this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. a former ukrainian mp linked by britain to an alleged russian plot to take control of ukraine says his country needs new political leaders. ukraine's ambassador to britain urges allies to stand with them. that's our message to all international parties — if you'd like to help us, if you can find the nerve and the spine to help us, we are there. we are fighting anyways. the world health organization's european director says it's plausible that the region is moving towards a �*kind of pandemic endgame�*. a former british conservative party government minister nusrat ghani says she was sacked from herjob, because of — in part — her muslim faith. the government chief whip says the claims are false.
the taliban meet civil society groups and women's rights activists in norway, in an attempt to access billions of dollars frozen in us banks. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. the uk government says it has intelligence suggesting russia is plotting to install a pro—moscow leader in ukraine. it says there's a "very significant" risk, that russian forces will invade the country. president putin has already sent tens of thousands of troops to ukraine's border, but moscow is now accusing the uk, of spreading "disinformation". with the latest, here's our diplomatic correspondent, paul adams.
in california, fresh supplies of american weapons destined for ukraine. others, including britain, also sending equipment. hardly enough to defeat an invading russian army, but the message to moscow is clear, if you do this it will come a price. but now the foreign office says it is seeing signs of a russian plan to install a puppet government in kyiv after an invasion. washington made similar claims on thursday. pro—russian politicians pulsate in contact with russian intelligence officers involved with planning the attack. the international _ planning the attack. tue: international community planning the attack. tte: international community as a whole needs to step up. one of the things you're seeing, the foreign secretary is doing a very good job of this, making it clear what is at stake. so other countries can support... t5 other countries can support... is that what you're expecting to and invasion? , ., , .., invasion? there is a significant risk of it- _
the foreign office says this man, former mp yevhen murayev, is being considered as a future leader by the kremlin. he's denied it. it is highly unusual for intelligence of this going to be put into the public domain in such an abrupt manner. it is showing the anxiety across government about what putin may be planning, a way of saying to the kremlin we see what you're doing. and at a time and the government is being accused of not having a siren the ball, a way of saying we are doing every we can. russia says it is all nonsense. releasing pictures of its latest drills close to ukraine's border. still saying it has no intention to attack. but after friday's talks in geneva, diplomacy continues.
washington promising a written reply within days to rush a's expansive demands, downing street saying it plans to ramp up pressure on russia. the defence secretary likely to visit moscow soon. the uk conservative mp, nusrat ghani, who was sacked as transport minister two years ago, says she was told that her muslim faith, was one of the reasons for her dismissal. she also says that when she told borisjohnson what happened, he told her, he couldn't get involved. downing street says the prime minister had invited her to make a complaint, but she didn't do so. the president of the conservative muslim forum lord sheikh has said that he "would like an investigation to be carried out by an independent person". somebody was trying to bully her. if what she is saying is true. you have two scenarios — parliamentarian a saying something, parliamentarian b saying something. and we need to get to the bottom of it, we need to establish the truth.
the way to get the truth is to have an independent investigation done and we need to do that. and not only that, we need to look at the behaviour of some of these whips. we heard from members of parliament they have been bullied, so let's look at the behaviour of some of these whips. we cannot accept bullying parliamentarians, they have been elected. i mean, nusrat ghani had a majority of 23,000, she is a popular person. and if she is saying something which is at odds with what mark spencer is saying, let's get to the bottom of it. riot police in belgium have used water cannon and tear gas to disperse a group of protesters in brussels, after a demonstration against covid restrictions turned violent. officers had been pelted with rocks and pieces of pavement. the entrance to the offices of the european union's diplomatic service was damaged. earlier, a much larger crowd had marched peacefully, holding placards condemning
what they called vaccine dictatorship. a retired british iranian engineer being held in iran on spying charges has said he is beginning a hunger strike. anoosheh ashoori was arrested five years ago and later convicted by iran of spying for israel's mossad intelligence agency, which he denies. the british government says his continued detention is wholly unjustified and has called on iran to release him. three days of talks on the humanitarian crisis in afghanistan have opened in norway, with taliban representatives holding discussions with civil society groups and women's rights activists. western envoys are expected to emphasise the need for a more inclusive taliban government. our south asia editor, anbarasan ethirajan, told us what is expected. it's the first meeting of its kind for the taliban, they are coming to europe for the first time after they seized power in kabul last august,
