this is bbc news broadcasting in the uk and around the globe. i'm martine croxall. our top stories... going further and deeper into space than ever before — a revolutionary telescope is due to blast off in the next hour hour. this is the scene live... we'll get the latest from someone at mission control and someone at the launch site. volunteers staff vaccine centres in england as the race to fight the surging omricon variant doesn't stop for the holiday. the queen is expected to give a very personal christmas message this year — her first since the death of her husband prince philip.
hello, and welcome to bbc news. let's take you live to the vatican because pope francis is delivering is traditional christmas day urbi et orbi speech to the world from st peter's square. he will be addressing the city and the world and of course, you can see there everyone gathering in the square listening to this triumph music. the faithful gathered to hear the leader of the roman catholic church. in this all—important address. let's listen.
heart of every man and woman who was open to this mystery. the word became flesh in order to dialogue with us. god does not desire to carry on a monologue rather odd dialogue. god himself father, son and holy spirit is dialogue and internal infinite communion of love. by internal infinite communion of love. by coming into the world, the person of the world made flesh, jesus, god shows us the way of encountering dialogue and he made that way incarnate in himself so that we might know it and follow it and trust in trust and hope. sisters and brothers, what would our world be like without the patient dialogue of the many generous persons who keep families and communities together? in this time a pandemic, we have come to realise this even more. our
capacity for social relationships is sorely tried. there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and to do things together. on the international level there is the risk of avoiding dialogue. the risk that this complex crisis will lead to taking short cuts rather than setting out on the longer path of dialogue. yet, only those paths can lead to the resolution of conflicts and to lasting benefits for all. indeed, even as the message of the birth of the saviour, the true source of peace resounds in our hearts and in the whole world, we continue to witness a great number of conflicts, crises and disagreements. these never seem to
end. by now we hardly even notice them. we have become so used to them that immense tragedies are now being passed over in silence. we risk not hearing the cry of pain and distress of so many of our brothers and sisters. let's think of the people of syria for more than a decade have experience a war that has resulted in many victims and in untold number of displaced people. let's look to iraq which struggles to recover from a lengthy conflict. let's listen to the cry of children from yemen. there is an enormous tragedy overlooked by everyone has silently gone on for years causing deaths every day. led us recall as well the continuing tensions between israelis
and palestinians that drag on without a resolution with even more serious social and political consequences. nor should we forget bethlehem, the place wherejesus first saw the light which is experiencing hardship also from the economic repercussions of the pandemic, preventing pilgrims from visiting the holy land and adversely affecting the life of the people. let's think of lebanon. it is undergoing an unprecedented crisis accompanied by very troubling economic and social crises. and yet in the heart... look, there is a sign of hope. today is the love that moves the sun and the other stars as god became flesh. he came in human form. he shared in our plight and he broke down the wall of our indifference. in the cold of the
night, he stretches out his tiny arms towards us. he is a need of everything yet he comes to give us everything. let us ask him for the strength to be open to dialogue on this festive day, let us implore him to stir up in the hearts of everyone a yearning for reconciliation and fraternity. let us now turn to him in prayer. babyjesus, grant peace and harmony to the middle east and the whole world. sustain all of those who provide humanitarian aid to peoples forced to flee from their homes. comfort the afghan people who for more than a0 years have been sorely tested by conflicts that have driven many to leave the country. king of all peoples, help political authorities bring peace to societies
roiled by tension and conflict. sustain the people of myanmar where intolerance and violence not infrequently target the christian community and its... ps source of light and support for all those who believe in despite all obstacles. in ukraine prevent fresh outbreaks of a long festering conflict. prince of peace help ethiopia to find once again the path of reconciliation and peace. through a fortnight and countered that places the needs of the people above all else. listen to the people above all else. listen to the plea of those of those who
experience the violence of international terrorism. turn your gaze to the peoples of the countries of north africa tormented by divisions and unemployment. as well as economic inequality. alleviate the pain of our many brothers and sisters who suffer from internal conflicts in sudan and south sudan. pope francis with his urbi et orbi address on christmas day in front of the faithful in st peter's square in vatican city. very much focusing on the need for dialogue, he believes, for us to avoid the tendency to withdraw as is the instinct during the pandemic. and then that litany
of conflicts and poverty that we see still around the world. he mention ethiopia, syria, afghanistan in particular. more on that in a little while. a revolutionary telescope which is aiming to detect some of the earliest stars and galaxies in the universe is due to head off into space the coming hours. nasa's james webb space instrument, which has cost ten billion dollars, will be released from a rocket 26 minutes after blast—off. this is the scene live. this is the site of the launch pad. hours science reporter reports on the project that blasts off in the next hour. stunning images revealing the beauty of our universe, but we've only seen a tiny fraction of it. now, a new astronomy mission is set to revolutionise our view.
