welcome to bbc news — i'm simon pusey. our top stories: south africa's president leads funeral tributes to archbishop desmond tutu — calling him the nation's moral compass. archbishop desmond tutu was, without question, a crusader in the struggle forfreedom, for justice, for equality and for peace. covid cases continue to surge across europe — the uk's health service is being put under increasing pressure. hello and welcome to bbc news.
south africa has said goodbye to archbishop desmond tutu with a state funeral at his former cathedral in cape town. he was famous for his modesty, and archbishop tutu gave instructions for a no—frills ceremony, with a simple wooden coffin, and an eco—friendly cremation. in his eulogy, president cyril ramaphosa called him the hero of the apartheid struggle, and a �*crusader for freedom, forjustice, for equality, and for peace�*. the bbc�*s nomsa maseko was there. family, friends, and politicians bidding farewell to a man who became one of the most important voices of the 20th century. this was a final send—off for archbishop desmond tutu, following a week of events to honour him. speakers shared memories of the anglican priest who did all he could to expose and to heal the wounds of south africa's brutal past. many of the messages
we received have said, "thank you for sharing him with the world." well, it actually is a two—way street. because we shared him with the world, you shared part of the love you held for him with us. south africa's president delivered the main eulogy. archbishop desmond tutu has been our moral compass, but he has also been our national conscience. a few blocks away from the church, mourners gathered to watch the funeral on screens provided to allow ordinary citizens to pay tribute to the man they affectionately referred to as the arch. i have a strong sense that i needed to be in a community of people who were honouring him. the archbishop is a very important man, notjust in south africa but to the rest of the world.
he's a great humanitarian, he's a wonderful person. he's done so much for this country. it was during south africa's long and violent struggle against the country's brutal regime that he rose to prominence. we will be free! after the country became a democracy, he presided over the tumultuous reconciliation process. in accordance with his wishes, the archbishop will be aquamated — this is a greener alternative to cremation. his ashes will be interred beneath the floor here at st george's cathedral. it's the end of an era — the last of south africa's well known freedom fighters leaves behind a difficult task for the leaders to rid the country of corruption and racial divisions, and to also forge the way forward in the spirit of the moral compass that many believe was the driving force to tutu's leadership.
nomsa maseko, bbc news, cape town. the israeli military says it has launched attacks on targets in gaza in response to rocket fire from palestinian militants earlier on saturday. after night fell, the israeli defence forces said they struck what they called terrorist targets in the gaza strip. hamas radio said the israelis targeted some of the militants group's security posts and a training camp. the two rockets launched towards israel earlier in the day fell in the sea off tel aviv. let's look at the pandemic now, and governments across europe have been releasing their latest figures — all of which seem to indicate a continued, rapid spread of covid. in the uk, the confirmed number of new infections is one 162,572. that's lower than previous days this week but it only takes in figures from england — with northern ireland, scotland and wales not reporting. the uk has also reported 154 deaths from covid. that's a death recorded within 28 days of a positive test. france has reported almost 220,000 new infections.
that's the fourth day in a row they have exceeded 200,000 — but is a little lower than the record which was set on friday. and covid cases remain close to record levels in italy — with more than 140,000 infections confirmed on saturday — the second successive day they've topped that figure. a senior british health official has warned, that the "next few days are crucial," in the battle against 0micron. chris hopson, the chief executive of national health service providers, says the uk government "must be ready to introduce new restrictions if they're needed." latest figures show hospital admissions in england, have risen to their highest level, since january last year. britiain�*s health secretary, sajid javid, has warned new restrictions on freedom "must be an absolute last resort." here's our health correspondent, sophie hutchinson. this is a platinum jubilee line train to...
