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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  January 3, 2021 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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at least 11 republican senators say they will join president trump in refusing to accept the official results of the us presidential election that named joe biden the winner by 8 million votes. the group have repeated unproven allegations of fraud in november's poll. in india, health workers and volunteers have taken part in a nationwide rehearsal to test its preparedness for mass immunisation against covid—19 as a second vaccine is recommended for emergency use. india's government hopes to vaccinate at least 300 million people by the middle of 2021. the government is coming under intense pressure from teaching unions who want to keep schools in england closed for the first two weeks of the new term. the profession‘s calling for the delay because of the rapid spread of the new coronavirus variant. now on bbc news:
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dateline london. hello and a very warm welcome to the first dateline of 2021. this is the programme that brings together some of the uk's leading columnists, bbc specialists and those who file their stories for audiences back home with dateline, london. with me this week are uk newspaper columnist yasmin alibhai—brown, henry chu who's deputy news editor at the los angeles times. and here in the studio, at a suitable distance in this age of pandemic, the bbc‘s
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asia pacific editor, celia hatton. forget the week just ended, and a year many are glad is done. this is the week to look ahead. to january 20th, whenjoe biden becomes president of the united states, to september when the european union's longest—serving leader angela merkel is replaced, and to november when nations agree, or are supposed to agree, how they'll make each other actually meet the promises they've made to cut the emissions heating the planet. a year of possibilities, then. but recall too, that, ten years ago this weekend, mohamed bouazizi, died after setting himself alight in despair of the world in which he lived. it was mr bouazizi who ignited the arab spring. yasmin, that seems a good enough place to start as any as we look ahead to 2021. potentially a changing middle east, not least because of the diminishing political influence of oil producing nations. what do you see for that region in the year ahead? i think we have to remember how that ten years ago, that optimism was dashed. such a dark, long
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winter has followed. look at syria, look at egypt, really a dictatorship in all but name. iran was not part of the arab spring but all those hopes of the young — and it was interesting when the beirut explosion happened, you saw repetition of the same emotions from the young. i went to egypt and jordan very soon after mubarak was deposed and you just got caught up in all of that. recently i talked to some of those young people and they have just grown old and tell me civil society is all but undone. but these countries all have young populations. disproportionate numbers
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in every nation are young. and they are growing up in a very different world from the world of their parents and grandparents grew up in. and i do not think that the next ten years can continue in this way that the leaders have continued throttling their populations. but one has to remember, isis came out of this, the refugee crisis came out of this, and ijust hope that the energy of the young and the intelligence of these young people across the arab world and in iran and turkey will come to something. i am very hopeful for that generation, actually. henry chu, i suppose one way that people could be looking is to the new administration in the united states. before you consider what biden might mean for a region like this, can i ask
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you about the immediate question, which is we have these elections in georgia which will determine control of the senate. if the republicans hold those seats, could the biden presidency almost be over before it's begun? well, i think you are right in terms of predicting what a joe biden presidency will look like, it actually means predicting what will happen on tuesday in georgia, where the two democratic nominees for the senate, if they are able to win, it will still be a 50—50 split in the senate, which means that vice president—elect kamala harris can cast the deciding vote but it means even one rogue democratic senator could throw off that majority they would be able to have with vice president harris. so all eyes are on tuesday. joe biden himself will be on monday to rally support for democratic candidates and donald trump will be there to shore up support for the current incumbent republicans. usually these elections are about the state,
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but because of what's riding on it to they've become nationalised, these georgia run—offs. you have more money pouring in from places outside of georgia, including my own home state of california, people are giving donations. if it turns out the senate does not tip that and remains firmly in gop control, then joe biden has his work cut out for him in terms of what he can accomplish. but let's remember he was vice president to 0bama, who also had a lot of resistance from a republican—controlled congress and was able to accomplish something by executive order. biden can do that and trump has done that himself. what's dangerous is that these can get overturned when there is a change of administration, but it's one way to get some things done. he will be limited, even with a 50—50 split in the democratic — in the senate but he still has levers of power he can use. celia in your region of the world, what are people hoping for out of
