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tv   BBC News  BBC News  January 2, 2022 9:00am-9:31am GMT

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this is bbc news broadcasting in the uk and around the globe. i'mjoanna i'm joanna gosling. our top stories... secondary school pupils are to be required to wear facemasks in class in england, as covid cases continue to surge across europe. fears a quarter of uk public sector workers could be off due to covid — as firms are warned to make contingency plans. france will cut the covid self—isolation period from ten to seven days, in a bid to ease staff pressures. dozens of fire crews are tackling a blaze at the houses of parliament in the south african city of cape town. a us judge throws out prince andrew's attempt to halt proceedings in a civil lawsuit against him.
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hello and welcome to bbc news. face masks are to be worn in secondary school classrooms in england, to reduce the spread of the omicron variant. until now, england was the only one of the four uk nations where face masks were not recommended for pupils in class. six teaching unions have demanded urgent action to limit the spread of the virus. the government has also announced that 7,000 air cleaning units are to be made available to early years settings, schools and colleges to improve ventilation in classrooms. there's concern that rising cases will continue to impact staffing across vital services. public sector leaders have been asked to prepare for "worst case scenarios" of up to 25%
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staff absence rates. in europe, france has cut its self—isolation period. fully vaccinated people who test positive will only have to isolate for seven days regardless of the coronavirus variant they are infected with, and can leave quarantine after five days if they show a negative pcr test. across europe, police have broken up small anti—lockdown protests as well as illegal gatherings. in stuttgart in germany, about 100 activists attempted to stage an unauthorised protest against covid vaccines and restrictions. james reynolds reports now on the measures to prevent the virus spreading in england's schools. since march 2020, getting an education has become an obstacle course of home learning, missed exams and regular covid tests. 0lder pupils have got used to wearing masks and communal areas in schools. now the government recommends the pupils in years seven and above keep their masks on when they are in class as well.
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the move will be reviewed in late january. if it is a choice between pupils wearing masks to go to school and then there is the air. taking a deep breath is the kind of thing you need to do before an exam but it is hard to do safely in a poorly ventilated classroom. in order to clear the air, then, the government is rolling out a further 7,000 purifiers. we are pleased the government is talking to us and trying to work out how to get some support into schools now. we are disappointed that we are having the conversation this side of christmas when we could have been making these arrangements earlier on. the government says it wants to minimise disruption and keep pupils in class, but unions warn that if large numbers of teachers get sick or have to quarantine, some classes may have to be sent home for short periods of time. james reynolds, bbc news. joining me now is geoff barton, the general secretary of the association of school and college leaders.
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welcome, thank you forjoining us. what is your reaction to people having to wear face masked in school in england? i having to wear face masked in school in encland? ., �* ~' having to wear face masked in school in encland? j «a, _, , having to wear face masked in school inenuland? j «a, , , in england? i don't think anybody is auoin to be in england? i don't think anybody is going to be hanging _ in england? i don't think anybody is going to be hanging out _ in england? i don't think anybody is going to be hanging out the - in england? i don't think anybody is i going to be hanging out the bunting at the thought of that. there are all kinds of reasons you wouldn't want to be hanging out the bunting at the thought of that. there are all kinds of reasons you wouldn't want face coverings. but two things. one thing, parents in england quite legitimately would think that if my child was going to school in wales or northern ireland or scotland, what is so different? why are they wearing face coverings there if it is helpful? and secondly, if this is a short—term fix is the government saysin a short—term fix is the government says in one of a number of different measures, including ventilation and moving 0fsted to the sidelines, if thatis moving 0fsted to the sidelines, if that is going to do what we all want and keep young people in their school or college, then i think that will be a price worth paying. it is difficult to _ will be a price worth paying. it is difficult to know _ will be a price worth paying. it is difficult to know at this point, because we're not quite there in terms of when the kids are going back, but what are your thoughts on concerns around levels of staff absence potentially and how that might impact on capacity in schools?
