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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 22, 2021 10:00am-11:31am GMT

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this is bbc news — these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. opening up christmas for thousands — new government advice says people with covid can stop self—isolating up to three days early in england if they're testing negative but widespread disruption to rail and other public services are blamed on covid staff sickness and self—isolation. ministers in wales and northern ireland meet today to consider a range of new covid measures — new restrictions were announced for scotland yesterday. israel plans to become the first country to roll out a fourth dose of covid vaccine as it prepares to deal with the omicron variant. at least 27 people are now to have dead in malaysia's worst flooding in decades.
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also — aiming for a record fourth christmas number one in a row in the uk charts — ladbaby teams up with eltonjohn and ed sheeran. ijust said to them, if you are up for it, like, me and elton would love to join in with your one and help in any we can. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. people with covid in england can now stop self—isolating after a week — following two negative lateral flow tests — effectively opening up christmas for thousands. the health secretary says it's to ease disruption to people's lives, and comes
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after the prime minister ruled out imposing further covid restrictions in england, before christmas. it comes as leaders across the world resinstate coronavirus restrictions as the new omicron variant continues to spread. so, from today, in england, self—isolation for those who have tested positive will be cut from 10 days to 7 days as long as they receive negative lateral flow test results on day 6 and 7 of their isolation period and have no symptoms. it's hoped it could help head off chronic staff shortages in key industries.people ending isolation on day seven are strongly advised to limit contact with vulnerable people, not visit crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, and work from home. elsewhere, israel says it will offer a fourth dose of the covid—i9 vaccine to people aged over 60, saying it is the first nation set to roll it out. the health ministry said
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there were at least 340 known cases of the variant in the country. in the us, presidentjoe biden has said 500 million rapid covid tests will be made available at no cost amid new measures to tackle the surging omicron variant. he also announced expanded testing and military support for hospitals, but said lockdowns were not yet on the horizon. in germany post—christmas curbs are due to come in on the 28th of december. private gatherings will be restricted to 10 people and nightclubs will close. more on that to come but first this report on the new self—siloation more on that to come but first this report on the new self—isolation rules for england from our political reportjonathan blake struggling under the strain. staff absences due to surging cases of the omicron variant are putting public services and parts of the economy under pressure. in an attempt to ease the burden, a change to self—isolation guidance.
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the period is being reduced from ten to seven days for people in england, providing they receive two negative lateral flow test results at least 2a hours apart. this is a very sensible, balanced and proportionate step to take. of course, this new variant is spreading very rapidly, it is disrupting many people's lives. it's great that when people do get infected that they are properly isolating. i think that clearly helps to stop, to prevent infection. but it is important also to look at how we can, you know, have policies, that will help to minimise that. and this step, again informed by our clinicians, i think is a very sensible step way forward. meanwhile, christmas can go ahead as planned in england. the prime minister confirmed last night there will be no new restrictions before then. uncertainty over the severity of omicron meant further measures could not yet bejustified, he said. but he warned they couldn't be ruled out later on.
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labour have accused boris johnson of weakness. beyond christmas, families need to be able to plan their own activities, and crucially, business needs to be able to plan for their trading. and the problem with the dither and delay that we're seeing from borisjohnson, entirely as a result of wranglings within his own political party, is that that lack of grip is costing the country dear. hogmanay celebrations are off in edinburgh this year, as scotland braces for more restrictions from boxing day. yesterday, limits on big events in hospitality venues were announced, with a return to table service for those serving alcohol. in wales, new restrictions to take effect after christmas will be set out later today. and the senedd reconvened for a virtual session. similar decisions are looming in northern ireland, where ministers will also meet to discuss further measures. so there's more clarity some about christmas now, but uncertainty still about how much disruption lies ahead.
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jonathan blake, bbc news. our chief political correspondent adam fleming said borisjohnson is reluctant to impose new restrictions in england without the data to show that omicron leads to an increase in the number of beng admitted to hospital. there is now a diversion between the different nations in the uk in that you have got scotland talking about definitive restrictions that will come in after christmas and the same in wales, and they're considering them in northern ireland. and there's still radio silence from the uk government about what restrictions might apply in england, although ministers admit that it is an uncertain situation. that's certainly what the health and social care minister gillian keegan was doing interviews this morning. it is really difficult. there is uncertainty. obviously, they will have to make a balanced decision based on their own analysis of the situation but there is risk that we could get to, after christmas, we could look at some of this
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data we've been talking about, we could see a rise in hospitalisations and we may need to act. mps had a briefing on data last night from the chief scientific adviser sir patrick vallance and the chief medical officer for england chris whitty, and mps who were on that briefing call who saw the slide pack said there was no new significant information and certainly no information in the area that everyone wants, which is, how often do people who contract omicron end up in hospital? how ill do they get, and how long do they stay in hospital? those will be crucial variables for working out what the potential pressure could be on the nhs. earlier i spoke to emma davis a postdoctoral researcher in infectious disease epidemiology at the university of oxford. she's also part of �*spi—m', a committee that provides disease modelling advice to the government. she was speaking to us in a personal capacity and the picture on hospitlaisation rates for omicron was still unclear and explained what was currently known
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about the variant�*s severity. i think at the moment, it's just a case of building the evidence. at the moment, there is no substantial evidence that omicron is more severe than delta, and there is no substantial evidence that it leads to more hospitalisations either, although we wouldn't necessarily see the uptick in hospitalisations yet. it is the case that despite the fact that we have seen this very sharp increase in cases, hospitalisations are still staying at a steady level. so it's a case of monitoring that number closely over the festive period to see if that changes. according to politico, a leaked report from the uk health security agency says that omicron causes milder disease than delta. that is a caveated, there is positive and negative news as well. people will go to hospital and the older people might be affected severely. but is that fair to say from the data you have seen that omicron is causing a milder
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disease than delta? i think the data coming out of south africa from the early few weeks of omicron does imply that potentially, the symptoms are less severe, but it is important to stress that that data is based on younger individuals than the average demographic of the uk population. so it's not necessarily generalisable. joining me now is chris hopson, chief executive of nhs providers, which represents hospitals, thank you forjoining us. how many people are in hospital with omicron at the moment? we people are in hospital with omicron at the moment?— people are in hospital with omicron at the moment? we know the covid-19 data in the number— at the moment? we know the covid-19 data in the number of— at the moment? we know the covid-19 data in the number of patients - at the moment? we know the covid-19 data in the number of patients in - data in the number of patients in hospital which is around 8000. that compares to the 40,000 that we had
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injanuary compares to the 40,000 that we had in january 2021 peaks. compares to the 40,000 that we had injanuary 202i peaks. significantly lower numbers, but those numbers are rising. in london, the number of patients with covid—i9 in hospital rose by 5% yesterday. so a slower rate of rise than we'd seen earlier on in the week, but nevertheless, the number is growing. so that is obviously a matter of concern. can we assume — obviously a matter of concern. can we assume those people in hospital do not have omicron now that it is the dominant variant? it is probably a safe assumption, _ the dominant variant? it is probably a safe assumption, it _ the dominant variant? it is probably a safe assumption, it will— the dominant variant? it is probably a safe assumption, it will be - the dominant variant? it is probably a safe assumption, it will be the - a safe assumption, it will be the case when we look forward in two or three weeks. as you have said, there is a lag between people being infected, then testing positive, then coming into hospital. haw infected, then testing positive, then coming into hospital. how many --eole do then coming into hospital. how many peeple do we — then coming into hospital. how many people do we know _ then coming into hospital. how many people do we know are _ then coming into hospital. how many people do we know are an _ then coming into hospital. how many people do we know are an intensive l people do we know are an intensive care? we people do we know are an intensive care? ~ ~' ., people do we know are an intensive care? ~ ~ ., , , ., care? we know those numbers are lowerthan — care? we know those numbers are lower than they _ care? we know those numbers are lower than they were _ care? we know those numbers are lower than they were in _ care? we know those numbers are lower than they were in the - care? we know those numbers are lower than they were in the first i lower than they were in the first phase. there are obviously lower in
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terms of the peak we saw injanuary 2021. if i can push back a bit, we need to be really careful about effectively saying that the number of covid—19 patients in hospitals or an intensive care is somehow a good proxy measure for overall pressure on the nhs. when talk to the you hospital, community mental health ambulance trust chief executives, they will say that they are just as worried if not more worried about the level of staff absences that they are experiencing. what they are also saying is, look, we need to look at the load we have got in terms of non—covid—19 care. we have a busy care pathway, we know there are increasing numbers of people whose care... plant care we cannot delay any longer. we know our colleagues in social care are under pressure, and as you know, we are going full pelt to extend the
