welcome to bbc news. i'm simon pusey. our top stories: a former minnesota police officer is found guilty of manslaughter for killing daunte wright during a traffic stop. the moment that we heard "guilty" on manslaughter one — emotions, every single emotion that you could imaginejust running through your body at that moment. researchers in britain say people catching omicron are up to 70% less likely to need hospital care compared with previous coronavirus variants. the former south korean president, park geun—hye, who was jailed on corruption charges, is to be pardoned by the government. in russia, president putin insists that nato should not expand further to the east. and the us law requiring companies to prove
they're not using uyghur muslim forced labour. but does it go far enough? we speak to a leading uyghur activist. welcome to our viewers in the uk and around the globe. a jury in the us state of minnesota has found a white former police officer guilty of manslaughter for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man. the prosecution argued that kimberley potter had shown culpable negligence when she killed daunte wright during a routine traffic check in april. the jury was shown bodycam footage, stopping short of the moment when the victim died. taser, taser, taser! kimberley potter told the court she thought she'd drawn her taser rather than her handgun
when she shot mr wright in the chest. the incident led to several nights of intense protests at a very sensitive time in the united states, and not far from the court where white police officer, derek chauvin, was standing trialfor the murder of a black man, george floyd. let's have a listen to kimberley potter's tearful evidence in court. i remember yelling, "taser, taser, taser!" and nothing happened. and then he told me i shot him. outside the court, daunte wright's mother, katie wright, gave her reaction to the verdict. the moment that we heard "guilty" on manslaughter one — emotions, every single emotion that you could imaginejust running through your body at that moment. i kind of let out a yelp, because it was built up in the anticipation of what was to come while we were waiting
for the last few days. and now we've been able to process it, we want to thank the entire prosecution team, we want to thank communities, support, everybody who's been out there who has supported us in this long fight for accountability. well, earlier, we spoke to reverendjim bearjacobs who's close to daunte wright's family and also director for racialjustice for the minnesota council of churches. my immediate reaction was one of relief. as the jury deliberations went on, i must admit i began getting a little more sceptical about whether we would see guilty verdicts in this case. and you're calling of course for police to change the way they operate, to issue citations and summons rather than force in the wake of what happened? yes, absolutely. you know, there's — there's different ways of doing policing.
there's different ways of engaging community and i think we need a whole scale — a wide scale re—examination of the training and procedures that officers go through. and obviously with all the media surrounding daunte wright and also a number of other cases in america over the last few months, do you think there is the mood in america for change to happen within the police force? i get more and more hopeful with it. here in minneapolis, we saw the guilty verdict return on officer derek chauvin for the killing of george floyd, and now, today, with this guilty verdict bringing accountability to our police officers and our police forces, i think there is hope that something needs to be done and something can be done. within the community
in minnesota, surrounding daunte wright, his family, what's it been like over the last few days? it must have been obviously pretty traumatic leading up to the trial? yeah, it absolutely was. i was — i was there with the family on the evening that daunte was killed and it was very heartbreaking. with this trial coming so close to the christmas holiday, there is a lot of — a lot of hope that this would be drawn to a conclusion with these guilty verdicts before the christmas holiday. and obviously, this — this is notjustice, it's not the desired — obviously, the desired outcome would be that daunte would be spending this holiday with his family, but i think the family and i think, really, kind of all of minnesota is kind of breathing a sigh
of relief that this is over and we have demonstrated that police officers, you know, there is accountability for your actions. and that, you know, you make a mistake, but mistakes — it does not mean you — they don't have consequences. a study from the british government offers hope that the omicron variant of coronavirus is less likely to cause severe disease than delta, the previously dominant strain. earlier studies from the uk and south africa also suggest that omicron is causing a more mild version of the disease, although the sheer number of cases could still overwhelm health systems. our medical editor fergus walsh reports. between 30 and a0. a powerful illustration of the dangers facing the unvaccinated and
the pressure on nhs staff, filmed in the intensive care unit of royal liverpool hospital where four out of five covid patients are notjabbed. the intensive care society said at least two thirds of covid patients were unvaccinated in 12 out of 16 critical care units it contacted in england. it's not for us to judge people who haven't been vaccinated, it's for us to look after them as well as we can, but it's very sad when people come into hospital who haven't been vaccinated. they're very unwell and they ask to have the vaccine then, which of course they can't, because you have to get better from covid before you can be vaccinated. evidence that omicron causes milder disease has been reinforced by preliminary analysis from the uk health security agency.
it suggests that someone infected with omicron is 30 to 45% less likely to attend a&e compared to a delta patient, and between 50 and 70% less likely to be admitted to hospital. but the extra protection that the boosterjab gives against infection does wane more rapidly against omicron than delta, being about 15 to 25% lower ten weeks after the boosterjab. it shows that people with omicron have a reduced risk of hospitalisation compared to delta. now, it's very early days, only a small number of individuals, about 100 were admitted to hospital with omicron in this period, but nonetheless, it is the first signs of cautious optimism we can have for a while. as daily cases hit another new record, uk researchers estimate that half of people with cold—like symptoms actually have coronavirus. fergus walsh, bbc news.
