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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 30, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news, broadacsting to viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm martine croxall. our top stories... the british socialite ghislaine maxwell is found guilty by a jury in new york on five counts of grooming and trafficking teenage girls for abuse. maxwell procured the girls for the financier and convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein. she faces the rest of her life behind bars. no matter who you are or what kind of circles you travel in, no matter how much money you have, no matter how many years have passed since the sexual abuse, justice is still possible. afghanistan's former president defends his decision to flee the countryjust before the taliban takeover, saying he did it to prevent the destruction of kabul. europe looks to build its defences
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against a new wave of covid infections, as the number of cases continues to surge. hello and welcome. 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. our north america correspondent aleem maqbool reports.
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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 who publicly identified herself, said ghislaine maxwell gave her an unsolicited massage. she said, "i so badly wanted to get off the table
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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 in the sexual abuse of teenagers.
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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 and young women. ghislaine maxwell still faces a second trial for perjury,
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a charge which she denies. aleem maqbool, bbc news, in new york. in 1994 liz stein was 21 years old, a student working in new york when she met ghislaine maxwell who introduced her to jeffrey epstein. she says the two of them assaulted her. she told bbc radio 4 about her experience. you may find her story distressing. i was working doing an internship at a well—known 5th ave retailer, and ghislaine maxwell came in one day, and i helped her. and she was just electrifying. you know, from almost the moment that we met, itjust seemed like we hit it off. she was absolutely magnetic, and we talked about several things while she was shopping that day. it was a really easy conversation
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that i had with her, and when she was done shopping, i offered to deliver her packages to her, which is something that i would frequently do for high—end clients, but i had a hard and fast rule, and that was i didn't deliver to anyone personally, i would only drop off to hotel concierge or to doormen. so when i called to arrange to deliver her packages that evening, i was instructed to bring them to a hotel in midtown manhattan that was close by to the store, and i dropped them at the concierge, and when i arrived at the concierge, i was told that ghislaine was in the bar area, and that she was with someone that she wanted me to meet.
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so i went into the bar area, and the person that she wanted me to meet was epstein, who she had described to me as her boss, her boyfriend, i wasn't really clear what his role was in her life. so i met epstein that evening, and that was the first time they assaulted me. at the hotel? yes. that was liz stein. ghislaine maxwell's legal team was contacted by the bbc to put liz stein's accusations to them. we await a response. adam klasfeld is a us legal news reporter who has been covering the courthouse where the epstein and maxwell story unfolded for more than a decade. he explained the significance of the verdict. well, this is a historic verdict. as i have said before, this is a case that is a quarter—century in the making. the indictment talks about events
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that happened in 1994 to 2004, and there has been a long—awaited reckoning and an emphatic verdict. as you said, five of six counts guilty, including on the top count, sex trafficking a minor, which standing alone could have a maximum sentence of a0 years imprisonment, effectively a life sentence if sentenced on the maximum penalty, so it is something that people who have been covering this court have been closely monitoring. as in matter of fact, the civil suit that was a real catalyst behind it, the civil suit of virginia giuffre against ghislaine maxwell unfolded in the same court, the southern district of new york. and it was from that case it was mentioned a little bit earlier that there is a pending perjury count. that is two perjury counts from deposition testimony that ghislaine maxwell gave in that case,
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so that gives us an idea of the impact of this verdict. what was her reaction? she was calm and collected throughout. yes, throughout the trial she has been calm, collected, engaged with her defence, sometimes bantering with her attorneys and acknowledging her siblings who are usually seated in the front row. her sangfroid and calm continued when the verdict was read. apparently it was said that she had after the five out of six guilty verdicts were pronounced, she had poured a little cup of water from her fiji water bottle, and that was something i saw in ghislaine maxwell in the courtroom throughout, someone who even facing the possibility of the rest of her life in prison has reacted with calm, without emotion.
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a great deal of credit given to the witnesses and the bravery in them coming forward to give testimony. but the defence say they are preparing an appeal. what are the chances of it succeeding? well, experts that i trust have already said that it is a long shot. we don't know what the appeal will say. we know that they have been saying from the beginning that this was impossible for ghislaine maxwell to get a fair trial because of the massive media attention. i sat through the jury voir dire, and they were screened for media coverage, didn't seem to know much about the case at all, and as a matter of fact, the verdict came down on its sixth day.
