welcome to bbc news. i'm simon pusey. our top stories: russia readies for possible conflict over ukraine but says there is room forfurther dialogue with the west. vaccine maker moderna says an omicron—specific shot is on the horizon, but can drug makers really keep pace with new variants? north korea has confirmed test—firing of long—range cruise surface—to—surface missiles earlier this week. and to mark holocaust memorial day, prince charles unveils portraits of seven survivors. the paintings will go on display in buckingham palace.
welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. russia has suggested it may be open to holding further talks with the united states as part of attempts to de—escalate the crisis in ukraine. the kremlin described some of washington's proposals as a starting point for a "serious conversation" but it warned its main security concerns had not been properly addressed. key to what russia will do next is vladimir putin. is he trying to stop the eastward expansion of nato or has he already made up his mind to invade? here's our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg. the world is still puzzling to piece together a picture of what vladimir putin is thinking, what he's planning. what are his intentions in ukraine and in europe? gunfire russian muscle flexing is one piece of the geopolitical jigsaw. military exercises and 100,000 russian troops near ukraine's
border are fuelling fears of a russian invasion. so are moscow's demands. we just ask our partners in nato countries "get out. "get out from our borders. "get out from post—soviet countries because it's "threatening to russian people, to russian citizens and time "is running out." another piece of the puzzle — the kremlin had insisted ukraine be barred from joining nato, but america's rejected that demand. so now what? what happens next depends on whether america's offer to negotiate with russia on some aspects of europe's security will be enough to satisfy vladimir putin. if it's not — if, as some fear, president putin's aim is to dismantle the european
security order as it is now — then expect long—term friction between russia and the west. vladimir putin cut a lonely figure today as he remembered the world war ii siege of leningrad. across europe, there are fears of a new war, but is russia's current and very public sabre—rattling really a precursor to conflict? after all, this is a leader who normally employs the element of surprise. this is one of the reasons why i do not believe that putin is going to invade ukraine, because if he really intended to start a military operation in ukraine, probably we would be the last to learn about it. at the gorky park ice festival, everyone we spoke to thought it unlikely that the cold war with ukraine and the west was about to turn hot. "russians don't want war", yelena says. "we've experienced that. "we know how
terrifying war is." the russian public has no appetite for war. they're hoping neither do their leaders. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. the us has also formally asked the un security council to meet and address russia's actions in ukraine after it urged china to help push russia towards a diplomatic solution. china has already said moscow has legitimate security concerns. but with only a week until the beijing winter olympics, china's ambassador to the un zhang jun tweeted an appeal to the international community to respect the traditional "0lympics truce, starting onjanuary 28th, and take the opportunity to promote peace". washington has stressed that any fallout from a war in ukraine would be bad for beijing. 0ur message —— messages to beijing have been very clear. we are calling on beijing to use its influence with moscow
to urge diplomacy because if there is a conflict in ukraine, it is not going to be good for china either. there will be a significant impact on the global economy, will be a impact in the energy sphere and it will be all the harder for all of us to get back to what we should be doing, which is building back better. artyom lukin is an international relations scholar at the vladivostok far eastern federal university. thank you forjoining us. would that suggest that president xi in beijing does not want conflict between russia and ukraine? ~ ., , �* ukraine? well, actually, i'm not sure _ ukraine? well, actually, i'm not sure china _ ukraine? well, actually, i'm not sure china is _ ukraine? well, actually, i'm not sure china is not - not sure china is not interested in the conflict between russia and the west but cynically speaking, from the real politic perspective, china should be interested in a clash of ukraine, just because it
would assure that russia would remain china's ally, almost, you know, forever. if this war erupts and it would make russia more dependent on china and the us would get bogged down in eastern europe for years and maybe decades, distracting and diverting us resources from western pacific, from taiwan, where china's most important interest lies, so why not have a war in eastern europe? i perfectly believe that, you know, it might be in china's interest, actually, contrary to what us officials may say. tamia priddin is going to china
