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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 21, 2021 9:00pm-10:01pm GMT

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this is bbc news, i'm christian fraser. the white house reacts to a sharp rise in covid cases, with omicron now the dominant variant. and he is propositioning troops and supplies around the country, president biden is making half a billion test free nationwide, and he is propositioning troops and supplies around the country, in case hospitals are overwhelmed. —— pre—positioning. in england, borisjohnson says there will no further restrictions this side of christmas — but that it's too late for many business already suffering the fallout from the latest surge in infections. the largest divorce settlement in british history. princess haya and her two children will receive $700 million in settlement from her former husband and leader of dubai, sheikh mohamed. and the monster milipede — two metres in length 50 kilos in weight — that somehow went undiscovered
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for 300 million years. good evening. 73% of new covid infections in the united states are 0micron. it has become the dominant strain just three weeks since the first case was identified. in fact, new york has seen a threefold jump in infections in just seven days. the white house is trying to avoid talk of any new restrictions, but in the past hour, joe biden has sounded a note of urgency. there will be a renewed focus on testing — not something the united states has particularly excelled at. demand for home testing kits has outstripped supply. so the president has today announced 500 million kits will be made available on a government website, free of charge. around 1,000 servicemen and women will be sent to help out, at hospitals around the country over
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the next two months — five times the number currently deployed. the president said they will add new covid wings to hospital if they are needed. there will be new federal testing sites nationwide, with the first expected in new york before christmas. and the government says it is prepositioning critical supplies, including ventilators, should more hospital capacity be required. here's some of what the president had to say a short time ago. if you are not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned. you're at a high risk of getting sick. and if you get sick, you're likely to spread it to others, including friends and family. and the unvaccinated have a significantly higher risk of ending up in hospital, or even dying. almost everyone who has died of covid—19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated. unvaccinated. let's bring in the bbc�*s aleem maqbool, who was listening across president biden�*s speech.
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i don't know about you, but i detected a very different tone from the white house to what we are getting here from the downing street. he says fully vaccinated people have much, much less to worry about. he's also talked about people carrying on with the plans they have for christmas. it's been a much more determined "let's get it on" from the white house and we have with borisjohnson. the white house and we have with boris johnson-— boris johnson. that's true to an extent, boris johnson. that's true to an extent. but _ boris johnson. that's true to an extent, but that _ boris johnson. that's true to an extent, but that doesn't - boris johnson. that's true to an extent, but that doesn't mean l boris johnson. that's true to an - extent, but that doesn't mean there wasn't criticism of this white house. there was certainly lots of focus on getting vaccinated because, as we know, the vast majority of those dying right now of covid related causes are those unvaccinated. so there was a lot of onus on individual responsibility. but there is criticism of the white house and that there are those who say that president biden should've done more to ensure that those tens
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of millions who were still unvaccinated are persuaded to get vaccinated up until this point. he said in that speech it was around a0 million independent estimates are up to 60 million people in america who are unvaccinated. there's a lot of criticism over the fact that his focus is on vaccination and hasn't been enough, until now, on testing. and he announced for the first time today the us government subsidised at home testing that will only be available in january at home testing that will only be available injanuary — from january, but that hasn't happened until now. he's talked a lot about his surprise at what's happened with this recent surge in cases. certainly there are those who say 0micron has superseded what we thought variants were capable of. but we've heard experts say for many months, talking about a
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wintersurge. so say for many months, talking about a winter surge. so criticism too that the white house should put these measures in before now and not as a reaction. ~ reaction. well, he denied, when questioned _ reaction. well, he denied, when questioned by — reaction. well, he denied, when questioned by the _ reaction. well, he denied, when questioned by the reporters - reaction. well, he denied, whenj questioned by the reporters who reaction. well, he denied, when - questioned by the reporters who were there, that he had failed when it came to testing and that he had been the reason that they had ordered this half a billion tests ahead of time. but it will come as a surprise to people in our country, we've had these tests available for over a year. these tests available for over a ear. �* ~ ., , ., , these tests available for over a ear. �* ~ ., , year. and the white house was asked very specifically _ year. and the white house was asked very specifically about _ year. and the white house was asked very specifically about that _ year. and the white house was asked very specifically about that a - very specifically about that a couple of weeks ago, about how the uk, how european countries were able to do this and the us haven't. and actually, the white house's response was that they were doing everything that was necessary. and now, a couple weeks later, we are seeing in reaction to the surge in cases in this country that they are finally going to do this. because if you're telling people they can have the christmas they want to have, if you're telling people they don't need to lockdown or there won't be
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any shutdowns or travel restrictions, the only way you can do that safely is if there is testing that is readily available, including at home testing. and try and find at home testing, even kits that you can pay for in many parts of this country, and it's been difficult for a long time. so for a lot of people, this is coming too late, and even the amount of test kits being ordered, 500 million, may not be enough for a very long time. if you're considering the amount of lateral flow tests, for example, lateral flow tests, for exa m ple, that lateral flow tests, for example, that are being used and have been used over many months, even in a country the size of the uk.- country the size of the uk. indeed so. thank country the size of the uk. indeed so- thank you _ country the size of the uk. indeed so. thank you very _ country the size of the uk. indeed so. thank you very much. - joining me now is dr ashistha, dean of the brown university school of public health. lovely to have you back on the programme. just pick up that point — half a billion tests sounds like a lot, but in a country of 380 million
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people, it doesn't go that far. it doesn't go that far, start. i look at what president biden said today and think, "0k, biden said today and think, "ok, this is a good start, but we need to do a lot more." and i also agree with the argument that the at menstruation has done a good job on variety of fronts, but testing is not one of them. —— the administration. they didn't stockpile in the spring and summer, evenin stockpile in the spring and summer, even in fall they didn't take it as seriously as they should have. that leaves us caught behind the eight ball saw what he was asked a question about whether he was considering a reversal of the travel ban, and he said he considering a reversal of the travel ban, and he sai— ban, and he said he would discuss that in the — ban, and he said he would discuss that in the next _ ban, and he said he would discuss that in the next few _ ban, and he said he would discuss that in the next few days, - ban, and he said he would discuss that in the next few days, which i that in the next few days, which will not be welcomed over here in europe. i wonder what that would solve, given the scale and infection we've been talking about in new york? ., we've been talking about in new york? . ., ., york? the travel ban we have to the ei . ht york? the travel ban we have to the eight countries _ york? the travel ban we have to the eight countries and _ york? the travel ban we have to the eight countries and southern - york? the travel ban we have to the eight countries and southern africa | eight countries and southern africa did not make sense initially, and they make zero cents now. maybe in they make zero cents now. maybe in the first couple days you could've done it to slow things down a bit,