ecuador is to make the covid—i9 vaccine mandatory for most people over the age of five. those with a medical justification will be exempt. the government says it's necessary because of a rise in infections and the spread of variants such as omicron. the country suffered a crippling first wave of the virus in 2020 with dead bodies left on the streets as hospitals and mortuaries were overwhelmed. the former south korean president, park geun—hye, who was jailed for 22 years on corruption charges, is to be granted a pardon by the government. miss park was impeached and removed from office in march 2017 after widespread protests in south korea. as laura bicker explains, the current president, moonjae—in, had previously ruled out a pardon. earlier this year he ruled out a pardon saying it was premature. remember, this is a liberal president who would be pardoning a conservative, a far—right conservative president. in fact, conservatives in this country
see her as their princess. she was jailed back in march 2017 after being impeached and removed from office and she was sentenced to 22 years. the entire scandal ignited protests right across south korea. it's hard to put into words the kind of ire, the anger on the streets as the links between big business, wealthy family—owned conglomerates and the presidential palace were revealed. and when it came to her sentencing, certainly, many people felt that it was the right thing to do in the circumstances, and it showed thatjustice could be served. she was the first president to be impeached in this way and president moonjae—in, the current president, ran to office on the — kind of ticket of saying he would rule out corruption.
so that is why it has come as such a surprise. i would like to just give you a statement from the blue house, from the presidential palace, and from president moon that has just been released. he says he hopes "it is time for south korea to step forward "from the painful past to a new era, we need "to gather our strengths to courageously face the future "together, rather than be being buried in the past." there is a note saying that, "in the case of former president park, they have considered her heavy health "decline caused by almost five years in prison." she is said to be in rather ill health. obviously, health playing a big part. we have talked about the process and the controversy about this over the years, i know this has happened pretty recently, it is breaking news, but what is the reaction likely to be like amongst the public? i think i've already seen a number of liberals who are extremely upset at this announcement. they're saying that perhaps it's being done by humanitarian grounds, but they do not understand the decision. conservatives have obviously welcomed the news. in fact, there are a number of protests being organised as we speak, saying that not
only should she be released immediately, notjust on new year's day, when the pardon will be granted, but also that she should be reinstated as president. it must be said that far—right conservatives have always held a vigil in the centre of seoul, where they have been calling for her release for many years. so they have welcomed this news. but i think we will see over the next few hours the ramifications of this decision. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: with christmas just around the corner, we take a look at the man preparing for his busiest night of the year. the world of music's been paying tribute to george michael, who's died from suspected heart failure at the age of 53. he sold well over 100 million albums in a career spanning more than three decades. the united states' troops have been trying to overthrow the dictatorship of general manuel noriega.
the pentagon said it's failed in its principle objective to capture noriega and take him to the united states to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle| was hastily taken away. m its place. — the russian flag was hoisted over what is now— no longer the soviet union, but the commonwealth of independent states. | day broke slowly over lockerbie, over the cockpit of pan am's maid of the seas, nosedown in the soft earth. you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys high, a football pitch wide falls from 30,000 feet. christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkoder, where there were anti—communist riots ten days ago. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: kimberley potter, a former minnesota police officer, has been found guilty of manslaughter for killing daunte wright during a traffic check. researchers in britain say people catching omicron are up to 70% less likely to need
hospital care compared with previous coronavirus variants. president biden has signed into a bill that requires all companies to prove that goods imported from china's xinjiang region were not produced with forced labour. washington says genocide is being committed against the uyghur muslim minority there — an assertion china denies. us firms doing business in xinjiang, including coca—cola, nike and apple, have criticised the legislation. dr erkin sidick is a uyghur american and he is president of the uyghur projects foundation. hejoins me now from los angeles. thank you forjoining us. the vote passed unanimously and thatis vote passed unanimously and that is quite unusual in america so what affect you think you will have? we are very happy about this bill. it means that part of the work being ——by retrieving employed as forced labour workers in
china's factories in uzbekistan will be released so we're very happy about that. so will be released so we're very happy about that.— will be released so we're very happy about that. so you think it will an immediate _ happy about that. so you think it will an immediate impact - happy about that. so you think it will an immediate impact for thousands of people currently in forced labour in xinjiang? actually it is more than that. my actually it is more than that. my information tells us more than 3 million uyghurs are currently working as forced labour workers in uzbekistan. the uyghur project foundation is made a list on the companies that use uyghurs as forced quakers workers in uzbekistan and the list contains 111,000 factories of detailed information in chinese and english and available on our website. it means if each company employs 100 uyghurs as slave labourers, 1.4 million agree are currently working in china's factories and the actual number is more than this and the people working there
