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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 25, 2021 2:00pm-2:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news. these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. the world's most powerful telescope begins its journey to offer unprecedented images of the universe. queen elizabeth is expected to give a very personal christmas message this year, her first since the death of her husband prince philip. volunteers staff vaccine centres in england as the race to fight the surging omricon variant doesn't stop for the holiday. in his christmas message, pope francis highlights the tragedies in yemen and syria which he said are being passed over in silence. and, christmas day in the middle of the atlantic — the story of three friends rowing across the ocean to raise
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hello and welcome, if you're watching in the uk or around the world. one of the greatest scientific missions of modern times has taken a giant leap forward in the last hour, with the launch of the james webb space telescope. the £10 billion project has taken 30 years to reach this moment. the telescope was launched from kourou in french guiana. it's the most powerful ever built, and the developers hope it will reveal stars and galaxies from the birth of the universe, as well as distant planets which could provide evidence of life beyond earth. our science correspondent rebecca morelle reports. and we have engine start. and lift—off. the start of a blockbuster astronomy mission. james webb begins a voyage back to the birth of the universe. inside this rocket is the biggest
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telescope ever sent into space. punching a hole through the clouds. 20 seconds into the flight... 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's finally on its way. we've never attempted anything like that in space before. we're 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 6.5 metre—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 sun shield, about the size of a tennis court. it's made up of five layers,
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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. 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's been practised here on earth, and that's 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.
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this is the most ambitious space telescope ever built. now its mission has finally begun and our view of the universe is about to be transformed. rebecca morelle, bbc news. astronomer professor garth illingworth has been involved in the webb project at various stages — he was at mission control and told me more about what it was like to watch we have a it up. we are going to have an incredibly cold telescope and we are going to work in a regime which is invisible to us from our eyes and practically impossible to work from the earth. then we are going to look back through essentially all of time to when the very first stars and galaxies formed, and how they grew into the magnificent galaxies like our milky
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way. but it is notjust that. we are going to be exploring planets around nearby stars to try and understand their origins. and whether they have a lie. and so this is an amazing telescope. hobble on steroids. 0ur science correspondent jonathan amosjoins me now. jonathan, you heard his experience of this. you are a science journalist. you have been following this project, or at least aware of it, for years. what is your assessment of it?- it, for years. what is your assessment of it? �*, . ., assessment of it? it's a great day. it was very — assessment of it? it's a great day. it was very interesting _ assessment of it? it's a great day. it was very interesting to - assessment of it? it's a great day. it was very interesting to hear - assessment of it? it's a great day. it was very interesting to hear god with speak. gareth was on those committees way back, more than 30 years ago, that are trying to figure out what they should do after the hubble space telescope. that hadn't
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even launched then. it was launched in 1990. gareth and a number of other astronomers around the world should have had this blank piece of paper in front of them. they sketched it out. this soup is telescope with a much bigger primary reflecting surface. the mirror is 2.4 metres across. this thing is 6.5 metres across. it is 21 feet. and the performance of the telescope with the size of its mirror. this thing will have the resolutions really picked out the small details in the cosmos. it is going to pick up in the cosmos. it is going to pick up the light from, you know, right at the start when the first star is ignited. you might ask, why? but you look around you, you tap the desk in front of you, it is made of atoms. heavy atoms. if you go back to the
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big bang, what was created was just hydrogen, helium and a smattering of lithium. nothing more. and it required the very first stars to forge the atoms heavier than those three to make everything. to make the iron in your blood, the calcium in your teeth, the silicon in rocks. that all came from the first starts and their descendants. and we would like to see that the park. we would like to see that the park. we would like to see the light switch on in the universe. james webb will show us that. it will be remarkable. it is a mind blowing concept, particularly on christmas day when everybody is lounged in front of the sofa with a mince pie and the rest of it. you certainly made me sit up straight. in terms of the impact this could have on our basic understanding of the universe, it's potentially enormous?— understanding of the universe, it's potentially enormous? yeah, i think the hubble telescope _ potentially enormous? yeah, i think the hubble telescope really - potentially enormous? yeah, i think the hubble telescope really was - the hubble telescope really was transformative. you just have to look _ transformative. you just have to look at — transformative. you just have to look at the — transformative. you just have to
