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

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this is bbc news. the latest headlines... the education secretary for england backs reducing the covid isolation period from seven days to five. the australian government did not give assurances to novak djokovic that he could enter the country without a vaccination — according to documents filed before tomorrow's court hearing. russian troops arrive in kazakhstan. there is relative calm there, after six days of violence that killed 164 people. look at this one, this is broken. a bbc investigation into accommodation for asylum seekers uncovers serious concerns about the living conditions provided for some people. the afghan baby separated
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from his parents in kabul during the chaos of the us withdrawal is reunited with relatives. and the duchess of cambridge at a0 — three new portraits will go on display in towns where kate has lived, to celebrate her birthday. good afternoon. welcome to bbc news. the education secretary has said he would support cutting the coronavirus self—isolation period from seven days to five, in england, if the move was recommended by experts at the uk health security agency. nadim zahawi said the reduction would help with staff absenteeism. and he denied that there were plans to stop supplying free lateral flow tests,
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after a report in a sunday paper. our health correspondent dominic hughes has more. the good news is that booster jabs are holding fast against the omicron wave. even as new cases have surged, hospital admissions remain a long way off the peak seen this time last year. but each day, hundreds of thousands of people are having to isolate for at least seven days, so now there is a suggestion that period could be cut to five days instead. it would help with staff absenteeism, hence why i think if the experts, and i have to defer to the uk health and security agency, deem it appropriate that you can have two negative tests on consecutive days as we do now with day six and seven, then it is a good thing to keep under review. mr zahawi denied reports the government was planning to start charging
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for lateralflow tests, and labour's shadow chancellor said people need to be able to test regularly to stop passing on the virus. i'm very concerned by this briefing from government that lateral flow tests could be charged for any time soon. lateral flow tests are absolutely essential to keeping us protected and to keep our economy open. it's notjust isolation rules that could hit hospital staffing, by february the 3rd all nhs staff in england with direct contact with patients need to have had their first vaccine jab or risk losing theirjobs by the end of march. one nhs boss acknowledges that could affect around 10% of his workforce. we have approximately 14,000 staff... you could lose more than 1,000? in an extreme position. but i am confident, and we're already seeing a number of staff being vaccinated. the push on vaccinations and boosters, notjust make stuff but all of us continues.
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even though the 0micron wave is not yet over, ministers are clearly thinking about what happens next and how we live in covid in the years to come. dominic hughes — bbc news. joining me now is craig beaumont from the federation of small businesses. good afternoon. nadhim zahawi is making the point that reducing isolation could help with staff absenteeism, so is it something that your members would welcome? it absenteeism, so is it something that your members would welcome? it would be. it has your members would welcome? it would be- it has to _ your members would welcome? it would be- it has to be — your members would welcome? it would be. it has to be safe, _ your members would welcome? it would be. it has to be safe, so _ your members would welcome? it would be. it has to be safe, so we _ be. it has to be safe, so we wouldn't call for public health measure, is all about public health and safety, and this would have a huge impact. we have 2 million people with covid in the uk this week, so they are isolating, and if you are a big employer, what you can do as you can move projects around,
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you can move teams, even in the public sector except for specialised roles, you can move civil servants around between different functions. but if you are a small business with a team of five and you lose two or three of those, it will get very rough very fast, especially for customer facing rough very fast, especially for customerfacing businesses, you have only got so many people to fill the hours in the day. so the self isolation aspect of this is a real issue for us, and if it can be done safely and it's a big if, we are basically looking at the us cdc the centre for disease control, which did conclude that five days was the right time period, and that is the same science, the same variant, the same science, the same variant, the same sort of workforce, so we would like the uk authorities, the chief medical and scientific advisers, to take a look, because if it can be done it would be good. that take a look, because if it can be done it would be good.- done it would be good. that is interesting. — done it would be good. that is interesting, and _ done it would be good. that is interesting, and i _ done it would be good. that is interesting, and i can - done it would be good. that is i interesting, and i can completely see the benefits to a business, but i'm struck that you use the word safely many times, the uk health security agency isn't talking about