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i think that is the big concern. you are reporting today about the national health service under pressure because of staffing, and we have seen the big sporting events, retail, all of those being affected by absence of staff. if you are in a school or a college and you are running as i used to do a school of 1500, you have to have those teachers, those teaching assistants on the other stuff around, but particularly the teachers, and i think it won't be until tuesday morning when as a head teacher at eight o'clock i got a phone call from my deputy saying it seems as if we got eight or nine or ten teachers not here that we will then be scrabbling around to try to find supply teachers, former teachers, to help us. so quite what the scenario will be, we're not sure, but i do think that the announcement today from the department, even though it is last—minute as ever, it is helpful in saying that this isn't just about saying we will keep schools open. this is about doing a range of things to try and make it happen. d0 range of things to try and make it ha en. ,, range of things to try and make it hauen. ~ .,
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happen. do you think that there could be a _ happen. do you think that there could be a situation _ happen. do you think that there could be a situation where - happen. do you think that there | could be a situation where pupils are going to have to stay home? i'm just thinking particularly at this time of the year when there will be a lot of kids heading back to school to important mock exams and not being exactly clear on what might be happening for them. i being exactly clear on what might be happening for them.— happening for them. i think in terms ofthe happening for them. i think in terms of the specific _ happening for them. i think in terms of the specific question, _ happening for them. i think in terms of the specific question, could - of the specific question, could there be a situation like that? the answer is, yes, they could. 0ne answer is, yes, they could. one thing which i hope parents of young people will think, i hope, is helpful rather than doom mongering is what college and school leaders were asked to do by the government before christmas were to look at different scenarios. so what would you do if you are in a primary school where you had three members of staff off, or in a secondary school where you had, as one of our schools did, 30? how would you prioritise young people? would you say that the exam classes will be in while the others are having remote learning? nobody is saying we want that, and nobody is saying that will happen, but i think there has been some thinking around it if it were in the short term necessary, and we
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won't really know about that until we start seeing how many members of staff might be testing positive and therefore not available to teach in school from next week. but therefore not available to teach in school from next week.— therefore not available to teach in school from next week. but you are sa in: school from next week. but you are saying there — school from next week. but you are saying there is _ school from next week. but you are saying there is a — school from next week. but you are saying there is a plan _ school from next week. but you are saying there is a plan that - school from next week. but you are saying there is a plan that is - school from next week. but you are saying there is a plan that is good l saying there is a plan that is good to go, and that means that exam pupils would be prioritised? certainly what leaders have been asked to do is to look at their risk assessments and the contingency plans that are necessary, and i think whereas in the past people might have thought and said that this is a trade union is trying to stop young people being in school, wrongly, i think, stop young people being in school, wrongly, ithink, we stop young people being in school, wrongly, i think, we are saying totally the opposite. if the way in which we get the best quality of education is by thinking through different scenarios, which are likely to vary from one school to another in their different contexts,, then that ought to be reassuring that the absolute priority isn'tjust reassuring that the absolute priority isn't just the reassuring that the absolute priority isn'tjust the rhetoric of young people being in schools, but the logistical planning that has gone on behind the scenes as well. thank you very much forjoining us. jeff barton, the general secretary at the association of school and couege at the association of school and college leaders. we can talk more about the issue of ventilation in
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schools, with the government saying that they will be funding for 7000 ventilation units. professor mark mon—williams from the university of leeds is leading a trial of air cleaning equipment in 30 schools in bradford. welcome, thank you forjoining us. can you tell us how that trial is working? what is being done, and are you able to deduce anything from its impact yet? you able to deduce anything from its im act et? ., ., , , ., impact yet? there are two bits to the trial, impact yet? there are two bits to the trial. and _ impact yet? there are two bits to the trial, and the _ impact yet? there are two bits to the trial, and the first _ impact yet? there are two bits to the trial, and the first is - impact yet? there are two bits to the trial, and the first isjust - the trial, and the first is just understanding what of the issues associated with putting these technologies into schools. it sounds very straight forward, put technology in school, but in practice there are a number of issues we need to resolve to make that as painless as we possibly can. the first part of the study has been looking at that issue. the second part of the study is then seen, is there evidence that these very promising technologies will actually decrease infection rates and keep children in school? so we have completed the first part of the study, actually understanding how we put these things in schools, and the
