24/12/2017 World News Today


24/12/2017

The news programme for audiences who want more depth to their daily coverage. With a focus on Europe, Middle East and Africa.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

This is BBC World News,

the headlines:

0:00:040:00:12

It is Christmas in the Iraqi city of

Mosul and Christians there are

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celebrating. It is the first time

since 2014 they are free to observe

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the tradition after Islamic State

was finally driven from the city

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earlier this year. The Russian

opposition politician has says he

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has gathered enough support to stand

against Vladimir Putin next year.

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Turkey's government sack thousands

more public employees linked to last

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you's failed coup and announces

plans to hire more to replace them.

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And Pope Francis is conducting the

traditional midnight Mass at Saint

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Peter's basilica.

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Hello and welcome to. It was past

midnight in northern Iraq where

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Mosul is celebrating its first

Christmas at the city was taken by

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Islamic militants in 2014. IS

persecuted and drove out Christians,

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whilst many who stayed were brutally

repressed. More than 10,000

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civilians are thought to have been

killed in the battle to retake Mosul

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according to a recent investigation

by the associated press.

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They gathered in Mosul's Cathedral,

marking a Christmas they will never

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forget, the first Christmas

after the war.

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Under the rule of the Islamic State

militants this would

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have been impossible.

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There could be no Christian

worship in public.

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The community was

persecuted and many fled.

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This was a coming together,

not just of Christians,

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Muslims helped prepare the church

for this service.

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And they were here too

as the worship unfolded.

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Mosul was the scene of months

of ferocious street fighting.

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Iraqi forces and their Western

allies battled to drive

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out the militants.

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Thousands of civilians were killed

and much damage was done.

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Now the healing must begin

and the Christmas service is a small

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part of that vast process.

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TRANSLATION: Without

peace there is no life.

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Our message is that after everything

that happened with our glorious

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victory against Islamic State group

and others, we must

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all call for peace.

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Among those in the church,

the message was being heard.

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TRANSLATION: We are from the Muslim

community and today we share this

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glorious celebration

with our Christian Brothers in

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the province and the city of Mosul.

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We share their joy today

and we hope our brothers outside

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of Iraq from the Christian community

will return to Mosul because we are

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all brothers and we are united.

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Beneath the cross in the Cathedral

this Christmas eve there was some

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of the best of the spirit of this

time of year and nowhere

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needs it more than Mosul.

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Alan Johnston, BBC News.

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Now to Bethlehem, where security

is tight as pilgrims

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arrive in the city ahead

of a midnight mass this evening

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to see in Christmas.

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Celebrations are taking place

amid rising tensions in the region

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after the US decision to recognise

Jerusalem as Israel's

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capital earlier this month.

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Our correspondent Tom Bateman

told us about the day's

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events in Bethlehem.

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Today has very much been a day of

ritual, a day of festive tradition.

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We watched as the procession of

Christians followed the route along

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Star Street into Manger Square here

up to the Church of the Nativity,

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which is the 1500 -year-old

basilica, built on the site it is

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believed Christ was born. That

happens every year, there is a

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ritual tradition to all of this.

Then we expect midnight Mass will

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take place both with the most senior

Roman Catholic clergymen of this

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area where he will talk to the

gathered congregation, and also the

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Palestinian Authority president

Mahmoud Abbas, who always attend

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this event each year. There is a

sort of bubble of festivity in

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Manger Square, but outside of that

this takes place against a backdrop

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of growing hostility. We have had

two and half weeks of daily clashes

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between Palestinians and Israeli

troops ever says Donald Trump's

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announcement on Jerusalem.

You

mentioned the announcement that

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Jerusalem is now the capital of

Israel according to the US. I

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understand that to us has gone down

since the announcement was made.

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Sadly the tourist economy in

Bethlehem has taken a severe dent

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ever since the announcement was

made. It was not just the fact the

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US initially advised many of its

citizens not to attend the occupied

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West Bank and not to go to the old

city of Jerusalem, but it was also

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the fact that many pilgrims and

domestic tourists were worried about

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coming to Bethlehem and were worried

about those clashes. I was talking

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to a hotelier yesterday who said for

about ten days before Christmas eve

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things were pretty bad. Some

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hotels had zero occupancy, the place

had been emptied in many ways. I

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spoke to the Mayor of Bethlehem a

bit earlier and he was keen to put a

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gloss on it. He said there had been

bad weather, and otherwise people

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were showing up. Hundreds of people

here came to enjoy the celebrations

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during the day and they will

continue into the night. But there

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is no doubt that this has dampened

the mood.

