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tv   BBC News  BBC News  November 30, 2021 2:00am-2:31am GMT

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hello, this is bbc news — i'm rich preston. our top stories this hour. more cases of the new coronavirus variant and more travel restrictions — but us president joe biden urges calm. this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. british socialite ghislaine maxwell goes on trial in new york — she's accused of trafficking under—age girls for her former loverjeffrey epstein. (upsot + 00v)0n the eve of becoming the world's newest republic — barbados prepares to swear in its first president as it loses queen elizabeth as head of state.
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lam in i am in bridgetown where events are well under way. a party and official ceremony. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. the world health organization says the omicron variant of coronavirus poses a high risk of infection surges around the globe. the who's head renewed a call for a global push to get vaccines to poorer nations, warning that covid—19 is, as he put it, "not done with us" yet. meanwhile, president biden told americans the emergence of the new variant is no reason to panic and insisted the united states will not go back into lockdown. he said, what was needed, was to get the rest of the world vaccinated. our health correspondent
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naomi grimley has the latest. there's an eerie quiet atjohannesburg airport. south africa first raised the alarm about the omicron variant, but is now finding itself increasingly cut off from the rest of the world. meanwhile, on the ground, there's a big push to get vaccines into arms. only 23% of the south african population is fully vaccinated. we still don't know yet whether this version of covid is more severe than previous ones. one of those on the front line is reassured by what she's seen so far in her patients. so, now, we are seeing patients, but we caught symptoms that we can treat at home, probably not requiring icu admission or hospital admission. amsterdam is one of the world's cities now discovering cases.
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13 people were found to have it after flying in from south africa. the police even had to arrest a couple who tried to escape from a quarantine hotel. portugal has also announced it's got 13 cases. all involve a local football club where one of its players had recently returned from a south african trip. in canada, they found two cases, the link to travel from another african country entirely — nigeria. in the us, so far, they haven't got any cases, but the president is mindful that people are worried. this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. we have the best vaccine in the world and the best medicines, the best scientists, and we're learning more everything will day. many countries don't want to take any chances at all. switzerland has toughened its quarantine requirements. britons entering the country must produce a negative test and quarantine for ten days.
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that's after 11 cases were found in the uk. morocco is stopping all international flights. and japan, where covid infections are low, is doing something similar. translation: we will ban all entries of foreign - nationals from all over- the world as of november 30. there's no doubt that the world has reacted quicker than it did when the delta variant emerged in india earlier this year. g7 ministers have met online and agreed to share information from their surveillance systems, but the fact remains that large parts of the world do not have the technology they need to track this variant. naomi grimley, bbc news. scientists are trying to establish whether the new variant is more transmissible than the current dominant variant, the delta — and whether it causes more severe disease. they'll also be assessing
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its impact on the effectiveness of vaccines. our medical editor fergus walsh has more. 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—i9, it's not done with us. another key unknown
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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
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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 labs can pick up this 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. we can now speak to
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drjeremy faust who's an emergency physician in health policy and public health at brigham and women's hospital in massachusetts, and teaches at harvard medical school thank you for being with us. there were some information there butjust run us through what we do know about this and importantly, what we don't yet know about it.— know about it. thank you for havin: know about it. thank you for having me- _ know about it. thank you for having me- i— know about it. thank you for having me. i think— know about it. thank you for having me. i think what - know about it. thank you for having me. i think what we i know about it. thank you for - having me. i think what we know right now, five or six days after this was first described is a lot of information about the genetic changes that are in this variant. but we do not yet know what those genetic changes mean. you can of hundreds of thousands of mutations that could add up to nothing in terms of a changing of virus behaviour or you can have two mutations that are devastating for us and we really don't know and we don't have the technology to make those leaps overi technology to make those leaps over i it is important to stand up over i it is important to stand up and be alert, i do think they are ahead of this and that is a good thing as long as we stay nimble. i think it is great to stand up, but we want
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to see that, if this ends up being a little bit of an overreaction and well i hope so i don't think we know that, but if that is the case we should also be willing to stand down. being nimble is a very wise move. ., , ., move. there are several variants _ move. there are several variants out _ move. there are several variants out there. - move. there are several variants out there. that| move. there are several. variants out there. that is move. there are several - variants out there. that is how they work. what is the difference between a variant of interest and a variant of a concern?— interest and a variant of a concern? , ., , concern? these definitions were developed _ concern? these definitions were developed by — concern? these definitions were developed by the _ concern? these definitions were developed by the who - concern? these definitions were developed by the who to - concern? these definitions were developed by the who to help l developed by the who to help decide what action to take and they are working definition that can change over time. we have had a couple of dozen and a monitoring, a dozen or more of interest, which are generally variant of interest hasn't do with a combination of genetic changes and also evidence of an outbreak in the area so that is exactly what has occurred with oma crown. we have seen genetic evidence that something is different and in southern africa we have seen some outbreaks. concern is when you actually really see a
