this is bbc news. the headlines at five: north korea says the latest un sanctions are an "act of war", as they amount to a complete economic blockade. rescuers are searching for victims of a tropical storm in the southern philippines more than 200 people have died in mudslides and flash floods. emergency services have yet to reach some of the affected areas, 70,000 people have been displaced from their homes. two men have been killed and four people injured, following a multiple vehicle crash on the mao in 0xfordshire, the motorway has now reopened.
and the annual christmas messages from britain's political leaders — theresa may thanks the armed forces whilejeremy corbyn urges people to think of the lonely. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. north korea has described the latest united nations sanctions as an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade. the un security council imposed the us—drafted measures on friday in response to pyongyang's ballistic missile tests. north korea has vowed to strengthen its nuclear deterrent to frustrate america. sophie long sent this report from the south korean capital seoul. an act of war that violates peace and stability on the korean peninsula. that was north korea's reaction to the latest and toughest round of sanctions to be imposed on pyongyang. the us—drafted resolution was agreed by all members of the un security council, including china, north korea's main ally and trading partner, who called again for all parties to show restraint. i'm grateful to my colleagues
for the serious measures we have enacted on behalf of the north korean people and i ask you keep them in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season, as we continue to fight against this, the most tragic example of evil in the modern world. the new sanctions include a ban on the import of nearly 90% of all oil supplies to north korea. vital to its missile and nuclear programmes. they also require the repatriation of north koreans working abroad. it's believed pyongyang uses their earnings to help fund its weapons development. the sanctions come in response to this, the firing of pyongyang's most powerful missile yet, one it said could reach us soil. they're intended to push pyongyang to the negotiating table and towards a diplomatic solution. but today's response indicates kim jong—un has little desire to give up his nuclear ambitions. sophie long, bbc news, seoul.
rescuers are searching for victims of a tropical storm in the southern philippines, where more than 200 people have died in mudslides and flash floods. thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, as howard johnson, our correspondent in manila, explains. high winds and heavy rain have battered mindanao for the last three days, as tropical storm tembin made its way across the country. rivers burst their banks, inundating towns, while a number of villages were buried under landslides. a spokesperson for the united nations children's fund said conditions on the island are dire and that many are without clean water or electricity. there were 103 houses here. when the flood happened, it swept them all away. the philippines' national disaster council is spearheading the relief effort,
providing meals and shelter to thousands of people displaced by the storm. the call for people to evacuate in good time before the storm actually didn't have an effect. the storm passed over some of the absolute poorest areas in the whole of the philippines and people live in hard—to—reach areas. the philippines is hit by around 20 typhoons every year, bringing misery to some of the poorest communities in the country. storm tembin has now passed the philippines and has strengthened to typhoon status. it's now over the south china sea. it's expected to hit vietnam in the coming days. howard johnson, bbc news, manila, in the philippines. two men have died after a crash on the mao involving
a number of vehicles. 4 people were injured, one seriously. police and paramedics were called to the scene on the northbound stretch of the motorway in 0xfordshire just before midnight. officers from thames valley police are calling for witnesses. london zoo has reopened today after a fire on saturday killed several animals, and some staff had to be treated for smoke inhalation. britain's political leaders have used their annual christmas messages
to pay tribute to those who help others. they also urge people to support those in need over the festive season. 0ur political correspondent, eleanor garnier, has more. wishing everyone a happy christmas, the prime minister thanked those who help others during the festive period, like volunteers at faith projects and international aid workers. theresa may highlighted the courage and dedication of the emergency services who went to the grenfell tower tragedy and terrorist attacks in manchester and london. and she thanked the country's armed forces. this christmas, as people across the uk celebrate this special time of year with family and friends, we will do so secure in the knowledge that the valiant hearts of our service men and women, many far away from their own loved ones at this special time of year, are working to keep us safe. in his second christmas message as labour leader,
jeremy corbyn called britain a compassionate nation, urging people to think of those who may be lonely at this time of year. many older citizens, to whom we owe so much, will be spending what should be a time ofjoy alone. we think of others such as carers who look after loved ones and people with disabilities or dementia. and abroad, we think of those living in nations such as yemen, syria and libya, in fear of bombs and bullets, of injury and death. snp first minister nicola sturgeon paid tribute to those working over the holidays and visited a community cafe in glasgow to thank volunteers. this cafe and the volunteers here are among thousands of organisations and individuals throughout scotland who do so much for our local communities not just at christmas but all throughout the year. the lib dem leader vince cable used his message to highlight the issue of homelessness. community has always been at the heart of liberalism. this is a time of year