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this today, but if you look to what they said on the 1st of january, they said on the 1st of january, they said on the 1st of january, they said their modelling suggested that between ten and 30% of people are still infectious on day six, so i suppose those are the factors to your point about a very small business, they need to be conscious of that. ., , ., business, they need to be conscious of that. . , ., , ., of that. that is right, and if you look at the _ of that. that is right, and if you look at the other _ of that. that is right, and if you look at the other parts - of that. that is right, and if you look at the other parts the - of that. that is right, and if you i look at the other parts the science as of well, most covid transmissions happens in the one or two days prior to symptoms and two or three days afterwards. and their advices after five days you come out, you don't need to test, which of course is something that wouldn't fit with us, i don't think. they also recognise that you need five days of wearing a mask, which we don't do after our seven days, so i think it is a fair point to say that we should have another look, see if it works, look at the stats, and if it is possible without undermining our transmission rates, we wouldn't do anything that would make things worse but we do
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think it is a valid point to look at. one of the important thing is the government has done is brought back the sick pay rebates that if you are a small business owner watching now and your staff have to go off sick, that is one warrior thatis go off sick, that is one warrior that is removed. there are so many worries piling in on small businesses in that one is gone, but one final when the government really should sort out is the testing infrastructure. if people are supposed to be released from self isolation with lateral flow test but they can't get it either from the website which has been down for two weeks or from the local pharmacies which are running dry and the workplace testing programme, that really does need, that is a bigger priority for us than this. but all of these three things together would be really helpful at the moment. find be really helpful at the moment. and on the subject _ be really helpful at the moment. and on the subject of testing, a quick thought from you about lateral flow test. the government is saying it doesn't recognise those reports that lateral flow tests might one day be charged for, but there is clearly some debate about that, and i'm interested again from the
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perspective of your members what your view is on that. we perspective of your members what your view is on that.— your view is on that. we saw a re ort a your view is on that. we saw a report a week _ your view is on that. we saw a report a week or— your view is on that. we saw a report a week or two - your view is on that. we saw a report a week or two ago - your view is on that. we saw a report a week or two ago that | your view is on that. we saw a - report a week or two ago that there was a procurement contract to provide lateral flow test and the testing infrastructure through to 2025, and while it seems terrible that covid will last this long, this is the right thing to do. we should be looking at how we should manage this pandemic further down, i think the education secretary said endemic. how do you live with covid? it will be with us for years. so you need testing of the structure. i would argue that access to free, comprehensive testing needs to be brought back, and we need to have it for the longer term. we need to have this at least for a few more years until it is down to a flu or cold, but we are so far away from that, you need free, and fast testing, so we would oppose any plans to charge for those tests that make it harder to access. ., ~
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for those tests that make it harder to access. ., ,, , ., , . to access. thank you very much, crai: to access. thank you very much, craig beaumont _ to access. thank you very much, craig beaumont from _ to access. thank you very much, craig beaumont from the - to access. thank you very much, - craig beaumont from the federation of small businesses. now let's turn to australia. the australian government has failed to have the visa hearing for tennis champion novak djokovich delayed — it will go ahead as planned, late tonight, british time. novak djokovic's lawyers say he has a valid medical exemption from australia's strict covid vaccination policy, because he had coronavirus last month. but lawyers for the australian government have denied claims by mr djokovic that he'd been given an assurance he would be allowed to enter the country without being vaccinated. simonjones reports. supporters of novak djokovic to gather outside the immigration detention centre in melbourne where he is staying. they want to see him on the tennis court. the countdown is on to his court case. 0h, mate, i haven't slept since he's come off the plane. we are all sick to the stomach. it's a very unfortunate situation for australia.
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it's becoming very embarrassing. this was djokovic arriving on wednesday. his legal team said he had received a vaccine exemption to enter the country from tennis australia because he had tested positive for covid on the 16th of december. that was a day on which these pictures were taken, showing djokovic maskless at a ceremony in his home country of serbia in which he was honoured with his own postage stamps in recognition of his achievements. it's unclear whether he had taken a test at this stage. the following day, the serbian media said he was pictured handing out awards to young players. it's unclear whether he knew he had covid. another player, renata voracova from the czech republic, has now left the hotel and the country after her visa was cancelled. djokovic had asked to be moved to somewhere where he could train ahead of the open. that looks unlikely, but he has been given exercise equipment and gluten—free food. 0ne former australian foreign minister is not sympathetic.
