this is bbc news. i'm chris rogers. the headlines at 2pm. tributes to the singer george michael, one of the biggest stars in british music, who has died at the age of 53. his death has shocked fans around the world. he passed away peacefully at his home in oxfordshire yesterday. fellow musicians have honoured his musical talents. he always had that incredible pop sensibility and that voice that could touch people, and you hear it and it cuts straight through to your hard. he had that ability. flags flying at half—mast here today. he wasn't just a superstar flying at half—mast here today. he wasn'tjust a superstar here but a
villager that you may see in the pub. today's other stories. flags fly a half mast across russia in tribute those who died when a military plane bound for syria crashed into the black sea. also this hour, millions of shoppers head to the high street for the boxing day sales. these were the crowds flocking into selfridges in london as bargain hunters turned out to bag cut—price deals, although trade could be down due to pre—christmas discounts. in halfan in half an hour, i'll be looking back at bed of ice —— a diverse year infilm. back at bed of ice —— a diverse year in film. that's with me, mark commode. that's with me, mark kermode. welcome to bbc news. the music world has been paying
tribute to george michael, who died last night, from suspected heart failure, at the age of 53. the singer sold more than 100 million albums in a career spanning nearly four decades. he leapt to fame with the pop duo wham, enjoying global success in the eighties, before leaving to forge a successful solo career. but he struggled with the pressures of fame and press attention. his bandmate andrew ridgeley said he was "heartbroken at the loss of a beloved friend". our correspondent, lizo mzimba, reports. george michael doing what he did best. even then, he was potentially a music superstar. he and his school friend formed wham in the 1980s. their brand of breezy pop captured a generation. a string of number one hits followed. as a solo artist, he
enjoyed perhaps even greater success. ‘faith‘ sold millions on both sides of the atlantic. his popularity was not limited to his fans. fellow musicians were equally overwhelmed by his talents. here he is rehearsing for the 1992 freddie mercury tribute concert. # somebody to #... according to his publicist, he passed away peacefully on christmas day. his manager said he died of heart failure. tributes have been led by his former
band mate, andrew ridgeley, who said he was heartbroken at the loss of his beloved it friend. madonna said, farewell my friend, another great artist leaves us. eltonjohn said, i am in deep shock, i have lost a beloved friend, the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. paul young duetted with george michael. he paid tribute today. he always had an incredible pop sensibility and a voice that could touch people. some people have a voice that cuts straight to your heart. he seemed to have that ability. as well as success over the years, he also had brushes with the law. his car collided with a high street shop, leading to a spell in prison. he was cautioned and fined for drugs possession and received treatment for addiction. to be a part of people's lives as an artist, that is what i dreamed of and what i'm still grateful for. but, my god, i wish i could cope with the other
stuff the way others do. i wish i had been born with that particular suit of armour. cause i wasn't. when george michael revealed he was gay, he said he had kept it secret to stop his mother worrying about hiv. in 2011, he said he had nearly died in vienna after a bout of pneumonia. more music was on the way, a collaboration with producer naughty boy and a documentary was due next march. when it came to pop, george michael had it all, the looks, the voice and the ability to write hit after hit, again and again. let'sjoin ben let's join ben and let'sjoin ben and i now in oxfordshire, where george michael is
described as passing away peacefully. we heard there at the tributes that have poured in from around the world, from international singing stars, all saying what they felt about george michael, but what is happening here is that some of the people who may have known him best in recent years had been paying tribute, flowers, candles, cards being left outside his home here in oxfordshire. villagers said from time to time they would see him in a local pub, pulling pints or maybe taking a walk down the river. one man said that he'd seen him as recently as six weeks ago and said he wasn't looking very well. we understand that george michael was found in his bed, non—responsive. an ambulance was called but he was
pronounced dead at the scene. going forward , pronounced dead at the scene. going forward, we anticipate that more about the circumstances of his death will be revealed, but at the time being it is being put down to heart failure. as well as being a popular person in this village, he visited the pub there and the landlady told us the pub there and the landlady told us of her recollections. it was slightly surreal, we didn't expect such a music legend through our door. he never wanted any special treatment. he was respectful of others around him, and of us, and he was a pleasure to have. his music speaks volumes and he will be remembered. we are all very fond of him and have memorabilia of his, and he was a local himself, supporting a village, spending time in the village, spending time in the village and was a very, very lovely