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a biden presidency? what are they expecting that might be different? i think we are expecting the tone to change, certainly. it was expected he will go back to the 0bama—style of doing things where he tried to foster very, very close ties with japan, south korea, and also to try to find places where it's possible to work with china. climate change is an obvious one. so we expect biden will turn his attention back to the asia—pacific region. of course, it's expected he's going to have quite a challenge on his hands quite early on in the presidency, in the form of north korea. and many people are expecting north korea is going to try to manufacture a crisis quite early on. we are expecting for example north korea to hold party congress in january. we don't know exactly when and some say they might time it to happen right when that all—important inauguration is taking place, sojoe biden could be facing a crisis in asia—pacific
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at the start of his presidency. ba rack 0bama talked about a tilt to the pacific and that has shifted a bit under trump but nonetheless donald trump did pay quite a degree of attention to, not necessarily always in a positive way, south koreans got nervous when he talked about pulling out troops and making them pay more for the troops they had, but it's fair to say in washington people are much more focused on the pacific rather than the atlantic in terms of foreign policy and certainly in terms of initiatives and things an incoming president might do. countries like japan, the relationship of a country like that, and as you said, china. really important for politicians in washington? absolutely, donald trump focused the world's attention on the relationship between the united states and china, the world's two biggest economies, and in a way he has done joe biden favours because he has made things so difficult with china that
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joe biden can easily look like the good guy by going in and softening things a bit. we are really expecting the tone to change in the relationship between joe biden and xi jinping, the president of china but many people are saying joe biden will keep many trade sanctions in place for now and probably many of the programme is the trump administration cut between the us and china. he is not expected to institute them and put them into place again very quickly. so it's atjoe biden's — the ball's in his court to decide what he will do next. but donald trump really has given him quite a difficult scene. in terms of relationships with china, one thing you can say with the trump presidency, particularly under mike pompeo in the state department is the administration took a very strong line towards the treatment or mistreatment of the uighur muslims. a spokesman for them
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said they were finally getting taken seriously in washington. do you expect biden to deal with what is happening with human rights, and also in hong kong? it is just so important. we are now world where we cannot just make self—interest foreign policy decisions because the world is completely interconnected. and the plight of those uighur people in china has been one of the worst human rights abuses, and of course hong kong is on fire, and it is the fury and fire of young people. and the interesting thing with this country, so much of brexit was won on the keep out immigrants promise, has
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opened the door to hong kong residents or citizens who have british passports or dual rights and it is going to be very interesting to see how many take up that offer, how the people who voted on an anti—immigrant argument for brexit will feel about this. but china does need to be held to account, without being demonised. no nation is utterly bad or utterly good, but forfar too long, the human rights abuses — and actually, china's presence in african countries, which i have seen firsthand, it's all been allowed to happen. so it will need a very sophisticated approach, i think. yes, some critics will see it as imperialism without the troops, what has happened in terms of china's heavy commercial and financial commitment to many african nations. henry, what about then, that question for the biden presidency? let's assume georgia goes
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democrat and he is able to have at least the casting vote with kamala harris. where do you think his focus will lie? he has outlined his four priority areas. what is looming most and around the us and the world is the covid pandemic. we have added an administration that has tried to downplay that every turn. no vaccine is unavailable you would think donald trump would be out there cheerleading for them and encouraging a bigger take—up of the vaccine to ensure distribution is going smoothly. he is awol. what we will expect from biden is a look at how to turn back the tide on what has killed more than 340,000 americans. you will see in his inauguration where he has decided one of the events will be a memorial to covid—19 victims. could we actually imagine that from donald trump? i don't think so.
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so i think that will be the number one priority for him and with that will be hopefully turning back the economy. so he will be looking at that most closely and in those areas there can be room for bipartisanship which we saw with the covid relief package last month in december. that was with co—operation between two sides of the aisle. in biden we have a person who was a senator for more than 40 years. knows the people on capitol hill, doesn't have the best relationship with them or see eye to eye with them but there's a lot a lot more room for actually working together. then we have had. forward is the last example of
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such a person. —— ford. you mentioned china in terms of climate change. we have this huge conference in november, cop 26, ithink... the climate, the ultimate achievement, really. what are the prospects for that conference? the british are hosting it, borisjohnson think it will be important. somehow, they have to go from having an agreement of, these are the cuts we are going to make, to how you enforce that and how you get sovereign nations to effectively give up some of their sovereignty and allow themselves to be policed by one another. the way they are going to do this is simply because the public really wants it. to put the attention back again on my favourite subject, china. china surprised the world back in september when xi jinping made the announcement that china would go carbon neutral by 2060. this is the world's biggest polluter. 85% of their fuel stills comes from nonrenewable sources.
