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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 30, 2021 1:00pm-1:31pm GMT

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ghislaine maxwell is found guilty of recruiting and trafficking teenage girls for abuse. the british socialite procured the girls for convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein. she faces the rest of her life behind bars. it doesn't matter who you are, no matter what kinds of circles you travelled in, no matter how much money you have, no matter how many years have passed since the sexual abuse, justice is still possible. we'll be live in new york with the latest. also on the programme... coronavirus "surge" hubs are being set up at hospitals in england to deal with a potential increase in admissions, caused by record cases of the omicron variant. warnings to those in scotland and wales not to travel to england for new year to take advantage of looser covid restrictions. house prices across the uk rise by more than 10% in a year,
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but a leading lender suggests a slowdown is coming. and a make or break moment for the new james webb telescope, on its thrilling mission to capture the light from the first ever stars. good afternoon. the british socialite ghislaine maxwell has been found guilty of recruiting and trafficking young girls to be sexually abused by the late american financierjeffrey epstein. the 60—year—old was found guilty on five of the six counts she faced — including the most serious charge, that of sex trafficking a minor. maxwell faces spending the rest of her life in prison after she was found guilty by a jury in new york, but her lawyers say they are already preparing to appeal against the conviction.
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our north america correspondent aleem maqbool reports. court sketches show the moment ghislaine maxwell's victims have waited decades for. after five days of deliberation, jurors decided she was guilty on five counts linked to the sexual abuse of teenagers. and it was four of her victims who helped put her behind bars. the court heard how ghislaine maxwell gained their trust. during their emotional testimony, they told the jury how she instructed them to give the late jeffrey epstein massages that turned sexual. all but one testified anonymously, using a pseudonym or just their first name. jane said maxwell participated in her encounters with epstein. "i was terrified and felt gross and ashamed. "when you're14, you have no idea what's going on," she said. kate said, after meeting epstein, maxwell asked her if she had fun, saying she was such a good girl and one of his favourites. and annie farmer, the only victim
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who publicly identified herself, said ghislaine maxwell gave her an unsolicited massage. she said, "i so badly wanted to get off the table "and have the massage be done." she's now said she's relieved at the verdict and that it shows even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse the young. defence lawyers attacked the accusers�* memories and motives, but that ultimately didn't help ghislaine maxwell. we firmly believe in ghislaine�*s innocence. obviously, we are very disappointed with the verdict. we have already started working on the appeal and we are confident that she will be vindicated. well, ghislaine maxwell will be sentenced at a later date, but it seems extremely likely that she'll spend the rest of her life behind bars — a finalfall from grace for the british former socialite who a jury here has decided wasn't just a bystander to the crimes ofjeffrey epstein, but was herself a predator and an active participant
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in the sexual abuse of teenagers. police raids of epstein�*s homes showed the duo's jet—setting luxurious lifestyle. in this photo, the pair are seen relaxing at the queen's balmoral residence when prince andrew reportedly invited the couple to the estate. the staggering wealth on display from their opulent properties only highlighted how they used their power together over the years to lure, intimidate and silence everyone around them. house rules, including this manual, told staff to be deaf, dumb and blind, forbidding them from making eye contact with epstein. one of my clients said to me that she's been living in a metaphorical prison all of these years with the psychological fallout of the sexual abuse, the deep shame and embarrassment and trauma that she's experienced and now, ghislaine maxwell is going to experience a real prison where she will have a lot of time to think about the profound damage she has caused to so many girls
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and young women. ghislaine maxwell still faces a second trial for perjury, a charge which she denies. aleem maqbool, bbc news, in new york. let's go live to new york, and speak to our correspondent nomia iqbal. this has been a huge moment for her accusers. it this has been a huge moment for her accusers. . , ., , ., accusers. it really has. one of the women that _ accusers. it really has. one of the women that testified _ accusers. it really has. one of the women that testified against - accusers. it really has. one of the - women that testified against maxwell during the trial, annie farmer, who publicly identified herself, had said that she was relieved and you will hear that word a lot, released by the women that testified in the trial, but also by the accusers as well. this was a day they were long hoping for. bear in mind epstein and maxwell had been under suspicion for a long time after epstein killed himself injail two years a long time after epstein killed himself in jail two years ago the spotlight fell on maxwell. the fbi eventually tracked her down at her home here in the us, in new
