this is bbc news broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the globe. our top stories: the british socialite ghislaine maxwell faces a long prison sentence after being found guilty of 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. europe looks to build its defences against a new wave of covid infections, as the number of cases continues to surge. the uk health secretary,
sajid javid, says the government will buy hundreds of millions more lateral flow tests, after days of supply issues. and afghanistan's former president defends his decision to flee the countryjust before the taliban take—over, saying he did it to prevent the destruction of kabul. days after launching into orbit, it's the "make or break" moment for the james webb space telescope as it starts to unfold its tennis court—sized sunshield. 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. 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 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. 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, 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 assaultted her. she told radio 4 about her experience. some listeners 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 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. 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. ghislaine maxwell's legal team was contacted by the bbc to put liz stein's accusations to them. we await a response. joining me now is vicky ward, a journalist and the host and producer of the documentary podcast and discovery plus series chasing ghislaine. she's spent years following
ghislaine maxwell and her connection with jeffrey epstein. thank you forjoining us today. first of all, your reaction on hearing the verdict yesterday? hat hearing the verdict yesterday? not hu . el hearing the verdict yesterday? iirrt hugely surprised. you know, i was in court for 15 days of the trial. i heard all of the testimony. what was missing, ultimately, from that courtroom was the narrative of ghislaine maxwell, any explanation that she could have given about why jeffrey epstein wired her approximately $30 million. any explanation of why she stayed with this man, who, judging by lots of the testimony, was not very nice to her. it was clearly, according to
testimony, a very peculiar relationship. although her defence team did a very skilled job at trying to discredit the narratives of the four accusers, by comparing interviews they had given to the fbi aboutjeffrey epstein while he was still alive, with what they might have said after his death. their argument was that, after he died, money was available and they were manipulated to telling stories about ghislaine maxwell they haven't told before. what worked was the prosecutors' lee for them to use common sense. why would jeffrey epstein have wired her $30 million in total? why did this very educated, clever woman stick with
this man for over a decade, in what was clearly a strange relationship? and they did not provide any answers. she was strangely absent from that courtroom, mentally. from what ou from that courtroom, mentally. from what you have _ from that courtroom, mentally. from what you have seen, _ from that courtroom, mentally. from what you have seen, is _ from that courtroom, mentally. from what you have seen, is it _ from that courtroom, mentally. from what you have seen, is it possible to os the legal strength of any potential appeal? to os the legal strength of any potentialappeal? —— to os the legal strength of any potential appeal? —— possible to assess. potential appeal? -- possible to assess. ~ . ., assess. what i saw was an extraordinary _ assess. what i saw was an extraordinaryjudge, - assess. what i saw was an extraordinaryjudge, who l assess. what i saw was an - extraordinaryjudge, who headed to the second circuit after this, she went out of her way, according to my observations, to be fair to both sides. way, her background coming into this trial was not one that was favourably disclosed towards the government. as covid was first
breaking outcome she was presiding in a trial... i'm not sure the governor it would have been delighted at getting her in this case. she went out of her way to compromise and give a bit to each side. i think an appeal, based on what i've seen, is going to be very difficult. ., ., ., . ~ difficult. you have tracked maxwell and jeffrey epstein _ difficult. you have tracked maxwell and jeffrey epstein for _ difficult. you have tracked maxwell and jeffrey epstein for years. - difficult. you have tracked maxwell and jeffrey epstein for years. you | and jeffrey epstein for years. you spoke to people who have given evidence, years ago. it is difficult to understand depravity like this, but from what you have looked at over the years, do you have any explanation as to why these two people behave the way they did? for two, i people behave the way they did? fr?" two, i have written about my dealings with him and how he threatened me when i was pregnant ——
forjeffrey epstein. i got terrified forjeffrey epstein. i got terrified for my babies might agonise when they were born. so i have always considered him to be a terrible, terrible human being. and that was before i knew about all this depravity. as for ghislaine maxwell, i have posted today on my newsletter the full transcript of a conversation i had with her into thousand two about any farmer and her allegations. thousand two about any farmer and herallegations. i thousand two about any farmer and her allegations. i think it is very revealing —— about annie farmer. she denied giving annie farmer a massage. but i have learned in the courtroom that that was true. she also said to me, how can you believe somebody you don't know over me?