soon for the beijing olympics and to do some administration. you think this would be on the agenda, between him and president xi —— president putin. i am certain that putin and president xi would be discussing ukraine among other things but no—one knows what exactly they are going to discuss. i exactly they are going to discuss. ~ exactly they are going to discus— discuss. i think the most important _ discuss. i think the most important thing - discuss. i think the most important thing is - discuss. i think the most i important thing is whether president xi is going to promise vladimir putin that china would stand by russia in case of conflict over ukraine or in particular if the west imposes massive harsh economic sanctions on russia, would china agree to provide a lifeline to russia, like, you know, providing goods and products that the west would
deny to russia. would china agreed to by russian commodities and energy? which would stop flowing to the west, would stop flowing to the west, would china provide, you know, financial assistance may be to russia? i think this is much more important than china might, but china is saying publicly. might, but china is saying ublicl . , ., publicly. there is also the ever present _ publicly. there is also the ever present situation - publicly. there is also the ever present situation ofl publicly. there is also the l ever present situation of oil and obviously, russia is very central to that and the nord stream two, a lot of talk about that in europe and germany and the us saying it will not go ahead if they invade ukraine but obviously china also has interests in this field, doesn't it?— interests in this field, doesn't it? . ~ ., ., ., doesn't it? talk through that a little bit. sure, _ doesn't it? talk through that a little bit. sure, actually, - doesn't it? talk through that a little bit. sure, actually, it- little bit. sure, actually, it is expected that when putin visits beijing next week, their most important agreement but could be signed between russia
and china would be a contract for the so—called power subarea two natural gas pipeline that would go from western siberia through mongolia to china. and actually, as far as i understand, the deal is almost complete and it only has to be signed in the presence of agree to and president xi and european energy considerations are that this pipeline will source natural gas from the same gas fields that currently feed the gas pipelines that go into europe so china is becoming the alternative consumer of russian natural gas that has previously flowed only
to europe so russia is getting a very major alternative importer of its energy. it’s importer of its energy. it's auoin importer of its energy. it's going to — importer of its energy. it's going to be _ importer of its energy. it's going to be really interesting to see what happens in the next days and weeks. artyom lukin, thank you indeed forjoining us. thank you indeed for “oining us. ., ~' thank you indeed for “oining us. ., ~ , ., let's get some of the day's other news. president biden has confirmed that he will make an african—american woman his first nomination to the supreme court. mr biden made the announcement at the white house as he appeared alongside the liberal justice stephen breyer, who is retiring and will step down at the end ofjune. the first female president of honduras, xiomara castro, has been sworn in at a ceremony attended by thousands of her supporters. in her inauguration speech, the left—wing politician said she'd inherited a broken country but promised to implement social justice and transparency. she comes to power 12 years after her husband, manuel zelaya, was deposed in a military coup.
liz truss has defended using a government plan instead of commercialflights for government plan instead of commercial flights for her trip to australia. foreign secretary took the long haul trip last week for an annual meeting with government officials the country. government officials the country-— government officials the count . ,, , , country. she insisted the decision _ country. she insisted the decision was _ country. she insisted the decision was based - country. she insisted the decision was based on i country. she insisted the i decision was based on value country. she insisted the - decision was based on value for money. an unmanned rocket launched by elon musk�*s space exploration company is on course to crash into the moon and explode. the falcon 9 booster was launched in 2015 but it did not have enough fuel to return to earth. it will be the first uncontrolled collision of a rocket with the moon. us—based moderna says it is on track for an 0micron—specific coronavirus vaccine. there are questions about the extent of new shots needed in the 2—year pandemic and if moderna, pfizer and astrazeneca among others can keep pace with mutations. moderna's chief medical officer dr paul burton has been explaining about the new vaccine. this week, on wednesday, we announced two big pieces of information.
