welcome to newsday. reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines... the results of covid tests from the netherlands suggest that the new omicron variant was already spreading round the world before it was identified in south africa. faced with the uncertainty posed by the new variant, the booster programme is to be significantly scaled up in england. a special report from yemen on the human cost of the ongoing conflict. our middle east editor, jeremy bowen, is there. the way this war ends is not in the hands of yemenis because big regional powers have intervened. the people here are suffering because of the fault lines that run right through the middle east.
and in paris, the singer and activistjosephine baker becomes the first black woman to be honoured at the pantheon. live from our studio in singapore... this is bbc news. it's newsday. it's seven in the morning in singapore and midnight in the netherlands, where it's emerged that the omicron strain of coronavirus may have been spreading around the world earlier than previously thought. tests show it was present in a sample taken there on the 19th of november. that's five days before it was first reported to the world health organization by south africa. dutch officials say they believe at least one person was infected without having travelled
to that region. meanwhile, the boss of one of the biggest covid vaccine producing companies has warned that he doesn't think the current jabs will be as effective against the new strain as they have been against the previous ones. sara monetta reports. as the omicron strain continues to spread around the world, with cases detected across europe, in canada, and now injapan, the question being asked is, how effective will the existing vaccines be against it? the answer, according to the boss of moderna, which produces one of the most widely used jabs, is not as effective. stephane bancel told reporters... he added... that could take weeks, or even months. in the meantime, several major
vaccine manufacturers have said they are ready to tweak their shots if needed. and china, which produces its own vaccines, is taking similar steps. translation: it is still currently unclear if these mutations - in the omicron variant can lead to vaccines being less effective. however, china has already made the technological preparations to adapt our vaccines. despite questions over the effectiveness of current vaccines against the new variant, countries are renewing their efforts to administer the jabs to their populations. the uk is speeding up a programme of third booster shots. greece is introducing fines for those over 60 who haven't been vaccinated. translation: i have no doubt that this political decision - will save human lives because vaccination becomes more thanjust compulsory —
it saves lives. it's necessary for health. it's necessary for the whole society. meanwhile, health officials in the netherlands have confirmed that omicron was in the country from the 19th of november. that's before the flight from southern africa linked to an outbreak. the flight from southern africa linked to an outbreak.— flight from southern africa linked to an outbreak. the other had not. this means — to an outbreak. the other had not. this means that _ to an outbreak. the other had not. this means that this _ to an outbreak. the other had not. this means that this person - to an outbreak. the other had not. this means that this person mostl this means that this person most likely— this means that this person most likely ended _ this means that this person most likely ended up _ this means that this person most likely ended up in _ this means that this person most likely ended up in the _ this means that this person most l likely ended up in the netherlands. the size _ likely ended up in the netherlands. the size of— likely ended up in the netherlands. the size of the _ likely ended up in the netherlands. the size of the chain _ likely ended up in the netherlands. the size of the chain of— the size of the chain of transmission _ the size of the chain of transmission is - the size of the chain of transmission is not - the size of the chain of. transmission is not known the size of the chain of- transmission is not known yet. the size of the chain of transmission is not known yet. while vaccine efficacy _ transmission is not known yet. while vaccine efficacy has _ transmission is not known yet. while vaccine efficacy has been _ vaccine efficacy has been questioned, expert believe the tests used to detect it will still identify infections from the new strain, but only laboratory analysis can confirm that omicron is present, meaning the trousdale of the spread and how serious of its effects are
may not emerge for some time —— true scale. sara monetta, bbc news. many countries in asia are now reassessing their covid—i9 measures since the emergence of the new omicron variant. our south east asia correspondent, jonathan, is following developments from thailand's capital bangkok. fortress australia, walton extreme response to covid, yet nearly all countries in southeast asia did adopt a version of it. effectively sealing themselves off from the rest of the world for around 18 months, and malaysia still isn't accepting any further visitors. vietnam has only started to open up a little. here in thailand, where they've been struggling to revive the tourist industry, they've been cautiously easing restrictions like mandatory core and touring just over the past two months — my quarantine. now a new variant is spreading. in places