..2022! a new year and with it, the hope that 2022 will draw us closer to the end of the pandemic, but, once again, january is likely to see soaring infection rates. last night, restrictions in some places, and advice in others, meant more subdued celebrations, but some were determined to celebrate. we've got our vaxes, we've got our boosters, we've done our things, we've followed the guidance. new year's eve has been a funny one this year because we obviously want to stay safe, but, also, in 15 years of living here, i've never been and done the london fireworks. so, boris had a cheese and wine party, so why can't i come and see the fireworks? hi, how are you? come in and take a seat. some had resolved to get protected for the new year and went for boosters today. this is third shot, booster, just want to make sure that i got all the protection we can get, stay out there, meeting friends and family, being out there living a normal life. the main priority right now
is to keep everyone safe, keep spreading the awareness, please, please, please get vaccinated, it's so important. whether it's the first, second dose or booster, and to look out for each other and protect one another. the health secretary in england is hoping vaccines will prevent the need for more restrictions and said additional measures would be a last resort. the debate about whether it's safe to mix or if we need more restrictions will continue but the question is, just how effective might those be? government—commissioned modelling from warwick university suggests the window to suppress the peak may already have passed and that the last opportunity to introduce effective restrictions was a week ago, on boxing day. the number of patients in hospital with covid—i9 has increased by about 70% in a week, according to nhs providers. they say it's too early to know how
this wave will play out. if the evidence shows that we are getting very significant numbers of people coming into hospital with covid, then the government needs to be ready to introduce further restrictions at pace. what we're trying to balance this against is the fact that the vaccines have changed the rules of the game. with most days now bringing record numbers of infections, as the virus spreads rapidly amongst us, the health secretary in england has warned of a big increase in hospitalisations this month, which is likely to test the limits of the nhs. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. we can now speak to saad 0mer who's director at the yale institute for global health. it is 2022 and many people were hoping for a better year in terms of covid than last year. what lessons should we take into 2022 from the previous year? a few lessons. first of all, the good news is that we have effective tools that have been battle tested over the
last year. we have an effective vaccine or a series of vaccines we have. whether know that masks, especially high—quality masks, especially high—quality masks protect. we know about the mode of transmission which is mitigated by better ventilation and letter filtration indoors, especially. and we also know that the risk is lower outdoors. so based on this knowledge we know that if we deploy these tools effectively and get ahead of the outbreak rather than always following the outbreak, we can achieve reasonable effective control. . , achieve reasonable effective control. ., , ., ., control. that is one thing for domestically _ control. that is one thing for domestically oriented - control. that is one thing forj domestically oriented policy. but for long—term control, as many of us have been saying, the long home control of this outbreak will not happen unless most of the world is effectively back unaided. what that means is that as long as
we continue to have these transmission events, the risk of new variants will continue to be there.— of new variants will continue to be there. , , to be there. maybe there needs to be there. maybe there needs to be there. maybe there needs to be a bit _ to be there. maybe there needs to be a bit more _ to be there. maybe there needs to be a bit more co-ordination i to be a bit more co—ordination between countries in 2022 so that vaccine hoarding does not take place. 0bviously that vaccine hoarding does not take place. obviously does not matter if 100% of one country is vaccinated if only 5% of africa is vaccinated, then it does not matter. they will bring the virus over to that country. absolutely. ﬁx, bring the virus over to that country. absolutely. a more nuanced _ country. absolutely. a more nuanced vaccination - country. absolutely. a more | nuanced vaccination strategy country. absolutely. a more i nuanced vaccination strategy if now some of the high income countries are moving towards a three dose schedule, that means that a three dose schedule should be there all around the world. especially in populations where initially inactivated vaccines were delivered. so some of these nuances need to be kept in mind because not only will history judge us poorly as a global community if there are major
areas where we do not have effective vaccination coverage, but also it is in everyone's domestic interest to make sure that there is global vaccine equity. that there is global vaccine eaui . �* that there is global vaccine eaui .�* , , ., ., equity. and, briefly, what are our equity. and, briefly, what are your predictions _ equity. and, briefly, what are your predictions for _ equity. and, briefly, what are your predictions for 2022? . equity. and, briefly, what are your predictions for 2022? it| your predictions for 2022? it is hard to tell whether there will be new variants but are we in a better position than we were 12 months ago? we in a better position than we were 12 months ago? we are in a much better— were 12 months ago? we are in a much better position _ were 12 months ago? we are in a much better position to - were 12 months ago? we are in a much better position to have - much better position to have the tools to combat this pandemic. again, it depends on how we deploy it and how effectively we deploy it. the big? is not the science of it it is the governance. the policy and implementation of the policy going forward. fingers crossed that we do have a much better 2022 and things can open up and we can enjoy ourselves more than last year. thank you very much for being with us here today. coronavirus is continuing to cause major disruption for travellers worldwide. airlines cancelled more than a400 flights on saturday. it's one of the highest single—day tallies since the cancellations began just before christmas. stephanie prentice reports.
from last—minute cancellations, to hours of delays in airports. the past week has been called the perfect storm of travel chaos in the united states as the demand for new year's rush, staffing in 0micron world, and bad weather collide. many on social media say their trip was cancelled either as they arrived at the airport or once they were through security. some say they are now stuck until tuesday at the earliest. and this man described an extensive reroute involving sleeping on the floor at dallas airport. more than 4400 flights were cancelled worldwide over saturday and into sunday. 2500 of those were going to or from us airports. chicago took the biggest hit due to storms there with 1000 flights unable to use the 0'hare or midway airports.