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but in the last few weeks it's been clear that needs to be lifted. so i think that'll be very important to do that. we don't want to be punishing countries who identified infections, and right now americans consume be... sham infections, and right now americans consume isen-— consume be... am i right in that there is a _ consume be... am i right in that there is a slightly _ consume be... am i right in that there is a slightly different - there is a slightly different nuanced approach to this in the white house then there is over here, perhaps in downing street? is it because of how divisive covid has become in america that you really can't talk of lockdowns or tighter restrictions, because politically it's not possible? i restrictions, because politically it's not possible?— restrictions, because politically it's not possible? i think there's a different political— it's not possible? i think there's a different political context, - it's not possible? i think there's a different political context, of - different political context, of course, but even from a public health point of view, we are in a different moment. we are not in march 2020, most of our population was naive. actually even more people are vaccinated in the uk. at the point is we now have the tools to carry on and move forward. that's what the president was saying, and i
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think that's right — it won't be the last variant we will deal with, there will be future ones, but we have to learn how to manage this while preserving lives and keeping our hospitals safe. we can do that now in a way we couldn't do six months or a year ago.- now in a way we couldn't do six months or a year ago. when you look at the graphs. _ months or a year ago. when you look at the graphs. and — months or a year ago. when you look at the graphs, and a _ months or a year ago. when you look at the graphs, and a lot _ months or a year ago. when you look at the graphs, and a lot of— at the graphs, and a lot of people in business would say all over on the side that it is a disease of the unvaccinated. and we were told in the summer that there needed to be a learning to live with the approach. now we seem to of gone backwards because, yes, there is much more infection than we've had before. find infection than we've had before. and the ke infection than we've had before. fific the key issue in infection than we've had before. fific the key issue in my mind infection than we've had before. e"ic the key issue in my mind — throughout the whole pandemic, infections lead to hospitalisations, led to deaths — so infections were very important to control. as 0micron spreads more among unvaccinated people, they won't get as sick or end up hospital in the same way, certainly not people who are boosted. so what we are seeing is a breaking of the link between
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infections and hospitalisations and deaths in the us. and i think that's where we have to manage hospitalisations and deaths much more, and notjust focus on the top line infection. more, and not 'ust focus on the top line infection.— line infection. they reckon that around 4096 — line infection. they reckon that around 4096 of— line infection. they reckon that around 4096 of the _ line infection. they reckon that around 4096 of the former - line infection. they reckon that - around 4096 of the former president's around a0% of the former president's supporters are still unvaccinated. there's been a real missed opportunity here, hasn't there, on the part of donald trump? and yet he was asked, he's speaking tour at the moment with 0'reilly, he was asked yesterday whether he had the booster. this is what he said, have a listen to the reaction of the crowd. both the president and i are vaxxed and — did you get the booster? yes. i got it, too. booing 0h, don't, no, don't... that's all right, it's a very tiny group over there. - extraordinary reaction there. instead of saying, "get out there and get your booster because science shows that it actually works." again, he fights some sort of
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inclination to do that. i again, he fights some sort of inclination to do that.- again, he fights some sort of inclination to do that. i think this has been a _ inclination to do that. i think this has been a massive _ inclination to do that. i think this has been a massive missed - has been a massive missed opportunity. he went down a road with bill 0'reilly that donald trump, one of his signature initiatives was getting operation work speed done and vaccines built and manufactured, and out there very quickly. i want to see him take more credit for that, and i want people who are his supporters to understand that these vaccinations are extraordinarily safe and effective. there is no better messenger than donald trump, and i wish you would use his platform to make that a much more aggressive message. it would save the lives of his supporters. doctor, good to talk to you again, thank you very much indeed. thank ou. borisjohnson announced today there will be no new restrictions before christmas in england — although he is not ruling out further measures after that. there was criticism in the morning newspapers that mrjohnson had given no clarity on what might happen in the coming days, at a time when families and businesses were busy trying to make plans. mrjohnson said people should go ahead with
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what they have organised — but again, he urged people to exercise caution and to get that boosterjab. 0ur health editor hugh pym reports. as the booster programme continued in scunthorpe and around the country, there was a clearer message from the government about christmas in england. "go ahead with your plans, as there won't be any new measures affecting them." but, given the threat of 0micron, nothing can be ruled out after that. speaking before that announcement, one minister suggested they weren't rushing tojudgment. we are looking very closely at the data, that's why the prime minister said we reserve the option of coming back with further measures, but we are not at that stage, because obviously there is very significant economic disruption should we do that. merry christmas! that still leaves uncertainty around christmas and vital decisions affecting communities and families. we have to consider the risks of the omicron variant to individuals and the nhs,
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but we also have to consider the impact on people's mental health of restrictions. that cannot be ignored. as well as the impact on the economy. none of it is easy. with case number is rising fast, experts argue there may need to be interventions soon, but it is reasonable to wait a little longer for more data. if those numbers continue to rise, we will see hospitalisations rising after that, then i believe the government will have to act. amid the current uncertainty about severity, transmission and the broader impact on society, i think it is reasonable to pose for 24 hours, maybe 36 hours, until we see that other data. one of the fears about omicron is that it will spread rapidly among those who haven't been vaccinated. there is an understandable focus on boosters, but progress still needs to be made with second doses. in scotland and wales, followed by england
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and northern ireland, it's onlyjust over 80% who have had that second dose. that is expressed as a share of all those aged 12 and over, though the roll—out for younger teenagers has only just got under way. within england, measured slightly differently, there is a lot of variation. in london, for example, just 62% have had that second jab, though it does have a younger population. the booster programme, meanwhile, is being steered towards hard to reach groups. here in cornwall, fishing boats have come in to port, and the crews are able to getjabbed when they come ashore. they want everybody to get their boosters, and you are trying at your own surgery and they are telling you it is going to be a long time... it is good. it is the best way of protection. analysing data and assessing omicron — there is still a lot for ministers and officials to focus on, right up to christmas and beyond. hugh pym, bbc news.