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85%. 0n the flip side, they are also the worlds biggest producer of wind and solar power. they are the world's biggest investor in renewables outside of china's border. if china can do it, and they are not facing elections, xijinping doesn't have to worry about what is going to happen at the ballot box, but he is obviously feeling public pressure to clean up and deal with climate change. if china is reacting in that way, i think we can see many other countries are facing similar pressures and they might face elections. henry, it can be a virtuous circle, but does require this last element, doesn't it to be in place? do you think the nations can do it? they have made their beds and pledges, but actually having a system that will have some kind of sanctions beyond just the court of public opinion. i am quite dubious of that in terms of the paris accord
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because up until now, although these pledges have been made, a lot of them haven't been met. you're right that there needs to be a stick that will get them in line, but whether they are willing to actually give anyone the power to wield that state law even amongst themselves, i think is really questionable. the one ray of hope i see is perhaps in bilateral deals where climate change is now going to be part of the fine print. you saw that with the brexit deal between the eu and the uk, where no one was expecting that climate change would be enshrined within that and if there are slippages on either side, there will be actual penalties and rethinking of the agreement that they have come to. i think in those ways you in those ways you might see
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sticks with carrots but on global basis at the cop26, i don't think so because national sovereignty still remains around most countries around the world even when confronted with a global crisis when paris was hammered out several years ago there was a lot of debate over the words 'should' and 'shall', whether we will get there at the end of this year is another story. really glad you raised the question of sovereignty and brexit. yasmin, the deal was done rather hastily on virtually on christmas eve. steve richards who will be with us next weekend has told us actually he has read it. he obviously didn't have much of a christmas, he has read it and says there is a lot of unfinished business, details that are tentative, conflict committees that have not been set up and of course five years time, fish. in a sense, this is mostly done but not wholly done. we can't quite put brexit away yet. no and i thinkjournalism
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really failed, adds it was a sham the way this whole thing was scrutinised and pushed through by the bouncy prime minister we have, even hansard, the senior researcher which records what happens in parliament was scandalised by that and i do not think the press has properly explained all the half finished bits, the remaining huge unresolved issues like the service sector particularly, financial services, but also this goes back to what we were talking about on climate change. the world is at the moment in the grip of notjust nationhood, that has been there for a long time, but a kind of very emotional nationalism.
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country after country is inward—looking, nationalistic and populist and its leaders are feeding that. climate change requires internationalism. we have just rejected our most important international relationship. how to get the people and politicians to understand and really commit to internationalism on other issues is going to be the biggest challenge and i do not think we have thought enough about that in this brexit deal. so it is half finished, there are problem areas but it's also more and more the bits i know about scene like propaganda. instead of the reality so i hope steve can talk more in detail about the missing bits and half finished bits and how we journalists never did ourjobs.
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henry, you have been covering the uk for some years. you have been resident in the uk and got to know this country a bit. there is an important anniversary coming up in 2021, the 100th anniversary of partition of ireland. i suspect none of the politicians would have expected partition to have lasted 100 years at that time without a resolution of the irish question. it was talked about for decades in the uk parliament. what happens this year because we have a border down the irish sea. there is talk about a border poll over the future of northern ireland and we have the scottish elections with the snp saying if they win they will demand another referendum, the uk and labour government says they would not give it but they would demand a referendum. is the future of the union itself in question in 2021?
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not immediately in the sense that at the end of this year we will see bits of the uk already splitting off but this may well be the beginning of the end. borisjohnson gave himself a new title when he became prime minister which is minister for the union. i'm afraid that might mean he is performing the last rites given what has happened with brexit which majorities in scotland and northern ireland or posed. in scotland you have seen polls, 17 successive polls have shown that as a majority support for scottish independence whereas the referendum it was 55—45 against. that will not go down anytime soon now brexit is actually happening and is something the vast majority of scots object to and with northern ireland as you say, they are now in and out of the eu, in and out of the uk. there is a foot in both camps and it's only going to be a matter of time where they have to decide that one
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camp they want to be anything labour because as those camps begin to perhaps widen and drift apart having a leg and each becomes untenable. yasmin? i absolutely agree with henry on that and this idea you complete games with the whole northern ireland situation and i don't know the figures for unification of ireland but certainly there is a huge emotional feeling when you go to northern ireland amongst some that may be that is where the future lies. and there is also, what happened to the dup? they are deeply resentful of what is happened because what they wanted was to be in part of the union properly and has henry says, they are in and out. a bit of one and a bit of the other. billions were given to the dup
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by mrs may to stay onside and what happened to those billions? it's a complete mess and it is not, as henry says, going to resolve itself. the calculation is everybody will settle down and stop being naughty, it is not going to happen. let's talk about something potentially more cheerful. it is almost a year, mardi gras, super bowl, rio carnival, they were in february and unaffected by covid—19, up to a year without those big live events. the tokyo olympics is perhaps the biggest. the prime minister said on new year's day it's good to happen injuly, definitely this year. what are the prospects? it was supposed to be a grand moment forjapan and really look ahead this time last year this will be wonderful forjapan, almost ten years since japan suffered a terrible tsunami and earthquake,
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some of the olympic events were scheduled to be held in fukushima where the nuclear meltdown took place so it was supposed to be japan's grand moment, really. now we will be moving exactly ten years after the tsunami and earthquake but it's very difficult because japan is meant to welcome thousands of athletes, coaches, journalists, forget spectators but at the same time the virus is rising exponentially and the number of cases there. this is the world's oldest population and they are not even scheduled to begin vaccinations until february and japan is really seeing a real decline in an appetite to even host the olympics. the state broadcaster had a survey. 63% of people said they wanted it to be postponed or cancelled altogether and they are looking at a massive tax bill, more than $15 billion.