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look at the pictures. they are in books, — look at the pictures. they are in books, they are in posters, they are run t-shirt5~ — books, they are in posters, they are run t—shirts. you can't escape from the imagery— run t—shirts. you can't escape from the imagery that hubble has given us over the _ the imagery that hubble has given us over the past 30 years. i think we've — over the past 30 years. i think we've kind _ over the past 30 years. i think we've kind of got used to fabulous pictures— we've kind of got used to fabulous pictures of— we've kind of got used to fabulous pictures of the universe. webb will -ive pictures of the universe. webb will give us _ pictures of the universe. webb will give us that. but it will fill in the gaps— give us that. but it will fill in the gaps that hubble hasn't been able to— the gaps that hubble hasn't been able to give us. so hubble has tried to peer— able to give us. so hubble has tried to peer back to the sea park a couple — to peer back to the sea park a couple of— to peer back to the sea park a couple of hundred million years after _ couple of hundred million years after the — couple of hundred million years after the big bang but it doesn't have _ after the big bang but it doesn't have the — after the big bang but it doesn't have the mirror. it doesn't have the detectors— have the mirror. it doesn't have the detectors to — have the mirror. it doesn't have the detectors to do that. but gareth ettihg _ detectors to do that. but gareth elling worth, there's a group of them _ elling worth, there's a group of them called the high red shift hunters, _ them called the high red shift hunters, and they really run every last bit _ hunters, and they really run every last bit of— hunters, and they really run every last bit of performance out of hubble — last bit of performance out of hubble but they could not see these stars _ hubble but they could not see these stars they — hubble but they could not see these stars. they needed something better. and james— stars. they needed something better. and james webb will do that. and i talk about— and james webb will do that. and i talk about the first starts. james webb _ talk about the first starts. james webb will look at these planets now that are _ webb will look at these planets now that are being found around stars beyond _
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that are being found around stars beyond our on, beyond the song, which _ beyond our on, beyond the song, which is _ beyond our on, beyond the song, which is in — beyond our on, beyond the song, which is in the sky. and the idea that you — which is in the sky. and the idea that you could look at the add on issues _ that you could look at the add on issues of— that you could look at the add on issues of those planets, look at the suite _ issues of those planets, look at the suite of _ issues of those planets, look at the suite of gases in those atmospheres and say, _ suite of gases in those atmospheres and say, is — suite of gases in those atmospheres and say, is that world habitable? is that the _ and say, is that world habitable? is that the kind of place where life might _ that the kind of place where life might exist? these places are too far away— might exist? these places are too far away to — might exist? these places are too far away to reach where the space probe _ far away to reach where the space probe but — far away to reach where the space probe. but with the speed of light and the _ probe. but with the speed of light and the imagery that james webb will be able _ and the imagery that james webb will be able to— and the imagery that james webb will be able to maintain, we might at least— be able to maintain, we might at least ite— be able to maintain, we might at least be able to say that some of these _ least be able to say that some of these places are habitable. that would _ these places are habitable. that would be — these places are habitable. that would be extraordinary. the origins of all— would be extraordinary. the origins of all lightness, the heavy atoms, and the _ of all lightness, the heavy atoms, and the possibility of seeing the potential for life back then in the galaxy, _ potential for life back then in the galaxy, it's... it's one for the ages — ages. fantastic stuff. ages. — fantastic stuff. jonathan amos. ages. fantastic stuff. jonathan amos. what a lovely christmas present for you and astronomy enthusiasts all over the globe. thank you very much. the prince of wales
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and the duchess of cornwall have led members of the royal family to church at st george's chapel in windsor castle this morning. queen elizabth did not attend the traditional christmas service, a precaution due to the rise in covid cases. she'll be spending the day at windsor with prince charles, camilla and other members of herfamily. the queen's speech, broadcast later today, is expected to be a personal reflection on a difficult year, following the death of her husband, prince philip. nicholas witchell reports. morning service at windsor castle. members of the royal family, though not the queen, joined the congregation at st george's chapel. happy christmas. merry christmas. the royal party was led by the prince of wales and the duchess of cornwall, who arrived on foot. the queen's christmas broadcast — at three o'clock this afternoon — will be an unusually personal one. she's expected to reflect on the death of her husband, prince philip, earlier this year. in his christmas message from canterbury cathedral, the archbishop of canterbury, justin welby, reflected
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on the impact of the pandemic. we all face uncertainty, uncontrollability and unpredictability. whether we are working in sage or the cabinet, to each one of us, from huge companies to those who are sleeping rough. at the vatican, pope francis spoke about the importance of dialogue. he urged world leaders to engage with each other — to solve problems and prevent conflicts. nicholas witchell, bbc news. volunteers are working at vaccination centres across england today, as the push continues to give every adult a booster by the end of the month. the nhs says it expects thousands of people to receive theirjab on christmas day.