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we could do with that data. so, no further restrictions yet, but the warnings the government has sent out in recent days has put paid to any christmas recovery for the hospitality and leisure sectors. and today, the british chancellor, rishi sunak, responded with a package of measures he hopes will deal with some of that uncertainty. both sectors will be eligible for grants of up to £6,000 per premises. there'll be £100 million available for local authorities to support other businesses affected. the government will cover the costs of covid sick pay for small and medium—sized employers across the uk. and a further £30 million of funding will be made available for theatres, cinemas, museums who are affected in england. i'm joined now by andyjones, owner of the restaurantjones and sons in east london. it's good to see you. what have the last few weeks been like for you?
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we've been open for nine years. last week was, without a doubt, the hardest week i've ever had. and if you've ever owned a business or open a restaurant, you know how tough it can be at times. last monday and tuesday, when we just saw the cancellations rolling in, rolling in nonstop, it was heartbreaking. this week, without a doubt, last week was the busiest day of —— week of the year. you look forward to this week as a hospitality owner. it is a week that sees you through to march, it was going to get people out of the financial holes they found themselves in in the last couple of years with what we've gone through. i was absolutely distraught. 0n i was absolutely distraught. on tuesday, when it really hit the fan, i came home at apm, kissed my wife and kids, went upstairs and laid down fully closed in the dark. i was so, so distraught with what had happened, with all the bookings.
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this week was full since august, tables of 25 just this week was full since august, tables of 25just cancelling, whole venue hiresjust tables of 25just cancelling, whole venue hires just cancelling with a8 hours notice. the food had been bought in, staff had been training, road is done. honestly i never want to go through what happened last week again. to go through what happened last week again-— to go through what happened last weekaaain. �* , �* . , , week again. andy, i'm really sorry to hearthat- _ week again. andy, i'm really sorry to hear that. i— week again. andy, i'm really sorry to hear that. i hesitate _ week again. andy, i'm really sorry to hear that. i hesitate to - week again. andy, i'm really sorry to hear that. i hesitate to ask - to hear that. i hesitate to ask whether £6,000 will touch the sides. between my two venues, my rent is £250,000 a year. we were expecting to take the best part of £100,000 last week in events and bookings. we obviously took nowhere near that amount. i would obviously took nowhere near that amount. iwould rather obviously took nowhere near that amount. i would rather not take the £6,000, i would'vejust amount. i would rather not take the £6,000, i would've just rather traded without fiat, without restriction. i traded without fiat, without restriction.— traded without fiat, without restriction. i was 'ust asking earlier about _ restriction. i was 'ust asking earlier about the h restriction. i wasjust asking earlier about the tone - restriction. i wasjust asking earlier about the tone in - restriction. i wasjust asking - earlier about the tone in america - earlier about the tone in america — you have the new york mayor who is
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committed to keeping new york open. and yes, there's a lot to consider for politicians here, and some of the statistics missed to be scary when you're in downing street talking to the scientists — but do you think there could have been any greater certainty than they've given you? greater certainty than they've given ou? , ~ greater certainty than they've given ou? , ,, . ., , you? yes! i think the politicians have 'ust you? yes! i think the politicians have just cast — you? yes! i think the politicians have just cast hospitality - you? yes! i think the politicians have just cast hospitality aside l have just cast hospitality aside since march 2020. i've stop relying on boris, i don't even want to talk about him. rishi sunak initially seemed like a shining light. i think today has put paid to anyone in hospitality thinking of him in that way. i think new york has been very different, they are forced vaccinations to get into any public space. i'm not advocating here. over here, it'sjust been space. i'm not advocating here. over here, it's just been wishy—washy from the start. i think it was doctorjenny harry's who put the statement out about ten days ago
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saying everyone should limit their social contact — and as soon as i came out, i was like, "oh no, here we go again." i've done a few interviews on the friday before last weekend, and itjust all unraveled. there's nothing in there about business rates today. is there any package of measures that can actually help?— package of measures that can actuall hel? , �* , ,, ., , actually help? yes. business rates are at 5096, _ actually help? yes. business rates are at 5096, the _ actually help? yes. business rates are at 5096, the came _ actually help? yes. business rates are at 5096, the came back- actually help? yes. business rates are at 5096, the came back in - actually help? yes. business rates are at 5096, the came back in from are at 50%, the came back in from july. now we are still in a hole from the first few lockdowns, i'm not sure if people know that — obviously the furlough scheme was wonderful for the staff, for the business owners and allowed us to not have to get rid of anybody, but we had to pay p a y not have to get rid of anybody, but we hadto paypayeon not have to get rid of anybody, but we had to pay p a y e on all that furlough money coming in. so about 23% of the furlough money, we had to give back to the government. a lot of businesses probably weren't able
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to do that because they were in if you look at my wage bill period, iron about £11,000 a month. you have to find that money to give back to the government for money given to the staff. it's been a mess from the start, it's a mess now, and i've got no faith in them getting us through these next few months, to be perfectly honest with you. and? perfectly honest with you. andy jones, perfectly honest with you. andy jones. i'm _ perfectly honest with you. andy jones, i'm sending _ perfectly honest with you. andy jones, i'm sending you - perfectly honest with you. andy jones, i'm sending you my - perfectly honest with you. andy jones, i'm sending you my best and i hope things pick up for you, i hope it gets better in 2022. thank you for coming on. it gets better in 2022. thank you for coming on-— the ruler of dubai has been ordered to pay his ex—wife, princess haya, and their two children a divorce settlement which could reach more than $700 million — it's the biggest such award in british history. the judge at the high court in london said the princess and her children faced an ever present threat from their father, sheikh mohammed bin rashid al—maktoum. the princess fled to britain in 2019, saying she feared for her life.