to make that commitment. that is why i am asking you to take out some time this christmas and help with a local charity near you. the party leaders' festive messages were shared on social media to wish voters a merry christmas but also remind people to spare a thought for those in need. eleanor garnier, bbc news. new guidance on how local authorities combat anti—social behaviour has been issued by the government, following concerns that some councils are misusing the measures. critics say so—called public spaces protection 0rders have been used inapproriately to target groups such as rough
sleepers and dog—owners. andy moore reports. some charities working with the homeless say the new powers can be used indiscriminately against rough sleepers. others say so—called public spaces protection 0rders, which can cover large areas, are being used to target groups like buskers or dog walkers. but councils argue they are working with their communities to crack down on serious problems. the manifesto group campaigns against what they call the over—regulation of ordinary life. it says hundreds of these orders have been issued, making a wide range of activities a criminal offence. the group claims, for example, that as part of a crackdown on begging, blackpool wanted to ban loitering around cash machines and shop entrances. doncaster wanted to ban groups of three or more people causing nuisance or annoyance to people in the town centre. brighton wanted to stop anyone and sleeping in a car, caravan or tent in the town. fines of up to £100 can be issued for any breaches of these orders. the local government association says it will work constructively with the government to introduce the new guidelines. public spaces protection 0rders are used for the really serious end
of anti—social behaviour and councils don't choose to do this on their own. residents will come to us, businesses will come to us, and say there might be some aggressive begging, daytime drinking or even street racing. that is the sort of things that these orders are used for. the revised guidelines say councils must focus on specific problems rather than blanket bans of behaviour that are not in themselves anti—social. and they must make sure they consult the public before the regulations are introduced. andy moore, bbc news. plans to ditch the army's slogan, "be the best", have been halted by the new defence secretary, gavin williamson. earlier i talked to colonel richard kemp,
a former commander of british forces in afghanistan and first asked about his view about general sir nick carter's plan. i was a bit disappointed with this idea, because i can understand why the general wanted to do it, which was of course partly to do with tackling the army's horrendous recruitment crisis that it faces, but i think it is an error ofjudgment to suggest that the army is not elitist and that we should not aim to have the best. i mean, i know that is not really what he had in mind, but i think the slogan be the best typifies and exemplifies the army. the army should and needs to be the best, better than any of its enemies or potential enemies and it is a very appropriate slogan to have. do you really think the british people do see, because this was part of market research carried out, do people really see the army or that slogan as elitist? what is it about the army? well, the army is elitist and should be elitist, but i am pretty confident myself and i have met many people, particularly people thinking aboutjoining the army from all sorts of backgrounds including ethnic minorities, and not one has ever said to me he or she is put off by the fact there is a slogan that is be the best.
people want to join something that is the best, it is a great aspiration for people. would theyjoin something that suggest it is not the best? particularly an army, which suggests it could well be defeated and people could end up becoming casualties as a consequence. do you think it was the secretary's place to step in and intervene? well, i don't really understand quite what happened here and i think we have to be careful about what the spin actually says. i have no doubt that if a decision was taken it was in consultation between the defence secretary and the chief of the general staff. i would have thought it would have been better coming from the chief of the general staff, if he had decided to do it, that he should decide to withdraw it, but i don't know exactly what happened and i think we have to be careful of what is being spun here. do you think the army needs a face—lift? and if it was to have a rebrand, what would you do? i would not even think
about rebranding the army. the army doesn't need a brand, it is what it is. its capabilities speak for itself, its performance in northern ireland, in the balkans, in afghanistan, in iraq, soldiers today deployed in places like cyprus by my own regiment, the royal anglican regiment, and they are also of course still in afghanistan. the track record of the british army speaks for itself, and any message we should be delivering should be in that our enemies or potential enemies, and that message needs to be that we are a very strong army and we have political will behind us to use it if we need to, and that is what helps to deter and prevent wars. in terms of the message to our own population at home in terms of recruitment, what we need to do — we don't need to rebrand but we need to sort out the recruiting mechanism, which is broken. most people i speak to who want to join the army run up against brick wall called capita, which the army's recruiting agency, outsourced to capita, which needs to be sorted out. the government really needs to stop
hammering away at armed forces and eroding its strength. it is the reduction, the constant reduction in the capability of the armed forces, through defence cuts and deprivation of resources which, if anything, undermines confidence in the armed forces. i was looking through some of the chat boards of the british services, and in response to this particular story, what came across was despair, lack of morale, anger at low pay, conditions, they feel forgotten. one of the slogans put forward was "army, forgotten." it is really not a happy ship, and you have alluded to this slightly, but what should the top brass be doing instead of rebranding? i think the people who need to take action here are not so much the top brass but the politicians, the chancellor of the exchequer and the defence secretary and the prime minister, who need to start taking the army and the armed forces and the defence of this country more seriously.