Let's show you these live

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pictures coming out of that in city

and Saint Peter's basilica where

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thousands of people are gathered

were Pope Francis is conducting the

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traditional Christmas Eve Mass at

Saint Peter's.

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There are also thousands outside the

basilica in Saint Peter's Square.

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People travel from all around the

world to attend this event. They

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attend to hear the Pope delivery the

traditional homily and beside over

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the service. It is not quite

midnight in Vatican City, it is just

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a little bit after ten. But that

midnight Mass is under way.

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Thousands inside Saint Peter's

basilica and thousands outside as

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well watching the Pope conducting

the midnight mass.

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The Russian opposition says he has

got the number of seats he needs to

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be registered in the election in

March. He told a meeting in Moscow

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that the support he has got in 20

cities in Russia proves he is a

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viable alternative to Vladimir

Putin. Sarah Rainsford has more. In

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this huge tent on a river beach on

the outskirts of Moscow there are

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hundreds of people who have been

queueing for some hours now to show

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their support for the

anti-corruption activist who wants

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to be president of Russia. He says

Russians have had enough of Vladimir

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Putin and corruption and that Russia

needs to change and he argues he is

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the man to do that. These people

agree, they have come to sign up to

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nominate him as their official

candidate, the beginning of the

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official process for registration.

But the problem is because of a

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criminal conviction, which he says

is politically motivated, he will

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not be allowed to register.

I think

he is the only real candidate for

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president will stop I do not want to

live in a corrupted country and I

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have hope only for this man Navalny.

Everyone is raising their red cards

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to show that they support Navalny.

TRANSLATION: We are ready to win

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these elections and we will win. I

say this without irony. This year we

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have seen that Putin does not have

mass support anywhere. Even with all

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his resources he has no support.

There is just melancholy and

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emptiness.

Mr Navalny has to bring

the signatures of his supporters to

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Russia's Central Electoral

Commission. If they reject his

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candidacy, he says he will go on

fighting. He has talked about

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boycotting the elections, protest, a

strike. He wants to prove he is a

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viable alternative to Vladimir Putin

and what happens here over the next

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few days will be the first real test

of that.

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Let's take a look at some of

the other stories making the news:

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Tunisia has banned all airlines from

the United Arab Emirates from

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landing in the country. It comes two

days after the UAE and Tunisian

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women flying through its territory.

The UN says this was due to security

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information.

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The first of the group of 80

Venezuelan activists have been

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released from prison in what is

called a gesture of Christian

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goodwill. The government says all

those general tab plotted to

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overthrow the president. Freda

Ramos, a former provincial Mayor,

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insists he has not committed any

crime.

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Tens of thousands of people

are homeless after a tropical storm

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in the Philippines that's left

more than 200 dead and

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another 150 missing.

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Rescue teams are struggling to reach

some of the affected areas.

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Our World Affairs Correspondent

Richard Galpin reports.

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At last, some aid now getting

to those most in need, after this

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latest storm to hit

the Philippines begins to subside.

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Troops helping deliver

supplies here in the

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southern region of Mindanao, which

lay right in the path of the storm.

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Reaching these impoverished

areas has not been easy.

0:11:120:11:22

They were hit by a landslide,

mudslides, caused by

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an inordinate amount of rainfall

that caused the ground to move and

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killed people innocently.

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As well as surging currents from

swollen rivers that went over their

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banks,

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it swept people out

of their homes and killed

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many others as well.

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The speed with which

the rivers were turned into

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lethal torrents over the weekend

caught people here by surprise.

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Many drowning in their

own homes, others

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buried under mudslides,

including children.

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The call for people to evacuate

in good time before the

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storm didn't have an effect.

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The storm passed over some

of the poorest areas in the whole

0:12:010:12:04

Philippines.

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At least 200 people

are known to have died.

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Large numbers are still

missing, and tens of

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thousands have been forced to move

away, in search of emergency

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shelter.