in a statement, united airlines, one of those impacted said that today's cancellations were driven by 0micron, staffing and weather—related issues. "we did pre—cancel flights in anticipation of inclement weather." but with many people now returning home from christmas holidays, sunday is expected to see further chaos, particularly with forecasts of snow and heavy wind. a bleak picture but one that travellers are starting to become familiar with. and experts warn that the storm of travel chaos will get worse before it passes. stephanie prentice, bbc news. let's get some of the day's other news. a scientific research station in antarctica is attempting to contain a covid outbreak. at least 16 of the 25 people based at the princess elisabeth polar station have caught the virus, although all the cases have been mild so far. new arrivals have been suspended until the outbreak eases. at least two people are now reported to be missing, including a 91—year—old
grandmother, after wildfires engulfed two towns in the american state of colorado on thursday. at least 30,000 people were forced to flee their homes at short notice when grassfires set houses ablaze in the suburbs of denver. at least 500 houses were destroyed. more than 20 people have been rescued after spending a night trapped in two cable cars in the us state of new mexico. the sandia peak tramway, in albuquerque, became stuck because of icy conditions. those on board — all employees of the company and a restaurant at the top — were supplied with food, water and emergency blankets. this is bbc news. a reminder of the headlines: south africa's president leads funeral tributes to archbishop desmond tutu, calling him "the nation's moral compass". coronavirus is still causing major disruption for travellers worldwide. thousands more flights have had to be cancelled. as you heard earlier, south africa has officially bid farewell to archbishop desmond tutu at his funeral in cape town.
he asked for a basic coffin and called for his body to aquamated. so, what exactly is an aquamation? none of us here readily knew the answer, so we reached out to samantha sieber. she is a biologist and her father was one of the founders of the aquamation process. she is in danville, indiana. samantha, thank you forjoining us. can you quickly summarise the process of aquamation because i think a lot of people watching may not have ever have heard of it?— heard of it? absolutely. aquamation _ heard of it? absolutely. aquamation is - heard of it? absolutely. aquamation is an - heard of it? absolutely. - aquamation is an alternative to burial and cremation, a choice that families have. very similar end result to cremation where the family receives an urban, anything that you can do with cremation ushers you can do with ashes from aquamation. ——an urn. at aquamation does not use fire, it uses a process thatis not use fire, it uses a process that is 95% water and 5% alkaline to gently reduce the
body to the mineral remains. the minerals arejust body to the mineral remains. the minerals are just like, with flame cremation, it is what is returned to the family in an urn. there are no emissions, mercury is not released into the air, and it uses less energy.— uses less energy. you talk there about _ uses less energy. you talk there about the _ uses less energy. you talk there about the fact - uses less energy. you talk there about the fact that l uses less energy. you talk- there about the fact that there are no emissions and i think it is probably one of the main reasons that desmond tutu chose it. that why people are using this process now? i think it is a major driver and a choice, i think these decisions are very personal so a lot of things come into play.— personal so a lot of things come into play. but either they erceive come into play. but either they perceive it _ come into play. but either they perceive it to — come into play. but either they perceive it to be _ come into play. but either they perceive it to be a _ come into play. but either they perceive it to be a better- perceive it to be a better choice for their loved ones or for personal reasons like dad spent his life on the lake every weekend and this seems like a better fit. every weekend and this seems like a betterfit. but every weekend and this seems like a better fit. but i every weekend and this seems like a betterfit. but i do think the environmental, you know, the fact that it has less impact, i think that it is a big choice for a lot of people. and yourfather and his and your father and his colleagues and yourfather and his colleagues were key to developing this process. can
you just take us through how they come up with it?- they come up with it? sure. doctor gordon _ they come up with it? sure. doctor gordon paid - they come up with it? sure. doctor gordon paid and - they come up with it? sure. i doctor gordon paid and doctor webber at albany medical school came up with alkaline hydrolysis back in the early 19905 hydrolysis back in the early 1990s and my father who is actually my mental, he met these two scientists and really wanted to develop the technology and fell in love with it and thought it was a really good alternative to some of the things that we currently at the time were doing in practice, using burnt technologies, and so he moved the company to indiana, where we were, and they commercialised it and essentially, it has been vetted by the scientific community for 30 years. they brought it into medical school applications for bodies that are donated to medical science in 1995. the mayo clinic put it in its systems in 2005. and the first funeral home in the world
