this is bbc news, i'm lukwesa burak. our top stories... emergency teams search for survivors in six us states after more than 70 people die in the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in us history. uk prime minister borisjohson faces fresh questions about christmas gatherings at downing street a year ago — after a photo emerges of him taking part in a quiz. the public should be able to have confidence that there is one set of rules which apply equally to everybody, and they should be clear that we are all complying and if there are exceptions, that they are for a good reason and that they are proportionate. g7 foreign ministers warn iran time is running out to rescue the nuclear deal. afghanistan's drug trade is booming in the wake
of the economic collapse, with the country now a major manufacturer of crystal meth. the nhs is extending its vaccination programme as it tries to get on top of the omicron variant — 30 to 39 year olds in england can book a coronavirus booster jab from tomorrow. people in the french pacific territory of new caledonia vote in a third and final referendum on independence from france. and the battle for the chequered flag as max verstappen starts on pole position to take on lewis hamilton in the formula 1 title decider in abu dhabi.
hello and welcome to bbc news. emergency teams in six us states are continuing to search for survivors, following one of the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in us history. more than 70 people died in kentucky, including dozens in a candle factory, and the death toll is expected to rise above 100. the state's governor said it would be a miracle if anyone else was found alive. there have been reports of deaths too in arkansas, missouri, tennessee and illinois, where six amazon workers have been confirmed dead, after the roof of their warehouse collapsed. 0ur north america correspondent nomia iqbal reports. the scale of the destruction has been extraordinary. in the dead of night, dark funnel clouds roared across six states in four hours at huge speeds. they tore through a path of more
than 200 miles in kentucky, hitting the small town of mayfield hard. workers on christmas shifts at a candle factory were buried by several tornadoes that came hurtling in the dark. it's thought up to 110 people were inside. a0 have made it out. this has been the most devastating tornado event in our state's history, and for those that have seen it, what it has done here, and in grace county, and elsewhere, it's indescribable. a state of emergency has been declared in kentucky, as a huge rescue operation gets under way. authorities are facing huge challenges. the police station in mayfield has been destroyed and firefighters have lost equipment. there is no power. nearly 200 troops from the national guard are helping and more than half the population of this town are without electricity and water on one of the coldest months of the year.
this used to be a petrol station, and the only reason we know that is because of a solitary petrol pump that is still standing in the middle of the forecourt. all the others have blown over. and the kiosk, where you go in to pay for your petrol, has completely disappeared. it's lost underneath all this rubble. in the southern state of arkansas, a nursing home was badly damaged, killing at least one person, injuring several, and trapping more than a dozen others inside. in the midwestern state of illinois, an amazon warehouse with up to 100 people inside was ripped apart after the roof partially collapsed. at least six people are dead. president biden has called it an unimaginable tragedy. we still don't know how many lives are lost or the full extent of the damage. but i want to emphasise what i told all the governors, the federal government will do everything it possibly can do to help.
forecasters say the storm has now weakened, but americans are being urged to get ready for more severe weather as the storms continue to sweep across the country. nomia iqbal, bbc news, kentucky. the tornadoes also ripped through the state of missouri. taylor holt is a reporter for kmov, based in st louis . any time that you're in a tornado or in a severe storm like that, the aftermath is just devastating and that's what we saw here as well. a lot of debris is still around that amazon warehouse where now six people have been confirmed dead. you know, the emergency responders there are working through a lot of unstable conditions. so there's still a lot of downed trees there, concrete there.
it's still more than 2a hours search and rescue effort that's going on there. so, you know, just a lot of unstability to work through. and at the same time, like i said, it's a search and rescue effort going on there. and so you have to be careful with that and you have to watch out for their own safety. they have to, you know, save lives. and so it is a risky thing that they're putting themselves in and, you know, the conditions that they have to work around. so definitely still a lot of devastation that they're working through this morning. the uk prime minister is facing further questions this morning about christmas gatherings at downing street a year ago — after a photo emerged of him taking part in a quiz. the picture, obtained by the sunday mirror, shows borisjohnson sitting next to two colleagues, at a time when social mixing between households was banned in london. downing street says he briefly attended the event, which was held virtually.