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booster vaccination campaign which we have been doing a fantasticjob on. so the trust chief executives are worrying there seems to be an obsessive focus on the number of people who are coming into hospitals with covid—19, that is being translated to say, if the number is not going up that farce, that means the nhs is not under pressure. that is nonsense. i the nhs is not under pressure. that is nonsense-— is nonsense. i wanted to come onto that in a moment, _ is nonsense. i wanted to come onto that in a moment, but _ is nonsense. i wanted to come onto that in a moment, but staying - is nonsense. i wanted to come onto that in a moment, but staying on i that in a moment, but staying on those figures, i was reading some comments you made in the last 24 hours there are 10,000 people in hospital who should not be in hospital, occupying beds when they should be going home, that doesn't help as well. and the protections or the scenarios are so wide apart in terms of how the nhs can be overloaded physically in numbers, put to one side the staff shortages, this is what i'm trying to get that for people who are confused, another
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300 or 480 going up 6001 report. in the nhs we feel we have learned from the nhs we feel we have learned from the modelling in the earlier phases of covid—19 is that effectively a small change and assumption can make massive changes to the model. you get the kind of range that you get. the chief medical officer had it right last week, he said very clearly in public, that he does not place huge amounts of emphasis on forward projections of what is going to happen, particularly once those projections get further out in terms of at the relatively early stages of this. as you pointed out, we still do not know exactly what the hospitalisation rate or severity rate is going to be. with the greatest respect to the person whose clip you played before, we need to be really careful about making
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assumptions about generalising evidence from south africa given the nature of the population. it is younger, given their vaccination rate, and crucially if you look at the point where they had their surges, you will get different levels of natural immunity across different countries. what we really are waiting for which as the really key piece of data is what does the uk hospitalisation rate look like and we probably won't know that for at least another two, three, four, days. the security agency is seeing between christmas and new year. we are in a period of some ambiguity and uncertainty, we will need to live with that for a period until we get that solid data because that is what we need, data and evidence rather than supposition. hose what we need, data and evidence rather than supposition.— what we need, data and evidence rather than supposition. how bad are thins in rather than supposition. how bad are things in hospitals? _ rather than supposition. how bad are things in hospitals? not— rather than supposition. how bad are things in hospitals? not only - things in hospitals? not only doctors, nurses and essential staff, ambulance drivers as well? what
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doctors, nurses and essential staff, ambulance drivers as well? what we know is where _ ambulance drivers as well? what we know is where ever _ ambulance drivers as well? what we know is where ever you _ ambulance drivers as well? what we know is where ever you look - ambulance drivers as well? what we know is where ever you look in - ambulance drivers as well? what we know is where ever you look in the l know is where ever you look in the system, we are under huge amounts of pressure. huge amounts of pressure in terms of colleagues in social care, which means we are absolutely having larger numbers of people than we would like medically fit to discharge which clearly makes patient flow through the hospital is difficult. we know we have got too many people whose 999 calls we cannot answer quickly enough. we also know we have got a very ambulance service in terms of having to wait to handover patients. talking to my colleagues —— my colleagues and community services, if you look at the number of care backlog is that they have got and the number of people who need care, it is the issue is you need to look at the whole picture. you need to look at how many covid—19 cases we have in hospital, but the overall load on the system, crucially, the current level of staff absences which i said our chief executives are saying is the thing that is
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wearing them the most. thank you ve much wearing them the most. thank you very much for— wearing them the most. thank you very much forjoining _ wearing them the most. thank you very much forjoining us. _ countries around the world are trying to deal with the rapid rise in coronavirus cases, caused by the highly tra nsmissable omicron variant. we still don't know if the rise in cases will translate to a similar rise in deaths or severe illness. and the uncertainty is one reason governments are finding it hard to find the right response. south korea is doubling its cases. singapore is freezing its quarantine free travel programme from certain countries over concerns about the omicron variant as well. with a look at all the developments. as children receive their dose of the pfizer vaccine at the school, israel has become the first country in the world to make a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine widely
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available to people over the age of 60 and medical workers. the country's prime minister, naftali bennett, welcomed the news, saying that the measure would help get through the omicron wave that is engulfing the world. meanwhile, germany has become the latest european country to tighten its coronavirus restrictions. from the 28th of december, night clubs will close and large organised events including the bundesliga football matches will take place behind closed doors. because of a surge in infections in portugal, despite its very high vaccination rate, its government says people must work from home for at least two weeks from sunday, from when nightclubs and bars must be shut and a negative covid—19 test will be needed to enter hotels or attend events like weddings. on new year's eve, outdoor gatherings will be limited to ten.
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translation: we are fully aware of the impact - these measures have on translation: we are fully aware of the impact - your lives, but we are also aware that if we do not take preventative measures, the consequences on everyone's lives will be much bigger after christmas and new year. meanwhile, the world health organization approved another coronavirus vaccine on tuesday from the us firm novavax as the makers of the oxford university and astrazeneca vaccine say they have taken preliminary steps in producing an updated omicron—targeted vaccine in case it is needed. mark lobel, bbc news. let's take a closer look at the self—isolation rule changes in england now. from today those who have tested positive can end their isolation on day seven as long as they test
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negative or natural flow tests on day six and a seven and they have no symptoms. lee smyth has had covid and can now end his isolation on christmas eve. that is fantastic timing. what is your reaction? it that is fantastic timing. what is your reaction?— that is fantastic timing. what is your reaction? it saved christmas for me. i thought _ your reaction? it saved christmas for me. i thought i _ your reaction? it saved christmas for me. i thought i was _ your reaction? it saved christmas for me. i thought i was here - your reaction? it saved christmas for me. i thought i was here to i for me. i thought i was here to midnight on boxing day in self isolation, so i can go back to the family home now and see my young daughter. family home now and see my young dau:hter. ., ., ., ., family home now and see my young dauhter. ., ., ., ., ,., family home now and see my young dauuhter. ., ., ., ., y., ., daughter. how far away are you from them? about — daughter. how far away are you from them? about ten _ daughter. how far away are you from them? about ten miles _ daughter. how far away are you from them? about ten miles away, - daughter. how far away are you from them? about ten miles away, i- daughter. how far away are you from j them? about ten miles away, i came and isolated — them? about ten miles away, i came and isolated here _ them? about ten miles away, i came and isolated here and _ them? about ten miles away, i came and isolated here and i _ them? about ten miles away, i came and isolated here and i tested - and isolated here and i tested positive. did and isolated here and i tested ositive. , ., positive. did you feel rough with it, where positive. did you feel rough with it. where you — positive. did you feel rough with it, where you are _ positive. did you feel rough with it, where you are affected - positive. did you feel rough with | it, where you are affected badly? no, i have had a booster vaccination, so it was mild influenza —like symptoms. i tested positive and everybody in the house tested negative. that
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positive and everybody in the house tested negative.— tested negative. that must have caused some — tested negative. that must have caused some panic. _ tested negative. that must have caused some panic. is _ tested negative. that must have caused some panic. is your- tested negative. that must have - caused some panic. is your daughter young? you had a positive test and straight out?— young? you had a positive test and straight out? yes, then my wife and dau~hter straight out? yes, then my wife and daughter dead _ straight out? yes, then my wife and daughter dead there _ straight out? yes, then my wife and daughter dead there pcr _ straight out? yes, then my wife and daughter dead there pcr and - straight out? yes, then my wife and daughter dead there pcr and they i daughter dead there pcr and they were negative, my daughter is four, i didn't want to ruin their christmas as well as mine. have you been testing — christmas as well as mine. have you been testing every _ christmas as well as mine. have you been testing every day? _ christmas as well as mine. have you been testing every day? i _ christmas as well as mine. have you been testing every day? i did - christmas as well as mine. have you been testing every day? i did a - been testing every day? i did a lateral flow _ been testing every day? i did a lateral flow yesterday, - been testing every day? i did a lateral flow yesterday, i - been testing every day? i did a lateral flow yesterday, i have l been testing every day? i did a - lateral flow yesterday, i have been lateralflow yesterday, i have been quite tight with them because i can't seem to get them locally. family are on the case today. i have got enough to do two more. has your dau~hter got enough to do two more. has your daughter and — got enough to do two more. has your daughter and your _ got enough to do two more. has your daughter and your wife _ got enough to do two more. has your daughter and your wife been - got enough to do two more. has your daughter and your wife been able - got enough to do two more. has your daughter and your wife been able to i daughter and your wife been able to talk to you through the windows of the house or have you been stuck there by yourself? stop the house or have you been stuck there by yourself?— there by yourself? stop here by m self. there by yourself? stop here by myself- my _ there by yourself? stop here by myself. my father _ there by yourself? stop here by myself. my father and - there by yourself? stop here by i myself. my father and stepmother have been bopping along supplies, i have been bopping along supplies, i have been bopping along supplies, i have been able to face time. you work in construction, _ have been able to face time. you work in construction, don't you? you