like hooksett and bali, businesses there are warning of dire consequences if major travel doesn't resume soon. if there are severe new outbreaks under this omicron variant, that can force governments to put their societies back into complete shutdowns and devastating the rest of their economies, too. for the moment, most of the government i responded by imposing bands only on some african and a few european countries where the new variant has been detected. only japan has... with public anxiety of covid much higher in this region than for europe in the united states, there is likely to be pressure on governments to impose even tighter restrictions. the good news is the vaccine rates across the south east asia are rising quicker. nearly 90% of the population in singapore, 80% in malaysia, and
in... myanmar is an outlier. rates there are below 20%, but few tourists are likely to want to visit, even though the military has talked about opening the country up. but why is even with booster shots now beginning to be administered to patients here in thailand, that today's vaccines may not be effective against the new omicron variant? and governments here cannot forget that even when they did cut themselves off from the rest of the world, a cost while they kept the earlier covid variant, and they suffered severe outbreaks during this year. jonathan head reporting there. in the last hour, brazil has confirmed two omicron variant cases, the first in latin america. and you can get much more on our website about the new variant, including a useful guide explaining how you can tell whether you have the omicron strain
of the virus or not, and what tests are used to detect it. that's by philippa roxby in our health team — on the website at bbc.com/news — or download the bbc news app. let's take a look at some of the stories in the headlines in the uk. the prime minister, borisjohnson, has vowed to offer a coronavirus booster to everyone in england who is eligible within the next two months, saying it is time for another great british vaccination effort. prime minsterjohnson said the military will be brought in to help the nhs and volunteers, with vaccination centres being set up around the country. there'll be temporary centres pointing up like christmas trees and we will deploy at least 400 military personnel to assist the efforts of our nhs, alongside the fantastic jabs army. 22 cases of the omicron variant have now been identified in england and scotland.
nicola sturgeon says the nine cases in scotland are all linked to one private event ten days ago, and don't appear to be related to travel in south africa. i want to bring you this story now in yemen, where houthi rebels are pressing hard to capture the key city of mareb. it's the last stronghold of the internationally recognised government, and at the heart of yemen's oilfields. the fall of mareb would be a major turning point in the conflict that's been going on for years. saudi arabia, backed by the us and uk, intervened in yemen in 2015 after the houthis ousted the government from the capital, sanaa. since then, yemen has suffered the world's worst humanitarian crisis. all sides of the conflict have been accused of killing civilians and other abuses. at least 800,000 people displaced by the war have fled to mareb, and more are on their way.
our middle east editor, jeremy bowen, made his way to the city, and a warning — his report contains some distressing images. the plains outside mareb are not much of a refuge, but it's all there is for more than 45,000 people who have fled the houthi offensive in the last three months. at this camp, the newest arrivals are in flimsy tents with little food and salty water. children don't have schools. in the desert, the nights are cold. they've lost almost everything, except enough trauma for a lifetime. between them, these two women have fled the fighting with their families 11 times in four years. this woman said her six children freeze in the ripped tent.
translation: e witnessed everything. fear and panic every time. the kids are terrified when they hear missiles or shooting. so, she was wounded? her daughter was badly hurt in a houthi attack. her two—month—old son was killed. these are pictures of dead people. she gets them to draw theirfrightening memories. he's lost his leg. translation: my kids saw bodies blown to pieces. - in the evening, my seven—year—old says he sees ghosts. they are haunted by the people they saw killed. they blame the houthis. mostly women and children are in the camps. the men, the un says, are dead orfighting. what lies beneath all of this is the war. war kills people, war makes people move, war creates the crisis,
and the way this war ends is not in the hands of yemenis, because big regional powers have intervened. the people are suffering because of the fault lines that run right through the middle east. they sing. government soldiers took us to the front line. mareb has become the key battlefield of the war but it's about more than yemenis fighting for strategic, oil—rich territory. the houthis, the other side, started to push at the beginning of the year around here. it's really intensified since about september. gunfire. these were government forces later that evening. they're backed by saudi arabia, who hoped for a quick victory when they intervened in 2015... machine gun fire. ..and now can't find a way out.