man who will recollect fond memories. a sad day. one of the things that attracted george michael to living here was that he could go around, go and see the pub, and wasn't treated like a superstar. he wasn't treated like a superstar. he was allowed to live a relatively private, quiet and undisturbed life. but they were always well aware of his talent. they want to pay respects here in their own way. one thing everyone who has worked with george michael has said, not only was he talented but a really, really nice guy. we spoke to reverend richard coles, who was in the band, the communards but is now
a pick—up. this is what he had to say. my favourite memory of him is when he was at eltonjohn‘s followed tea —— 40th birthday party. the dj played some wonderful records all night long and when i approached him it turned out to be george michael. he was very self—effacing, and assuming, easy company and a nice quy- assuming, easy company and a nice guy. it's becoming clear to me that he has inspired an awful lot of new talent. i interviewed robbie williams when he finally got his solo contract that he had been battling for, and his first single was freedom. he said he wanted to have the same solo career as george michael, and he has got it. he was hugely inspirational, george michael, to a lot of people. sometimes when pop stars are very
sleek and glossy, in spite of being caught up with success early on, he retained his full humanity. he wasn't a stranger to himself in the throes of success. he understood his exploration of himself and retained his vulnerability. do you think he inspired other pop stars because he made that break from teen idol to adults credible slick performer?” think he recognised changes in technology, distribution, and how records were bought and sold. he a lwa ys records were bought and sold. he always had a businesslike relationships with record companies and was very good at dealing with them, not just and was very good at dealing with them, notjust executives, but i can remember he was good with people who could do research, he would take time and bother to get to know them too. he was also very ambitious, but
that wasn't untethered to pragmatics. he was able to extrapolate his success by getting stuck in at all levels. while george michael will be remembered for his chart—topping hits he was also able to make fun of himself and appeared on the bbc‘s comic relief programme in 2011 with james corden. love this one, don't you? # call me good, ah—ha. # call me bad. # call me anything you want to, baby. george! # and i know, ah—ha. # that you're sad. come on! # and i know i made you happy. # with the one thing that you never had. # baby, i'm your man. i love it! # baby, i'm your man. # you better. # if you're gonna do it, do it right, right, do it with me. cheering and applause do it right, right, do it with me.
right, i'm going in. do it right, right, do it with me. you wait here, ok? do it right, right, do it with me. don't go wandering around looking for trouble. all right, where am i going to go? be back in a bit. love you. don't be long! and there's more online. you can look back at george michael's life in pictures, music that defined his career and celebrity tributes. that's at bbc.co.uk/news. in russia is holding a day of national mourning for the 92 people who were killed when a military
plane crashed in the black sea. authorities in russia say they've located the site where the plane came down yesterday, soon after it took off from sochi, heading to syria. the first of the bodies have this morning been airlifted to moscow. our moscow correspondent, steve rosenberg reports. across russia, they prayed for the dead for the 92 victims of yesterday's plane crash. his yesterday's plane crash. there was a special service today in every orthodox church in russia. this is a day of national mourning. as a sign of respect, russian flags were flown at half—mast. this is thought to be the last picture ever taken of the aircraft. a a few others later it crashed into the black sea. the search operation continued today. not for survivors but for the bodies. and also for the plane's black box flight recorders. technical failure or private ever is thought to have caused the crash. terrorism is thought less likely.
killed in the crash, more than 60 members of the russian army's choir group. outside the musician's headquarters in moscow, there is never a shrine that grows bigger by the other. as well as bringing flowers, icons and candles, people have been leaving messages. this says, you were killed on take—off, s0 so farewell, friends. you won't be returning. we couldn't save you. translation: we mourn with everybody else. there is pain deep in my soul. officially, there is one day of national mourning but for many russians the sense of loss from this disaster will last much longer.
