again. so, a chilly sort of day on thursday, a little bit milder for most of us by friday.
this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. president biden says the newly—identified omicron variant of coronavirus is a cause for concern, not panic. prince charles is in barbados as the island becomes a republic, cutting its ties with the monarchy after 400 years. twitter has confirmed that its founderjack dorsey has stepped down as ceo with immediate effect. plus, how customers at britain's highest pub got a longer stay than they bargained for after the building was cut off by a storm.
if there's anything world leaders have learnt over the past two years of this pandemic, it's that their political fortunes can turn almost as quickly as the virus. so, they are doing their utmost right now to impress a message of calm and quite authority as speculation runs wild over what this latest variant is and what protection we have. presidentjoe biden, who has a difficult second half of the year, no exception. this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. we have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists and we're learning more every single day. so that we are prepared, if needed, my team is already working with officials at pfizer and moderna and johnson &johnson to develop contingency plans for vaccines or boosters if needed. today, pfizer and moderna announced work is already under way to tweak the vaccines they have produced in order to better fight the new covid strain.
let's bring in dr kaitlynjetelina, assistant professor with the school of public health at the university of texas health science center at houston. welcome to the programme. so, no plan today from the president to introduce a mass mende inside. no plan to test for domestic flights internally in the us as they do for international flights. internally in the us as they do for internationalflights. does internally in the us as they do for international flights. does that concern you? i international flights. does that concern you?— concern you? i don't think it concerns — concern you? i don't think it concerns me. _ concern you? i don't think it concerns me. i— concern you? i don't think it concerns me. i think - concern you? i don't think it concerns me. i think that i concern you? i don't think it| concerns me. i think that we concern you? i don't think it i concerns me. i think that we still have a lot of questions unanswered. we don't know if this variant is more profitable and we don't know how well our vaccines protect us because we have a good chance that they do to protect us. and so i think we have the tools we need to make individual based decisions like wearing masks indoors, testing
fulsome antigen testing at home as great as well. fulsome antigen testing at home as great as well-— great as well. what would you say about testing _ great as well. what would you say about testing in _ great as well. what would you say about testing in texas? _ great as well. what would you say about testing in texas? south i great as well. what would you say i about testing in texas? south africa has a very good system of surveillance with traces all the way back to the battle against age of age they picked it up very quickly. can you send the same state of state in america? is it good enough to pick up if omicron is there? our surveillance _ pick up if omicron is there? oi" surveillance system for genomes pick up if omicron is there?
really low number! _ nationwide. goodness, that is a really low number! yeah, i nationwide. goodness, that is a really low number! yeah, it i nationwide. goodness, that is a really low number! yeah, it is l nationwide. goodness, that is a really low number! yeah, it is a j nationwide. goodness, that is a i really low number! yeah, it is a low number. really low number! yeah, it is a low number- that _ really low number! yeah, it is a low number. that is _ really low number! yeah, it is a low number. that is perhaps _ really low number! yeah, it is a low number. that is perhaps why i really low number! yeah, it is a low number. that is perhaps why you i really low number! yeah, it is a low i number. that is perhaps why you were heaﬁna number. that is perhaps why you were hearing caution — number. that is perhaps why you were hearing caution from _ number. that is perhaps why you were hearing caution from the _ number. that is perhaps why you were hearing caution from the white - number. that is perhaps why you were hearing caution from the white house | hearing caution from the white house today. they don't really know whether it is there or not. that is true and we _ whether it is there or not. that is true and we actually _ whether it is there or not. that is true and we actually should i whether it is there or not. that is i true and we actually should assume that it true and we actually should assume thatitis true and we actually should assume that it is already here and it's flying under our radar. so we have to be smart right now in making our decisions. ~ , ., to be smart right now in making our decisions. . , ., , ., decisions. why would you say vaccination is _ decisions. why would you say vaccination is in _ decisions. why would you say vaccination is in texas - decisions. why would you say vaccination is in texas right i decisions. why would you say i vaccination is in texas right now? what is it right now?— what is it right now? where is it riaht what is it right now? where is it right now? _ what is it right now? where is it right now? do — what is it right now? where is it right now? do you _ what is it right now? where is it right now? do you have - what is it right now? where is it right now? do you have a i right now? do you have a good booster programme because clearly we are getting the message from both the uk and us governments today is the uk and us governments today is the best way to fight this is three boosters to making sure everybody has antibodies? i5 boosters to making sure everybody has antibodies?— has antibodies? is true. i would auree has antibodies? is true. i would agree with _ has antibodies? is true. i would agree with that. _ has antibodies? is true. i would agree with that. i _ has antibodies? is true. i would agree with that. i think- has antibodies? is true. i would agree with that. i think that i agree with that. i think that boosters may play a very significant role here with omicron. they not only re—stimulate the immune system, so increase the number of antibodies, but they also generate a more broad level of response. they