have no life. theirfather, mother and children are all separated from each other and the mothers can only go home once a week to see their kids so this is a horrible situation and this bill, if it happens some uyghurs people can be free some uyghurs people can be free so it's a big victory for us. obviously very positive news. do you think this legislation goes far enough, and what more can be done? hat goes far enough, and what more can be done?— can be done? not yet. the reason is _ can be done? not yet. the reason is according - can be done? not yet. the reason is according to - can be done? not yet. the reason is according to the | reason is according to the information i've got, 2.1 million uyghurs were transferred from uzbekistan to other parts of china since 2014 and other parts of them working as a forced labour workers in other parts of china just about 12 hours ago a media company put out a video saying some of the uyghurs in houdet province,
in the jails who makes products for america and other western countries such as les mis jeans —— hubei. so we have in the large number of uyghurs working in other parts of china so the international community should come off their also.— come off their also. china knew this was happening _ come off their also. china knew this was happening because - come off their also. china knew| this was happening because the news had been around for a couple of weeks now, so how will they react?— couple of weeks now, so how will they react? john of course will they react? john of course will not be _ will they react? john of course will not be happy. _ will they react? john of course will not be happy. they - will they react? john of course will not be happy. they are . will not be happy. they are hiding information —— china of course. they are arresting all the people who can send this information about the crimes that china's government is committing. i got some information yesterday saying that the chinese government arrested all of the uyghurs students, part of the preparation that china's government is doing because some foreigners at the olympics may meet, students, and they will tell the truth, so that
the government is afraid of that and they have started arresting the uyghur students so they will take all the measures about this. dr erkin sidick, thank you. thank you for having me. russia's president has again insisted that the west must give russia guarantees that nato won't expand eastwards and admit ukraine as a member. vladimir putin rejected accusations that russia is preparing to invade ukraine after amassing thousands of troops on the border between the two countries. our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg reports. musical sting. it's the most wonderful time of the year if you happen to like long news conferences. vladimir putin's end—of—year press briefing is always a marathon affair. forfour hours, the kremlin leaderfielded questions and he used the event to vent his resentment at how nato enlarged after the fall of the soviet union.
translation: "we won't move one inch towards the east," _ they told us in the 1990s, and what happened? they deceived us. they brazenly tricked us. there were five waves of nato expansion, and now missile systems are appearing in romania and poland. is this russia's response? a build—up of russian troops near ukraine's border. the kremlin denies it plans to invade, but this is pressure — and on the west, too — as moscow demands an end to nato enlargement and nato military activity in eastern europe, what it calls �*security guarantees'. you must give us guarantees. you must do it immediately, now. we won't be palmed off with decades of idle chatter about the need of security for all while the other side carries out its own plans. vladimir putin spoke for a long time but gave little away
about his intentions regarding ukraine, about whether, as the west fears, he's planning a large—scale military operation there. but what we do know now is that next month, us and russian officials will sit down to discuss the security guarantees that moscow is demanding, so there's still hope for a diplomatic resolution. vladimir putin has done 17 of these press conferences now as president. you need plenty of stamina to do this and to listen to it, and since all main tv channels in russia show it live, it's wall—to—wall putin — a reminder, as if russians didn't know it, who's in charge here. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. let's get some of the day's other news now. the belgian government has decided to close the country's two nuclear power plants and their seven reactors by 2025. the decision could leave
belgium with an electricity shortfall if alternative generating capacity is not brought on stream. ministers have, however, pledged funds for research into other forms of nuclear power. the renowned author and journalistjoan didion, whose essays, novels, and screenplays chronicled american society, has died. she was 87. among her best known works was the essay collection slouching toward bethlehem, and the award—winning the year of magical thinking which was inspired by the death of her husband. some breaking news to bring you. a spokesman says japan has no plans to send government officials to february's beijing olympics. it comes after the us and other countries announced diplomatic boycotts over concerns over human rights. but the tokyo 2020 organising committee president seiko hashimoto and the head of the japanese olympic committee head yasuhiro yamashita will attend the winter olympics in the chinese capital, top government spokesman hirokazu matsuno said.
we will bring you more news on this story as we get it. world athletics has approved new regulations which will see the soles of all competitors' shoes limited to a stack height of 20mm. the change will come into play in november 2024. shoe technology has been in the spotlight since records started to tumble, with questions raised over the balance between innovation and unfair advantage. marley dickinson is writer for canadian running magazine and a brooks running athlete. i asked him what the reaction would be from athletes and coaches. i think they'll be happy with it. i mean, itjust levels the playing field for all athletes and ultimately, you know, it really engages the brands to make a product that's just as good, that fits under the rules and regulations. and for those of us not elite—level athletes — i'm in that category — why is stack height so important?
