welcome to bbc news — broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm lewis vaughan jones. our top stories: the senate stands adjourned until 10am on monday, december 31. the partial us government shutdown goes on after congress meets and adjourns within minutes. it will now continue into next week. confusion and anger in the democratic republic of congo. the election‘s postponed again in some areas. the outgoing president tells the bbc the delay is due to ebola. on the day that people were supposed to vote, you don't have this epidemic spreading like wildfire. a huge hunt is launched in austria after five monks are attacked during a robbery at a vienna church. and as rescuers race to save 15 miners trapped in india, we report on the deadly conditions in the country's illegal mines. hello.
welcome to bbc news. the us senate and house of representatives have adjourned without taking steps to resolve a damaging shutdown of parts of the government, which is now in its sixth day. both chambers convened for only a few minutes. this was the scene in the senate. in my capacity as a senator from kansas, there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the senate stands adjourned until 10am on monday, december 31. at the heart of the disagreement is the $5 bllion that president trump wants added to the federal budget to pay for a wall along the us border with mexico. here's our washington correspondent chris buckler.
i think you got a brief sense from that very, very brief meeting of congress that the two parties are fundamentally not coming to any agreement at the moment over what is essentially a funding deal, it's funding for 20, 25% of government programmes. in practical terms, it is important for a lot of people because there are around 800,000 federal employees who are affected by this. half of them are told that they will have to go on unpaid leave, the other half simply do not know when they will get paid. but while the politicians need to take this seriously, they know there is a danger of this backfiring and them for this, the truth is that here in washington many politicians just didn't turn up at capitol hill today. it was an empty chamber for that very brief few minutes that both the house of representatives
and the senate met. there does not seem to be any suggestion at this point that there is a way through this, and the whole funding stand—off is about donald trump's demand for $5 billion to build a border war between america and mexico. he says he won't agree to any government funding deal without that, the democrats say that isn't going to happen. as a result, we're now looking at a stand—off that will likely continue into the new year. a short time ago, i spoke to brett bruen, who worked in the white house with the 0bama administration, and i asked him how big an impact the shutdown was having on people's lives. well, the shutdown is like a slow burn. you don't notice it much at first, but as the days go on, it becomes more and more bothersome, and ifear, as we now head into january, it will become a big issue for a lot of americans. 0nto the politics then, the president, donald trump, said he would own this shutdown a few days ago, now he's tweeting and blaming the democrats. what's going on?
well, i think he's realising that political gravity also applies to him. he doesn't want to bear the brunt of the frustration americans are feeling. on top of that, i think he's trying to play a political game. he wants the new democratic house of representatives to be the bad guy in this situation, which is part of the reason that they're delaying untiljanuary. and what are the risks on both sides here? well, i think on the president's side, quite frankly, he's playing with fire, and this isn't the only fire that he has to worry about. there are a number of investigations, there are other political challenges that he is confronting. so he is in hot water, if you will, because of all of those flames. 0n the democratic side, this disrupts plans that nancy pelosi, the new speaker of the house, will have to set the agenda and she is going to struggle to try to navigate these waters.
brett, can i put you on the spot here? what do you think is going to happen? how will we get out of this? at the end of the day, i think the democrats will give more than they want. donald trump is going to claim victory, whatever happens, as he inevitably will do in these kids of circumstances, and i think, quite frankly, the american people will be the ones left footing the bill. there have been protests in the democratic republic of congo at yet another delay in the presidential elections in some parts of the country. the polls were meant to take place on sunday. authorities in the capital, kinshasa, are blaming security concerns and an outbreak of ebola in the east of the country. the government says it is listening to the advice of the electoral commission. the worst clashes took place in the eastern cities of beni and goma. both are areas which are seen as being strongly supportive of the opposition. this footage was filmed in beni. police fired into the air and used
tear gas against the demonstrators. voting there was postponed, with opposition parties saying it was a ploy to stop their supporters from influencing the vote. have a look at these pictures from goma, where police had to clear barricades set up by angry crowds. 0pposition parties have cried foul, and called for a general strike on friday in protest. translation: the lamuka coalition demands that the electoral commission immediately withdraws this unjustifiable position and organises elections across the whole of the democratic republic of congo without any discrimination. the congolese people, who've already been very patient, wo‘ve have already accepted three postponements and even accepted a two—year wait, are now saying enough. the electoral commission has just crossed a red line. let's get the latest now from those two areas which have seen the most unrest. in a moment, we'll hear from our reporter in goma, but first, here's louise dewast in kinshasa, reporting on events in beni.