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have not been able to work. has it affected the people you work with? do you work for a company or for yourself? i do you work for a company or for ourself? ., ~' do you work for a company or for ourself? ., ~ ., ., , yourself? i work for a company, it has not affected _ yourself? i work for a company, it has not affected everybody - yourself? i work for a company, it has not affected everybody else i yourself? i work for a company, it| has not affected everybody else in the business as far as i'm aware, they have been doing their tests as well. ~ ., , ., they have been doing their tests as well. ~ . , ., ~' they have been doing their tests as well. ~ ., ,, ., well. what did you think about the self isolation _ well. what did you think about the self isolation rules _ well. what did you think about the self isolation rules when _ well. what did you think about the self isolation rules when they - well. what did you think about the | self isolation rules when they came in? were you always somebody who followed the rules very closely? yes, i do. followed the rules very closely? yes, ido. it followed the rules very closely? yes, i do. it is safety. i have got a low immune system myself so i have been extra vigilant and i have got a sister who has a low immune system. i have been edging on the side of caution. ~ . . i have been edging on the side of caution. ~ ., ., i. , ., caution. what are your views about what is happening _ caution. what are your views about what is happening at _ caution. what are your views about what is happening at the _ caution. what are your views about what is happening at the moment i what is happening at the moment because different regions are taking different positions in terms of tighter restrictions on life. do you think we do not know enough at the moment in terms of evidence or do you think we should be more
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cautious?— you think we should be more cautious? ., , , ., ., , you think we should be more cautious? ., , ., ., , ., cautious? probably more cautious for those people — cautious? probably more cautious for those people who _ cautious? probably more cautious for those people who are _ cautious? probably more cautious for those people who are vulnerable. - cautious? probably more cautious for those people who are vulnerable. i i those people who are vulnerable. i thought if i was to get covid—19 it would hit me severely but it hasn't. maybe the new variant is kind of like causing less aggressive symptoms. d0 like causing less aggressive symptoms-— like causing less aggressive symptoms. like causing less aggressive smtoms. ~ ., ., symptoms. do you know you had omicron? _ symptoms. do you know you had omicron? know, _ symptoms. do you know you had omicron? know, the _ symptoms. do you know you had omicron? know, the test - symptoms. do you know you had omicron? know, the test does i symptoms. do you know you had i omicron? know, the test does not state which _ omicron? know, the test does not state which variant _ omicron? know, the test does not state which variant it _ omicron? know, the test does not state which variant it is. _ omicron? know, the test does not state which variant it is. you - omicron? know, the test does not state which variant it is. you have | state which variant it is. you have not a state which variant it is. you have got a couple _ state which variant it is. you have got a couple of — state which variant it is. you have got a couple of days _ state which variant it is. you have got a couple of days left. - state which variant it is. you have got a couple of days left. what i state which variant it is. you have got a couple of days left. what is| got a couple of days left. what is the first thing you're going to do on christmas eve?— on christmas eve? christmas shopping. — on christmas eve? christmas shopping. it _ on christmas eve? christmas shopping, it should - on christmas eve? christmas shopping, it should be, - on christmas eve? christmas| shopping, it should be, then? on christmas eve? christmas - shopping, it should be, then? surely you did that weeks ago! i am a bit behind, just —— home. you did that weeks ago! i am a bit behind, just -- home.— you did that weeks ago! i am a bit behind, just -- home. have a lovely christmas- — the uk economy grew at a slower pace than initially thought between july and september. growth had been put at 1.3% but the office for national statistics has revised
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the figure down to 1.1%. experts expect the economy to contract this month as consumers react to the spread of omicron. rescue efforts are continuing in the philippines, following a powerful storm which has killed hundreds of people and left many more missing. super—typhoon rai hit the country last thursday with winds of around 120 miles an hour. it caused widespread damage and has left many communities cut off, with little water. our philippines correspondent howard johnson has been visiting the island of shur—gow one of the areas hardest hit by the storm, and sent this report. this is a scene repeated across this island. you can see this tree here has fallen down across the road. people just squeezing underneath it here. but you can see it's also impacted the power lines. they have come down here. and that is really causing big problems on this island. we are seeing that the electricity here will be down for at least
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three months, according to the provincial governor. he is calling for people to come and help set up the grid, because without electricity there will be no internet, you can't pump water from the wells and you can't clean water either. so there is a big issue with water supplies. now, let's have a look here. this is a family planning centre. mind the cables down here. you can see a lot of debris on the floor, but this is a scene that we have seen many times. the roof has been ripped off like a can of sardines, the metal has been torn back, glass has smashed up there and you can see the roof in tatters down here. and so many people are without shelter at any moment. and people here are calling for more support. they need more aid, they need more water, more food, and at the moment the supplies are coming through, but they are not getting through quickly enough. the worst flooding malaysia has seen in decades has left at least 27 dead — with fears that number will rise. three days of torrential rain
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has partially submerged entire towns and villages, forcing 60,000 people from their homes. government agencies have been accused of failing to issue storm warnings or send enough support. global warming has been linked to worsening floods around the world — because a warmer atmosphere holds more water and climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall. hakim hamzah of the malaysian red crescent told us what the situation is like for the people who've been worst hit by the floods. we have seen that people are trapped in their homes for days. some have gone without food. so we have deployed our members and volunteers on the ground to assist with the rescue efforts and the deployment of the distribution of food to those affected and also to conduct medical assessments on those who have been rescued so that we can ensure that their health levels
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are all right. where parts of the town have been submerged by water, we need to work closely with local residents who are very familiar with the whereabouts so that our boats do not run into vehicles or road signs that have been submerged by water. these are the dangers that are in place that we need to be aware of. and we also need to coordinate with other ngos who are also on the ground, providing assistance to those affected by the floods. we are trying to get better coordinated in getting the assistance that is required to the ground. the government agencies have assisted in one part of town that has been submerged with water for a few days. so the water has been pumped out and the drainage has been cleared to make sure that the water
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is going to recede. an amazing survival story to bring you now from madagascar where a government minister managed to swim to shore when his helicopter crashed — after spending twelve hours in the water. serge gelle — the secretary of state for police — was one of two survivors from the crash — which happened during a mission to inspect the site of a shipwreck. he apparently used one of the helicopter�*s seats to stay afloat. he said in this video, posted on twitter — that he managed to keep going because he told himself that his time to die hadn't come yet. as many as 100 people are missing following a landslide at a jade mine in northern myanmar. local media are reporting they may have been swept into a lake by waste from a mine near the town of hpakant in kachin state.
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more than 170 people died in a landslide in the same area injuly last year. it's one of the biggest lottery prizes in the world, and it takes more than three hours to choose the winning numbers, but spanish lottery enthusiasts may have struggled this year to buy tickets. lottery sellers have been on strike, it used to be sung by blind children in spain. in protest over low rates of commission on ticket sales for �*el gordo' or �*the fat one'. they're protesting outside the opera house in madrid, where the draw is currently taking place. with a prize fund of nearly two and a half billion euros, the strike could prevent winners of smaller prizes from cashing their tickets. guy hedgecoe in madrid explained how important el gordo is to spain's christmas celebrations
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well, they receive a commission on each ticket sale that they make, so for the christmas lottery, they earn a 4% commission. and the ticket sellers say that that is not enough because the cost of living has been going up very steeply and at the moment, inflation is at around 5% here in spain. so that makes life very difficult for them, and that commission hasn't changed for the last 17 years. they've been talking about wanting an increase in the commission to around 6%. they say that would be enough. but they're desperate for this increase, and that's why we're seeing these actions today, both the one—day strike and this demonstration outside the venue where the prize draw is taking place. the draw is followed very closely throughout the morning. it's televised live as children sing out the winning numbers. i think the answer is that the strike is not going to have a massive practical impact, because people have already bought their tickets for today's prize draw. people won't be able to buy tickets
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today for the following draws that will go on throughout the christmas period. i think the main impact will be that a lot of people won't be able to claim their prizes immediately today, should they win something, because it's the ticket sellers who often hand out the smaller prizes. so if you win100 euros or a couple of hundred euros, you won't be able to cash that today. that will be the main impact. but there is a symbolic idea behind this strike. it's the first time that the ticket sellers have gone on strike for the christmas lottery, so that seems quite a big deal. than, let's hope they sort that out quickly. opening up christmas for thousands — new government advice says people with covid can stop self—isolating up to three days early in england if they're testing negative. but widespread disruption to rail and other public services are blamed on covid staff sickness and self—isolation.
