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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 30, 2021 8:00pm-8:29pm GMT

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this is bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the world. the headlines... a key witness speaks publicly after ghislaine maxwell was found guilty of grooming underage girls to be abused byjeffrey epstein. i just feel so grateful that the jury believed us and sent a strong message that perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation will be held accountable, no matter how much power and privilege they have. the number of daily covid admissions to hospital in england has nearly doubled in a week — from just over 1000 a week ago to more than 2000. europe looks to build its defences against a new wave of covid infections as the number of cases continues to surge. days after launching into orbit, —
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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 if you're watching in the uk, on pbs in the us or around the world. a woman who gave key evidence in the trial of ghislaine maxwell has spoken publicly today, saying she hopes the guilty verdict will bring some solace to other survivors. annie farmer — the only witness to use her real name during testimony — said the case demonstrated that no one was above the law. maxwell was found guilty yesterday by a jury in new york of grooming underage girls to be abused by her friend jeffrey epstein.
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her lawyers say they will appeal against the verdict. 0ur correspondent aleem maqbool�*s report from new york contains some flashing images. good morning america. guilty. good morning — guilty, i a long awaited verdict... the downfall of the british formersocialite, now a convicted sex trafficker, has been headline news here. and one of the four women brave enough to testify to put her behind bars, who was abused as a teenager, has been giving her reaction. i wasn't sure this day would ever come. and ijust feel so grateful that the jury believed us and sent a strong message that perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation will be held accountable, no matter how much power and privilege they have. mr maxwell, could we have a statement in behalf of the family, please? there's been no sense of contrition as yet from the siblings of ghislaine maxwell, or regrets for the victims she played a part in sexually abusing. they released a statement saying,
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"we believe firmly in our sister's innocence, we are very disappointed with the verdict." one of maxwell's lawyers, who questioned the motives of the women who came forward to testify, said this wasn't the end. obviously we are very disappointed with the verdict. we have already started working on the appeal and we are confident she will be vindicated. but legal experts appear to agree ghislaine maxwell's chances of clearing the high legal bar to win an appeal are slim. her crimes were carried out during her long association with the disgraced financier jeffrey epstein, who died in prison. but they mingled with the rich and influential, including, famously, prince andrew. their powerful connections left many of their accusers wondering if they'd ever be held accountable. it's been such a long, hard journey to get here. so, yesterday's decision, i think, will take a little while to sink in. i'm pleased that she will never
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be able again, ever, to hurt anybody else. and, for that, ifeel very pleased. all the while she'd been living her lavish lifestyle, she'd been hiding dark secrets. but finally that's all caught up with ghislaine maxwell. earlier aleem explained what happens next. we have heard from her legal team that they are planning to appeal. i think legal experts have been fairly unanimous that she will find it incredibly difficult to reach the kind of legal bar that is needed to overturn these convictions. but the next step, of course, will be her sentencing as well. but the tension is now starting to turn already two other cases associated with the crimes of ghislane maxwell and jeffrey epstein, including a civil case being taken against prince andrew for sexual assault.
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we know that prince andrew and ghislane maxwell were close friends, but his name was never mentioned during the trial of ghislane maxwell. he has always strenuously denied any of the allegations against him. but there is a hearing in that case, in that civil case here in the federal court in new york in just five days�* time. to coronavirus now and south africa has lifted a midnight to 4am curfew on movement with immediate effect as the government says the country has passed the peak of its fourth covid wave driven by the 0micron variant. south africa, which is currently at the lowest of its five—stage covid—19 alert levels, made the changes based on the trajectory of the pandemic, levels of vaccination in the country and available capacity in the health sector. the number of daily covid admissions
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to hospital in england has nearly doubled in a week, from just over 1000 a week ago to more than 2000. we should have the latest figures shortly. and there are still problems across the uk with the availability of lateral flow and pcr tests. health officials say millions more tests will be made available by tomorrow, new year's eve. so—called nightingale surge hubs are to be set up at hospitals across england in preparation for a bigger wave of 0micron admissions. 0ur health correspondent sophie hutchinson reports. the start of building work on the next wave of nightingale hubs. this one is at st george's hospital in south—west london. the government says it's a contingency measure, in case of a surge in covid patients. but there's concern
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about who will staff them. we would prefer that the government take steps to avoid needing to use that extra surge capacity, purely because there just aren't the number of staff needed to safely provide the care for any patients that are requiring care, and that is where the priority needs to be, to ensure we've got staff to safely care for people that need care. eight nightingale units will be set up in hospital grounds to care for around 100 covid patients each, and hospital admissions are now rising sharply in the uk, almost doubling in england in the past week. and that follows several weeks of soaring infections, reaching record highs. but many people are still finding it hard to get tested. we thought we would 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. so let's try this one. staff suggested that we go down the road to another pharmacy.