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there's no way you could give him an exemption when exemptions haven't been given to people who have wanted to go to australia to see dying parents and, you know, injured relatives. there are all sorts of heart—rending stories about people not being able to see their relatives in australia. but those people aren't famous, so they don't get an exemption. but it will now be up to a judge to decide just a week before the australian open begins. simon jones, bbc news. we will be live in australia with an immigration lawyer forjust a immigration lawyer for just a moment. let's speak to our balkans correspondent guy de launey, who's in the serbian capital belgrade. as we get closer and closer to the start of the court hearing, i imagine a lot of people are following this closely. they are, and some _ following this closely. they are, and some of— following this closely. they are, and some of those _ following this closely. they are, and some of those people - following this closely. they are, and some of those people are i following this closely. they are, i and some of those people are right behind me and they are getting information straight from the
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horse's mouth. this is a support rally for the djokovic family. the family themselves have been talking, telling people hear the latest that they've heard from novak djokovic. his brother george saying that he is very grateful for the support that the family have received from the people of serbia, and they're all hoping for a positive verdict from an independent court. meanwhile, novak�*s mother has been saying he hasn't been getting breakfast in his hotel. he'd be getting three meals a day in prison, she says, so she says it is worse than being locked up in prison. it is worse than being locked up in rison, ,, �* it is worse than being locked up in rison. ,, ~ ., ., prison. goodness. and now we are siml on prison. goodness. and now we are simply on a _ prison. goodness. and now we are simply on a watching _ prison. goodness. and now we are simply on a watching brief. - prison. goodness. and now we are | simply on a watching brief. anyone who is interested in this story is simply watching and waiting for the court to say something. this simply watching and waiting for the court to say something.— court to say something. this is true. court to say something. this is true- you _ court to say something. this is true. you can't _ court to say something. this is true. you can't move - court to say something. this is true. you can't move this i court to say something. this is | true. you can't move this along court to say something. this is i true. you can't move this along any faster than it is going to go. but it is interesting that but debates that have been going on in the media
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here in serbia. i'm going to show you a couple of different front pages from opposite ends of the conservative media spectrum. you have got here are rather excitable and not entirely reputable tabloid which says australian liars! they say novak did absolutely nothing wrong, and a suitably outraged looking novak djokovic on the front. for a bit more quality, you have this one which is a much more thoughtful and says this is a political game, orwas thoughtful and says this is a political game, or was it a case of breaking the rules? we are only going to find out once we have had this court hearing in australia which will start about midnight local time in belgrade. bill which will start about midnight localtime in belgrade. all right, gu , localtime in belgrade. all right, guy. thank— localtime in belgrade. all right, guy. thank you _ localtime in belgrade. all right, guy, thank you very _ localtime in belgrade. all right, guy, thank you very much i localtime in belgrade. all right, guy, thank you very much for. localtime in belgrade. all right, i guy, thank you very much for keeping an eye on all of that in belgrade. and before we go live to australia, we are just hearing a couple of comments through from andy murray, sir andy murray. he has been saying a couple of things today about this.
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i believe it is the first time we've heard from andy murray on this. i know we have heard a little from jamie, but i think this is the first time we have heard from him, i hope i am correct in that. you can see his statement there. so, focusing on the pr side of all of this, and the australian open, the tournament itself, is due to begin a week tomorrow of course. that court hearing, as we say, it is monday australian time, all happening in melbourne, but that is late tonight british time is when it all starts, and let's discuss it. let's speak to daniel estrin who is an australian immigration lawyer and joins us from perth.