they need to allocate it more resources. the army cannot be a happy ship, the armed forces cannot be a happy ship, without enough money or people to do thejob, and without enough equipment. that is the first thing that needs to be addressed, but another thing i think is problematic, and we are notjust talking about equipment but also the quality of life of soldiers. they are poorly paid and receive a bad remuneration package, they're having their quality of life constantly eroded by the forces been deprived of funds by the politicians. i know that the generals in the army working very hard to do as best they can with the resources they have got so it is a decision for the politicians. but the other problematic area i think is the extent to which british soldiers and other members of the forces, even going back to the 1970s, are being hounded through the courts, subjected to thousands of investigations and inquiries. you have old age pensioners now being dragged up in court in northern ireland for so—called
offences they were exonerated from decades ago. this sort of thing is what has to stop. it is not in the interests ofjustice but in the interests of a very undesirable political message. .in . infact . in fact her lawyer went into prison yesterday and said don't worry, i think this isjust prison yesterday and said don't worry, i think this is just politics and ignore what's happening in iranian media. i promise you in the next ten days, two weeks it could be over. there will be a judicial press conference in iran so we are watching everything and trying to keep level—headed. watching everything and trying to keep level-headed. which is of course difficult at this time of year. the last time we spoke, you said there are these competing high—powered elements in iran and each of them has a different take seemingly on the case. that's right, we are on the news a lot now, we are
political issue in the uk and iran and different people have different aspirations with making friends with the uk or preventing that and nazanin is still being used in these ways. so it's not clear if the comments from friday are just political sounding or if there's going to be some substance. so far there hasn't been any substance. she hasn't been home for christmas eve, but christmas day possible, boxing day. 0r but christmas day possible, boxing day. or it could be that we are in for a much longer haul. i'm still hoping and keeping fingers crossed. so to be clear, the news we got from the lawyer is that on the computer system marked for early release is still there. this has come from an
element within the judiciary. and not an insignificant element as well, so he's convinced the process is still moving forwards and some powerful factions are saying no it's not. 0nly last week the court case disappeared and was cancelled by the court, and now it's been revived. so it's really ha rd court, and now it's been revived. so it's really hard to know what's going on. i spoke to nazanin this morning and she wasn't in the best of moods. alexei navalny who's beenjailed in the past after persistent criticism of the president told supporters he would stand against mr putin. however, it's not yet certain if officials will let him run. sarah rainsford is following developments in moscow for us. in this huge tent on a river beach on the outskirts of moscow there are hundreds of people who have been queueing for some hours now to show their support for navalny, who wants
to be president of russia. he says russia needs to change and argues he's the man to do that. these people agree, they have been coming to sign up to nominate him as their official candidate. the problem is navalny says because of a criminal conviction which he says is politically motivated, he won't be allowed to register. i do not want to live in corruption country and i have hope only for this man, navalny. everyone is raising their red cards to show they support the nomination of navalny for president.