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In Rome today, Pope Francis offered

prayers for the people of

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Mindanao in his weekly blessing

to the crowd on St Peter's Square.

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TRANSLATION:

Merciful Lord, take

in the souls of the dead and comfort

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those who are suffering

as a result of this calamity.

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Let's pray for these people.

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At least Tropical Storm Tembin

has now been moving

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away from the Philippines.

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It's currently over

the South China Sea,

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where it's picking up strength again

and has been categorised as a

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typhoon.

0:12:520:13:02

It's expected to hit

Vietnam later this week.

0:13:040:13:06

Meanwhile, the people

of the southern Philippines

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continue the search for loved ones.

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They will be hoping for much more

help to reach them in

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the coming days.

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With me is Sarah Keith-Lucas

from BBC Weather.

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why is this storm is so powerful and

why has it done so much damage? It

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rapidly intensified when it was to

the east of the Philippines. We had

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a conducive atmospheric condition so

the wins in the atmosphere were not

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varying very much, so the storm

really developed vertically and very

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quickly. The other thing is the sea

is pretty worn across that region,

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warmer than average. We are coming

out of El Nino conditions which

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means we can to see bigger storms

across this part of the world

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because the sea is warmer, adding

more fuel to these big typhoons.

Is

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the southern Philippines prone to

these storms? Do we normally see

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them in this area?

Normally they are

further north. Sometimes they reach

0:14:020:14:10

further south, so it does see

typhoons and tropical storms, but it

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is usually a bit further north in

the Philippines, so this particular

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typhoon, is track, it is slightly

odd that it is by South.

Where is it

0:14:200:14:26

going next?

It is heading out into

the South China Sea and it is

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intensifying once again. It is

producing winds of 185 kilometres an

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hour. It is heading toward southern

parts of Vietnam and is likely to

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make landfall on the southern tip,

to the south of Ho Chi Minh City. It

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could cause devastating flooding

across a wide part of southern

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Vietnam. We are expecting about 300

millimetres of rain to fall across

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southern Vietnam with coastal

flooding and even inland there could

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be flooding issues, as well as the

damaging winds that will be sweeping

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across Vietnam. It will then head

out into the Gulf of Thailand,

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probably a bit weaker, but still

bringing damaging winds and rain,

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before heading towards southern

parts of Thailand. Wye we will keep

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an eye out on that storm.

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Stay with us on BBC

World News, still to come...

0:15:200:15:23

We'll go to Japan to meet

the priests who see

0:15:230:15:26

in the new year with

a smile in what's known as

0:15:260:15:28

a laughing ceremony.

0:15:290:15:38

We saw this enormous tidal wave

approaching the beach and people

0:15:440:15:47

started to run and it was complete

chaos.

United States troops have

0:15:470:15:52

been trying to overthrow the

dictatorship of General Manuel

0:15:520:15:55

Noriega. But it has failed

indispensable objective. It captured

0:15:550:16:02

General Noriega and took him to the

United States to face drugs charges.

0:16:020:16:06

The Russian flag was hoisted over

what is now no longer the Soviet

0:16:060:16:10

Union, but the Commonwealth of

Independent States.

The day broke

0:16:100:16:15

slowly over Lockerbie, over the

cockpit of the plane nosed down in

0:16:150:16:20

the soft earth. You can see what

happens when a plane eight stories

0:16:200:16:23

high and a football pitch wide falls

from 30,000 feet.

Business has

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returned to Albania after a

Communist ban lasting more than 20

0:16:290:16:33

years. Thousands went to midnight

mass when our anti-Communist riots

0:16:330:16:37

ten days ago.

0:16:370:16:43

ten days ago.

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This is BBC World News Today.

0:16:460:16:47

The latest headlines:

0:16:470:16:51

It is Christmas in the Iraqi city of

Mosul and Christians are celebrating

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for the first time since 2014 when

they have been free to observe the

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tradition after Islamic State was

finally driven out of the city.

0:17:000:17:03

tradition after Islamic State

was finally driven out of the city.

0:17:030:17:05

Hundreds have come out

to support Russian opposition

0:17:050:17:07

politician Alexei Navalny,

who says he has enough backing

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to challenge Vladimir Putin

in elections next year.

