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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  December 31, 2021 2:30pm-3:01pm PST

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♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... woman: architect. bee keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. narrator: funding was also 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
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viewers like you. thank you. announcer: and now, "bbc world news". >> hello. it this is bbc news -- this is bbc news. countries around the world are bringing in the new year with a bang but are holding scaled-back celebrations. this is the scene at the famous acropolis as the clock strikes midnight. enti neighborhoods in the u.s. state of colorado have been engulfed by flames as wildfis forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes. >> many families having minutes to get whatever they could, their pets, their kids into the car, and leave. >> u.k. health service warns of
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significan pressure in the coming weeks as covert infections reach a new high. >> staff that are at work will be caring for more patients, trying to do more to cover for their missing colleagues, working extra hours, starting early, finishing late. the pressure will be immense. >> and goodbye to a golden girl. the american actress and comedian betty white has died just weeks before her 100th birthday. ♪ >> let's take you straight back to those live pictures from athens with fireworks over its most famous landmark, the acropolis, marking the arrival of 2022. the omicron variant of coronavirus has become the dominant variant in greece
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barely a month after it was first detected there. as such, there has been a curb of christmas and new year's festivities in public places in common with many parts of the world. but these fabulous birx still lighting up the sky above the acropolis -- fireworks still lighting up the sky above the acropolis with hope of a better year ahead. [fireworks]
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>> a spectacular location for those fireworks over the acropolis in athens as greece welcomes in the new year. and of course, lots of places all around the world have been putting on a show. in the united arab emirates, they tried to stand out by eating in the record books. they attempted a world record fireworks display. a number were launched from drones, which are airborne. for the second record, for th highest altitude drone firework display. the performance was planned to last for 12 minutes involving some 15,000 fireworks.
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here in the u.k., the prime minister has urged people to take a covid test before going to any celebrations. but with restrictions varying between different nations of the u.k., it is feared revelers from scotland and wales will cross into england to celebrate. our correspondent reports in cumbria, just eight miles from the border with scotland. >> new year's eve in the border city. the castle was once used to keep the scots out. now it welcomes them as they arrive in the center. earlier today, many scots made the trip south. >> nothing to do in the south of scotland, so this is the nearest place for something to do. >> because that is what new year's is all about. >> and they were ready to celebrate. the new year's eve party at the hotel was canceled before christmas to keep staff and
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customers safe. tonight, the restaurant is busy and the rooms fully booked, many by scots. >> probably half of the central bill coming down. it will be busy. i think they will complain a little bit but we will secretly be happy. >> scotland along with wales and northern ireland have all introduced some covid restrictions over the festive period. and that makes border towns like this more appealing for a night out. there are a lot of both english and scottish people out enjoying themselves in carlisle tonight. some of the scots admit they have come here on purpose to avoid restrictions back home. just walking up and down some of carlisle's busy streets, people telling us it is quieter than they would expect. the scottish government had asked people not to cross the border. where have you come from today? >> glasgow. >> why did you come to carlisle? >> because there are no
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restrictions and all of our friends have covid. [laughter] >> and the fact of the government of scotland? >> no. [laughter] >> you cannot drink here but you can drink six miles down the road. it is no fair. . >> two years of pandemic have been really tough. tonight marks the start of a new year with fresh hope. what is your message for the new year? >> spread love. happy new year. >> and that is one message which everyone across the u.k. can agree on. bbc news, carlisle. >> we would bring you more on the new year's eve preparations in london later in the program.