i say this without irony, this year we have seen putin does not have mass support anywhere. even with all the constant lies on television, there is no support. just melancholy and emptiness. navalny has to bring signatures here and if they reject his candidacy he says he's determined to go on fighting. his soft about a boycott of the election, about protests and a strike. he wants to prove he is a viable alternative to vladimir putin and what happens here over the next few days will be the first real test that. pilgrims are gathering in the west bank town of bethlehem, ahead the traditional christmas midnight mass. palestinian scouts have been playing
drums and bagpipes outside the church of the nativity in manger square, which is thought to be the place where jesus christ was born. the numbers of people there appear to be lower than in recent years, which local officials say is due to the tensions which flared up after president trump decided to recognise jerusalem as the capital of israel. in a town famous for a miraculous birth, bethlehem is praying for a new miracle — the appearance of tourists. the fragile peace in this holy place has been shaken by president trump's announcement earlier this month that america would officially recognise jerusalem as the capital of israel. the threat of violence immediately affected businesses in bethlehem, like the 5—starjacir palace hotel, where there are now plenty of rooms at the inn. they had up to the square where speeches are given, dignitaries meet before midnight mass takes place on christmas eve. the crowds have turned out in their hundreds for the day but numbers are much lighter than in previous years and that's
because tourism has taken a serious dent here because of fears over clashes that have taken place in the last few weeks in the occupied west bank ever since donald trump announced the us have officially recognised jerusalem as the capital of israel. and all of this whilst there is a diplomatic stand—off between the palestinians and the us. the palestinian president mahmoud abbas will be talking about the fact he won't accept any new us peace proposals. meanwhile the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has held his cabinet and says all of thatis has held his cabinet and says all of that is assigned the palestinians are not prepared to solve the conflict. injapan, they have an entirely different way of bringing in the new year. rylee carlson explains. it's a new year's ritual in osaka, japan. filing into this shrine
looking for a fresh start. here they follow the chief priest. and then, on his cue... priest: ha, ha, ha! crowd: ha, ha, ha! this is a laughing ceremony to forget the bad they have experienced throughout the year. translation: i laughed all the bad things away. i hope next year will be filled with laughter. the ritual is based on a japanese myth that says laughter opens the cave of the sun goddess. the priests keep them going for about 20 minutes. it spreads throughout the temple. laughter is contagious, as they say. and here injapan, so is the hope of a happy new year. rylee carlson, bbc news. now it's time for meet the author. vera stanhope rides again. the seagulll is the eighth book by ann cleeves featuring her slightly scruffy,
determined but very warm detective inspector, who's drawn into a mystery touching rather uncomfortably on the story of her own father and his dodgy friends on tyneside. it's been an immensely successful series from a writer who's been high in the league table of british crime writers for many years. her other detective inspector, jimmy perez, for example, having become a favourite tv cop in shetland. welcome. when you get a character — invent a character — that you really like, like vera stanhope, you like to stick with them, don't you? i do, and i think that's one of the joys of writing crime fiction. there are very few other genres where you can follow a character through a number of books. there's some literary fiction,
but crime, its expected that we're going to write a series, and it's great to be able to develop a character that grows. that's an interesting phrase — "it's expected". you know that you're writing not for a specific audience, but for a general audience that likes this kind of story. you must feel that you now know them quite well? yes, because i go out and meet them. i love doing library events and book shop events and meeting readers. and i'm a reader, i'm a fan as well. i read crime fiction, so i love that sense of getting to know a character very well, and watching him grow or her grow. i think crime writers as a breed are like that, aren't they? i mean, they all read each other‘s work... yeah. ..even though maybe they don't like to admit it? yeah, i think we're a very jolly bunch. we're so used to people looking down their noses at us, because we're genre fiction, that we come together and we fight back. those days have gone, haven't they?