can identify even more parts of the virus, and so boosters are really important. not enough people are boosted. i would say that in texas or even across the us, and so that needs to be our number one priority as well as getting those unaccented people vaccinated. i5 as well as getting those unaccented people vaccinated.— people vaccinated. is that because it has laecome _ people vaccinated. is that because it has become so _ people vaccinated. is that because it has become so political? - people vaccinated. is that because it has become so political? yeah. l people vaccinated. is that because j it has become so political? yeah. i think it's become _ it has become so political? yeah. i think it's become political. - it has become so political? yeah. i think it's become political. there l think it's become political. there is a tonne of misinformation out there. it's really hard for people to find it really great, solid, unbiased information and i will say it, english, in layman's terms, so i think it's a big problem here in the us as well as across the world, even if africa. we us as well as across the world, even if africa. ~ , , , if africa. we need is less politicking _ if africa. we need is less politicking but _ if africa. we need is less politicking but that's i if africa. we need is less politicking but that's not| if africa. we need is less - politicking but that's not stopped a congressman from your state there in texas, this is republican ronnie jackson, labelling it on twitter as midterm election variant. the need
to push us was that nationwide mail—in ballots, democrats would do anything to cheat during an election but we are not going to let them. that is ronniejackson, who was the former white house chief medical adviser. what do you make of that? yeah, we need to follow the science here. you know, we as scientists know that this is in a lot of mutations. we cannot take on omicron lightly. but with that said, we cannot just lose all lightly. but with that said, we cannotjust lose all hope either. there is certainly a balance here, and while we are answering questions in real time and while we are answering questions in realtime in and while we are answering questions in real time in labs, we need people to do their part on the ground and continue to protect themselves. more science, continue to protect themselves. more science. less — continue to protect themselves. more science, less politics _ continue to protect themselves. more science, less politics is _ continue to protect themselves. more science, less politics is what we need. doctor, that you very much for being with us. need. doctor, that you very much for being with us— prince charles has touched down in barbados as the country prepares to break with the crown after nearly 400 years. the island will become a republic at midnight local time
with the queen removed as their head of state. the prince says he has travelled to barbados to highlight the goals and values that are shared by two nations and will continue link them past tonight's significant constitutional shift. celestina olulode reports from barbados. gearing up for a moment in history. this island nation is making a strong statement about how it sees itself. the prime minister of barbados says the time has come. we believe that the unfinished business ought not to go past the 55th anniversary of independence. i am one of the biggest respecters of her majesty, but equally i need to know that my people could also do the same thing and respect the same thing. a nation with a complex past, slave ships once docked here, africans brought and exploited
by the british. and it's the sugarcane fields where many were forced to work, cutting down the crop before it was processed. the backbreaking labour led many to die young. after slavery came to an end in1831t, barbados remained a british colony. despite gaining its independence in 1966, the queen has remained the island's head of state, but that is about to change. the transition comes at a time of uncertainty. the pandemic has had a sharp impact on this island's economy, which relies heavily on tourism. we need to be free. but people here still have strong views about becoming a republic. it changes nothing. is life going to be better tomorrow? 0k, we are going to be a republic. is it going to be better? are the people still going to be -
living from paycheque to paycheque? but sharon's daughter leshawna sees things differently. for me, becoming a republic means the end of subservience to england and the monarchy and so on. signs of this island's colonial past are dotted throughout, but there are plans to introduce new symbols of national pride. for now, a ceremonial welcome. prince charles will attend official events to mark the occasion, a controversial move for some. but the most crucial part of the story of the nation that has fought hard to stand tall on its own is how young barbadians view themselves and look back at this moment in the future. celestina olulode, bbc news, bridgetown, barbados. significant moment for the people in barbados. jack dorsey, the co—founder of twitter, has stepped down from his executive role at the social media company.