this is the james webb space telescope. it's a successor to hubble, but 100 times more powerful. after three decades in the making and a cost of $10 billion, it is finally ready to launch. we've never attempted anything like that in space before. we are going to be entering a whole new regime of astrophysics! a new frontier! and that is what gets so many of us excited about james webb space telescope. this space telescope is a feat of engineering. at its heart is a 6.5m—wide mirror, made up of 18 hexagonal segments, each coated in a layer of gold. its size means it can detect the incredibly faint light coming from the most distant stars. it also has a huge sunshield — about the size of a tennis court. it's made up of five layers, each as thin as a human hair. and this protects the telescope from the heat and light of the sun. sitting a million miles
away from the earth, the telescope will give us our deepest ever view of the cosmos, from seeing the birth of the very first stars and galaxies to revealing new planets in far—flung solar systems. what excites me is making discoveries, things we haven't thought about, and there's a whole history of astronomy that shows how, when we've looked at the new universe in a new way, we discover things we hadn't thought about, and there's something really exciting about doing that. so the light from the telescope - comes in down at the bottom here — you can see a red cover covering the entrance aperture... - on board, the instruments that will be key to these discoveries was built in the uk. it is called miri, and this is an engineering replica. webb will be able to do some - wonderful discovery science that has simply not been possible before. we'll be able to see - the first light galaxies — l the first objects and stars that i were glowing after the big bang — and to do that sort -
of science, we need miri. we need the data that only this i instrument will be able to provide. to get into space, the telescope is so big, it's been folded up to fit inside the rocket. the most challenging part is getting it to unfurl. it has been practised here on earth, and that is hard enough — there are 300 points where it could go wrong. but if anything fails in space, the telescope is too far away to be fixed. this is the biggest and most ambitious space telescope ever built. now, its mission is almost ready to begin. the hours ahead will be an anxious wait for scientists. rebecca morelle, bbc news. joining me from baltimore — where mission control is — astronomer, professor garth illingworth. he has been involved in the webb project at various stages. he describes the new telescope as, "hubble on steroids". professor, welcome. thatjust tells
us about your enthusiasm for this project. why does it mean so much to you? project. why does it mean so much to ou? �* . ., , project. why does it mean so much to ou? �* .. , ., , project. why does it mean so much to ou? �* , ., , ., 4' you? because we have been working over 30 years _ you? because we have been working over 30 years on _ you? because we have been working over 30 years on this. _ you? because we have been working over 30 years on this. and _ you? because we have been working over 30 years on this. and now - you? because we have been working over 30 years on this. and now we i over 30 years on this. and now we are at the moment we are going to launch this and have it deploy out and start in six months revealing the universe and all its glory. the hubble telescope has been amazing, but as was mentioned, this is really hubble on steroids. we will be able to do things we would have never imagined possible with hubble. what imagined possible with hubble. what are those things, _ imagined possible with hubble. what are those things, tell us in lay terms if you can because a lot of us are only enthusiastic amateurs. i think that when we first conceived of this, we were thinking of this as a telescope that would explore the earliest times in the universe. we have been planning and expect to look back at essentially through all time. probably 99% of all time to win the first stars and galaxies
started to form. this is something we have never been able to do before and something that really webb could do. not only that it expands everything just like hubble. we will be looking at the nurseries where stars and planets were formed in our own galaxy. being able to peer through the dust which is very hard for the hubble telescope to see. and as we come closer and expect to be discovering planets and worlds near to us trying to understand their characteristics and potential for having life. it is a telescope that does everything. you having life. it is a telescope that does everything.— does everything. you are still lookin: does everything. you are still looking at _ does everything. you are still looking at material— does everything. you are still looking at material that - does everything. you are still looking at material that will l does everything. you are still i looking at material that will only take, only i say only, a00 million years after the big bang. how frustrating that you can get even closer at the moment? i frustrating that you can get even closer at the moment?— frustrating that you can get even closer at the moment? i mean hubble has ushed closer at the moment? i mean hubble has pushed back _ closer at the moment? i mean hubble has pushed back to _ closer at the moment? i mean hubble has pushed back to 400 _