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issues associated with them, and in early january we hope to have the first tranche of data that will give us some indication as to whether the systems are decreasing infection rates and over the forthcoming school year we will get a better understanding of the impact. so school year we will get a better understanding of the impact. 50 in understanding of the impact. so in terms ofjust _ understanding of the impact. so in terms ofjust the _ understanding of the impact. so in terms ofjust the technical- terms ofjust the technical logistics of rolling out ventilation units, because the government has said that it will fund 7000 ventilation units, is it pretty straight forward?— ventilation units, is it pretty straight forward? ventilation units, is it pretty straiaht forward? . . , straight forward? there are a number of different issues _ straight forward? there are a number of different issues such _ straight forward? there are a number of different issues such as _ straight forward? there are a number of different issues such as does - straight forward? there are a number of different issues such as does the l of different issues such as does the room have enough plug sockets, how many units are you going to put in, are there other issues as well such as delivering the units? are cleaning the filter is needed? there are practical issues that really need to be understood in order for the role it to be effective. and need to be understood in order for the role it to be effective.- the role it to be effective. and in terms of the _ the role it to be effective. and in terms of the cost, _ the role it to be effective. and in terms of the cost, how— the role it to be effective. and in terms of the cost, how does - the role it to be effective. and inj terms of the cost, how does that work out?—
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terms of the cost, how does that work out? ., , , ., , work out? the more units you put in, the lower the — work out? the more units you put in, the lower the cost, _ work out? the more units you put in, the lower the cost, but _ work out? the more units you put in, the lower the cost, but the _ work out? the more units you put in, the lower the cost, but the costs - the lower the cost, but the costs are still substantial. so the question is, is this the best investment to make? we are all passionately wanted to keep children and young people in schools, and we are desperate to try and improve outcomes for children and young people, but the question is is this where your money is best spent, and thatis where your money is best spent, and that is what we are trying to establish within the trial. we really need a solid evidence base where policy decisions can be made, and we are working with the department for education, the department for education, the department of social health care to make the best decisions for our young people. make the best decisions for our young people-— make the best decisions for our young people. because obviously keein: young people. because obviously keeping windows _ young people. because obviously keeping windows open _ young people. because obviously keeping windows open it - young people. because obviously keeping windows open it using i keeping windows open it using natural ventilation is free, but it can make people uncomfortable. how well does it do the trick versus paying for units in classes? that is exactly the — paying for units in classes? that is exactly the sort — paying for units in classes? that is exactly the sort of _ paying for units in classes? that is exactly the sort of question - paying for units in classes? that is exactly the sort of question that i paying for units in classes? that is| exactly the sort of question that we need to address. and of course ventilation is an incredibly powerful tool, ventilation is an incredibly powerfultool, but ventilation is an incredibly powerful tool, but not all schools are able to ventilate adequately, and a number of our schools are positioned in areas with very poor
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air quality, so opening up windows may produce other adverse consequences. so this is why we need to properly understand the different benefits, the different disadvantages, various approaches. ventilation is a fantastically important tool, but the question is, can we supplement that with these air cleaning technologies wears white and just a quick thought, because this is something that has been raised for a long time. the andemic been raised for a long time. the pandemic has — been raised for a long time. the pandemic has been going on for almost two years. why is it only now that this is actually being rolled out? . ., ., out? our children have had three academic years _ out? our children have had three academic years where _ out? our children have had three academic years where they - out? our children have had three academic years where they have | out? our children have had three . academic years where they have had an issue. the pandemic made us all think afresh about what we really care for in society, and i hope that actually what this has done is shone actually what this has done is shone a spotlight on the desperate need for children and young people and their education. they are the hope of our society. it is sad it is taken a pandemic to make us really focus on children and young people, but now let's make sure we take this opportunity to really think through
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holistically how we can support every aspect of a child and young person's life to give them the best start in life. person's life to give them the best start in life-— start in life. professor mark mon-williams, _ start in life. professor mark mon-williams, thank - start in life. professor mark mon-williams, thank you . start in life. professor mark i mon-williams, thank you very start in life. professor mark - mon-williams, thank you very much mon—williams, thank you very much forjoining us. mon-williams, thank you very much forjoining us— "robust contingency plans" are being developed by government ministers, amid warnings that a quarter of public sector workers could soon be off work because of covid. rising case numbers have led to large numbers of employees self—isolating — with absences particularly affecting the nhs and the transport industry. the uk has seen record numbers of daily cases over the festive period. firefighters in south africa have been battling a fire at the country's parliament building. the fire, which authorities say is contained but still burning, is thought to have started in office space on the third floor at the parliament building in cape town before spreading to the national assembly building. video footage shows a plume of black smoke filling the sky, with huge flames from the roof of the building. it's not thought anyone was inside at the time.