imean... i think there's still a little bit of that. you think there's a wee bit of snobbishness about? yeah, still a bit of that. but you all enjoy paddling around in gore, and all these dark deeds, and actually you're like sort of, i don't know, anybody who works in a kind of profession or trade, where they're facing death all the time, they're actually quite full of fun and stories. yeah, i think so. i'm not really into the gore. i'm more into using that as a framework to develop characters and to look at the things that really interest me, so... well, we don't want to talk about the plot in great detail, because obviously that would spoil it for people who haven't read the book yet. but we can say that vera stanhope, your detective inspector in this series, the eighth book in the series, is taken, by chance — she doesn't really expect it — into her own past, and this rather dodgy ne'er—do—well father of hers, who had been sort of slightly grand, but then shall we say, fell into bad company? yeah. it's classic fictional material, isn't it? i think it is, and i love that idea of looking at the relationship
between the daughter and the father, and that theme, i think, goes through the book — there are other daughters and other fathers. and she is a character who is, you know, a bit scruffy and very determined and sometimes quite rough with people. but the essential thing, it strikes me about her, is her fundamental warmth. i mean, she's a good person? 0h, she is a good person — in the tradition of classic crime, i think. that the detectives are flawed, they appear brusque, but they are good, because at the end, i think that's why, especially now in times of trouble and uncertainty, people are going back to classic crime, because there is at the end a sense of order restored, of good triumphing — and we need that sense at a time of confusion, that things will be well. well, that's good that you define, or interesting, that you define classic crime as order being restored. somehow, you know, people may not all be happy, but at least the fundamentals have been revealed to be still there. yeah.
so, there's a reassurance involved. i think so, and i think that's why it's so popular at the minute, why the british library crime classics are doing amazingly, the between—the—wars books, that are selling fanta... yes. because people like that sense of, as i say, in a time of confusion, that in the end, justice prevails. and we know where we are. we know where we are, and we know the difference between good and evil, and even if there are ambiguities in all the characters, and confusions, which there have to be, otherwise it's a pretty boring story, we find at the end with a sigh, that it's ok — somebody may have come to a sticky end, a good person may have been brought down, but something remains. yes, and the end of the seagull is quite ambiguous, and you're not quite sure that the killer has been unmasked, but there is that sense ofjustice prevailing, i think. it's quite good, at the same time, isn't it, to have people wondering about the alternative explanations
to an ending — to say, "ok, order has been restored, but i wonder how it happened?" yeah. no, i think that's... because you want the book to live on after the reader's finished it. that's interesting, yes. because everybody sees the book in a different way, that's why book clubs are so interesting, as you know. yes. people have different ideas, they see different pictures in their heads when they read. you have a way of creating an atmosphere, and i'm thinking, for example, of the shetland books, which, of course, made it to the small screen very, very successfully. and what was it about that atmosphere, there, the bleakness and bareness of shetland — which is very beautiful as well — that gave you the spark? i suppose i first went there a0... more than a0 years ago, because i dropped out of university and just by chance i got the job
working in the bird observatory in fair isle. and since then, i've been going back, but i haven't really been there in midwinter. i went in midwinter and there was snow, and it is very bare, because there are no trees, really, in shetland. no trees. and so it's that contrast, i think, between the... you can see for miles, but then the contrast between that and any possible secrets. and the warmth of the domestic scenes within the croft houses, that attracted me first. yes, the fact that even on a bare landscape, all kinds of things can be concealed. yes. you've also got the feeling in shetland of stepping away from the world, haven't you? i'm not saying that pejoratively about what goes on in shetland. but it is distant. it is. it is the edge of our known universe in the uk. it's 14 hours by boat from aberdeen, so it's a long way. and it does feel separate, and it feels... and they're very self—reliant, shetlanders, so they do things their own way. do you write, you know, in a continuous stream, really, or are their big gaps? i alternate between...
i wouldn't just want to write vera, because... no. at the end, i've had enough and i want to go off and try something new. you want a break. yes, so i've been alternating with shetland. so, i've just finished the very last shetland book, just now, so... the very last, the end of the series. the end of the series. did you come to the end just because you thought, well, that it, time to close the covers on this, it's done, i am not going to keep it, give it artificial resuscitation? i'd said all that i can about the place, and about the characters that i'd created, i think. yes. and i don't want to be bored by them — and i certainly don't want the readers to be bored by them. so, better end while i'm still enjoying it. do you find writing, which you've been doing for a long time, very successfully, and with great dedication, do you find it a kind of therapy as well? oh, it's an escape, isn't it? we lose ourselves in a different world when we're writing, just as when we're reading. so, certainly it's an escape. but you need to be there living as well, otherwise you run out of things to write about, so it's a good balance.