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hampshire, where she was arrested on multiple charges, but she maintained herinnocence multiple charges, but she maintained her innocence throughout. she said, her innocence throughout. she said, her defence was she did not know that epstein was up to any of this, that epstein was up to any of this, that he had hit aspects of his life from her, that she was manipulated by him as well. she had an opportunity to take to the stand and defend herself during the trial but she refused, saying she did not believe that the government had proven the charges against her beyond a reasonable doubt, and even now the family, who were here throughout, herfour now the family, who were here throughout, her four siblings release that statement after the verdict last night, saying she will be ultimately vindicated, we are not quite sure on what basis the defence will appeal on, quite sure on what basis the defence willappeal on, butjust quite sure on what basis the defence will appeal on, butjust to let you know we were in and out of court and saw the proceedings and one of the concerns the defence had was that the jurors concerns the defence had was that thejurors might be rushed into a verdict. it is a holiday season here but also you've got the rise of omicron cases, but the jury didn't rush, they took their time, they even asked to re—examine some of the
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testimonies from the witnesses including all the women that testified during this trial and they returned their verdict, finding the former british socialite guilty on four of those five charges, five, sorry. four of those five charges, five, sor . ., . four of those five charges, five, soi’ , ., ., , ., four of those five charges, five, sor . ., ., ., ~ sorry. nomia iqbal, thank you, in new york- _ the trial of ghislaine maxwell is just one of the court cases in the us arising from the activities of the disgraced bankerjeffrey epstein, who died in prison after being charged with sex trafficking. the other is a civil law suit by virginia guiffre, formerly known as virginia roberts, against prince andrew alleging sexual assault. prince andrew has always strongly denied her claims. our royal correspondent nicolas witchell reports. caught by the camera in this now infamous photograph. on the left, prince andrew, in the centre, the then 17—year—old virginia roberts, and on the right, smiling for the camera, ghislaine maxwell. andrew's friendship with ghislaine maxwell goes back more than 20 years. here he is with her at royal ascot injune 2000. at the time, she was
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jeffrey epstein�*s girlfriend. epstein was there as well. he too was a guest of prince andrew at royal ascot. andrew spoke about his friendship with epstein and his girlfriend ghislaine maxwell in his newsnight interview. in 2000, epstein was a guest at windsor castle and at sandringham. he was brought right into the heart of the royal family at your invitation. but certainly at my invitation, not at the royal family's invitation. but remember that it was his girlfriend that was the key element in this. he was the, as it were, plus one to some extent in that aspect. am i right in thinking you threw a birthday party for epstein�*s girlfriend, ghislaine maxwell, at sandringham? no, it was a shooting weekend. a shooting weekend. just a straightforward shooting weekend. racing at ascot, shooting at sandringham, and a trip to balmoral. this photograph, an exhibit
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at maxwell's trial in new york, shows epstein and maxwell relaxing at the queen's balmoral estate. they were there at andrew's invitation. andrew categorically denies knowing of any improper activities by epstein or anyone else. his lawyers are mounting a robust defence against the civil lawsuit brought against him in new york by virginia roberts, or virginia giuffre as she is now. in a submission to the court, andrew's legal team say the case should be dismissed. they say the allegations against him are baseless and motivated by giuffre's desire for a payday at his expense. whatever the truth of those allegations, it's clear that andrew had a long lasting friendship with ghislaine maxwell. it was to her that andrew turned when virginia roberts�*s allegations surfaced. in january 2015, andrew e—mailed maxwell... "let me know when we can talk. "got some specific questions to ask you about virginia
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"roberts," he wrote. to which maxwell replied... "have some info, call me when you have a moment." however, by the time andrew did his interview with newsnight, he seemed to want to distance himself from his old friend. if there are questions that ghislaine has to answer, that's her problem, i'm afraid. i'm not in a position to be able to comment one way or the other. a court in new york has now delivered its verdicts on ghislaine maxwell. in a few weeks, another court in new york will consider the civil lawsuit against prince andrew, brought by virginia giuffre. andrew's lawyers will once again plead his innocence of any impropriety. nicholas witchell, bbc news. coronavirus "surge" hubs are being set up at nhs hospitals in england to deal with a potential increase in admissions caused by record daily cases of the omicron coronavirus variant. eight sites will be able to treat around 100 patients each.
