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tv   BBC News  BBC News  January 8, 2022 11:00pm-11:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news, with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. more than 150,000 people in the uk have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test since the pandemic began. lawyers for novak djokavic claim he was given a vaccine exemption to enter australia, because he'd had a recent covid infection. at least 21 people have died in north—eastern pakistan, after being trapped in their vehicles by heavy snowfall. nasa says the james webb space telescope has fully deployed in space after unfolding its final mirror panels. and in turkmenistan — an order to try and extinguish a gas crater known as the gateway to hell. we'll speak to one person who's descended into the pit of fire.
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hello, and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. more than 150,000 people in the uk have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test. another 313 deaths have been reported in the latest daily figures. the highest 2a our total since february last year. according to the latest data from johns hopkins university, 150,223 people have died within 28 days of a positive covid test in the uk.
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it's the first country in western europe to pass that threshold. the uk is only the seventh country to exceed 150,000 reported deaths — after the us, brazil, india, russia, mexico and peru. a rather depressing milestone. we are not comparing like with like because different countries have different population sizes. to look at the implications of that figure, catherine burns reports. how do you begin to imagine 150,000 people? it's almost the entire population of oxford, a city, like others, where the pandemic has caused so much pain. the first death within 28 days of a positive covid test was recorded in the uk on the 6th of march, 2020. five weeks later, more
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than 10,000 people had died. sabir—hussain mirza was 0xford's first muslim councillor. mostly, though, he was a family man — married with ten children. they relied on video calls when he went to hospital. we would be like, "come on, dad, get better quickly and come back." but one day, sabir stopped answering his phone. he'd been put on a ventilator. after almost three weeks, doctors said some of the family could visit him for the last time. i said to him, "i love you, and i want you to know that i will always love you, and i will never forget you." you just can't come to terms with someone actually telling you that your father's left this world. sabir was buried next to his younger brother. he'd died the day before in the same hospital, killed by the same disease. as the pandemic spread through society, the death toll rose rapidly, but scientists in this city were also working at speed, racing to find a vaccine,
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and by the end of april 2020, the oxford astrazeneca team was already testing it on volunteers in clinical trials, and as the year came to a close there was a real sense of optimism as both this and the pfizer vaccine were approved. january last year was a turning point — it saw more deaths than at any other time, over32,000. but by the end of the month almost half a million people had had their first dose of a vaccine. she was looking forward to the vaccine coming along. traceyjones turned 50 in lockdown. she didn't make it to 51. she said to me, "i feel very, very ill." isaid, "i know, my darling, they're going to put you to sleep and you'll be better." she said to me, "look after stephen," and those were the last words i ever heard from her. neil and tracey were a team, caring for their son stephen who has special needs. i had to tell him, unfortunately,
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"mum has gone to heaven now," and he hugged me and cried. no one could come and see her. we were left to grieve on our own, really. it's very hard, especially when you have a special needs son, and you don't want him to see you crying, but sometimes you just had to go away and have a little cry. the pandemic has seen too many sad milestones. in november, 2020, the death toll stood at 50,000. just 11 weeks later, it reached 100,000. vaccines helped slow that pace right down and it's taken almost another year to get to this point. i'm so glad that he retired when he did, early. robin birchmore was 63 and his invitation for a vaccine came through two days after he died. in hospital, he had one last video call with his daughter. he kept saying, "i'm struggling, i'm struggling to breathe," and i said to him, "hurry up and get better," and he said, "i'm trying." that was the last
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time i spoke to him. camilla's nan had also died from covid. 0n the night after her funeral the call came, it was time to say goodbye to her dad, as well. it was horrendous, horrendous. the doctor said, "here's your dad," and i went, "that's not my dad." i didn't even recognise him because of all the tubes. you say your goodbyes and then you have to walk away from them. the uk has reported 150,000 deaths before any country in the eu. there is hope, though, that this pandemic will never again bring suffering on such a scale. catherine burns, bbc news. the uk prime minister, borisjohnson, has issued a statement on the grim milestone. in it, he says...
