this is bbc news. i'm gavin grey. our top stories: pope francis pleads for migrants during christmas eve mass at the vatican. translation: so many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps ofjoseph and mary. we see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. an suicide bomber explosion rocks kabul close to the afghan intelligence agency office. the plight of the seven sick children waiting to hear if they'll be evacuated from syria. the king of spain renews his call for unity amid the ongoing fallout from catalonia's independence referendum. and from trump taking christmas calls to waterskiing santas, we look at how celebrations are shaping up around the world. hello and welcome to the programme.
pope francis has urged the world's roman catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants who have been forced to flee because of violence. at christmas eve mass in saint peter's basilica, the pontiff drew comparisons with the biblical story of mary and joseph, who found no place to stay in bethlehem when mary was about to give birth tojesus. pope francis said respect for migrants was an integral part of christianity. virginia langeberg reports. in vatican city, the faithful began gathering long before midnight in saint peter's square. beneath a giant christmas tree, a scene to reflect the birth of jesus. while inside the basilica began
the annual ceremony, steeped in catholic tradition. this, the fifth christmas eve mass to be held by pope francis. with 1.2 million roman catholic followers around the world, the pontiff used his speech to highlight the plight of migrants, telling his followers the story of mary and joseph, and the trials they were forced to endure on theirjourney to bethlehem. his holiness urged compassion to those who've also fled their homes. translation: we see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. we see the tracks of millions of people who do not choose to go away, but driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones. in many cases, this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future. yet for many others,
this departure can only have one name — survival. outside of the cathedral, amongst the splendour of saint peter's square, there was hope that pope francis‘ speech would bring people together. i hope that the people will be more forgiving towards one another, whatever their religion is. more accepting...so that we will all live in harmony. i think that the pope signifies a lot of hope for a lot of people, and he has the power to bring a lot of people together. later on christmas day, the pope will be back on the balcony of saint peter's basilica to deliver the traditional blessing to the city and the world. at the church of the nativity in bethlehem, midnight mass took place against a backdrop of heightened security.
fewer pilgrims than usual are reported in the city because of increased tensions between the palestinians and israel following president trump's decision to recognise jerusalem as the capital of israel. from bethlehem, our religion editor, martin bashir. the church of the nativity behind me is packed full with no spaces in any of the pews for midnight mass. the reality is that tourist numbers are substantially down on previous years, and that's principally because of donald trump's decision to officially recognisejerusalem as the capital of israel on december 6. as you know, that decision provoked clashes between palestinians and israeli forces and as a result of that, many people, fearful of violence, have decided to stay away. i visited several hotels, which at this time of year are normally oversubscribed at this time of year, whose doors are now closed and they are not open at all. there are no occupants
in the hotels. most of the small traders around the square speak about something like a 50% reduction in trade. so it is a subdued atmosphere here in bethlehem on christmas eve. the president of guatemala, jimmy morales, has said he plans to move his country's embassy in israel tojerusalem. guatemala was one of only seven countries that voted with the united states and israel against a united nations resolution calling on the us to reverse its recognition ofjerusalem as the capital of israel. he is serving a 25 year press —— sentence. the 79—year—old former president was rushed to hospital following heart problems on saturday. tunisia has banned emirates airline from landing in the capital tunis. the move comes two days after the uae banned tunisian women from flying to or transiting
through its territory. the uae says this was due to security information without providing more detail. the first of a group of 80 venezuelan opposition activists have been released from prison in what's been called a gesture of christmas goodwill. the government says all of those jailed had plotted to overthrow president nicolas maduro. among the 36 so far released was alfredo ramos, a former provincial mayor. an update now on breaking news from afghanistan. an explosion in kabul has hit an area close to the country's national intelligence agency. these pictures are just in. officials say at least six people were killed in the blast, which was caused by a suicide attacker on foot, who detonated his explosives. the attack happened in the morning rush hour. no group has yet said it carried out the bombing.
