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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  December 4, 2021 11:30am-12:01pm GMT

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hello, this is bbc news. the headlines: the parents of a us teenager accused of killing four students, have been arrested after going on the run. south african scientists say the new coronavirus variant omicron appears to be spreading more than twice as fast as the delta variant. unvaccinated british mums who were severely ill with coronavirus, encourage pregnant women to get their covid jab in the uk. president biden says he does not accept moscow's demands over ukraine — as russian troops mass on the border. britain is witnessing a record spike in anti—semitism — we have a special report on what's behind the rise in attacks on the jewish community.
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now on bbc news, it's time for dateline. hello, welcome to the programme which brings together some of the uk's best known columnists, and the correspondence to write, blog and podcast to audiences back home. this week: omicron a chilling gift for the season of giving. why, when it comes to abortion, it remains the age of trump. and james bond's boss on the danger of china for smaller countries. janet daley, who moved from the united states to london in the 1960s, is a columinst with the daily telegraph. stephanie baker is with bloomberg media. with me in the studio is celia hatton, the bbc�*s
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asia pacific editor. welcome it is lovely to see you again. will discussed last week and, it is onlyjust been confirmed as a variant of concern. when we discussed omicron last weekend, it had onlyjust been confirmed as a �*variant of concern�*. first identified by doctors in south africa, president ramaphosa told his countrymen that in one province new cases had risen from 500 per day to 1600. he, like the leaders across the globe has to announce restrictions latest on friday evening came from ireland with nightclubs not being closed and people being restricted in the number of families that are in their households a one time. how would you characterise the global response to this latest, only believe latest variant of covid—19? everyone is panicking and the market has tanked and i was a sign of the
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real panic. the reality is we have very little real walk data to cause this panic. yes, there are reports coming out of south africa that are worrisome and particularly, the ones that showed the rate of reinfection for those who had covid—19 previously is higher with omicron them with delta. in case numbers are shooting up in south africa but it is hard to extrapolate from that, south africa has a relatively young population in the low vaccination rate stop on a positive side, vaccinations have not shot up as much as doctors thought they would. and i think the real question is how well will the vaccine perform and we have two different reads on that this week with the maduro ceo signed and quite pessimistic about how well the vaccines will hold up and then pfizer sounding more upbeat, particularly on how the vaccines will prevent severe illness and
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hospitalisations and i think that is the real question for me, does this turn out to cause more severe disease or if the cases are mild, if this is indeed manageable, the end game here as various scientists of told me over the past year and a half, covid—i9 morphs into something resembling the common cold. there are four run a virus that causes the common cold. viruses do sometimes mutate to be less environment the more environment to infect more hosts. that is the real question and i think the omicron variant has hopefully spurred more people to get vaccinated and that is the real tragedy here is that two years after covid—i9 emerged in china and they went into arms, we still have pockets of unvaccinated people in wealthy countries when vaccinations are plentiful because they do not believe the science and governments and pharmaceutical companies are not doing enough to get vaccines out across the world and so variants like this don't keep cropping up and
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keeping the pandemic going further. begin vaccinated and the host says it were, if we don't get vaccinated, even if we do, how will governments and asian—pacific dealing with that? we know how to china deals with that. what about more liberal governments was my are they coping with the unvaccinated 7 it is interesting to see how different democracies deal with this challenge. and let's use japan as an example. back in may, japan at less than 1% of its population vaccinated and many people were predicting huge problems because so many people in japan at the time were expressing scepticism over getting vaccines. however, we see that over 70% of the population is fully vaccinated and _ it is incredible. they leapt over many other countries. how have they done?
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because politicians injapan, public figures in japan all expressed a very strong statement that it is your duty to become vaccinated. you would put others at risk and it seems that many people in japan are really responding to this social pressure. the idea that you really are putting others out if you do not get vaccinated. coupled with a shortage injapan at first. people were concerned about getting their vaccine in a rush to get their vaccine and i will see these really high vaccination rates. go over to singapore with came out this week to say, if you are and vaccinated by choice, then you're going to have to have to pay your medical bills if you get covid—19. indonesia, vaccination is mandatory and if you are not vaccinated, were going to find you and withdraw social services. missing this range of responses across the region. some are still dealing with unvaccinated, but in some countries, really,
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they're getting quite strong responses stop by breaking some similar restrictions in some european countries. france, austria, now angela merkel saying the unvaccinated will be restricted in part a lot of social activities. but it's immoral to limit your? are there stances for that is defensible? this may invoke some - unfortunate memories of some horrible persecution— of minorities in those countries. and i think there is- a larger and wider question here and that is that we seem to - have accepted in western democracies that the freedoms and the personal liberty is to be all taken for- granted as part of our sort of, constitutional heritage are - conditional. the government can take them away. being complicit with this by choice is one thing, that is a _ perfectly admirable socially
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responsible thing to do. - but when governments can issue edicts, - whether it is something relatively trivial like mask wearing or- something much more serious myl grandparents not being able to see their grandchildren, or saying it is illegal to have a sexual. relationship with someone outside l of your own household, this is going way further than anything _ the east german group ever impose. he had to think about this very carefully. i i'm not a covid—19 . sceptic and not even a locked on sceptic, - but this is a tremendous, unprecedented move to limit civil liberties and make them - contingent on government permission that the interference in personal- life and family life, even among social| events among friends, it is_ quite extraordinary. and i think we have now set this precedent and it's - very hard to reverse. when does this end? versus mutate all the time.