the first was some data published in the new england journal of medicine, looking at how our vaccine holds up against 0micron after a six—month booster, and the data are good. they're reassuring that we do see waning. the other thing we announced, as you said, is that we started our phase ii study in about 600 people, testing our 0micron—specific booster, and we think that's going to be an integral part of keeping people safe and protected, even as 0micron perhaps subsides as we go into the winter of this year, so from a full booster. look, i think the data say that we will be able to get out of the pandemic into the endemic phase. when that happens, i'm not sure. you know, we still see staggering caseloads of 0micron here in the united states, in europe, around the world. death rates remain very high. hospitalisation rates again here in the united states are really at an all—time high today. but i think we can get through this. spring will come, we should get
a period of stability as case counts go down, but i think we are going to need a regular yearly booster that will keep people protected as they prepare for winter, and that's what we're planning to do and what we are aiming to do with the study that we've launched now. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: borisjohnson denies he personally ordered the airlift of animals out of afghanistan. however, emails from officials suggest otherwise. this is the moment that millions in iran have been waiting for. after his long years in exile, the first hesitant steps of ayatollah khomeini on iranian soil. south africa's white government has offered its black opponents concessions unparalleled in the history of apartheid, and the anc leader nelson mandela is to be set free unconditionally. mission control:
three, two, one. a countdown to a critical moment — the world's most powerful rocket ignited all 27 of its engines at once. and apart from its power, it's this recycling of the rocket, slashing the cost of a launch, that makes this a breakthrough in the business of space travel. two americans have become the first humans to walk in space without any lifeline to their spaceship. one of them called it "a piece of cake". thousands of people have given the yachtsman ellen macarthuri a spectacular homecoming - in the cornish port of falmouth after she smashed the worldl record for sailing solo around the world, non—stop. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: russia readies for possible conflict over ukraine, but says there is room, for further dialogue with the west. vaccine maker moderna says it's begun clinical trials of a booster dose designed specifically to combat
the coronavirus 0micron variant. uk prime minister boris johnson has rejected claims he personally authorised the airlift of animals to the uk from an afghan charity, following the fall of kabul to the taliban. it comes after emails from officials suggested he'd intervened to help. labour says he's been "caught out lying." here's our political correspondent, damian grammaticas. they were desperate days. british citizens, afghans who'd worked with the british army, thousands at risk from the taliban who never made it out. but pen farthing did, along with his animals. dogs and cats cared for by his rescue charity were on one of the last planes out. today, borisjohnson again denied he'd had a hand in it. no, abso...and this whole thing is total rhubarb. i was very proud of what our
armed services did with 0p pitting, and it was an amazing thing to move 15,000 people out of kabul in the way that we did. but an internal foreign office e—mail written at the time, leaked and released yesterday says... campaigners for for the charity said mrjohnson agreed its staff were under threat. the prime minister understood those arguments, accepted them and did put those people on the evacuation list, working with the home secretary and the foreign secretary to get the wheels of whitehall moving. the evacuation, mrjohnson insists, was a success, it saved lives but left many others behind. so, once again, the issue is how truthful he's being now. somebody is lying about what happened during the events that led up to the evacuation of the animals from afghanistan, and i think it's become increasingly clear that the prime minister's story is not credible. he has not told the truth.
the problem for borisjohnson is whether it's afghanistan or downing street parties, everything now focuses on this one issue, his probity. and the report into the parties a not to be published until next week. —— may not be published until next week. today, he was in wales inspecting a recycling plant, reflecting perhaps on the questions — which like the items here — keep on returning. damian grammatics, bbc news. the us coast guard has suspended its search for dozens of people lost at sea after their boat capsized off the coast of florida. a lone survivor was found clinging to the hull of the boat on tuesday. five bodies have so far been recovered. in a press conference, the coast guard said that it was unlikely that there were more survivors. north korea's state media says it's conducted two more missile tests this week, among them a long—range cruise missile. the report comes just a day after south korea said it
detected the launch of two short—range ballistic missiles, drawing condemnation from japan and the us. since the turn of the year, pyongyang has carried out six missile tests so far, making this january among the most tests it has ever carried out in a single month. and as our tokyo correspondent rupert wingfield—hayes reports, the new tests show north korea is continuing to make rapid progress in its missile capabilities. translation: north korea is trying to have a defence, like a scorpion's tail. for the last couple of years, really since the beginning of the pandemic, north korea has been very quiet. it's really shut itself off from the rest of the world, and here injapan, we've had no missile overflights, no threats of turning tokyo into a sea of fire, and then suddenly in the last couple of weeks, all of that's changed.