an international medical charity is waiting to hear the fate of seven children in urgent need of cancer treatment who are trapped in a rebel—held neighbourhood close to the syrian capital, damascus. the syrian president, bashar al—assad, is said to be considering an appeal to evacuate the youngsters. the children are among more than 130 needing urgent medical treatment in eastern ghouta. olivia crellin reports, there are some distressing images from the start. at only two months old, baby karim has become a symbol of the suffering of the 400,000 people trapped in eastern ghouta. karim lost an eye and suffered severe injuries in a reported government attack. his picture has inspired renewed focus on the plight of those trapped in the suburb of damascus, which is entering its fourth year, its fourth christmas under siege. the harrowing image of the maimed baby has spawned a social media
awareness campaign with many, including the uk's ambassador to the un, matthew rycroft, and the syrian white helmets posting photos of themselves with a hand over their left eye. but in spite of the terrible images coming out of eastern ghouta, un efforts to arrange medical evacuations have so far failed. last month, nine people with urgent medical needs died there after requests to evacuate them were denied. nearly i2% of children in eastern ghouta are suffering from acute malnutrition — the highest level recorded in syria since the war began. un humanitarian coordinator jan egeland said the situation was desperate. the most innocent in this bitter conflict are suffering the most, are dying, not because there was not relief, not because there was not people willing to go
there even in great danger, but because they were part of a power play between mostly well—fed men with power and with guns. now, british charity the union of medical care and relief organizations hopes that a phone call to the office of president bashar al—assad could save seven children with curable cancer, but without the medicine to treat it. if we can save these seven children, maybe we may also able to get out the other 125 children in ghouta who, we understand, are desperately in need of sophisticated medical support, which they cannot get in ghouta. it is a big maybe, though. even if the charity is successful, there is no guarantee that the other sick children, including karim, could be helped too. the king of spain has called for unity and mutual respect
following the catalonia parliamentary election in which separatist parties won a small majority. in a conciliatory christmas message, king felipe vi urged the catalan people to choose coexistence, rather than confrontation over the issue of independence. translation: a few days ago, the citizens of catalonia voted for their representatives in parliament. and now, they must face all the problems that catalonia feels, they must think of the good of everybody. the road cannot take them back to confrontation or exclusion. as we know, that only generates discord, uncertainty and moral impoverishment, as well as civic and of course financial as well, for the whole society. queen elizabeth will pay tribute to the people of manchester
and london for the way in which they dealt with the terror attacks earlier this. in her christmas day broadcast to the uk and the commonwelth, she will also praise the duke of edinburgh who has retired from solo public duties. here's our royal correspondent nicholas witchell. the queen recorded this year's broadcast a few days ago. its main theme is the importance of home, a play she describes as a source of warmth and love. looking back over the events of 2017, she praises the cities of london and manchester will stop the queen visited victims of the bombing in manchester arena which 22 people died as they left the concert. in her broadcast, she talked about the powerful identities of manchester and london, which she says had shone through in the face of appalling attacks. on the table beside her in the broadcast alongside pictures of prince george and princess charlotte are two photographs of her and her husband,
one of which was taken on their wedding date in 19117. this the they have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and the duke of edinburgh retired from his separate programme of public engagements. in the broadcast, she praises her husband for his support and his unique sense of humour. the most experienced. the queen was absent from last year's christmas day church service due to a heavy cold. but is expected to be a full turnout of the family church this morning. among the group will be prince harry and his fiancee. they are both spending christmas on the sandringham next —— estate. it will be the first of someone who is yet to marry into the royal family will have joined to marry into the royal family will havejoined their to marry into the royal family will have joined their christmas celebrations. the presents are a riot gusher of the —— reminder of their presence in 2018. the the deadly tropical storm to have cit the through the south cut through the south
of the philippines on saturday is now headed to southern vietnam — where is it expected to make landfall later today. anywhere from da nang southwards can see 300—500mm of rain. in the philippines, storm tembin killed 230 people in mudslides and flash floods and left at least 70,000 people displaced. it is now moving towards the west. you can see the storm sitting here in the south china sea. it has been strengthening. before it makes landfall, it is likely to weaken a little bit, just making landfall around the far south. at a large area is going to see heavy rain, damaging wind but also big waves along the coast. coastal flooding will be a problem. we could see landslides occurring as well. the stall looks like it will continue to wea ken stall looks like it will continue to weaken a little bit. heavy bursts of
rain and some strong winds are likely. although the storm will be weakening a touch, it is quite slow—moving and will have further impacts, making landfall during monday, could bring more than 300 millimetres of rain. budding and landslides likely as well as gusts around 130, and is now. —— kilometres an hour. stay with us on bbc news. still to come — we meet the "trash designers" turning rubbish into useful works of art. we saw this enormous tidal wave approaching the beach, and people started to run, and suddenly it was complete chaos. the united states troops have been trying to overthrow the dictatorship of general manuel noriega. the pentagon said the operation had been 90% successful but it's failed in its principal objective — to capture general noriega and take him to the us to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle was hastily taken away. the russian flag was hoisted over what is now no longer the soviet union,