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it comes as the health secretary, sajid javid, has said the supply of lateral flow tests will be tripled injanuary and february, in a bid to combat shortages. here's our health correspondent sophie hutchinson. saint georges hospital in south west london, where workers started to build a nightingale herb. it's one of eight hospitals in england which will have these temporary units aimed at caring for around 100 covid patients. aimed at caring for around 100 covid atients. , ., . ., . patients. there is great concern within the _ patients. there is great concern within the nhs _ patients. there is great concern within the nhs and _ patients. there is great concern within the nhs and within - patients. there is great concern - within the nhs and within government now that the number of cases is growing so fast that we have to plan for a scenario whereby the nhs cannot in its current format cope with those cases. i think the big concern is where do the staff come from demand those beds.- concern is where do the staff come from demand those beds. there are also lans from demand those beds. there are also plans to _ from demand those beds. there are also plans to make _ from demand those beds. there are also plans to make a _ from demand those beds. there are also plans to make a 4000 - from demand those beds. there are also plans to make a 4000 beds - also plans to make a 4000 beds available in other places if needed. in a statement the health secretary
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said, we hope the nightingale surge hubs at hospitals will not have to be used but it is absolutely right that we prepare for all scenarios and increase capacity. cases of covid—19 has been increasing sharply across the uk, with the past week showing more than a 40% rise over the previous one stop but many are still finding it hard to get tested. we thought we'd come to the local pharmacy to see if they've got in a lateral flow tests, but you don't need to go in to see that they are out of stock. let's try this one. staff suggested we go down the road to another pharmacy. well, i got lucky. the pharmacist here does have a box of tests. he says in fact he gets a delivery every day but as soon as people find out that he's got them they can run out in half an hourjust because of the sheer size of the demand for them. if bert, a primary school teacher, has covid, along with her husband and two children. she is hoping to get back to work next tuesday but can't find
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any lateral flow tests. i’zfe to work next tuesday but can't find any lateral flow tests.— any lateral flow tests. i've been t in: any lateral flow tests. i've been trying since _ any lateral flow tests. i've been trying since yesterday, - any lateral flow tests. i've been trying since yesterday, going i any lateral flow tests. i've been| trying since yesterday, going on any lateral flow tests. i've been i trying since yesterday, going on to the government website and refreshing hourly, to get lfds sent to our home because we can't go to a place to pick them up, and i've been messaging friends asking if anybody has any spare that they can drop off, but the issue is everybody�*s on the same position and if they have some lfds at home they are holding onto them themselves swipe the government agency which manages tests says it has had to pause supply when demand is very high. indie supply when demand is very high. we do recognise that there are some difficulties across the country both with pharmacies and with home testing — with pharmacies and with home testing requests. we do release and are continuing to release test swabs for individuals so they should keep trying _ for individuals so they should keep trying through the day. obviously as the christmas period subsides then the christmas period subsides then the testing capacity should be more available _ the testing capacity should be more available to them. we do have the supplies— available to them. we do have the supplies and we will be endeavouring to get those to the right places.
