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tv   BBC News  BBC News  January 3, 2022 5:00am-5:31am GMT

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this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk or around the globe. i'm david eades. our top stories: one of the world's leading conservationists, richard leakey, who helped prove that humans evolved in africa, has died aged 77. thousands protest against the military regime in sudan. the prime minister resigns, urging coup leaders to return to democracy. america's top covid expert, anthony fauci, warns there is a danger of a surge in people needing hospital treatment. a dutch protest against lockdown measures and vaccinations turns violent. and we'll be finding out why so many people live to 100 in this part of southern italy.
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the renowned kenyan conservationist and fossil hunter richard leakey has died at the age of 77. his discoveries were crucial in shedding light on the evolution of modern man. richard leakey also took a stand in the fight against ivory poachers in kenya. the bbc�*s tim allman looks back at his life and career. richard leakey helped tell the story of where we came from, but he was also concerned about where we are going. he made his name in the study of human evolution. his discoveries, including the famous turkana boy skeleton, helped transform our understanding of the origins of humanity. i think africa is beginning to recognise that our
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heritage is real. i think we're beginning to realise that blue—eyed guys like you, and scandinavians and people from all over the world, actually are part of the african diaspora. that's powerful. as was his commitment to conservation. in 1989 he was appointed head of kenya's national wildlife agency, his war against poaching symbolised by the public burning of tonnes of stolen ivory. richard leakey was born in nairobi in 1944, the son of two famous anthropologists. he suffered throughout his life from ill health, battling against cancer and needing a kidney transplant. he lost both his legs in a plane crash and he always suspected foul play, his fight against corruption creating many enemies. but those setbacks never got in the way of his love of scientific discovery and his love of africa. he was described as a visionary whose great contributions to human origins and wildlife
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conservation will never be forgotten. the conservationist richard leakey, who has died at the age of 77. the chinese property giant evergrande has once again suspended trade of its shares on the hong kong stock exchange as investors await news on its restructuring plan. a statement did not give a reason for the move, but the company has more than $300 billion of debts. last week evergrande dialled back plans to repay investors in its wealth management products. to find out more, i've been speaking to mariko oi in singapore. well, david, as you said, the company didn't say why its shares are being suspended. and i have to say, for many months now it's been incredibly difficult to know what's happening with evergrande. but if you speak to experts who've been watching china closely, this is exactly how
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beijing wants to handle its debt crisis. because, remember, it was the chinese communist party which changed the rules as to how much money those developers could borrow. and it's pretty obvious that they knew that evergrande and other developers would be in trouble, but they wanted to send a clear message that what they considered a reckless expansion of the sector couldn't continue. and they didn't want to bail out evergrande or its billionaire founder, for that matter, because it would go against the "common prosperity" slogan that president xi has repeatedly talked about to fairly distribute the wealth across the country. but at the same time, beijing wants to avoid this becoming china's lima moment, if you like, which would affect the rest of the economy and beyond. so as opaque as it seems to the rest of us, evergrande continues being restructured rather quietly, slowly, with the supervision of the chinese authorities. and we'll probably hear bits and pieces, but we won't have
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this massive news headline, if you like. no, and as you say, if we don't know the direct reason, we have to be a bit careful about what one might speculate. the point though, mariko, surely is also this: it is the biggest or second—biggest developer in china. i mean, it's absolutely huge. there are a vast number of individuals and businesses and building companies who have an awful lot invested in its success, so if it were to go under, it would be difficult to avoid the sort of tremors across the economy, wouldn't it? exactly, and that is why beijing wants to make sure that it doesn'tjust collapse. and it's been very clear that the priority is the ordinary citizens who may have bought property units from evergrande, for example. so the company and authorities have repeatedly said that they will finish those units so that those
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who invested in the company's property will get the money back. and when it comes to offshore investors, overseas investors, they're probably less of a priority for them, because defaulting on some of its debts wouldn't exactly create a financial uproar, if you like. so one analyst that i've spoken to has actually described this as beijing being a surgeon, making sure of what needs to be saved and what can actually be let go, so that the company's huge debt — as you said, $300 billion worth of it — could be controlled in a controlled manner. the sudanese prime minister, abdalla hamdok, has announced his resignation six weeks after he was reinstated in a controversial deal with the military. he had been ousted the previous october in a coup, provoking waves of protest. in a televised address on sunday, he said a new roundtable process was needed to reignite sudan's transition to democratic civilian rule.
