welcome to bbc news — i'm rich preston. our top stories. on 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. and i am in national heroes square in britain as we head towards the presidential inauguration. —— bridge ten. —— bridge ten. 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. good evening. we start in the caribbean island nation of barbados. a cultural event is underway to mark its transition into the world's newest republic. will sever centuries—old ties to the british monarchy, losing queen elizabeth ii as head of state. the prince of wales, prince charles, is at the ceremony in the bridgetown. the english claimed barbados more than four hundred years ago and it became a focal point of the transatlantic slave trade.
our correspondent daniela relph is in bridgetown. what relph is in bridgetown. is happening right now? mr are what is happening right now? - are now moving towards the main part of the official transition ceremony where the dignitaries will begin to arrive and we will have that moment where barbados�*s first ever president is sworn in and watching this here will be the prince of wales and it must be a night that perhaps tinged with a little sadness for him. you will receive a final military march past in his honour and take a final salute and then he will watch as the royal standard, the queen's flag, is lowered over barbados and the presidential flag lowered over barbados and the presidentialflag replaces it so a real significant moment for the british monarchy and of course the people of barbados and the prince of wales will make speech here in which he will talk directly about the pain of their shared history that the uk and barbados share
in terms of slavery. the prince of wales will describe it as the darkest days of our past and he will speak of the appalling atrocity of slavery which forever sustains our history. today is obviously a significant moment in the history of barbados and my colleagues have been looking at what the people of barbados think. 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. 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. 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. 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. this evening's events are very much in a share of national pride. we have seen some of the best barbados has to offer in terms of music, in terms of poetry, and other performances. and this is part of that story of turning into a republic with
the barbadian prime minister saying she wanted this to be an assertion of barbados�*s self—confidence and that is very much been atone here but ever the next couple of hours things will become more muted is he going to the official part of proceedings. thank you very much _ part of proceedings. thank you very much and _ part of proceedings. thank you very much and will— part of proceedings. thank you very much and will speak - part of proceedings. thank you very much and will speak again soon. 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—i9 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 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. 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. 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 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 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 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. well, earlier i spoke drjeremy faust who's an emergency physician in health policy and public health at brigham and women's hospital. i asked him to explain what we know and don't know with regards to this latest variant.
i think what we know right now is five or six days after this was first described is a lot of information about the genetic changes that are in this variant called on the koran. but we do not yet know what those genetic changes mean. you could have hundreds of thousands of mutations that could add up to nothing in terms of a change in virus behaviour or you could have two mutations that are devastating to us and we really don't know and we really don't have the technology to make their sleep so i think it is important to stand up and be alert i do think that we are ahead of this and that is a good thing as long as we stay nimble. it is great to stand up but we really want to see that if this ends up want to see that if this ends up being a little bit of an overreaction and while i hope so i don't think we know that, but if that is the case we should also be willing to stand down. i think being nimble is a very wise move.— very wise move. there are several — very wise move. there are several variants _ very wise move. there are several variants out - very wise move. there are several variants out there | very wise move. there are .
several variants out there and thatis several variants out there and that is of viruses. it is how they work but what is the difference in a variant of interest in the variant of concern?— interest in the variant of 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 - developed by the who to describe what actions to take on their working definitions and they can change over time. we have had a couple of dozen under monitoring and we have had a dozen or more of interest which are generally a variant of interest has to do with a combination of genetic changes and also evidence of an outbreak in an area so for example that is exactly what has occurred with a crime which has occurred with a crime which has seen genetic evidence that something is different and we have seen in provinces in southern africa we have seen some outbreaks. concern is when you actually really see a change in the epidemiology and actually, in my mind, we have not seen that saved by the who's not seen that saved by the who's own definition, they actually got ahead of it and called this a variant of concern and i think it is because they recognise that even though this variant of interest category, this deserve
to be elevated so we were not miss the opportunity to get ahead of it and finally you have variants of high consequence, things that make our vaccines and other interventions are less likely to work. if you ask me, delta did that and yet we never escalated that definition so it is always a touch and between the definitions and what is on 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 action. president biden has said the best way out of this is to continue vaccinating the world. you watch on the advisory panel. is that your position as well? i panel. is that your position as well? . �* panel. is that your position as well? ., �* . , well? i haven't technically worked with _ well? i haven't technically worked with the _ well? i haven't technically worked with the advisory. well? i haven't technically - worked with the advisory panel but i speak to them often and i enjoy the opportunity to have a rigorous conversation with people in the administration. but i do think that it is an important moment and i do think that today the cdc here in the united states expanded booster access because of fears of
omicron and in my mind that is fine for the short term. again i think we should and stand down as needed but i think that we have gotten this a little wrong and that we have not been 100% focused on the initial ioo% focused on the initial vaccination doses. i really literally want to see door—to—door efforts to give the unvaccinated their first doses. we do tend to see headlines about the people who resist and refuse to acknowledge the science but there are people who, given a nudge, given a mandate, to give the opportunity and access and an easy way to get out of work, they will take the vaccine for they will take the vaccine for the first time and that is where you can fold difference in terms of how this all goes out and plays out in comparison to boosting, especially the young and healthy. boosting the elderly and those with high 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.