but when you're in full flow in a story, and it's working, the rest of the world doesn't exist? no, there's nothing like it. it's an amazing feeling. ann cleeves, author of the seagulll, thank you very much. thank you. storm in the philippines. rescue teams say they are struggling to reach some of the areas affected. more than 200 people are dead and dozens are missing. north korea condemns the latest round of un sanctions, and vows to strengthen its nuclear deterrent. round of un sanctions, and vows "be the best" — plans to scrap the army's slogan and crest for being too elitist have been ditched. and england's cricketers prepare to face australia in the fourth test. prepare to face australia can they avoid a whitewash? prepare to face australia good evening.
tens of thousands of people have been left homeless after a tropical storm in the philippines that left more than 200 dead and dozens missing. left more than 200 dead authorities are trying to provide food and shelter to those who've been displaced, with rescue teams struggling to reach some of the affected areas. with rescue teams struggling our world affairs correspondent richard galpin reports. at richard galpin reports. last, some aid now getting those at last, some aid now getting to those most in need, after this latest storm to hit the philippines begins to subside. troops helping deliver supplies here in the southern region of mindanao, which lay right in the path of the storm. reaching these impoverished areas
has not been easy. they were hit by a landslide, landslides, caused by an inordinate amount of rainfall that caused the ground to move and killed people innocently. it swept people out of their homes and killed many others as well. the speed with which the rivers were turned into lethal torrents over the weekend court people here by surprise. many drowning in their own homes, others buried under mudslides, including children. the call for people to evacuate in good time before the storm didn't have an effect. the storm didn't have an effect. the storm passed over some of the poorest areas in the whole philippines. at least 200 people are known to have died. large numbers are still missing, and tens of
thousands have been forced to move away, in search of emergency shelter. in rome today, pope francis offered prayers for the people of mindanao in his weekly blessing to the crowd on st peter's square. translation: merciful lord, take in the souls of the dead and comfort those who are suffering as a result of this calamity. let's pray for these people. at least tropical storm tembin has now been moving away from the philippines. it's currently over the south china sea, where it's picking up strength again and has been categorised as a typhoon. it's expected to the non—later this week. meanwhile, the people of the southern philippines continue the search for loved ones. —— it's continue the search for loved ones. —— its expected to hit vietnam later this week. they will be hoping for much more help to reach them in the coming days. to add to the philippines' woes, at least 37 people have died
in a fire at a shopping mall in the southern city of davao. firefighters battled for hours to extinguish the blaze that started on the third floor and spread to the floor above, trapping call centre employees. to the floor above, the city's vice—mayor says the chance of any survivors is "zero". says the chance of any north korea has described the latest united nations sanctions as an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade. the un security council imposed the measures — drafted by the us — on friday, in response to pyongyang's ballistic missile tests. on friday, in response to north korea has vowed to strengthen its nuclear deterrent to frustrate america. to strengthen its nuclear deterrent sophie long sent this report from the south korean capital, seoul. north korean state television broadcast the first reaction to the sanctions. broadcast the first it described the un resolution as an act of war that violates peace and stability on the korean peninsula. please raise their hand. on the korean peninsula. pyongyang promised to punish those that voted for the us—drafted resolution. those that voted for that includes china,
north korea's main ally and trading partner. north korea's main ally beijing urged restraint on all sides. it's previously called for an end to joint us—south korean military drills, like this one, in exchange for a halt to north korea's weapons programme. a so—called freeze for freeze. weapons programme. there is little hope either side will agree to that. instead, the toughest sanctions yet. side will agree to that. the americans had wanted to go further, but they were pleased with the support they got. further, but they were pleased i am grateful to my colleagues for the serious measures we have enacted on behalf of the north korean people, and i ask you keep them in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season, as we continue to fight against this, the most tragic example of evil in the modern world. the new sanctions include a ban on the import of nearly 90% of oil supplies to north korea, vital to its missile and nuclear programmes. vital to its missile they demand the deportation of north koreans working abroad, to stop them funding the regime. of north koreans working abroad, there will also be a ban on exports
