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This is BBC World News today. I am
Ben Bland. Our top stories. Flooding
and mud slides kill more than 180
people as a storm sweeps across the
southern fill apeeps.
TRANSLATION: I am the President
right now and I haven't stopped
being it. Even if they sacked me by
decree of the Spanish Government. As
the California wild fire becomes the
largest in state history, we meet
the prison inmates helping to tackle
In sport, Barcelona beat Real Madrid
3-0 in the first classic of the
Spanish football season.
More than one hundred and eighty
people are reported to have been
killed by a Tropical Storm
in the Philippines.
Two days of heavy rain have led
to flash flooding and mudslides.
Andy Moore reports.
Nearly 200 people have died
after a tropical storm struck
Clinging to the neck of his rescuer,
a young boy is carried
across the floodwaters.
There was little sign
of official help here,
just villagers doing their best
to rescue each other
with fragile ropes.
In a country used to devastating
storms, this took many by surprise.
The authorities said too many people
had ignored warnings to leave
coastal areas and river banks.
Many of the casualties were on the
main southern island, Mindanao.
This man said houses were getting
flooded but people couldn't escape,
so they got caught in the strong
currents and swept away.
Many places were hit by landslides.
Flimsy houses were buried
beneath tonnes of debris.
The Red Cross is helping
coordinate the relief effort.
We have already provided water
and food, and we have been
distributing non-food items,
blankets, mosquito nets
and hygiene kits for those
who are in the evacuation centres
to alleviate the suffering
of many of the folks there.
The Philippines is battered
by about 20 typhoons every year.
This particular storm
is not over yet.
It's now heading towards the popular
tourist island of Palawan.
As it passes over warm,
tropical waters, its winds are set
to grow again in strength.
Andy Moore, BBC News.
A short while ago I was speaking to
Helen billets from the BBC weather
centre to get an update on the path
and where it's headed next.
heading to open waters and then we
think towards parts of southern
So, in terms of the
severity of it, is it building, is
it subsiding or at a constant level
as it moves across the region?
sort of storms can happen any time
of the year but we normally have
peak from about May to October,
slightly out of peak and far south.
We have had substantial rainfall.
It's moving to open waters which is
where these storms an get energy
from so it's likely to intensify in
the short-term to a typhoon,
probably through tomorrow. Becoming
a typhoon tomorrow evening across
the Philippines, Vietnam time. But
then we think before it makes
landfall in Vietnam it's likely to
weaken again dramatically, colder
air, but the winds are expected
toing around 110 kilometres an hour,
not just concerns for southern
Vietnam where we think it's going to
hit during Monday evening their time
is the likelihood it will make
landfall then, could have about 200
millimetres of rain and it's in a
similar area to those affected so we
could see further flash flooding,
that happened about a month ago.
Clearly the ground is still
saturated. The other fly in the
ointment unfortunately is what will
happen is as this moves away it
enhances the north-east monsoon, it
brings lots of rain across the
Philippines and parts of India and
China and that could enhance rains,
those areas, southern and central
Vietnam are most at risk of further
heavy rain indeed.
It is storm
season. The region sees storms like
this fairly frequently at this time
of year. In terms of the severity
how does it compare, is it stronger
It's really about what
they would expect. If it becomes a
typhoon temporarily, but that's
obviously winds of 70 knots, that's
about 120 kilometres an hour plus,
that's a quite nasty storm. Yes,
it's expected to weaken but will
still have strong winds, still will
be a tropical storm when it hits, it
could do a lot of damage around the
coast, structurely, of course, gives
high tides as well, pushing large
waves, coastal flooding but rain
still remains the main concern.
can find much more on this story on
our website including a look at how
countries can cope with such natural
disasters. Let's take a look at some
of the other stories making the
The sacked Catalan leader,
Carles Puigdemont, says he wants
to return to Catalonia and be sworn
in again as the region's president.
He urged the Spanish Government to
let him return for talks. The
political instability isn't bringing
down Catalonia's Christmas spirit.
Catalonia may be facing a crisis but
it hasn't dampened the spirit of
TRANSLATION: Of course there will be
Christmas dinners and people will
discuss politics but in the end the
primary thing of the people, nothing
So what next for Catalonia? That's
what everyone in the region is
wondering after elections that once
again gave pro-independence parties
Now the separatist leader has said
he wants to return from self-imposed
exile in Belgium and continue as
TRANSLATION: I am the President
right now and I haven't stopped
being it. Even if they sacked me by
decree of the Spanish Government
which has failed in Catalonia.
He has called for dialogue with the
Spanish Government. Even if it falls
short of independence.
I say let's talk, let's
talk about everything. But above
all, about what Catalan's want.
They have the largest individual
vote, even though it's unlikely they
can form a coalition. And if and
when talks between Madrid and the
separatists do take place, it's not
clear what would be different this
Of course the Spanish
Government will say no to their
proposal of a legal referendum so in
less than however years we will be
on the same situation that we were
before the election.
As the crisis
continues, it's the economy that's
most at risk. Tourism is suffering
and already more than 3,000
companies are moving their legal
headquarters out of Catalonia.
