tv BBC World News America PBS January 19, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
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announcer: and now, "bbc world news". ♪ laura: i'm laura trevelyan and this is bbc news america. britain's prime minister is battling for his future, made calls to resign because of parties during lockdowns. dramatic scenes in parliament as a conservative mp defect to labor and annex minister tells mr. johnson his time is up. >> -- laura: president biden marked his first year in office with a press conference defending his record and warning president putin of the costs of invading ukraine. >> it will be a disaster for russia if they further invade ukraine. and our allies and partners are
ready to impose significant harm on russia and the russian economy. laura: that warning as the secretary of state's in ukraine on a whistle stop diplomatic tour. we will have the latest. ♪ welcome to world news america on pbs and around the globe. we started in britain, where prime minister boris johnson is fighting to save his job. a former conservative cabinet minister joined the calls for johnson to resign. one lawmaker defected to the opposition labor party a few hours ago. mr. johnson is under mounting pressure over parties held at downing street during lockdown. he seems determined to fight on. our political editor reports. >> the atmosere in the prime minister's neighborhood is full
of risk. danger dangles all around for boris, uncertainty hanging in the air. downing street, confronting the truth that his own mp's want him gone. ministers gathered to agree to ditch some covid rules this morning. some of his own, waiting and washing -- watching, thinking of ditching him. is it under control? do you think he might be in denial? >> i think we need to focus on dealing with covid and make sure we've got that right. >> can it go on like this? >> is it over for the prime minister? >> it is not ridiculous, despite his allies' claim, to suggest their boss could be gone before long. [shouting] >> it was no ordinary wednesday. pressure on boris johnson after weeks of claims about what went on a number 10 during lockdown.
mps who discussed sending letters of no confidence in their leader, and a shock. political chat interrupted. >> christian weick furred is defecting to the labor party. >> a huge surprise for his collgues and the rest. >> that is incredible. >> the first tory mp since 2007, cheered to the rafters as he defected to labor. >> can i start by welcoming the honorable member. to the parliamentary labor party. mr. speaker, like so many people up and down the country, he has concluded that the prime minister and the conservative party have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves. >> a sting at a vulnerable moment for johnson.
>> as for their side -- >> in a union jack mask, the new labor mp, opposite or behind the prime minister this time. >> we will win again. >> it was more energy from the prime minister in a chaotic prime minister's questions. he sought to stand and fight. >> doesn't the country deserves so much better than this out of touch, artificial and soon to be out of office prime minister? >> when the history of this pandemic comes to be written in the history of the labor part of arty comes to be written, it will show that we delivered while they dithered, and we vaccinated. >> when he thought he might have gotten through without a new wound, a brutal blast from his
own side. a prominent tory quoting cromwell to try to oust the leader of the tories' 21st century revolution. >> i expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take. yesterday, he did the opposite of that. so i will remind him of a quotation, you sat there too long for all the good you have done. in the name of god, go. >> they used to be allies. what a day. you hear the speaker, aghast. doesn't know what else to say. a senior tory come of the latest to call for the prime minister's exit. the smiling labor leader, welcome a conservative -- welcoming a conservative to the fold. thereave been more public efforts from conservatives to get out and defend. >> he is the bounceback king.
i have always supported boris. i wouldn't be an mp here if it wasn't for him. >> mps and ministers who want johnson to stay have been falling over themselves to call for cool heads all around. one loyal minister said the threat was real. it is true to say no one can issue in a secret process how many conservative mps are really willing to try to oust him, yet today's chaos demonstrates clearly, there are members of different tory tribes who want to see him gone. >> i can provide evidence. >> the prime minister has always had political detractors and gathered enemies along the w. he may not want to rest until thiss over. tory tradition shows the leaders are removed but only two years after a huge election victory, boris donaldson -- boris johnson
will resist attempts for a changing of the guard. laa: back here in washington, president biden held a rare press conference to mark his first year in office. his approval ratings are just above 40% as he faces rising inflation, a pandemic that isn't over, and an unstable world with russian troops massing on the border with ukraine. here is mr. biden telling americans who are fed up with covid that things will get better. >> i'm not going to give up and accept things as they are now. some may call this the new normal. i call it a job not yet finished. it will get better. we are moving towards a time when covid-19 won't disrupt our daily lives. when covid-19 won't be a crisis, but something to protect against and a threat. look. we are not there yetbut we will get there.