stay with us on bbc news, still to come: british socialite ghislaine maxwell goes on trial in new york — she's accused of trafficking under—age girls for former loverjeffrey epstein. 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 . number from dover. this is bbc news, the latest headlines. celebrations in barbados. it's set to swear in its first president as it loses queen elizabeth as head of state. the us president urges people not to panic as more cases of the new coronavirus variant are discovered around the world. 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. 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 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. let's get some of the day's other news. the man who co—founded the social media site twitter, jack dorsey, is standing down as its ceo. a replacement has already been announced, and users are unlikely to see any big change in the site. mr dorsey is now expected to concentrate his efforts on another of his projects. documents seen by the bbc show how security officials in henan, china's third most populous province, is creating a facial recognition system to flag those deemed to as "people of concern." the documents reveal the system will take information from mobile phones, social media, hotel stays, vehicle details, and photos. foreignjournalists, international students, and migrant women are among those who could come under surveillance.
the pentagon says it will reinforce us military deployments and bases that are directed at china and russia following a review commissioned at the start of the biden administration. it will focus on military facilities in guam and australia. an official said curbing military aggression from china was a priority. in southern africa: a court in botswana has upheld a decision to decriminalise homosexuality, meaning same—sex relationships will continue to be legal. the government had challenged the original ruling, butjudges ruled unanimously that the criminalisation of same—sex relationships violated constitutional rights. gail maclellan reports. the appeal is dismissed. and botswana made human rights history. applause.
botswana'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. and some tears. before 2019, anyone caught in a gay relationship could be sentenced to seven years injail. this unanimousjudgment confirms, said thejudge, that criminalising such individuals violated their constitutional rights to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality. the high court's ruling is final. today'sjudgment 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 status quo in our country. 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. let's take you back to barbados — these are live pictures from national heroes' square in the barbados capital, bridgetown. barbadians are counting down the minutes until the caribbean island becomes the world's newest republic. at midnight local time, it will replace queen elizabeth as head of state with an elected president, dame sandra mason. the prince of wales is attending a noisy and colourful ceremony in the capital bridgetown which is being led by prime minister mia mottley. we have seen the arrival of a former captain of the west
indies. herten former captain of the west indies. her ten national heroes of barbados coming up after the chief test. the prime minister is due to arrive. this has been the seven months but arguably years in the making. barbados gained independence in 19 66 on the ceremonies happy 55 years to the day since that happened. it kept the queen as head of state but political movements have recently prompted this decision to remove the queen as head of state and to elect the country's first president. the last country to break from queen elizabeth ii was mauritius and as part of the surrender group's standard will be lowered and the new standard will be made. be watching the events in barbados here over the coming hours i do stick with us. we can get much more on the website as well. we can get much more on the website as well. you can reach me on twitter —
i'm @ rich preston 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
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 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.
i am in dubai, with visions of the future at the delayed expo 2020. if i scan this image here, i get an augmented reality view of what south korea deems to be the future of mobility. and that includes flying cars. woo! i take a dip and tumble... laughs and i discover an artificial rainforest in what was once a desert. oh, hello! oh, here we go! but first, in a difficult couple of years in the global travel calendar, there has been one giant mega event looming.