this is one of the final images of the tupolev 154 jet. the headlines on bbc news: tributes continue to be paid to george michael who passed away in his oxfordshire home. he was 53. russia recover some fragments of a military prank that crashed killing 92 people on board. bargain hunters hit the high street —— of a military plane. also this hour, millions of shoppers head to the high street for the boxing day sales. these were the crowds flocking into selfridges in london as bargain hunters turned out to bag cut—price deals, although trade could be down due to pre—christmas discounts. millions of bargain hunters are expected to head to the boxing day sales today — although retail analysts say extended discounting earlier this month may mean the shops won't be as full as last year. meanwhile, the former governor of the bank of england, lord king, has suggested britain would be better placed to make trade deals
with countries outside the eu if it left the single market completely. our economics correspondent, andrew verity, reports. after one day's respite, 1a million of us are expected to hit the shops today, drawn in by the theory that goods are significantly cheaper than they were two days ago. there are just so many bargains. from birmingham to belfast, £3 billion is expected to be spent in shopping centres in the high street, up to another billion online. i always do it, every boxing day morning. why? ijust love sale shopping. i'm normallyjust looking for a really good deal, like half price. we were here last february and the exchange rate was 1.5 and it is much less now. we get a lot more for our money this year than last. the international visitors joining the crowds in london's west end aren'tjust coming for the boxing day sales. the boxing day sales. the brexit vote has weakened the pound and that means
that their money buys about a fifth more here than it did year ago. it's effects like that that create the hope that the brexit vote could lift exports and provide, at least in the short time, at least in the short term, a positive economic effect. one legacy of the credit boom of the last decade and the bust that followed was consumers borrowing unprecedented amounts to buy imported goods while exports trailed behind. today, the man that presided over that boom and bust was hoping that brexit might throw that into reverse. there are many opportunities and we should look at it in a much more self—confident way than either side is approaching it at the moment. i think that being out of what has been an unsuccessful european union, particularly in the economic sense, brings us opportunities as well as obviously great political difficulties. to the incoming us commerce secretary,
it has said to be a god given opportunity for businesses like frankfurt to take business away from the uk. 50,000 people in england at risk of type—2 diabetes could be helped by an nhs programme that's being extended from today. the advice on better nutrition and exercise has already helped 20,000 people. it forms part of a package of new measures to curb type—2 diabetes, including funding for more specialist nurses. a typhoon has hit the philippines, forcing tens of thousands to seek
refuge in emergency shelters. it has led to coastal flooding and disrupted eireann sea travel. japan's prime minister will visit pearl harbour today, 75 years after the japanese attack on us battleships there, which drew america into the second world war. shinzo abe, will meet president obama at the naval base in hawaii, and will reaffirm ties between the two countries as laura bicker reports. december the 7th 19111. a date which will live in infamy. the japanese attacks came in waves during a deadly two hours. bombs ripped through us battleships, crippling the pacific fleet and killing over 2000 americans. survivors recalled that the once bustling port burned for hours. i had a fire hose in one hand trying to put out the fires, and with the other i went around memorising these nametags so i could write to their parents and tell them what happened to their sons. after 75 years, there is now a solemn promise between the two countries never to repeat the horrors of that war. and the us and japan have developed a close relationship. barack obama was the first sitting
president to visit hiroshima, a powerful symbol of reconciliation. we force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. we listen to a solemn cry. shinzo abe spoke of an alliance of hope as the first japanese prime minister to address the us congress. i offer my eternal condolences. cheers, kampai. questions remain about the strength of any future relationship with the next president. newsreel: those who lost their lives at pearl harbor will never be forgotten. but these few days will be about remembrance and laying to rest the final ghost of a world war which brought out the worst in humanity. laura bicker, bbc news, washington. this time last year,
the west yorkshire town of hebden bridge was being hit by a deluge of floodwater. homes, shops, and schools were all affected and the recovery work in still going on. john maguire reported from hebden bridge last winter, and has returned to see how residents there are coping. boxing day, 2015. torrents of water smashed through hebden bridge with no respect for who, where or what they affected, nor indeed for the time of year. 12 months on and riverside school is receiving a visit from the children's laureate, chris riddell, who has helped flooded communities before. sketching as we talk, he says he is impressed with the attitude here. one comes into the community and sees how resilient they have been in the face of some very testing and trying times, and the way that often brings communities together. the head teacher has been forced to add construction project manager to her skill set.
it has been a long return to normal. the heating system is running, but not untiljust before easter. so we were sat in it earmarked. so we were sat in earmuffs. the children were fantastic. as were the parents. some of the children saw damage both to their school and their home. everything was crashed and broken and we couldn't find any of our stuff and there was a massive canoe under our decking and we didn't know how that got there. it wasn't yours? no. we look downstairs and it was one metre high. it was taking up a quarter of the staircase. an essential part of the recovery is prevention. at this book shop, a local mechanic has devised a way to keep the books high and hopefully dry. i absolutely think that we wouldn't have survived on our own. we just all pulled together, we genuinely did.
