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tv   BBC News  BBC News  May 14, 2020 4:00am-4:30am BST

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this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk, on pbs in america or around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: us security agencies accuse china of trying to steal american research on vaccines and treatments for covid—19. the uk government defends itself against claims it was too slow to protect people exposed to coronavirus in care homes. even worse than previously thought — the death toll from an attack on a maternity ward in afghanistan rises. chile reimposes a strict lockdown in santiago, as 2,500 new cases are confirmed in 2a hours.
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hello to you. we're covering all the latest developments here in britain and globally. officials at public health england say an antibody test for coronavirus has been evaluated and is a "very positive development." the test to establish whether people have already had the virus and may have some immunity was assessed at the porton down laboratories last week. they say it is the first to offer serious potential. the world health organization has warned the coronavirus "may never go away", and that humanity needs to brace itself for a long battle. qatar airways is to cut about 20% of its global workforce, that's about 9,000 jobs. like other airlines, it's seen a huge fall in demand for travel because of lockdowns and passenger concerns. despite that warning
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from the who, and the fact that no vaccine has been found or approved, the white house has set a target of millions of doses by the end of the year. first though, that claim from us security agencies that china is trying to steal vaccine and treatment data from american companies. the fbi is investigating digital break—ins by cyber activists linked to china, against american research institutions and pharmaceutical companies involved in the covid—19 response. the agencies say intellectual property and public health data may be at risk. our north america correspondent, david willis, told me there had been earlier warnings of cyber espionage. last week the cybersecurity officials in both the uk and the us issued an alert warning that hackers were using a technique known as password spraying in an attempt to gain access to data that was being developed by pharmaceutical companies, healthcare bodies and medical research organisations. what that alert didn't do was it didn't specify
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which country was behind these hacking attempts. well, now the fbi and us department homeland security have come out and nailed the blame firmly at the door of china, saying that it is attempting to gain information about testing, about the development of a vaccine and the development of treatments for the coronavirus. and that alert today called it "a significant threat" to america's response to the coronavirus. the alert also urged medical research and medical pharmaceutical companies to be on the lookout for this sort of hacking attempt and to make appropriate measures to safeguard their security systems. david, i guess we would all hope at a time of a global threat — a threat to the whole of humanity, countries around the world might be cooperating? instead, we see countries competing for ppe and more competition here? absolutely. and, you know, over the past few years the united states has
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increasingly accused china of doing this sort of cyberspace espionage, if you like. the us has gone as far as to assert about $400 billion of intellectual property a year has been lost. this comes at a delicate time, president trump waging this war of words against china, saying it has been less than transparent about the origin and spread of the coronavirus, making the point he believes based on intelligence estimates that this virus emanated not from a wet market in wuhan, but from a laboratory in the city. and he's also threatened to impose tariffs against china in order to recompense the us for the economic cost of the coronavirus. so this alert today does nothing but ramp up the tensions between these two superpowers.
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david willis for you there. speaking on monday in anticipation of the announcement, china's foreign ministry dismissed the accusation as "without evidence." translation: china is a staunch defender of cybersecurity and a victim of hacker attacks. we have always resolutely opposed and legally combatted any forms of cyber attacking and hacking. china has been at the forefront of the world in the research in covid—i9 vaccines and treatment. it is unethical for anyone to blindly frame up china and spread rumours if they cannot provide evidence. that is the latest from china, more on that later. in the us, the economic fallout from the coronavirus is without modern precedent, according to the chairman of the us federal reserve. he urged congress to spend more money to avoid long—term
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damage. stocks tumbled on hearing the gloomy forecast. the bbc‘s nada tawfik has this. this time of year, motor coaches would normally be carrying tourists to take in dc‘s top attractions. instead, dozens of empty buses are the focal point in this rally organised by the industry. with cancelled trips and events affecting employees‘ livelihoods, they want congress to step in with $15 billion in funding. i can tell you that almost every one of these companies is on the brink of going out of business. we have done some research and we know by the end of the year if the same business patterns continued that we have seen — and they are likely to — we could be 25% operational compared to what we would normally be this year. workers in the services industries, many of them low—income, have been especially affected by the coronavirus lockdown. according to a survey by the federal reserve, almost 40% of households making less than $40,000 a year lost a job in march.
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fed chairjerome powell said the scope and speed of this downturn was "without modern precedent." and he warned that congress may need to provide more money for households and businesses to avoid a painful recession. additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it, if it helps avoid long—term damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery. this trade—off is one for our elected representatives who wield powers of taxation and spending. now... the warning is timely. ..yesterday, house democrats unveiled new legislation to combat the coronavirus pandemic. the american people need their government to act strongly, decisively, wisely. democrats have proposed more than $3 trillion in aid, and republicans have openly dismissed the plan, calling it "a partisan wish list." with the memorial day recess approaching, more help for americans before june is increasingly unlikely.