he will be replaced by chief technology officer parag agrawal. it caught the market somewhat by surprise, bringing to an end dorsey's much criticised tenure as chief executive officer of both twitter and square, his digital payments company. the share price last time i looked was down nearly 2%. i'm joined now by elizabeth dwoskin, the silicon valley correspondent at the washington post. sorry, that disappeared off the prompter and i lost your name for a second. good to have you. can i ask you if it was somewhat excited because it seemed to catch the market by surprise with matt dorsey posted his resignation letter on twitter as twitter ceo. iie posted his resignation letter on twitter as twitter ceo.- posted his resignation letter on twitter as twitter ceo. he said that he had made _ twitter as twitter ceo. he said that he had made this _ twitter as twitter ceo. he said that he had made this decision - twitter as twitter ceo. he said that he had made this decision in - he had made this decision in consultation with the board but clearly it was a very closely kept secret because and very sudden because it was announced on a twitter day of rest, which is a date
when the whole company is about to be all. so it seemed really unclear and call thousands of employees by surprise. and call thousands of employees by surrise. ~ .,, , and call thousands of employees by surrise. ~ , , and call thousands of employees by surrise. . , , . , ., surprise. was entirely his decision because there _ surprise. was entirely his decision because there were _ surprise. was entirely his decision because there were stories - surprise. was entirely his decision because there were stories last i surprise. was entirely his decision l because there were stories last year that paul singer, a republican donor had come in and wanted to shake it up had come in and wanted to shake it up and clearly there was some tension with jack dorsey? has it led to this point, do we think with my we are still learning the inside story, and i don't know exactly. what the interplay was, but, yes, there have been a lot of pressure by these activists in this hedge fund that acquired a large stake in twitter and a board seat for him to resign earlier this year, which he successfully fended off. and then had told people he knows that he was not planning on going anywhere. so that's why this move is kind of surprising and makes me think there was clearly a lot more happening behind the scenes. for the future of twitter, which is a very small service compared to facebook or
tick—tock or youtube, but also punches above its weight because of the big influencers on the platform. it's a lot for this new ceo to deal with. he has been the chief technology officer up to this point and now he takes over. they told shareholders they are going to monetise over 300 million daily active users by the end of 2023 and that's going to double annual revenue. that's quite a stiff feelings for a newcomer. yeah and then only that. _ feelings for a newcomer. yeah and then only that, they _ feelings for a newcomer. yeah and then only that, they are _ feelings for a newcomer. yeah and then only that, they are adding i feelings for a newcomer. yeah and then only that, they are adding a l then only that, they are adding a lot of new experimentation around audio. they have the audio platform twitter spaces where you can do live audio broadcasts. they have announced a subscription service where you can actually pay to nana month to get access to its of the they had this really ambitious goals going forward. so it is a lot to handle and on top of that they have misinformation, problems with covid—19, misinformation about that,
political figures abusing the platform, potential information and even the list goes on. bullying and harassment, the list goes on and twitter is stilljust in the middle of trying to figure out those problems. of trying to figure out those problems-— of trying to figure out those roblems. , , , ., of trying to figure out those roblems. , ., problems. jack dorsey has had some fairl ublic problems. jack dorsey has had some fairly public run-ins _ problems. jack dorsey has had some fairly public run-ins with _ problems. jack dorsey has had some fairly public run-ins with donald i fairly public run—ins with donald trump and has been called several times to give evidence in congress. will he successor feel the same sort of pressure or is this a new chapter for twitter? i of pressure or is this a new chapter for twitter?— for twitter? i think that he will step right _ for twitter? i think that he will step right into _ for twitter? i think that he will step right into the _ for twitter? i think that he will step right into the fire. - for twitter? i think that he will step right into the fire. and i for twitter? i think that he will| step right into the fire. and he for twitter? i think that he will. step right into the fire. and he is going to face that exact kind of pressure and potentially even more because even today, about a decade ago, he had quoted from the daily show or a show on comedy central and it made the comment that now conservatives are even seizing upon to show evidence of bias with them i would not quote the comment directly, but it's already the