and for the last five months, they have been running the show there. now, the west wants to engage with the taliban. you may remember the taliban has not been recognised by the world community yet and giving aid to a country where the government is not recognised, and many of these taliban ministers, they are on the un sanctions list, so it is a complicated process to give aid to afghanistan. at the same time, after the war ended, there are millions of people waiting for food aid and almost all activity has come to a standstill in afghanistan and people are running short of food and there is a shortage of currency, so that's why the west wants to send aid into afghanistan but they want to engage with the taliban, and that's why they have invited them to oslo for these three—day talks. at the same time, they do not want to give moneyjust like that. they want the taliban to respect what they had promised earlier, for example you know, opening schools, reopening schools for teenage girls and also allowing
women in employment in other sectors and also respecting human rights. so, they want to emphasise these things for the taliban when they talk — that is on monday and tuesday. on the first day, the afghan women activists and civil society activists, they are having these face—to—face talks, and then they are finding out what the taliban can offer. back now to our top story — the government has warned there's a "very significant" risk that russia will invade ukraine — after saying it had uncovered a plot to install a new regime in the country. moscow has dismissed the accusations. let's discuss this further with richard sakwa, professor of russian and european politics at the university of kent. thank you for coming on the programme. what do we make, first of
all, of this intelligence released by the uk overnight about the supposed plot by russia to install a new leadership in ukraine? mil supposed plot by russia to install a new leadership in ukraine? all these thins have new leadership in ukraine? all these things have to _ new leadership in ukraine? all these things have to be _ new leadership in ukraine? all these things have to be taken _ new leadership in ukraine? all these things have to be taken seriously, i things have to be taken seriously, but i'm rather sceptical. the source of the information in the format in which it has been announced is all very peculiar. also the actual message itself, we are talking about a number of individuals, the one who is slated to be the new prime minister of a liberated ukraine, has been one of the leaders of the opposition mp in ukraine and has been under sanctions since 2018 by russia itself, so not exactly a man in favour, in good flavour, of moscow, if you like. all these things have to be taken seriously, but has to be treated with a lot of scepticism and, of course, you would say who does it benefit? it tries to
mmp say who does it benefit? it tries to ramp up the support for the government in ukraine at this moment in time. and, to undermine its own opposition, because the russian opposition, because the russian opposition bloc has been under attack, the leader under house arrest at the moment, even. let attack, the leader under house arrest at the moment, even. let slip to the russian _ arrest at the moment, even. let slip to the russian side, _ arrest at the moment, even. let slip to the russian side, whether - arrest at the moment, even. let slip to the russian side, whether or- arrest at the moment, even. let slip to the russian side, whether or not. to the russian side, whether or not this intelligence released by the uk as possible and practical in your opinion. what do you think putting's game hero spice yes. opinion. what do you think putting's game hero spic— game hero spice yes, it's basically something. _ game hero spice yes, it's basically something. a _ game hero spice yes, it's basically something, a long _ game hero spice yes, it's basically something, a long fuse _ game hero spice yes, it's basically something, a long fuse has - game hero spice yes, it's basically something, a long fuse has been l something, a long fuse has been burning for many years from gorbachev, by the dissatisfaction of russia with the european security order as it was established after the cold war. nato enlargement is the cold war. nato enlargement is the topline issue, but there is other factors. ballistic the topline issue, but there is otherfactors. ballistic missile defence. a whole stack of other
issues. since 2018 putin has been seen quite clearly that russia has had enough, this is a red line, he said in his state of the nation speech in 2018 you did not listen to us then, listen to us now and announced a whole stack of hypersonic weapons, is at the moment i don't think it's invasion as such on the cards, though maybe in due course. at the moment this is a way of trying to start a diplomatic process which is actually happening. interesting, thank you for coming on and talking us through that. there are growing calls for an investigation into claims made by a conservative mp that she'd lost herjob as a minister in 2020 — in part because of her religion. nusrat ghani says a government whip told her there had been concerns over her "muslimness". the whip who spoke to her at the time strongly denies making the comments. i'm joined now by zara mohammed, secretary general of the muslim council of britain.