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translation: i have tried my best to stop the country - from sliding towards disaster. sudan is crossing now a dangerous turning point that threatens its whole survival. i have decided to give back the responsibility and announce my resignation as prime minister, to give a chance to another man or woman of this noble country to continue leading our dear nation and help it pass through what's left of the transitional period to a civilian democratic country. mr hamdok was speaking after two people were shot dead during demonstrations in the city of 0mdurman. in the capital, khartoum, security forces fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at tens of thousands of protesters outside the presidential palace. emmanuel igunza reports. a new year, but the same defiant message. these protesters want an end to military involvement in politics in sudan
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and for full civilian government to take over power. from early morning, heavily armed security forces cordoned off the capital, khartoum. the roads and bridges leading into the presidential palace were sealed off. but, undeterred, the protesters marched on, but only so far. they were quickly dispersed by security forces. translation: revenge is something generally i associated with any military coup. this will only push the sudanese youth to continue their path to achieving all their demands. just last week, six protesters were shot dead by police. hundreds of others were injured, some critically. this has further angered the protesters. translation: | think - the international community does not have the final say. the street has the final say, and the international community can move according to what the street wants. these protests began last october after the military announced a coup against the civilian—led government of prime minister abdalla hamdok.
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despite reinstating him back a month later, the military leaders have faced growing demands to leave power. meanwhile, us secretary of state anthony blinken has condemned the use of lethal force against protesters and warned that the us was ready to take punitive actions against those who blocked sudan's return to civilian and democratic government. the country has witnessed three years of protests since the downfall of former president and strongman omar al—bashir. the army says it won't tolerate protests, but out on the streets, demonstrators vow not to relent. uncertain times for a country on the brink of total collapse. emmanuel igunza, bbc news. turning now to the coronavirus pandemic, where the omicron strain continues to cause a huge number of infections around the world. i've been speaking to william schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at vanderbilt university school of medicine.
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i asked him whether he shared chief medical advisor anthony fauci's prediction that hospitalisations could become a serious problem in the us. they're already beginning to run into trouble in parts of the united states. here in my own community, cases requiring hospitalisations have begun to rise. we're not stretched as other parts of the country are, but many people have travelled and had gatherings during this holiday season. that was an opportunity for this virus to be transmitted, and i think as a consequence we will have many more cases — mild, but nonetheless impacting our outpatient services, our clinics and our emergency rooms. but, in addition, there will be people who are hospitalised. we still have many, many unvaccinated persons, and they are at greatest risk of requiring hospitalisation. right, but if we look at it in a slightly bigger picture, my understanding is still there are not many examples
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of fatalities. and so we're in a world where people are — some people are getting a pretty bad time of things, but they are recovering. now, that all ultimately — isn't that, in the bigger picture, something to the good? undoubtedly, yes. you're exactly right, david. fatalities are a lagging indicator, so i'm a little bit cautious that they won't rise also. but nonetheless, so far so good. omicron appears to be being transmitted throughout this country, both in the large cities and also in smaller communities. and as i say, at the moment its major impact is a strain on the healthcare system. and no—one wants to be sick enough to be hospitalised, but nonetheless fatalities — they're not as bad as they were with delta. right, so we're looking
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at a picture where it is very worrying particularly, as you say from your point of view, for health workers as well. if they get covid, that exacerbates the problems within hospitals and clinics. but are we heading, do you think, to a world where the impact of the coronavirus is lessened in terms of its sheer strength, and for that reason we are that much closer to getting back to a normal way of living? well, that's certainly a hope, and we can hope for the best but we have to prepare for something less well, less good. so we're continuing to promote vaccination. we don't want the virus itself, the omicron virus, to create all that immunity because in its wake comes illness, of course, and as we have just said, hospitalisations. but it is possible that perhaps here in the united states, by the end of january into february, this virus will have spread so widely
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and we will have vaccinated so many people that we may actually get ahead of the virus if — it's a large "if" — there's no other new variant of concern that appears. the dutch government's health advisors will meet later to discuss whether schools can reopen next week following their early closure to reduce the chances of grandparents being exposed to covid—i9 over christmas. on sunday, police in amsterdam arrested at least 30 people at an unauthorised protest against lockdown measures and vaccinations. the netherlands has been in lockdown since mid—december. anna holligan reports. the first major anti—lock town demo of the new year, and the focus of their discontent was clear. four officers were injured when people tried to break through a barricade. a few protesters were hurt as