but the commonwealth of independent states. day breaks slowly over lockerbie, over the cockpit of pan am's maid of the seas, nosedown in the soft earth. you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys high, a football pitch wide, falls from 30,000 feet. christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkroda where there were anti—communist riots ten days ago. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: pope francis has urged the world's roman catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants forced to leave their own land because of violence. afg ha n afghan officials say six people were killed when a suicide bomber blew
himself up close to the national directorate for security. christians in mosul are celebrating their first christmas since the city was taken by islamic state militants in 2014. is persecuted and drove out christians, while many others of all faiths who stayed were brutally oppressed. iraqi forces retook the city injuly this year. more than ten thousand civilians are thought to have been killed in the battle to retake mosul. alan johnston reports. they gathered in mosul‘s cathedral, marking a christmas they will never forget — the first christmas after the war. under the rule of the islamic state militants, this would have been impossible. there could be no christian worship in public. the community was persecuted, and many fled. this was a coming together not just of christians. muslims helped prepare the church for this special service, and they were here, too, as the worship unfolded. mosul was the scene of months
of ferocious street fighting. iraqi forces and their western allies battled to drive out the militants. thousands of civilians were killed, and much damage was done. now, the healing must begin, and the christmas service was a small part of that vast process. translation: without peace, there is no life. our message is that after everything that happened, with our glorious victory against islamic state and others, we must all call for peace. among those in the church, the message was being heard. translation: we are from the muslim community and today, we share this glorious celebration with our christian brothers
in the province of nineveh and the city of mosul. we share theirjoy today, and hope our brothers outside of iraq from the christian community will return to mosul, because we are brothers and we are united. beneath the cross on the cathedral this christmas eve, there was some of the best of the spirit of this time of year. and nowhere needs it more than mosul. you've heard of recycling, but these days the new buzzword is upcycling — transforming rubbish into objects of desire. a non—profit workshop in austria, supported by the city government, is working with the long—term unemployed to make furniture, ornaments and jewellery out of old household appliances. bethany bell reports from the dismantling and recycling centre in vienna. it is beautiful, but it is actually
all made from rubbish. the process sta rts all made from rubbish. the process starts here at this workshop. workers remove hazardous substances old computers and appliances. the leftovers are sent either for recycling or upstairs to the trash design team. what we do is we collect specific kinds of garbage, electric and electronic cool equipment, we make designed objects and jewellery and we offer the old garbage and opportunity to be reused 01’ garbage and opportunity to be reused or to the garbage and opportunity to be reused orto the up garbage and opportunity to be reused or to the up cycle. they turn vinyl records into clocks and dead keyboards into rings. the glass from washing machine doors becomes sandblasted bowls, complete with patterns. and it is notjust about transforming trash. lives are changed here as well. many of the
people who work here are the long—term unemployed. suzanne says she has been given a new chance. translation: it is cool. ifind it really super. you make something new out of old stuff that it hurts me when i have to cut up these old records. i recently had an old aber album and then i thought, no! and thenit album and then i thought, no! and then it became a notebook. that is then it became a notebook. that is the way it goes. famous christmas markets are also getting in on the act. trash design is on offer alongside gingerbread and mulled wine. you workshop has its own stalls where products are on sale, often for pretty prices. these items have come a long way from the city's rubbish dumps to the magnificent surroundings of one of austria's old royal palaces. when it comes to christmas presents this year, the designers are hoping that it will be
up designers are hoping that it will be up cycling all the way. around 200 skiers are being rescued in the french alps after a ski lift broke down. they spend it nine hours trapped inside the gondola after being whinged to safety. no—one was injured during the incident. oysters are an acquired taste for many, but one farmer in france is hoping to change that, patenting pre—flavoured varieties. the unconventional technique is splitting opinions and tastebuds, in the french oyster capital of marennes. georgina smyth reports. when it comes to flavour for this farmer, the oyster is his oyster. after getting the idea from customers, joffrey dubault created a special process of adding a twist to his products by putting oysters in a tank of sea water laced with extracts like lemon, muscat, or ginger. translation: they filter it naturally. it's a flavour that has been designed for the oyster so as not to kill it or disturb it, so it naturally feels just like the water in which it
would normally live, in the sea or in a tank. the 16—step process was perfected by trial and error, but the risk has paid off. translation: yes, it is great. you really taste the oyster. it doesn't mask the flavour. it's good! still thinking outside the shell, there are plans to add grapefruit, plum, and truffle to the menu in the future. translation: i tasted them and i don't like all of them. i like raspberry and muscat. with shallot, you really expect it to taste vinegar with a shallot, and you reallyjust have the shallot taste, so it's pretty surprising. the oysters are gaining popularity across the world with boxes being packaged for as far as hong kong. but the oyster connoisseur concedes local seafood purists are harder to sway. translation: the french are used to eating normal oysters, they have been doing it for decades and it is hard to change consumer habits that have been around
for years, but we are trying. the award—winning molluscs have proved popular at trade fairs in belgium, and french customers curious to try the niche oysters will soon be able to buy them at major supermarkets. in case you haven't noticed it is — or at least will be very shortly — christmas. all around the world people will be spending time with family and friends. and the festive celebrations can take many different forms for many different people as the bbc‘s tim allman explains. we all know donald trump likes twitter. but for his first christmas as president, he tore himself away from social media to use a telephone instead. he and the first lady taking calls from children, wondering what they want from santa. oh, that's good, building blocks — that's what i always like, too. as for mr trump, he said america now had prosperity, so he wanted peace.