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the governor of the u.s. state of colorado has pledged to help residents who lost everything to rebuild their lives after sudden wildfires destroyed a thousand homes. tens of thousands of people were evacuated after the fire -- as the fires tour throughout thursday. gary o'donoghue has this report. >> wings of more than 100 mile per hour drove the flames across more than 1600 acres in suburban colorado, which would normally have snow on the ground this time of year. the fires spread quickly through homes and businesses, leading to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. the emergency services did their best, but the sheer speed of the fire took everyone by surprise. >> coming down this road, the ditches and things and trees, they are all up in flames. there are embers everywhere. >> i packed myself, my cat, and
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keeping our fingers crossed. >> local officials declared a state of emergency, unlocking federal funds to help fight the blaze. the governor spoke to president biden. >> this was a disaster in fast motion all over the course of half a day. nearly all the damage. many families having minutes to get whatever they could, their pets, their kids into the car, and leave. the last 24 hours have been devastating. >> remarkably, no one died in the fires. as dawn broken friday, winds had significantly dropped and a forecast of snow should reduce the chances of any flareups. thousands of families will count the cost of the handful of hours that have devastated their lives. gary o'donoghue, bbc news. >> i spoke to the colorado state senator a little earlier, and he
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told me how shocked he was at the speed the fires were traveling. >> it really is an unheard of an unprecedented situation. as you heard, the governor said the devastation was a matter of hours. we are now getting a much better sense of what lies and what remains in these neighborhoods. the perimeter, the sort of boundaries of the fire is now estimated to be 6000 acres. we think there are about 2000 homes within that region. upwards of 1000 could be burned to the ground. i was able to do a flyover early this morning and do a little bit of a tour of some of the impact areas. it is absolutely devastating. entire neighborhoods, entire subdivisions gone. nothing left of them really. it really is an unprecedented disaster. in colorado, we are used to wildfires. we are used to natural disasters
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and living in mother nature. but this one is different given the time of year that it is and given the fact that this really ripped through suburban and an urban area which is unusual. >> what are the conditions like right now for fighting these wildfires? because some strong winds have been fanning flames, haven't they? >> you know, you are right. but that is actually the strangest part of this. yesterday, we had record winds. it was a warm, dry day. unseasonably warm. it has been dry for months. we have had very little moisture. that is what created the situation that we saw yesterday. today, we woke up this morning to snow and it is cold outside. it feels like december. so the fires are actually not entirely but essentially out. they are not going to grow anymore. there are still embers and some structures that are going to
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continue to burn out, but there is no real risk of the fire growing or spreading to new properties because of the temperature change, because of the moisture, and the snow that is falling now, which is great. the unfortunate part of that is the power is out in a large swath of the area. so that means that yesterday we were fighting fires. today, we are going to be racing to get power back on so we don't have a massive amount of frozen pipes all across this region. >> as you say, it is absolutely bizarre to have such a mild day yesterday, to have snow today. do you have any doubt in your mind that what you are seeing in this state is connected to climate change? >> no. there is no doubt that this was exacerbated and made much more intense because of the impact of climatehange. in fact, in colorado, it is very normal for us to have a 60 degree day and the next day it
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is snowing. it is actually not that unusual. it may sound strange, but that is the climate we live in and are used to. the part that is fueled by climate change is this intense storm, sometimes windstorm rather. we have windstorms occasionally. we know from climate change, these storms are happening more frequently and are much more intense. that happened at the same time that we are experiencing extreme drought. we have had very little snowfall yet this year. it really created a perfect storm that we may have had a fire in the fall perhaps. october would have been very unusual, but it has happened. december 30 having a fire that spreads this past because of such dry conditions is very unusual and is absolutely
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impacted and exacerbated because of climate impacts we are seeing all over the state. >> colorado senator steve fenberg there. in the u.s., prince andrew's legal team has failed in its bid to stop proceedings in a civil sex abuse case. virginia jeffrey, who now lives in australia, has accused prince andrew of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager at the homes of jeffrey epstein and ghislaine maxwell. prince andrew's lawyers argued virginia jeffrey is not a u.s. resident and that her civil legal action should be halted. prince andrew has consistently denied her allegations. coronavirus inspections in the u.k. -- infections in the u.k. have reached a record high and pressure on hospitals continues to grow. covid related absences in england went up by 40% during christmas week in nhs. an average of five thousand health workers were off sick or isolated each day. london was again was the worst hit with about 4% of staff in