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they had been scrutinising the evidence, including the defence presentation of the case. the same day that the verdict came down, they requested the defence�*s key expert witness, and that was the witness who tried to call the memories of all the victims into question, and that failed. at the end of the day, five of six guilty counts. so who knows what will happen? we will see what her appeal says. but the people who i trust as experts do feel that it is a long shot. court reporter adam klasfeld. covid rules are to be toughened up across a number of european countries. austria has revealed it plans to make vaccines mandatory for everyone over 14, with non—compliance punishable with a 3,000—euro fine every three months. germany has new restrictions on sports events and night clubs, while some countries have banned dancing and music. the restrictions come as more european countries have reported record numbers of infections and people are asked to be cautious ahead of new year celebrations. earlier we spoke to dr catherine smallwood, the world health organization's senior emergency officer for europe. she says the 0micron variant is causing a surge
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of cases in western europe, but it may not be as severe. we are seeing a very rapid increase in the number of new covid—i9 cases. of course we expected that anyway because of the holiday season, but with the rapid spread of 0micron we are seeing that very much accelerated, and that is especially in western europe, where we are seeing countries like the united kingdom, france, denmark, portugal, spain, italy, all seeing cases now outstripping what they have seen at any previous time during the pandemic. and it's early days yet, but that's significantly going to put health systems under pressure and lead to a lot of people being hospitalised, and it is going to lead to a lot of disruption. doctor catherine smallwood from the world health organization. over in the us, health officials are warning about hospital capacity as the country is facing a rising number of covid cases. the icu medical director at florida's jackson south medical center, dr andrew pastewski, says the 0micron variant has spread
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like wildfire in the past few weeks and now makes up the majority of cases he has seen. it's absolutely omicron. it is now 80—90% of the cases in the jackson south system. it hasjumped and spread like wildfire in the last few weeks. we were feeling really good, down to two covid cases a few weeks ago, and now we have 60 today, and that is a spike and a surge that we have not seen anything like that in any of delta or any of this before, it has never been like this before. we were all expecting something after the holidays, but not this spike before the holidays, and that is even scarier. how many of those suffering and being hospitalised are vaccinated? it's looking like about 30% are vaccinated. most of the sick ones are unvaccinated or have not been boosted or have significant comorbidities.
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i have not seen many vaccinated, boosted sick people, none of them are in the icu right now. but we are seeing in people who have not been boosted that they are coming to the hospital with sick covid symptoms. what does it mean, though, if as you say the majority of them are omicron cases? we don't know as much about this variant yet as many medics would like to. do you think it means the cases will be less severe? i had hoped that. in the beginning, we were not admitting as often as we were with delta. but if the number of cases are so high that even if it is a smaller percentage of cases that get sick, but we are still seeing them, it is still going to be overwhelming, and at our peak, we were sitting at about 110 covid cases, and that was delta.
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to be at 60 cases just a few weeks into this surge, and the holidays not yet contributing, it is going to be worse again. it is just so frustrating. what will stop the spread, then? if as you said in some cases people are already vaccinated? so like we have seen in south africa, this will probably burn out, hopefullyjust as quickly as it spiked, that is what we saw in south africa. but there is still going to be that time when this is going to be difficult on the health system. we are seeing half the er turning positive, my icu team, i've had six people already turned positive. fortunately with the cdc's guidelines and vaccine mandates it is only a five—day quarantine now if you are better, so that is helping with the staff issues, but the hope is that this will burn out just as fast as it
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has in south africa, and if not it is going to be a whole bunch of cases of people waiting in the parking lots to be seen again. dr andrew pastewski from the jackson south medical center in florida. meanwhile, coronavirus surge hubs are being set up at nhs at 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. at the same time the health secretary, sajid javid, says the supply of lateral flow tests will be tripled injanuary and february, in a bid to combat shortages. st george's hospital in south west london, where workers started to build a nightingale hub. it's one of eight hospitals in england which will have these temporary units, aimed at caring for around 100 covid patients. there's 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,
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cope with those cases. i think the big concern is where do the staff come from to man those beds? there are also plans to make a further 4,000 beds available in other places if needed. in a statement, the health secretary said... cases of covid—19 have been increasing sharply across the uk, with the past week showing more than a 40% rise over the previous one. 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 any lateral flow tests, but you don't need to go in to see that they're 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
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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. eve burke, a primary school teacher, has covid, along with her husband and two children. she's hoping to get back to work next tuesday, but can't find a ny lateral flow tests. i've been trying since yesterday, going on to the government website and refreshing hourly, to get lfts 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 in the same position. and if they have some lfts at home they are holding onto them themselves. the government agency which manages tests says it has had to pause supply when demand is very high. we do recognise that there are some
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difficulties across the country, both with pharmacies and with home testing requests. we do release and are continuing to release test slots for individuals so they should keep trying through the day. obviously as the christmas period subsides then the testing capacity should be more available to them. we do have good supplies and we will be endeavouring 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. northern ireland's devolved government has decided to reduce the self—isolation period for people with coronavirus from ten days to seven, provided they have negative lateral flow tests on the sixth and seventh days. the change will take effect tomorrow. the decision was made by ministers at a virtual meeting this morning. covid restrictions remain unchanged. the stormont executive will meet again in a week's time. the former president of afghanistan, ashraf ghani, has said
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he made a sudden decision to flee his country on august 15th, minutes after his security forces at the palace told him they could no longer protect him or the capital. in a conversation with the former british chief of defence staff, general sir nick carter for the bbc radio four�*s today programme, mr ghani said he had been made a scapegoat for afg hanistan�*s crisis. he said his only mistake was to trust his international partners, including the united states. our chief international correspondent, lyse doucet reports. 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.