closer at the moment? i mean hubble has pushed back to 400 million - closer at the moment? i mean hubble has pushed back to 400 million years| has pushed back to a00 million years after the big bang. so this telescope will fill in that gap before hubble and revealed to us how the very earliest stars and galaxies formed and grew. and then we will map that over time so that we will essentially see the history of the universe as it builds up in galaxies until we actually get to our own galaxy. seeing galaxies over that full span of time when they were tiny toddlers as it were, to the magnificent big galaxies. xyour magnificent big galaxies. your voice, magnificent big galaxies. your voice. your— magnificent big galaxies. your voice, your words, _ magnificent big galaxies. your voice, your words, your - magnificent big galaxies. your voice, your words, your face l magnificent big galaxies. your voice, your words, your face are a picture of expectation and joy. you are going to stay with us and we will hear from you a little later when the launch happens. at the moment, thank you very much for talking to us. moment, thank you very much for talking to ve— moment, thank you very much for talking to na— moment, thank you very much for talking to us. families and communities have been marking christmas day across the globe despite varying levels of coronavirus—related restrictions. in england, thousands
of people are expected to get boosterjabs today. the number of coronavirus cases hit a record high across the uk yesterday with more than 122,000 new infections reported. uk health secretary sajid javid has urged people to make the booster part of their christmas this year. meanwhile, the number of people getting their firstjab of the covid—19 vaccine rose by around a6% in the week up to december 21. the nhs says about 60% of adults have now received a boosterjab in the uk, with a record number of vaccinations taking place in the last seven days. the largest increase was seen among young people, with an 85% increase in first doses for those aged 18 and 2a and a 71% increase in first doses for those aged 25 to 30. our reporter emily unia visited a pharmacy in north london where some patients were waiting to be vaccinated. it is a steady trickle. they have got about 80 pre—booked
appointments here here at this pharmacy in north london. they have actually got capacity for about a00 people to just walk in off the street. so they are hoping to get, i think i'm a little bit more business today. now with me today is one of the pharmacists. what has been like over the past few days? you've been offering the booster for a couple of weeks now. has it been busy? it has been very busy, yes. i think since these last couple of weeks, there are definitely more people taking the vaccination. and why was it important to you to open on christmas day and boxing day? i think it is just to maximise our outreach to people. not everybody has opportunities to get vaccinated during the week. maybe because of work. or other commitments. so at least this provides an opportunity to get vaccinated. and what has it been like? are you finding that people are turning up for the appointments that they book? are you getting more people come as walk—ins? i think predominantly there are booked appointments and there are a few that do come in on a walk—in basis. when people come and they are
perhaps a little bit nervous, they might be hesitant about getting the vaccine, worried about what side effects might be like, what do you say to them? well, we have... all of our vaccinators are health care professionals, so we just reassure them and give them information so that they can give us informed consent to proceed. and i know there is a personal reason why you here at this pharmacy wanted to open as much as you could and give everyone the opportunity to get vaccinated. what was that about? yes, that is correct. so i am very close to the owners of this pharmacy, the family that owned this particular shop. he passed away injanuary this year and his family have obviously had a really hard time, so his children work here, they make sure that they can provide the maximum level of their contribution to fighting this covid virus. he actually passed away from covid. he did indeed, yes. it was a very hard time for his family and we are just trying to make sure no one else has to go through that.