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president trump has criticised his adminstration‘s top infectious disease expert, antony fauci, for warning states of the dangers of reopening their economies too soon. dr antony fauci had said in testimony to the us senate that if federal guidelines were not followed, the country ran the risk of seeing little spikes becoming big outbreaks. president trump has encouraged state governors to lift lockdown restrictions in order increase economic activity, which has seen some states reopen without having met white house guidelines. responding to dr fauci's testimony, the president described his warning as "unacceptable. " he wants to play all sides of the equation. i think we're going to have each moment is for the quarter, a traditional third quarter and a phenomenal next year. they feel we're going to have a country that is ready to absolutely have one of its best years. —— ifeel.
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the british prime minister borisjohnson has been asked to account for official figures showing 10,000 unexplained deaths in british care homes last month. this report from our political editor, laura kuenssberg. were the places that provide homes for the vulnerable and elderly ready for this crisis? are they coping now? some managers fear they're being asked to take too much risk, hospitals requesting that they take in elderly people who have tested positive with the virus. we've refused them, and i know a lot of other homes have refused them. it's very hard to control, so why on earth would they ask us to take people who are positive with the virus in a care home? the government says there isn't the evidence that that's happening on a widespread scale. but the prime minister is facing a simple accusation — the risk to care homes was seen too late. until the 12th of march, the government's own official advice was, and i'm quoting from it, "it remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected."
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does the prime minister accept that the government was too slow? it wasn't true that the advice said that and actually, we brought the lockdown in care homes ahead of the general lockdown. the advice till mid—march did say it was very unlikely, but number 10 accused keir starmer of quoting it out of context. but is the true agony of care homes known, with so many lives lost? 10,000 additional and unexplained care home deaths this april. so can the prime minister give us the government's views on these unexplained deaths? we are seeing an appreciable and substantial reduction not just in the number of outbreaks, but also in the number of deaths. solving the problem in care homes is going to be absolutely critical. we must fix it, and we will. there is a promise of another £600 million to help in
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england. why is it that the government can't seem to get a grip on the crisis in care homes? well, i don't underestimate the challenge being faced by residents and staff of care homes. the package of support that we're giving today builds on the work that we've been doing for many weeks now. there is more that we can do, and our whole focus now needs to be on ensuring that care homes are guided through. as each day passes, though, the disease claims more lives. betty was 95 when she passed away in care in kidderminster. very, very hard. she'd had dementia for 15 years. she'd lived with it. we saw each other every day and suddenly for that to disappear and the guilt for us, really, guilt for me at not being able to see her and support her. her daughter will lay betty to rest tomorrow, just one of so many families changed by this disease, the virus that is altering our country too. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, westminster. government scientists
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from public health england say an antibody test made by the drug company roche is a very promising development. the test was assessed by phe at its laboratories last week. it looks for antibodies in the bloodstream to see whether an individual has in the past had the coronavirus and has gained immunity. sources say say its the first such test to offer serious potential — previous antibody tests have proved unreliable. let's get some of the day's other news: lebanon has reimposed its nationwide lockdown after recording a second spike in coronavirus infections. shops, restaurants and hair salons had been given the go—ahead to reopen but the government now says they'll have to close again. the efforts to fight the virus have had a crushing impact on the economy, which was in a dire state even before the pandemic struck. south africa's president cyril ramaphosa says in the coming days the lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus will be eased slightly further with more businesses and shops allowed to operate and fewer
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restrictions on exercise. the country has been the worst—hit on the african continent with over 12,000 confirmed cases and more than 200 deaths. uber has announced that it will spend $50 million on personal safety equipment and supplies for its drivers to protect them from the coronavirus. beginning on monday, both drivers and passengers will be required to wear face coverings. one other main story now, and the number of people killed in an attack on a maternity ward in the afghan capital, kabul, has risen to 24. mothers, newborn babies and nurses were among the victims. at least 16 people were hurt. the head of the world health organization has condemned the attack in the strongest terms. our chief international correspondent, lyse doucet, reports. crying delivered into a world of war. infants who escaped death in their first hours of life. their mothers shot dead just after giving birth. the doctor said 19 newborns were brought to his hospital
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by security forces, only two with mothers. babies who also don't have names, known by their mothers. zumira's baby is all alone. the shots rang out on tuesday morning, three gunmen storming the hospital in a poor neighbourhood of kabul. afghan special forces soon flooded the area, carrying guns and babies. today anxious relatives still search for loved ones at this hospital run by doctors without borders. a people who've lived with war all their lives, but not this. unthinkable mayhem in a maternity clinic and a cemetery as well. today they dug new graves
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for lives also lost on tuesday in a suicide blast at a funeral. victims of the islamic state, but no group said it had attacked the hospital. the taliban say it was not their work but they have intensified their operations in recent months and the afghan government blamed them, ordering its forces on the offensive again, shattering hope there would soon be peace talks and a ceasefire to fight their common enemy, covid—19. the taliban fighting it in areas they control, while rejecting any truce. and the government battles the virus too, worried a fragile health system will be overwhelmed as the disease spreads. but a vicious war still takes many more lives than the virus. when even babies are targets, fear grows of a war without end. lyse doucet, bbc news.