laura: joining us from the white house is the bbc's gary o'donoghue. was the president trying to walk a fine line, acknowledging people are fed up with covid while trying to say his administration has done things about it? >> i think that is right. also acknowledging implicitly that this is something americans will have to learn to live with, to protect against, in his words, rather than be a threat, something that will be with us for some time. because of the vaccination program, because of the testing and the tests that are now being sent out to american homes and eight available in pharmacies around the country, there are things that can be done to keep it under control. while he says when he came into power, there were only 2 million people vaccinated, now 75 percent of americans are double vaccinated, he is not looking for a covid zero type situation
like some places around the world, like china and hong kong. he is saying we can cope with it and we will have no more lockdowns in the future. laura: it is a turbulent world for the president. on ukraine, as russian troops are massing on the border with ukraine and in belarus, president biden actually sai his guess was president puti would invade ukraine. that is quite the prediction. >> he also said he thought he hadn't made his mind up yet, but interestingly, i think this is the most powerful language we have heard from the president on russia and the ukraine situation. he indicated $600 million he has approved for lethal force in ukraine, for the ukrainian armed forces, but he warned russia if they invaded, they would pay a heavy price, real heavy consequential loss of life.
but he felt russia would test the west, in the coming days, but there would be consequences they hadn't experienced in the past. he is talking about economic sanctions, but also those military consequences that he says ukraine would inflict. he says russia militarily would overwhelm, but it would pay a price in the long-term as it had with other invasions it has undertaken. also, saying if there was an invasion, there definitely would be new tros from nato and the u.s.n poland and romania. laura: domestically, president biden said he thought he ought to get a decent report card, but democrats are anxious about the midterm elections in november. the prospect of a real drubbing. >> they are. the pattern is that for a first-term presidentthey do get a bit of a drubbing in the
off year elections like that. he says, he is indicating really that the administration hasn't done a good enough job selling its own record, talking about the numbers of jobs created, talking about the numbers of vaccinations delivered, talking about the extent to which america has engaged in the world. he thinks that should happen from now on, but he has acknowledged particularly on parts of his agenda like the build back better legislation stalled in congress, prevented from becoming law i democrats in s own party, that he made only -- may only be able to get pieces of it, but that will be crucial for him in the run-up to those midterms in november because he needs some wins this year. it is all very wello say this is what i did last year, but people need something more recent to vote for and for something to vote for in the future. so they will be looking for more successes this year, and it will
be really hard, given the margins in congress. laura: absolutely. gary o'donoghue, thank you. as president biden in washington issued warnings to russia about the price moscow would for any invasion of ukraine, the u.s. secretary of state is in the ukrainian capital kiev tonight. antony blinken urged president putin to choose a peaceful path. russia has 100,000 troops amassed on the borders, but denies planning a military invasion. our diplomatic correspondent has more. >> british military equipment, arriving in ukraine. short range antitank missiles with a small team of trainers to follow. the latest western gesture of support for a country facing a mounting threat from russia. blue medic suppo as well. the u.s. secretary of state flew to kiev, promising relentless
american efforts to prevent russia from invading. washington's message to ukraine's president let amir zelensky, there will be no talks about you without your involvement. tonight, an expression of support direct from washington. >> if they do what they are capable of doing with the force they have amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for russia if they further invade ukraine. and our allies and partners are ready to impose severe costs and significant harm on russia and the russian economy. >> all the while, russian troops maintain their menacing presence on ukraine's northern and eastern borders. in neighboring belarus, preparing for what are cald joint military drills. american officials say these could be used as a cover for an invasion of ukraine. kiev says it has what itakes to withstand an attack. >> we have thousands in our ukrainian army.
we have options to have defending forces. we have 400,000 veterans of ukrainian-russian war. so i'm sure we have the capacity to deter this activity from moscow. >> last week we saw a diplomatic trail that crisscrossed europe, from geneva to brussels and vienna. at the end, the russian form -- foreign minister aeared to throw in the towel. our patients, he said, is at an end. here we are four days on and the process is shifting up a gear. sergey lavrov and antony blinken are due to meet on friday in geneva. the talking, it seems, is not over. the tremors of the crisis are felt across europe. on the baltic island of gottland, sweden is beefing up its presence, concerned about
russian activity and what it calls russia's direct threat to europe's security. laura: you are watching bbc world news america. still to come, with weeks to go until the winter olympics, china's xinjiang province is presented as a snow sports destination, glossing over accusations minorities are persecuted there. in columbia, a surprise bid for the pet -- the presidency. she was abducted when campaigning for the country's top job. >> looking relaxed and ready to face the future, ingrid betancourt announcing her bid for colombia's president 20 years after being kidnapped by rebels. the green party leader has been living abroad since 2008 as part
of operation checkmate. she had been held in the jungle mostly in chains and described being forced to walk for days, moving from camp to camp and not being fed. the former rebel leader is leading the polls currently, but with colombia at a crossroads, the country may be ready to believe in ingrid betancourt again. ♪ laura: the winter olympics in beijing begin in less than three weeks and that brings a focus to china's xinjiang region. beijing is accused of abusing the human rights of the weaker minority but china is -- uygr