0ur political correspondent chris mason has the latest — just a warning there is some flash photography in this report. take a look at this. it's december 15th last year, inside 10 downing street. borisjohnson is hosting a round of a staff christmas quiz. two colleagues are either side of him, one with tinsel wrapped around him. some staff took part virtually from home. others from around the building. a number ten spokesman told the bbc: the bbc had already reported that
invites for the quiz were sent out in advance via email, and many people wore christmas jumpers for the day. one source said people didn't seem to realise how ridiculous it was at the time. labour's deputy leader angela rayner has accused the prime minister of being happy to preside over a culture of disregard for the rules at the heart of government, and claimed he was unfit to lead the country. for day after day, the prime minister and his team tried to brush off, to deny reports of a party or get—togethers around government, when social mixing was banned a year ago. this is the latest in a torrent of stories that suggests otherwise. chris mason, bbc news. foreign ministers from the world's most powerful nations including the us, france and italy, are in liverpool this weekend, for their first face—to—face g7 meeting in two years. today, they're expected to warn iran that time is running out to rescue the nuclear deal. the pact would see economic sanctions on iran loosened,
in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. let's talk to our diplomatic correspondent james landale. yesterday, correspondent james landale. we yesterday, correspondentjames landale. we were yesterday, correspondent james landale. we were talking abc other yesterday, we were talking about other international matters. today attention is focused on iran, how likely is it that iran will say let's get the deal back on again? it is a confusing picture, really. the talks are still going on in vienna. negotiators from both sides, iran and britain, germany, france and the united states, are engaged in those negotiations to try and rescue this deal. that they all signed up to backin deal. that they all signed up to back in 2015. and the americans pulled out, and iran has been in breach, so the talks continue but there is disagreement over precisely where they should start when it comes to the actual detailed text,
because some agreement had been reached lastjune but then there were elections in iran, a new government was formed, it then delayed the talks for five months and has now come back and said we want to on stitch a fair amount and add to the previous agreement, and the europeans have said we simply don't have time to do that because the rate at which iran is growing its nuclear capabilities means that, the longer their states, the less value the ultimate deal will have, so the discussions continue but there is also a bit of a stand—off. what the foreign ministers here want to do today is agree a common line, common statement, to put pressure on the iranians to say we are serious about this, if it does not start making progress, then the process stops. and if it stops there will be consequences. the israelis are issuing warnings almost on a daily basis about their military preparations to launch strikes against iranian nuclear targets, and
if we get into that scenario again then diplomacy would have failed. james, very quickly, what was the agreement on russia yesterday? there was a fair degree _ agreement on russia yesterday? there was a fair degree of— agreement on russia yesterday? there was a fair degree of unity _ agreement on russia yesterday? ii—ii” was a fair degree of unity on that. diplomats and ministers said, the threat of russia invaded ukraine would be so unacceptable, notjust for the situation in ukraine but for the broader principle that in this day and age you cannot have states using military force to change borders, and that, there is a wider point about that and the question is how far they go today in the statement in warning russia of severe consequences, how much do they spell that out?— severe consequences, how much do they spell that out? james farndale, thank ou they spell that out? james farndale, thank you very _ they spell that out? james farndale, thank you very much. _ they spell that out? james farndale, thank you very much. - _ they spell that out? james farndale, thank you very much. - james - thank you very much. — james landale. afghanistan is responsible for the vast majority of the world's heroin supply and now it's also emerged as a major manufacturer of crystal meth. as the country faces economic collapse since the taliban's
rise to power, the drug trade there is booming. 0ur afghanistan correspondent, secunder kermani has this report. they are one of afghanistan's most lucrative exports. but these drugs are destroying lives here and abroad. there's heroin, and increasingly now, crystal meth. around 80% of the world's heroin supply originates from here. afghanistan's opium poppy fields. before the taliban takeover, opium traders paid off corrupt officials and sold the black paste secretly. now they've been allowed to open up stores in markets. —— stalls. we are driving through a bazaar
where opium is being sold openly. much of it is then going to be processed into heroin. the taliban are not stopping drug production — in fact, they've been taxing it for years. but they don't want journalists to see it being traded. that is why we are filming from inside the car. you call yourselves an islamic government but you are allowing drug production. isn't that hypocritical? translation: under the islamic emirate, before 2001, the growing and selling of opium dropped to zero. right now we're trying to find alternatives. we cannot take this away from people without offering them something else. eradicating this is good for us in the international community, so the world should help too. for years, poorfarmers have relied on opium to provide for their families. now, as afghanistan's economy collapses without international support, and water levels continue to drop, many see it
