tv BBC World News America PBS December 6, 2021 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
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viewers like you. thank you. announcer: and now, "bbc world news". laura: i am laura trevelyan in washington and this is bbc world news america. more cases of the omicron variant in the u.s., the u.k., and beyond. we speak to a top health official about what the biden administration is doing to vaccinate the world. u.k. adds nigeria to the red list of countries facing traveler restrictions. the biden administration announces a diplomatic boycott of the diplomatic games in china due to beijing's record on human rights. the athletes can still go. he has made millions laugh over the years with blazing saddles and producers. now director mel brooks is sharing his life story, all 95 years. >> all the stories are in the
book and some of them are actually true. ♪ laura: welme to world news america on pbs and around the globe. ere is good news and bad news on the new coronavirus variant. a study from south africa suggested omicron may be causing milder illness than feared. wall street bounceback, the dow jumping nearly 650 points on monday. the bad news is many countries are tightening travel restrictions and mask wearing ahead of the holidays. sophie hutchison starts our coverage. sophie: this scottish school, the first in the u.k. to be suspected of an in outbreak -- an omicron outbreak.
parents told to switch to remote learning after two classes and multiple teachers had to self-isolate. the health secretary told mp's omicron had been reported in 52 countries around the world and in the u.k. there was community transmission in multiple regions. >> we don't yet have a complete picture of whether omicron causes more severe disease or how it interacts with the vaccines. we can't say for certain whether omicron has the potential to knock us off our road to recovery. sophie: just how concerned we should be about omicron is a big unknown. scientists are working around the clock to test whether it can evade vaccines, but there is no lab test for whether it causes serious disease. that data will come from infected communities and may be many weeks before we have the answer. >> the early signs are that it
will spread quickly and probably start out competing delta, become the dominant variant, within the next weeks or a month or so at least. sophie: the likelihood is that by christmas, there will be a lot more omicron around, and perhaps by then we will have a slightly better understanding of just how this new variant will affect us. sophie hutchison, bbc news. laura: tougher travel measures came into effect today for those coming. to the united states. travelers need a negative covid test then 24 hours of boarding a plane. nigeria has been added to the uk's red list for travel. that means 10 days of quarantine if you are coming from nigeria to the u.k. it is causing chaos in nigeria. the bbc west africa correspondent reports from legos. correspondent: legos, africa's
largest city, usually becomes even busier this time of year. the news that nigeria would be added to the uk's red travel list has thrown christmas travels into jeopardy. a british national is now stuck in lagos. she is the main character for her disabled daughter in london. >> i am fully jabbed and have the booster and i believe people should be able to self-isolate in their homes. it makes no sense that we who have followed the rules are being punished. correspondent: this person was in nigeria for a friend's wedding. a delayed flight meant he could not make it back before e wedding. he has three disabled children and his wife has to carry has -- has to care for them alone while he quarantines in a hotel at his own expense. >> right now she is struggling. i am self-employed and she is
still working. correspondent: part of the frustration is nigeria doesn't seem to have been as badly affected by the pandemic as countries in other parts of the world. confirmed cases are just under 200,000 and there have been 3000 deaths. the government is encouraging more people to get vaccinated and offering boosters to everyone over 18, all this to protect africa's biggest economy and its largest population. the british government says the decision to red list nigeria was made after 21 people with the omicron variant who traveled to england had come from nigeria. the nigerian center for disease control said it had only identified a few cases of the variant in the country. >> my response is the response of the government and the people of nigeria. we align ourselves with the
position of the u.n. secretary general. he has classified a selective band as travel apartheid. correspondent: about 200,000 people from nigeria live in the u.k. many plan to visit relatives this this holiday season. now they may have to wait. bbc news, lagos. laura: many public health experts are saying the slow rate of vaccination in the developing world allowed the new strain to mutate. for more on what the united states is doing to vaccinate the world, including today's announcement that an extra $4 million will be spent on distribution efforts, we are joined by the assistant secretary for human affairs at the u.s. department of health and human services. the u.s. has a travel ban on many southern african countries. the u.n. secretary general is saying this is travel apartheid, ineffective.
what's you are response? >> thanks for having me again today. on travel, that has to be a part of the solution. we understand that as public health professionals. the steps we took where an initial step for us to understand what's happening with this variant. we are grateful to our colleagues, particularly in south africa and other parts of the region, who continue to help us realize what we are dealing with and how it is affecting not just people and the cases we are seeing, but a lot of the solutions we have in place today like vaccines, treatments, and other measures. we hope we can continue evolng with the science and understanding, like you have reported today, how important other measures are, like testing within a day of arrival into the states. that is important regardless of citizenship and vaccation status, that there are stronger
measures that are even more effective. laura: let's talk about what the u.s. is doing. south africa, namibia, and others say they have enough vaccines but cannot get them into arms. what is america doing? >> building on decades of partnership with ministries of health in the region. a lot of these countries have existing robust immunization campaigns. this is something none of our countries have experienced. we are used to immunizing kids or having smaller initiatives, but it is a challenge to cover an entire population of people in the wake of covid. we face our own challenges. we recognize the issues other countries my face in terms of cold storage or disinformation, even just training -- laura: could we talk about disinformation? the former cdc director has said the united states is exporting
disinformation and vaccine hesitancy. would you agree with that? >> i would say that misinformation and disinformation is a global problem. it is something we have faced here in particular communities. there is a range of hesitancy or competence when it comes to vaccines. not all audiences are created equally. we are working with government officials to understand what they are facing. sometimes people have basic questions about what vaccines mean. in other cases, they are being targeted with specific campaigns. we are trying to address the problem from all sides. laura: do you think president biden's goal of vaccinating 70% of the world by september 2022 will be met? >> that's certainly our goal. we know that type of goal is required for us to all make it through this pandemic.