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with me is our security correspondent, frank gardner. tell us why this settlement is so big. tell us why this settlement is so bi i, �* . . , tell us why this settlement is so bi, �* . . , �* , tell us why this settlement is so big. because he's one of the richest men in the — big. because he's one of the richest men in the world. _ big. because he's one of the richest men in the world. she _ big. because he's one of the richest men in the world. she was - big. because he's one of the richest men in the world. she was the - men in the world. she was the youngest of his six wives. she's the daughter of the former king hussein ofjordan. they fell out in 2019 for two reasons — and it depends on who you want to believe, are camp saying because she discovered the fate of two of his daughters by other marriages, who had basically tried to flee the family, flee the control of their very controlling father, and had been kidnapped by his agents and had been kidnapped by his agents and rendered back to dubai — something he denied, but something the high court stood up and said was true. but his camp say it was because she had a affair with his british bodyguard. he got very angry
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about that and she started getting things like a loaded pistol left in her premises, a helicopter landed on the premise of her island, saying the premise of her island, saying the back of the pilot saying he had orders to escort her away. it's been a very long—running custody battle, this. during the course of this long—running case, most of which has remained a secret, and number of things have been allowed to be released — one of which is that the judge concluded earlier this year that the ruler of dubai, an ally of the west had either implicitly or expressly ordered the hacking of not only his ex—wife's phone here in britain, but that of her security and legal team, including a member of the house of lords, which would break all british laws because he is a head of state or sovereign figure, he is above the law, essentially, he
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won't get prosecuted. he denies it, but the court stood up using forensic evidence. so this is a massive settlement involving vast sums of money. just for example, well in excess of $300,000 us equivalent a yearjust well in excess of $300,000 us equivalent a year just for the children's animals. $5 equivalent a yearjust for the children's animals.— equivalent a yearjust for the children's animals. ~ , , ., ., children's animals. as you do. there were some — children's animals. as you do. there were some really _ children's animals. as you do. there were some really interesting - were some really interesting details, you talked about the hacking of the phone and the baroness's lawyer, we also learned about the princess being blackmailed by her security team — former british soldiers were working for her. so with all that together, do you think the metropolitan police are likely to look at this and investigate further?- are likely to look at this and investigate further? well, basically the crown prosecution _ investigate further? well, basically the crown prosecution service - investigate further? well, basically the crown prosecution service hasl investigate further? well, basically i the crown prosecution service has to decide if there is a chance of conviction and if it's in the public cosmic interest. thejudge
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conviction and if it's in the public cosmic interest. the judge was pretty disgusted by this. she had four security people, x british army, working for her — one of whom she was having an affair with, she'd been on several trips, and three blackmailed her, saying "if you don't pay, we will reveal this." in the meantime, she paid them roughly $10 million, and she had to borrow the money from her children's account to pay this. she tried to pay it back in by selling jewellery and other things, a resource, and thejudge took quite and other things, a resource, and the judge took quite a sympathetic view, saying, "this must have shown how terrified she was." remember, she was getting anonymous messages from people she assumed to be agents of the shake, saying they could get her anywhere. of the shake, saying they could get heranywhere. he's of the shake, saying they could get her anywhere. he's issued a statement at the end of all this, saying case closed, basically, "i only want the best for my children, i don't want anything to happen to
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my ex—wife." but the judge said she will be in fearfor my ex—wife." but the judge said she will be in fear for the rest of her life, and that's why the money is so huge, to provide for permanent security for her and her children. and don't forget he's out of the west, he's the architect of a hugely successful middle eastern city. but this has shown a very unpleasant light on what was going on behind palace walls. light on what was going on behind palace walls-— light on what was going on behind alace walls. . ~ ., ,, i. , palace walls. frank, thank you very much for that. _ the largest—ever fossil of a giant millipede, has been discovered by chance, on a beach in northumberland. a team at cambridge university suggest the creature was more than two—and—a—half metres long. i bet it could still get under a skirting board. it lived 326 million years ago and was big enough to hunt other comparatively—sized animals. back then, the north—east of england, would have had a tropical climate. think of that if you are out in northumberland this evening. i bet it's not very tropical there this evening. plenty more to come in the programme, stay with us.
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good evening. the day has finished with a few more cloud breaks around than we had to start with, and as those cloud breaks become a bit more abundant tonight, just watch how the blue colours appear quite widely on the chart, an indication of a widespread frost developing across parts of wales, england and scotland. not quite so towards northern ireland, where the cloud will be thickening up later in the night. temperatures will lift, but we could see temperatures as low as —3 to —7 celsius a bit more widely as we go into the morning. still under the influence of the ridge of high pressure, but the breeze is picking up, it's helping to break up the cloud, and further west, we start to see the influence of the atlantic start to show its hand. and it will do more through the coming few days. but for wednesday, it begins with cloud, outbreaks of rain developing in northern ireland. they will be on and off through the day. sunny, frosty start elsewhere, but clouding over from the west, rain spreading in across central
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and southern scotland through the day, parts of northern and western england and wales, maybe even the odd heavier burst too, but many parts of the midlands, east anglia, the southeast and the far north of mainland scotland stay dry and bright through the day, but staying chilly here compared to the 8—10 celsius we will see in western areas. the mild air wins out, as we go from wednesday night into thursday, weather front pushes its way north. itjust fizzles out in situ, it could produce some snow for a time over the hills, but by the time we hit thursday morning, it will be a frost—free start, and just note the temperatures in belfast and plymouth to begin the day, 11—12 celsius. much milder, much muggier than we've seen the recent days. now, another weather front is on its way in for thursday. that's set to bring rain erratically northwards and eastwards. the heaviest bursts likely to be across parts of scotland, particularly during the afternoon, but we will see some splashes of rain across parts of wales, central southern england, a bit more then we will see on wednesday. heavy rain for a time in northern ireland, a bit of brightness in between those two rain bands, you can see there, and brightening up to the southwest later. 13—1a celsius in the south. still a little bit cooler in the north, but widely a much milder day.
