this is bbc news. i'm lukwesa burak with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. a record number of covid—19 cases are recorded in the uk and a further 332 deaths are reported. the uk health secretary sajid javid says the government will buy hundreds of millions more lateral flow tests after days of supply issues. 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. 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. the number of daily new cases of covid—19 recorded in the uk has reached a new high. figures published in the last half hour show that there were 189,213 new positive cases recorded — although it's not clear exactly how much the figures have been affected by reporting delays over the christmas period.
a further 332 covid—related deaths were also reported in the last 2a hours — that's the highest figure since march, although we should point out that the number includes a backlog of deaths in hospital. and the number of daily covid admissions to hospital in england has nearly doubled in a week to more than 2000. 0ur health correspondent jim reed explained more. 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 is up 90% in one week. still well below 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 a week earlier, when it was 7500, but still well below the 3a,000 we saw in january. some signs at the moment that 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 by the numbers you would expect based on previous waves. some indication
people are going into hospital maybe for a shorter period of time, two or three days, they might need some oxygen but are not as ill as you might expect and that is reflected in the south african data and what we have seen in other countries. joining me now to discuss this is professor irene petersen, an epidemiologist from university college london. thank you forjoining us. we have had the uk figures, do they surprise you? we had the uk figures, do they surprise ou? ~ ., ~ ., ., you? we have known for quite some time that the _ you? we have known for quite some time that the growth _ you? we have known for quite some time that the growth was _ you? we have known for quite some time that the growth was very - you? we have known for quite some time that the growth was very rapid | time that the growth was very rapid in increasing so i am not surprised and it is alarming but it is what we expected. and it is alarming but it is what we exected. ., , . expected. something we are expecting to see across — expected. something we are expecting to see across europe _ expected. something we are expecting to see across europe as _ expected. something we are expecting to see across europe as well, - expected. something we are expecting to see across europe as well, do - expected. something we are expecting to see across europe as well, do you . to see across europe as well, do you think? , ~ ., ., y think? yes, i think not only in euro -e think? yes, i think not only in eumpe and — think? yes, i think not only in europe and also _ think? yes, i think not only in europe and also in _ think? yes, i think not only in europe and also in the - think? yes, i think not only in europe and also in the us - think? yes, i think not only ini europe and also in the us and think? yes, i think not only in - europe and also in the us and we already see numbers rise in the us as well. ., . ., .,
as well. concentrating on the testin: as well. concentrating on the testing process, _ as well. concentrating on the testing process, lateral- as well. concentrating on the testing process, lateral flow| as well. concentrating on the - testing process, lateral flow tests, testing process, lateralflow tests, we have had a supply issue here in the uk. how effective are they? the? the uk. how effective are they? they are very effective. _ the uk. how effective are they? tie: are very effective. what the the uk. how effective are they? tie1: are very effective. what the lateral flow tests are very good at is identifying people who are infectious. and that is really what matters at the moment. for example, yesterday, 50,000 people were identified by using lateralflow tests as being infected yesterday. do you think they are effective in reducing community transmission? yes, i think it is probably one of the most effective tools we have left in our tool box right now. but every time a person tests positive and isolates, they may prevent five or six other people becoming infectious. so they are very important right now. i
infectious. so they are very important right now. i wonder if you could clarify — important right now. i wonder if you could clarify one _ important right now. i wonder if you could clarify one little _ important right now. i wonder if you could clarify one little point... - important right now. i wonder if you could clarify one little point... i - could clarify one little point... i was being grilled the other day by somebody who said those figures that are reported, what are they reflecting? lateral flow tests were pcr tests, where do those figures come from but are reported by the government? it come from but are reported by the government?— come from but are reported by the covernment? ., , , ., , ., government? it would be people who are tested by — government? it would be people who are tested by lateral _ government? it would be people who are tested by lateral flow _ government? it would be people who are tested by lateral flow test - government? it would be people who are tested by lateral flow test but - are tested by lateral flow test but also people tested by pcr test. but they are not reported twice. haw they are not reported twice. how much do you _ they are not reported twice. how much do you think _ they are not reported twice. how much do you think that reflects the true picture of transmission? because not everybody will report that their lateral flow test was positive. they might do the test and stay at home. what do you think the realfigure of stay at home. what do you think the real figure of infections is? that is the big question _ real figure of infections is? “trust is the big question and it is much higher, i am sure there are lots of