the north american aerospace defense command, or norad, has been tracking father christmas' progress for over 60 years. you might ask, if you were a bit of a spoilsport, is this a good use of taxpayer's money. norad seems to think it is. and even if it's kind of a little rough, it is santa, so he can move on out and he can make sure that all the boys and girls that have been so amazing this year will get their gifts, and as long as they're in bed after 9:00 and before midnight, i think they'll be good to go. before setting off, he decided to do a spot of waterskiing in us state of virginia, as you do. some seemed impressed, others perhaps less so. man: so santa claus is a busy man, i guess. very, very busy. and somehow, he managed to come down here — i don't know how. when you think christmas, you invariably think radishes. well, they do here in the mexican state of oaxaca. for more than a century,
they have held this festival where artists sculpt, well, radishes. whoever thought of it i think must have had an incredible fantastic vision to create such imaginative, beautiful, creative, artistic, beautiful... in central romania, they welcome christmas with a light show, the ski slopes illuminated by torches. these are just a few of the countless ways to celebrate this festive time. those radishes looked quite impressive. this is bbc news. plenty more on our website. stay with us, the outlines are coming up. —— of the outlines are coming up. —— of the headlines are coming up
hello there. the forecast through the christmas period is looking a little bit mixed. for some of us, it's going to be a decent day for sitting in front of the fire and eating lots of chocolates. for others, it is staying drier and brighter. this is christmas eve in leicestershire. beautiful scenes there. and, as we head through christmas day, things are looking quite mild, quite breezy, and there is some rain on the cards. not all of us are going to be seeing it. but there's a weather front on christmas day bringing some rain across northern ireland, northern england, southern scotland too. further south across england and wales, just a few spots of drizzle, but actually, many places dry if somewhat windy. we've got these strong south—westerly winds blowing, and that area of rain will work into western parts of wales and the south—west of england later on in the afternoon. but, before it gets there, central and eastern england seeing a good deal of dry, cloudy, mild weather. one or two light showers, but also some brighter spells breaking through that cloud, too. further north, more rain into the north—west of england, northern ireland, southern scotland too. and you'll notice the white colours, indicating perhaps a little bit of sleet or snow on top
of the highest ground. turning colder, though, from the north of scotland, and that's a sign of things to come later on through the christmas break. christmas day evening, that band of rain gets going, strengthening. so heavy rain and really squally winds moving eastwards across all of the country, followed by clearer skies, with a cold northerly breeze and some wintry showers. potentially a bit of sleet and snow over the higher ground of southern scotland, and the pennines too. could be some icy stretches around first thing boxing day. if you've got travel plans, do take note. and also some frost around, too. but then some sunshine developing quite widely during boxing day. still, some wintry sleet and snow showers across parts of scotland. and then more wet and windy weather works into the south—west of england later on in the afternoon. temperatures around 4—8 degrees, so feeling significantly cooler than it has done of late. into boxing day evening, this rain starts to push eastwards across southern parts of england, and wales too, bringing a spell of very heavy rain and also some strong winds. there's the potential as it meets that colder air that we can see a bit of sleet and snow on the northern edge of this low pressure system.
mainly it will be falling as rain as it works its way gradually eastwards. so wednesday we'll start off with that rain, and perhaps a bit of wintriness. that clears away from the south—east, and then many places having a largely dry day, sunny spells, one or two showers. cooler, though, with temperatures around 2—6 degrees. have a happy christmas. this is bbc news. the headlines: in the past hour, it's been reported that three people have been killed and one injured in kabul when a suicide attacker detonated explosives devices in the shashdarak area of district 9. the injured have been taken to the kabul hospitals. pope francis has urged the world not to ignore the plight of millions of migrants who are driven from their land in his christmas eve mass. the leader of the world's estimated 1.2 billion roman catholics also stressed that faith demanded that foreigners be welcomed everywhere. meanwhile, pilgrims from around the world have gathered in bethlehem for christmas celebrations. however, fewer than usual are in the city due to increased