political firestorm directly, but it's already the politicalfirestorm beginning directly, but it's already the political firestorm beginning and twitter is already very much and it even though donald trump is a longer president and obviously he may run again and then the social media companies become a target for the animus of politicians especially on the right. trump is not on twitter and they were the first company to punish him and now they have suspended him after his comments in relation to the january the 6th indirection and so clearly that is a huge sore point amongst conservatives as well. ., ., conservatives as well. yeah, i name it we have — conservatives as well. yeah, i name it we have to _ conservatives as well. yeah, i name it we have to get — conservatives as well. yeah, i name it we have to get used _ conservatives as well. yeah, i name it we have to get used to _ it we have to get used to pronouncing and saying a lot more. elizabeth, thank you very much indeed for coming on.— elizabeth, thank you very much indeed for coming on. thanks for havin: indeed for coming on. thanks for having me- _ stay with us on bbc news. dozens of people stranded for days in one of the uk's most remote pubs. we'll explain. the health secretary, sajid javid, has tonight been explaining how the roll out of boosterjabs to all over—18s will work. he was answering questions following a visit to a vaccine centre at guy's and st thomas'
hospital in london, where he told reporters that pharmacies would be expected to play their part. we will be certainly providing more staff. we're working on that with the nhs. we also want to see more vaccination centres open. we will probably have some of them open for longer, and i think our great pharmacies will be able to play a bigger role alongside our fantastic gps. in the house of commons, jeremy hunt and some other mps, and gordon brown's raised this as well, the fact that this new variant has come from africa suggests that perhaps western countries like the uk need to speed up the supply of vaccines to countries like those in africa. you've been criticised for not doing this quick enough. what are you going to do about that? well, i think it's important that all rich countries help the developing world with vaccines. the uk has certainly played its part. we've donated over 20 million vaccines already. there's another 10 million about to go. we're committed to 100 million byjune. that's more than almost
all other countries. but in today's meeting that i called with g7 health ministers, this was one of the issues discussed, and everyone recommitted to that, acceptithis is hugely important. some sage members have suggested that if this new variant is as bad as some fear it is, that your plan b won't be sufficient. how concerned are you about that? well, what we want to do is first to assess the variant. i don't want to jump to any conclusions around the variant. i want to be led by the evidence. what we do know at the moment about the variant is that it is worrying, and that's why we have taken these proportionate and swift responses. but it's important that we assess it, take the time that's needed. hopefully in the next few weeks, that can be done. we'll work with our international partners on that assessment, and then we'll decide what else may or may not need to be done.
the biggest banking leak africa has ever seen has shed light on companies linked to relatives and associates of former democratic republic of congo president joseph kabila receiving millions of dollars in public funds. now the bbc can exclusively reveal a presidency account was set up at the bank central to the leak during kabila's tenure in power. millions of dollars were transferred through it. online french investigative journal mediapart and the ngo platform to protect whistleblowers in africa obtained the information. it has been published as part of a consortium co—ordinated by the european investigative collaborations network. a judicial investigation into any alleged wrongdoing has begun as a result of a government request. joice etutu reports.