there was a number of protests today. i think most of them are over by now, as it's one hour ahead and so the day is nearly over there. the protests were in goma but also in beni, one of the main cities affected by a ebola outbreak. a transit centre was ransacked, that's where suspected ebola cases wait for results. the health ministry said that 21 people fled from the transit centre, the angry mob was demonstrating there today, following the decision by the electoral commission to postpone the vote in the city and in three other locations across the country. the tension is high in the street. in goma, in eastern democratic republic of congo, where masses of people came out
on the streets to protest against a new delay of elections by the electoral commission. this morning, people who came in the streets, they barricaded it with stones to block circulation and express their anger and frustration. most voters i speak to here say they're upset that these towns were removed and they see it as a tactic by the current regime to cling to power. so far no casualties have been registered, however, we are still monitoring the situation to see how it goes. the outgoing president of the democratic republic of congo isjoseph kabila. he took power in 2001 after the assassination of his father. he's twice been elected president, in 2006 and 2011, though elections to replace him — which were meant to be held in 2016 — were delayed until now. he's been speaking to salim kikeke from bbc africa in kinshasa, and he began by explaining why the poll was delayed in some areas. probably that's the price to pay for perfect elections.
how does that make me feel? well, you canjust — willjust have to agree with the electoral commission. the electoral commission has raised fundamental issues, the fundamental issues are in two of the regions — in the east, you have the ebola, which is spreading, and the intention of the electoral commission, and indeed, the intention of the state or the government is to make sure that you don't have, on the day that people are supposed to vote, you don't have this epidemic spreading like wildfire. that's one of the most important reasons. the second reason is, of course, issues of security. you are very much aware that in the region now and especially
in beni, we've been having numerous terrorist attacks over the last four or five years. the other region in the west, close to here, is because of intertribal fighting, or ethnic fighting. totally understand but the timing of the announcement, just a few days before the elections, and these issues, ebola and security, have been there for quite a long time. yes, they have been there for a long time. but the idea was that ebola is an epidemic, which we have managed or been managing to control two months after it was declared. this time around, it has taken much longer than that. and as we speak right now, it's still spreading. to europe now, and five monks have
been attacked during a church robbery in the austrian capital, vienna. the assailants reportedly entered the catholic church with a gun, forcing the monks to the ground and assaulting them, before fleeing the scene. bethany bell has more. police have sealed off the maria immaculata catholic church in vienna where five monks were violently attacked. on thursday afternoon, assailants entered the church brandishing a gun. they forced a monk to the ground, tied him up, and kicked and repeatedly beat him with metal tools. he suffered serious head injuries. four other monks, who entered the church a little later, were also set upon, beaten, and tied up with cables and rope. they were discovered more than three hours later. police say they don't believe it was a terrorist attack. translation: the exact motive is unclear, but i think we can rule out terrorism.
there is a large spectrum of possible motives. it might be a robbery, an act of violence, or perhaps an act of revenge. a large manhunt is under way. the injured monks are being treated in hospital. the head of the austrian catholic church, cardinal christoph schonborn, said he was deeply shocked by the attack. churches, he said, should be places of peace. bethany bell, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: downward dog or downward glance? can eye yoga help cure our tired vision? the most ambitious financial and political change ever attempted has got underway with the introduction of the euro. tomorrow in holland, we're going to use money we picked up in belgium today and then we'll be in france, and again,
it'll be the same money. it's just got to be the way to go. george harrison, the former beatle, is recovering in hospital after being stabbed at his oxfordshire home. a 33—year—old man from liverpool is being interviewed by police on suspicion of attempted murder. i think it looks good. just good? no, fantastic. that's better. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: the shutdown of parts of the us government will continue at least into next week after both houses of congress met briefly then
adjourned without taking action. there have been protests in the democratic republic of congo, where the election‘s been postponed again in some areas. the outgoing president told the bbc the delay is because of an ebola outbreak. us stock markets have rallied following a volatile day which saw their european counterparts lose ground as global political and economic uncertainty continued to haunt investors. the dowjones — which fell by 1.8% earlier on thursday — finished 1.1% up. heather long, is the economics correspondent for the washington post. it has been a wild, wild week in the markets over here. everyone is talking about it. first of all, it is a holiday week, obviously trading is very light so it is hard to read too much into what happened today. but we certainly had monday, the worst christmas eve performance for the us stock market ever.
wednesday, the market reopens after the christmas holiday, we have the biggest point gain for the dow ever, almost 1100 points up. and then today it was way down and then staged one of the biggest rallies we have ever seen since 2008. so it's been hard to read what's going on. basically, here's how i sum it up: the united states is expected to grow less in 2019 than it is in 2018. so we're headed for a bit of a slowdown. wall street, like everybody else, is trying to figure out, is this going to be as steep decline, you know, a rapid slowdown or is this going to be a real gentle, soft, slow ease into it type of slowdown? and peoplejust are not sure and that is why there is a lot of whiplash. interesting. ok, we've got your prediction at least, it's going to be one or the other, which is at least some progress. what do you think president trump will feel right now about it?