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but as we go into the night and into the start of christmas eve, dense fog then becomes an issue as the rain initially clears away. another batch of rain will come in on friday, but the fog could be a struggle for 1—2 to shift. the rain, again, following a similar sort of pattern to thursday, not quite as wet across scotland and the far north of england, but even here, there will be some light rain or drizzle, and it will be turning chillier at times. that colder air fights its way back as we go into christmas day. it doesn't look like, for many, it will be a white christmas, some rain in the south in the milder air, but it's crucial where that dividing line is, if it's a bit further southwards, then you can expect a bit more snow in the hills.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. president biden is making half a billion test free nationwide, and he is pre—positioning troops and supplies around the country, in case hospitals are overwhelmed. the pentagon issues new rules aimed at stopping the rise of extremism in the us military — including a ban on �*liking' extremist social media posts in a trend seen round the world, workers are leaving theirjobs in record numbers in search of better employment. we'll look at the driving factors. and, after years of delays, the james hubble telescope is scheduled to launch later this week. i'll be speaking to a nasa administrator closely involved with the project.
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the south african scientists who were quick to identify the emergence of the 0micron variant are now investigating whether these covid variants with an unusual number of mutations, are inked to infected people whose immune systems were already weakened. 0ur africa correspondent, andrew harding, sent this report from johannesburg. in this crowded neighbourhood outside cape town, one in four adults is hiv positive. over the years, south africa has taken impressive steps to manage the epidemic, dispensing drugs that allow people to live healthy lives. but millions of people here, and indeed around the world, are not on hiv medication. there are lots of issues. some, they don't want to get tested. they don't want to know.
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i think it's the stigma around hiv. and that's a problem notjust for them, but potentially for a world now battling a new covid pandemic. that's because people with untreated hiv have weakened immune systems. and if they catch covid too, then the new virus can linger inside them for months. your immune system would kick a virus out fairly quickly if fully functional. in somebody where immunity is suppressed, that virus may be able to continue for many months, replicating, you know, making more... and mutating? mutating as it goes. scientists hunting for new covid variants here in south africa have already detected two cases of extensive mutations occurring in people with untreated hiv. but that's also happened a dozen times in other parts of the world. we see many mutations,
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which raises a very plausible explanation that individuals that are immune suppressed for many different reasons, yeah, could be... could be basically a source of virus evolution. this is a delicate subject. many people living with hiv across africa already face stigma and scientists don't want to add to that. they point out that there are many other reasons why people's immune systems can be weakened, including malnutrition, cancer treatment, and diabetes. there's also concern here that while africa may be home to the world's biggest hiv epidemic, the continent should not be seen as a focal point for new covid variants. we've seen the five variants we've had right now. they come from four different continents. so this is... to scapegoat africa in a situation where variants have already risen in the other continents is simply outrageous.
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the answer, scientists say, is to speed up the rollout of covid vaccines in africa to prioritise all those with weak immune systems and to make sure people with hiv are given all the support they need. andrew harding, bbc news, johannesburg. the pentagon has issued new guidelines that are intended to root out extremism in the us military. in future, any member of the armed forces that "likes" on social media, content that has been posted by white nationalists or other extreme groups could face disciplinary action. the change in the rules comes almost a year after the riot at the capitol, which we now know dozens of current and former service members had taken part in. meghann myers is the pentagon bureau chief at the military times, and joins us now from washington. how is this going to change the rules that servicemembers subject to? rules that servicemembers sub'ect to? ., , ., «e ., ,
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rules that servicemembers sub'ect to? ., , .,«' . ., to? one of the big takeaways from the announcement _ to? one of the big takeaways from the announcement is _ to? one of the big takeaways from the announcement is that - to? one of the big takeaways from the announcement is that nothing | the announcement is that nothing you could not do sunday is no longer allowed or nothing you could do is no longer loud and basically this update means is my clarity and more details. especially as you mentioned with online activity which was not explicitly laid out in the previous versions of this policy. thea;r explicitly laid out in the previous versions of this policy. they stop short if creating _ versions of this policy. they stop short if creating a _ versions of this policy. they stop short if creating a list _ versions of this policy. they stop short if creating a list of - versions of this policy. they stop short if creating a list of grips . short if creating a list of grips that military members cannotjoin. and there are obvious scripts they would have concerns about. the proud boy is, the oath keepers, the ku klux klan, why didn't they name a certain groups that are banned? it’s certain groups that are banned? it's for the certain groups that are banned? it�*s for the same reason they could not ban certain groups before. membership has never been banned, and just make a passive membership or owning or having a membership card orfilling out an or owning or having a membership card or filling out an application and part of that is because they
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don't want to target any one group or anyone ideology and then have potentially lawmakers fight back and say what about this ideology, why are you charging these groups and theyjust are you charging these groups and they just decided are you charging these groups and theyjust decided we are not going to make a list of groups will make a list of behaviours and while you can be a member of the proud boys for instance you cannot organise the proud boys, you cannot evaluate the proud boys, you cannot evaluate the proud boys, you cannot evaluate the proud boys, you cannot fund raise with the proud boys, you cannot share proud boys information propaganda online and they basically try to make everything you redo in association with one of these groups out of regulation but actually being just a member, not out of regulation thatis just a member, not out of regulation that is first amendment freedom of speech purposes but also to highlight the fact that a lot of people become radicalised do so without any sort of affiliation with the group and they want to make sure some of these lone wolf actors also
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their activity falls into the head—to—head activity. their activity falls into the head-to-head activity. their activity falls into the head-to-head activi . �* , , head-to-head activity. there's been a documented _ head-to-head activity. there's been a documented rise _ head-to-head activity. there's been a documented rise in _ head-to-head activity. there's been a documented rise in extremism - a documented rise in extremism across the us that we have on this programme. did the pentagon come to any of you doing this year—long review whether there's been a proportional rising extremism within the armed forces? the proportional rising extremism within the armed forces?— the armed forces? the pentagon is sa in: that the armed forces? the pentagon is saying that of _ the armed forces? the pentagon is saying that of the _ the armed forces? the pentagon is saying that of the extremist - the armed forces? the pentagon is saying that of the extremist cases l saying that of the extremist cases that they gathered in their data collection over the past year there were about 109 cases they were able to find and they do say that represents at least a bit of an uptick over previous years and they would expect that as extremism particularly right—wing extremism has risen in the united states they would see something in the armed forces as well. but in an uptick nonetheless. more details have emerged
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of the hours leading up to the biggest single loss of life in the english channel. at least 31 people died last month, after their small boat capsized off the french coast. a bbc investigation has now identified 20 of those who were on board — all of whom were from iraqi kurdistan. heartbreaking messages from those on board, obtained by the bbc paint a picture of total desperation. bbc persian's soran qurbani reports. it was an overcrowded boat, at the mercy of the channel's freezing water. 29 lives were lost that night, and a bbc investigation has identified 20 of them, all from iraqi kurdistan. from the testimonies and messages to their friends and families, we can also piece together their tragic last few hours.