32 people have been killed in a bus
crash in Rajasthan in India.
Officials say the driver lost
control of the vehicle,
which broke through a guard rail
and fell thirty metres
from a bridge.
Venezuela has expelled the Brazilian
ambassador to Caracas -
and a Canadian diplomat -
accusing them of interfering
in internal matters
and violating the rule of law.
Last week, Brazil issued a statement
accusing President Nicolas Maduro
of harassing the opposition.
And earlier this year Canada imposed
sanctions on a number
of Venezuelan officials.
The conductor Charles Dutoit has
denied accusations of sexual
assault made against him,
calling the allegations shocking,
with no basis in truth.
Four women - three of them
opera singers and one
a classical musician -
have accused him of sexual assault.
The United Nations has -
for the first time -
begun flying vulnerable African
refugees being held
in Libya into Europe.
More direct flights to Italy
are planned for the new year -
for those deemed to be extremely
vulnerable - including single
mothers, unaccompanied children
and people with disabilities.
A military plane
touching down in Italy.
On-board, 110 women
and children, African migrants.
Refugees who travelled to Libya,
now flown directly to Europe
for the very first time.
They are part of the protection work
that UNHCR does in Libya.
We have visited the detention centre
995 times this year and 1,200
we have had them released.
Tens of thousands of people
fleeing their homes arrive in Libya
each year and attempt to cross
the Mediterranean to reach
Italy, their very first
footsteps into Europe.
The risks are enormous.
These people were pulled
from the water last week
when their boat broke in half off
the Libyan coast, rescued
by chance by the Libyan navy.
This year and for the past four
years in a row more than 3,000
people have died trying
to make the crossing.
Those who survive often
say their greatest fear
is being sent back to Libya
to camps like these.
Complaints of abuse are widespread,
of beatings and ill treatment.
Desperation forces many
into the hands of human traffickers
and into boats overloaded and unfit
for the sea.
Italy has called this an evacuation,
the first they hope of many.
These people, the most vulnerable.
50 more are due on a later plane.
TRANSLATION: We managed
to intervene in a particularly
like the Libyan one,
and managed to bring women
and children to safety,
welcoming the refugees and rescuing
them from the people smugglers.
European leaders met in Brussels
this week to discuss migration.
More than 160,000 people
have arrived in Europe
from Africa this year.
That's less than half
the number from 2016,
but measures to curb arrivals,
like a repatriation scheme,
ongoing in Libya, are
Now Italy plans to take the lead,
taking up to 10,000 more
people from Libya in 2018,
and is looking to the rest of Europe
to help to find them new homes.
Still to come. Deep sea alert. Nato
commanders warn of Russian
submarines hunting a valuable target
on the ocean floor.
We saw a tidal wave approaching the
beach and people started to run.
Suddenly it was complete chaos.
United States troops have been
trying to overthrow the dictatorship
of General Noriega. It's failed in
its principle objective, to capture
General Noriega and take him to the
United States to face drugs charges.
The Russian flag was hoisted over
what is now no longer the Soviet
Union, but the Commonwealth of
Day broke slowly
Christmas has returned to Albania
after a communist ban lasting more
than 20 years. Thousands went to
midnight mass where there were
anti-communist riots ten days ago.
The headlines. Tropical storm has
left more than 180 people dead in
the Philippines. Two days of heavy
rain have led to flash flooding and
The sacked leader of Catalan says he
wants to return to Catalonia and be
sworn in again as the region's
A wildfire in California
is now the largest ever
recorded in the state.
More than a thousand square
kilometres have been
affected by the Thomas Fire,
which started in early December.
A spokesman for the Fire service
says the flames are now
65 percent contained -
and one of the key
resources has been the use
of convicts on day release.
James Cook has their story
It's pretty challenging.
Sometimes we're right there,
right next to the fire.
Compared to being in prison
and being here, it's
Here you feel free.
You're out in the world.
The biggest change for me is mental,
because I've never pushed myself
as hard, ever in life.
California has 4,000 inmate
firefighters, men and women.
Cutting firebreaks is risky work,
two have died this year.
But there are rewards too in reduced
sentences and a sense of purpose.
After being in this programme,
I feel like I've been rehabilitated
and I feel like I can go out
there and achieve anything
I want to because I've done this.
This is so hard.
We were allowed inside this
prison camp in Malibu.
There are no walls or fences here.
Violent or volatile
prisoners are not allowed
to join the programme.
With a job like this, there is only
time to think about the work.
Latoya Najar is serving four years
for causing the death
of her seven-year-old son
in a drunken car crash.
The attraction for me
was because of my crime,
I could come out here
and do something positive.
It's challenging mentally
to get over something.
I'm never going to get over it,
but to try to ease my mind
and this has helped.
With California facing more frequent
and more destructive fires,
some critics call this slave labour.
But the project is voluntary,
it may reduce re-offending and it
provides some measure of redemption.
Everyone is like, "We love
We all wave back and
we wave to the kids.
It's amazing, yes.
The work may be exhausting,
it may be dangerous,
but in the words of one prisoner,
"It's better than twiddling
your thumbs in jail."
James Cook, BBC News,
in Southern California.