holding relatives of the president of the drc. this is based off of this beach gfi bank. the former employee says the managing director approved loans and transactions causing concern that proper procedures were avoided. managing director is also the first brother of the former president and when he was in power the bank created accounts for officers of state, including for the presidency. then including for the presidency. then in may 2013, an employee was given a memorable task. translate may i remember this day because early in the morning and call me and said i had to make $3 million available in the president park account. that's us by the account holding little money. the bank had arranged an overdraft that same day. the
president public official financial adviser withdrew the money in cash. the bbc found no documentation to justify the transaction. it broke drc banking law and is believed that the president would've known about it. translation: ., ., translation: the head of state financial adviser _ translation: the head of state financial adviser was _ translation: the head of state financial adviser was acting i translation: the head of state financial adviser was acting on i financial adviser was acting on behalf of the head of state. they had direct control of the account. it was he who signed on for the head of state for the account. six. it was he who signed on for the head of state for the account.— of state for the account. six months later, interest was _ of state for the account. six months later, interest was piling _ of state for the account. six months later, interest was piling up. - of state for the account. six months later, interest was piling up. then l later, interest was piling up. then the leak shows food import companies paid $3.34 million into the presidency account from its own accounts containing $43 million of taxpayer money received weeks earlier from the state bank. this taxpayer money received weeks earlierfrom the state bank. this is known to have done business with the president before. bbc found no evidence showing once the president to the account was for. and the leak
shows other firms with links to the president public relatives and associates received millions of dollars of public money into their accounts and then out. we don't know where the money ended up. this accounts and then out. we don't know where the money ended up.— where the money ended up. this is a cute alarm for _ where the money ended up. this is a cute alarm for the _ where the money ended up. this is a cute alarm for the drc, _ where the money ended up. this is a cute alarm for the drc, for - where the money ended up. this is a cute alarm for the drc, for the i cute alarm for the drc, for the public, — cute alarm for the drc, for the public, for— cute alarm for the drc, for the public, for economists let myself. there _ public, for economists let myself. there must— public, for economists let myself. there must be an investigation because — there must be an investigation because everything we have seen could _ because everything we have seen could be — because everything we have seen could be just the tip of the iceberg _ could be just the tip of the iceberg. there could be more. such worries were _ iceberg. there could be more. such worries were already _ iceberg. there could be more. sic? worries were already servicing internally. the leak shows in 2018 head office audits saying drc operations were very high risk. and raising concerns about declared conflicts of interest. just two weeks after that audit, the bank promoted the managing director to its head office in gabon. he left his role at the bank with a reported payoff of $1.4 million. as a result
of the revelations, a judicial investigation by the drc government into any alleged wrongdoing is under way. the director in the state bank declined to comment on the leaks. the bank still works in the drc with different management. the bank condemned any illegal acts which may have committed and said it took steps in 2018 to clean up its drc operation. the state bank denies ever receive state money and sets a government investigation into the 40s remain on payment exonerated it. and the former president said the leaks were unfounded allegations to discredit his presidency. the former president is a senator for life in a country rated as one of the world's most corrupt. his rich natural resources don't prevent most of his people from being poor.
really important investigation by the africa i investigation team. if you want a longer version of that there is a 50 minute version on the africa section of the bbc website. — 15 minute version. let's look at some of the day's other news. iran has demanded that all sanctions be lifted in a verifiable process as talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal resumed in vienna for the first time in five months. a statement by the iranian foreign minister said the us failed to understand that there was no way to return to the agreement without the removal of all sanctions. 30 endangered southern white rhinos have been flown from south africa to rwanda in a jumbojet in possibly the largest single transfer of the species ever undertaken. it's hoped the rhinos, which can weight up to two tonnes, will be safer in rwanda than south africa, where poachers kill an average of three a day. 60 customers and staff have finally emerged after three nights marooned in britain's highest pub.
the lock—in at the tan hill inn began on friday evening when storm arwen brought heavy snow to the yorkshire dales. that night, an oasis tribute band was playing, and the musicians had been stuck there, too. our north of england correspondent danny savage reports. welcome to what many people this weekend saw as the most enviable location in the land. at the tan hill inn, they sorted their priorities by digging through the snowdrifts to the front door and then locking it. they'd come to see an oasis tribute band, who — some might say — had a good weekend. but there's worse places to be stuck, you know what i mean? and everyone was just brilliant. staff were brilliant, the customers were brilliant... yeah, yeah. they looked after everyone. and it's been almost like blitz spirit again, you know? it's magical, really. lifetime of memories as well. we'll do a reunion, but we'll do it
in the summer next time! yeah. take care! it's been lovely! nicola, the pub manager, was sorry to see them go. she realised late on friday night that this was going to be a weekend like no other. so, the drifts were causing most i of the issues, more than anything, rather thanjust there being the snow. i and i thought, "yeah, _ these people are not going home." we've been doing karaoke, watching movies, playing board games, - pub quizzes, chilling out. today, the road outjust about became passable and a fourth night at the inn was avoided. lots of people saying this must have been the best weekend of your life, locked into a pub for three nights. has it been? heaven. it's something i'll never ever forget. what was it like with a load of strangers, stuck in a remote pub? well, it was just fantastic community spirit, honestly. really good. that talk about having a reunion, i'm not sure i'll be back! -
and so they dispersed, three days later than planned, but what a weekend they had. danny savage, bbc news, tan hill. can you imagine some of the phone calls home? yes, i'm still stuck here. we are still snowed in! but there are one or two sore head. thanks for watching, we are back at the same time tomorrow, see you then. hello there. monday morning was a bitterly cold start for many. some of us had lying snow from the remnants of arwen. frost and ice was an issue, and overnight, temperatures had plummeted. —9 in cumbria first thing. but all that is set to change because of these weather fronts that have been sweeping their way south and east. and sandwiched in between the two of these fronts is a wedge of milder air as the wind direction changes to more of a milder westerly source coming in off the atlantic.