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ministers in wales and northern ireland meet today to consider a range of new covid measures. new restrictions were announced for scotland yesterday. israel plans to become the first country to roll out a fourth dose of covid vaccine, as it prepares to deal with the omicron variant. at least 27 people are now said to have dead in malaysia's worst flooding in decades. also... aiming for a record fourth christmas number one in a row in the uk charts — ladbaby teams up with eltonjohn and ed sheeran. and plenty of sausage rolls. ijust said to them, like, "if you're up for it, like, me and elton would love to join in with your one and help in any way we can." let's get more on how governments around the world are trying to deal with the rapid rise in coronavirus
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cases, caused by the highly tra nsmissable omicron variant. in america, presidentjoe biden has announced a range of new measures. gary o'donoghue reports from washington. more than 2 million people a day are travelling home for christmas through america's airports and many of them are worried. the way i look at it is, as long as we've been fully vaccinated, and we're fully masked up, we should be ok, but it's quite dangerous still. i don't think it's 100% safe unless you stay in your house. omicron has exploded in the united states, going from less than 1% of cases to almost three quarters. so for a second time in less than a month, president biden has announced more measures, extra vaccine sites and in a change of direction, free home testing kits. i'm announcing today the federal
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government will purchase today, one and a half billion, not million, billion, additional at—home tests, with deliveries starting injanuary. beginning these tests for americans to for free. , , to for free. there is free time test won't be available _ to for free. there is free time test won't be available until— to for free. there is free time test won't be available until next - to for free. there is free time testi won't be available until next month so testing sites like this recreation centre are opening up across the country. 1,000 military nurses and doctors are being readied in case the hospitals get overwhelmed. while cases have been rising sharply, one encouraging sign is that hospitalisations haven't gone up anything like as much as they did earlier in the pandemic. but infections amongst the unvaccinated could change all that. we first have got to get the 50 million — we first have got to get the 50 million or— we first have got to get the 50 million or so people eligible to be vaccinated who have not gotten vaccinated. that is critical. if you want _ vaccinated. that is critical. if you want to _ vaccinated. that is critical. if you want to keep the level of spread in the country as low as possible, which — the country as low as possible, which would get us back to some degree _ which would get us back to some degree of— which would get us back to some degree of normality, you've got to -et degree of normality, you've got to
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get those — degree of normality, you've got to get those unvaccinated people vaccinated. in get those unvaccinated people vaccinated.— get those unvaccinated people vaccinated. ., ~' j vaccinated. in new york, they've seen record _ vaccinated. in new york, they've seen record numbers _ vaccinated. in new york, they've seen record numbers of - vaccinated. in new york, they've seen record numbers of cases i vaccinated. in new york, they've seen record numbers of cases in| vaccinated. in new york, they've i seen record numbers of cases in the past few days, even the mayor offered a $100 incentive to those getting a boosterjab. it will not be a normal christmas once again. in the uk, our correspondents have been outlining what the covid situation is like. we'll hearfrom katie hunter in glasgow shortly and chris page in belfast. but first, let's here from tomos morgan in cardiff. the welsh government is expected to announce more measures shortly. so the first minister, mark drakeford, will hold a press conference at midday, and it's expected he is going to make some announcements on restrictions probably on hospitality, which will come into force after christmas, boxing day, or the 27th, we think. now, they could be something around rules of six, potentially table service. we already know that spectator sports will be banned on boxing day and then nightclubs will shut on the 27th, so these will be in addition to those measures.
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now, one interesting think the economy minister said vaughan gething, is that he's expecting today and mentioned that there would be guidance about household mixing. interesting that he said "guidance" and not "regulations". so, potentially, we'll be in a situation where household mixing would be strongly advised. a limit, bubbles on that, potentially, and there'll be regulation and law for hospitality measures as well. we're expecting other sorts of restrictions as well, but we'll have to wait until midday to hear what exactly they may be. that's the situation in wales. we'll hear more at lunchtime. let's cross over now to northern ireland, to hearfrom chris page. well, ministers in the devolved governments here at stormont are meeting today to decide which restrictions to reimpose. the spread of the omicron variant here is a few days behind the rest of the uk. the number of covid patients in hospital has actually dropped
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to its lowest level since july. but ministers have been clear they're going to have to take some action to get northern ireland through the peak of this coming wave of the virus, which is expected to come here in january. so among the measures understood to be on the agenda — potentially the closure of nightclubs, some more regulations for the wider hospitality industry, perhaps bringing back table service in bars and restaurants, maybe also looking at social—distancing again in some other workplaces. but the main message going out from political leaders, scientists and doctors really over the last few days is that the more people get their boosterjab, well, the less severe the restrictions over the next month or so are likely to be. ministers will also be deciding about financial assistance to businesses who could be hit hardest by whatever is decided. it's thought they have about £200 million to play with in terms of coming up with some sort of support package there. so that's the picture in northern ireland. let's go over to scotland now, and my colleague, katie hunter. well, there will be limits on big. public gatherings coming into force from boxing day in scotland.
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that means edinburgh's world—famous hogmanay celebrations, _ new year's eve - street party, is off. a maximum of 500 people will be allowed to gather outside. - there will also be limits on indoor gatherings, i and that will have big implications for sporting events. _ perhaps most notably, the old firm fixture i between celtic and rangers, which is due to take - place on january 2nd. there will also be new rules for hospitality to follow - from december 27th, a return i to one—metre social—distancing, and alcohol being served at tables. now, there are plenty of scientists and public health experts - in scotland who welcome these measures, in the face - of rising covid cases. but for people working | in hospitality and other affected sectors, well, - there is real disappointment, and there's also a call- for greater financial support. here in the uk, staff shortages
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caused by rising covid cases have forced some rail operators to cancel or reduce services ahead of the annual christmas getaway. long—distance lines are among the worst affected. transport for london says about 500 of its frontline staff are currently off work. in the past week, 5.2% of trains have been cancelled, compared to an average ofjust under 3%. and over the past seven days, almost 9% of staff across the railway network have been off work. joining me now is the independent�*s travel editor, simon calder. simon, it is good to speak to you. well, it is always at this time of year there are problems, how bad is it? ithink year there are problems, how bad is it? i think you are at heathrow at the moment. i it? i think you are at heathrow at the moment-— it? i think you are at heathrow at the moment. ~ . ., ., ., the moment. i think! am at london euston station. _ the moment. i think! am at london euston station. sorry, _ the moment. i think! am at london euston station. sorry, forgive - the moment. i think! am at london euston station. sorry, forgive me. i euston station. sorry, forgive me. no, they look very similar, actually, and they are both involved in transport and they are both having a pretty miserable time with a fall in passenger numbers and an
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awful lot of cancellations. now, the cancellations here which includes the 1156 from london euston to manchester in case you are hoping to catch that one, they are entirely due to the high number of train crewe who are not able to work because they are either suffering from the omicron variant of covid—19 or they are isolating because someone close to them is. this is repeated right across the country. we have just 500 metres or so from here king's cross station, serving yorkshire, north east england, scotland from london. the big train operated there, lner, has cut a dozen services to and from leeds, four services to and from lincoln. and whether you are going a short distance on one of the commuter lines or whether you are trying to get to the other side of the country, you are warned to check in
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advance because a significant number of trains are being cancelled because mostly of staff shortage, although there is also actually on one of the train operators, greater anglia, serving east abingdon, they say, we are running fewer trains because people are staying at home. they are working from home rather than commuting. —— serving east anglia. and really not the sorts of numbers you would expect to see on one of the busiest days of the winter. i one of the busiest days of the winter. . , one of the busiest days of the winter. ., , ., ., ._ one of the busiest days of the winter. .,, ., ., winter. i was going to say it looks really very _ winter. i was going to say it looks really very quiet _ winter. i was going to say it looks really very quiet indeed. - winter. i was going to say it looks really very quiet indeed. how - winter. i was going to say it looksl really very quiet indeed. how does the rail industry work compared to the rail industry work compared to the nhs, where there are always agency or reserve people who can be called in at the last minute, is that something which is seen in the rail industry as well or not?- rail industry as well or not? really aood rail industry as well or not? really good question _ rail industry as well or not? really good question and _ rail industry as well or not? really good question and the _ rail industry as well or not? really good question and the answer- rail industry as well or not? really good question and the answer is, l good question and the answer is, bluntly, no. if you are a train driver, you are very well trained on particular runs, but for example, you couldn't bring a train driver from a different company or running
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on different lines, you have to know the root that you are going to be travelling on. and in fact, one of the train operators here come at london northwestern, they said, we are cancelling all our services on the branch lines to st albans and to bedford because we are going to use those crews for busier services. so they are doing what they can if, sadly, a dwindling number of resources, and there is something else happening as well here, just down the road, 400 metres also, st pancras station, the main international terminal for eurostar trains, well, the first two from paris were cancelled today, that is nothing to do with staff sickness, it is everything to do with passenger shortage due to an effective travel ban being imposed by the french government last weekend on the uk.— by the french government last weekend on the uk. yes, all right, for now, thank— weekend on the uk. yes, all right, for now, thank you _ weekend on the uk. yes, all right, for now, thank you very _ weekend on the uk. yes, all right, for now, thank you very much - weekend on the uk. yes, all right, i for now, thank you very much indeed. simon calder. one of britain's biggest homebuilders, taylor wimpey, has agreed to drop costly leasehold