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change in the epidemiology. in in my mind we have not seen that. so by the who's own definitions they have got ahead of it and call this variant of concern and i think it is because they recognise that even though this falls into the variant of interest category this deserved to be elevated so that we would not miss the opportunity to get ahead of it and finally had variants of high consequence, things that make vaccines and other intervention less likely to work. if you ask me delta did that and yet we never escalated that and yet we never escalated that definition so it is touch and go between the definitions and go between the definitions and what is on the ground and right now i think this variant is causing us to stop and think, why are we doing this and let's make sure we do the right thing. and let's make sure we do the right thing-— right thing. the president is ofthe right thing. the president is of the best _ right thing. the president is of the best way _ right thing. the president is of the best way out - right thing. the president is of the best way out of - right thing. the president is of the best way out of this | right thing. the president is| of the best way out of this is to continue vaccinating the world and you've worked on the advisory panel, is that your position as well?— advisory panel, is that your position as well? they have not taken of the — position as well? they have not taken of the word _ position as well? they have not taken of the word with - position as well? they have not taken of the word with panel. taken of the word with panel but i speak to them often and enjoy the opportunity to have a
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rigorous conversation with people in the administration at various levels but i do think it is an important moment and i think that today the cdc here in the united states expanded booster access because of fears on omicron. in my mind that is fine. the short term i think we should stand up and stand down as needed but i think that we have gotten us a little wrong and we have not been 100% focused on the vaccination dosage. i really literally want to see door—to—door efforts to give the unvaccinated their first doses. we tend to see headlines about the people who resist or refuse to acknowledge the signs that there are people who, given a larger mandate, given the opportunity and access in an easy way to get out of work, they will take vaccine for the first time and thatis vaccine for the first time and that is where you can make a difference in terms of how this all goes out, how this plays out in comparison to boosting especially the young and healthy. visiting the elderly and those with higher risks is
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and those with higher risks is a big piece of this but i still think that the biggest return on investment comes from reaching those who have received zero doses. thank you very much- _ thank you very much. the trial of ghislaine maxwell has begun in new york with the prosecution saying the former girlfriend of convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein "preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused." maxwell, who's 59, faces 8 charges of sex trafficking and other offences. she has pleaded not guilty and her defence says she's being made a scapegoat for epstein's crimes. he took his own life while injail in 2019. from new york, nada tawfik reports. over the next few weeks, what plays out in this courthouse will be a crucial chapter in the twisted saga ofjeffrey epstein's sex trafficking ring and ghislane maxwell's alleged role in it.
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as her highly awaited trial began, the world's eyes were trained on what the evidence presented here would reveal. and so, too, were epstein's accusers. some arrived to show solidarity with the alleged victims. in opening statements, the government said ghislane maxwell was a dangerous predator who provided a cover of respectability for epstein. prosecutors said she lured victims with the promise of a bright future, only to sexually abuse them. her defence attorney told the jury she was a convenient stand—in for epstein and that the government would not be able to prove their case. he said the accusers�* memories were corrupted and influenced by a desire for a big jackpot of money. there have been numerous investigations, documentaries, exploring ghislane maxwell's alleged crimes, but the allegations have never been aired in a criminal trial. the jury will be presented with a range of evidence, from flight logs to the testimony from epstein's former staff. the four underage girls on the indictment, now grown women, are expected to take the stand and other accusers from around the country could testify, too, those with stories
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similar to theresa helm. according to her, she thought she had landed a job as a professional masseuse, but instead walked right into a nightmare. i thought that her and i were making these connections and she did her role, played her role, beautifully. she was masterful at it. i walked myself to a predator's home. ghislane maxwell's brother, ian, says at least one sibling will be present every day of the trial to support her. it is impossible for me to think that she would have been engaged in these really horrendous charges. if convicted, she faces up to 80 years in prison. nada tawfik, bbc news, new york. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: we'll be live in barbados as the country counts down the hours to swearing in its first president and losing queen elizabeth
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as head of state. it's quite clear that the worst victims of this disaster are the poor people living in the slums which have sprung up around the factory. we feel so helpless. the children are dying in front of me and i can't do anything. charles manson is the mystical leader of the hippie cult suspected of killing sharon tate and at least six other people in los angeles. at 11 o'clock this morning, just half a metre of- rock separated britain i from continental europe. it took the drills just i a few moments to cut through the final obstacle, - then philippe cossette, a miner from calais, was shaking hands and exchanging flags _ with his opposite .