installed its system in 2011 here in the us.— here in the us. and it's obviously _ here in the us. and it's obviously more - here in the us. and it's - obviously more sustainable and that's really important these days, of course. there are a few issues around regulation and express and i guess i will come down but did you see it growing in the years to come —— expense? growing in the years to come -- expense?_ growing in the years to come -- exense? ., , , ., expense? really is and when we, when ou expense? really is and when we, when you what — expense? really is and when we, when you what we _ expense? really is and when we, when you what we liked - expense? really is and when we, when you what we liked about. when you what we liked about it. it has been a really nice decade and a half of learning what families feel about it and so it has been a learning process for all of us but it's certainly got a huge role in the future because its electricity only. it does not rely on fossil fuels. so as we move to eliminating fossil fuels where we can, this can have a major impact globally, especially in a lot of countries that are 99% cremation.— cremation. it's really interesting _ cremation. it's really interesting to - cremation. it's really interesting to speak| cremation. it's really i interesting to speak to cremation. it's really - interesting to speak to you, samantha, but thank you indeed for explaining the process so clearly. samantha sieber live
for us in indiana. a german sea rescue charity has taken hundreds of migrants to the italian port of pozzallo, in sicily. the sea—watch 3 vessel has spent the last week searching for a port that would accept them. the migrants were picked up in five separate operations in the mediterranean. crew members say the group includes more than 200 unaccompanied children. mattea weihe is the head of mission for sea—watch 3. she explains what the process is for disembarking everyone safely. we started the disembarkation process today, but it takes a lot of time, so we currently have about half the amount of people still on board, which is just around 200 people currently. so —— that issue is more of a logistical kind so basically, the people need to have places in hotspots, they need to be registered, need to be put on quarantine ferries and this process takes a long, long time, so basically as soon as they have places for people, we can disembark them and when more places open up, we can disembark the rest.
the people are from all different kinds of places. they all fled libya and they all tell us horrible stories about the time they've spent there, so when you sit down on deck and have a talk with them, they actually tell you the most horrific stories you probably would have ever heard in your life. they come from various countries, sub—saharan countries, north african countries and they've made this really dangerous journey and they are really, really, really happy they can hopefully start a new life which is peaceful and actually gives them some sort of protection that they deserve. we always really demand a quick disembarkation process because, as you know, a ship is not necessarily a place for 440 people who have been through hell and who ended up here, so we are always really, really, really eager to get a disembarkation port as quickly as possible, a place where they can be safe, however, we realised also in the past these processes take a very, very long time and we demand, actually, that they go quicker and quicker in the future. official figures in sri lanka show that food prices have increased by a record 22% in december
as the country struggles to pay for imports due to a shortage of foreign exchange. the bbc�*s anbarasan ethirajan reports from colombo. this woman is adjusting to the new reality. until recently, she was using a cooking gas cylinder to prepare food for herfour children. but now, firewood is the only option. her husband is a day wage labour. with the rising cost of essential items, they are struggling to make ends meet. translation: cooking gas cylinder prices have almost| doubled, and we cannot afford it any more. i used to provide fish and vegetables daily to my children. now, we are giving them one vegetable with rice. earlier, we used to have three meals a day. now we can afford only two. we can't spend all the money on food as we have to spend on their education, as well. the increasing food prices are hitting families hard,
particularly lower income group families, and the prices have gone up to 30% for some items in this year. with the government facing more problems in the foreign exchange reserves, the prices of certain food commodities are likely to go up further. the crisis is unprecedented. sri lanka has banned the import of several items following a sharp decline in foreign exchange reserves and reserves. the pandemic has made matters worse for tourism — the mainstay of sri lanka's economy. as a result, millions of sri lankans have been stretched to the limits. sri lankans are quite sensitive to food price inflation. there's already been a lot of negative sentiment regarding the constraints that we are seeing. i think it is probably quite close to a point where there is a lack of further tolerance of this level of price escalation on food prices, in particular. sri lanka has been borrowing heavily to bolster its economy and infrastructure over
the years, especially after the end of the civil war in 2009. now it faces the prospect of a loan default for the first time since independence from britain in 1948. we had to go into a restriction of imports because of the pressure on our current account was increasing, due to the pandemic situation. but as a responsible government, we need to manage it. one thing, to make the stuff available and then, make it available for the right price. the government have dispatched its ministers to several capitals, desperately seeking loans, but it's seen as a firefighting exercise, then going for the root cause. with a further import assertions on cars, for people like niluka, it will be a challenge to keep