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we can speak now to dr peter hotez, dean of the national school of tropical medicine at baylor college of medicine, and a leading scientist and expert in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control. it's very good to speak to you again on bbc news, thanks for sparing sometime today. what are your reflections on the figure in the uk? first of all, i was extraordinarily moved by those stories, as the father of a special needs daughter, i'm very much related to that gentleman who told his story and i appreciate that he did that. you
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know, it's been a pretty tough two years. i think one of the big differences between the us and england goes like this — almost all of your deaths in the uk, 150,000, were before vaccines became widely available. certainly additional deaths in the first weeks while you are rolling out the vaccine. but at the minimum, you did a good job vaccinating the nation — 71% of your country's fully vaccinated and you brought down the deaths. i think for me, the additional heart ache is not being able to stop the vaccine defiance and deaths even after vaccines were rolled out. so if you look at the deaths across the united states, it spent pretty much 50—50 before the vaccines came out and afterwards —— it's split. and after those senseless, needless deaths that are so especially heartbreaking for those of us in the science
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community, because they refused to get vaccinated. i’m community, because they refused to get vaccinated-— get vaccinated. i'm interested not only because _ get vaccinated. i'm interested not only because of — get vaccinated. i'm interested not only because of your _ get vaccinated. i'm interested not only because of your personal - get vaccinated. i'm interested not i only because of your personal story, because autism was a thing we had a big problem within the 90s, with the mmr vaccine, with people saying it was causing autism. we are in a situation where it looks like there is a portion of the population who will never accept vaccination. given that they won't and governments perhaps understandably don't want to forcibly vaccinate people, what's your analysis of our way out of this pandemic? your analysis of our way out of this andemic? ., your analysis of our way out of this pandemic?— pandemic? you know, the most important _ pandemic? you know, the most important thing _ pandemic? you know, the most important thing that _ pandemic? you know, the most important thing that i _ pandemic? you know, the most important thing that i see - pandemic? you know, the most important thing that i see is - pandemic? you know, the most important thing that i see is to l important thing that i see is to prevent, aside from trying to encourage people to vaccinate and in the us it's a partisans of the micro divide, aside from that we need to realise that our most horrific variance, delta and 0micron —
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vaccinating the whole world, the southern hemisphere is unvaccinated, much of latin america. and until the g7 leaders show that global resolve to do it, itjust won't happen. we just released our vaccine for emergency use in collaboration with... it's called corby vax, the one we developed at our texas children's hospitalfor one we developed at our texas children's hospital for vaccine development. we have 150 million doses rolling out, and soon it will double to 300 million doses. that's more than any other g7 country has donated. so as extreme nares it sounds, oursmall donated. so as extreme nares it sounds, our small research group in texasis sounds, our small research group in texas is doing more to vaccinate the world than the other g7 countries. that's a problem that needs to be fixed. ., �* ., , . fixed. you've painted a picture in which the uk _ fixed. you've painted a picture in which the uk has _ fixed. you've painted a picture in which the uk has done _ fixed. you've painted a picture in which the uk has done well, - fixed. you've painted a picture in - which the uk has done well, relative to other countries, not least the us, it's done very well— but
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relative to some of the european countries, he hasn't done well —— and some other. i'm thinking of deaths per population. when you do the per capita measurement, the uk doesn't come out so favourably given all the advantages it enjoys, compared to other parts of the world. less vaccine resistance than, say, in the united states. presumably that'll lead to some questions about why our per capita death rate is higher than comparable countries? ~ �* , ., ., countries? well, here's howl read this. if countries? well, here's howl read this- if you — countries? well, here's howl read this. if you were _ countries? well, here's howl read this. if you were to _ countries? well, here's howl read this. if you were to divide - countries? well, here's howl read this. if you were to divide the - this. if you were to divide the nation pre—vaccine, post vaccine — post vaccine in the uk would arguably be the best in the europe. pre—vaccine, at the bottom. so i think the emphasis needs to be on what happened in those early days. we also got hit very hard in new york city and weren't ready for a pandemic like this. so i think if