thanks for coming on the programme. thanks for coming on the programme. thanks for coming on the programme. thanks for having me on. what thanks for coming on the programme. thanks for having me on.— thanks for having me on. what do you make of this? — thanks for having me on. what do you make of this? is _ thanks for having me on. what do you make of this? is deeply _ thanks for having me on. what do you make of this? is deeply shocking, - make of this? is deeply shocking, but not surprising _ make of this? is deeply shocking, but not surprising that _ make of this? is deeply shocking, but not surprising that the - but not surprising that the situation has happened, and unfortunately the conservative party have a long history of islam phobia, and what has been shared with us yesterday as both disturbing but shows you how endemic the problem is, that someone so senior within the party and government has had to face something so islam are phobic, and so much so that there is complete uproar, and we need to see concrete steps moving forward and an acknowledgement this is an institutional issue within the party. institutional issue within the n a . ., institutional issue within the -a . ., , _ party. two things, firstly the institutional _ party. two things, firstly the institutional comment, - party. two things, firstly the institutional comment, that l institutional comment, that specifically was rejected by quite a detailed report full of criticism for the conservative party but rejected that. give institutional,
but what you mentioned about concrete steps that you want to see happen, what are those concrete steps? we would advocate for a full enquiry into islamophobia in the party. sorry tojump in, there was exactly that reported last year. we would exactly that reported last year. - would say i did not go far enough because the complaints procedure was one of those issues. as nusrat said, she was not able to go through it, probably because of lack of confidence in the actual process. there is details of over 300 incidents of islam phobia —— islamophobia within the party, and 30% of conservative mps have expressed negative views. there are critical issues here that go beyond nusrat ghani's case, venting her�*s reinforces how —— if anything her case reinforces how deeply embedded theissues case reinforces how deeply embedded the issues are.—
the issues are. perhaps if it is as ou sa the issues are. perhaps if it is as you say a — the issues are. perhaps if it is as you say a second _ the issues are. perhaps if it is as you say a second enquiry - the issues are. perhaps if it is as you say a second enquiry into - the issues are. perhaps if it is as| you say a second enquiry into the conservative party may not yield the results you want, presumably you're looking for more widespread change, notjust within a political party? absolutely, i think what we are seeing is a very hostile landscape, especially political landscape towards muslims in britain. this is compromising our ability to engage fully with society. but also for a fair and inclusive political system. none of the news we are seeing is inspiring to anybody, and all of this has been horrifying across all political parties to hear a member of our parliament has gone through this experience, but this is an issue and we have to get to the nub of it in a much more consolidated fashion and just saying this is wrong and should not have happened. a significant moment when she was the first to speak from these dispatch box as a minister. do you feel some of that good work and
symbolism has now been undermined by this? i symbolism has now been undermined by this? ., symbolism has now been undermined by this? ~ _, , , ., this? i think the comments nusrat ghani has express _ this? i think the comments nusrat ghani has express are _ this? i think the comments nusrat i ghani has express are disheartening that she has had to experience that, especially as someone who had broken through, but i think on the back of this story hopefully we can achieve change and in some ways the truth needs to come out and see the leading and governing party will wake up to the fact this is quite serious and these allegations need to be resolved, as do the wider issues of islam will be out within the party. —— islamophobia within the party. —— islamophobia within the party. and we'll find out how this story — and many others — are covered in tomorrow's front pages at 10:30 and 11:30 this evening in the papers — our guestsjoining me tonight arejonathan walker, political editor at the birmingham post & newcastle chronicle and henry zeffman, chief political correspondent at the times.
the headlines on bbc news... a former ukrainian mp linked by britain to an alleged russian plot to take control of ukraine says his country needs new political leaders. ukraine's ambassador to britain urges allies to stand with them. the world health organization's european director says it's plausible that the region is moving towards a �*kind of pandemic endgame�*. a former british conservative party government minister nusrat ghani says she was sacked from herjob, because of — in part — her muslim faith. the government chief whip says the claims are false. a family has been left "devastated" after a 16—year—old boy was fatally stabbed in manchester on saturday night. five boys — aged between 15 and 17 — have been arrested on suspicion of murder. phil cunliffe has this report. according to local residents, thirlmere avenue is usually a quiet street. but last night, around seven o�*clock, that peace was shattered
as a boy lay dying on the pavement. another victim of a brutal teenage stabbing. again, we see the utterly devastating consequences of knife crime. it destroys families, communities and lives. it�*s heartbreaking to see a young life lost in such tragic circumstances and people suspected of being capable of such a horrendous act of violence. this afternoon, police named the victim as kennie carter. the 16—year—old lived close by to where he was attacked. he was taken to hospital, but died from his injuries a short time later. just a lot of sirens, about seven, maybe eight o'clock and a lot of panic through the windows, so i didn't look out unfortunately, but yeah, pretty surprised. this corner of stretford is now a large crime scene with most of thirlmere avenue and neighbouring coniston road cornered off. a number of items have been recovered, with forensic tents put in place. i�*ve actually spoken with the victim�*s father,
who was visibly shocked by what�*s happened. he says all the family are devastated and he reached into his pocket and showed me the money that he was going to give to his son for him to buy something last night, before tragedy intervened. four teenage boys aged between 15 and 17 are being held under suspicion of murder. crime scenes have also been set up in old trafford, trafford, stretford and hulme. a 17—year—old boy was later arrested after handing himself into police. in the meantime, kennie carter�*s family are being supported by specially—trained officers. please dispense with your knives. as we all know, knives cost lives and it�*s utterly devastating for that family today. my thoughts remain with that community and that family in particular. phil cunliffe, bbc north west tonight, stretford in manchester. a british man has been killed in thailand. it�*s reported he was attacked in the town of kan—chanaburi, in the west of the country. the foreign office says another briton was injured and is being treated in hospital.