he's of course attached so much significance to the rise in the stock market and tried to attach himself to the credit for that. is he nervous now? he is incredibly nervous. we, the team at the washington post, we've reported this and big stories in recent days. he is obviously very angry and trying to pin the decline on the federal reserve chairman jerome powell but most people do not know what the central bank is or whojerome powell is. what they do know is that the president has been targeting the market gains as a big symbol of his success and now that the market is almost in bare market territory, people are obviously nervous and looking to trump for answers. the president really sees this as the key component of his 2020 re—election campaign so, if the market does not stabilise or rise, he is very concerned about what this means for his campaign heading into 2020. we had been covering earlier on the programme, heather, the government shut down. how does all this play
into the political landscape? from an economic perspective, shutdowns unfortunately have become kind of rare in the united states. this one is actually a quarter government shutdown, so it is not a full government shutdown, it is only a part of it. so from a macro—economic perspective, this is not having a huge impact, however, it isjust one more piece of uncertainty, one more piece of chaos coming out of washington and when you add that all on top, it is sort like eating that one extra christmas cookie after you've already eaten eating five other ones — it allup. just lastly, and you may not be able to do this in a brief fashion, but if you were donald trump, what kind of levers could you pull? what kind of things would you want to see happen to see happen to try and ensure an upward trajectory next year? the most obvious one is to resolve these trade tariff wars that are going on, in particular people do not understand why does trump still have tariffs on europe
and canada, our very close allies, and he could go a long way to bridge that gap with china as well by striking some sort of deal in the spring. rescuers in a remote part of north—eastern india are working around the clock to save 15 workers trapped inside an illegal coal mine. limited resources and a lack of information about mines in the meghalaya region are making the rescue extremely challenging — and hopes of finding anyone alive are quickly fading. devina gupta travelled to the rescue site in the eastjaintia hills and sent this report. for these rescuers, hope is buried at 350 feet deep. they are trying to reach 15 coal workers who were trapped when water gushed in this illegal underground coal pit called a "rat—hole" mine. in this remote forest
they are struggling with limited resources and, after 13 days, the chances of seeing them alive are slowly fading. this is one of the first mine rescue that we are going to — we are trying to perform. we even do not know the directions in which the labourers have been trapped. the rescue operations have ended for the day, but yet no sign of the trapped miners. india's north—east state of meghalaya is known for abundant coal reserves, but in 2014, india's top court had put a ban on illegal mining, but this is an indication that illegal mining is still rampant in these areas. officials claim locals have dug at least 100 such illegal pits in this area. they're called a "rat—hole" because of the narrow passage where workers go in a vertical pit. there are small horizontal tunnels inside, where they have to wiggle out to dig out coal. more risk means more pay, but in the village of lumthari, this mother knows what is at stake.
her 20—year—old son, salabas thar, sought work in a coalmine to contribute extra money to his church for christmas. he is one of the workers trapped in the flooded mine. translation: i warned him not to go. this was his first time in the coalmine. i don't know what to feel anymore. 30—year—old krishna travelled from the neighbouring state of assam to work in the rat—hole mine as well, for $55 a day, no worker's rights, no safety equipment, and no insurance benefits — he lives to tell the rules of this underground world. translation: i used to go inside the mine wearing a torch and a pair of gumboots. after this incident, i don't think i can go back. there is an estimated 650 million tons of coal reserves in meghalaya. mining it is a lucrative business.
activists claim most of the mines are owned by local strongmen, who are feared more than the law. there are coal mafias. there are people who own those mines who are... yeah, a threat actually. the state government is now fighting in the court to legalise coal mining, but until then, these families are praying to keep their sons safe in the unchecked deathtraps. devina gupta, bbc news, meghalaya. the united states‘ oldest man, and last world war ii veteran, has died at the age of 112. richard overton served in the south pacific from 19110 to 1945 — and would later say he had landed on more beaches underfire than he could remember. he was honoured on veterans day in 2013 by president obama. the veteran always said he owed his long life to god's grace, cigars, and whiskey. we're spending more and more time
in front of our mobile devices. eye yoga is claimed to help relax and strengthen our digitally—strained eyes. but does it really work? sodaba haidare has been to an eye yoga class to see for herself. you keep it closed until your hands... this is one of the many eye yoga exercises subhan nair is teaching his students today. rubbing your hands rigorously together to generate energy and covering your eyes to block the light getting through, he says, helps ease out eye strain. in between the eyebrows... eye yoga has existed for centuries. it began as an ancient practice in india and is mostly taught alongside other forms of yoga. everything we teach is according to the classical tradition... subhan has studied eye yoga in southern india. i've come to his class today