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vaccination centres are closed in northern ireland, scotland and wales. as ministers consider whether tougher restricions are needed in england, the roman catholic archbishop, cardinal vincent nichols, has urged them not to close places of worship. emily unia reports. redbridge town hall in east london is one of a small number of vaccination centres in england that opened this morning, on christmas day, to help bolster the booster programme. fantastic idea to save so many lives. myjob, i am in contact with customers all the time. so i have got to keep myself safe, keep my customers safe. it is family time, _ the time you want to spend with your loved ones. it is often in times like that that we get to think- through the real priorities, . and the real priorities are that you want to protect yourself and you want to _ protect your loved ones. the government wants to offer all adults a booster by the end of the year, to tackle the spread of the 0micron variant. this pharmacy in london has been open since eight this morning.
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they have got about 80 appointments pre—booked, but there is capacity for at least 400 other people to walk in from the streets and get a jabs. and there was a very personal reason for opening over the christmas break. i am very close to the owners of the shop. the original owner, he passed away from covid in january this year, and it was a horrible experience for his family. and his sons had been working very hard to make sure no on else goes through the same thing as they did. this new variant appears to cause mild illness, which health officials have described as a glimmer of hope. it is still spreading fast, though, prompting scotland, wales and northern ireland to introduce new restrictions. in his christmas message, the head of the catholic church in england called on the government to keep places of worship open. i think we are at that point of saying we understand the risks, we know what we should do, most people are sensible and cautious. we don't need stronger
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impositions to teach us what to do, we know. new restrictions for england, known as step two, could see pubs and restaurants serving customers outdoors only, and a ban on different households mixing indoors. a decision on whether to bring england in line with the other uk nations could be taken early next week. emily unia, bbc news. some breaking news. the all rounder england cricketer, ray killingworth, has died today. he had been terminally ill and had also spoken out in the last week or so in interview with the bbc about his support for assisted dying. it came at the result of his —— following the death of his beloved wife, shirley. a remarkable career. he led england to its test victory over australia in 1977 —— 1970, 1971. he
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was england coach in the 1990s, and he chaired the selectors between 93 and 1996. he was interviewed by the world at one in which he said, i don't want to have the last 12 months my wife had. she had a terrible time going from hospital to hospital and in pain. terrible time going from hospital to hospitaland in pain. i terrible time going from hospital to hospital and in pain. i believe in assisted dying. the way my wife was, there was no pleasure in life in the last 12 months, and i don't see the point of living like that. railing worth had a remarkable career. —— ray killingworth. his commitment to the county of his birth, yorkshire, was enormous. he guided yorkshire to three successive county championship titles from 1966. and on their twitter account, yorkshire county cricket club said, we are deeply saddened to learn that railing worth has passed away. are my thoughts are with his family and the wider yorkshire family, who held him so dear to their hearts. pope francis has called for more dialogue, and warned against a tendency to withdraw during the coronavirus pandemic.
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here's the pope addressing a crowd at saint peter's sqaure during his christmas day speech. translation: 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 of pandemic? we have come to realise this even more. 0ur 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 do things together. 0n the international level too, 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.