0:17:090:17:14

An international medical NGO

is waiting to hear the fate of seven

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children in urgent need of cancer

treatment who are trapped

0:17:170:17:20

in the besieged area of eastern

Ghouta close to the Syrian capital

0:17:200:17:24

Damascus.

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The Union of Medical Care

and Relief Organisations wants

0:17:270:17:30

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

to allow them to

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evacuate the children.

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They are among more than 130

children needing urgent

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medical treatment there.

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It's been under siege

now for four years.

0:17:400:17:42

A short while ago we spoke to Hamish

de Bretton-Gordon an advisor

0:17:420:17:45

for The Union of Medical Care

and Relief Organisations.

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I started by asking him to tell me

about the process of negotiating

0:17:470:17:50

with the Syrian president.

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We have done it before. This time

last year we approached the Syrian

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government and also President Putin,

the Russian president, to allow a

0:18:010:18:05

ceasefire to allow us to get 500

children out of Aleppo. In that case

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it worked. So we decided when we

heard about the seven children with

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curable cancer to go down the same

route. Yesterday we approached

0:18:150:18:21

Bashar al-Assad's office and we

spoke to him via intermediaries who

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told us that he knew exactly the

problem is at the moment and he knew

0:18:260:18:31

about these children and he would

consider whether he would allow a

0:18:310:18:35

ceasefire and we have been told to

call him back on Tuesday morning to

0:18:350:18:40

hopefully get that ceasefire in

place and then we can go in there

0:18:400:18:46

and get the children out and get

them the medical treatment they so

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desperately need.

It is almost an

insight into how President Assad is

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running this war, the fact that he

personally is going to have to

0:18:540:19:01

consider whether you can undergo

this evacuation. It yes, I think it

0:19:010:19:07

is a horrendous situation.

Discussions with the UN and the

0:19:070:19:12

World Health Organisation and they

have told me they had been trying to

0:19:120:19:18

get these children out for the last

four months. It seems that the only

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way to do it is to apply directly to

the president who seems to have the

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gift of life and death for these

people who is prepared to do it.

0:19:290:19:33

This has been an horrific conflict

and the city has been besieged for

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four years. 400,000 people are

trapped there with very little food

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and no medicine. It is a desperate

situation and also it is a long way

0:19:430:19:47

from perfect, it is worth doing. If

we can save these seven children may

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be we may also be able to get out

the other 125 children who we

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understand our desperately in need

of sophisticated medical support

0:20:010:20:04

which they cannot get there.

These

children that need treatment, do you

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know how long they might have before

it may be too late?

I am not a

0:20:090:20:15

medical person so I would not go

into specifics here. We understand

0:20:150:20:20

some are more ill than others, but

they certainly have a few weeks. I

0:20:200:20:26

understand these types of cancer,

the earlier you start treatment, the

0:20:260:20:32

prognosis is very much one of

survival. I have been speaking to

0:20:320:20:37

the doctors there recently and they

have reaffirmed to me that if these

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children get the right treatment,

they have a very good chance of

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surviving and a very good chance of

a full life. Without that treatment

0:20:450:20:50

the prognosis is very much worse and

they will die.

That was an adviser

0:20:500:20:56

for the union of medical care and

relief organisations.

0:20:560:20:59

relief organisations.

0:20:590:21:00

More public sector employees

in Turkey have been sacked

0:21:000:21:03

for alleged links with the US-based

cleric Fethullah Gulen,

0:21:030:21:06

blamed for last year's

failed coup attempt.

0:21:060:21:08

2,700 employees have been sacked

through a public decree.

0:21:080:21:10

They include military personnel.

0:21:100:21:14

In total, around 150,000 civil

servants have now been sacked

0:21:140:21:17

since July last year.

0:21:170:21:20

After the sackings, the government

announced plans to hire more

0:21:200:21:23

than 100,000 public sector workers

in the coming year.

0:21:230:21:27

I asked our Europe regional editor

Mike Sanders if there was any due

0:21:270:21:31

process to find the sacked employees

guilty before their sacking.