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the minister for public works says they have started an investigation into the cause of the fire. we have the situation under control for now. we will be continuing with the investigation as to the cause of the investigation as to the cause of the fire. for now, where it is burning, we have contained the fire in the chambers of the national council of provinces. the fire is currently in the national assembly chambers, where we are also busy to contain that. this is a very sad day for our democracy, because parliament is the home of our democracy, and parliament is also a strategic key point. all matters will be investigated. the police have started to investigate. the forensic department is here, all together, but for now what is important for us, we can't tell you
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exactly where the fire started, but we can tell you where we've contained it and where the fire is currently taking place. part of the other smoke that you see coming out is there is a big extractorfan other smoke that you see coming out is there is a big extractor fan that is there is a big extractor fan that is pulling the smoke and everything from the national council of provinces out into the air, and that is what you see is happening also at the moment. jermaine carelsa from cape town fire and rescue told us about the emergency response. we receive the calljust after five this morning, and when the officer arrived _ this morning, and when the officer arrived and — this morning, and when the officer arrived and confirmed that it was the parliamentary building, we had ei-ht the parliamentary building, we had eight firefighting appliances on scene — eight firefighting appliances on scene and 50 firefighters currently. and obviously it is quite a fluid situation, _ and obviously it is quite a fluid situation, with the fire inside the building — situation, with the fire inside the building creating intense heat. they
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are fighting in the fire from the roof side — are fighting in the fire from the roof side and say that the bitumen on top _ roof side and say that the bitumen on top of— roof side and say that the bitumen on top of the reef is currently melting _ on top of the reef is currently melting. there is concern about collapse — melting. there is concern about collapse of the walls inside the building — collapse of the walls inside the building itself. there have been no reports _ building itself. there have been no reports of— building itself. there have been no reports of the fire spreading to other— reports of the fire spreading to other buildings. an update on our headlines on bbc news. secondary school pupils are to be required to wear face masks in class in england, as covid cases continue to surge across europe. fears a quarter of uk public sector workers could be off due to covid — as firms are warned to make contingency plans. france will cut the covid self—isolation period from 10 to 7 days, in a bid to ease staff pressures. ajudge in the united states has thrown out prince andrew's attempt to halt proceedings in a civil lawsuit against him. the duke of york's lawyers had
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argued that virginia giuffre — who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager — lives in australia, so is not a us resident. prince andrew has consistently denied the allegations. aruna iyengar has this report. seen here at the age of 17, virginia roberts, now giuffre, with prince andrew on the left and ghislaine maxwell in the background. miss giuffre has accused prince andrew of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager at the homes ofjeffrey epstein, the convicted child sex offender, and ghislaine maxwell. prince andrew has consistently denied the allegations. the civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. two efforts to stall the case were blocked on saturday. us federaljudge lewis kaplan told the prince's lawyers they must hand over key legal documents before a crucial court hearing in new york on tuesday. he also rejected arguments by the prince's lawyer, andrew brettler, that the lawsuit should be dismissed because miss giuffre, a us citizen,