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stay with us on bbc news. still to come: eu travel chiefs plan to revive the bloc‘s tourism industry that's been hit hard by coronavirus. the pope was shot, the pope will live — that's the essence of the appalling news from rome this afternoon, that, as an italian television commentator put it, terrorism had come to the vatican. the man they called the ‘butcher of lyon,‘ klaus barbie, went on trial today in the french town where he was the gestapo chief in the second world war. winnie mandela never looked like a woman just sentenced to six years injail. the judge told mrs mandela there was no indication she felt even the slightest remorse. the chinese government has called for an all—out effort to help the victims of a powerful earthquake, the worst to hit the
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country for 30 years. the computer deep blue has tonight triumphed over the world chess champion, garry kasparov. it's the first time a machine has defeated a reigning world champion in a classical chess match. america's first legal same—sex marriages have been taking place in massachusetts. god bless america! cheering welcome back. very good to have you with us on bbc news. the main story this hour: us security agencies have accused china of trying to steal american research on coronavirus vaccines and treatments. let's return to that claim from us intelligence of chinese cyber—hacking. given the tension and political rhetoric between the white house and china at the moment, is this a warning that can be taken at face value? jon bateman is a former cyber
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security official for the us defence secretary — currently a scholar with the think tank the carnegie endowment for international peace. yes, the fbi has quite a strong record of these cyber attributions, which is what we call it when the government identifies the perpetrator of a cyber operation. i'm a former intelligence officer and i was on the inside helping to make these judgements and, often, the information is quite sound. i will say, in this case, the government is hedging slightly by saying this is cyber activity by china—affiliated actors, which suggests that these are actors with relationships to the chinese government but they may or may not be acting at the behest or direction of beijing. so if you trust what is being said, it is still, i guess, a political decision about when to say it? that's right. the government possesses all sorts of intelligence about cyber operations and hacking by foreign states and it is very selective in when it chooses to reveal
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this information, usually for some policy goal. in this case, it would have been fairly easy for the government to go to the individual companies or institutions being targeted and warn them privately. it is likely that the decision to release this information is part of the united state's overall diplomatic information war against china, to compete for the narrative over the covid—19 response, and who is the global leader. how do you see this? is what they are warning about an attempt to sabotage the research or an attempt to steal data, steal parts of the research and gain an advantage? it is very likely this is for theft, not for sabotage. now, i'll say, if you are a company on the receiving end of hacking, you do not have the luxury always of choosing to assume that. you might have to take burdensome security measures which might actually slow down your research. but i think it is fair to say that, right now, information about covid—19 vaccines and treatment is probably the most
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valuable data in the world. it could prevent a company or a country from suffering trillions of dollars of additional economic damage, if that country is able to get this vaccine and help protect its citizens lives and, ultimately, choose who else in the world is first in line for this vaccine. you've almost answered this but i was just going to ask you whether it really matters, this kind of breach, if it happened, but it matters, you say, partly because it would deter companies and individuals from sharing data which is important in this kind of research? that's right. any organisation that has been the victim of a cyber breach is going to have to respond by investigating, shutting down systems, hatching, and if these are all things that are going to make it harderfor the researchers to actually do theirjob. meanwhile, if you are a foreign government and you can get access to this information, this could be the coup of a generation, in terms of being at the head
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of the line in the initial phases where there is going to be scarce production of the vaccine, and the country that has it first will be able to produce it first. a full lockdown is to be reinstated in the capital of chile, santiago, in response to a surge in cases of covid—19. in the past 2a hours, more than two and a half thousand new infections have been identified. residents are being urged to report anyone not adhering to social distancing, and anyone not wearing a mask in public. freya cole reports. inside one of santiago's intensive care wards a covid—19 patient is hooked up to a ventilator. he is one of hundreds of people in the city in need of urgent care. in the last 2a hours alone there's been a 60% increase of new cases in the city. officials say they have no option but to bring back a strict lockdown. translation: the battle for santiago is the crucial battle in the war against coronavirus. and that is why we have to beg, to plead that all of the necessary
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measures be taken seriously. from friday, the city of 7 million people will revert back to staying indoors unless it is essential to leave for food or medical supplies. people aged over 75 have been urged to take extra care. translation: we are facing the most serious threat, the greatest health challenge of the last 100 years, and it also means that our health system is extremely in demand and overstressed as a result of this pandemic. the virus has put a sudden halt to widespread anti—government protests in the capital. the social tensions remain unresolved and could worsen as the lockdown continues. freya cole, bbc news. the european commission has issued new guidelines on tourism and travel for eu member states to follow as they ease the lockdown. a phased approach would begin with allowing in seasonal