0:21:310:21:38

Well, it is difficult to ascertain

exactly how they are selected. It

0:21:380:21:41

could well be that they are just

announced by colleagues for whatever

0:21:410:21:46

reason. It is very difficult for

someone to approve or disapprove the

0:21:460:21:51

government's allegation that they

have been involved in the attempted

0:21:510:21:54

coup back in July last year. The

main criteria is that they have some

0:21:540:22:00

kind of association with this cleric

who is based in the United States.

0:22:000:22:08

The government accuses him of being

behind the coup. But as his

0:22:080:22:14

organisation has no official

membership list, how can someone

0:22:140:22:18

prove that they are or not involved

with it?

They are hiring thousands

0:22:180:22:24

to replace the people they have

sacked because the public service

0:22:240:22:30

has effectively been decimated.

Absolutely, the schools especially.

0:22:300:22:34

There has been a shortage of

teachers in the class and among this

0:22:340:22:39

latest hiring round there will be

20,000 new teachers. It is very

0:22:390:22:44

difficult for the people who have

been sacked to get their jobs back.

0:22:440:22:48

Once they have been sacked they will

not get another job in the public

0:22:480:22:53

sector, so they are in dire straits

because their welfare benefits will

0:22:530:22:56

be stopped as well because of the

manner of the sacking. And there is

0:22:560:23:02

a stigma attached to being

associated to the true no matter how

0:23:020:23:07

unfounded that might be.

There is

another decree that has been

0:23:070:23:10

announced, effectively nudity for

civilians. Can you explain that?

In

0:23:100:23:16

November last year the government

announced an immunity for service

0:23:160:23:19

personnel who were involved in

stopping the plot, so if they had

0:23:190:23:24

been deemed to use excessive force

they would not get prosecuted for

0:23:240:23:28

that and they would not lose out

financially or in terms of their

0:23:280:23:32

promotion. This has now been

extended to civilians who were also

0:23:320:23:36

involved in stopping the coup

plotters. But there is a great worry

0:23:360:23:41

because there is a vague wording. It

says people involved in suppressing

0:23:410:23:44

the coup on July the 15th last year,

or the continuation thereof, or

0:23:440:23:51

other terror acts. Opposition

politicians have been quick to go on

0:23:510:23:54

Twitter to say it is so open ended

it could encourage Bridger Landis to

0:23:540:24:00

take action against people suspected

of, for whatever reason, of being

0:24:000:24:05

coup plotters even now.

0:24:050:24:13

Champagne and fireworks may be part

of your New Year's ritual,

0:24:130:24:15

but at one shrine in Japan,

they have an entirely

0:24:150:24:18

different way of saying 'out

with the old, in with the new'.

0:24:180:24:20

Rylee Carlson explains.

0:24:200:24:21

It's a New Year's

ritual in Osaka, Japan.

0:24:210:24:23

Filing into this shrine

looking for a fresh start.

0:24:230:24:26

Here they follow the chief priest.

0:24:260:24:29

And then, on his cue...

0:24:290:24:32

PRIEST:

Ha, ha, ha!

0:24:320:24:37

CROWD:

Ha, ha, ha!

0:24:370:24:41

This is a laughing ceremony

to forget the bad they have

0:24:410:24:44

experienced throughout the year.

0:24:440:24:47

TRANSLATION:

I laughed

all the bad things away.

0:24:470:24:48

I hope next year will be

filled with laughter.

0:24:480:24:53

The ritual is based

on a Japanese myth that

0:24:530:24:56

says laughter opens the Cave

of the Sun Goddess.

0:24:560:25:01

The priests keep them

going for about 20 minutes.

0:25:010:25:06

It spreads throughout the temple.

0:25:060:25:10

Laughter is contagious, as they say.

0:25:100:25:15

And here in Japan, so is the hope

of a happy New Year.

0:25:150:25:20

Rylee Carlson, BBC News.

0:25:200:25:28

That is one way of doing it. Before

we go let's show you the pictures of

0:25:280:25:33

the last two known dancing bears

from an animal charity. They were

0:25:330:25:39

rescued.

They suffered a lifetime of

cruelty after being sold to their

0:25:390:25:44

owner for the illegal centuries-old

practice of bad dancing. Police and

0:25:440:25:51

animal charities spent more than a

year tracking down the two sloth

0:25:510:25:55

bears and they were eventually

traced near the border with India.

0:25:550:25:59

They are now being cared for.

0:25:590:26:04

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