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no longer lives in the us. this comes after ghislaine maxwell was convicted this week of recruiting and trafficking young girls to be sexually abused by her boyfriend, the late american financier jeffrey epstein, between 1994 and 200a. on tuesday, judge kaplan will hear oral arguments to decide whether virginia giuffre's lawsuit against prince andrew will proceed. aruna iyengar, bbc news. the south korean military says it has carried out a search operation after a south korean man crossed the border into north korea. the circumstances of the apparent defection are unclear, but a military source said the unnamed man crossed from the demilitarised zone into the north on saturday evening. the office of south korea'sjoint chiefs of staff said it could not confirm whether the person was still alive. laura bicker in seoul is following the story. there have been a number of breaches of the border in the last few years, but this, just to explain
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to your viewers, is one of the most heavily fortified areas in the entire world. it is a four kilometre wide area full of landmines, surveillance equipment. it is surrounded by electric fences. normally there are guards in watchtowers who are there, armed, ready to react every 2a hours. this happened on new year's day. it has happened in the same area in the last year, so there have been questions about the security and surveillance of the border area in this east coast part of south korea. what appears to have happened is an alert was raised about 6:1i0am on new year's day and then a search was made for about three orfour hours. they did not find the individual, and that individual has then made it into north korea. one of the things we do know, and certainly one of my sources is telling me, is it is a civilian, but we don't know if it is a south
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korean citizen or whether or not it was a north korean defector who was here in the south, who may have wanted to try and go back north. laura bicker reporting. in the uk, 20 conservative mps and peers have called on the prime minister to tackle the spiralling cost of living. five former ministers are among the signatories of a letter to the sunday telegraph, which follows huge increases in wholesale gas prices. 0ur political correspondent chris mason reports. wholesale gas and electricity prices are rising steeply. the boss of one energy firm is predicting an enormous crisis this year as a consequence. now 20 tory parliamentarians are expressing their concerns, too. the letter has been organised by what is called the net zero scrutiny group of conservatives, which keeps an eye on the consequences of the government's environmental commitments.
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the government is meeting energy firms and the regulator 0fgem regularly to work out how to help consumers. this will be, without question, one of the government's most pressing problems in the early weeks and months of the new year. police are appealing for information after a man was shot in the stomach in liverpool last night. the incident happened in the car park of the netherton pub in litherland just after 7pm and the 33—year—old victim is said to be in a serious condition. merseyside police say they believe the shooting was targeted. snow is hindering relief efforts after a wildfire hit the american state of colorado. the blaze destroyed almost a thousand homes and at least three people are missing. russell trott has more. freezing conditions
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and a blanket of snow had helped to quell the flames. the eerie charred remains are all that's left in this part of boulder county. the snow, up to ten inches in places, was initially welcome, but is now hampering relief operations. three people are still unaccounted for but rescue has now turns to recovery in the search to find those still missing. we are calling in cadaver dogs and search teams to help us with the effort tomorrow. the structures where these folks would be are completely destroyed. they are covered with about eight inches of snow right now. the wildfire had moved quickly, fanned by high winds. it took just seconds to rip through an area the size of a football pitch, leaving a trail of destruction. entire neighbourhoods engulfed in flames, at least 1000 homes and businesses destroyed. tens of thousands of residents had no option but to flee for their lives.
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president biden approved a disaster declaration, freeing up federal resources. weather experts spoke of their disbelief that such a large fire could have taken hold in the depths of a cold winter. all of colorado's 20 biggest wildfires have happened in the last 20 years, and it all points to a change in climate, and the unpredictability that goes with it. russell trott, bbc news. lebanon is ending its year in a state of paralysis. currency loses value, and the investigation into 2020blasted beirut has stalled amid deep political divisions. arguments over the date of the elections this year have led to fears they won't happen at all. anna foster reports.