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well. they object to the rules suddenly imposed by the dutch government a few days before christmas to limit social interactions, protect the vulnerable in society and relieve pressure in hospitals. thousands defied a ban on masked public gatherings, designed to impede the rapid spread of the omicron variant. many people here believe the focus should be elsewhere. the roblem focus should be elsewhere. the problem here — focus should be elsewhere. the problem here in _ focus should be elsewhere. tue: problem here in the focus should be elsewhere. tte: problem here in the netherlands is that we don't have enough capacity in hospitals for the people, so raised that up. and i know it's not a thing that can be raised in two or three months, but we don't do anything about it, so maybe we should solve that problem and not put everybody inside their houses and make them unhappy. because unhappy people get sick. a, . because unhappy people get sick. . j~ , because unhappy people get sick. ., j~ , ., ., , sick. more than 8596 of adults in the netherlands _ sick. more than 8596 of adults in the netherlands are - sick. more than 8596 of adults in the netherlands are fully . in the netherlands are fully vaccinated. infections were up 18% this week compared with the
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week before christmas, but hospitalisations have dropped considerably, to their lowest point in two months. and, after a slow start, the dutch booster programme is gaining momentum. everyone who wants a booster shot should be able to get one by next week. the lockdown will remain until at least iii january, a decision on when to lift it is expected this week. children's rights groups are among the 60 organisations that have appealed to ministers to allow pupils to return to class as scheduled on the 10th. a few days in, and 2022 is already displaying familiar struggles many hoped would be over by this year. big crowds out there in amsterdam. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the end of the line for the russian birds migrating to africa
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who fell victim to avian flu. the japanese people are in the mourning following the death of emperor hirohito. thousands converged on the imperial palace to pay their respects when it was announced he was dead. good grief. after half a century of delighting fans around the world, charlie brown and the rest of the gang are calling it quits. the singer paul simon starts his tour of south africa tomorrow, in spite of protests and violence from some black activist groups. they say international artists should continue to boycott south africa until majority rule is established. around the world, people have been paying tribute to the iconic rock star david bowie, who sold 140 million albums in a career that spanned half a century. his family announced overnight that he died of cancer at the age of 69.
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the world's tallest skyscraper opens later today. the burj dubai has easily overtaken its nearest rivals. this is bbc news. our top story: the renowned kenyan conservationist and fossil hunter richard leakey has died at the age of 77. let's stay with that now. bernard wood was a professor of human origins at george washington university and was friends with richard leakey for more than 50 years. richard's achievements were many. he was an extremely good organiser and he organised expeditions to northern kenya. he recognised that when he went to ethiopia, in place of his father, that there was a much better chance of recovering the fossils he was looking for in northern kenya,
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in his own country. so he raised money, he organised expeditions. he recruited good people. he recruited people who knew what they were doing in terms of dating rocks and interpreting rocks and recovering the fossils. the specimens that he was responsible for discovering really changed the way we think about human evolution and they are really the backbone of the evidence that we use to try and reconstruct our evolutionary history. huge contribution in it that respect. a man clearly of intellect but of amazing energy, and yet one thing i had not appreciated was the extent of his own health problems
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and there was a litany of them. yes, richard had more medical lives than most of us have had decent meals. he was resilient, he refused to give up and to give in. he had most of his legs amputated. there was a lot of despair and depression among the medical people looking after him, but he completely confounded them and he got some new legs and he learned to walk within a week and he waved goodbye to the hospital. a man has been charged in connection with a major fire
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at south africa's houses of parliament in cape town. the blaze totally destroyed part of the complex as nomsa maseko reports. an historic building on fire. plumes of smoke engulfing south africa's parliament. within hours, the fire tore through the complex and completely destroyed the main debating chamber. sirens. more than 60 fire fighters battling to extinguish the blaze. the damage is significant and there are fears that some parts of the structure, which was built in the late 1800s, could collapse. the entire parliamentary complex is severely damaged, waterlogged and smoke damaged. so there is going to be damage extensively. the roof above the old assembly chamber, the old assembly hall, is completely gone. singing. many high—profile south african politicians, including president cyril ramaphosa, were in cape town
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for the funeral of archbishop desmond tutu, which took place at st george's cathedral, a block away from the parliament precinct. this is devastating news. it's a terrible and devastating event. particularly after we gave the arch what i would call the best sendoff yesterday. the minister responsible for government infrastructure said fire fighters managed to contain the blaze from spreading further. this is a very sad day for our democracy because parliament is the home of our democracy and parliament is also a strategic, a key point. the building was empty for the new year holidays and no casualties were reported. this is the second fire in south africa's parliament in less than ten months. the first was caused by an electrical fault. this time around, a suspect has been arrested and faces charges of arson,
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housebreaking, and theft. he is expected to appear in court on tuesday. nomsa maseko, bbc news, cape town. let's get some of the day's other news. thousands of people have fled their homes in malaysia after seven states were hit by severe flooding. they've been taken to evacuation centres. over the last few weeks, the country has suffered unusually high levels of rainfall, leading to the deaths of 50 people. further heavy rain and high tides are forecast for the next few days. the tunisian ennahda party says its detained vice president, noureddine bhiri, has been transferred to a hospital in a serious condition. there's been no independent confirmation. mr bhiri is said to have been arrested outside his house on friday, and taken to an unknown location. thousands of migratory cranes have died at a nature reserve in northern israel, as the country tries to contain a serious avian flu outbreak.