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this is the voice of this 30—year—old man, nearly five hours after the boat set off on its journey. within 30 minutes of his message, the boat had completely submerged. once in water, people desperately tried to call both the uk and french authorities for help. phones fall into the water before passengers can send the details. just hours later, all but two of at least 31 people are dead. through shipping data and emergency response details our investigation concludes that the boat was in french waters when it sank. in kurdistan, families still can't find closure. this man lost his entire family on that boat, his wife and three children, the youngest of which was only seven years old. the french authorities have
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recovered their bodies, but he is still clinging to a desperate hope they might return. translation: no, | i still don't believe it. they could be in a camp or a hospital. i don't believe anyone until i see it with my own eyes. if they bring their bodies, i will check all of them to know, but until then, i won't believe it. i went to calais to find out what drives people to make these deadly journeys. this is the makeshift camp where most of those who were on the boat lived. abbas and his group from iran say taking a boatjourney is playing with death. when i ask about what is his plan, he says if there is a dinghy here, he is going to try tojump on it and try his chance to cross to the uk.
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four months pregnant lana and her husband, from iraqi kurdistan, nearly died on a previous attempt to cross. she says she is doing this for her baby. translation: we will try again. 0ur life here in this cold isn't far better from being in the sea. if my baby was born, it would have been more difficult, but now i carry him or her with me. if i die, the baby dies with me too. it is hard to imagine the level of desperation that drives people to deadly sea journeys, but without much hope for a betterfuture, the loss of life isn't going to end. soran qurbani, bbc news, calais. let's look at some of the day's other news germany's new chancellor 0laf scholz has announced tighter coronavirus restrictions — to take effect after christmas. from 28th december, private gatherings of those who've been vaccinated — or who've recovered — will be limited to ten.
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unvaccinated people already face much stricter limits. also, sporting events, including football matches, will take place without fans. a man has pleaded not guilty to the murder of the british member of parliament, sir david amess. sir david died at his constituency surgery after being stabbed multiple times in october. ali harbi ali, who's 25, also denies preparing acts of terrorism. he's due to go on trial in march. at least seventeen people have died and sixty thousand people have been displaced in the worst floods malaysia has seen in decades. three days of torrential rain over the weekend caused severe flooding in eight states, partially submerging towns and villages. thousands of emergency service and military personnel have been mobilised to help those affected. stay with us on bbc news. still to come... the
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countdown the mayor of london, sadiq khan, says public services in the city are under severe pressure, because of staff shortages. today, the uk recorded its third highest number of covid cases, since the introduction of mass testing. in london last week, according to figures provided by the nhs providers, the number of staff absentees rose from 1,900, that was monday, to a,700, by thursday. here is sadiq khan speaking a short time ago about the situation in the capital. since the start of this month, we have seen an increase in the number of positive cases by more than 250% in relation to hospital admissions and increase of almost 70% since the start of december. the number of positive cases is only going in one direction, and the real concern we have which is the immediate concern is the impact it has on staff absences from the nhs, think hospitals, ambulances, gps, after consulting with colleagues in the nhs, the fire service, and the met police
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service, we realise that if it where to go on the same trajectory, the graph, we would have many public services collapsing. we remove all the silos and have a strategic, and control in the centre and speaking all the time about what each part of the london ecosystem is doing and how we help each other. last year, we had fire fighters helping the ambulance service drive ambulances. but you will be aware of the course of the next few weeks, we need to make sure becky's is collected. we need to make sure ambulances can continue to work. that's why it's important to keep an eye on staff absences, because what we don't want us any part of the system collapsing. we are on the cusp of certain parts of the furniture in london which looks after our city being on the cusp of collapse.
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in case you had missed it, the coronavirus pandemic is causing people to reassess their working lives. in america, where more than one in 30 employees quit theirjobs in september and october alone, economists are calling it the "great resignation". 0ur north america business correspondent, michelle fleury, has been to the state of kentucky, where workers are resigning at a particularly high rate. alex carter hit his breaking point last year. the former bank manager grew tired of dealing with bad behaviour from customers during the pandemic. the attitudes of the people who come in and don't want to follow the rules and want to yell at you about why they don't feel they need to. you can only take so much of that.