they are shooting at houthi fighters who believe they're winning, despite losing almost 15,000 dead sincejune. their big ally is iran. the strategic divide between the saudis and iranians and their allies that runs through this valley continues across the middle east. these government soldiers have been pushed back by the houthis. their commander says that doesn't mean they are losing. translation: it's true that there are advances by the enemy, - but war is like this. it's a normal thing in war. however, our men are resisting because they are protecting their country. but in mareb hospital, the pain inflicted by the houthi offensive is clear in the operating theatres and the wards. most of the patients i saw were wounded government soldiers. this is an important part of the whole procedure.
a team of british surgeons from manchester is here, bringing expertise and equipment the hospitaljust doesn't have. there's a lack of doctors _ and the local doctors are exhausted. they are doing long shifts, and the injuries they are l getting are quite complex, so they are providing the l minimum treatment with the basic equipment they have. _ as soon as they're fit again, these men will be rushed back to fight the houthi advance. the grinding battle for mareb is being watched closely by influential yemeni tribes. they will make a deal with the winners. and among the wounded, some defiance. you will fight again afterwards? yes. well, you've got one arm. the war pushes into every life.
mareb, a city of more than 2 million, has two malnutrition centres, each with 11 beds. two others were in areas captured by the houthis. of every 100 children, ten have malnutrition, and of those ten, two are severely malnourished. this baby, six months old, weighs 2.5 kilos — less than many newborns. in ten days of treatment, she's gained 100g. this is what war does. it destroys lives. notjust babies. for everyone. jeremy bowen, bbc news, mareb.
well, if you want to get in touch with me on any of the stories you've seen on newsday so far — jeremy's report for instance— i'm at twitter at @bbckarishma. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: a new star in the pantheon of french greats — the american—born singer and activistjosephine baker takes her place among the heroes of france, her adopted home. 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 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 withj his opposite number from dover. this is newsday from the bbc. i'm karishma vaswani in singapore. our headlines... the results of covid tests from the netherlands suggest the new omicron variant was already spreading round the world before it was identified in south africa. a review of workplace culture
in australia has found that a third of those working in federal parliamentary offices have been sexually harassed by an mp. the review was commissioned following rape allegations made by former liberal party staffer, brittany higgins. prime minister scott morrison has previously been accused of being "tone deaf" on the issues effecting women in parliament. he said he was appalled by the findings of the report. i wish i found them more surprising. but i find them just as appalling. just because what you do is important and stressful and demanding can never normalise that behaviour as being somehow, somehow ok. it's not ok. let's go live now to canberra, where i'm joined by australian senator larissa waters. she is a member of the opposition party the australian greens.