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wherever there is a mutant - variation, is that going to cause the some of the government - automatically to assume that it was repressive measures? is a very dangerous political moments. | how tojoe biden respond to this because he has imposed a vaccination requirement specifically on federal workers. 0n federal workers and companies that is being challenged in congress and recently, one of the democrats senators said he would come out against that mandate or vaccines for larger companies. i think the uk is an outlier compared to western europe and the us, which are far more stringent restrictions both on vaccines and mask wearing. i think vaccine mandates are inevitable. given the tremendous losses that the pandemic has caused on both the economy, mental health, education, i think requiring vaccines in the public square, so to speak, whether that is the workplace, schools, public
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transportation, shops, what have you, i think that is inevitable and it's the only way getting vaccinations up is the only way to end this pandemic and i do question this notion that you can walk around as a, sort of, walking vector of a deadly disease because you don't believe the science, why should i be allowed when you have public, publicly funded healthcare systems where you all pay in and it just doesn't seem fair. we will return to the subject later, but i did some fascinating debate and i think it's become more timely as more countries go down this route. he's one of the world's best travelled characters. wherever you live, chances are you've seen a james bond movie. 007 is fictional. �*m', his boss, is not.
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this week, �*m' richard moore, the head of mi6, the uk's foreign intelligence service made a rare appearance in public. he warned of china's "debt traps and data traps" to get smaller countries "through its economic policies. 0n the hook". not everyone is passive, though. concern about chinese influence lies behind the recent violence in the solomon islands. what's been happening there? it's a very complex during the goes back decades. the solomon islands have really been struggling with grinding poverty, ethnic tensions, we had protests break out a few times over the years. back in 2019 though, the government and the capital made a decision, a unilateral decision to switch the solomon islands ties from _ taiwan, over to mainland china. in some of the people on one of the solomon islands most populous islands, really took offence to this.
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they felt that it is of a christian island, many people in taiwan are christian and they have a real loyalty to people in taiwan. they felt the time on stuck with them for the 36 years where they had diplomatic ties. and so, they criticise the government for making this change. the governments of the know, china has promised us to build a stadium, to build roads and bridges. and i'll we have to do is not recognised taiwan any more. it's such a simple thing, it seems. it was seemingly simple. but violence really erupted because people on the island said we really have not seen the benefits of that switch and so, you could say that china's interference and drove these divisions. of the united states is also fuelled some tensions and back during the trump administration, $25 million was earmarked specifically
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for the il and fuelling independence desires and so, that money has not been given yet, however there has been some concern that really, what _ is going on in the solomon islands is really tensions between the us and china being played out in a very small scale stop by picking up on that thought, stephanie, talked i about joe biden need to develop a china strategy. there was a time with the lid to beijing and look to washington. resting a bit more independence we the japanese minister, formerjapanese prime minister saying hang on, not touch taiwan orjapan. but is thejoe biden administration making it any clearer? they had these talks a couple weeks ago and i was meant to
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ease tensions in the fact that the talks lasted for more than three hours was seen as a good sign, but i don't think anyone believes there was any real thought between washington and beijing happening right now. the still huge differences over human rights and hong kong and the uighur muslims and they raised issues and their tensions and the china sea as well as the taiwan straits and indeed, after those talks, the president warned that any encouragement of independence would be playing with fire. and i see us relationships with china involving in the spring, he to senior biden officials talk about their approach moving from one of engagement to one of competition. they seem to be moving back towards engagement, i think, to put up what i think the national security adviser calls guardrails to make sure that there are no miscommunications that would cause
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any unnecessary conflict and there seems to be, joe biden must engage with china from a position of strength and indeed that was competing with china as part of his sales pitch for the infrastructure spending bill that he signed on the day that he met virtually with president xijinping. and trying to control allies into backing the us approach to counter china. that seems to be coming into focus and succeeding but i think the big issue facing both countries is climate change and if thejoe biden administration doesn't seem to be prioritising climate change, which is a present, they did sign the joint statement at 26, but no one believes that that will lead to any new cuts in emissions by china.