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terms which locked property owners into terms where their ground rent charges doubled every ten years. it follows a long—running investigation by the competition and markets authority. it means ground rents of impacted leaseholders will remain at the amount charged when they first bought their home. countryside properties, persimmon and aviva have all already agreed to remove the terms from projects they are involved in. joining me now is cath williams, she's co—founder of the national leaseholder campaign, and also had a taylor wimpey home. thank you forjoining us. i think for a lot of people this will strike them is really quite odd, strange and rigged against you that you effectively have to double up your money every ten years. absolutely. we run a national— money every ten years. absolutely. we run a national campaign - money every ten years. absolutely. we run a national campaign that. money every ten years. absolutely. | we run a national campaign that has over 22,000 members and many of those were sold doubling ground rent
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leases, which was sort of hidden within the contracts were not very clear in many cases. tell within the contracts were not very clear in many cases.— clear in many cases. tell us what ha--ened clear in many cases. tell us what happened to _ clear in many cases. tell us what happened to you- _ clear in many cases. tell us what happened to you. you _ clear in many cases. tell us what happened to you. you have - clear in many cases. tell us what happened to you. you have been| happened to you. you have been caught up in this directly. when did you discover it and what was the amount? , ., ., you discover it and what was the amount? ,., ., ., ._ , amount? ok, so i have to say my lease that — amount? ok, so i have to say my lease that i — amount? ok, so i have to say my lease that i bought _ amount? ok, so i have to say my lease that i bought wasn't - amount? ok, so i have to say my lease that i bought wasn't a - lease that i bought wasn't a doubling ground rent, it was linked to rpi. one of our co—founders, joe darbyshire, did have a doubling ground rent. but basically, i bought a house from taylor wimpey over on the wirral back in 2017. and i didn't realise that it was even leasehold, that it had a ground rent attached to it at all. which was ridiculous for a house. and the idea of having a doubling ground rent, which many on our estate did have, was absolutely ridiculous. because the amount our ground rent was
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doubling over several intervals, it could be five years, ten years or 15 years, increased the ground rent to ridiculous amounts over time. find ridiculous amounts over time. and presumably. _ ridiculous amounts over time. and presumably, this _ ridiculous amounts over time. and presumably, this could amount to several thousand pounds? absolutely. i mean, for some, _ several thousand pounds? absolutely. i mean, for some, the _ several thousand pounds? absolutely. i mean, for some, the doubling - i mean, for some, the doubling ground rent could lead to ground rent terms of thousands, 6,000, 10,000, as time went on. on houses that were being sold in the north west for around about £120,000 or £200,000 maximum really for a lot of the detached houses. so it wasjust an imbalance. and actually, taylor wimpey kept saying that it was common practice to sell leasehold houses in the north west, but they were very, very old type lease holder houses with pepper, ground rents so they obviously saw opportunity to monetise their properties. opportunity to monetise their properties-— opportunity to monetise their --roerties. ~ . , ., opportunity to monetise their --roerties. . , ., , properties. what they have said is the have properties. what they have said is they have always _ properties. what they have said is they have always tried _ properties. what they have said is they have always tried to -
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properties. what they have said is they have always tried to do - properties. what they have said is they have always tried to do the i they have always tried to do the right thing and basically now, they are pleased today's voluntary undertakings will draw this issue to a full close, how do you react to that? , , ., ., that? yes, they have done the minimum _ that? yes, they have done the minimum that _ that? yes, they have done the minimum that they _ that? yes, they have done the minimum that they could - that? yes, they have done the i minimum that they could possibly that? yes, they have done the - minimum that they could possibly do over time. we have been fighting this for many, many years. and they have always said, oh, yes, we always look after our customers, we are doing the right thing, it is a voluntary thing. but let's be honest, the fact that they are being pursued by the cma, they have realised that actually, this could go to a legal case if they didn't do something about it. so i think the term voluntary is a little bit ambiguous here. i think they have been forced into this action. rightly so, because the terms are completely owner us and not acceptable. and they have realised that the game is up, the game is up, the cat is out of the bag. everybody is really realising this monetising of new property, using the leasehold
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law which hopefully we will change as well in the next few months, was the wrong thing to do. using customers as —— cows, that is the bottom line, that is what they were doing. bottom line, that is what they were doinu . ., ., bottom line, that is what they were doin _ ., ., ., bottom line, that is what they were doinu. ., ,, ., ,, bottom line, that is what they were doinu. ., ,, .,~ ., bottom line, that is what they were doinu. ., ,, ., doing. ok, good to speak to you, cath williams, — doing. ok, good to speak to you, cath williams, thank— doing. ok, good to speak to you, cath williams, thank you - doing. ok, good to speak to you, cath williams, thank you for - doing. ok, good to speak to you, i cath williams, thank you forjoining us on bbc news. breaking news from china in the last couple of moments. china in the last couple of moments. china has ordered 30 million residents to stay at am because of a covid outbreak. you may remember that china has this lockdown policy, a zero tolerance every time there is an outbreak of anything to do with covid, whole towns and areas are put into lockdown. 13 million people affected by that decision. the pandemic has left children
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falling behind academically. but parents fear their child's mental health is suffering too. this month, a mckinsey report found nearly a third of parents in the us are worried about their child's mental health. those concerns are higher among black, hispanic and asian families. laura trevelyan went to meet one mother and her daughter in new york city to find out how they're dealing with the pandemic. a festive outing forjackie and her daughterjordan. forthe first daughterjordan. for the first grader, daughterjordan. forthe first grader, it is exciting to be in town. jackie worries about her six—year—old, who developed anxiety during the pandemic after her preschool classes ended abruptly. i can rememberthe preschool classes ended abruptly. i can remember the pandemic with some anxiety myself and so i am passing through the skills i picked up to cope with my own anxiety to her, so we have a bedtime routine now where before she goes to sleep, i will sit with her and in the dark sometimes, we will talk about the day and the things that bothered her. she is really good at communicating her feelings when she has a safe space,
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so we do that, we talk. if there is a staff member accent, there is a lot of anxiety, is so—and—so going to be back, why aren't they here? in so-and-so going to be back, why aren't they here?— so-and-so going to be back, why aren't they here? in the beginning, ofthe aren't they here? in the beginning, of the school _ aren't they here? in the beginning, of the school year, _ aren't they here? in the beginning, of the school year, we _ aren't they here? in the beginning, of the school year, we saw - aren't they here? in the beginning, of the school year, we saw that - of the school year, we saw that separation anxiety from families lest a little longer than it usually does. you know, usually after deep two or three, the crying has subsided when we are saying goodbye to our growing up, but it certainly has a little longer.
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the effect of the pandemic on education are still unfolding. one thing is clear here in new york city, enrolment is down as parents don't feel safe sending their kids back to school or they have left the city altogether. i spoke to a sociologist who studies in early childhood about the effects of all pandemic anxiety on how kids learn. we have long known that it's the social emotional comfort and motivation children feel that provides the foundation for cognitive growth in pre—literacy development or language development. so if kids are feeling anxious, if they are wearing masks in pre—k, theyjust don't have that immediate social interaction and base—level confidence upon which learning occurs. jordyn's preschool and kindergarten years were upended by the pandemic, but she is doing well at school academically and learning to deal with her anxiety. we do breathing, she does breath work, we do some meditation music that helps settle her in the evening also.
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so, we're coping. it's getting better. just as kids get back on track, parents are hoping the omicron variant doesn't mean a return to remote learning this winter. the unknown is yet another source of anxiety. they may seem a little old—fashioned these days, but when they first pinged onto our phones, text messages were the last word in cool. now the first text ever sent has been sold for more than 120,000 dollars. it was auctioned in paris as a non—fungible token. nina nanji reports. do you know when people first started texting each other? almost 30 years ago, in december 1992, and that first message simply said, merry christmas.— that first message simply said, merry christmas. that first message simply said, mer christmas. ., ., , . ., merry christmas. now, that piece of diuital merry christmas. now, that piece of digital history _ merry christmas. now, that piece of digital history has _ merry christmas. now, that piece of digital history has gone _ merry christmas. now, that piece of digital history has gone under- merry christmas. now, that piece of digital history has gone under the i digital history has gone under the
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hammer. it was sold by vodafone for $120,600 in the form of a non—fungible token or nft. they are type of digital asset that has surged in popularity this year, with nft artwork selling for millions of dollars. the buyer, whose identity was not disclosed, will receive the replica of the original communication protocol that transmitted the sms. vodafone says it plans to donate its proceeds from the sale to the united nations refugee agency. the race for christmas number one in the uk is on — and youtuber ladbaby is hoping to take the festive top spot for the fourth year in a row. this year, the duo have teamed up with ed sheeran and sir eltonjohn. all proceeds will go the trussell trust. our entertainment correspondent
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colin paterson reports. we've set you up a box i on the end of the tables. ed sheeran and ladbaby, an unlikely christmas collaboration. some macaroni. the waveney food bank in suffolk distributed almost 12,000 emergency food parcels last year. so some extra help from the christmas number one contenders was very much appreciated. here we go. for three years in a row, ladbaby�*s sausage roll—themed songs have topped the charts at christmas, raising money forfood banks. this year, there's all—star support. ed sheeran and sir eltonjohn. no pressure! the two musical heavyweights helped give their current number one single, merry christmas, a pastry snack makeover. # it's christmas time # sausage rolls and wine # we'll have a good time # and a merry christmas...# well, it came about because ed messaged us last year on instagram. yeah, i... well, what i love about christmas is the christmas songs and stuff having a little bit of humour in it.