we all want to see the light at the end of the tunnel. we know that the disparities being faced today are only driving this virus to be more effective against us. we are not only making commitments, but accelerating efforts, ramping up our sharing of vaccines, 200 million over the next 100 days. delivering 11 million doses in just one day last week. were walking the walk and wanting to do that much more to ensure people have shots in arms all over the world. laura: thanks so much for being with us. lebanon is in crisis. a financial meltdown, a political stalemate, and a shortage of vital medicines. in a country where 80% of drugs have to be imported, the central bank says it cannot continue subsidizing supplies. that has left many families scrambling to afford lifesaving medicines. we report from beirut.
correspondent: counting every spoonful. fatwa's daughter is diabetic and every meal must be carefully weighed. medication is also a lifelong need. but this family is in lebanon, where medicine is now extremely costly. >> [translated] sarah's medications cost more than my husband's salary. i count the insulin day by day to make sure it lasts long enough so sarah could use it at school instead of pricking her finger in front of her friends. correspondent: medicines for chronic diseases were, until recently, subsidized, protected from the immense increase in prices across the board following a devaluation of the currency in recent years.
but they are not anymore. prices have skyrocketed. and that's. not all. in a bankrupt state, access to health care in general has become a luxury. hamed was rushed to the er with acute pain. he needed a ct scan that could only be performed if he paid a small fortune in cash. >> he had to pay 5 million. >> for the contrast? correspondent: this is over 10 times the monthly minimum wage in lebanon. >> this is not normal for my situation and the country, but what can i do? everyone has become so worried about getting sick. correspondent: the doctor wanted hamed to stay in the hospital for 24 hours, but he discharged
himself. hamed decided to leave the hospital against medical advice. i say despite it, but he has no other choice. although he remains in critical condition, he cannot afford the treatment he needs. this is how dramatic the situation is. as the economy here continues to crumble, more and more people are faced with these life or death decisions. laura: in other news, the u.s. secretary has condemned the conviction of the former myanmar leader. antony blinken says it is an affront to democracy and justice. he was found guilty of inciting unrest and violating covid restrictions. she faces 11 charges and denies them all.
she has been detained since the military coup in february. canada is tapping emergency reserves of a vital commodity -- maple syrup. the québec meikle syrup producers, the so-called opec of maple syrup, has released 50 million pounds from its emergency larder, nearly half the reserve. officials say booming demand and a short harvest. because the shortfall. it is the first time in three years the larder has been used. the u.s. announced a diplomatic boycott of the winter olympics in china. that means no delegation of u.s. officials will go. the biden administration is protesting against china's human rights record. the white house says athletes will compete. here is the white house press secretary explaining. >> u.s. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the p.r.c.'s egregious human rights abuses
, and we simply can't do that. laura: china warned it would take resolute countermeasures even before it was announced. bbc's washington correspondent gary o'donoghue has more on the significance of the white house move. gary: there has been a lot of pressure across the political spectrum to toughen up the approach to china from republicans and democrats in congress. i think this is in part a response to that. this is an idea that has been floating around for a while. it is a way of making a stand without there being too many consequences. the athletes are going, after all. this is just stopping a group of diplomats from going to the opening and closing ceremonies. but it does allow biden to say, i am getting tough in some areas where people have concerns, such as the action against the uighurs in west china, democracy
in hong kong, threats toward taiwan, all these areas. it is a way of sending a message but is a little bit of a diplomatic dance given that the chinese say they were not invited in the first place and there are not going to be spectators from any other countries. laura: gary o'donoghue reporting. you are watching bbc world news america. still to come, russia's president tightens defense ties with india durina visit to delhi. we will have the latest on what this means. a teenager from the u.k. who survived a crocodile attack in zambia says she is lucky to be alive. she was saved by her friend and is recovering in hospital. luisa has the story for us now. correspondent: emily osborne smith was on a gap year trip of a lifetime, but in the waters
near victoria falls, the 18-year-old was attacked by a crocodile. >> i accepted i was going to lose my foot. i told my friends, it's fine, i am still alive. and then i was told my foot is going to be fine and i was going to be able to walk again. it's such a relief. correspondent: the accident happened while she was white water rafting with a group. she was airlifted to hundred 40 miles to the capital, where surgeons performed a lifesaving operation and saved her leg. she is expected back in the u.k. to be transported to a hospital for more treatment. ♪ laura: the buildup of russian troops on the border with ukraine is causing concern in washington. on tuesday president biden will