minority but china is looking for snow sports in the region. >> this is the image of china you will see over the next few weeks. beautiful snow covered slopes. communist party leaders hope it will persuade miions to grab boots and come here. like this man. he isn't near the host city of beijing. this is xinjiang, a troubled region hoping for a major boom off the back of the olympics. what will that be like in 20 years where you are? >> [speaking chinese] >> as china's second olympics approaches, these images have been part of state media reporting on xinjiang, almost as if it is part of the games. it is very different to these images from the bbc's repoing in xinjiang in recent years, of
massive indoctrination and incarceration of ethnic muslims. inside places china used to deny even existed. china's leaders call it anti-terror reeducation. the u.s. and others say it is part of a genocide. there are numerous foreign firms lining up to sell yart of the alternative xinjiang. an american snowboard pioneer is one of them. >> in the last couple of years we have seen triple digit growth, so we are excited about that. >> they have signed up a world-class chinese border and she isn't even a teenager yet. the companyplanning dozens more stores. how does its presence in xinjiang sit with an ethos that is more about being -- more than being a business? >> we have two choices. we can divorce ourselves from shin john and say we -- from xinjiang and say there is
nothing, or we can understand it better. there may be, factually i don't know. i'm not a politician, i have never studied this aspect. >> have you seen the media reports? >> everyone has. but i divorce myself. what i mean by that is, i can't change that. >> some would say you can. your statement on the website, you want to affect positive change for people, ftories. maybe you can change that. >> hopefully for the better. we will focus on what we can change for the better. >> burton is one of numerous foreign firms who decided xinjiang and the china market is irresistible. president xi jinping thinks is critics a politicizing his big sporting moment. his government says the a lepic should rise above politics, a distinction some of the businesses looking to ride the olympic wave want you to think,
as well. laura: the united nations says it is stepping up its response to that volcanic eruption and tsunami in tonga. a coat of ash has been removed from the main airport runway, clearing the way for emergency aid to be delivered. the tongan government released more pictures. they say many houses onhe islands have been destroyed. our correspondent sent us the latest details. >> we heard from new zealand's foreign ministry who said this u.s. cable company, looking at the sered internet cable beneath the sea, said it would take four weeks for that cable to be repaired and that is what isausing delays with communicions. the internet is still down on all the islands. what we are hearing today is that the cloud above the islands, the ash cloud, is dissipating.
satellite phone communications have improved, good enough for the international federation of the red cross pacific chapter to get in contact with the rest -- red cross team in tonga. they said today, tell the world we are here doing our bes to serve our tongan people who have lost so much. theyelayed information there has been extensive damage on some of the outer lying islands. we are hearing that flights will be landing on the main island tomorrow, thursday, and that has been confirmed by tongan officials. -- has been cleared to such an extent that a large plane penland and we are hearing that in the days ahead, these two naval ships from new zealand will arrive carrying 250,000 liters of clean water issued for islanders at the moment, because ash is contaminating the water supply. laura: howard johnson, reporting
on the situation on tonga. many of us have tried to go green. as we become more aware of climate change, there is something else that could help, public transport. switching to electric buses can reduce carbon emissions. one company designed a double-decker with the longest battery range in the united kingdom. our science correspondent reports. >> if we are going to clean up the air in towns and cities, we have to attract more people onto public transport. that means getting rid of all those diesel buses chugging around. that is where this n piece of technology comes in. designed by a former formula one engineer and his team, it looks like a normal double-decker but they say they have found a way of boosting how far it can go on one charge. it has five batteries, like this one, secreted around the vehicle. that is not the clever bit. that is in the back.
with electric buses, they can use as much energy just heating and cooling the cabin as they do physically driving along. they have developed much more efficient air conditioning, and that m overall, it has a longer-range. this man used to work for williams on lotus until he turnedis skills to something less racy. >> it is challenng. weight is an issue because the batteries for electric us as very heavy. we need to be able to carry passengers, so it is a big challenge to get the weight distribution right. >> so learning from your earlier career help you with this? >> absutely. we have quite a few of the guys who i work with, working on weight saving and efficient mechanical design. >> the technology has been designed at a factory in nor
wich. they want to make 200 vehicles per year to be sold around the world but built locally. >> we have the people. our batteries are made locally. we make it in the u.k.. 90% of the product is made on this site. >> this one is driven on the london route. it will take its first passengers in the spring. laura: before we go tonight, we want to remember an icon in the world of fashion. andre leon talley, the first black man to be the creator -- creative director of vogue, has died at 73. he was known as a creative genius who became vogue magazine's editor at large. he was a trail blazer in a largely white and elitist industry who brought more black
models into the industry. an extraordinary life. i'm laura trevelyan. thanks for watching bbc world news narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial services firm, raymond james. narrator: nding 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 ♪♪
♪ judy: good evening. on the newshouronight, pres. biden: it has been a year of challenges but also a year of enormous progress. judy: president biden defends his track record after approval rating dips and challenges. the democrat push for voting rights legislation faces opposition in the u.s. senate. then the secretary of state reassures ukraine of u.s. support but rns russia could launch an attack at any moment. all of that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.