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and i feel like with the x factor, that was lost. i feel like every year, it was just the x factor winner. and when streaming came in, itjust started being people that streamed a lot at christmas. and what mark and rox brought back was basically, it's like, a feel—good factor to christmas songs but, also, massively important, light being shone on a great charity. he told us that he'd written one with elton, and we got to hear it very early on. we got to feel festive in summer and listen to it quite early on, which was exciting. and then the pressure, how do you take a song that's got sir eltonjohn and ed sheeran on and try and rewrite it? elton was super up for it. i mean, he, again, loves the whole concept of... he basically got his companion of honourfrom buckingham palace the morning that he recorded his sausage roll bits and he rang mejust being like, life has a funny way of reminding you sometimes! # we need some love like we've never
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needed love before...# and history could be made. the spice girls and the beatles managed three christmas number ones in a row. this would be ladbaby�*s fourth. who is your favourite spice girl? who is your favourite beatle? i mean, i'll go for my favourite spice girl! definitely scary. that's why i married a scary spice! i always thought i was| posh, but i think i was more sort of geri, to be fair. i was always a geri! green beans, fruit cocktail. one person who has benefited from the food donated here is louise clarke, a supervising assistant at a primary school. two years ago, she used the food bank at hope church to help her get her feet back on the ground. it was a case of paying a bill for the roof over my head and not being able to sleep because i'd be so hungry, or coming up to the food bank, engaging, getting food and support and being able to keep that roof over my head.
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and back at the distribution centre, before he left, ed sheeran had a gift for everyone. cheers. merry christmas. sausage rolls all round! a seal pup found trapped in a hole in norfolk in england has been rescued and released back onto the beach. after three hours, a team was able to gently winch the animal to safety. the rspca expects a rise in the number of stranded seals over the winter months, but says if you come across one, don't approach it — always call for help. and as you can see, this one had a happy ending. one other event overnight. crowds have gathered at stonehenge to watch the sunrise after the winter solstice. traditionally observed by druids and pagans,
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they were joined by many others to celebrate the end of the longest night of the year. it marks the point when the north pole has its maximum tilt away from the sun. and from now on, the days start to get longer. that is where we leave viewers on bbc world. not viewers on bbc news and the news channel. for us, time for the weather with carol. hello again. if you are dreaming of a white christmas, for most of us, that is not going to be the case. today, what we've got is a fair bit of cloud around with some rain coming in from the west. now, the wind behind that will tend to pick up. and the other thing that's quite salient about it is the wind direction is coming from the south, so behind this weather front, we'll start to import some milder conditions. ahead of it, we're still in the cold air. something to bear in mind if you're doing some last—minute christmas shopping. so we still have some dry weather ahead of this rain pushing northwards and eastwards, the
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heaviest of which, later in the day, will be across parts of northern ireland, also parts of northern england and scotland. to the south of that, staying largely dry, but the cloud continuing to build. temperatures between two and nine or 10 degrees. through this evening and overnight, the rain pushes north, we could see snow for a time in northern scotland, especially in the hills, and there is a risk of some ice as well. if the cloud remains broken long enough across parts of north—east england and parts of eastern scotland, we might see a touch of frost. but not so in the west. look at those temperatures. 11 and 12 degrees. now, through tomorrow, we've got rain coming in from the west courtesy of this weather front. it's also pushing northwards and eastwards, but the lightest rain will be in the south, the heaviest rain will be across northern ireland and northern england, southern and also south—western parts of scotland. as it clears away, there will be a legacy of cloud, with one or two showers, a late brightness for wales and the south—west and possibly northern ireland. very mild for the time of year across england, wales and northern ireland. we start off on a murky
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note on friday, a lot of low cloud, some mist and some fog — bear that in mind if you are travelling — then this weather front comes in during christmas eve, bringing in some rain with it. but still, the mild conditions as well, whereas still rather cool out towards the east. and as for christmas day, we still have this battleground between mild and cold air. and this will determine where and if we see any sleet and some snow. now, the mild air could push further north and the cold air could push further south. and that will have a bearing. so what we think at the moment is, on saturday, we've got the rain coming in across southern areas, a fair bit of cloud ahead of it, dry across scotland. if we are likely to see any snow on christmas day, it is likely to be on higher ground, with a potential for sleet at lower levels in northern england and possibly north—west midlands.
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this is bbc news, i'm annita mcveigh. the headlines at 11. christmas freedom for thousands of people. new covid rules mean you can now stop self—isolating up to three days early in england — if you're testing negative. but widespread disruption to rail and other public services are blamed on covid staff sickness and self—isolation. ministers in wales and northern ireland meet today to consider a range of new covid measures — new restrictions were announced for scotland yesterday. nearly 400 people are now thought to have died with hundreds of thousands more displaced in the philippines after last week's typhoon. click leaps into the �*metaverse' — the latest buzzword in the tech world. that's in half an hour, here on bbc news.
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welcome to bbc news. people with covid in england can now stop self—isolating after a week — following two negative lateral flow tests — effectively opening up christmas for thousands of people. the health secretary says it's to ease disruption to people's lives, and comes after the prime minister ruled out imposing further covid restrictions in england at this stage. so, from today, in england, self—isolation for those who have tested positive will be cut from ten days to seven days as long as they receive negative lateral flow test results on day 6 and 7 of their isolation period and have no symptoms.
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people ending isolation on day seven are strongly advised to limit contact with vulnerable people, not visit crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, and work from home. if possible. health secretary sajid javid said it would minimise disruption caused by the rapid spread of the omicron variant. it's hoped it could help head off chronic staff shortages in key industries. in northern ireland, ministers will meet later to discuss the possible reintroduction of covid restrictions in northern ireland. and in wales, plans for covid rules after christmas in wales will be announced later today by first minister mark drakeford. in scotland, first minister nicola sturgeon announced yesterday that large events — like edinburgh's hogmanay — have been cancelled and football matches will be effectively spectator—free as part of tough new covid rules that into force on boxing day. here's our political correspondentjonathan blake. struggling under the strain. staff absences due to surging cases
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of the omicron variant are putting public services and parts of the economy under pressure. in an attempt to ease the burden, a change to self—isolation guidance. the period is being reduced from ten to seven days for people in england, providing they receive two negative lateral flow test results at least 24 hours apart. this is a very sensible, balanced and proportionate step to take. of course, this new variant is spreading very rapidly, it is disrupting many people's lives. it's great that when people do get infected that they are properly isolating. i think that clearly helps to stop, to prevent infection. but it is important also to look at how we can, you know, have policies, that will help to minimise that. and this step, again informed by our clinicians, i think is a very sensible step way forward. meanwhile, christmas can go ahead as planned in england. the prime minister confirmed last night there will be no new restrictions before then.