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and without that, we will not get to 1.5 degrees global warming targets. and that is clearly one target that is valued in terms of the bigger objectives thejoe biden has. what about this relationship with countries like the solomon islands. these debt traps as they were putting it. we see it in africa, the caribbean, dominique or the tiny islands. and very resentful. they love the free sports stadium there given by the chinese. they quite liked the new rules but there is in the fact that the roads are being built by chinese workers not by locals. this is not at all. like the cold war. this is an ideological. china is in the communist country and any sense that marx would i understand. it has huge disparities of wealth. it is a super rich _ bourgeoisie that are fresh as consumers and it is a very active player in the world market. -
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but it is after is- real or fashion dirty imperial conquest in territory and economic domination. i and it is a theft of- intellectual properties and it has no holds bar. competition with the united states and all of the _ major capitalist powers _ and it is not an ideological sound. they are not trying i or conferred what was third world countries to communism, | but he wants us to buy them up and| he wants to buy out very often this applies particularly and as we have heard about, this has to be - confronted in a completely different way. it's almost a kind of return - to the 19 century of the very early 20th century. this is like the impending first world war than - anything else and so, trying to counter- the chinese position, the _ chinese offer as it were with| argument is going to get you nowhere. this is a straightforward battle for world domination. - and i don't think - joe biden has caught that yet. in some ways, you would say that
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that is fine, but why on earth is in my six that worried about this? is in russia more immediate threat to the uk than china? rushes an immediate threat in terms of europe, particularly. _ because i think they're - about to invade the ukraine. but the long—term threat, china wants to be - the number one power economically and militarily and in terms of - territory. and they're not actively going out and cleaning bits of the _ road that they say they have a territorial rightl to, as does russia too- but on a more local scale. and so, it's just that i you have to confronted in the worst way, dirty, really. after confronted in the way _ that we would've confronted an enemy before the nuclear age i and the age of ideology. just in terms of this response. we are seeing more responses.
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in the lobby. is there more confidence in the region for our political leaders and sent to china hang on, stop and think about what you are doing? when it comes to taiwan, there is a lot of anxiety in the region at the moment and for years, we saw the key players from the triangle, was of the us china taiwan basically want to maintain the status quo. china has become more assertive, putting up its military, the united states has changed it's taiwan policy. donald trump calling to taiwan for the president and joe biden hasn't really changed the policy significantly since. the taiwan has refused to accept beijing's offer of one country to systems. they've been very clear that taiwan is an
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independent state and so, other countries in the region are watching these changes in behaviours and they are adapting themselves and so, i think that is why presumably, japan wants to increase the cost to china. china really wants to invade or even impose a blockade on taiwan, japan is starting to speak out now. donald trump may turn out to have been america's most important president since ronald reagan. president reagan passed more, and more long lasting legislation. both men appointed to the supreme court those they believed to be conservatives. it's the trumpjustices, though, who've turned out to be more ideologically consistent, decisively tilting the court in their direction. wednesday's oral argument on abortion could be america's most important day in court. remind us with the status quo is in terms of abortion and what significance we should attach to some the things that are being set on wednesday? it is quite astonishing| that all of these years
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after roe versus wade and all the years - after what seemed to be a general acceptance of the idea of a right, i not necessarily a right to abortion, but a right not to have abortion made illegal is quite i complex constitutionally. that should be under such heated dispute. j countries traditionally, - traditionally catholic countries like ireland have legalised abortion with a very much fuss in recent - years. and not very long ago, 20 years ago. they are actually prohibiting a teenage, young teenage l girl web become pregnant - from travelling to have an abortion. it's gone very quickly to that social- change. in america, this is much, - this goes back way before donald trump was back before ronald reagan. it is a cultural totem now. it is a totemic issue and it's not even. limited to certain religion or faithl based arguments, it is a rebellion
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against what is considered to be a cosmopolitan liberal elite - imposing their values on the great mass of— the population who| reject those values. i can't see an easy- solution to this, frankly. what you are implying i isjudicial activism, which is been subject for a very long. time, franklin roosevelt added justices to the supreme court in order to get the new deal. legislation through, - so the idea that justices of political power is not new and they're there - to interpret the constitution, but interpreted in terms of their own political beliefs and that - inevitable, i think. that treats a paradox because the big critique was judicial activism has come from the liberals committed come from
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the left and they created all these new rights that weren't envisioned by the constitution. now some of the rights they created, conservatives think could be uncreated because they should not have been created by courts in the first place. it's a false the economy. it doesn't really work any more and in fact, what you see or conservatives pushing their own brand ofjudicial activism, particularly over the past ten or 20 years through this well oiled machine called the federal society which they used to stack the courts with conservative judges and they want to overturn a precedent which is roe v wade which is been established. and it's all been turned upside down. we are seeing, as you indicated, the long arm of the donald trump presidency because he has transformed this court by appointing three justices who sounded very different tune on wednesday than what they did during their confirmation hearings in the senate.