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but with— to get those to the right places. but with infection rates expected to continue to soar, keeping up with demand for tests is likely only to get harder. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. there's confusion this lunchtime on whether britons who live in the european union can drive through france to their homes elsewhere in the eu. foreign office officials are seeking urgent clarification from the french authorities, after eurotunnel warned that new regulations had come in to effect. our political correspondent pete saulljoins me now. can you unravel what's going on? i shall do my best. the french authorities introduced restrictions just before christmas that said unless you live in france or you have relatives there, or you have a compelling reason, then you cannot enter the country. but one compelling reason, and this is still on the minister for the interior�*s website, is if you are travelling to another eu country where you happen to be resident. but both p and o and eurotunnel are saying that following a french government decision people
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from the uk can no longer travel through france because we are considered third country citizens, having left the european union, so as you might imagine this has caused plenty of confusion. the foreign office is stressing as far as it is concerned the uk has binding agreements with the european union to allow transit through the various different countries there, and indeed actually already people have been blocked from getting on the eurotunnel and getting on ferries stop one, for example, did manage to get on the eurostar through belgium. what is worth bearing in mind diplomatic relations between france and the uk have not been particularly great recently. they have been rows over fishing particularly great recently. they have been rows overfishing rights, the small boats crisis in the channel too but caught in the middle of all of this are plenty of brits who live on the continent, may have been here visiting relatives over christmas, and if they were travelling to go back to their home country via france then their travel plans are rather in limbo. peter, thank you _ plans are rather in limbo. peter, thank you very — plans are rather in limbo. peter, thank you very much. _
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plans are rather in limbo. peter, thank you very much. clinical - ministers in scotland and wales are warning people not to travel to england to take advantage of looser coronavirus restrictions on new year's eve. nightclubs in scotland and wales are closed, and tables in pubs, bars and restaurants are limited to six people. that's not the case in england, meaning some are contemplating crossing the border to celebrate. our consumer affairs correspondent colletta smith is in chirk, close to the welsh border. what have businesses been telling you? the pub behind me bills itself as the last pub in england. normally that makes very little difference at all. but at the moment, the english side, as you were saying, clubs and open, people can meet and much bigger groups for new year's eve. and that does make a difference, because, unlike at other moments in the pandemic, people are free to travel. they are free to cross the border at the moment. so you can understand why lots of people may be making this very short weather, maybe they have to be brave in the weather will sensibly jumping
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maybe they have to be brave in the weather will sensiblyjumping in a weather will sensibly jumping in a taxi, weather will sensiblyjumping in a taxi, and just crossing the border. this bridge marks one of the boundary points between england and wales, the winding border, with lots of businesses almost looking at each other on each side. you can see why people might be tempted to cross over, particularly if they have reined back their plans for christmas and they feel like they are ready for a night out on new year's eve. visitors on the welsh side are massively frustrated by that, feeling after a very difficult trading season that this is potentially a moment to make a little more money. and they could see their customers being poached over to the other side. english businesses feeling like, potentially, they can cash in on a little little extra money year after a bad festive period. the welsh first minister has said while it is not illegal to travel, it is against the spirit of the laws. whether that will put people off is a different question. will put people off is a different cuestion. . ~ will put people off is a different cuestion. ., ~ , ., , will put people off is a different cuestion. . ~' ,. , . the former president of afghanistan, ashraf ghani, has defended his decision to flee the country in august, saying his security forces had told him they could not protect him from the taliban. mr ghani, who's now in exile
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in the uae, told the bbc he understood why afghans blamed him for the taliban's swift takeover. our chief international correspondent lyse doucet has the story. chaos in kabul. the upheaval of august. afghans, fleeing for the airport when the taliban swept in. even president ashraf ghani. he slipped away secretly, in a helicopter. in statements on social media, he said he did it to save kabul and his life. now, he has spoken about that day, and forces meant to protect him - the pps. what was your sort of memory of when you woke up that day? on the morning of that day, i had no inkling that by late afternoon i would be leaving. dr mohib, the national security advisor, with the chief of pps came and they said pps has collapsed.