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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 he has got them, they can run out in half an hour, just because of the sheer size of the demand for them. eve burke, a teacher in berkshire, 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. i've been messaging friends, asking if anybody has any spare that they can drop off. but the issue is, everybody is in the same position. and if they do have some lfts at home, they are holding onto them themselves. we are now down to our final box of lateral flow tests. the government says 8 million lateral flow tests will be available by tomorrow.
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but mark burdon, who runs six pharmacies in north—east england, hasn't seen any extra supply. i tried ordering an additional supply this afternoon and that order was rejected. unfortunately, we're going to have to start to turn people away once the current supplies are exhausted. it's very frustrating when you've got people in front of you and you're unable to give them the tests that they're asking for. and lateral flow tests become even more important from tomorrow in northern ireland and wales. as in england, people with covid will be able to end self isolation earlier after seven days, rather than ten, if they can get the tests and get two negative results. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. let's get the latest on hospital admissions in england. 0ur health correspondent jim reed joins me now.
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can you break those figures down? normally every day we get daily data that gets published at around four o'clock each afternoon and we still have not had that for today for whatever reason, the christmas period, we are waiting for that, delayed for another 30 minutes. but we have information about hospital numbers in england and they are important because we have seen what has happened in south africa where this wave of 0micron appears to be receding without a huge increase in hospitalisations and deaths. is that same pattern going to be repeated elsewhere in the uk and europe? we have a much more elderly, vulnerable population than in south africa. today we saw another big increase in admissions in england for covid, up tojust over 2000 people. that admissions in england for covid, up to just over 2000 people. that is up 90% in one week. still well below
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the levels we saw in the last wave of the virus so injanuary the levels we saw in the last wave of the virus so in january this the levels we saw in the last wave of the virus so injanuary this year we saw roughly 3500 and we are now seeing 2000 and we have figures for the overall number in hospital with covid. roughly 11,000 and a big increase on the year —— a week earlier, when it was 7500, but still well below the 311,000 we saw in january. some signs at the moment but given the huge increase in cases we are seeing, hospitalisations are going up but not quite as fast as you might expect given the rise in cases and there is still a lot we do not know about hospitalisations. particularly the people going in, how sick do they get? encouraging news about the number of people on ventilators, the most severely sick. that has increased in london recently but it has not been going up recently but it has not been going up by recently but it has not been going up by the numbers you would expect based on previous waves. some indication people are going into hospital may be for a shorter period
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of time, two or three days, they might need some oxygen but are not as a very ill as you might expect and that is reflected in the south african data and what we have seen in other countries. population. a bit of good news in terms of illness here in england. what about how the nhs is coping? what about how the nhs is coping? what have they been saying? that will be the key _ what have they been saying? twat will be the key measure going forward for the government. could we see a situation that we saw in earlier waves were various other types of hospital treatments and medical treatment had to be cut back because the priority was covid or can the health service operate as it has been but with an increased level of emissions? today we had news about so—called nightingale hospitals. in the past these have been very big conference centres, sports stadiums, those kind of
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facilities that have been turned into makeshift hospitals in previous waves. however, even though the nhs did that, those hospitals were very rarely used much, partly because it is notjust about bed capacity, it is notjust about bed capacity, it is about getting the staff to operate them and you cannotjust invent stuff that you can bed space so they have changed tact in england and eight major hospitals will have extra storage capacity for covid. the so—called nightingale units. 100 extra beds at these separate hospitals, 800 overall and they will be set up in the tented area in car parks and parts of the hospital that are not normally used as hospital wards and the staff were there to transfer into these units if needed. it is a contingency measure, they hope not to use them and you can see the measures that they are putting in place just the measures that they are putting in placejust in the measures that they are putting in place just in case we see this rise in hospital admissions. thank
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ou ve rise in hospital admissions. thank you very much- — rise in hospital admissions. thank you very much. that _ rise in hospital admissions. thank you very much. that was - rise in hospital admissions. thank you very much. that was jim - rise in hospital admissions. thank. you very much. that was jim reed. 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, senior emergency officer for the world health organisation in 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,
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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. away from the pandemic, european countries will face new legal efforts next year, to try to make sure that global leaders stick to the promises they made at the cop26 climate summit in glasgow. the deal struck — which includes further reducing carbon emissions and using less coal — is not currently legally binding.
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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. 0ne 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. 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. this dutch climate campaigner agrees
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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 the summer more than 200 people were killed 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
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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 trial, that tends to concentrate the mind. there is likely to be powerful political opposition to that plan, but young campaigners feel something must change to ensure environmental promises are finally honoured. we're basically giving them a second chance to do the things that said they will do to keep their promises. yeah.
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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 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. 0ur 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
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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.