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you are going to focus their attentions on what happened in the first few months of the pandemic — in our case in the us, we have a much tougherjob. we have to find out why we continue to allow these needless losses of life throughout our pandemic, notjust in the early days. our pandemic, not “ust in the early da s. ., ., ~ our pandemic, not “ust in the early da s. ., ., . days. doctor, thank you so much, aood to days. doctor, thank you so much, good to speak _ days. doctor, thank you so much, good to speak you _ days. doctor, thank you so much, good to speak you again, - days. doctor, thank you so much, good to speak you again, thanks i days. doctor, thank you so much, l good to speak you again, thanks so much for your time and analysis. thank you. france has reported a massive 303,669 new coronavirus cases in the past 2a hours, despite strict covid pass measures. the figures come as demonstrations were held against even tougher rules which would see unvaccinated people largely banned from any public space. france also has strict mask—wearing restrictions. lawyers for the tennis star novak djokovic say he had a vaccine exemption to enter australia because of a covid
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infection last month. djokovic was denied entry after landing in melbourne this week to play in the australian open. he's currently in an immigration detention centre, ahead of an appeal hearing on monday. a second player, renata voracova from the czech republic, has now left australia after having her visa cancelled. shaimaa khalil reports from melbourne. the world's top tennis player is spending the weekend in an immigration detention hotel. and his supporters have turned up for a third day. this is novak djokovic arriving in melbourne on wednesday. the documents his legal team presented to the court state he'd received the exemption from tennis australia, with a follow—up letter
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from the home affairs department, saying he was allowed into the country. his legal team added that onjanuary 1st djokovic received a document from home affairs, telling him his responses indicated he met the requirements for a quarantine—free arrival into australia. what's becoming clear is a breakdown in communication among those making the decisions, and what the judge has to look at and examine is exactly which rules apply. is it state government rules or federal government rules? and until a decision is made about whether novak djokovic can remain in australia, the world no 1 is still stuck in this immigration detention hotel, and in the middle of a huge controversy. this particular set of incidents, the victorian government's not
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briefed on the matter. in terms of how people got into the country, that's a matter for the federal government. last night his mother offered some reassurance. he said he's ok, but i'm not so sure. but he's mentally very stable, and he's waiting. the tennis tournament is only a few days away, and what's normally one of the biggest highlights here is turning into a political and a diplomatic embarrassment for australia. shaimaa khalil, bbc news. an air strike on a refugee camp in northern ethiopia is reported to have killed more than 50 people. there's been no independent confirmation of the attack in tigray, but pictures on social media show injured civilians being treated in hospital. fighting on the ground between federal forces and tigrayan rebels has halted, but air strikes have continued. a spokesman for the tigray people's liberation front called the incident "a callous drone attack" by the government.
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the kazakh authorities have detained the former head of the country's domestic intelligence agency, karim massimov, on suspicion of high treason. it's fuelled speculation that the violence of recent days may be linked — at least in part — to a power struggle within the ruling party. mr massimov previously served twice as prime minister under kazakhstan's former long—standing president, nursultan nazarbayev. at least 21 people have died in freezing temperatures in northeastern pakistan after their cars were trapped in heavy snow. the chief minister of punjab province has declared the mountain resort town of murree — where 1,000 vehicles are still stranded — as a "disaster area" and has urged people to stay away. janey mitchell reports. a day trip to enjoy the spectacle of the first snowfall of the season turned to tragedy. tens of thousands, including families, flocked to the popular resort town after snow began falling on tuesday. many travelled from islamabad ill—equipped to deal
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with the blizzard conditions. the pakistani army has been brought in to help clear snow and rescue those trapped. and the hope is to begin air lifts when conditions allow. translation: helicopter service will soon be started, _ but the weather is not good right now. as soon as the weather gets bad there, god willing, we will start helicopter service to rescue any people stranded. —— the weather gets better. many of the casualties died from hypothermia as temperatures fell to —8 celsius. others were reported to have been asphyxiated by exhaust fumes as they kept engines running to keep warm. vehicles were trapped as the narrow mountain roads became clogged with the sheer number of vehicles. others were blocked by fallen trees brought down by the weight of snow. local people are delivering blankets and food to those stranded. on friday, the government closed