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and brett cavanaugh and two of the trump nominees to the court, during their senate confirmation hearings, brett cavanaugh said he viewed review way is settled law and established precedent that could not be overturned. and made similar kinds of noises, should we not use their personal views to interpret the law and what they said on wednesday was very much about brett cavanaugh saying why should abortion be an issue for the supreme court, indicating that he thinks the state should be kicked back to the individual states to handle. the reality is, what you have is by all indications, the conservative majority will try to to undo roe versus wade, they don't know how far they will go, but already, you have more than 20 us states that have abortion laws on their books that would get triggered should there be any rollback or change to roe v wade and in effect, you would have abortion outlawed or severely
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curtailed by more than half the united states if the us supreme court goes ahead and does this. this is an earthquake. this is huge of the go ahead with it. this is the case the been waiting for for years and there is huge pressure on this conservatives that have joined the court recently. but organisations like the federal society to hold their ground because some of the decisions in the past couple of years on abortion cases did not go their way. so, it is a huge focus on how this goes down. we are going to have to wait for a while for the actualjudgment to come out. the last minute we have left. this has come about because of the law in mississippi that was being debated. �*another law in texas that is been introduced that curtails the rights established by roe versus wade. is this a matter for elective
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politicians was mike but about nine older people who were elected by nobody and they could die in office? let's talk about the elected politicians many argue that elected politicians, those branches of government, they are too polarised to really govern effectively and therefore the us supreme court is stepping in to make the decisions that the us senate, the us congress, the white house are unable to solve. in an interesting thought because the us congress is never made a law on abortion and left it to the judges into the states, which is an interesting question itself. thank you so much very much for being with us. we�*ll be back same time next week. goodbye.
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this time last saturday we were looking at the damage that had been brought about by the fierce winds. it damaged power lines, broad street and pretty worthy and there are still some communities that even over a week later i feeling the impact. today, we do have some bright weather abound but also some rain. there will be chilly winds around today as well. let�*s take a look at what is going on put up low pressure, this cloud you can see here, moving very slowly south—eastwards across the british isles and as that�*s it system continues to work and we will get winds spreading to all areas and as i say, there is rain around as well. early rain just about cleared away from eastern areas of england with brighter weather following but it is in scotland and northern england
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that the rain will be pretty widespread and pretty slow moving today. it is notjust rain that is falling from the system. we also have some heel snow. we have seen stretches of the 89 between inverness and aviemore having heavy snow earlier on today and there is a risk of snow for the highlands and the cairngorms and so there are no plans for a time. a few flakes over the highest parts of the pennines and peak districts. of southern england, west of scotland with a mixture of sunshine and showers. a few of those winter wheat. 0vernight rain, is backing over east anglia and east england but with clearer skies the scotland and northern england, it will be a few patchy frosty patches around an icy stretches to take us into sunday. 0n stretches to take us into sunday. on sunday as it is still influenced by the same area of low pressure. the winds are changing direction and will be coming in from an easterly direction being cloud and rain eastern parts of scotland and england. scotland, northern ireland,
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having the best of the bright weather with sunny spells but a few scattered showers for northern and western scotland, northern ireland and the north west of england and wales. a chilly day for most but turning milderfor wales. a chilly day for most but turning milder for southern wales and south—west england. into next week, a rapidly deepening area of low pressure is going to swing its way on off the atlantic. this is going to bring gale force winds as we go into tuesday for some but the winds could be very, very strong. cold air around. some further mountain snow. that is your latest weather.
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good afternoon. gps in england have been told they can defer some of the services they provide to patients in order to allow doctors to deliver covid booster jabs instead. routine health checks for the over—75s and minor surgery could be affected. the move by nhs england comes as 75 new cases of the omicron variant have been identified in england. that brings the total number in the uk to 134. the government has also launched a new campaign urging all unvaccinated pregnant women to come forward and receive their jab. megan paterson reports

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