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father damian howard heads the society ofjesus in britain. hejoins us now. thank you he joins us now. thank you very much for being with us on bbc news. this is an important time for christians all over the world and for catholics in particular. the pope tries to address that. what is the purpose of this speech he has delivered, his annual christmas address in st peter's square?— peter's square? two principal purposes _ peter's square? two principal purposes the _ peter's square? two principal purposes. the first _ peter's square? two principal purposes. the first one - peter's square? two principal purposes. the first one is - peter's square? two principal purposes. the first one is a l purposes. the first one is a religious message, a proclamation of the birth ofjesus. christians believe the birth ofjesus is for the benefit of the whole world. he is peace. that means he is somebody who can save the whole world and bring peace to the world. that is the first and most important element of it. that is often ignored, the religious sections. then he goes on to apply the message ofjesus to the various parts of the world in which there is a real conflict and
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tension. i think it's quite interesting that the particular cases he mentioned in his speech. this is not a pop or of soft soaps world leaders in these speeches. —— pope. he picked up yemen. 0f world leaders in these speeches. —— pope. he picked up yemen. of any world leaders, he is the one who has most consistently talked about that country. why do you think that in particular is a part of the world where he feels there is... i particular is a part of the world where he feels there is... i think he is picking _ where he feels there is... i think he is picking op _ where he feels there is... i think he is picking up a _ where he feels there is... i think he is picking up a part _ where he feels there is... i think he is picking up a part of - where he feels there is... i think he is picking up a part of the - where he feels there is... i think. he is picking up a part of the world where there is less international attention than there ought to be. he has a great sense that there is a culture of indifference, that we are withdrawing into our silence. we are concerned about our own petty local concerns and we actually need to open our eyes to a world that is fundamentally interconnected, in which we find ourselves morally related to other people on the other side of the world. that is why he is
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constantly drawing attention to these stories, which are not so well covered. he is the firstjesuit to leave the church. —— lead features. what does that training, that background, that experience, bring to his papacy, and particularly the way he uses commune occasion? it particularly the way he uses commune occasion? , ., , occasion? it is a very good question- _ occasion? it is a very good question- i _ occasion? it is a very good question. i think— occasion? it is a very good question. i think first - occasion? it is a very good question. i think first of i occasion? it is a very good | question. i think first of all occasion? it is a very good - question. i think first of all there is a real concern forjustice across the world, a sense that the gospel is a message that it changes the way we are and it brings good things for our world. we are and it brings good things for ourworld. 0ne we are and it brings good things for our world. one of the interesting point about this message is that he uses the word dialogue i think 11 times. dialogue is a loaded word in contemporary catholic theology and spirituality. it is about a way of relating to the world. it is not monologue. it is not telling people how to live their lives. it is about engaging very sensitively, finding out where people are in the lives and helping them to move on. that is something very deep—seated, i think,
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in the pope's on spirituality. that is something to do with hisjesuit training. thank you so much for talking to us. hgppy thank you so much for talking to us. happy christmas. thank you so much for talking to us. happy christmas-— it's going to be a christmas day like no other for friends kat, charlotte and abby, as they spend the day in the middle of the atlantic. they're taking part in a 3,000 mile rowing race from the canary islands to antigua, and they're doing it to raise money for cancer charities, after discovering kat's cancer had returned this year. mike bushell reports. christmas at sea in the middle of the big blue. three friends in a rowing boat try to get across the atlantic and into the world record books. kat, charlotte, and abby. and rather than the family for company this christmas, a pod of dolphins captured by their boat's camera. a moment of beauty, a wonder to ease the pain of body sores and extreme exhaustion from lack of sleep on this voyage of endless horizon, at the mercy of all this wilderness can throw at them and their boat,
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dolly parton, with no bathroom, toilet, kitchen, let alone the trimmings many enjoy on christmas day. we're in the middle of the atlantic. the water is choppy so we are getting a bit wet. but the sun is out. so it is not a typical christmas. ithink, honestly, the biggest thing for us was literally this the first ten days, which was just settling into that routine of sleep deprivation. because with three rowers we are rowing two hours on, getting an hour off, so i think we didn't realise how much that would impact us. so there have been a lot of tears, but i think we over that now and i think we have settled into the routine of the lack of sleep. for the three friends this has already been a story of determination and defiance. last christmas kat was in hospital receiving radiotherapy to treat cancer. in the summer she was told that had returned. so as well as everything else at sea she must take daily medication to keep tumours and symptoms in check.
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while their efforts raise money for three cancer charities. i'm actually good. it was a bit dicey before we came out. i wasn't very well, had a few infections. but being on the boat, a bit of seasickness, we have been all right. she is pretty amazing. it's all her own doing. if there's a mountain she climbs it. if there's a road - she wants to run it. so we're just terrified - of what she come up with next. very supportive. they have been brilliant in making sure that making sure she has- all she needs, everything that's- necessary to make sure she can stay healthy while she is doing it, yeah. two weeks ago cat's parents were unsure to give the team a hero send—off from the canary islands. to give the team a hero send—off from the canary islands. see you in antigua!