iami i am i really appreciate the time you're taking to speak to us. i know you're taking to speak to us. i know you're very busy and you have to — off soon. as someone who works in parliament among almost daily basis, were you surprised by the findings? hello. sadly, iwasn't were you surprised by the findings? hello. sadly, i wasn't surprised, were you surprised by the findings? hello. sadly, iwasn't surprised, as a woman working in parliament for the last ten years. it's very clear that has been a toxic, sexist, unsafe workplace for a very long time. when the report was handed down yesterday by the sex discrimination commissioner, it had the statistic that half of the staff that works in parliamentary settings have been harassed or bullied, and one third had been sexually harassed. it'sjust one third had been sexually harassed. it's just totally unacceptable. this isn't the 19505 any more, and we should be studying any more, and we should be studying a standard in parliament a5 a best
practice workplace, not a boys club where it's not safe for women to work. there's a lot of progress that needs to be made. there is an excellent recommendation in this report, and our prime minister should actually make a clear commitment that he will implement tho5e recommendations. leadership starts at the top, and we've had an approach from my prime minister so far. he's not got a very good track record when it comes to women or fighting for our rights, and this is his last chance. i fighting for our rights, and this is his last chance.— fighting for our rights, and this is his last chance. i 'ust want to “ump in there, his last chance. i just want to “ump in there, larissa, i his last chance. i just want to “ump in there, larissa, because h his last chance. i just want to “ump in there, larissa, because web his last chance. i just want to jump in there, larissa, because we havej in there, larissa, because we have heard from the prime minister, asked about morri5on, saying he is appalled by the findings —— scott morrison it. it appears he's trying to make some changes. do you have the competence this government will make the changes it needs —— the confidence? it’s make the changes it needs -- the confidence?— confidence? it's clear that the chan . es confidence? it's clear that the changes need _ confidence? it's clear that the
changes need to _ confidence? it's clear that the changes need to be _ confidence? it's clear that the changes need to be made, . confidence? it's clear that the | changes need to be made, and confidence? it's clear that the - changes need to be made, and i'm an change5 need to be made, and i'm an optimist and i want workplaces to be safe for women everywhere, notjust parliament. unfortunately, this prime minister has a terrible track record. we have accused rapist in his ministry that he refused to hold to account. we have other accused hara55ers in his ministry, and in his party, but he has not held to account. just last week when one of his female backbencher5 cost the floor on an issue of a corruption watchdog which we need in australia, he then brought her in for a little talking to. actions speak louder than words. we need these recommendations implemented. we won't let the pressure, we won't let up won't let the pressure, we won't let up on the pressure on the prime minister, but he needs to gain a lot of ground on this issue before au5tralian women will tru5tee will
work and are interested. just briefl , work and are interested. just briefly, what _ work and are interested. just briefly, what are _ work and are interested. just briefly, what are the top two things you think you'd like to see change in parliament or the way things are run there? we in parliament or the way things are run there? ~ ., ., run there? we need some more women around decision-making _ run there? we need some more women around decision-making tables. - run there? we need some more women around decision-making tables. we - around decision—making tables. we still don't have gender parity in our parliament, and we don't have enough women in the ministry making decisions. of course, we need more decisions. of course, we need more diversity generally. we need more people of colour, people with disabilities, people from different ethnic backgrounds. we need a parliament that looks like our community and we need an actual code of conduct. we don't have a code of conduct here in parliament. many other workplaces do, and it seems that their behaviour has just run rampant, and it's clear we need some sort of guideline and rule so that people that should know better know that they can't make a stupid sexist remarks or conduct predatory behaviour.
remarks or conduct predatory behaviour-— remarks or conduct predatory behaviour. . . ., , ., ~ remarks or conduct predatory behaviour. . . ., , ., behaviour. larissa waters, thank you so much for — behaviour. larissa waters, thank you so much forjoining _ behaviour. larissa waters, thank you so much forjoining us _ behaviour. larissa waters, thank you so much forjoining us on _ behaviour. larissa waters, thank you so much forjoining us on such - behaviour. larissa waters, thank you so much forjoining us on such a - so much forjoining us on such a busy day in parliament.— busy day in parliament. you're very welcome. let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines from around the world. donald trump's former chief of staff, mark meadows, has agreed to give evidence to the congressional committee investigating the january the 6th riot at the capitol building in washington. he had previously defied a subpoena — that's a legal order — requiring him to testify. at least three people have been killed in a shooting at a michigan high school. eight others were wounded, including a teacher. officials say a 15—year—old suspect is in custody, and a semi—automatic handgun has been recovered. france has been honouring the singer and activist josephine baker with a place in the pantheon. she's the first black woman to be remembered in the resting place of france's national heroes, through her work on civil rights and for the resistance during the second world war. our paris correspondent, lucy williamson, reports.