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uncertainty over the severity of omicron meant further measures could not yet be justified, he said. but he warned they couldn't be ruled out later on. labour have accused boris johnson of weakness. beyond christmas, families need to be able to plan their own activities, and crucially, business needs to be able to plan for their trading. and the problem with the dither and delay that we're seeing from borisjohnson, entirely as a result of wranglings within his own political party, is that that lack of grip is costing the country dear. hogmanay celebrations are off in edinburgh this year, as scotland braces for more restrictions from boxing day. yesterday, limits on big events in hospitality venues were announced, with a return to table service for those serving alcohol. in wales, new restrictions to take effect after christmas will be set out later today. and the senedd reconvened for a virtual session. similar decisions are looming
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in northern ireland, where ministers will also meet to discuss further measures. so there's more clarity some about christmas now, but uncertainty still about how much disruption lies ahead. jonathan blake, bbc news. so as we've been hearing, in wales, the first minister mark drakeford will later lay out plans for increase restrictions after christmas. we will discuss that further with tomos morgan in a moment. first, to chris page in belfast where a virtual meeting of ministers is taking place to discuss whether to reintroduce tougher rules to combat the spread of omicron. morning, chris, give us the context for that conversation ministers are having first of all, what is the covid data showing in northern ireland? ~ ., ., ., ireland? well, the covid data i su ose ireland? well, the covid data i suppose right _ ireland? well, the covid data i suppose right now— ireland? well, the covid data i suppose right now it _ ireland? well, the covid data i suppose right now it is - ireland? well, the covid data i suppose right now it is a - ireland? well, the covid data i suppose right now it is a bit i ireland? well, the covid data i suppose right now it is a bit of| ireland? well, the covid data i i suppose right now it is a bit of a mixed picture, case numbers,
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positive tests are at a high level, around 2000, they have been there at that level for some time. as of yesterday, the number of people in hospital with covid had fallen to the lowest level since july. hospital with covid had fallen to the lowest level sincejuly. medics have warned that particular members of health care union said yesterday they still expected this to be their worst winter ever, so the big questionjust as worst winter ever, so the big question just as elsewhere in the uk is what the severity of illness will the omicron variant cause? with that in mind ministers are meeting to consider which restrictions to impose. they made it clear things will not stay as they are now. there is no talk at the moment of imposing a shutdown on any sectors of the economy. it sounds as if the main measures will apply to the
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hospitality industry, for example the possibility of causing nightclubs is on the agenda, as is restricting the size of tables in pubs and restaurants, may be going back to table service. may be something around social distancing and other workplaces ringing that back. the business is set to be most affected, they say they need a guarantee of financial support, in particular the hospitality sector. we have seen this right across the uk. they have had plenty of cancellations during what has been normally the busiest time of the yearfor normally the busiest time of the year for them. normally the busiest time of the yearforthem. such normally the busiest time of the yearfor them. such is the risk people feel they take whenever they are going out. ministers it is understood have about £190 million to play with when it comes to financial assistance, they are going to discuss that this morning.- to discuss that this morning. chris, when they come — to discuss that this morning. chris, when they come out _ to discuss that this morning. chris, when they come out of— to discuss that this morning. chris, when they come out of the - to discuss that this morning. chris, when they come out of the fridge i when they come out of the fridge committee, will they give people details, clarity about what is going to happen on the other side of
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christmas? i to happen on the other side of christmas?— to happen on the other side of christmas? ~' , , ., christmas? i think they will set out the measures _ christmas? i think they will set out the measures that _ christmas? i think they will set out the measures that will _ christmas? i think they will set out the measures that will likely - christmas? i think they will set out the measures that will likely take i the measures that will likely take place just after christmas. again, we have seen the likes of the health minister robin swann they the executive is going to make what he called additional asks of people. in a five party power—sharing coalition, which is what the stormont administration is, decision—making is not always straightforward to say the least. it has been that way at some point during the pandemic. on this occasion, i have to say it seems as though the parties are trying to approach things in a united manner. there have been no different briefings from different parties. in no different directions ahead of this meeting. it is likely there will be a consensus, an announcement of some kind this afternoon. certainly over the last few days there has been a pretty consistent message coming out from political
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leaders and also scientists and doctors, advising the stormont executive. that is the severity, extent of the restrictions which could be brought in here over the next month or so, given that things are going to be kept under review, the severity of all those restrictions will depend on the number of people who come forward for their boosterjab. the for their booster jab. the likelihood for their boosterjab. the likelihood of lessening restrictions, the best likelihood, lies with people just going and getting the boosters. the message very clearly is that vaccination remains the best weapon against omicron. , ., ~ remains the best weapon against omicron. , ., ,, , ., , remains the best weapon against omicron. , ., ,, y., , . omicron. chris, thank you very much for that. tomos _ omicron. chris, thank you very much for that. tomos morgan _ omicron. chris, thank you very much for that. tomos morgan in _ omicron. chris, thank you very much for that. tomos morgan in cardiff, i for that. tomos morgan in cardiff, what do you think mark drakeford might say in around an hour? i think he will definitely _ might say in around an hour? i think he will definitely announce - might say in around an hour? i think he will definitely announce more - he will definitely announce more restrictions which will come into force straight after christmas. we are waiting to hear whether boxing day or the 27th. a number of
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measures have already been announced by the welsh government, nightclubs shutting from the 27th and no spectators can attend any endorse, community level or outdoors events from boxing day. the welsh government are going... what we will be looking for this morning is for detail on possible restrictions on hospitality, very similar to what chris just mentioned there in northern ireland, looking at things like potentially rules of six, may become a table service as well. one interesting thing, the economy minister did mention in his that there would also be guidance on household mixing. interesting he uses the word guidance, that is not as not as far as law and regulation. potentially what we might have today is an announcement for after christmas, there will be some guidance on household mixing, some
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limit on what the government should be the maximum number of people mixing in households. when it comes to going out to a pub, restaurant or cafe there will be rules in place in terms of how many people can be in there as well. those are the type of things we are potentially looking for this lunchtime from mark drakeford. 50 for this lunchtime from mark drakeford.— for this lunchtime from mark drakeford. ., , ., drakeford. so that could be an interesting _ drakeford. so that could be an interesting mix, _ drakeford. so that could be an interesting mix, couldn't - drakeford. so that could be an interesting mix, couldn't it, i interesting mix, couldn't it, between rules and in other parts of everyday life people having to exercise common sense, i guess you would say, and make their own judgments about what is safe or not. yes, that is exactly right and i think as this pandemic has gone on thatis think as this pandemic has gone on that is something the welsh government have wanted to do, to kind of put the rules in place when they feel as though they need to but also show some understanding and give some leeway so the public can make the decision for themselves based on the evidence at hand. at the moment, again very similar to
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northern ireland, the numbers of omicron here are far behind what you are seeing in london at the moment. but nevertheless the welsh government does expect by boxing day omicron numbers could be in the thousands. at any moment they have not reached 1000. they are predicting that will rise quickly and are putting the measures in force so that after christmas there are measures to mitigate that so that they can relieve the pressure is just as the other devolved governments. —— pressures on the nhs. they are trying to put these measures in place to ease the pressure on the nhs, so more people can get vaccinated and hopefully there will be fewer admissions to hospital with people who have covid. chris in belfast, chris page and tomos morgan.
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chris hopson, the chief executive of nhs providers, which represents hospitals, healthcare and ambulance services in england says that the number of people in hospital with covid is not the best way to assess the level of pressure the nhs is under. the covid data, the number of people in hospital with covid around 8000, compared to 40,000 injanuary 21 peak. considerably lower numbers but they are rising. in london for example the number of patients with covid in hospital rose by 5% yesterday. a slower rate of rise
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than we had seen earlier on in the week. nevertheless the number is growing. that is obviously a matter of concern. we just need to be really careful about effectively saying that the number of covid patients in hospitals or i see yous is somehow a good proxy measure for overall pressure on the nhs. when you talk to our hospital and community mental health ambulance trust chief executives, they will say actually they are just as worried if not more worried about the level of staff absences they are experiencing. they are also saying we need to look at the load we have got in terms of non—covid care, we know we have a very busy urgent and emergency care pathway. we know there are increasing numbers of planned care that we cannot delay any longer. we know our colleagues in social care are under real pressure, we are going full pelt to extend the booster vaccination
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campaign, which we have been doing a fantasticjob on. some of our trust chief executives are getting worried that there seems to be a rather almost excessive focus on the number of people coming into hospital with covid. and that is then being translated to say actually if the number is not going up that fast that means the nhs isn't really under pressure.— countries around the world are trying to deal with the rapid rise in coronavirus cases, caused by the highly tra nsmissable omicron variant. we still don't know if the rise in cases will translate to a similar rise in deaths or severe illness. and the uncertainty is one reason governments are finding it hard to find the right response. in the us, president biden has announced a major increase in testing capacity, with half a billion rapid tests to be made available for free. israel plans to become the first country in the world to offer
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a fourth vaccine dose. it will be given first to the over—60s and to medical workers. in asia, south korea is almost doubling its hospital bed capacity for covid cases as the number of critically ill coronavirus patients reaches a record high and singapore is freezing its quarantine—free travel programme for fully vaccinated visitors from certain countries over concerns about the omicron variant. let's take a closer look at israel planning to become the first country in the world to offer a fourth covid jab — initially to the over—60s. we can speak to professor nadav davidovitch — head of the association of public health physicians in israel — he sits on the israeli government's advisory panel on coronavirus which made the recommendation. thank you for your time, professor. just a week ago experts were advising against a fourth covid job. why the change of heart? brute advising against a fourth covid 'ob. why the change of heart?�* why the change of heart? we had esterda why the change of heart? we had yesterday a _ why the change of heart? we had yesterday a very _ why the change of heart? we had yesterday a very lengthy -