there was that entitlement. further, she kept talking about how annie farmer and her sister ought to be grateful to jeffrey epstein farmer and her sister ought to be grateful tojeffrey epstein because of his generosity. again, i think that shows you the enormous value she placed on money. remember, in 1991, when she was first publicly associated with jeffrey 1991, when she was first publicly associated withjeffrey epstein, her father, robert maxwell, had died in disgrace and the family suddenly went from being multimillionaires to effectively being penniless. she herself, i have reported, once told somebody that the reason she stuck with jeffrey epstein, somebody that the reason she stuck withjeffrey epstein, even when he humiliated her, was that she said, my father told me you do whatever it takes to keep your man. you ask me why i think she sunk to this level of depravity, it appears that
whatever it takes was grotesque and criminal. . ~ whatever it takes was grotesque and criminal. ., ~ , ., , . ., criminal. thank you very much for “oininu us criminal. thank you very much for joining us today- _ criminal. thank you very much for joining us today. of— criminal. thank you very much for joining us today. of course, - criminal. thank you very much for joining us today. of course, more| criminal. thank you very much for i joining us today. of course, more on joining us today. of course, more on your website on this. we should repeat that the allegations are denied by ghislaine maxwell, although she was found guilty yesterday. heard legal team says they will try to appeal. israel has just approved a second covid vaccine booster shot for people with weakened immune systems, although a final decision on wider usage is still pending. meanwhile, 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 1a, with non—compliance punishable with a 3,000 euro fine every three months. germany has new restrictions on sports events and nightclubs, 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 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—19 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.
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 0micron 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. here's our health correspondent, sophie hutchinson. 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, 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 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 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. let's speak to dr simon walsh — he's deputy chair of the consultants committee at the british medical association and works in emergency medicine in london. thank you forjoining us. do you think that nightingale hospitals will help? good evening. well, the fact that the government is having to set up that nightingale hospitals is a reflection of the severity of the point we have got to with this current wave of the pandemic. there are three ways that the health service gets in real trouble with this pandemic, one is with intensive care capacity being overwhelmed. the second is with general hospital
capacity being overwhelmed. the third is a staffing crisis, not having enough staff to be able to run essential services. at the moment, the only one of those that isn't a current problem is the icy you capacity, probably because we don't know where we will go with that with this variant. the main concern we have about setting up nightingale units is the staffing of them, there isn't any other staff waiting to be deployed to these units. they will have to come from existing units and services, therefore those services which are already really struggling to maintain the services because of the soaring levels of sickness, largely as a result of covert among health care workers, their display hanging on to maintain their services and they will now be asked to deploy some of those staff to these new sites. ~ . , ., ,
sites. we are seeing a rise in the number of _ sites. we are seeing a rise in the number of patients _ sites. we are seeing a rise in the number of patients occupying - sites. we are seeing a rise in the l number of patients occupying beds sites. we are seeing a rise in the - number of patients occupying beds in england, it has gone up by 990 from yesterday, up by more than 4000 in a week. how worried are you? what are you seeing in your work at the moment? given that we are hoping that omicron will be milder? £31 that omicron will be milder? of course, the narrative that omicron is a bit milder, there is some truth to it for a large number of people, possibly because of the mutations and partly because of the vaccination programme, it is important that vaccination continues and people get their booster to make it a milder disease, but the fact is there a such large numbers of people getting infected daily that even a small proportion of those who get on well enough to need hospital admission becomes a large enough number to potentially overwhelm services. so we are really worried.