and do you think it is going to be a good take up over the rest of the weekend with you open these two days? i hope so, yes. i believe there will be a fair amount of people coming in. ok, thank you very much. as scotland, wales and northern ireland have introduced new restrictions as the omicron variant continues to spread, we are still waiting to see if england introduces new restrictions next week. queen elizabeth will spend christmas day at windsor castle with a smaller group of family members than in previous years. she decided not to travel to sandringham for her traditional family gathering as a "precautionary" measure amid rising coronavirus cases. she's expected to give a very personal christmas message later — her first since the death of her husband, prince philip. here's our royal correspondent nicolas witchell. the queen will be joined in windsor by six members of herfamily — the prince of wales and duchess of cornwall, the earl and countess of wessex, and the duke and duchess of gloucester. there will be a morning service at st george's chapel inside windsor castle — though this will not be attended
by the queen. god save the queen plays. then, at three o'clock, the queen's christmas message will be broadcast. it was recorded a few days ago at windsor with the opening music, the national anthem, played by the central band of the royal british legion in this, their centenary year. the broadcast itself will be a very personal one this year, according to buckingham palace. the queen is expected to speak for the first time in some detail about the loss of her husband, the duke of edinburgh, who died in april. as this still from the broadcast shows, the queen recorded it with a photograph of her and her husband at her side, and wearing a brooch she had worn on their honeymoon. # for those who can't be here... the cambridges won't be at windsor. last night, a recording of their carol concert at westminster abbey was shown on itv. it featured catherine playing the piano as tom walker sang for those who can't be here.
today, william and catherine will be with their children at their home, anmer hall, in norfolk. no doubt they and the rest of the royal family, and particularly the queen, will look back on a year which has not been without its difficulties while looking forward to next year and the queen's platinum jubilee, when the nation will have the chance to mark her 70 years on the throne. nicholas witchell, bbc news. the prince of wales and the duchess of cornwall have attended a service at st george's chapel ahead of spending christmas day with queen elizabeth. the couple were joined at the chapel in the grounds of windsor castle by the earl and countess of wessex and the duke and duchess of gloucester. let's return to pope francis's christmas day urbi et orbi speech to the world from st peter's square. francis davis is professor of religion and international studies at the university of birmingham.
and hejoins us now. a merry christmas to you, professor davis. and you as well.— christmas to you, professor davis. and you as well. happy christmas. thank ou and you as well. happy christmas. thank you so _ and you as well. happy christmas. thank you so much _ and you as well. happy christmas. thank you so much for— and you as well. happy christmas. thank you so much for taking - and you as well. happy christmas. thank you so much for taking time j thank you so much for taking time out of this important day to talk to us. what was the central message from pope francis that was different from pope francis that was different from what we might have heard in the past? he from what we might have heard in the ast? . , from what we might have heard in the ast? ., , ., ~' ., ., from what we might have heard in the ast? .,, ., ~ ., ., past? he was thanking all of those workin: in past? he was thanking all of those working in humanitarian _ past? he was thanking all of those working in humanitarian and - past? he was thanking all of those working in humanitarian and other| working in humanitarian and other settings. like the nhs in the uk, or the 5500 catholic apostles around the 5500 catholic apostles around the world. he was saying to all of us beyond that what has been missing this year that... what could be missing going forward is those who have suffered in very extreme positions and that we are missing their voice and their cry and that their voice and their cry and that the beauty of the arrival of this little baby this baby reaching out his hand saying please, guys,