Russian submarine activity has
apparently reached a level not seen
since the end of the Cold War
thirty years ago.
That warning comes from
Senior NATO officers.
They're concerned that Russia
could target undersea cables linking
Europe to the United States.
The cables provide important
internet and communications links.
Joining us to discuss this is the
deputy director general of the Royal
United services institute, Malcolm
Chalmers. Does it seem Russia is
back on the scene as a formidable
power to be reckoned with?
that's right. In that sense it's not
new, it's a trend we have seen over
the last decade, very large increase
in the Russian defence budget which
has allowed its forces on land and
at sea to be much more active, to
train more vigorously, to improve
the effectiveness of their
operations, compared with a decade
ago and that's reflected in
submarines surging into the north
Atlantic at a rate that they haven't
before for more than 20 years so
starting to match Nato in the levels
of activity of their maritime
Haven't we seen peaks and
troughs, it just changes over years,
there are surges of activity and
then it subsides, could this not
just be another one of those high
points and then it will taper off
Of course that's always
possible. But I think more about
Russia returning to the normal level
of activity for a force that wants
to actually be seen as credible by
Nato. For a long period after the
end of the Cold War in the early
1990s Russia had a large fleet but
hardly ever went to sea and
therefore Nato Navies came to
believe they really had not much
capability to actually use them, but
over the last decade that's changed.
They've become more active and more
serious and one of the consequences
has been that Nato Navies, including
the Royal Navy, are having to spend
a lot more of their time tracking
Russian submarines to see what
they're up to and as a result of
that tracking one assumes that we
have these multiplying reports of
Russian interests in undersea
cables, to track a Russian submarine
takes a lot of effort from our
submarines, but also surface ships
You mentioned the
What would their interest be in
targeting those cables?
Well, in the
event of a large-scale conflict,
cutting those cables would be very
valuable in terms of disrupting the
economies of western societies.
Targeting cables is nothing new. The
UK destroyed German Telegraph cables
back at the end of World War I, but
today we are much more dependent on
those cables because of the central
role of the internet in our
economies. So in the event of a
conflict this would be a capability
which the Russians could deploy
along with all sorts of other
capabilities, it doesn't mean
they're going to attack them out of
the blue but it's one more element
to keep Nato on its toes.
Thank you. Time to check in on the
Manchester City are 14 points clear
in the Premier League
after beating Bournemouth 3-0.
Sergio Aguero scored twice,
Raheem Sterling and Dinilo
with his first City goal were also
on the score
City have won 17 matches in a row.
Second goal was important,
especially the last 25
minutes and they play,
two strikers we found more space,
but we have to learn.
We have to improve to attack
this kind of defence.
We have to try it and I think
that's going to happen.
Harry Kane scored a hat
trick as Tottenham beat
Burnley 3-0 at Turf Moor.
The three goals means Kane equals
Alan Shearer's record of 36 league
goals in a calendar year.
It means Spurs leapfrog Burnley
and Arsenal into fifth place.
He has one more chance to break
Shearer's record when Spurs host
Southampton on 26th December.
are fighting for top four, that
victory shows everyone that we are
there. And yes, now we need to be
solid and we need to be consistent
in our performance. Today was a
point to platform to go up.
Newcastle United are out of the
bottom three after beating West Ham
3-2 at the London stadium. Andre
Ayew had a penalty saved and they're
one point above the relegation zone.
Christian Atsu scored what proved to
be the winning goal. In the other
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored
- as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3
goals to nil in La Liga dealing
a huge blow to Real's title defence.
Cristiano Ronaldo's side now
trail their rivals by 14
points in the table.
Suarez struck in the 54th
minute of El Clasico -
and Messi added a penalty
10 minutes later.
After Madrid's Dani Carvajal
received a direct red card -
for stopping a goal-bound
header by Paulinho.
Messi also set up substitute
Alex Vidal - to round off
the win in stoppage time.
The victory for Barca team puts them
9 points clear at the top -
ahead of Atletico Madrid.
Real remain in fourth place
with a game in hand.
In the day's other results:
England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow
has defended captain Joe Root
after comments made by the former
Australia skipper Ricky Ponting.
He said Root looked like a little
boy and had been a bit soft
Everyone's going to have an opinion
and that's all well and good. I
think he is doing a really good job
as captain. I think the tactics he
has shown with the ball has been
really good and I think he will only
grow and learn by doing it.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes
is returning home to the UK
for what he called "family reasons",
after a month-long spell with
the New Zealand side Canterbury.
He joined them just
after England had lost
the first Ashes Test,
he could be set for a recall,
but he's still suspended
following his arrest in September.
He is best known for a photograph in
1984 which pictured him flying above
earth with a jet pack. He also
served as mission control
communicator when the awhen Neil
Armstrong stepped on the moon.
It may be one of the world's longest
rivalries and one that's worth
billions in marketing -
who lays claim to Santa?
His home has always been
known as the North Pole -
but is it Finland or Greenland?
Well, that fight is now over.
Greenland has officially given
up its claim to the Big Man and says
THIS tiny village in the Finnish
region of Lapland -
is where he actually lives.
He has a busy weekend ahead, hope he