so, noticeable difference to the feel of the weather and notable difference to the type of weather as we go through tuesday. a cloudy, misty, murky start, damp in places with outbreaks of showery rain in the far north west, turning more heavy and persistent by the end of the day. but look at the temperatures. by the middle part of the afternoon, widely into double digits. the exception perhaps the northern isles, were it'll still say on the cold side. but mild but cloudy for many, and there's a spell of heavy rain to push its way south and east through tuesday night into wednesday. also windy with it, as well, on the back edge of that low in particular. once again, the wind direction changes, swinging back to a northerly, and colder air is set to return, albeit briefly. so, on wednesday, it's a case of sunny spells and scattered showers for many. a line of more organised showers pushing through northern ireland, wales, central and southern england. sunny spells further north, but with some frequent snow showers developing coming in off the north sea. here, cold, 4—6 degrees,
mightjust squeeze double digits further south. the cold air really starts to push further south generally on thursday, but with a brief ridge of high pressure, it is going to quiet things down just a touch. but you can see how the blue colours are returning. quite widely across the country, temperatures will struggle on thursday. at least there will be some sunshine, hopefully, to compensate. the northerly wind driving in a few scattered wintry showers perhaps off the north sea. top temperatures of around 4—6 degrees, butjust that little bit milder out to the west because yet more rain is heading in our direction. so, as we move out of thursday into friday, we see a spell of wetter weather. now, the level of uncertainty as to just where this rain is going to be sitting is subject to change. so, if you've got plans on friday, keep abreast of the forecast. it could be just that little bit further north orjust that little bit further south and keeping it dry for many. but on the whole on friday, the rain slipps south. we will see some cloud, not quite as cold, temperatures between 6—11 degrees the high. into the start of the weekend,
however, it stays pretty unsettled, and the wind direction, a cooler northwesterly flow, so there'll be some showers. in the midst of that showers, there will be some wintriness with elevation and the winds quite a feature and coming from a coolish source, so it will feel quite raw once again on saturday when you factor in the wind. top temperatures in the north at around 4—6 degrees. we mightjust see 6—9 further south. and then from sunday into monday and tuesday, it stays unsettled, with low pressure continuing to push in off the atlantic. so, there is a spell of wet and very windy weather expected as we go into next week. on the back edge of that low pressure, the winds once again swinging round to a northwesterly direction, so a bit of a roller coaster ride of weather if we look further ahead. often unsettled and wet at times. the winds will be a feature as well, with gale—force gusts. it will on the whole be mild, but at times there'll be some brief colder interludes, too. that's it, take care.
tonight at 10: a booster vaccination for every adult in the uk to try to prevent a new wave of covid infections. the extra measures were announced today because of the rise of the new variant of coronavirus, called omicron. advisers to ministers also recommend that 12—to—15—year—olds should be invited for a second dose of the pfizer vaccine. our experience of fighting this virus has shown us it's best to act decisively and swiftly when we see a potential threat, which is why we're building our defences and putting these measures in place without delay. and scientists believe it will take about three weeks to gain a better understanding of the effects of the new variant. also tonight... 60,000 homes across the uk are still without power in the wake of storm arwen and its impact.