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number from dover. this is bbc news, the latest headlines. the us president urges people not to panic as more cases of the new coronavirus variant are discovered around the world. british socialite ghislaine maxwell goes on trial in new york — she's accused of trafficking under—age girls for former loverjeffrey epstein. the caribbean island nation of barbados is hours away from severing centuries—old ties to the british monarchy, ditching queen elizabeth ii as head of state and declaring itself the world's newest republic. the prince of wales will attend the ceremony in the capital bridgetown. the english claimed barbados more than four hundred years ago and it became a focal point of the transatlantic slave trade. celestina olu—lode reports.
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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 can 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 in 183a, barbados remained a british colony. despite gaining its independence in 1966, the queen has remained the island's head of state, but that's 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.
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but people here still have strong views about becoming a republic. it changes nothing. is life going to be| better tomorrow? ok, we are going to be a republic. i 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
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official events to mark the occasion, a controversial move for some. but the most crucial part of the story of a nation that's 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. let's go to our correspondent daniela relph in bridgetown, barbados. good evening. just after 10pm. what is happening in the coming hours? ., ' . . what is happening in the coming hours? . ., , , hours? the official ceremony is already under _ hours? the official ceremony is already under way. _ hours? the official ceremony is already under way. we - hours? the official ceremony is already under way. we are - hours? the official ceremony is already under way. we are in l already under way. we are in the cultural part of the ceremony where we are seeing and hearing some of the best barbados has to offer for musicians and bands but in a couple of hours' time we will see that moment where barbados becomes the world's news republic and he had to watch that moment will be the prince of wales. and you have to imagine that it will be an evening of mixed emotions for him. he will for the final time
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military march past. he would take salute here for the last time and then you will watch as the royal standard, the queen's flag is lowered here and the new presidential flag flag is lowered here and the new presidentialflag is new presidential flag is raised. new presidentialflag is raised. he will also make a speech which she will focus largely on the enduring friendship between the uk and barbados but it will also touch on the complex shared history that the two countries have and talk directly about slavery. he will say that the darkest days of our past and now behind us and you also speak of the appalling atrocity of slavery which for raver stains are history. which for raver stains are history-— which for raver stains are histo . , ., , ., history. tell us a bit about what brought _ history. tell us a bit about what brought us _ history. tell us a bit about what brought us to - history. tell us a bit about what brought us to this . history. tell us a bit about. what brought us to this point. this is a process that has been driven by the prime minister of barbados who is wanted this country to become a republic for a very long time and in the constitution of barbados there's been no need for any
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kind of public referendum to get to this moment so she and her government were able to pushit her government were able to push it forward. she firmly that becoming a republic is a sign of self—confidence for this country and a way of really breaking the link with its colonial past and she believed it is really important for young barbadian is to have a barbadian is the head of state are not queen elizabeth. staying in the commonwealth. what is the view from buckingham palace? they are takin: a buckingham palace? they are taking a rather— buckingham palace? they are taking a rather pragmatic - buckingham palace? they are| taking a rather pragmatic view of all of this. the queen will send a personal message later on this evening to the president and people of barbados but they say these are decisions then to individual countries and they could do nothing about it and if they feel it is best for them to move forward as a republic buckingham palace and the royal household will support that. these are live pictures from national heroes' square in the barbados capital, bridgetown. in southern africa: the government of botswana has
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lost an appeal to overturn a court ruling decriminalising homosexuality. thejudges ruled unanimously that the criminalisation of same—sex relationships violated constitutional rights. gail maclellan reports. the appeal is dismissed. and botswana _ the appeal is dismissed. and botswana made _ the appeal is dismissed. and botswana made human rights history. applause. but when the's government had gone to the high court in an attempt to overturn the country's 2019 landmark ruling decriminalising homosexuality but the high court upheld the previous law. prompting jubilation and some years. before 2019 anyone caught in a 93v before 2019 anyone caught in a gay relationship could be sentenced to seven years in jail. this unanimousjudgment jail. this unanimous judgment confirms, jail. this unanimousjudgment confirms, said thejudge, that criminalising such individuals violated their constitutional rights to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality. the high