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all roads leading to murree to stop any further influx. pakistan's prime minister has expressed his shocked and upset at the deaths. he suggested that the local administration was caught unprepared. he has ordered an inquiry to ensure such a tragedy does not happen again. janey mitchell, bbc news. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. police in albania have used tear gas and water canon to disperse hundreds of protesters, as a power struggle within the main opposition party turned violent. supporters of the leader of one faction smashed their way into the headquarters of the democratic party in tirana, using crow bars and hammers. the us ambassador to albania and european union diplomats have condemned the violence. the family of an outspoken university professor in afghanistan have called on the taliban to release him after he was detained in kabul on saturday. it's not known where faizullahjalal is. he had criticised the taliban leadership, telling them
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they couldn't deliver by beating and killing people. south africa's president and anc leader cyril ramaphosa has led celebrations to mark the 110th birthday of the political party. the african national congress was first formed as part of the movement against british colonial rule and later played a key role in the struggle against apartheid. but it's facing an uncertain future as multiple corruption scandals continue to tarnish the party's image among voters. the funeral service for former senate majority leader harry reid has taken place in las vegas. 82—year—old reid died after a four—year battle with pancreatic cancer. he served in congress for more than four decades. former president barack 0bama delivered the eulogy. few people have done more for this state and this country who where as driven, brilliant, sometimes irascible, deeply good man
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in searchlight, nevada. nasa says the james webb telescope is now full deployed in space. scientists have now successfully unfolded the final mirrored part of the observatory, but it stills needs to be latched into place. the telescope was sent into orbit last month. it aims to unlock the secrets of the early universe and will eventually send images back to earth. dr ezzy pearson is news editor of the bbc�*s sky at night magazine. this is a moment that i personally have been waiting for my entire career. when i first started studying astrophysics back in the early 2000s, they were talking about the jwst — and it has finally flown. there are people who have had entire careers waiting for this to fly. so it's a big moment for people out there and really excited
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to finally see it go up there. at the time we were reporting the launch, i remember scientists describing this business they've just completed is a bit like "origami in space". can you explain, first of all, why can't the mirror have just gone up open? there is one very big problem, which it that the jwst has a 6.5—metre—wide mirror and a rocket is about three metres wide. so, you can't fit something that big inside a tiny rocket. so they had to do some creative origami and fold it up, and put it inside this rocket. it also had this absolutely massive sun shield — so this was five layers of foil, each layer is the size of a tennis court. there's no way you could fit that in a rocket, so they had to fold it all up and send it into space and unfurl it once it got there.
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there must have been nervous moments among the people who designed this as the process began. how long has the unfolding taken? the unfolding process takes about two weeks. it launched on christmas day, and it just finished about an hour ago. so two weeks, it's been doing this unfolding process. there were 50 different stages, there are over 100 single—point failures — which is basically, if this thing does not work, our mission is finished and we're going to have serious problems. the fact we got through all of those and nasa got through all of those means people are going to have a big sigh of relief. now it's got to get to where it is going. the potential egg—on—the—face moments have been averted. there is another 5—6 months of calibrating, but when it finally deploys, explain to us what it is going to be able to see, as it were? we've had these extraordinary
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conversations that people are saying it will be "looking back at the birth of universe", and that does sound like science fiction. it kind of is, a little bit. so, the web is an infrared telescope — and infrared is really great at looking through all of the dust in the universe. dust all over the place and, when you're looking really far back, you're looking through 13 billion years' worth of dust, and it blurs the image out. but now you can see rightly way back to those first images of galaxies beginning to form and the first stars beginning to light up. so, that's where the telescope will really come to the fore. it is able to look into the dusty environments around where stars grow up and we are new planets are forming. and that's one of the places that is going to help closer to home, as well as at the beginning of the universe.