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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. 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
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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 to sit down with them. it became an american issue, not an afghan issue. they erased us. the us envoy garnered the deal. he questions why they fled. it the us envoy garnered the deal. he questions why they fled. if he the us envoy garnered the deal. he questions why they fled.— questions why they fled. if he had that fear and _ questions why they fled. if he had that fear and it _ questions why they fled. if he had that fear and it was _ questions why they fled. if he had that fear and it was a _ questions why they fled. if he had that fear and it was a legitimate l that fear and it was a legitimate fear, then he should have asked for help. he never did. if he felt that
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help. he never did. if he felt that he couldn't trust his own security forces, what does that say about this command and control of his forces? 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. have you got any personal regrets about what happened? might values have been trampled _ about what happened? might values have been trampled on _ about what happened? might values have been trampled on and - about what happened? might values have been trampled on and i - about what happened? might values have been trampled on and i have i have been trampled on and i have been _ have been trampled on and i have been made a scapegoat. you have been trampled on and i have been made a scapegoat.— have been trampled on and i have been made a scapegoat. you said very ublicl been made a scapegoat. you said very publicly that — been made a scapegoat. you said very publicly that for _ been made a scapegoat. you said very publicly that for you _ been made a scapegoat. you said very publicly that for you this _ been made a scapegoat. you said very publicly that for you this was - been made a scapegoat. you said very publicly that for you this was a - publicly that for you this was a fight to the death. there are many afghans who, uncertain, blame you as their leader for what happened. the blame is totally understandable. what they rightly blame me for, they have a total right, is i trusted in our international
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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 of the taliban takeover. lyse doucet, bbc news. the coffin of the south african anti—apartheid hero archbishop desmond tutu is lying in state at st george's cathedral in cape town. large crowds are expected to visit to pay their respects before archbishop tutu's funeral on saturday, with memorials also planned injohannesburg and pretoria. the nobel peace prize winner died on sunday at the age of 90. china has hit out at the us, canada and the eu, after they condemned the arrest of seven hong kong journalists on wednesday — as part of china's wider crackdown on press freedom in the region. a foreign ministry spokesperson
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said the criticism was irresponsible and was trying to mislead public opinion. australia's former federal parliament building in the capital canberra has been set alight during a demonstration by supporters of aboriginal sovereignty. the flames engulfed the wooden double doors at the entrance to the building but damage was limited as the fire was quickly extinguished and no casualties were reported. the prime minister, scott morrison, said he was appalled and disgusted by the attack on the building the james webb space telescope, which launched last week, is starting to unfold its sunshield in a complex process involving hundreds of moving parts. the world's most powerful telescope went into space on christmas day. it cost $10 billion and took ten years to build and prepare, and is currently a million miles from earth. and it all needs to work perfectly well in _ and it all needs to work perfectly well in the right order, or it is
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not going _ well in the right order, or it is not going to work at all, so fingers crossed _ not going to work at all, so fingers crossed. ., ., ., . �* �* not going to work at all, so fingers crossed. ., . ., . �* �* , this is bbc news — the headlines. manchester united are looking to move up to sixth in the premier league table tonight with a win over burnley, they are unbeaten since the interim boss took over at the start of the month and have scored just once in each of their last three league games against crystal palace, norwich and most recently newcastle. so is this a good time for sean dyche to be taking his side to old trafford? , ., ., , ., trafford? they have found ways of findin: trafford? they have found ways of finding moments _ trafford? they have found ways of finding moments that _ trafford? they have found ways of finding moments that count, - trafford? they have found ways of finding moments that count, even| trafford? they have found ways of i finding moments that count, even if they may be not working, but we can't be naive enough to think that you turn up at my new and there is a perfect time to play them. you can only decide that after the game. we