matt graveling has more details. hours earlier, this crime scene in the west of thailand saw two british men sharing a drink. but then, thai police say at around 3am, a row with another man saw one friend killed and the other taken to hospital. local reports suggest the argument began over music being played too loudly and ended in a deadly attack. police recovered a sickle at the scene. police have named the victim as 49—year—old marcus evans from weston—super—mare, who officers say had lived in thailand for three years. his friend, shaun dagnan, suffered a serious injury. his partner says he has a wound to his head, but is doing well in hospital, where he gave a statement. today, police held a press conference expressing their condolences for the region�*s tourists and promising to bring justice. a thai man in his 20s with a history of mental health issues was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder.
he remains in custody and is due to appear in court tomorrow. matt graveling, bbc news. heavy fighting is taking place in north—eastern syria, between islamic state militants, and kurdish forces backed by us war planes. the fighting began on thursday when the extremists attacked a prison in the city of hasaka, and attempted to free thousands of is prisoners, as mark lobel reports. scenes syrians never wanted to see again. jihadists attacking a prison containing thousands of militants on thursday. there was a swift and determined fight back by kurdish—led forces guarding the area. taking on islamic state fighters in one of the group�*s biggest operations since their self—declared caliphate was defeated almost three years ago.
from above, us—led coalition aircraft supported the syrian defense forces. many prisoners were recaptured with troops in pursuit of other fugitives that had fled to surrounding houses. families moved to safety in fear of their lives. translation: there's been shelling and killing since yesterday. - the jihadists killed four orfive people in our neighbourhood, liquidated them. while this was playing out, across the border in iraq, is claimed responsibility for an ambush on a military post in which 11 soldiers were killed. in syria, it�*s claimed the prison is largely under control. however, is claim they�*re holding hostages. the kurdish authorities had long warned that they did not have the capacity to hold, let alone put on trial, many of the suspected
fighters under their watch. there�*s also a concern that this much—feared jihadist group is ramping up once again. mark lobel, bbc news. the omicron variant has moved the coronavirus pandemic into a new phase and could bring it to an end in europe — that�*s according to the world health organisation. its europe director hans kluge said it was plausible the region is moving towards a �*kind of endgame�*. his colleague dr maria van kerkhove spoke to the bbc a little earlier. this is a very different virus and it�*s involving differently. in a sense where we have a lead time in terms of our ability to develop the vaccines and make these educated guesses about how the vaccine composition should be so we could prepare. this is not giving us that opportunity. this virus is spreading really intensely. i think what is the challenge as we move into this next phase is how do we get the balance right with the measures that are needed
to reduce the spread group? masks are widely available now. they were not at the beginning of the pandemic. we are asking people to be very cautious. this pandemic will end. we will not be in this cycle forever. let�*s take a look at the latest data for the uk. almost 75 thousand new infections have been recorded in the latest 24—hour period. there were 75 further deaths reported — that�*s people who died within 28 days of a positive test. on vaccinations, a little over 64 % of all over 12s now having had a booster or three doses of a coronavirus vaccine. the first minister of wales mark drakeford says he wouldn�*t rule out recruiting nhs workers from england, who leave theirjobs due to its mandatory vaccination policy. vaccines are not compulsory for nhs staff in wales. speaking to radio 4�*s broadcasting house programme, mr drakeford said a "vast majority" of care sector staff had also taken the "protections that vaccination offers".
we aren�*t going to make vaccinations mandatory in our nhs, we haven�*t in our social care services, because we have succeeded by persuasion in getting the vast majority of people who work in our services to do the right thing and to take up the protections that vaccination offers. so, will you recruit actively in england? no, i don�*t expect us to go looking for people who have not been vaccinated, but if people apply, then they will be interviewed in the normal way. we would look to see what lay behind their decision. we wouldn�*t rule them out, but we certainly wouldn�*t be going out there looking for them. scotland�*s first minister nicola sturgeon has said the impact of covid restrictions on business and hospitality there have been "worth it." she was speaking to my colleague sophie raworth this morning.