speak to president putin by video. the u.s. lead is expected to warn russia of severe economic consequences if moscow invades ukraine. mr. putin has been meeting with india's prime minister to reaffirm defense ties. we have this report. correspondent: two up the world 's political strongmen in a show of unity. president putin was in delhi for just a day, long enough to get a bearhug from prime minister modi and get down to business. this annual meeting between the nations was canceled last year due to covid. president putin has barely traveled this year. hi visit a sign of how important india-russia relations are to him. the pair discussed afghanistan and signed a number of defense deals, but found time to praise each other too. >> the last few decades, whatever geopolitical changes have come to this part of the
world, russia and india have been good friends. >> we perceive india as a great power, a friendly nation, and a time-tested friend. correspondent: a friendship expressed through military cooperation. india buys the majority of its arms from russia. these are s400 surface to air missiles. delhi signed a $5 million deal to buy a number from moscow, pushing ahead with the sale even though it angered the u.s., which threatened sanctions against it. the talks have been taking place at delhi's hyderabad house. prime minister modi will not say that russia was india's greatest friend, but these talks come with tensions. russia has been critical of india's membership in the so-called core group of countries, it's alliance with america, japan, and australia. the coordinations are seen as a grouping to counter china's
growing influence in this region. russia has accused them of courting india as part of what it says is a devious game. now all eyes are on ukraine with reports president putin could be planning a large-scale attack on the nation. on tuesday he has a virtual summit with president biden to discuss the issue. all of this could ratchet tensions between washington and moscow. as a friend to both, india's positioning with its allies will be watched closely in the weeks ahead. laura: nowthe hollywood legend mel brooks is still going strong at 95 years old. the man behind blazing saddles and the producers has a new autobiography called "what about me?" he records the highlights of his life in show business and his long marriage to end ben cross -- to anne bancroft. corrpondent: mel brooks is a
legend, a movie legend, musical legend, and a comedy legend. oscars, emmys, bath does, grammys, tony's, he has won them all many time over. >> ♪ spring for hitler's and germany ♪ correspondent: mel brooks was fearless and broke every rule, but he kept to the ones for lockdown, even telling his son max to go away. >> i'm going! love you. correspondent: he has been locked in writing his autobiography and, after some persuasion, let me in to talk about it. it all starts in brooklyn. >> everybody in my building worked in the garment center and i figured i would end up there too. my uncle joe, who looked a little like you, changed my life. he said, melvin -- i said, yes,
uncle joe? he said, how would you like to see a cole porter musical on broadway called anything goes? what an experience. when the show was over, i said, joe, i'm not going to go into the garment center. i'm going to go into show business. i want to do what they were doing on that stage. i never deviated from that plan. i was going into show business. >> don't you want to become a butterfly? don't you want to flap your wings to glory? >> you are going to jump on me. i know you are going to jump on me. correspondent: filming the producers taught mel a valuable lesson about how to handle studio executives. >> after the third or fourth day , he says, i will give you another $25,000 if you get rid of that curlyhaired guy. he is just funny looking.
there is no leading man. i said ok, he's out. he's gone. and that was a great lesson for me -- lying to the studio. correspondent: mel met anne bancroft in 1961 during rehearsals for the perry, show. his life changed forever. >> she was on stage singing beautifully. i talked to her backstage and i never stopped seeing her or talking to her for the next 45 years. correspondent: one of his most erished awards is the medal of honor from barack obama. the president was a big fan of blazing saddles. >> he loved the film. correspondent: he loved the film, and he treated. >> he was 12 years old and it was listed for 16 and above.
he treated. correspondent: mel brooks fell in love with words and music when he was five years old. he chose this for his first performance, and he has been singing it ever since. >> ♪ cause, baby, look at you now ♪ laura: mel brooks, 95 and still going strong. before we go, beachgoers in brazil were in a good spot to see something daring. this professional tightrope walker, nathan, made his way across a very fine slack line between two hills in rio. 200 feet above t ground, it took 30 minutes. the french daredevil holds a dozen world records and even walked across the eiffel tower. he was very emotional about completing the feat because it had been rescheduled multiple times due to covid.
he called the view spectacular. i am laura trevelyan. narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial services firm, raymond james. narrator: funding was so provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ ♪ narrator: you're watching pbs. ♪ da-da-da-duh-da-da-da♪ ♪ da-da-da-da-da-da ♪♪
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> nawaz: good evening, i'm amna nawaz. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, the spread continues-- omicron appears in more states even as health officials battle a surge of delta covid cases. then, rising tensions-- the united states declares a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming winter olympics in china, inflaming a fraught relationship. and, veterans affairs-- secretary denis mcdonough on meetinthe needs of former servicemembers, including addressing toxic exposure and post-traumatic stress. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: