welcome to bbc news — i'm mike embley. our top stories: blockades and barriers — china's villages try to keep out strangers and the coronavirus. president trump accuses his former national security advisor of betrayal — and the white house warns him not to publish his book. fraternal singing from some, flag waving from others. brexit clears its final legal hurdle in the european parliament. the sun as it's never been seen before. we'll talk to one of the scientists behind these new high resolution images of its surface.
more foreign citizens are due to leave the chinese city of wuhan as the numbers infected with the potentially deadly coronavirus still increase. authorities there say 170 people have now died — there are another 1,700 confirmed cases. in the next few hours hong kong will halve the number of flights to mainland china and suspend train and ferry services. john sudworth has the latest. safely out of wuhan, a plane arriving at a california air base with 200 americans on board. earlier, japan got a flight full of its citizens out, touching down in tokyo. the night before the great escape... but the brits are still only preparing to leave. kharn lambert‘s grandmother, vera, stuck here on holiday, is running low on her medications. how do you feel about going home? delightful.
there's frustration with the uk government. i think it's been an absolute shambles, to be honest with you. i don't think the government have really known what they've been doing. i don't think they've had as much contact with the chinese authorities as they say, because, if they had, i would assume that they'd been getting the same information that the americans have got, the japanese have got, and they'd have been able to put plans in place sooner. despite the lockdown, infections in wuhan are still rising rapidly, and anyone flown home from here faces two weeks in uk quarantine. maeve clarke, a lecturer from birmingham, stuck in wuhan, says she understands why. i think it's a good precautionary measure and it's in line with what other governments are doing as well, and i think it gives reassurance to people back home, in the uk, that the right steps are being taken. much is still not known
about the virus but, across china, few are taking any chances. villagers are putting up roadblocks and shutting out the world with great barriers of earth. "no outsiders are allowed in at all," this man tells me. beyond the human cost, for china there is another impact to all of this — fear. with countries beginning to advise against travel, with airlines cancelling flights, and with whole villages cutting themselves off from the outside world, the economic cost is likely to be severe. my name is nick. this is... for some uk nationals, escape is not an option. nick house is british but his wife's from indonesia. she's been told she can't get a place on the plane. my mum and dad are worried, my sister's worried. theyjust want us home, really. they face more long weeks of uncertainty in a ghost city.
john sudworth, bbc news, beijing. planes due to evacuate foreigners from wuhan have been delayed with the special flights not being cleared to leave. foreign governments have organised chartered flights to ta ke organised chartered flights to take citizens out of the city as the number of people are infected with the coronavirus is still rising. the foreign office of the uk set a number of country's flights couldn't ta ke of country's flights couldn't take off because they hadn't received approval from chinese authorities. drjohn cahill is director of global health and tropical medicine services at mount sinai, and advisor on coronavirus response in the us. he gave more details about the virus itself. this coronavirus to date seems to be less severe than sars though it is premature to have a full understanding of how significant this virus might be. but at this point, it is slightly more severe than influenza and the patients that we are really worried about at this point would be the elderly, the very young and the people with significant
lung disease or heart disease. it typically presents with a fever, chills, shortness of breath and a bad cough that can rapidly progress. the thing about this that is different to sars is that this virus, where sars was within a two to three day incubation period, it's14 days which is different to the other coronavirus that we've seen in the last several years. that incubation period as you say is different and it's a problem making stopping its spread more likely? it makes spreading it much more hard for us as public health officials to have a very good grasp and to be able to predict what is going to be the course of this virus. hence the recommendation is that anyone travelling from china at this point should be quarantined for two weeks before going to a workplace or being close to other family members. what's your best
weapon against it? awareness 7 public health awareness, quarantine and time. so over the next month or so, we'll have a much better idea about where this virus is headed and how much it will have an impact both for china as well as for the global population. it is the key thing. sorry to interrupt you but what chance of a vaccine do you think? a vaccine is very promising but once again, we're talking about three to six months before a vaccine will be readily available and by then, we will probably have seen the peak of the outbreak before the vaccine is available. how worried are you about this coronavirus? i'm not overtly worried. we still need to learn more but just like influenza, it's a little bit more severe. we need to have excellent public health surveillance and quarantine is the right thing to do at this point but hopefully this will be a virus that will be limited over the next month. looking at sars or middle
eastern respiratory syndrome, another coronavirus, those initially tended to be much more severe than this novel coronavirus that we are looking at right now. thank you so much for your time. let's get some of the day's other news: a deal is expected in washington, between egypt, ethiopia and sudan, over the contentious nile renaissance dam. it's reported ethiopia has agreed to fill the dam in stages during the rainy season — not all at once. egypt relies on the river for 90% of its water supply. police in mexico have begun a huge manhunt for a leading member of the country's biggest drugs gang, who's escaped a top security prison with two others. extra police have been deployed in mexico city along with helicopters to search for victor felix beltran, who has family links to the former leader of the sinaloa cartel, joaquin guzman, known as el chapo. the latest scientific research suggests the lungs have an almost magical ability to repair the damage caused by smoking — but only if you actually quit.