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have beaten them when they were having a quiet spell, and that was partly because we played well and partly because we played well and partly because we played well and partly because they had a quieter game, and you need that to happen sometimes against the superpowers. and west ham manager david moyes says unlike some of his fellow premier league managers he won't be complaining about fixture congestion. west ham have played three times in a week and are set to play again new year's day, and he says that is just the way it works. we have always played christmas fixtures _ we have always played christmas fixtures in — we have always played christmas fixtures in this country, and we have _ fixtures in this country, and we have always had it so we know exactly — have always had it so we know exactly what we are getting here, and when — exactly what we are getting here, and when you come to this country it is part— and when you come to this country it is part of— and when you come to this country it is part of it — and when you come to this country it is part of it i— and when you come to this country it is part of it. i think we had the culture — is part of it. i think we had the culture of— is part of it. i think we had the culture of european football, good cup successes already, so i feel probably— cup successes already, so i feel probably a _ cup successes already, so i feel probably a lot of clubs and managers feel that _ probably a lot of clubs and managers feel that their players are getting worked _ feel that their players are getting worked too hard.— worked too hard. england's cricketers _ worked too hard. england's cricketers will _ worked too hard. england's cricketers will be _ worked too hard. england's cricketers will be without i worked too hard. england's i cricketers will be without head coach chris silverwood for the fourth ashes test in sydney. he is in isolation after one of his family
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tested positive for covid. it is the seventh positive test in the party, three support staff and former crow family members have all tested positive. england are 3—0 down in the series and have already lost the ashes. . , , , the series and have already lost the ashes. ._ , ,,, ashes. clearly it is very disruptive for the ashes. clearly it is very disruptive forthe players. — ashes. clearly it is very disruptive for the players, who _ ashes. clearly it is very disruptive for the players, who is _ ashes. clearly it is very disruptive for the players, who is yet - ashes. clearly it is very disruptive for the players, who is yet none i ashes. clearly it is very disruptive | for the players, who is yet none of them have tested positive that they are being tested daily. we shouldn't forget that the coach was in contact with some of them yesterday during net practice, so it is an anxious wait for the next few days to see if any of the england players actually test positive for themselves. they fly to sydney and a charter plane tomorrow as they try to get them separate. there is no doubt it will be an anxious weekend ahead for the england players. india be an anxious weekend ahead for the england players— england players. india have taken 01- zero lead _ england players. india have taken 01- zero lead in _ england players. india have taken 01- zero lead in their— england players. india have taken 01- zero lead in their three - england players. india have taken 01- zero lead in their three test l 01— zero lead in their three test series against south africa after the hosts fell well short in their run chase, needing 305 to win. south africa lost their last three wickets in just 12 africa lost their last three wickets injust12 balls africa lost their last three wickets in just 12 balls after lunch as they were bowled out for 113 with
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tail—enders kagiso rabada falling to the wicket of ravichandran ashwin. and it is all set up for an exciting evening of action at the world darts championship, with three former champions playing. rob cross, gary anderson and peter wright were all aiming to reach the quarterfinals. mervyn king has already sealed his place in the last eight. he fought back from 3—1 down to win 4—3 against raymond smith and reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009. and callan vince is also into the last eight has his remarkable tournament goes on, after losing the first set to alan souter, the 23—year—old won ten legs in a row for a 4—1 victory. you've got to love the doubts. that is all the sport for now, we will be back later on. i never miss it, gavin! i don't, actually. this is bbc news. the headlines. the british socialite ghislaine maxwell has been found guilty by a jury in new york on five counts of grooming and trafficking
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teenage girls for abuse. maxwell procured the girls for the financier and convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein — she faces the rest of her life behind bars. afghanistan's former president has defended his decision to flee the countryjust before the taliban takeover in august. ashraf ghani says he left, to prevent the destruction of kabul. now on bbc news... in a programme first shown in february as part of bbc sport's lgbt+ history month, clare balding looks at what it means to be a gay woman in sport. hi there, my name is clare balding, and i'm a television and radio broadcaster, mainly in sport, for the bbc and for other channels as well. it's really interesting looking at lgbt rights and indeed
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attitudes to lgbt people through the lens of sport.

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