is scotland in a better position now than we were previously, and are we in a better position than we would have been without these restrictions? now, it's always difficult in any country to absolutely prove cause and effect in the handling of a virus. but if you look at what we were predicting through our modelling would be the case injanuary before christmas, what we were on track for — it was around 50,000 infections a day and we didn't see that materialise, or anything like that materialise. and i think that was a combination of the acceleration of the booster campaign. scotland is the most vaccinated part of the uk in terms of first, second, third and booster doses. these sensible, balanced, protective measures we introduced before christmas, and lastly, perhaps most importantly, the magnificent responsible response of the public. they changed their behaviour in the face of omicron in order to try to stem transmissions. so, yes, i think what we did has been worth it and we are hopefully now seeing scotland, as other parts of the uk,
very firmly on the downward slope of that omicron wave. new zealand�*s prime minister has cancelled her own wedding after placing the country on the highest level of covid—19 restrictions. nine cases of the omicron variant have been detected, and under new restrictions, gatherings will be limited to 100 fully vaccinated people. here�*s jacinda ardern. my wedding will not be going ahead, but ijustjoin many other new zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic and to anyone who�*s caught up in that scenario. i�*m so sorry, but you are, we are all so resilient, and i know we understand that we�*re doing this for one another, and i know that will help us continue on. the government of tonga says it�*s facing a long programme of rebuilding and reconstruction — just over a week after it was devastated by a volcanic eruption and a tsunami. our correspondent shaimaa khalil has the latest... aid has arrived in tonga, and a lot of it is being
coordinated from here in fiji. countries like australia, new zealand, japan and britain have sent everything from water supplies to shelter kits, generator, even sweeping machines as well. the concern now is that this is going to be a slow process. getting aid and distributing it to people who need it the most is very, very tricky on any occasion — add the fear of a covid—19 outbreak to that equation and you see how complex this is. the tongan government has insisted that the aid should be contactless. theyjust do not want a covid—19 case in the country. they don�*t want to be dealing with a covid—19 outbreak as they�*re dealing with the devastation, which means that supplies are there on the ground, but aid workers are not. so, essentially, it�*s up to people in tonga to distribute that aid, whether it be volunteers or other aid workers inside the country. the concern now is how fast the aid
is going to get to people and how far it can get, especially to far—flung places. there are also, of course, health concerns, the quality of the air, the quality of the water. they have been compromised by the ash in the atmosphere, not just the thick ash that you see, the fine particles that could be inhaled and can cause respiratory diseases. there are high levels of sulphur in the water, and these also can cause waterborne diseases. so, apart from the aid distribution, the physical destruction all around tonga, there are also the health risks. and un officials have said that the country, the pacific nation, will rely on food aid for a long time to come because the crops have been destroyed, farmers have lost their livelihoods, they�*ve lost their homes. and one of the tongan officials have also said that the road to recovery for this pacific nation is going to be long and hard. so, in the days to come, as this destruction reveals itself, as the extent of it becomes clearer, the challenges facing tonga are also being revealed.
the queen has travelled to sandringham a month after cancelling her christmas plans in norfolk due to the rise in cases of the conronavirus omicron variant. her majesty flew by helicopter from windsor castle where she is expected to spend a few weeks in to sandringham. prior to the pandemic, the queen had spent 32 consecutives christmases at her norfolk home with family members. it was the 95—year—old monarch�*s first christmas without the duke of edinburgh, prince philip, her husband of more than 73 years. now it�*s time for a look at the weather with helen willetts. sunshine in short supply today, little across the south—west of england. this predominantly cloudy weather will prevail through the evening, overnight and into monday.
it is dry for the most part, away from this weather front, but supping across the northern and western isles into the north—west highlands of scotland. we do have brakes elsewhere, and will see patchy fog, frost, neitherwill elsewhere, and will see patchy fog, frost, neither will be widespread. the fog could take a while at this time of year to clear, could be a little frosty, but by and large will be another gloomy day, albeit dry and southern parts and cold. 4—5. could see if you breaks in the cloud, but later more likely across the north of scotland, behind the weak weather front, the odd spot of rain as it drifts its way southwards. hello this is bbc news. the headlines: a former ukrainian mp linked by britain to an alleged russian plot to take control of ukraine says his country needs