people who may not report. so when we see very high numbers today, they are even higher in the community. when should tests be used so that we do not have this repeat problem of running out of lateral flow test? when is the best time to use them? well, it is fantastic we have the opportunity to test at home because it gives you an opportunity to use the test when you need them most. if, for example, you go out tomorrow night, you should testjust before you go out. because that is giving you go out. because that is giving you the best picture, whether you are infectious just before you go. and of course you should not go if it is positive. you should also think about, when the test otherwise? for example, if you are exposed tomorrow night. there is no point in testing on saturday because he will not be infectious then. you
should perhaps start testing monday or tuesday to see if you have been infected. and likewise, there is no point in continuing to test once you have tested positive. 0nly point in continuing to test once you have tested positive. only if you live in england produce are testing again on day six and day seven, otherwise keep the tests for when you need them. tqm. otherwise keep the tests for when you need them-— otherwise keep the tests for when you need them. 0k, professor irene petersen, thank _ you need them. 0k, professor irene petersen, thank you _ you need them. 0k, professor irene petersen, thank you very _ you need them. 0k, professor irene petersen, thank you very much - petersen, thank you very much indeed. israel has 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 ia, 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. us health authorities have urged americans to avoid cruise travel — even if they're fully vaccinated — as 0micron infections continue to surge. with several cruise ships already at sea, the us centers for disease control and prevention has said passengers should get tested three days after their trip ends. in march last year, thousands were stranded on the grand princess in san francisco amid a covid outbreak on board.
south africa made the changes based on the trajectory of the pandemic levels of vaccination in the country and available capacity in the health sector. 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. 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, "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 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.
vicky ward is 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. she gave her view of the verdicts. 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 whyjeffrey 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. that did not work with the jury. what worked was the prosecutors' ability 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. what i saw was an extraordinary judge, who headed to the second circuit after this, she went out of her way, according to my observations, to be fair to both sides. and her background coming into this trial was not one that was favourably disposed towards the government. as covid was first breaking outcome she was presiding over a trial... it ended up with not only a mistrial but with the judge investigating the southern district.
i'm not sure the governor 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. this is bbc news. 0ur headlines... a record number of covid—19 cases are recorded in the uk — and a further 332 deaths are reported the uk health secretary sajid javid says the government will buy hundreds of millions more lateral flow tests, after days of supply issues (00v)a key witness speaks publicly after ghislaine maxwell was found a key witness speaks publicly after ghislaine maxwell was found guilty of grooming underage girls to be abused byjeffrey epstein. the bbc has been told that letters between the prime minister and his independent standards adviser over how the refurbishment
of his downing street flat was funded — and whether or not borisjohnson misled lord geidt — will be published in early january. it comes as the financial times is reporting that the prime minister will be cleared of breaking the ministerial code and misleading his adviser. lord geidt previously cleared him of a conflict of interest, after conservative peer lord brownlow donated £52,000 towards the refurbishment. but lord geidt later revisited the inquiry to see if he had been misled. the cabinet office said it would not comment on speculation. downing street declined to comment. the former president of afghanistan, ashraf ghani, has said 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 4'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. 0ur 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. 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? 0n 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 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. 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 of the taliban takeover. lyse doucet, bbc news. vladimir putin has told joe biden ahead of a phone call between the two that he is convinced effective dialogue between moscow and washington is possible. the white house said washington was prepared to discuss moscow's concerns but stressed it was also ready to respond with severe sanctions if russia invaded ukraine again. mr putin said talks must be based on mutual respect and consideration of each other�*s national interests. a coroner has given a verdict at the inquest into the death of the liverpool women's hospital bomber, emad al swealmeen. a narrative conclusion was reached that al swealmean died in a taxi in front of the hospital, from an explosion and subsequent fire caused by an improvised explosive device which he had
carried into the vehicle. it said that he'd manufactured the device with murderous intent. 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 said the criticism was �*irresponsible' and was trying to �*mislead public opinion.�* the james webb space telescope — launched on christmas day — is starting to unfold its sunshield in a complex process involving hundreds of moving parts. 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 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.