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a rather enthusiastic appreciation for the telescope. _ the president of turkmenistan has ordered his officials to find a way to put out a fire that's been burning for decades in a huge desert crater, nicknamed the gateway to hell. mystery surrounds how the darvaza gas crater in the karakum desert formed and began to burn. the president, gurbanguly berdymukhamedov, wants it extinguished for environmental and health reasons, but also as part of efforts to increase gas exports. the canadian explorer george kourounis was the first person ever to descend to the bottom of the crater. a short time ago, he told us what it was like to descend into the fiery pit. it was very challenging. i was the expedition leader on a project that was assigned to go here and gather soil samples from the bottle of this burning pit
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of methane gas in order to study it and see if there are extremophile bacteria living at the bottom of this crater that could give us clues as to where we might want to look for a life outside of our solar system. and this is a very unique place on earth, there is no other spot just like it. well, it was very difficult to get there — two years or so of planning and preparation. i had a special heat resistant suit and self—contained air. i was able to drop down in the centre and spend 17 minutes at the bottom and what felt like another planet — it really was otherworldly, and we did find several types of microorganisms living in that crater that were not in the dna database, and were thriving in this condition that we would find fatal. there is a bit of controversy as to how we believe it was formed, but essentially, there was a sinkhole that formed and caused a drilling rig basically harvesting this methane gas
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methane gas to collapse — it's about 30 metres deep and 70 metres wide. most seem to believe it happened in 1971, but there's evidence to suggest that it actually happened in the 1960s and it wasn't lit on fire until the 1980s. you're watching bbc news. hello again. it was quite a wet and windy start to the weekend. saturday brought widespread outbreaks of rain. the wettest place, northwest wales, picking up 3a milimetres of rain. the strong winds towards the isle of wight pushing the waves into the coastline here. towards the end of the day, we had a lovely sunset in dumfries and galloway in west scotland. now, the driving area of low pressure that brought the wet and windy weather on saturday is here, and it's still on the charts through sunday. what's going to happen is it's going to weaken significantly as it moves its way across scotland. however, it will still be bringing a little bit of rain with that across parts of scotland and northern england as well. now, for the time being, we've still got some fairly brisk winds blowing in there,
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bringing scattered showers across western areas. there is a little bit of sleet mixed in with some of these across the high ground, scotland, northern england, northern ireland as well, with temperatures close to freezing but on the whole, just staying above except in northern scotland, where temperatures could get down to about —5 in the deeper valleys in aberdeenshire. now, for many, it's going to be a fine start to the day, but that area of low pressure is going to push this band of rain across scotland, northern ireland, and though the afternoon, the rain moves its way across northern england. it will turn lighter and patchier, perhaps reaching the north of wales late in the day. still across the midlands, east anglia, most of southern england, a lot of dry weather. we end the day but this band of light patchy rain pushing into cornwall. well, that is associated with this warm front, and that warm front is going to picket its way into the uk as we go through monday. now, with that, yes, will come mild air, but there will be a lot of cloud around, mist and fog patches quite common around the coasts and hills. it will be quite damp at times with a bit of light rain and drizzle, bit of heavier rain into western scotland where a cold front will begin
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to move in late in the day. temperatures — the mildest across western areas of the uk just ahead of this front. in the east, a little bit cooler, highs of around seven celsius or so. now, by tuesday, this is our cold front now pushing its way southwards across england and wales. that will clear outbreaks of rain southwards. a mixture of bright spells and showers for scotland. a lot of dry weather in between for northern ireland, northern england and north wales as well. you will notice the cooler air is starting to move back in from the north and west. temperatures here around 7—8 celsius, the mildest air in the south. now, beyond that, high pressure is going to build into the south of the uk. and that may increase in the week ahead the weather will become fine and dry with some sunny spells.
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hello. this is bbc news with me, shaun ley. we'll be taking a look at tomorrow morning's papers in a moment. first, the headlines:
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more than 150,000 people in the uk have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test since the pandemic began. lawyers for novak djokavic claim he was given a vaccine exemption to enter australia, because he'd had a recent covid infection. thousands more flat—owners will be spared the expense of replacing unsafe cladding, under new government plans to make developers offer £4 billion towards the costs. at least 21 people have died in north—eastern pakistan after heavy snowfall trapped them in their vehicles. nasa's james webb space telescope has unfolded its final mirror panel after launching on christmas day. the golden primary mirror will allow the telescope to be properly focused, helping scientists to better study the universe.

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