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court's ruling is final. today'sjudgment court's ruling is final. today's judgment is today'sjudgment is awe—inspiring indeed today's judgment is awe—inspiring indeed because it is going to change the lives of many people in our country. it is really an opportunity for the lgbtq immunity to change the lgbtq immunity to change the status quo in our country. at that botswana is one of a very small group of african nations to have decriminalised homosexuality. in most countries in the continent, it by a prison sentence and in some states, a sentence of death. a volcano on the spanish island of la palma — which has been erupting for more than 10 weeks — is showing no signs of abating. a new vent has just opened — triggering a new lava stream, and sending huge clouds of smoke into the sky. courtney bembridge reports. for more than 70 days leather has flowed from the volcano swallowing up homes, businesses and farmland. it has destroyed
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almost 3000 buildings, decimated the banana growing industry and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. the lover is flowing rapidly, covering in metre per second and the eruption is slowing no signs of easing. a new event has just opened, sending the lover in a new direction. sending the lover in a new direction-— direction. we have been surprised _ direction. we have been surprised by _ direction. we have been surprised by this - direction. we have been surprised by this new i direction. we have been i surprised by this new event which is because this new lava flow to go outside of the area that was affected until now. the army has been monitoring the emissions from the new fascia as concerns grow about toxic gases and there are other fears too. spain's national geographic institute has recorded at least 50 earthquakes in the past couple of days. the accumulation of ash is also causing problems and has forced the closure of the airport on a number of occasions. the eruption is tipped to become the longest in
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500 years. thirty endangered white rhinos have arrived in rwanda after a long journey from south africa. conservationists say it's the largest single transfer of the species ever undertaken. the animals, which can weight up to two tonnes, will live in eastern rwanda's akagera national park. the aim is to give them a safer place to live than south africa, where poachers kill an average of three a day. these are live pictures from national heroes' square in the barbados capital, bridgetown. the ceremony to mark the inauguration of the president of barbados, current governor general, sandra mason is getting underway. you can reach me on twitter — i'm @ rich preston.
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hello there. it certainly has been a cold few days across the uk. but in recent hours, things have been changing — more cloud has been rolling its way in from the west, and with that, we've seen some milderair pushing in, these westerly winds bringing those milder conditions for most of us, away from the far north of scotland. so for the majority, tuesday morning is starting with a very different feel — temperatures in liverpool, in plymouth, around 11 celsius. but with that, we have more in the way of cloud, and we have some outbreaks of patchy rain and drizzle. now, through the day, that cloud should thin and break a little bit to give some sunny spells, particularly across england and wales. and then through the afternoon, we'll see a band of heavier rain pushing in from the west, getting into parts of northern
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ireland and western scotland with strengthening winds. but top temperatures 10—12 celsius in most places — it will stay quite chilly in the far north of scotland, just three there in lerwick. now, through tuesday night, we're watching this area of low pressure — it's likely to deepen a little as it slides across the uk. so, as well as outbreaks of rain, we do have the potential for some quite strong winds. now, it certainly doesn't look like we'll see anything as windy as we have over the weekend, but still, the potential for some really strong winds for western coasts, perhaps for parts of eastern scotland and northeast england, those gusts could touch gale force in places. temperatures between 5—9 celsius, so starting to drop away again, you'll notice, and that is a sign of things to come on wednesday because the winds will be coming down from the north. and that will reintroduce some relatively cold air — probably not as cold as it has been, but yes, a chillier day to come on wednesday. we'll see areas of showers, or longer spells of rain pushing southwards, wintery showers even to quite low levels across the northern half of scotland, so some more snow
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likely to settle here. temperatures by the afternoon between 3—10 celsius, an increasingly cold feel as we go through the day. now, we have those northerly winds, they will ease a little as we get into thursday. as this ridge of high pressure builds in, some dry weatherfor a time. and then, this frontal system pushes in from the west, briefly maybe some snow — but, as milder air works in, that will tend to turn back to rain. so, temperatures really up and down this week, quite a chilly day to come on thursday, a slightly milder one likely on friday.
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this is bbc news, the headlines: the world health organization says the omicron variant of coronavirus could see infection spikes around the globe. its head renewed a call for a global push to get vaccines to poorer nations. meanwhile, president biden's told americans the discovery is no reason to panic. in new york, british socialite ghislaine maxwell's gone on trial accused of sex trafficking. setting out its argument, the prosecution said she "preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused" by her friend, the convicted paedophile, jeffrey epstein. she denies the charges. celebrations in barbados as it prepares to become the world's news republic. the current governor general will be inaugurated as its first president.

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