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thank you for talking to us, because it is pretty late at night where you are. anybody trying to follow it from this country is forgiven for thinking seems to be one version on one side, one version on the other, don't know who to believe. you are an immigration lawyer, we are fascinated to hear what you think is going on. fascinated to hear what you think is auoin on. , ~ , fascinated to hear what you think is auoin on. , g ., ,., going on. yes. my colleagues and i are obviously _ going on. yes. my colleagues and i are obviously following _ going on. yes. my colleagues and i are obviously following it _ going on. yes. my colleagues and i are obviously following it very i are obviously following it very closely for more intellectual reasons than others. i think what is remarkable about this case is that it is in fact quite unremarkable. it is an ordinary visa cancellation. people's visas get cancelled at the airport every day. most of them are not about to play a grand slam tournament and don't have the funds tournament and don't have the funds to go to court, but the migration act allows a border officer cancel a visa if they feel that somebody
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might be a risk to the health or otherwise of the population. novak djokovic's infection was not a medical contraindication for vaccination, so what it comes down to is a very simple visa cancellation procedure that happens every day, and what is important to remember is there is a difference between a visa in a travel exemption. at the outset, the visa itself is a separate animal to the travel exemption. the travel exemption is an additional layer of democracy which was imposed because of the pandemic. so over the last 20 months, i myself have had many clients who have held visas but have been stuck overseas including in the uk because they couldn't get a travel exemption to get back in. from the 15th of december, certain visa holders with the same as mr
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djokovic could enter australia without a travel exemption provided they were fully vaccinated. mr djokovic, as we know, is not fully vaccinated, therefore he needed a travel exemption and as we know from the court documents he didn't have it. what this case highlights the complexity of the framework. he has got a tennis australia exemption which is not a federal exemption, but i can see why he thought he was allowed to enter. he was granted a visa and he has a document saying he has been assessed. but at the end of the day, is he a risk to the community? the community is probably more a risk to him being unvaccinated, but that wasn't the government's view, and that is why they decided to cancel his visa. so thatis they decided to cancel his visa. so that is a summary of what happened. what is fascinating because the way you lay it out there makes it sound actually quite straightforward. what everyone thinks of the rules, everyone thinks of the rules, everyone listening to that gets what you say. we have been trying to get some response from tennis australia for several days and we haven't
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succeeded, but if the djokovic camp as you i think are suggesting clearly had conversations with tennis australia, they felt that they were allowed in because of letters they'd had from that organisation, does that carry any weight in this court hearing that starts in a few hours? do they have grounds on which they are going on, saying, we're feeling pretty aggrieved because we felt we had had some assurances from tennis australia and then we land in melbourne and that is not the case? absolutely. there is no such thing as an assurance to enter australia, that doesn't exist. what is really important to figure out is what can the court due tomorrow and what can't the court to do. there has been a lot of speculation, a lot of rallies in support. really that is all irrelevant to what the court can do. the court cannot review the medical evidence and make a fresh decision. the court doesn't determine whether the decision to cancel his visa was unfair or not, which will come as a surprise to people. it can't look at the facts and circumstances again. its role is
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solely to look at whether the border force officer at the airport made a legal error. and really it is the officer who was on trial here. we are unlikely to see mr djokovic take the stand as a witness. the court can't grant him an interim visa to play in the australian open. the submissions that his lawyers have made i would say have some merit, and i think there is a reasonable chance that the court might actually find that there is a jurisdictional error. all that means is that the decision is quashed, so whether the court will make that decision tomorrow is another story, because obviously there are a lot of factors to consider. but the end of the day, the court can't give him his visa back, it can only say it is a nullity. and the response to the minister which has come through now shows an extraordinary doubling down on this, and it makes it very clear that the ministerfor on this, and it makes it very clear that the minister for home affairs does not want mr djokovic in the
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country. does not want mr d'okovic in the count . �* ., , ., does not want mr d'okovic in the count. ., , country. and from your perspective, is that a political— country. and from your perspective, is that a political stance? _ country. and from your perspective, is that a political stance? that i country. and from your perspective, is that a political stance? that is i is that a political stance? that is about saying, we've all had such privations in this country for two years, we can't have someone coming in apparentlyjust because they're famous or high or important to a particular tournament? famous or high or important to a particulartournament? i famous or high or important to a particular tournament?— famous or high or important to a particular tournament? i don't think it is a political— particular tournament? i don't think it is a political stance. _ particular tournament? i don't think it is a political stance. simply i particular tournament? i don't think it is a political stance. simply it i it is a political stance. simply it is a legal argument which is basically saying what mr djokovic's lawyers are trying to do it right inadmissible in engage and having another go at the case, and that is not what the court case is about. the decision or rather the submissions by the minister's lawyers are quite dismissive of the grounds, they are saying he had plenty of time to respond to the notice intended to cancel his visa, the officer at the airport didn't do anything wrong, testing positive to covid was not contraindication. in an essence, they are trying to argue