as the safest crop to grow. 0pium destroys a lot of people's lives. if opium is banned, what will happen to you guys and your families? the taliban regularly haul these addicts off to rehab centres. but many end up straight back here. for now, more drugs look set to hit the streets, both in afghanistan and across the world. secunder kermani, bbc news, afghanistan. people in the pacific territory of new caledonia have been voting in a third and final referendum on independence from france. voters in 2018 and again last year
rejected breaking with france. early turnout was sharply down on the two previous polls, with pro—independence campaigners boycotting the vote. let's get more on this with our correspondent, phil mercer who's in sydney. they are going at it hoping that it is third time lucky here? yes. they are going at it hoping that it is third time lucky here? yes, this is third time lucky here? yes, this is all art is third time lucky here? yes, this is all part of— is third time lucky here? yes, this is all part of the _ is third time lucky here? yes, this is all part of the new _ is third time lucky here? yes, this is all part of the new accord - is third time lucky here? yes, this| is all part of the new accord signed in 1998 which followed a decade of violence in new caledonia and what the accord set out was a path to potential independence. it was a 3—step path involving three votes, three referendums as you say, one in 2018, another in 2020, and the third today, so the new caledonians, having the opportunity to stick with the status quo, to stick with this alliance, these ties with france ought to go it alone, and as you say
the early indication is that the verna —— voter turnout is lower than previous votes because of that call from secessionist leaders for its supporters to boycott the vote, because of concerns that the covid—19 pandemic has made campaigning on fair, and that is why they are calling for their supporters to abstain. and they are calling for their supporters to abstain. they are calling for their su orters to abstain. �* ., , ., supporters to abstain. and fears of unrest as well— supporters to abstain. and fears of unrest as well during _ supporters to abstain. and fears of unrest as well during this - supporters to abstain. and fears of unrest as well during this poll. - unrest as well during this poll. yes, given that 40% of the population are indigenous people, there has been concerned that if voters who have been urged not to go to the ballot box could vent their frustrations elsewhere and, to that end, france has sent about 2000 extra police officers to make sure that security is maintained. france itself has tried to stay out of the debate, whether it says yes or no to
independence, but the french president emmanuel macron said that france would be less beautiful without new caledonia and to give you an idea of how far it is from france, it is about 20,000 kilometres, so this is a vote that has global ramifications. phil mercer, thank _ has global ramifications. phil mercer, thank you _ has global ramifications. phil mercer, thank you very much. people in england aged between 30 and 39 can book their booster jab from tomorrow. the acceleration of the vaccination programme comes, as scientists warn that the uk could face record levels of infection, without further restrictions. well we can get more now on the variant of covid—19 by speaking to drjulian tang, who's a clinical virologist in respiratory sciences at the university of leicester. thank you very much indeed. let's go to south africa and what is flaky —— what is taking place there with
0micron because people are watching things very closely. the omicron because people are watching things very closely.— things very closely. the latest fi . ures things very closely. the latest figures suggest _ things very closely. the latest figures suggest that _ things very closely. the latest figures suggest that there - things very closely. the latest| figures suggest that there isn't things very closely. the latest i figures suggest that there isn't a more clinically severe signal coming from that although many of those affected had been unvaccinated. it is a slightly different demographic, a younger population with endemic tv and a lower vaccination rate but you have to see how the figures pan out in the uk with an ageing population, with concentrated elderly in care homes as well as the double—vaccinated population and many people getting boosterjabs. ih many people getting boosterjabs. in terms of the severity of illness, thatis terms of the severity of illness, that is a huge concern. i am speaking to you from london. people around the world are watching closely to stop we know that hospitalisation, severity of illness, is the one thing that people are very fearful of. there is a model that says that, come the beginning ofjanuary, if things are not put in place, there could be