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acute trusts absent, up by nearly 60% from the week before. our health correspondent reports. >> most nhs staff will be glad to see the back of 22 anyone --- 2021. usually two years into this pandemic, many are exhausted. in england, london's worst affected with about 4% of staff in acute trusts absent for covid related reasons in the week before christmas, up nearly 60% on the week before. many feel its impact on patient care. >> the stock will be coming from her patients, trying to do more to cover for their missing colleagues, working extra hours, starting early, finishing late. the pressure will be immense. >> infections increased across the u.k. to the highest level on record in the week to christmas eve. in england, one in 25 had the virus. in scotland, wales, and northern
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ireland, it was one in 40. infections doubled in a week in london. one in 15 would test positive. but there were big rises too in the northwest and west midlands. and other regions were not far behind. >> it is now the dominant variant. >> statisticians say the infections are twice what they were this time last year in the winter in england. they are fueled by the omicron variant. >> across all age groups, we are seeing increases particularly driven by the young age groups. we have seen increases among school-aged children fairly recently, particularly those from nursery to enter primary. we are now seeing infections among older age groups as well. 20's to 30's spreading out to the over 70's, but they remain the lowest group to be affected. >> more encouraging news on boosters. new u.k. data suggests a booster shot is 80% effective at
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preventing people ending up in hospital due to omicron. after a huge push, all u.k. nations say they have the target of offering all adults a third dose by the end of the year. >> i would just say to people again there is 1.5 million slots out there. there are putting up opportunities, mobile vaccination units, gp's vaccinating, always to get vaccinated. please do come forward and help yourself. but also help reduce the burden on the nhs. >> and now this, a second antiviral pill has been approved by the u.k. regulator. in trials, pfizer's drug offered 90% protection from severe illness and death among vulnerable adults. there is a glimmer of hope for the new year. vaccines and new treatments should help protect the most at risk from serious illness. but there are huge uncertainties. if there is a sharp rise in hospital admissions, health leaders say ministers will have to act fast.
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catherine dacosta, bbc news. >> the legendary american actress and comedian betty white has passed away just weeks before her 100th birthday. her career spanned nine decades of the earliest days of television in the 1930's and her own shows in the 1950's to the latest toy story film just two years ago. buddy what will probably be best for member for her portrayal of rose this is, "the golden girls." she died at her home on friday morning. tributes have been pouring in for betty white. president joe biden tweeted "betty white brought a smile to the lips of generations of americans." he said she is a cultural icon who will be sorely missed. hollywood actor ryan reynolds, who starred in a film with betty white, said, "the world looks different. she managed to defy excitations. she managed to grow very old and somehow not old enough."
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debra messing tweeted, "i grew up watching and be delighted by her. she was playful and daring and smart. we all knew this day would come, but it does not take away the feeling of loss. a national treasure." michael schneider is from an entertainment magazine "variety" reflecting on betty white's career. >> we don't use the term national treasure lightly, but it definitely applies in the case of betty white. we have never known to them should without betty wright. she was there like you mentioned at the dawn of tv. some of our favorite shows over the years, golden girls, maybe 10 or more, she was a part of our life -- mary tyler moore but she was a part of our life. >> i think she had been living quietly at home during the pandemic but she said in a recent interview that she felt lucky to be in such good health at her age. she was looking forward to her 100th birthday on the 17th of january. >> yeah.
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that is what a sort of so tragic and bittersweet about this. she was just a few weeks away. there were alreadylenty of tributes in magazines and newspapers, including our own we were preparing for a big celebration of her 100th birthday. she got so close. that is kind of sad about this. obviously, her legend lives on. >> tell us about more of the tributes that have come in. i saw a lovely one for ryan reynolds, who said she managed to grow very old but not old enough. >> everyone who worked with betty white or who came in contact with her over the years had been paying tribute. even before today's news because people were starting to pay tribute to her 100th birthday. steve martin had a nice tribute yesterday before her passing. we continue to see those roll in. because so many people worked with her, loved her, and betty white continued to work up until a year or two ago. she was active weight into the early 1990's.