of some north korean goods. the sanctions come in response to this. pyongyang's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile at the end of november. an intercontinental ballistic one, it said, could reach the us mainland. the resolution is intended to push pyongyang to the negotiating table and towards a diplomatic solution. pyongyang to the negotiating table but instead, it's vowed to strengthen its nuclear capability, and it's got form. to strengthen its nuclear this is the third set of un sanctions to be imposed on north korea this year. sanctions to be imposed within weeks of the previous two rounds, it carried out its biggest nuclear test and fired its most powerful missile. today's response shows little sign it is willing to stop now. sophie long, bbc news, seoul. it is willing to stop now. police are appealing for witnesses after two men died and several people were injured in a crash on the mao involving a number of vehicles. in a crash on the mao involving emergency services were called
to the scene just before midnight on the northbound stretch of the motorway in 0xfordshire. the motorway has since reopened. of the motorway in 0xfordshire. london zoo's reopened after yesterday's fire, in which number of staff were injured and a number of animals died. were injured and a number the cause of the blaze, which broke out in the children's section of the zoo, remains unclear. which broke out in the children's the husband of the jailed british—iranian woman, nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, says he thinks it's "very likely" she will be released within a fortnight. mrs zaghari—ratcliffe has spent more than 600 days in detention in tehran on spying charges, which she denies. plans to ditch the army's slogan — "be the best" — have been stopped by the new defence secretary, gavin williamson. half a million pounds had been spent on a rebranding exercise that would have got rid of the slogan, because it was felt to be elitist. andy moore reports. because it was felt to be elitist. the army spent more than £500,000 on market research and found that a well—known slogan at the heart of
army recruiting for more than two decades. the army spent more than £500,000 on market research and found that message wasn't getting through to many in its target audience. through to many in it's not clear when the new defence secretary, gavin williamson, saw these plans for a rebrand, but he clearly didn't like them. the research reportedly showed that the "be the best" slogan was dated, elitist and non—inclusive. these plans for a rebrand were well advanced at a senior level here at the ministry of defence, then there was a sudden about turn. a statement was issued last night, saying the defence secretary believes the british army is the best of the best, and these proposals have been put on hold. is the best of the best, and these colonel richard kemp was the commander of british troops in afghanistan. was the commander of british he says a lot can be improved in the recruitment process but there is nothing wrong with the slogan. if the army is not an elite, it is hardly likely to defeat our enemies. it is hardly likely if it is not better than our enemies, all of our enemies, then again it is not going to win, it is not going to win in the war. it has to be the best. it is not going to win in the war.
young people who are thinking aboutjoining, they want to join the best, they don't want to join anything that is second rate. they don't want to join anything this rebranding exercise was said to have the support of the army's most senior officer, but now his authority has been publicly undermined by the defence secretary. whatever the argument on tactics, the crisis in recruiting remains. every year for seven years now, more soldiers have left the army than signed up. more soldiers have left andy moore, bbc news. more soldiers have left opponents of president putin have held a series of mass rallies in cities across russia. held a series of mass rallies it held a series of mass rallies is in support of asian 1 to it is in support of asian candidate to challenge him in elections next year. —— in support of a candidate. the opposition politician alexei navalny, who's beenjailed in the past for criticising the president, told supporters he will stand against mr putin. the president, told supporters but it's not yet certain if officials will let him run as he is officially disqualified. if officials will let him run he is warning that he'll call for the election to be boycotted if he can't run. for the election to be pilgrims are arriving in bethlehem ahead of midnight mass this evening. but this year's celebrations take place amid rising
tensions in the region, following the us decision to recognisejerusalem as israel's capital earlier this month. from bethlehem, our religious affairs editor martin bashir reports. religious affairs editor in a town famous for a miraculous birth, bethlehem is praying for a new miracle, the appearance of tourists. the fragile peace in this holy place has been shaken by president trump's announcement earlier this month that america would officially recognise jerusalem as the capital of israel. america would officially recognise the threat of violence immediately affected businesses in bethlehem, like the five—starjacir palace hotel, where there are now plenty of rooms at the inn. every year, we are fully booked at christmas and new year. this year, we had before, it was overbooking, but when the uprising started, everything cancelled. and is this because of what donald trump said? of course, of course, because the uprising...