services are already at capacity or beyond capacity. you see that from the queues of ambulances outside emergency departments, the long waits that people sometimes have four ambulances to arrive, and then to hand the patients into the hospitals because the hospitals are already full. we are worried about the capacity at the moment. we are worried about where these staff are going to come from to run these nightingale units. i'm afraid that's a reflection of the failure of the governor's policies to adequately control the spread of the virus. thank you very much indeed. the james webb space telescope — launched on christmas day — is starting to unfold its sunshield, in a complex process involving hundreds of moving parts. 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. 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. 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 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. hello there. the latest from the bbc sport centre. manchester united are looking to move ahead with a win over burnley. they have scored just once in each of their last three league games against crystal palace, norwich and newcastle on tuesday. is this a good time to be taking their side to old trafford? the? this a good time to be taking their side to old trafford?— side to old trafford? they have found ways _ side to old trafford? they have found ways of _ side to old trafford? they have found ways of finding _ side to old trafford? they have found ways of finding momentsj side to old trafford? they have - found ways of finding moments that count, even if they are not purring. we cannot be naive enough and we wouldn't be too expect that he would turn up there and there would be at perfect time to play them. you can only decide that after the game. we
have been that, beaten them during a quiet spell, and that was partly because we played well and they had a quieter game. you need that to happen sometimes against the superpowers. happen sometimes against the superpowers-— happen sometimes against the superpowers. lester's in'ury and illness superpowers. lester's in'ury and iunesswoesﬁ superpowers. lester's in'ury and illness woes show h superpowers. lester's in'ury and illness woes show no h superpowers. lester's injury and illness woes show no sign - superpowers. lester's injury and illness woes show no sign of- superpowers. lester's injury and - illness woes show no sign of getting better yet. jamie vardy faces a month out with a hamstring injury. he suffered the injury in their 1—0 win over liverpool. brendan rodgers says the extra demands have played a big part in the injury. meanwhile, west ham manager david moyes says that unlike his fellow managers, he will not be complaining about fixture congestion. he insists thatis about fixture congestion. he insists that is the way the premier league works. we that is the way the premier league works. ~ . ., , that is the way the premier league works. ~ . . , , works. we have always played christmas _ works. we have always played christmas fixtures _ works. we have always played christmas fixtures in - works. we have always played christmas fixtures in this - works. we have always played . christmas fixtures in this country. we have — christmas fixtures in this country. we have always had it, so we know what _ we have always had it, so we know what we _ we have always had it, so we know what we are — we have always had it, so we know what we are getting here. when you come _ what we are getting here. when you come to— what we are getting here. when you come to this country, it is part of it. come to this country, it is part of it again, — come to this country, it is part of it again, at— come to this country, it is part of it. again, at the clubs that had
european — it. again, at the clubs that had european football, maybe had good success— european football, maybe had good success in— european football, maybe had good success in cup competition already, and another— success in cup competition already, and another cup competition around the corner_ and another cup competition around the corner as well. there probably a lot of— the corner as well. there probably a lot of the _ the corner as well. there probably a lot of the clubs feeling that their players — lot of the clubs feeling that their players are getting work too hard. england's— players are getting work too hard. england's cricketers will be without their head coach for the fourth ashes test as he is in isolation after one of his family tested positive for covid—19. three support staff and family members have contracted the virus. the matches are due to start next wednesday. england 3—0 down in the series at a rate —— and have already lost the series. it rate -- and have already lost the series. , , , ., series. it is disruptive for the -la ers, series. it is disruptive for the players. who _ series. it is disruptive for the players, who have _ series. it is disruptive for the players, who have not - series. it is disruptive for the players, who have not tested positive. they are being monitored daily. there has been an actress wait for the next few days to see if any of the players actually test positive themselves was up —— they will be an anxious wait. they are flying together, but an anxious
weekend ahead for the england players. weekend ahead for the england -la ers. . weekend ahead for the england .la ers. ., ., weekend ahead for the england -la ers. . ., ., ~ weekend ahead for the england nla ers. ., ., ., ~ ., weekend ahead for the england -la ers. ., ., ., ~ ., ' :: weekend ahead for the england -la ers. . . .,~ ., ' :: ., players. india have taken a 1-0 lead in the series — players. india have taken a 1-0 lead in the series in _ players. india have taken a 1-0 lead in the series in south _ players. india have taken a 1-0 lead in the series in south africa. - players. india have taken a 1-0 lead in the series in south africa. southl in the series in south africa. south africa lost their last three wickets in just 12 africa lost their last three wickets injust 12 balls africa lost their last three wickets in just 12 balls after the lunch break as they were bowled out for 113, with the tail—enders falling to the spinner. the second test starts on monday injohannesburg. on monday in johannesburg. and on monday injohannesburg. and it is all set for an exciting evening of action at the world darts championship. they are aiming to reach the quarterfinals. mervyn king has sealed his place in the last eight. he beat raymond smith and reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009. a remarkable turn of it goes on after he went ten legs in a row to