you're watching bbc news. this is the latest from the bbc sports centre. manchester united are on course for their third win in four league games. 3—1 up against burnley at old trafford, scott mctominay got them off to a great start, united with three before half—time, ben mee's own goal deflected off a sancho effort and ronaldo putting them out offside before aaron lennon pulled one back. still 3—1 and into the second half. leicester might be relieved somewhat to learn their match on new year's day against norwich is off due to covid cases. the foxes have jamie vardy to add to the injury list, his top scorer this season suffered a hamstring injury in their win over
liverpool on tuesday and faces one month on the sidelines. the leicester bus says the actor demands placed on players in the festive period played a big part in his setback. west ham manager david moyes says unlike some of his fellow premier league managers, he won't complain about fixture congestion. west ham have played three times in the week and are set to play again on new year's day. he insists that is just the way the premier league works. we isjust 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. as a player and a manager, so we know exactly what we are getting. and when you come to this country it is part of it. but i think it is the culture of european football, they had good success in the cup competition already and also with another cup competition around the corner, so i feel a lot of the clubs and managers feel that their players are getting work too hard. quarterfinal places are up for grabs
at the world darts championship. james wade has sailed through to the last eight at ally pally, sweeping past dutch player, winning 4—0. england are expected to have 0wen farrell available for the beginning of the six nations, the fly—half required surgery on an ankle injury suffered in the win over australia in november. hookerjamie george and centre manu tuilagi are also hoping to be fit for england's opening game against scotland at murrayfield at the start of february. england's cricketers will be without head coach chris silverwood for the fourth ashes test in sydney. he's in isolation, after one of his family tested positive for covid. it's the seventh positive test in the touring party — three support staff and four family members have all contracted the virus. the match is due to start next wednesday. england are 3—0 down in the series, and have already lost the ashes. speculation continues to build, over whether the australian open champion novak djokovic, will play at the first major of the year in melbourne. fellow serb dusan lajovic has said the world number
one is unsure if he'll make the tournament, due to start in just over two weeks. djokovic has already withdrawn from the serbian team taking part at the atp cup in sydney this weekend. the 3a—year—old, who's won a record nine australian open men's titles, has repeatedly declined to say if he's been vaccinated for covid—19, a requirement demanded by organisers at melbourne park, unless given an exemption. he saidi he said i am not coming to the atp cup and they will see about the australian open. he did not specify if he is coming or not but he is waiting for the decision. he kept in touch with all of us and as i said, it was a last—minute decision, the australian open is still uncertain for us and i do not the information. i think that will come in the next couple of days or whenever the deadline is. we don't know right now. hopefully he will be there and be able to play the grand slam. and that's all the sport for now.
the headlines: a record number of covid—19 cases are recorded in the uk, and a further 332 deaths are reported. the uk health secretary, sajid javid, says the government will buy hundreds of millions more lateral flow tests, after days of supply issues. a key witness speaks publicly after ghislaine maxwell was found guilty of grooming underage girls to be abused byjeffrey epstein. 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. now on bbc news, it's time for our world. james clayton looks at recent breakthroughs in dna technology which help to solve murders. this film contains scenes which some viewers may find upsetting. human remains, possibly a female, found lying