what he said, the uprising started, we lose everything. and it's notjust tourists who are looking elsewhere. jalal al shayeb is a successful body—builder and palestinian christian. successful body—builder while he'll celebrate christmas here, he sees no future for himself in bethlehem. here, he sees no future it's very hard to live here. here, he sees no future we have many crises, you know? here, he sees no future the future is not here, because there are many problems around us, many borders you can see. because there are many problems i can't go, i can't do many things, you know? that's why. many things, you know? this is a big problem, you know? many things, you know? it is in this place, where borders and walls fortify a sense of identity and religious separation, that the christian church is seeking to spread its message of peace and goodwill at christmas. its message of peace leaders of all the main denominations came together in an attempt to change
the narrative from discord to peace. being a palestinian christian, growing up with this message that the angel sang here in bethlehem 2,000 years ago, "glory to god in the highest, peace on earth" — this is our message. in the highest, peace on earth" — what we celebrate is actually peace. in the highest, peace on earth" — that was clearly demonstrated in the little babyjesus. in the church of the nativity, where christians believe that christ was born, the light shines in the darkness, and they are praying that, for the next 2a hours at least, the darkness does not overcome it. for the next 2a hours at least, martin bashir, bbc news, bethlehem. for the next 2a hours at least, cricket, and england are preparing for the fourth ashes test, which starts tomorrow in melbourne. for the fourth ashes test, england, already 3—0 down in the series, will want to do everything they can to avoid a whitewash. patrick gearey has been examining their prospects.
melbourne is a city which reaches for the skies. there are more tall buildings here than in london or in beijing — a reminder to england of their now impossible climb. 3—0 down, the ashes gone, surrounded by criticism and jibes from the aussies, now england have to come here. and in this place, it's very easy to feel lost. it's happened before. very easy to feel lost. the last england test team to come to the mcg were 3—0 down and ended up losing the series 5—0. to the mcg were 3—0 down and ended so how are this side any different? to the mcg were 3—0 down and ended the morale in the group is still really high, and, you know, no—one's... is still really high, and, there's no bickering. is still really high, and, there's no, you know, separation within the group. it's good that we've all stuck together. you know, i wasn't here on that previous ashes tour but, by all accounts, there was differences within the camp back then. was differences within and, yeah, it definitely doesn't feel like that here. everyone's working hard to try and win this test match. if there's hope, maybe it's in a damaged heel belonging to mitchell starc, the top wicket taker in the series.
he'll miss the test, to be replaced byjackson bird. some in the england camp have claimed australia's bowling back—ups aren't up to the standard of the front line. in response, starc can't bowl actual bouncers, but here's a verbal one. bowl actual bouncers, it's quite humorous, actually. bowl actual bouncers, erm, they haven't taken 20 wickets yet in the series so... erm, and we have, and then they're having a crack at our depth. so, i think they've got bigger things to worry about than the depth of australian fast bowlers. things to worry about than the depth so, erm, as i said, hopefully jacko takes five. he still bowls quick enough. hopefully jacko takes five. i'm pretty sure he still bowls quicker than the pom bowlers as well, so... quicker than the pom laughter. quicker than the pom maybe in adversity, england will find their true character, but australia is planning to celebrate and humiliate. and around here, one thing preoccupies them more than anything. patrick gearey, bbc news, in melbourne. there's more throughout the evening on the bbc news channel. we're back with the late news at 10:15pm. now on bbc one, it's time for the news where you are. we
for the news where you are. will started with rugb' saracens are up to second in the english premiership after they won 29—17 at leicester. saracens, who began the day fourth in the table, took the early initiative and led i7—nil after this jamie george try was converted. leicester fought back in front of a crowd of more than 23,000 at welford road — mathew tait's try helped reduce the deficit to seven points at half time. but the visitors pulled away after the break, thanks to the boot of england fly—half owen farrell. 29—17 it finished to saracens, with farrell having kicked 19 points. serena williams is set for a busy christmas — she's expected to make a return to competitve action on saturday at an exhibition match in abu dhabi, four months after giving birth. the 23 times grand slam champion will play the french open winnerjelena ostapenko, as part of her preparation to defend her australian open title.
the last time she played was in melbourne last january, when she won the title while eight weeks pregnant. sheffield wednesday and middlesbrough are both looking for new managers after the two teams met at hillsbrough yesterday. wednesday confirmed that carlos carval—ee—al has left carlos carvalho has left