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if i take a stand, they will all be killed. and they were not capable of defending me, and dr mohib was literally terrified. the us congress i think has recently asked john sopko, the us inspector general for afghanistan, to investigate allegations that when you left the country a certain amount of money went with you. i want to categorically state i did not take any money out of the country. the helicopters, in our first destination, were available for everybody to search. general carter was also a key player in efforts to find a different way out of this war. do you think if you'd stayed you would have been able to get them to understand? no. because, unfortunately, i was painted in total black. and all that came because we were never given the opportunity
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to sit down with them. it became an american issue, not an afghan issue. they erased us. there's a big "what if". what if the president had stayed? many say a deal was all but done for an orderly transition. but once he left, the taliban moved in. either way, the taliban were back. and many blame the president, not just for what he did on august 15th, but what he didn't do in the months before. the blame is totally understandable. what they rightly blame me for, they have a total right, is i trusted in our international partnership and pursued that pact. all of us made a huge mistake in assuming that the patience of the international community would last. what matters now, afghanistan confronts the world's worst humanitarian crisis, in a world still struggling with the consequences
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of the taliban takeover. lyse doucet, bbc news. the deal struck at last month's cop26 climate summit in glasgow saw global leaders pledge to reduce carbon emissions and use less coal. but the commitments are not legally binding, so many campaigners — especially younger ones — are taking other legal action, to make sure individual governments keep their environmental promises. our europe correspondent nick beake has been meeting some of the young activists. i'm sofia. i'm 16 years old. i'm andre. i'm13 years old and we are suing 33 countries. it's pretty scary. yeah. _ it's not a joke. one family's effort for the global good. brother and sister andre and sofia felt compelled to do something after devastating fires hit northern portugal four years ago. we actually saw people, like, suffering and dying on tv, and not that far away from us. in all, 66 people perished. scientists say climate change will bring more of these violent episodes.
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the young portuguese activists hope judges will rule that their right to life is being threatened by the 33 countries they're suing. even if we don't win i think we set an example to other people that they can follow, so it's like a snowball effect that gets bigger and bigger. dutch climate campaigner eefke van de wouw agrees a new direction's needed. she's hiked through the netherlands during the pandemic trying to drum up support, and argues the best path is now a legal one. because we feel now a lot of doors are shutting, we're taking it to the court. because first, in the climate strikes, we yelled, "what do we want? climate justice! when do we want it? now!" that's the main thing we say, and now we're actually courageous enough to take it to the courts and hope that this door will stay open and actually accelerate the climate action that we need. just this summer more than 200 people were killed
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in devastating floods in europe, most in germany. nearly six months on, communities are struggling to rebuild, including here in western belgium. as more lives are lost and more livelihoods ruined by extreme weather episodes, it feels like the momentum is shifting. shifting toward solutions that force politicians to act rather than waiting for them to deliver their promises. and there's a renewed effort to place their actions or inaction on the environment among the most serious crimes imaginable. international lawyer philippe sands argues that a crime of ecocide — causing grave damage the environment — should be introduced. the person within government who takes that decision — it could be a prime minister, it could be a foreign secretary, it could be a president — could be individually responsible for the crime of ecocide. it works as a disincentive. the idea that you might spend time in prison, the idea that you might have to go through an individual criminal
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trial, that tends to concentrate the mind. there's likely to be powerful political opposition to that plan, but young campaigners feel something must change to ensure environmental promises are finally honoured. we are basically giving them a second chance to do the things that they said they will do. to keep their promises. yeah _ this...| want them to think that this is like a second chance. not a threat, not an attack — an opportunity. nick beake, bbc news. the average price of a home in the uk has risen by more than 10% over the past year to a record of almost £255,000, according to nationwide building society. more time spent working from home and a desire for extra space has prompted lots of families to make the decision to move house. according to another survey by the halifax, taunton, in somerset, has seen house prices grow faster than anywhere else in the uk this year,