problems and pressures put on the health service.— health service. there is also that model and _ health service. there is also that model and previous _ health service. there is also that model and previous models - health service. there is also thatj model and previous models have health service. there is also that - model and previous models have been concerned to assess the severity data, but we don't have enough data yet with 0micron but i suspect in the uk population you will see still good protection from the vaccines, frequently t cell vaccines from pfizer and merck are on average will be boosted by those boosterjabs. from the data shown so far, from the small studies, there are six —— significant vaccine estate from the 0micron variant which is boosted by these booster so i would encourage people to get the boosters and hope that the t cell response will protect from severe illness and death and the increased case numbers we will see from 0micron. much we will see from omicron. much emhasis we will see from omicron. much emphasis had — we will see from omicron. much emphasis had been _ we will see from omicron. much emphasis had been put - we will see from omicron. much emphasis had been put on - we will see from omicron. much emphasis had been put on the l we will see from omicron. much emphasis had been put on the booster vaccination programme, a real push on that, in terms of the t—cells and
immunity, how much protection do you get from a booster because we are learning that two vaccinations doesn't give as much protection as hope? doesn't give as much protection as ho e? ., ., . . doesn't give as much protection as hoe? ., , ., . ., hope? the two vaccine protection, we think that the — hope? the two vaccine protection, we think that the t-cells _ hope? the two vaccine protection, we think that the t-cells response - hope? the two vaccine protection, we think that the t-cells response in - think that the t—cells response in any of the vaccines will reduce hospitalisation rates going forward, but of course if we have a small percentage of those who are hospitalised of a very large number of the concerns are that that will still overwhelm the nhs along with flu and a delta variant as well. but we have to see how it pans out in the uk and in the meantime i would encourage people to get the vaccine booster as well as try to reduce social contacts and entry into indoor crowded areas with poor ventilation, and to keep masks on. very quickly, doctor tang,
ventilation, and to keep masks on. very quickly, doctortang, is ventilation, and to keep masks on. very quickly, doctor tang, is it possible to slow down omicron? that is what the plan _ possible to slow down omicron? that is what the plan b _ possible to slow down omicron? twat is what the plan b ed clancy measuresare, was worked out the severity, and there is also influence as well, so that is a good thing, overall. influence as well, so that is a good thing. overall-— thing, overall. doctorjulian tang, thank ou thing, overall. doctorjulian tang, thank you for— thing, overall. doctorjulian tang, thank you for your _ thing, overall. doctorjulian tang, thank you for your time. - one of the most thrilling formula one seasons comes to a climax today. lewis hamilton will race max verstappen in the abu dhabi grand prix. the pair are currently level on points, but verstappen starts in pole position. let's head to abu dhabi where we can speak to f1 journalist inga stracke. thank you forjoining us. first off, what is the ambience like? absolutely amazing. when you are in the paddock he can feel the tension building, you can cut the air, it is goose bumps material. i'm standing in front of the entrance to the
racetrack, there are buses filing in, people coming in super cars, everybody wants to go here. the race has been sold out all the people are begging for passes and it is going to be amazing. begging for passes and it is going to be amazing-— begging for passes and it is going to be amazing. what is this going to come down — to be amazing. what is this going to come down to. _ to be amazing. what is this going to come down to, skill, _ to be amazing. what is this going to come down to, skill, or _ to be amazing. what is this going to come down to, skill, or the - to be amazing. what is this going to come down to, skill, or the car? - to be amazing. what is this going to | come down to, skill, or the car? may be luck, come down to, skill, or the car? may be luck. you — come down to, skill, or the car? may be luck, you know— come down to, skill, or the car? i— be luck, you know is? it is going to be luck, you know is? it is going to be a fun packed race and i am really proud of being here, being part of formula 1. the 22 races this year, a calendar that at the beginning of the season with a pandemic a lot of people didn't really think could happen and it has come to, well, the two title contenders on even points and i hope they both make it to the finish line and that the race will be decided at the finish line and may the best one win. just be decided at the finish line and may the best one win.— be decided at the finish line and may the best one win. just tell us about the temperaments - may the best one win. just tell us about the temperaments of- may the best one win. just tell us about the temperaments of both | about the temperaments of both drivers today, that we will all be watching. you have lewis hamilton who has gone through his moments
then you have the young max verstappen as well. you couldn't write a movie — verstappen as well. you couldn't write a movie script _ verstappen as well. you couldn't write a movie script better. - verstappen as well. you couldn't write a movie script better. andl write a movie script better. and this is real life, this is formula 1. this is brilliant for the fans. you have sir lewis hamilton, coming from a non—moneyed background, has worked his way up, and is probably, ahead of his eighth world championship title, you have max verstappen, son of a racing driver and a go—kart driver mum who has grown up wanting to become world champion. you have mercedes, the top car producer, you have red bull, the energy drink, with a formula 1 team. it couldn't be any more different and the characters couldn't be any more different but they have one thing in common, they are racers, and when the lights go off it is racing pure and hopefully no politics. t racing pure and hopefully no olitics. .., racing pure and hopefully no olitics. , ., �* .