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for lebanon, the last year has been a fight for survival. a battle for a dwindling supply of medicines. for electricity, as the country descended into darkness. and even for the most basic goods, like food and fuel. in october, seven people died in violent clashes that took a generation back to the civil war. the hours of fighting here that day were sparked by rows about the investigation into 2020's devastating beirut port explosion. influential figures have fought hard
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against giving evidence, and that means the investigation has been suspended again and again. for survivors and bereaved families, there is still no closure. this woman's son was one of 200 people who died. lebanon spent more than a year without a government. the one it finally got, back in september, has achieved little. the currency has lost more than 90% of its value, and thousands of families living in poverty. in the next few months,
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there should be elections, but political parties can't agree on the date, and there are fears they won't happen at all. date, and there are fears they won't happen at all-— date, and there are fears they won't happen at all. what we feel and what we sense is — happen at all. what we feel and what we sense is that _ happen at all. what we feel and what we sense is that the _ happen at all. what we feel and what we sense is that the political - happen at all. what we feel and what we sense is that the political class i we sense is that the political class is a big opponent to these elections because this might change the ruling parties, and this might bring in new blood to the parliament which might jeopardise the power of these political parties. the international community has — political parties. the international community has made _ political parties. the international community has made it _ political parties. the international community has made it clear- political parties. the international community has made it clear that| political parties. the international i community has made it clear that it won't help lebanon until the country helps itself. based on the last year, the prospects for the next one look bleak. anna foster, bbc news, beirut. 21 people have been rescued after being trapped overnight in tram cars on a mountain in mexico. nice work was affecting the emergency cable. the cars were lowered using a rope system, and the passengers were evacuated via helicopter. you are
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watching bbc news. hello there. the mild weather story is set to continue for today at least. it was a beautiful start for some of us, with early morning sunshine, as you can see by this weather watcher picture scented from rotherham. but there were also sharp showers around, one batch eased off into the north seat, a rash of showers to the north of the great glen, but as we go through the morning and into the early afternoon, some showers merged together for a afternoon, some showers merged togetherfor a heavy afternoon, some showers merged together for a heavy burst of rain together for a heavy burst of rain to push through the south of england and west wales, gradually drifting east. sunny spells and scattered showers for much of scotland and northern ireland as well, blustery for all, northern ireland as well, blustery forall, particularly northern ireland as well, blustery for all, particularly on exposed west facing coast, gust in excess of 40 west facing coast, gust in excess of a0 mph not out of the question. but in terms of the feel of the weather, once again temperature is above
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where they should be for the time of year, not quite as mild as the last couple of days, but nevertheless 9-13 c the couple of days, but nevertheless 9—13 c the high. through the night tonight, we continue with a south—westerly flow, so mild across england and wales, but a northerly wind will start to kick in, and that is going to drag in some colder air for the far north of scotland. this is a cold front, so that cold air is going to continue to push its way steadily south as the front sinks slowly south during bank holiday monday. we will also see more cloud and rainjust brushing the monday. we will also see more cloud and rain just brushing the southern fringes, and sandwiched in between the two, relatively mild and still with sunshine continuing. we will have sunshine further north, but look at the difference with the feel of the weather. 10—11 to the south of the weather. 10—11 to the south of that cold front, and behind it, a noticeable difference, particularly across eastern scotland where temperature is really struggling to climb above freezing. that cold and it will push its way steadily south, so as we go into tuesday, a noticeable difference for all of us.
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still plenty of strong winds into the far north, driving in some wintry showers, but elsewhere on tuesday we start off cloudy, but that cloud should ease away, and more sunshine come through. crisp day, noticeably cooler for all, more sunshine come through. crisp day, noticeably coolerfor all, top temperature is around 5—8 , about where they should be for this time of year. now, that does lead into a frosty start during the early hours from wednesday morning, and that means that on wednesday after matt frost we are going to see a good deal of dry, sunny weather before the showers are set to return, and it stays on the cold site.
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this is bbc news. the headlines... secondary school pupils are to be required to wear face masks in class in england, as covid cases continue to surge across europe. fears a quarter of uk public sector workers could be off due to covid — as firms are warned to make contingency plans. france will cut the covid self—isolation period from 10 to 7 days, in a bid to ease staff pressures. dozens of fire crews are tackling a blaze at the houses of parliament
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in the south african city of cape town.

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