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let's end on a last note, a thought of optimism. each of you. what is the one place you would like to be and why briefly if you can, before the end of the year that would tell you this pandemic is finally over? it's not going to happen, maybe, but ijust want to be in canada. canada feels to me like a kind of sanctuary from, in the western world at the moment. it has kept its head, it later appeals to me, its people seem sane by comparison to many others and ijust want to be in canada. where i almost migrated a few years ago and wish i now had. henry? for me, this past year, 2020, i had been lucky enough to had tickets for one of the finals at wimbledon. if that could happen again
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where i could stand shoulder to shoulder in line, jostling for my share of strawberrys and cream, if i can be with other spectators gasping at the beauty of a shot on centre court without worrying that we are all infecting each other, that will be my sign things have returned to some sense of normality. celia, you would normally have been in canada because you are canadian so you cannot have it! i was about to agree with yasmin! i would love to go back to china, it hasjust closed its borders to people from the uk, it is very rare for me not go a couple of times a year but canada, my parents are turning 80 this year so if i could be in their back garden with a gin & tonic, that would make my year. i cannot possibly rebuke you for that. thank you all very much, happy new year to you and you at home. that is it, back same time next week. goodbye.
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hello. it's been a cold, wintry start to 2021 and that theme is set to continue, at least for the next week or so. temperatures still below average. this was the picture on saturday afternoon in wakefield, quite a lot of lying snow around for many parts of northern england, parts of scotland, into wales, western england, the midlands as well. over the next few days, it's going to stay cold with further wintry showers at times, certainly we're all going to be seeing some ice or some frost around a cold start to your sunday morning ain the next few days, it's going to stay cold with further wintry showers at times, certainly we're all going to see some ice or some frost around. a cold start to your sunday morning with subzero temperatures for many
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areas as low as —5 or —6 across parts of western scotland first thing. now, after that cold frosty start, the weather is looking generally settled with high pressure in charge of our weather, but we will have the breeze coming in from a northeasterly direction as it blows over the north sea, it will bring in some showers and some showers will be across parts of scotland northeast england as well, one or two further south into wales and the midlands. mainly sleet and snow confined to higher ground, largely rain at low levels and in the southeast of england and east anglia, some heavy rain showers here and also for the channel islands as well likely to see some rain on it through the day. and while temperatures reach around four or six degrees, it will feel colder with the wind chill so the breeze making it feel closer to freezing during sunday afternoon for many of us. heading into monday and high pressure still with us sitting to the north of the uk, we've still got that north easterly breeze into monday as well. so, many places looking dry with some sunshine, but there will be some wintry showers and parts of southern scotland and northern england, perhaps one or two for northern ireland and wales and the southeast of england once again could see some rain showers. it could turn to sleet and snow over the high ground with any of the heavier bursts.
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temperatures only about four to six degrees but feeling closer to freezing once again when you add on the effect of that wind chill on monday. a very similar day into tuesday as well. we've still got a northeasterly breeze with us, some rain showers for the southeast of england and flurries elsewhere, but a lot of dry weather on the cards in the sunshine, still feeling cold with temperatures around three to five degrees on their warmest on tuesday and looking ahead to the remainder of the coming week, it stays cold, temperature still below freezing, some sunshine and things looking like they are turning more unsettled later in the week. bye bye.
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welcome to bbc news. i'm lewis vaughan jones. our top stories: a group of republican senators say they will support president trump and refuse to accept the official result of the us presidential election. in india, tens of thousands of health workers take part in a one—day mass immunisation rehearsal. meanwhile, in the uk, as coronavirus cases surge — teaching unions in england demand a two—week closure of schools. and in northern france — after clashes, arrests and fears of a riot — police shut down an illegal rave, 36 hours after it started.

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