multiple missile tests, claims that north korea has new hypersonic weapons and threats of more to come. so what's going on in pyongyang? the short answer is that north korea hasn't spent the pandemic sitting on its hands — it's been busy. translation: we are surprised because we underestimate north korean technology, and we assume that north korea is suffering because of the pandemic. they want to complete their missile system with one that is like a scorpion's tail. more specifically, kim jong—un appears to be developing missiles and warheads that can get past missile defence batteries, like this on injapan. it seems pretty clear that their aim is to develop and invade and complicate missile defences that are highly manoeuvrable and harder for the united states to pre—empt and let alone to detect.
but hold on one second, kim jong—un already has plenty of weapons to defend himself against attack. his missile arsenal is more elaborate than britain's, france, india or pakistan, so why does he need more? what we might prescribe to north korea for self—defence purposes might be deemed insufficient by the north koreans themselves. so kimjong—un, feeling chronically insecure, i think kim really doesn't trust anybody outside, including china and russia. surprisingly perhaps, some in south korea see all the activity up north as a good thing. a sign that what kim jong—un really wants is to talk. the problem for the north korean dictator is that unlock donald trump, presidentjoe biden doesn't seem very interested in having this sort of photo op on his presidential record. he's called kim jong—un a tyrant, i think he has very little to gain politically from being seen with kim jong—un, so i do think what it would take forjoe biden to really become invested,
i think, is a major crisis. if all of this sounds familiar, that's because it is. we have seen this pattern over and over, of north korea generating a crisis, then engaging in negotiation, which fails, and then manufacturing a new crisis. that's exactly what pyongyang may be doing right now. it said it could return to long range missile tests and even nuclear tests, so hold onto your hats, although, i suspect nothing big is going to happen now until china's winter olympics are over. rupert wingfield—hayes, bbc news, tokyo. cities around the world have been commemorating holocaust memorial day. survivors from the nazi concentration camp at auschwitz returned there to mark the anniversary of its liberation by soviet forces in 19115.
three women spoke about being on the first train transporting jews to auschwitz from slovakia. during the second world war, the nazis murdered more than1 million people, most of them jewish, at the auschwitz camp in occupied poland. the national governments of europe have also been marking the day too. in austria, which was occupied by the nazis throughout the second world war, israeli foreign minister and alternate prime minister yarr lapeed commemorated the victims of concentration camps. and in poland's capital warsaw, a wreath—laying ceremony was held at a monument commemorating the 1943 uprising in the warsaw ghetto. in the uk different artists have painted the portraits of some of britain's last remaining holocaust survivors. the project was commissioned by prince charles and the portraits have gone on display at the queen's gallery in buckingham palace. 0ur royal correspondent daniela relph has more. lighting the darkness this evening for holocaust memorial day. around the uk, buildings were lit to highlight the pain of prejudice and hatred. holocaust survivors witnessed the worst of humanity. this new collection
of portraits commissioned by the prince of wales is about preserving their stories. like lily aberts', who showed the prince the auschwitz number still visible on her arm. while others spoke of their pride at their portraits. i am very pleased and very honoured. artist, portrait and subject, clara drummond painted manfred goldberg. have you been well? the process was challenging. covid meant the sittings began virtually before they could finally meet. hello, manfred! she wanted not only to paint my likeness, but she tried to get sort of into my soul, she tried to paint me heart and soul, and looking at my portrait, people tell me that they can see it in the way she has painted my eyes.