the firewood in the kitchen going. anbarasan ethirajan, bbc news, colombo. all around the world, people have been welcoming the new year in a host of different ways. some spent time with family and friends, others headed to the shops to get a bargain, but a surprisingly large number decided to see in 2022 by getting wet. the bbc�*s tim allman explains. what is it with new year's day and people doing things like this? cheering. here at cavour bridge in rome, for more than half a century, every year, to celebrate the new year, they threw themselves into the tiber. normally, the water is icy cold, although milder weather meant it was perhaps a little less bracing this time around. in the netherlands, a group of hardy souls went for a dip in the north sea. an official event had been cancelled due to covid restrictions, but some just couldn't stop themselves. it feels like a refreshment, you know? now i feel like all my troubles
are gone and actually feel really energised. not that far away in portugal, their destination was the choppy seas of the north atlantic. the sun was shining, the water was cold. the mood, surprisingly positive. "it is a portuguese tradition on this beach," said this man. "what's nice is the conviviality, socialising with people, hoping to be able to recover our strength for a much better year, and hoping to get out of this pandemic." bagpipes skirl. 0n the other side of the pond, they have some traditions of their own. in boston, one of america's oldest cold water swimming groups solemnly marched to a nearby beach before they all made a mad dash for it. cheering. some called it "crazy," some called it "fun" — it's certainly one way to see in the new year. tim allman, bbc news. now, let's get an update
on the weather with matt taylor. hello. it's been an unusually warm start to the brand new year. not only did new year's day bring us the warmest start to a january morning on record, the temperature overnight didn't drop below 13.2 celsius at chivenor in devon, but we also picked up our warmest new year's day on record — the temperature above 16 degrees in london. and it wasn'tjust here in the uk that experienced an exceptional warmth — that's been across much of europe, as you can see by these yellow and amber colours. record—breaking for some but a change as colder air pushes in through next week to something much more akin to january — even the return of snow for some. no snow, though, to start sunday morning. it will be a little bit chilly across parts of north east scotland but elsewhere, a very mild start and some heavy downpours to begin with across the eastern half of england. quickly gets out of the way, then lots of sunshine through much of the day. a few showers in the west which will become more extensive and frequent as we go through the morning, some of those becoming heavy with hail and thunder, particularly lively, though, through wales, the south—west, pushing towards the midlands and central southern england for the afternoon. some eastern areas will stay dry, though, after that morning
rain until later on, but a blustery day across the board. not quite as windy in western scotland, though, as we saw on new year's day. temperature—wise, down a little bit on new year's day values but still significantly above where we'd normally expect this stage in january. so, some heavy rain, then, into sunday evening, spreading across the eastern half of england. that clears through. a few showers through the night and into monday morning. most of those, though, will be across parts of scotland and northern ireland, and they could start to turn a bit wintry across the far north of scotland as colder air tries to edge its way in. and that's all to the north of this weather front. that's going to be slowly pushing its way southwards through monday. at the same time, an approaching one into the south—west. in between those two areas, a lot of dry weather for england and wales on monday — a bank holiday for many — just one or two showers. cold and wintry showers spreading into the north of scotland. the dividing line between that cold air, though, by the end of the day will be lying somewhere across northern ireland, southern scotland, northern england. outbreaks of rain and that, a wet end to the day for those in around the english channel. that low will clear through and as it does so,
monday night into tuesday, the cold air floods its way southwards and it will be a much chillier day. in fact, we could see some pretty frequent snow showers in the north of scotland and strengthening winds which could cause problems later on tuesday and into wednesday. but the upshot is for all of us, temperatures much lower next week. as you can see here, from a selection of towns and cities from the four nations, temperatures in single figures and, as i said, a bit of snow for some of you. blankets.
this is bbc news — the headlines: south africa has paid its official farewell to archbishop desmond tutu. president cyril ramaphosa called him the nation's moral compass. in a eulogy delivered at the state funeral — mr ramaphosa said desmond tutu had been the spiritual father of the new nation and the bearer of its conscience. covid—19 is continuing to cause major disruption for travellers worldwide — airlines cancelled
more than 4400 flights on saturday. it's one of the highest single—day tolls since the cancellations began just before christmas, and thousands of flights were grounded due to surging covid cases among airline crews and ground personnel. a german sea rescue charity has taken hundreds of migrants to the italian port of pozzallo, in sicily. the sea watch 3 vessel has spent the last week searching for a port that would accept them. the migrants were picked up in five separate operations in the mediterranean. now on bbc news, it's dateline london — with shaun ley.