politics. i can tell you're excited, i was excited, _ politics. i can tell you're excited, i was excited, i _ politics. i can tell you're excited, i was excited, i am _ politics. i can tell you're excited, i was excited, i am more - politics. i can tell you're excited, i was excited, i am more excited j i was excited, i am more excited now, inge, thank you very much indeed. a four—storey building has collapsed in italy on the island of sicily following a gas explosion. rescuers in the southwestern town of ravanusa are searching for at least ten missing residents including three children and a pregnant woman after the building caught fire. an 80 year—old woman was pulled alive from the rubble. prosecutors have opened a legal case. space — it's the final frontier. but now, it's also a family affair. two, one... the daughter of the first us astronaut has followed in her father's footsteps — blasting off to the edge of space, 60 years after he made history. laura shepard—churchley took off on—board a commercial aircraft which was named after her dad —
and owned by amazon founder, jeff bezos. the police watchdog is investigating the fatal shooting of a man by armed officers in london yesterday afternoon. officers were called to reports of a man with a firearm entering a bank and a bookmakers, before stopping a suspect vehicle a short time later. london's metropolitan police say the incident is not being treated as terrorism. finally, long queues formed here in england as limited—edition t—shirts made by the world famous street artist banksy went on sale. the bristol—born artist announced on friday night that the shirts would go on sale at locations in the city. he said they had been created to show support for the four people about to go on trial accused of pulling down the statue of slave trader edward colston.
you're watching bbc news. hello, hello, everyone. i hope you're doing all right. for many of us, it's a much milder day across the uk. we are importing mild air from the south, but coupled with that, quite a lot of cloud around. it's not going to be a gorgeous, kind of sunny, mild day. we do also have some rain around. let's have a look at the big picture. first off, then, this is the main feature of our weather today. really, we have an area of low pressure here and this weather front will bring clouds and some rain in the low pressure, bringing some stormy conditions to northern parts later. but it's also the vehicle which is helping draw up this much milder air from the south. and i think many of us will feel that as we head through the day. that is the weather front perched across northern ireland
into the north of england, then moving northwards into scotland as we head through the day. further south, areas that saw quite a lot of rain in places yesterday should be drier, a bit of brightness as well. some mist and fog lingering for a time across parts of wales and southern parts, i think. but we could see some hail, fog elsewhere, top temperatures, a bit of a contrast, 13 or 1a celsius for many of us whilst further north, the very far north of scotland and the northern ireland, about 7—8 celsius. let's return to the pressure chart. and there's that area of low pressure that i was talking about earlier on. now, this is likely to bring some very unsettled conditions across western parts of scotland and the north of scotland as we head through tonight. gale force winds gusts up to 80, potentially higher, miles per hour, as we head through tonight behind this and blustery showers, some of these potentially turning wintry. and then we have this feature moving into southern and southwestern parts. lows tonight, however, 11 or 12 celsius, not a cold one, everyone, but it will be cooler further north. now as we head through
the day tomorrow this weather front is likely to stall. it'll just sort of lose interest and what really want to go anywhere. and as a result, it could bring quite a bit of rainfall across parts of wales into the north of england and some central parts as well. this is also a bit of a boundary — areas to the north of this drier, brighter, northern ireland, seeing quite a bit of sunshine, hopefully, but it will be colder. these showers continuing across parts of scotland, whereas further south, cloudy, murky with some rain, but also milder, 12 or 13 celsius our highs. now, this area of high pressure tries to build. as we head through this week, a few weather front skirting northern parts. but under the high pressure, quite a bit of cloud cover, quite misty and murky at times. we'll keep you posted. stay safe. see you soon.
for survivors in six us states after more than 70 people die in the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in us history. uk prime minister borisjohnson faces fresh questions about christmas gatherings at downing street a year ago, after a photo emerged of him taking part in a quiz. g7 foreign ministers warn iran time is running out to rescue the nuclear deal. the nhs is extending its vaccination programme as it tries to get on top of the omicron variant. 30 to 39—year—olds in england can book a coronavirus booster jab from tomorrow. people in the french pacific territory of new caledonia vote in a third and final referendum on independence from france. now the sport with chetan.