those eyes saw the brutality of nazi labour camps, where manfred was sent with his family. one day his younger brother herman was taken by ss guards, and manfred never saw him again. he did describe it as hell on earth, and it was very hard for me to imagine what it must have been like. it was very harrowing, but i feel that was really important to go there and to realise how dark it had been in order to realise what a bright light manfred is. so much is in the detail of each portrait. aric hirsch rests his hand on his left arm, the arm that bears his auschwitz number. and lily abert is painted with a gold pendant which she hid in the heel of a shoe while at auschwitz. she still wears it today. i thought we owed it to these
remarkable people just to remember them in this way. there is something very special about the portrait and about the artist's eye in bringing out the real underlying character. all the portraits are now on display. rachel leavy. .. ..aric hirsch... ..helen. .. ..anita lasker—wallfisk... ..lily abert... ..ziggy shipper... ..and manfred goldburg. a prince's commission so we all remember. daniela relph, bbc news, the queens gallery at buckingham palace. you can reach me on twitter. i'm @sipusey. you can get more news on our
website. for now, thank you for watching, and stay tuned. hello there. after the sunshine on thursday, we've seen clearer skies and lighter winds overnight, so it's pretty chilly out there for many. but the weather is going to change once again because during friday, we're going to find more cloud coming in from the atlantic, and that in turn will bring in some milder air as well. now, at the moment, high pressure is centred more to the south of the uk. we've got these weather fronts bringing some rain towards scotland in particular during friday, but also drawing in these stronger winds from the south—west, bringing in that milder but generally cloudy air as well. ahead of that, though, we do have a touch of frost
across more central and eastern parts of the uk to start the day. those temperatures lifting in the west as the cloud comes in. we've also got a few mist and fog patches across parts of england and wales. those will lift. there will be some early sunshine, but many areas are going to cloud over. we will keep some hazy sunshine in the south east perhaps into the afternoon. a bit of drizzle out towards the west. most of the rain pushing eastwards across scotland as those winds strengthen. drawing in that milder air, so temperatures, double figures for most of us, a little bit chillier towards the south east perhaps. it does stay very mild, actually, overnight. those temperatures aren't going to drop an awful lot because we've still got those run of strong, very mild winds. in fact, it will be very windy overnight across scotland and northern england. some very gusty winds, particularly as that rain band moves down across scotland on that weather front there. but again, that rain, whilst heavy in scotland for a while, is going to become much lighter as it sinks down into england and wales
and moves away from northern ireland. after the rain, what there is of it, we're going to find sunnier skies and some showers following on, and a strong wind continues as well, particularly windy in scotland, gusts of 60 mph likely here. southern parts of england may well stay dry, and here we'll see the highest temperatures, 13—14 degrees, it's very mild, but it is turning colder from the north as we get that sunshine and showers mix. the winds do gradually ease down overnight as that high pressure tries to build in, but this is heading our way for the second half of the weekend. another weather system coming in from the atlantic. chilly start probably on sunday, much cooler than saturday morning. we're going to find some rain heading into the north west of the uk. the winds picking up, but as we move into that cooler air, we're going to find the threat of some snow, particularly across highland and grampian and typical temperatures around 8—9.
russia has suggested it may be open to holding further talks with the united states as part of attempts to de—escalate the crisis in ukraine. the kremlin described some of washington's proposals as a starting point for a "serious conversation" but it warned its main security concerns had not been properly addressed. moderna has started trials for a covid booster dose it has developed specifically to target the 0micron variant. the drug giant says that while a third shot of its original covid vaccine worked, protection declined six months after administration. president biden has confirmed that he will make an african—american woman his first nomination to the supreme court. mr biden made the announcement at the white house as he who is retiring and will step down at the end ofjune. now on bbc news, global questions.