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just take a second to prepare. alex started looking for a job that wasn't customer facing. that's actually a good note. he got an offer from a local manufacturing company here in kentucky. what's in the pipeline there? this was absolutely the best career move for me and my family. and alex isn't alone. in october, more than four million americans quit theirjobs, part of a trend economists call the great resignation. you know, i couldn't be happier... and it's notjust millennials. ..with how things have worked out for me. i know it's going to work out the same for you. alex's dad is switching jobs too. i saw how happy alex was at stronghold and told him to keep his eyes open. it has been interesting for us. mike clark is an economist at gatton college of business and economics. according to him, the great resignation is also the great rotation as people take advantage of the tight labour market. it's not simply that. people are resigning. you know, when you look- at all the data, what we seem to be seeing is that people are turning over. - they're going to newjobs. and so it's more of. a turnover situation. josh hoff quit to start his own business.
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the former forklift driver recently launching bourbon city taxi service in bardstown, kentucky. i look forward to the day versus dreading going into work, because i don't consider what i do work. while many people leftjobs for more money or more flexibility, josh's reasons were more personal. we thought my daughter had cancer at one point. and i was at work, i couldn't leave and they were like, "oh, well, if you leave, you know, it's going to be a write up." and at that point, i was just like, you know what? i parked my forklift, got off. i said, "do what you got to do," left. and then my grandmother passed, and then my grandfather... sorry. i'm sorry, i didn't mean to... i didn't get to go to my grandpa's funeral. surrounded by death and illness during the pandemic, josh, like many, started to feel that life was passing him by. i mean, how do you feel today? today, i feel liberated. there's so much more
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to life than a big house or having that career. as in many cultures, in america, a job is more thanjust a wage. it is a source of self esteem and status. but the pandemic is altering this country's obsession with work, changing how some people think about life and work, and what they want out of both. michelle fleury, bbc news, kentucky. this friday — christmas eve — nasa will launch the james webb space telescope, the successor to the hubble telescope. the project has been delayed more than a decade, and it has gone billions of dollars over budget. but let's put that to one side, because this is more than just a telescope — it's the largest space observatory ever built, and it's being sent to an orbit beyond the moon. once it's there in position, as you can see in this computer simulation, it will unfold a giant mirror which should enable us to see the light from the very first stars
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in the universe. and we have a very special guest to discuss it. major general charles bolden who was the pilot on the space shuttle discovery that launched the hubble telescope and, more recently, a nasa administrator involved in this project. let me ask you, we will talk about forjames webb telescope and a second but when you threw that mission aboard discovery in 1990 and sets humble on itsjourney, could you ever have imagined what it would give us in the 30 years that followed?— give us in the 30 years that followed? ~ ., ., ., . give us in the 30 years that followed? ~ ., . ., . . followed? we did not have a clue. we knew that hubble _ followed? we did not have a clue. we knew that hubble would _ followed? we did not have a clue. we knew that hubble would be _ knew that hubble would be spectacular but we had no idea that 30 years later it would have made contributions to astronomy and astrophysics and our understanding of the universe that it has done.
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how is that james of the universe that it has done. how is thatjames webb of the universe that it has done. how is that james webb telescope different to hubble? for how is that james webb telescope different to hubble?— how is that james webb telescope different to hubble? for one thing, i went expectations _ different to hubble? for one thing, i went expectations are _ different to hubble? for one thing, i went expectations are high. - different to hubble? for one thing, i went expectations are high. i - i went expectations are high. i think hubble may have spoiled us. i hope not. but we expect that james webb will be about 100 times more powerful than the upper an the term 100 times more powerful, hubble allowed us to see pretty far back in time if you can imagine that with webb we believe we are going to be able to see energy that has emanated from about 13 and a half billion years ago. so we will be able to look almost back to the big bang. so the light that started in the big bang will get to jw st and we will begin to understand how our universe was formed. 50 begin to understand how our universe was formed-— was formed. so that is interesting. it almost looking _ was formed. so that is interesting. it almost looking back _ was formed. so that is interesting. it almost looking back in _ was formed. so that is interesting. it almost looking back in a - was formed. so that is interesting. it almost looking back in a period l it almost looking back in a period of time that went all these millions of time that went all these millions of years ago. which is onlyjust reaching us now.
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of years ago. which is only 'ust reaching us nomi of years ago. which is only 'ust reaching us now. that is correct. so, at a reaching us now. that is correct. so. at a parking _ reaching us now. that is correct. so, at a parking spot _ reaching us now. that is correct. so, at a parking spot around - reaching us now. that is correct. so, at a parking spot around 1 i so, at a parking spot around 1 million miles from earth. how do you choose where you put it? you pick a place that ideally you want to be. with hubble we wanted it to be high, we wanted it to be well above the atmosphere at the put it as high as we could. we would have left to put hubble in 1 we could. we would have left to put hubble in1 million miles away from earth where it would not be or in other words would not be blocked by earth as it goes around the sun. we located a place called the lagrange points and the lagrange point is a place where the gravities from bodies that can affect this particular spacecraft kind of know each other out so we are in a place called lt where the gravitational attraction from the sun, the moon, and earth, all balance each other out by cancel each other out so that it sits in this perfect place as it orbits the sun and has no gravity
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from any of those heavenly bodies impacting its motion for its ability to stay in its position.— to stay in its position. which is the most _ to stay in its position. which is the most critical _ to stay in its position. which is the most critical part - to stay in its position. which is the most critical part of- to stay in its position. which is the most critical part of the . the most critical part of the mission? is it the launch with all this expensive kit aboard. as to go up this expensive kit aboard. as to go up and you all head off for wine and take a holiday for six months or is that six month period rate on its journey is that the most critical period? journey is that the most critical eriod? ., ., ,, ., «e , period? for a mission like this there is no _ period? for a mission like this there is no most _ period? for a mission like this there is no most critical- period? for a mission like this. there is no most critical period, they all stepping stones that depend on the other. if we don't launch successfully there is no mission. if we launch successfully as we did with hubble we went to a lot of difficulty in getting it deployed in getting everything put in the appropriate position only to find a week or so later that there was a problem with the mirror so every single step is critical and i think i read somewhere that there are 3aa