hopefully it's all behind us. but it does feel like you're tempting fate to say that! whether you think flooding is caused by global warming or overdevelopment, one thing for certain — one thing is for certain — when it impacats a community like this, it's very much a human response. it is people that drag this town back up, that gets the businesses, schools and families back on their feet. the shops either side were flooded. the pub that we are walking towards was flooded. and that sense of resilience, stoicism and community, that hebden bridge is renowned for, has been vital. the little things like none of the cash machines worked in town, so there was a regular series of somebody saying, well, i'll drive to the next town, i'll take a bunch of people, we can go to a cash machine and get some cash. when the flood sirens sounds, everybody stops and hopes not to be hit again, but if it does happen
this place will deploy its best asset in the fightback, the town's people. let's return to the death at 53 of the singer and songwriter george michael. paul young performed on the band aid single, everytime you go away, with george michael. he paid this tribute. it was absolutely impromptu, and he just wanted to be a part of it for whatever reason. he wasn't on the list, but he came and said i would love to do something, and looking at what you've done, the only song i'm no all the words to its every time you go away, so he was practically
out of the limousine and onto the stage and he was incredible, no rehearsal. the 80s, as everybody knows, wasim—mac periods for music, innovation, lots of different styles, and every band had an identifiable sound, and george had his own, in amongst everybody else, as we heard with wann. but he was he had something else on his mind. but he had that incredible pop sensibility and a voice that could touch people, and some people have a voice, and you hear rick, and it cuts straight through to your heart, and he seemed to have that ability. let's just go to one of his homes.
as you can see, there is a big floral tribute. villagers here were very respectful of him, inviting him into the local, or they saw him walking along the river thames. many people turning out today to leave m essa 9 es people turning out today to leave messages and pay respects, leaving flowers at the door of his home. there are crowds outside his london home in highgate, as well. it's been confirmed by the bbc that —— confirms to the bbc that he was planning a comeback, there was a documentary he was involved with about freedom, one of his biggest hits and most well—known videos, but a rerelease of one of his iconic albums as well. that's the scene there in oxfordshire. let's listen now to wire george michael was so
popular. # see me, single and free # no tears, no fears, what i want to be # one, two, take a look at you # death by matrimony! # wham! # bam! #iam! # a man! #job or nojob, you can't tell me that i'm not # do! # you! # enjoy what you do? # if not, just stop! # don't stay there and rot! # you put the boom—boom into my heart # you send my soul sky high when your lovin' starts #jitterbug into my brain # goes a bang—bang—bang till my feet do the same. # club tropicana, drinks are free # fun and sunshine, there's enough for everyone. # all that's missing is the sea but don't worry, you can suntan! # last christmas, i gave you my heart # but the very next day, you gave it away # this year, to save me from tears
# i'll give it to someone special. # oh, when that love comes down without devotion # well, it takes a strong man, baby # but i'm showing you the door # cos i gotta have faith # i gotta have faith # cos i gotta have faith, faith # i gotta have faith, faith, faith. # to the heart and mind # ignorance is kind # there's no comfort in the truth # pain is all you'll find # i'm never gonna dance again. # but if you're looking for fast love # if that's love in your eyes. # let's go outside # in the sunshine
# i know you want to but you can't say yes # let's go outside. # you smiled at me # likejesus to a child #. real contrast in out whether today. quite a lot of sunshine. but it's been a different story further north. a lot of showers have been piling in, particularly over high ground. falling snow in one or two spots. very strong winds, courtesy of storm corner. very strong winds, courtesy of storm connor. it stays dry later on, but with some
late sunshine. the showers across scotla nd late sunshine. the showers across scotland will tend to ease away. the windfall lightest in the south. eric chilly overnight, down 2—1. a bright day as we go into wednesday but we can expect problems with increasing fog. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines: musicians and fans have been paying tribute to the singer george michael, who died at his home in oxfordshire from suspected heart failure at the age of 53. russia says the bodies of 11 victims of the military plane crash in the black sea have been recovered and flown back to moscow. all 92 passengers and crew on board died when it came down shortly after taking off from sochi.