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why the change of heart? we had| yesterday a very lengthy meeting, why the change of heart? we had - yesterday a very lengthy meeting, we are again in a very sensitive situation, reminding us what happened with the previous variants. we can see now there is waning immunity after the third dose. the waning immunity was not so quick as with the second one. in the past with the second one. in the past with the second one. in the past with the waning immunity we are going to have actually a tsunami of omicron, it is not clear what will be the clinical severity but even if it is lower, considering that the infection will be about four times more, we will see a burden on the health care system. talking about risk management, the vaccine is very safe. we have waning immunity and probably we can offer the vaccine
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for high—risk groups. i personally think you need to offer it. i do not think you need to offer it. i do not think this should be obligatory. of course, it is also based on the assumption we continue to do the surveillance and we are going to use the data, sharing it with the rest of the world.— the data, sharing it with the rest of the world. ~ , ., ., ., of the world. where is the data that su: rests of the world. where is the data that suggests that _ of the world. where is the data that suggests that the _ of the world. where is the data that suggests that the severity - of the world. where is the data that suggests that the severity of - suggests that the severity of omicron merits a fourth vaccination? because most countries around the world are saying they simply do not have that data yet. that world are saying they simply do not have that data yet.— have that data yet. that is true but the whole idea _ have that data yet. that is true but the whole idea of— have that data yet. that is true but the whole idea of vaccinating, - the whole idea of vaccinating, before the storm, the uk is like measles. we had the first patient death yesterday. this was true, over
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60 with high risk situations, he got two vaccines, not the third one. it is a really very tricky question right now because we are going to face a huge amount of infections. we still do not know, it is probably hard to say that the clinical science will be insignificant. in my personal view, science will be insignificant. in my personalview, i science will be insignificant. in my personal view, i think this can be offered right now and we need to continue. this is similar to the delta variant. then israel was also criticised. i5 delta variant. then israel was also criticised. , ., ., delta variant. then israel was also criticised. , . ., criticised. is there a danger you are not allowing _ criticised. is there a danger you are not allowing the _ criticised. is there a danger you are not allowing the booster- criticised. is there a danger you are not allowing the booster to | criticised. is there a danger you i are not allowing the booster to be tested to its full capabilities if you go ahead with this fourth jab, that you are not really testing the booster to see how far it can hold the line against this latest variant? ~ , ., , .,
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variant? we see lots of breakthroughs, - variant? we see lots of breakthroughs, that. variant? we see lots of breakthroughs, that is | variant? we see lots of i breakthroughs, that is the variant? we see lots of _ breakthroughs, that is the reason why there is the change from last week. we know there are many breakthroughs, similar after the second delta variant. the priority must be the first vaccine around the globe. questions about vaccine internationalism but this is something to be so. in the meantime, israel has enough vaccines. we need to engage first with those who are not vaccinated at all, this is where all the effort should be. i think we can also offerfor those all the effort should be. i think we can also offer for those who are interested after four months to have the vaccine, we see the waning immunity and we do not know the severity of omicron.— severity of omicron. sorry to interrupt _ severity of omicron. sorry to interrupt you. _ severity of omicron. sorry to interrupt you, professor, - severity of omicron. sorry to i interrupt you, professor, when severity of omicron. sorry to - interrupt you, professor, when you talk about breakthroughs, are you talking about people who have been vaccinated or not? i am
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talking about people who have been vaccinated or not?— vaccinated or not? i am talking about people _ vaccinated or not? i am talking about people with _ vaccinated or not? i am talking about people with three - vaccinated or not? i am talking| about people with three doses. especially those who had the third dose four months ago and more. this is the main group. we are talking about over 60, immunity compromised, medical issues. we are seeing the effect in the medical centre, what we can say is that the vaccine is safe. even the fourth dose assay. the question of efficacy, it is important and we need to continue. we are in a state of emergency, things are tricky, we are talking about risk management. i am not talking about compassion, we are talking about compassion, we are talking about compassion, we are talking about offering the option of being vaccinated.— talking about offering the option of being vaccinated. obviously efficacy is one of the — being vaccinated. obviously efficacy is one of the key _ being vaccinated. obviously efficacy is one of the key considerations, i is one of the key considerations, safety too. we also have to look at how countries, israel or anywhere
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else, manages vaccine programmes and what impact that has on its health services to deliver other non—covid health programmes. if you had a five gap between the two primary doses at least. and that boosterjab. it is now at least four months between the booster and this fourth covid vaccination proposed. where do you see the vaccination programme going over the next year, a couple of years, if more variants emerge, professor?— years, if more variants emerge, professor? years, if more variants emerge, rofessor? , ., , ,, ., , , professor? nobody really knows but i can be sure — professor? nobody really knows but i can be sure that _ professor? nobody really knows but i can be sure that finally _ professor? nobody really knows but i can be sure that finally the _ professor? nobody really knows but i can be sure that finally the vaccine i can be sure that finally the vaccine is going to be introduced to the regular vaccine schedule, especially after probably we are going to have vaccines, vaccine trials for children below the age of five. i think we need to see vaccines adapted. this will not happen before
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march so this is why we have this sense of urgency. many other questions, you know, what will be the efficacy of combining vaccines with other technologies that have more left from the virus which will give longer protection? these are important questions that need further research. these are not normal times. we are doing actually now risk management, there are lots of questions and probably in the coming years covid will turn endemic. we cannot ignore the mental health consequences, and of course vaccines are not going to solve all of our problems. yesterday we had a very limited question about the fourth dose and this is the decision to allow people to have the fourth dose. . ., to allow people to have the fourth dose. . ,, ,.,
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to allow people to have the fourth dose. . ,, y., ., , ., ., dose. thank you, professor nadav davidovitch. _ dose. thank you, professor nadav davidovitch, head _ dose. thank you, professor nadav davidovitch, head of— dose. thank you, professor nadav davidovitch, head of the _ dose. thank you, professor nadav i davidovitch, head of the association of public health physicians in israel. sport and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre. steven gerrard says the covid situation at aston villa is changing every hour. he couldn't predict for certain if their boxing day game in the premier league against chelsea will go ahead. meanwhile the livingston manager has told us ten out of 12 clubs in the scottish premiership want to move the winter break forward as both they and welsh clubs prepare to deal with the implications of new restrictions. joe lynskey reports. sport in scotland and wales is heading back into silence from boxing day in both nations, crowds get stripped back — in cardiff, no end date set. the welsh government will fund £3 million to help clubs through. in scotland
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the restrictions last three weeks. the first minister says it's to stop the spread of omicron. capacities are capped there at 500. it effects huge games. the old firm derby falls within the schedule, and edinburgh's great rivals play in an empty ground too. next month the scottish premiership has a two week winter break. some clubs now wants it brought forward, but other sports must find a way through. in rugby union, glasgow's game with edinburgh was due to be at murrayfield and in racing the welsh grand national�*s behind closed doors for a second straight year. there was so many people looking forward to it. it's really, well, frustrating, deflating, disappointing and tough on the staff at each stage of the pandemic. it is a grassroots hit hardest. wrexham hoped for up to 10,000. then on boxing day in england, it will be possible, but here, not so. life on football's fringes just got harder. is the drastic measure, i suppose,
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of a blanket call off. we've proven that we're able to socially distance in the stadia that's available and, you know, restricting those sort of crowds on boxing day tuesday and, you know, for the foreseeable future, obviously frustrated. there's a lot of uncertainty about how long we're going to need to take more protective measures. but we'll do the right thing to try to do everything we can to notjust protect sporting clubs, but the wider economy as well. just getting games on is still a challenge. but now in two uk nations, live sport has changed again — inside the grounds, the players are on their own. joe lynskey, bbc news. with the uncertainty around sport at the moment it feels like if you get a chance to play. then make the most of it. arsenal striker eddie nkiteah certainly did that in the first of this week's efl cup quarterfinals. he scored a hat trick as they beat sunderland 5—1 to reach the last four. there are three more games tonight, all still on as things stand. there was no signs of any covid
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anxiety from sunderland's fans, who brought 5,000 to north london. australia's dominance over england in the ashes has been reflected in the new world rankings. with marnus labuschagne replacing joe root at the top of the test batters' list. the two teams are heading to melbourne next for the boxing day test with bowler mark wood insisting that there remains a way back for england from 2—0 down in the series. we have got to believe that we can turn this around. we haven't shown our best stuff yet. we know that in australia have played really well. if we can match them down we believe we can win test matches here. we have the upper game, all three areas, at the minute australia have scored 400 toys. we have had batting collapses, dropped catches. we have facets of the game to work on. that's all the sport for now. manchester city footballer benjamin
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mendy has been accused of another count of rape. he has been accused in cases related to four women. this latest accusation or charge has come today, restrictions have been lifted so we are hearing about this new accusation. he is appearing at chester crown court for a hearing ahead of his trial next year. manchester city footballer benjamin mendy accused of another count of rape, now accused of eight offences against five different women. staff shortages caused by rising covid cases have forced some rail operators to cancel or reduce services ahead of the annual christmas getaway. long distance lines are among the worst affected, meanwhile transport for london says about 500 of its front line staff are currently off work. in the past week, 5.2% of trains
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have been cancelled, compared to an average ofjust under 3%. and over the past seven days, almost 9% of staff across the railway network have been off work. let's speak to our transport correspondent, simon browning who's at london's kings cross station. what is the situation there? welcome to london kings cross. really busy, important station at this time of year as lots of people make the christmas getaway to see friends and family. busy here this morning, lots of people in the terminal with her suitcases, carrying shopping bags filled with christmas presents for friends and family, lucky friends and family, but the transport network, train network has had a rough time in the last couple of days, lots of cancellations because of the rising covid numbers. train operators, staff have been off sick, causing difficulty. lner which operate the east coast main line from london to the north of scotland
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have been particularly badly affected, cancelling 16 services a day, 12 to leeds, four to lincoln to make sure the anglo scot land route is paradise and get people where they need to go. avanti west coast which operate from london euston to glasgow on the west coast main line have had problems but say services are improving today. the most important point, check before you travel, do not turn up expecting your service will be running. the rail delivery group representing train operating companies have said the problems come because if one driver is off sick they could be operating up to ten services per day, that is where the knock—on effect comes. the rail delivery group this morning has broken the government's new decision to cut the days of covid self isolation from ten to seven days. ringing more people back to the train network, more staff, getting trains operating at a more normal levels. another
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train operator this morning

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