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single point failures that could keep webb from the imperfectly deployed and that makes every single one of those 3aa steps critically important. mr; one of those 3aa steps critically im ortant. , , one of those 344 steps critically important-— important. my little boy will be lookin: to important. my little boy will be looking to the _ important. my little boy will be looking to the sky _ important. my little boy will be looking to the sky on _ important. my little boy will be| looking to the sky on christmas important. my little boy will be - looking to the sky on christmas eve but i that three or telescope. why is the 2ath of december the optimal time to launch the james webb telescope?— time to launch the james webb telescoe? . , ., . telescope? that is not optimal time forjames webb. _ telescope? that is not optimal time forjames webb. a _ telescope? that is not optimal time forjames webb. a good _ telescope? that is not optimal time forjames webb. a good thing - telescope? that is not optimal time | forjames webb. a good thing about james webb if it's not like a planetary mission where you need to launch right at the time the planets, whatever plan if you want to go to is aligned with earth see you don't have to much time to get there. it'sjust you don't have to much time to get there. it's just whether problems with telescope in fact we slip from the 22nd two the 2ath because he had to change an electrical component on the telescope so time is not as critical. the day of lunch is not as
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critical. the day of lunch is not as critical with james webb as a planetary mission.— critical with james webb as a planetary mission. when you come back and talk— planetary mission. when you come back and talk to _ planetary mission. when you come back and talk to us _ planetary mission. when you come back and talk to us about _ planetary mission. when you come back and talk to us about it - planetary mission. when you come back and talk to us about it when l back and talk to us about it when it's up there? i back and talk to us about it when it's up there?— back and talk to us about it when it's up there? i would love to and i ho -e it's up there? i would love to and i hope that means _ it's up there? i would love to and i hope that means i'm coming - hope that means i'm coming back because if i come back that means it's doing it's thing and we have something. it's doing it's thing and we have something-— the newest member of the biden family has made his first public appearance. this is commander, a four—month old german shepherd whose arrival at the white house was announced via this video — which comes with a jauntyjingle. i think every dog should have a jauntyjingle. commander is a gift from the president's brother, james, after their previous dog champ died injune. the puppy willjoin the family from january — and there will also be a cat. i hope it's not called larry.
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hello. it's our first weather for the week ahead which takes us all the way through to the end of the year and certainly a lot to pack in, because, as we run up to christmas, it is going to be a battle between these two, cold air on the eastern side of us, milder atlantic air trying to push in from the west. the milder air wins for a time as we go through the next few days. you can see the amber colours there, but watch how the blue, the cold air, fights its way back as we head towards christmas day. more of that in a second. but first, we need to get rid of the cold air. it's there on wednesday, widespread frost, but a bright start for many. different story in northern ireland, atlantic air taking over, cloud, outbreaks of rain on and off, that's sliding into parts of central, southern scotland, wales, western england as we go through the day. much of central, eastern england, the north of scotland should stay dry and bright,
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but after that frosty start, as the cloud builds, it's going to stay on the cold side, whereas in the west, 8 to 10 degrees is possible. then, as we go through wednesday night and into thursday, that first weather front just grinds to a halt across scotland. it gets pulled apart. going to produce a bit of sleet and snow over the higher ground but, overall, nowhere near as cold as the nights recently have been. temperatures, for just about all, will stay above freezing, double—figure temperatures out there towards the west. so here we go into thursday. that first weather front, as i said, grinding to a halt across the north of scotland. another one pushing its way in, continuing to bring another bout of mild air further northwards. this one fairly erratic, but it will bring rain at times to the west, maybe a little bit more across southern counties, compared with what we saw on wednesday. a bit wetter too across parts of scotland, followed on by some brighter weather down towards the south—west late in the day, 13, 1a degrees possible. 5 or 6 in the north of scotland.
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the start of that fightback begins, cos as that weather front, the next one, gets pulled apart as we go through into christmas eve, a little ridge of high pressure builds in. we could see some dense fog, so if you are on the move on christmas eve, that could be the big issue to trouble you, but, through the day, it will clear across ireland, wales, central, southern england as outbreaks of rain start to push its way in. temperatures dropping a bit more across the north as that cold air starts its fightback and it will try a bit more as we go through into christmas day. complicates things in who will see snow, who won't? by and large, most will not see a white christmas. many across england and wales will be in the wild air. the cold air, though, does look like it'll push a bit further south compared with what we were thinking this time 2a hours ago. so parts of northern ireland, northern england, particularly on the hills, could see some sleet and snow for a time through christmas day and, bear in mind, if that cold air is a bit strong and fights back more, we could push that boundary line a little bit further south. but, at the moment, it looks like rain towards the south, brighter conditions, maybe a little bit of wintriness. and then through christmas day into boxing day, that dividing line is going to be crucial because it's
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going to be sitting there, we think, across a central swathe of the country to begin with, a mixture of rain, sleet and snow, but as the air gets colder, a greater chance of some sleet and snow, especially on the hills. but we could be pushing that line southwards a little bit quicker, we may have even cleared into the colder air by the time we get to boxing day, so bear that in mind at least, but wherever you are, it is going to start to feel colder, especially as an easterly breeze picks up. and we could get colder still as we see out the week after christmas. low pressure which we thought could up a bit further north and give us some stormy weather, it looks like it will push to the south and in pushing to the south, it makes the colder air more likely for a while but after christmas, the fightback by the mild air will gradually begin as we go towards the year's end. so, as we see out the year, after that chilly start to the week
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tonight at ten — there will be no extra covid restrictions for england in the days before christmas. at the same time, the government warns that nothing can be ruled out for the period after christmas. in scotland, the traditional hogmanay party for new years' eve is cancelled among extra measures. none of these are being proposed lightly, but we do consider them necessary to help stem the increasing cases, safeguard health and protect the nhs, the emergency services and the economy. meanwhile, the hard—hit hospitality sector across the uk, including pubs and restaurants, can apply for new grants. we've responded, ithink, generously today. the grants that we've outlined, up to £6,000, are comparable to the grants that we provided for hospitality businesses when they were completely closed earlier this year.
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we'll have the latest on the decisions being made

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