idealist and idol, singer and spy. josephine baker, adored by paris a century ago, was the star of france again today. her symbolic coffin made its way towards the pantheon carrying handfuls of earth from the four corners of her life — paris, missouri, monaco, where she's buried, and the village in france where she raised her children. translation: you're entering our pantheon because you loved - france and you showed the way. born american, at heart, there's no—one more french than you. baker crossed the atlantic to escape segregation. in paris, she found fame with audiences hungry for american idols, using her celebrity to fight racism and pass messages for the french resistance during the second world war. this is one of the greatest honours france can bestow — a seat in the resting place of its national heroes.
josephine baker is the first black woman to be honoured here, a member of france's wartime resistance movement and a lifelong campaigner against racism. that campaign shaped her family too. baker adopted 12 children from around the world, calling it her rainbow tribe. these children represent an example of real brotherhood. they show to people that it is possible to live together if we so wish to. the pantheon today echoed with her trademark song j'ai deux amours, a love song to paris, as the city that revered her a century ago claimed herforever as its own. lucy williamson, bbc news, paris. that's all the time we have for you
on newsday at this hour. thanks so much for watching and do stay with bbc news. hello there. after a spell of cold weather, the final day of november brought a return to something milder, something much milder, in fact — westerly winds which fed a lot of cloud across the uk but brought temperatures of 12, 13 or 14 degrees in many places. away from the far north, cold air clung on across shetland and that cold air has been staging a return over recent hours. this area of low pressure has worked its way through. and that plunge of cold air will continue to take effect as we head through wednesday, the first day of december, the first day of the meteorological winter. and it will feel like it for many of us. there will be some spells of sunshine, but we'll see showers or longer spells of rain drifting southwards, some wintry weather mixing in over high ground, especially across the northern half of the uk. and if we do see any showers
into northern scotland through the afternoon, they are likely to fall as snow to very low levels indeed. it will remain windy, particularly gusty winds around the coasts, gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour and temperatures, if anything, coming down as the day goes on. so, afternoon values between two and nine degrees. with that brisk wind, it will feel cold out there. now, through wednesday night, we will see some clear spells, some wintry showers, too. could see some snow to relatively low levels across parts of eastern england. certainly snow to low levels in the northern part of scotland and temperatures, well, they will drop very close to freezing, below freezing in places. a widespread frost and perhaps some icy stretches to contend with on thursday morning. still quite breezy to start thursday. still some wintry showers, particularly in the east. but this area of high pressure is going to be trying to build its weight in, so that means we will see more in the way of dry weather. as we go through the day, the showers will become fewer and further between. there will be more dry weather, some spells of sunshine, although our next frontal system
will be introducing cloud and some rain into northern ireland and the far west of scotland. a very chilly feeling day indeed, highs between three and nine degrees. and then another change in the weather as we move out of thursday into friday. this frontal system pushes eastwards. some snow on its leading edge, but this will be introducing milder air once again from the atlantic, so a bit of rain around in places on friday. there will be some good spells of dry weather as well, but it will feel milder to end the week.
test samples suggest that the omicron covid variant was present in the netherlands 11 days ago — that's before the mutated strain was first reported in south africa. it's not clear whether either of the people who tested positive had been to south africa. three major vaccine makers have said they're looking to tweak their jabs to tackle the new strain, if needed. it comes as britain says it will offer boosterjabs to all adults within the next two months. the seven—year war in yemen may have reached a turning point. houthi rebels are pushing towards the city of marib, the centre of yemen's oil fields and the last stronghold of the internationally recognised government. france has honoured the singer josephine baker, heroine of the wartime resistance movement, with a special ceremony in the centre of paris. the french—american entertainer has been symbolically re—buried at the pantheon. you're watching bbc news.