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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 images that eventually come back
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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. we can speak now to dr renske smit, an astronomer and astrophysicist at liverpooljohn moores university. thank you forjoining us. how do you think this is going? we are hearing a lot about looking back at how galaxies were formed on the formation of stars.— galaxies were formed on the formation of stars. yes, so for the mission is — formation of stars. yes, so for the mission is going — formation of stars. yes, so for the mission is going well— formation of stars. yes, so for the mission is going well but - formation of stars. yes, so for the mission is going well but the - formation of stars. yes, so for the mission is going well but the next| mission is going well but the next two days are going to be nerve—wracking. it is crucial that it works and we will not be getting end date for this happening. who; it works and we will not be getting end date for this happening. why is it so important _ end date for this happening. why is it so important that _ end date for this happening. why is it so important that we _ end date for this happening. why is it so important that we look - end date for this happening. why is it so important that we look back i end date for this happening. why is it so important that we look back at
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how galaxies are formed? what will it mean for us looking forward? it it mean for us looking forward? ut will mean that we truly understand our origins and we understand how the first galaxies and first black hole, everything that makes up the current universe that we live in, how that was formed. obviously we have 'ust how that was formed. obviously we have just heard _ how that was formed. obviously we have just heard in _ how that was formed. obviously we have just heard in the _ how that was formed. obviously we have just heard in the report - how that was formed. obviously we have just heard in the report that i have just heard in the report that this manoeuvre, the sun shield manoeuvre, is very complex. i have also read on the nasa website that the critical item in this programme is the mirror. why?
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the critical item in this programme is the mirrl if why? the critical item in this programme is the mirrl tit itihy? the critical item in this programme is the mirr-? _ the critical item in this programme is the mirr , ., ., a success? if it is nominal then in three days _ a success? if it is nominal then in three days we _ a success? if it is nominal then in three days we will _ a success? if it is nominal then in three days we will know - a success? if it is nominal then in three days we will know about - a success? if it is nominal then in | three days we will know about the sun shield and may be in a week we will know if the mirror has also unfolded. this is not time critical and if any data that looks a little bit off the process will be stopped and the data will be analysed and there are ways in which we can intervene in order to make sure that it is unfolded correctly. they will not be rushing, it could be longer than three days. qm. not be rushing, it could be longer than three days.— not be rushing, it could be longer than three da s. , ,, than three days. ok, dr renske smit, thank ou than three days. ok, dr renske smit, thank you very — than three days. ok, dr renske smit, thank you very much _ than three days. ok, dr renske smit, thank you very much indeed. - than three days. ok, dr renske smit, thank you very much indeed. exciting | thank you very much indeed. exciting stuff! you're watching bbc news. don't forget, you can get in touch with me and some
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of the team on twitter. i'm @lukwesaburak. plenty more coming up, don't go away. it has been very mild today unlike yesterday temperatures reached 16 degrees. this time around cambridge, helped by some sunshine. we stay in this mannerfor the helped by some sunshine. we stay in this manner for the next helped by some sunshine. we stay in this mannerfor the next few helped by some sunshine. we stay in this manner for the next few days into the new year and it will be accompanied by blustery winds. the winds are coming from a long way south, all the way from the azores and madeira, bringing milderairto the uk and bringing in a lot of moisture in the form of cloud and there is still rain around. we have wet weather into the evening towards northern england and northern ireland and overnight that pushes into central and southern scotland and a band of rain sweeps eastwards across other parts of england and wales, helped by some blustery winds which will keep things mild. temperatures not falling much for most of us, except in northern scotland where the winds are lighter
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and we have clearer skies and it is chillier. the rain in east anglia soon scoots away and for many parts it will turn drier and brighter perhaps with sunshine and we still have the cloudy zone across southern scotland and outbreaks of rain that should become light and patchy into the afternoon. still mild in the central belt, 13 degrees here, 16 or possibly 17 in east anglia and the south—east of england. the previous warmest new year's eve was in 2011, temperatures reached 111.8 degrees in wales. we will possibly be that. as they smiled into the evening if you are seeing in the new year, this is weather we expect, patchy rain for northern and western parts of the uk, accompanied bya northern and western parts of the uk, accompanied by a strong southerly wind but that is keeping the mild air going. a windy day for new year's day, we have a band of rain snaking eastwards followed by a brighter weather and some sunshine but also showers, heavy ones for western scotland and northern ireland. still very mild for new
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year's day, temperatures widely14 to 16 degrees. after saturday, new year's day, the weather changes a bit because that really matter is getting pushed away from the uk and instead the wind direction is more of a west to south—westerly, still mild but not as mild. and we have wet weather developing on sunday as well. particularly across southern and western parts of the uk. showers and western parts of the uk. showers and longer spells of rain in the rain could turn heavy as well. temperatures a few degrees lower on sunday but it still is mild for this time of year.
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this is bbc news.
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the headlines: ghislaine maxwell faces a long prison sentence after being found of grooming and trafficking teenage girls for abuse. 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. lawyers for some of the women abused by epstein have welcomed the conviction. south africa has lifted a night curfew on movement with immediate effect, as the government says the country has passed the peak of its latest covid wave driven by the 0micron variant. elsewhere, the us and europe continue to experience record levels of new infections. presidents biden and putin are holding another phone call as the us tries to build a common response with europe to russia's massing of troops on the ukrainian border. now on bbc news, review
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2021, the business year. ben thompson reflects on how the uk economy,

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