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hundreds of thousands of chickens have had to be culled to stop the disease spreading amongst captive birds. stephanie prentice reports. it wasn't meant to be their final resting place but these birds migrating to africa didn't make it out of israel's hula valley after a strain of bird flu took hold of the group. translation: there was no other event . of this magnitude in israel. the cranes come from the north, from russia. in october they already identified the bird flu in europe and on their way to africa, about 50,000 cranes stopped here to rest and they brought the disease. those carefully disposing of the bodies estimate they've cleared away around 5,000 so far, declaring this nature reserve off—limits in case of human transmission. prime minister naftali bennett says he's working on a more robust plan after local media reported that children may have touched the dead birds and contributed to the spread of the flu. and fears about that spread have led to preventative cullings, with hundreds of thousands of chickens killed
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so far, enough to prompt warnings of egg shortages. overall, the outbreak is being called the worst blow to wildlife in the country's history, but there is some good news. experts say they expected more than 25,000 cranes to have died and so the lower levels may indicate that containment plans are working. stephanie prentice, bbc news. what is the secret to a longer life? it's an age—old question — and one region in southern italy is being studied by experts for its unusually high percentage of citizens who live past 100. sara monetta has more. hidden in the hills of southern italy lies one of the countries best best kept secret that of long life. this region that combines mountains and sea, where life seems stuck in a less chaotic simpler past. people here live on average ten years longer than other
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italians and about one resident in ten lives past 100. scientists from the university of san diego have been studying the area for years. but if you ask antonio who is 98 the answer is simple. translation: the peace here is incomparable. - people say hi, they know each other, they talk to each other. healthy food, pristine environment, lack of pollution, are all believed to play a role. but also family. maria just turned 100, she says she never spends a day without her grandchildren. translation: | love all my - grandchildren and they love me. they cherish me. every time they call me nona i hear in their voices that they are proud of me. maybe the key to a long life is just that.
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it is certainly a lovely part of the world in which to grow old so maybe that's the reason that they hang on as long as they do. that is bbc news, thanks for watching. hello there. after the record temperatures at new year's eve and new year's day, the week ahead is going to feel very different. it is turning colder. nothing exceptionally cold — just the sort of weather we should be getting really at this time of the year. and the first signs of that colder air arrives in northern scotland by the morning, follows a band of wet weather that will continue to move its way southwards. ahead of that for much of the uk it is a mild start. and for england and wales there'll be some sunshine, and a few blustery showers too. that band of wet weather moves southwards across scotland, a little sleet and snow in the hills, it turns wetter across northern ireland, some rain arrives into the far north of england. and to the north of that with the northerly wind the air is getting colder. but across most of england and wales we've got one more day of mild weather with temperatures in double figures. but instead of a southerly winds that brought those high temperatures over the new year,
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it's a northerly wind that's going to come pushing down across the whole of the country and drag that colder air southward as well. with the clearer skies developing overnight we're going to have a frost, i think, in scotland. in northern parts of england, perhaps northern ireland on tuesday morning. and because the air�*s getting colder those showers in northern scotland are turning more to snow even to low levels as well. but it's over the higher level routes that there's going to be some blizzards and drifting with gales or severe gales. we've still got the last of the milder and damp weather to clear away early on tuesday. then we're all in the colder air, cold northerly wind, a few wintry showers coming into some of the western parts of the uk. and of course it will feel much colder. and those temperatures are going to be quite a shock to the system when you consider how mild it has been of late. we start with a little more frost more widely, i think, on wednesday. those cold winds will tend to ease down, those wintry showers will move away, most places will turn dry and quite sunny. it's still on the chilly side although these temperatures are near normal really for this time of the year. and it will get cold very quickly during wednesday evening, wednesday night, ahead of the next weather system that's sweeping in from the atlantic. that will bring with it some stronger winds as it's
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moving into colder air, there could be a bit of snow for a while, particularly in the hills in scotland. then that band of wet weather continues to work its way eastwards through the day. it'll be followed by some sunshine and showers. some strong and gusty winds around as well, could make double figures in the south. but no signs of anything any warmer across northern parts of the uk.
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this is bbc news,
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the headlines: the renowned kenyan conservationist and fossil hunter, richard leakey, has died at the age of 77. his discoveries were crucial in shedding light on the emergence of modern man. richard leakey also took a stand on the front line of the fight against ivory poachers in kenya. thousands have protested against the military regime in sudan — the prime minister resigned urging coup leaders to return to democracy. it comes after another day of mass demonstrations against the military�*s involvement in the country's politics. two people were shot dead during the protests when soldiers used live rounds. america's top covid expert, antony fauci, is warning there's a danger of a surge in the number of people needing hospital treatment. the omicron strain continues to cause a huge number of infections around the world. the sheer scale of cases is starting to place more pressures on health systems. public sector leaders have
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been told to prepare

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