so stack height is the amount of shoe measured from your foot to the ground. the shoes that produces the records, with the nike vaporfly, it has a 30mm stack height. it has a carbon plate in the middle of a bunch of film. so as you strike, the foam will combine with the plate and give you more flight and propulsion. so over time and distance, it will give you a 2.5% increase in performance. the losses because has issued a new christmas card showing their daughter lilibet. it is their daughter lilibet. it is the first time lilibet, born in june, has been seen in a publicly released image. the photograph was taken at their home in california. it's very nearly here — the big day itself. all around the world, people are making final preparations for christmas. last—minute presents are still being bought, food and drink is already being consumed but for one man
in particular, the next day or two are going to be quite a challenge, as the bbc�*s tim allman explains. be it delta or omicron, nothing stands in the way of a man on a mission. # on the road again. # just can't wait to get on the road again. from his home in lapland, father christmas sets off for what will be a very, very long journey. let's give time to children and young people. and do something together. let's make this christmas happy and unforgettable for everyone. christmas is about hearts full of hope. of course, he did have time to carry out a few errands before he left. this was santa — really, honestly — going for a dip in an aquarium in paris. like you do. apparently it's an annual tradition around here. it certainly impressed
the local children. both speak french. "it was nice," said sisters lena and kenza. "he played his part well, he swam well. "we thought it was good." once he dried out, he headed to italy to descend down the outside of a chimney at this hospital in rome, then he handed out presents to the young patients inside. a quick pop across the atlantic and father christmas was giving out food parcels rather than toys. they were queuing up at this favela in rio dejaneiro, grateful for any help they can get. translation: i'm very happy because today, l all the people here in the community are satisfied that our christmas will be a happy one. ho, ho, ho, ho! and since he was in the area, he paid a quick trip to the amazon to hand out a few pressies there as well. so, how does he get to so many places in such a short space of time, you wonder? it must be the magic
of christmas — probably. tim allman, bbc news. that's just about it from me. stay tuned right here to bbc news. hello there. snow has been falling across the hills of scotland through the night. that will continue, although it is tending to peter out. we could have several centimetres lying towards morning. and also, fog is going to be an issue for those travellers on friday morning — quite thick patches in places — reducing the visibility, and that's because we've had a lot of mild and moist air move northwards during the day on thursday. still with us friday, but so too that cold air and where those weather fronts bump into the cold air, as i say, across scotland at the moment is where we are likely to see the snow, but that boundary may come further southwards into christmas day. so, several centimetres over the hills, relatively low levels — that's 100m or so. some fog, though, into the clearer skies further south
where it's at least milder, but it's the light winds that we've got an issue with here. so, going through the day on friday, we've got that mild air with us, the fog issue slow to clear, and then our rain starts to sweep into the south—west across wales later. some drier weather — just drizzly rain for northern ireland. our weather front petering out across scotland and northern england. the best of the sunshine will be in the far north here after a frosty start with some fog patches here too. but it's here where we keep that cold air through the day, whilst for most, because we've still got that legacy of atlantic air, it is a little bit milder — 9s, 10s, 11 degrees. but that cold air looks like it may well be on the move, so as we head through friday night, christmas eve into christmas day, that may well push a little bit further southwards. our weather fronts still with us coming into that cold air. so the likes of the pennines, possibly the hills of north wales just might see a smattering of sleet or snow but it looks like some good spells of sunshine across the north and perhaps northern england, and then further south on christmas day, we've got some more wetter — some more rain to come in.
so, again, we will have the contrast, still that mild air across western areas but perhaps a crisp start in northern and eastern parts. a little bit of wintriness, as i say, over the hills. so we are not going to beat the records. these are the records of christmas day across the four nations. they are not going to be that high, the temperatures, as i say — more likely 4—5s in the north, 11—12 in the south — but the next few days, we are most likely to see, if we see snow, it will be over the high ground of the northern part of the country — from north wales northwards. at lower levels, most likely we'll see some rain. so for boxing day, still that cold air around with us and you can see we've got some unsettled weather as well. you can keep up to date online.
this is bbc news. the latest headlines: a former police officer who killed a black man in a routine traffic stop has been found guilty of manslaughter at her trial in minneapolis. kimberley potter mistook her handgun for a taser when she shot daunte wright. a uk government study has shown that people who catch the omicron strain of covid are far less likely to end up in hospital. but there is concern the boosterjab protection begins to wane after 10 weeks. ecuador has made it compulsory for everyone aged five or over to get the coronavirus vaccine in response to the increase in covid infections. only those with a medical justification will be exempt. the former south korean president park geun—hye is to be granted a pardon by the government. ms park was impeached and removed from office in 2017 and jailed for 22 years on corruption charges. now on bbc news,