rebuild. �* ., _, ., his hand saying please, guys, rebuild. �* ., ., rebuild. and a recognition as well that when we _ rebuild. and a recognition as well that when we feel _ rebuild. and a recognition as well that when we feel threatened - rebuild. and a recognition as well that when we feel threatened asl rebuild. and a recognition as well - that when we feel threatened as many people have done during the pandemic the temptation is to withdraw, which is the opposite of what he's asking people to do. is the opposite of what he's asking people to do— people to do. absolutely. he named- -- — people to do. absolutely. he named... in _ people to do. absolutely. he named... in those _ people to do. absolutely. he named... in those locations | people to do. absolutely. he - named... in those locations where there have been war and conflict and hinted that the mix of what is happening with the covid vaccines. he was saying that people will step back and not reach forward for peace. they will step back and reach for their rifles and conflicts. whether that is israel and palestine. in other regions that we don't hear a lot about where there are excess deaths. alert;
don't hear a lot about where there are excess deaths.— are excess deaths. very marginal arts of are excess deaths. very marginal parts of the _ are excess deaths. very marginal parts of the world _ are excess deaths. very marginal parts of the world where - are excess deaths. very marginal parts of the world where people i are excess deaths. very marginal. parts of the world where people sort of exist on the edges. to finish, what difference does it make when the pope speaks like this? of course he has to spread this message, but what sign is there that people really take note? we sometimes underestimate _ really take note? we sometimes underestimate this, _ really take note? we sometimes underestimate this, but - really take note? we sometimes underestimate this, but there i really take note? we sometimes| underestimate this, but there are 183 governments that recognise the government and more of those would see them as key partners of the vatican. he himself visits many of these places. there are 1.2 billion catholics on top of that. he is speaking to a broad coalition of people. a time of holiday and rest, we need a bit of encouragement and perhaps in some places we need to be reminded whether in government or in a refugee camp, conflict resolution
needs to come first. all people of goodwill. needs to come first. all people of aoodwill. . ., needs to come first. all people of aoodwill. ., ~ , ., , needs to come first. all people of aoodwill. . ~' , ., , . needs to come first. all people of aoodwill. ., ~ , ., , . ., goodwill. thank you very much for “oininu goodwill. thank you very much for joining us- — goodwill. thank you very much for joining us- you — goodwill. thank you very much for joining us. you are _ goodwill. thank you very much for joining us. you are watching i goodwill. thank you very much for joining us. you are watching bbc i joining us. you are watching bbc news. hello, we've got a bit of everything weather—wise under the christmas tree. it is quite mild and misty, we've got rain and drizzle around, pushing into some western areas as well. in the north and east of the country, not only a cold wind, but one or two have seen a bit of snow this morning. particular cross shetland and areas of eastern scotland, down through the borders in the top of the pennines and as far south as the dales. here you can see some sunshine, one or two wintry flurries isolated. a strengthening win. for northern ireland, wales, the cloud will be in place. heavier bursts of rain. towards the
southwest, we have got the mildest of the air, but the wind coming in from the east means that even though it is for five celsius on the thermometer, it is going to feel much colder than that. it is going to feel subzero across much of scotland and northern and eastern parts of england. wrap up warm if you are out for a walk. denied, the cold wind coming in from the east clashing with these outbreaks of rain, pushing away north and east towards. some snow can take us into boxing day. it will be cold across the north as we start the day. widespread frost. look in the south, eight, 9 degrees. the mild air continues to work towards the north. we start off with the snow on the hills. it will turn lighter and patch year and will turn into sleet and rain as we go through the day. cold across the north of scotland,
elsewhere compared with today we will see brighter skies developing. heavy and may be thundery showers around. there's a better chance of sunshine in between. 11, 12, 13 degrees possible. four orfive in the far north. as we go into next week, low pressure is lining themselves up and each one will bring evermore warmer air. in fact a surge of very mild air all the way from the mid atlantic coming our way. it will not feel festive at all between christmas and new year's.
this is bbc news. the headlines... final preparations are underway for the launch of a rocket carrying a space telescope that could transform our understanding of the universe. the rocket carrying the james webb space telescope will take off from french guiana later. that agenda is now thought of under threat because of the money that it requires and we have a chance of thatis requires and we have a chance of that is stricter with the purse strings and then borisjohnson would