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workers. restrictions would then be relaxed between regions where the virus was under a similar level of control. we'll hear from our correspondents in spain and italy injust a moment, but first to brussels and this report by our europe editor katya adler. an overnight leap from lockdown to european beach party this certainly isn't. eu countries are only just beginning to lift their lockdown measures. here in belgium they are opening the shops. next week, the schools. but with strict social distancing measures in place. so what does that mean for our holidays? well, ultimately, each eu country decides for itself when to open its beaches and borders to european visitors. brussels can only advise. today the advice was slowly, slowly. first, open your borders to workers and for goods you need to get your economies going again, then think of tourism. if there's enough testing
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and tracing capacity then travel restrictions could be reimposed. so basically, don't pack your summer swimsuit yet. while in brussels they're talking about plans for easing travel, here in spain they are moving in the opposite direction. from friday, a new quarantine will be in place for all arrivals from outside the country. two weeks in isolation. here in madrid, there is a bit more traffic in the centre and some businesses are starting to open, but we're under tight restrictions still. around the country, it's different. in some regions the easing is going ahead, bars and cafes opening outdoors, people able to gather in groups of up to 10. here, that won't happen until tracing systems are in place to identify and shut down any new virus outbreaks. and hotels, well, they can open, but many say they are not going to until those new international arrivals start to happen again.
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grazie. last week, italy got this essential freedom back — the takeaway espresso. along with reopening parks and allowing family visits, it marked the initial easing of the world's longest lockdown. on monday, libraries and museums reopen and possibly restau ra nts and hairdressers too. they are deciding on that tomorrow. schools are shut until september. it's a relief, but it's also nerve—racking, as the first western country to be overwhelmed by the virus waits to see if this prompts another spike, especially if italy relaxes the two—week quarantine on entering and follows eu guidelines to ease travel. mark lowen ending that report in italy. we also heard from damian grammaticas in madrid and katya adler in brussels. well, let's hope. and just a reminder that alongside all the facts and stats about coronavirus — our website also has reports and analysis from our correspondents around the globe, including this from our environment correspondent on how the pandemic has disrupted conservation work around the world. that's at and you can get in touch
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with me and most of the team on twitter — i'm @bbcmikeembley. that's it for now. thanks so much for watching. hello. wednesday was a pretty decent day for many parts of the british isles. high pressure west of the british isles, providing quite a bit of dry area for many areas. there is the high as we start thursday, still extending that low of high pressure across many areas, but underneath that under overnight, the skies will clear. there will be quite a widespread frost to start the day, it might even be 1—2 records set for the night. a different story north in scotland, the weather front here dragging in a fair amount of cloud, a more noticeable breeze, though breezy still through the channel areas and the southern counties of england. but in between, come the afternoon, there will be variable cloud and decent sunny spells. we are just beginning to take those temperatures up from where they were at
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the start of the week. overnight, i think we will still import quite a bit of cloud across many areas of the british isles, and if you keep the cloud, that will help to keep temperatures up. so thursday into friday, notjust as cold, though if you keep the skies clear, again you're temperatures really will dribble away. so here we are as far ahead as friday. rather having the northerly that we had on the eastern flank of that high to start the week, now it is more of a westerly breeze with a hint of northerly in it. so that is just helping to give a slightly warmer feel to the days then we started in the week. there's still a lot of dry weather, although weather front is plaguing the north and northwest of scotland, so more cloud and rain here. wherever you look on that chart, you will find those temperatures finding a degree or two per day. on into the weekend, forget all about northerly is and north westerlies. it is much more of a south and south—westerly flow around the area of high—pressure there. certainly dominant in the south of the british isles, but you will notice further north we have weather fronts.
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so although it turns increasingly mild, it is not all sunshine all the way by any means, and certainly in the sunday we suspect a good part of scotland and northern ireland could see enough cloud for there to be bits and pieces of rain. certainly further south under the influence of high—pressure, a lot of dry weather and things certainly warming up.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: the fbi and the us cybersecurity agency say they're investigating digital break—ins — attempts to steal research on vaccines and treatments — by hackers, backed by china, at research institutions and pharmaceutical companies involved in the covid—19 response. the government in the uk has had to defend itself against claims it was ‘too slow to protect people' exposed to the coronavirus in care homes. the opposition has asked the prime minister to account for official figures — showing 10,000 ‘unexplained' deaths last month — in care homes in england and wales. the uk is already in the depths of a significant recession according to the chancellor.


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