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now back home they are doing their best to make christmas feel as normal as possible. we were just wondering whether we ought to lay a place for her at the table. just to say, you know, absent friends. and i'm not too sure, really, it will be probably telephones on the table and everyone watching. it will be a wrench from tradition for all the team. this is going to be be difficult. she didn't take any pyjamas. traditionally, we wear pyjamas on christmas day. but she didn't take pyjamas, they were too heavy. we will toast the great adventure. yes, in our pyjamas. while abby hasn't seen her mum and dad for nearly two years when they went to new zealand before the pandemic. they are trying to stay upbeat. how exciting that you are able to be out there doing all this. there are people around the world who would rather be out there in the middle of the atlantic watching whales go past than sitting in, wherever, the uk or new zealand, with a glass of wine. i would rather be out there as well. so merry christmas, give
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each other a big hug. we all love you loads and loads. despite the distance, the families will be doing their best to send the christmas spirit across the ocean. we've got christmas cake. i made them a mini christmas cake to take. so they have got some christmas spirit there. i've bought them some sparkly christmas specs, christmas tree, reindeer spectacles that would over their sunglasses. and we're not saving any chocolate for you. we will launch into christmas carols. you're right, we've got — my mum's made a christmas cake, hawaiian shirts, we've got glasses, hats, tinsel for the boat, which we will decorate christmas eve stop and then our treat is also a diet coke. so not your average christmas day feast, but we will take sort of ten minutes just to be together and have our diet coke and cake and then we will have to crack on.
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so while it won't feel like any other christmas, the festive feeling will help spur them on towards the goal. happy christmas to charlotte, kat, and abby. we know you will not stop for any celebration, but i hope maybe you will wear a santa hat and have some tinsel around your neck and maybe have a one—minute celebration and we're thinking of you and we will see you and antigua. hopefully with a new world record. it's lovely to get messages from family and friends. itjust kind of spurs us on to get rowing and try to get to antigua even quicker. so it's wonderful to hear, to hear those messages as well. happy christmas, everybody. mike bushell there talking to the participants in that remarkable chance. good luck to them wherever they are. i hope they are still friends at the end of it. you are
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watching bbc news. hello and merry christmas from everybody here at bbc weather. we now what adds a little meteorological magic to christmas is now. that is lacking for much of the uk today. for many it is a continuation of the grey and damp weather we have seen of late. but we have seen snow and it is officially a white christmas. in shetland, parts of central and eastern scotland, the pennines and the yorkshire dales as well. away from some sunny spells in northernmost part of scotland, it is mostly cloudy and there is some quite heavy rain through parts of south—western southern england coming to wales. northern ireland turning particularly wet. it is the
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strengthening east or south easterly wind adding extra bite to the proceedings today, because this is what it might say on the thermometer but when you factor in the strength of the wind, particularly in northern and eastern part of the uk, look at the difference it makes. it will feel like it is at, or even below freezing. it is still mild in the south—west. the rain not doing much in daylight hours. tonight into boxing day, it spreads across wales, england and northern ireland, and as it runs into cold air across northern england and southern and central scotland, it turns to snow, particularly into the hills. this is where we are going to be seeing a frost as boxing day. they could be some difficult conditions on the higher route two. the snow falling and the wind blowing about a bit. we could see is now at relatively low levels for a time. as it moves further north through scotland tomorrow, mostly in the hills we will have the snow. the far north seeing sunny spells. elsewhere,
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heavy showers in northern ireland, wales ending then. brightening up towards the south—west in the afternoon. temperatures a little bit higher but still feeling colder because of the wind. here is a look at boxing day evening. some clearer spells down towards the south and south—west. elsewhere, a lot of cloud. still showers or outbreaks of rain. we have had a battle between the mild and cold airfor rain. we have had a battle between the mild and cold air for christmas weekend. beyond that is very clear it is the that wins, with areas of low pressure coming in, bringing spells of wind and rain, but pushing mild air, even very mild air in places, right across the uk.
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this is bbc news, the headlines. ...and lift off. a rocket carrying a space telescope that could transform our understanding of the universe has just launched from the european space centre in french guiana.
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the james webb space telescope aims to see deeper into space and to picture the very first stars. the queen is expected to give a very personal christmas message later — her first since the death of her husband, prince philip. she'll speak beside a framed photograph of the couple. volunteers in england help give vaccines in the race to fight the surging 0micron variant in the country. the government is offering every adult a booster by the end of the month. pope frances has delivered his traditional christmas day urbi et 0rbi message to the world. he deplored the "immense tragedies" in yemen and syria which he said were "being passed over in silence". now on bbc news, review 2021, we remember. prince philip, una stubbs, charlie watts, sarah harding, captain sir tom moore, christopher plummer and jimmy greaves. just a few of those whose lives are celebrated in this year's programme.

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