because, as a journalist, i spend hours in front of a computer screen, and i want to see if eye yoga can help relax my digitally tired eyes. some of my fellow students suffer from eye problems, others, like me, are here to take a much—needed screen break. so i'm short—sighted in one eye and long—sighted in the other, and so i think my vision isn't very clearand then, after the practice, everything seems much more focussed. it's notjust my eyes, actually, it's — you know, i find a relaxation in my upper shoulders, which tend to be quite tense because i spend a lot of time in front of the laptop. it's predicted that half of the world's population will need glasses by 2050 because of screens. can eye yoga really help improve vision or go as far as to cure eye problems? it's more on anything that's focus, focus issues. so nearsighted, farsighted, anything like this, these things can be corrected. according to regular science, once you get these kind of issues, you can't reverse them, but in the yogic system, they're saying you can reverse them. can eye yoga really help improve vision or go as far
as to cure eye problems? though subhan and some of his students say eye yoga helps improve eyesight, there isn't actually any scientific evidence to prove this, so i'm going to see amir hamid, who is an eye expert, to talk to him about eye yoga from a medical point of view. they can't correct eye problems in terms of refractive error, so in terms of the need for glasses for distance vision, the need for glasses for reading. there's no way you can anatomically change the shape or the function of your eye by performing an exercise. so you can focus on your index finger... if eye yoga was an alternative to curing or correcting eye problems, eye doctors would have to look elsewhere for a career, but while eye yoga doesn't do that, it certainly helps your eyes feel more relaxed. sodaba haidare, bbc news. it's an icon of new year's
celebrations and the theme for this year has been revealed — harnessing the spirit of the holiday season. organisers say the ‘gift of harmony‘ seeks to unite people amid the events of the world for the betterment of all. the ball is covered with thousands of crystal pieces and has been getting a touch—up ahead of the big day. the producers of this year's time square event are also working with the committee to protect jounalists — using the event to support a free press. you're watching bbc news — do stick with us — and don't forget you can get in touch with me and some of the team on twitter — i'm @lvaughanjones. hello there.
nothing particularly dramatic in this weather forecast. it stays pretty quite over the next few days but that is not to say there will not be some contrasts. take a look back at thursday and you can see that across county down we've had some sunshine and temperatures up to 13 degrees whereas parts of the west country got stuck under fog and temperatures in some areas of somerset did not get above four degrees. and looking ahead to friday's weather, we're going to start off with quite a lot of cloud, mist and fog. it should then turn a little bit brighter for some of us later on and there is a bit of rain around as well through the morning, particularly across scotland — that'll be travelling its way eastwards. now, after such a cloudy, murky, foggy start across some southern areas, it is going to struggle to brighten up here. but we should see some brightness for the midlands and wales, for northern england and certainly for northern ireland and scotland some decent spells of sunshine expected by the afternoon. those temperatures 9—11 degrees, not bad for the time of year. but bear in mind, any lingering fog towards the south—west could hold those temperatures back once again. then as we go through friday night
into the early hours of saturday, it's that mixture of mist and murk and low cloud but another batch of wet weather sliding in across northern ireland and scotland as the night wears on. temperatures typically between three and eight degrees. so saturday starts off with a frontal system starting across northern areas. but high pressure still holding on down to the south. so it is a day of split fortunes on saturday, but one thing that we will all experience is this mild west or south—westerly wind. quite a brisk wind actually at times across the northern half of the uk. outbreaks of rain drifting eastwards as we go through saturday morning. clearing from scotland through the afternoon, something brighter developing and it will stay quite windy here as it will across parts of northern england. generally further south, more in the way of cloud, a lot of dry weather but those temperatures for the time of year pretty impressive, 12 or 13 degrees. as we look ahead to sunday, again, there could be a little bit of patchy rain around in northern areas. that could lingerfor a good part of the day across the northern isles.
elsewhere, largely dry but largely cloudy. the best chance of any brightness and some shelter from the westerly winds, maybe to the east of the pennines, the eastern side of scotland, and again, those temperatures 11 or 12 degrees. and then for the final day of the year, new year's eve, again high pressure in charge. a lot of cloud and some fog trapped underneath the high. and we stick with that theme as we go into monday night. so if you are planning to be out and about celebrating at midnight, the weather doesn't look particularly dramatic, it should be mostly dry, but there's likely to be a bit of cloud and some fog patches as well. this is bbc news. the headlines: the us government shutdown is to continue until at least monday, after the senate was ajourned until new year's eve. president trump blames the democrats for blocking his amendment to the budget bill, which would add $5 billion to build a wall along the border with mexico. protesters have clashed with police in the east
of the democratic republic of congo, after the election was postponed in several areas. the outgoing president, joseph kabila, told the bbc the ebola outbreak is one of the reasons for the delay. he said there wouldn't be any major issues with the more than 1 million voters, whose participation will be delayed until later. austrian police say that five monks were attacked during a church robbery in a suburb of vienna. the assailants reportedly entered the catholic church with a gun. now it's time for one of hardtalk‘s biggest interviews of the year.