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everyone has a betty white story. >> i read in an interview she had done she was asked what she hoped her legacy would be, and she said she wanted people to think kindly of her and maybe make them smile. what do you think her legacy will be? >> i think that is part of it. in a country that feels so divided these days, one of the few things we can all agree on is that betty white made everything better. if you knew she was going to be in a film or tv show, even as a guest star on something, she won any's for -- emmy's forget starring. l-- emmy's for guest starring. that is how great she was. >> let's talk about "the golden girls," the show that really brought her to such huge widespread attention, perhaps the one that people if you say her name will most associate her with, and the character of rose.
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she inhabited that role along with the other three actresses, "the golden girls," but why was that role so iconic? >> i think it was a combination of all four of those women were so iconic. sadly, betty white was the last of the floor to pass. but it was that relationship between these four women. it was sort of the sweet naivete ofose, the character betty white played. so opposite of the actual betty white. betty wright herself had a sharp edge to her. she had a wicked sense of humor. she was always quick to the punch, so opposite of rose. there was something we really appreciated about that character, that naivete, that she ayed so well on "the golden girls." >> michael schneider there talking about betty white, who has died at the age of 99. less than two hours to go until new year is marked in the u.k.. but in london, the mayor has
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urged people to stay at home or to exercise caution if they do head out tonight. jean mackenzie is in trafalgar square for us in london. are people taking that advice? not as busy as usual? give us a sense of what it is like there. >> of course, the big public celebrations in london have been canceled this evening, so the fireworks you would normally have along the river, and there were plans for the smallest of the patients in trafalgar square. a week ago, the mayor of london decided that it was still too risky. none of this has stopped people from coming here to celebrate. the streets are busy. they are getting busier and busier the closer to midnight we get. we have talked to people from all across the country who came to be in central london, piqua surprised there is no public celebration. because the one thing in england is there are no restricted on celebrity. some people are seeing the new year in bars and clubs. >> come across any people who
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traveled quite a distance from other u.k. nations to be in london specifically because of the restrictions in the other nations? >> it is interesting. there has been a lot of talk today about people perhaps traveling from scotland or wales, where bars and nightclubs are closed or restricted. we have not spoken to them in london, but we are getting peop from the other end of england, so places like liverpool, expecting there will be something happening in london and disappointed and surprised to learn that is not the case. >> obviously, the advice is made to people to try to stay involved ventilated areas. you were mentioning earlier how mild it is, as we have been noting around the u.k. really mild for this time of year. do you think that is going to help people to follow the advice and encourage people to stay outside rather than go inside if they can? >> it is unseasonably warm here in london this evening.
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this is not what it should feel like on the 31st of december. i think the hope certainly is it will encourage more people to stick it out on the streets this evening. the streets are busy and they might be more encouraged to stay here for midnight rather than to head indoors somewhere to keep warm. if they go indoors, they are being told to take a natural flow test first and think about how ventilated area is. cases of covid in london and across the u.k. are very high. >> thank you very much. jean mackenzie in central london for us. i think we can show you a shot of the london skyline as the city and the u.k. gets ready to mark the arrival of 2022. the advice to people in england is to stay in well ventilated places or outside if they can, to use the lateral flow test, and of course, the rules are different in england from the
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other u.k. nations where there are tougher restrictions in place. narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial services firm, raymond james. narrator: funding was also 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 ♪♪
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> nawaz: good evening. i'm amna nawaz. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight: covid surge. new cases soar, breaking pandemic records across the u.s., as countries around the globe celebrate new year's eve. then, colorado's wildfires. fueled by hurricane-force winds, the blaze leaves thousands homeless, and could be the most destructive in the state's history. also, legendary actress and beloved comedian betty white has died, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday. and, it's friday. david brooks and jonathan capehart reflect on the year in politics, and democracy in america. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.

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