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that the delegate at the airport made a legal error. but fresh, hot off the press now, as the minister's lawyers make it clear that even if mr djokovic wins tomorrow, the court should not order his release, and that in fact the minister for home affairs reserves the right to make a further cancellation decision, he has not prevented from using other powers under the migration act to detain him. so it is very clear that the minister does not want mr djokovic in australia.- the minister does not want mr djokovic in australia. wow. and this time yesterday _ djokovic in australia. wow. and this time yesterday on _ djokovic in australia. wow. and this time yesterday on this _ djokovic in australia. wow. and this time yesterday on this programme, | djokovic in australia. wow. and this| time yesterday on this programme, i spoke to alexander downer, former foreign minister in your country, and one of the points he made what he could have just flown to melbourne earlier and done the two weeks quarantine, and then he would be playing. that i guess is a valid point too. it be playing. that i guess is a valid oint too. , ., , ., point too. it is a very valid point, and didn't _ point too. it is a very valid point, and didn't hear— point too. it is a very valid point, and didn't hear the _ point too. it is a very valid point, and didn't hear the comments. l point too. it is a very valid point, | and didn't hear the comments. in some ways he is right, there are many, many people who have been
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knocked back travel exemption to see their dying relatives who have not been able to make it to australia, and they would be feeling very aggrieved if they were special treatment given to the tennis star. but let's face it, at the end of the day of course he is going to get special treatment. day of course he is going to get specialtreatment. he day of course he is going to get special treatment. he has the world number one tennis player and it's not surprising that people like him get special treatment. unfortunately in this instance he has been treated like any other person we would face in our lives as immigration lawyers who have their visas cancel that the airport. it is not uncommon. what is exciting about it is we have a federal court, the court of australia, and there is now going to be reviewing a decision on scrutinising very closely the framework within which those decisions are made at the airport, and that rarely happens, because most people just go home. and that rarely happens, because most peoplejust go home. so and that rarely happens, because most people just go home. so the fact that mr djokovic is challenging it is very exciting from our perspective. i it is very exciting from our perspective-— it is very exciting from our --ersective. , ., ., ~ it is very exciting from our --ersective. , ., ., ,, i. perspective. i see that. thank you so much for _ perspective. i see that. thank you so much for your _ perspective. i see that. thank you so much for your time _ perspective. i see that. thank you so much for your time and - perspective. i see that. thank you so much for your time and for- so much for your time and for staying up to talk to us here on the bbc. that is daniel estrin talking to us there from perth, an immigration lawyer, and of course we
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will keep you up—to—date with that. the court hearing begins in a few hours from now. media reports from kazakhstan citing the health ministry say 164 people died in the violence of the last week. most of the fatalities were in the country's biggest city, almaty. the authorities say more than 5,000 people have been detained. the unrest began as a protest against the rise in fuel prices, but may have morphed into a power struggle between factions of the ruling elite. russian troops continue to guard strategic facilities. 0ur moscow correspondent steve rosenberg has travelled to kazakhstan's capital. well, the capital of kazakhstan feels pretty calm, really, but after the protests and violence that erupted across much of the country last week, a state of emergency and a curfew remain in place here and nationwide. there is very little connectivity — they switch the internet on for maybe three or four hours
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a day, which makes it very difficult for people to actually work out what's going on here. and although things were much, much quieter here than they were in almaty, you can see security has been tightened. for example, that is the entrance to the presidential palace, which has been blocked off. president tokayev blames terrorists and bandits for the violence, but there is a growing suggestion that violence is somehow linked to a power struggle going on within the ruling elite in kazakhstan. steve rosenberg. a bbc investigation into accommodation for asylum seekers in the uk has discovered serial concerns about the living conditions provided for some people. refugee organisations say they regularly hear about properties which residents believe are unsafe — and struggle to get help on a national phone line. the concerns come after a year of mounting controversy over how the home office manages asylum seekers and refugees. it reckons it will soon have to house 80,000 people a year. dominic casciani reports.
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crying. this video is just for you. look, this one... a domestic crisis — the family living here are seeking asylum and safety. a father is recording video for the government's national support line. look, the electricity... a bbc investigation has discovered evidence of some homes provided to asylum seekers with serious safety concerns. homes like this one. when a family housed in west yorkshire warned of a crumbling ceiling, it was temporarily repaired, and then it collapsed. the mother suffered concussion as she protected her baby. i was in the room upstairs, me, and all of a sudden, i heard a noise, and she shouts, "0w!" and then i ran down, and they are on the floor, and the plasterboard was on her head. my baby was shouting,
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screaming in the other corner. it could have hit your baby. it could have hit my baby, i could lose my baby today. how many times did you complain about the state of the house? i have complained before several times about my ceiling in the living room. adam's child was lucky, but this baby from another family less so. pictures following a different ceiling collapse last year. the provider of these homes said it responded when it was made aware of the dangers. three companies share a £4 billion ten—year long contract to house asylum seekers, a fourth contract goes to a charity running a national helpline to handle complaints. more than 30 organisations working with thousands of asylum seekers have told the bbc they think some of the housing is unacceptable. eight out of ten said they have heard concerns about accommodation most weeks. the vast majority said it took too long to get action when they contacted the national helpline.
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i've worked in this area of work for nearly 20 years and have never seen it as bad in terms of the housing and accommodation people are experiencing. our partners across the sector are also reporting similar things. we are very worried there is going to be some catastrophic incident. at this house in manchester, the residents say they have repeatedly tried to complain about a blockage before it became this sewage flood. the company managing this home won't comment, but the bbc understands it is sure it did everything it could once it was aware what happened. the companies that have responded to the bbc say they are fulfilling all their contractual obligations, and while the home office says they're providing a good standard of accommodation is won't release data on their performance. as for the national phone line, officials say it has faced unprecedented demand in the past year, but insists it is now meeting all of its targets. adam says he wants the government to reveal how well it is monitoring the contracts and the state of some of the homes. i don't want any compensation. i want my daughter, i want my family, i don't want
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someone to be a victim like me in the future. dominic casciani, bbc news, in leeds. an afghan baby who was handed over a wall to soldiers at kabul airport during last summer's evacuation has been found and reunited with his family. the boy disappeared in the mayhem at the airport as thousands of people tried to flee afghanistan when the taliban took over. 0ur correspondent greg mckenzie has the details. reunited after a frantic five—month search, baby sohail was just two months old when he was handed over to soldiers at kabul airport in august, as thousands of people rushed to leave afghanistan as it fell to the taliban. translation: today is a historical day for us as i receive my grandson in front of the media, i am so grateful. in the confusion and chaos
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of the american evacuation of afghanistan, it was a local taxi driver who discovered the baby alone, took him home to raise as his own. translation: | entered | the airport and saw a baby was lying down on the ground in a very bad condition. i looked around and showed this child to many people. i couldn't find anyone related to him. i called my wife at home and decided to take the child home. but after more than seven weeks of negotiations and pleas, and a brief detention by taliban police, the baby was handed back to his jubilant grandfather and other relatives still in kabul. it is now hoped baby sohail will travel to america to be reunited with the rest of his family, who have since been resettled and are currently living in michigan. the case has once again highlighted the real plight of many parents who were separated from their children during the hasty evacuation efforts and the withdrawal of us forces from afghanistan after a 20—year war. greg mckenzie, bbc news.
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finally, three new photographs of the duchess of cambridge have been released to mark her 40th birthday today. the portraits were taken by fashion photographer paolo roversi, and show catherine wearing alexander mcqueen dresses. they will go on display this year in berkshire, st andrews and anglesey — three places that she has lived. now it's time for a look at the weather. hello, good afternoon. many parts of the country, today and improvement yesterday, where we had cloud and rain. there is some cloud coming from the atlantic, starting to bring rain on the far south—west, these areas of showers moving down across scotland, northern ireland into more of northern england over the next
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few hours,

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