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as john maguire explains. taunton is the county town of somerset. it finds itself right at the top of the charts when it comes to increases in house prices over the last year. 21.8%, that makes it the biggest increase in the country. the national average is around 6%. so, an average house here, £300,000, has gone up by £55,000 over the past 12 months. why, is the big question. sarah—jane bingham—check is from savilis. what is going on here? hello, yes. pre—covid, devon and cornwall was very much the destination for the west country. and we've seen covid has taught us to re—evaluate our lives. people are looking for space, broadband, they are able to work from home more. so we are seeing a real drive out of london to the country. and taunton is very much in the middle of the country. and when we talk about those hot markets, about increases in house prices, you worry about first—time buyers, trying to get on the first
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rung of the housing ladder. is that a problem here? i would say not. i think it's still a very affordable place to live. if you look on the property portals, you will see up to 200,000, from £100,000-£200,000, there is plenty of property to buy. so it really is a first—time buyer market. when you look at the surround, for those that don't know where taunton is, if you come out of london on the m4, hang a left at bristol, we are about an hour down. and we are surrounded by beautiful countryside. we'veg ot exmoor national park, we've got the blackdown hills, and just slightly to the north we have got the quantock hills. now, for those that don't know, quantock hills was the first designated area of outstanding national beauty in 1956. so, it really sets the tone for the surrounding countryside. and one of the reasons why it is so popular. thank you very much indeed for your time this lunchtime. in contrast, some of the areas where we've seen decreases in house prices, for example westminster in london, a fall of 7% down. so that gives you an idea, perhaps, of some of the shifting changes in the uk housing market. back to you.
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the james webb space telescope — launched on christmas day — is starting to unfold its sunshield, in a complex process involving hundreds of moving parts. all of the motors, pulleys and cables have to trigger at the right time and in the right order or the telescope, which cost $10 billion and took 30 years to design and build, simply won't work. our science editor rebecca morelle has the story. and lift off! the moment of launch for an astronomy mission like no other, as the james webb space telescope blasted off. then the rocket casing opened up, and the telescope was released into the darkness of space, with a million mile journey ahead. but, as it travels, it has a fiendishly difficult task to do — unfolding. it's so big, we didn't have any rocket that's big enough to launch it, you know, fully deployed. so, we had to build this telescope to be folded up, to fit inside the rocket.
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this is really, really difficult engineering. but, you know, nasa has never shied away from doing hard things. and so i have full confidence that it's going to work. unfurling the sun shield is the most difficult part of this process. it's enormous, the size of a tennis court. first, its two halves are lowered into position. then the booms are deployed. the operation involves 400 pulleys, 400 metres of cabling and more than 100 release mechanisms that have to fire at exactly the right time. finally, the material is pulled taut, and the five layers of the sun shield, each as thin as a human hair, separate. the whole process has been rehearsed again and again on earth. but doing this in space will be nail—biting. it's made of floppy material, it has to be held on to by a series of pins, which release one by one, pull it out, make it tight, release another bit, pull it out again.
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until slowly, over days, you pull out this tennis court sized object. so, for many people working on the project, that's where the real nerves are. the sun shield protects the telescope from the heat and light of the sun. the difference between the hot and cold sides is huge — 300 degrees celsius. the telescope needs to operate in the coldest and darkest conditions to see the most distant stars. for the first time, we'll be able to see all the way back to the time when these very first galaxies formed. and that will allow us to actually get images of them, verify that they are the very first galaxies, and then we can study how galaxies have evolved over the history of the universe. the telescope could also offer a giant leap in our search for life, offering a close—up look at distant worlds beyond our own solar system. webb will also be able to probe the atmospheres of planets around other stars, with far greater sensitivity and spectral resolution than we have
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been able to do to date. it will be a very important step to answering the question, do some of these exo—planets have the conditions to develop life like we know it? and that's amazingly exciting to me. the images that eventually come back from james webb will be even more spectacular than these, taken by hubble. but there's still work to do. the sun shield will take several days to open, and that's just the start of this complex unfolding process. with so much at stake, it's a tense time for the team. rebecca morelle bbc news. time for a look at the weather. here's darren bett. you're taking us to the seaside? why not go it is almost that sort of weather. it is exceptionally mild. it may be the mildest ever new year's eve and new year's day across
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the uk. we are keeping this


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