a study, published in thejournal nature, found that cells that escape damage can help the lungs recover, even for patients who smoked 20 cigarettes a day for a0 years. many scientists had believed the mutations that lead to cancer are permanent. the white house has warned the former us national security advisor, john bolton, not to publish a book which it says contains classified information. speculation is growing that he may give evidence at the president's impeachment trial after lea ks of his memoirs appeared to contradict the defence put forward by donald trump's lawyers. they wrapped up their arguments earlier, triggering two days of questioning by senators. let's speak to our correspondent in washington chris buckler. how significant is all of this would you say? there has been another marathon session today in which questions and answers have been put to both the trump impeachment team, and the defence team and the house
impeachment team, the prosecution led by the democrats. but actually, all of those questions, all of those a nswe i’s those questions, all of those answers that have been given, have been overshadowed by that looming figure ofjohn bolton because these links have indicated that he intends to suggest any book that actually president trump was very explicitly linking the withholding of vital military aid to the ukraine to try and force the country into launching investigations into his political opponents, most notably his potential presidential rivaljoe biden. you can imagine that there are many conversations going on in the background. as the senate is still to decide whether or not witnesses will be called, that boat is expected to happen on friday. but it's already being talked about and there we re being talked about and there were indications about 25 hours ago that the republican leadership believed that the democrats might be able to persuade some of their members tojoin them in persuade some of their members to join them in voting to persuade some of their members tojoin them in voting to hear witnesses. there are indications in the last hours or $0 indications in the last hours or so that republicans are more confident that they will be
able to stop witnesses giving evidence including john bolton. as an indication of two things. first of all, that republicans do not want to hear from first of all, that republicans do not want to hearfrom mr trump's former national security advisor because they believe he could be pretty bad to the case, the defence case that has set up by mr trump. and secondly, it also indicates that they want this trial over with as soon as they possibly can and that could be friday. we are seeing on our can and that could be friday. we are seeing on our screens right now what is going on in the senate. if you are republican member looking for a reason not to allow witnesses because they mr trump doesn't wa nt because they mr trump doesn't want to, because many senators feel that voters don't want it, the fact that the white house is saying this guy is chucking out classified information is another good reason to refuse him giving evidence isn't it? yes and beyond that as well. it's very much the case that mr trump's lawyers can point to the national security council and say that it is them, it is they who are really concerned about mr bolton giving evidence, they are very concerned that he is breaching
confidential information that could be bad for america, not just for the trump administration. it is a pretty good argument for them but actually, on that issue of whether or not the public want to hear witnesses, it is not quite as solid for republicans. actually, there are polls suggesting that something like 70 to 75% of the american public would like to hear from witnesses, would like more information in this. another could be some reasons for that. first of all, this is played out on american television, something like a soap opera and perhaps they are looking for some twist and turn in this which would actually potentially be bad for president trump are also potentially bad for the democrats because remember, this is not just democrats because remember, this is notjust about witnesses that could help the democrats case or hurt president trump, there are also potentially calls for other witnesses to give evidence. for example, joe biden and his son hunter who had business interests in the ukraine and who the president has made a number two a number of unsubstantiated allegations against. on friday, will get a
sense of whether or not this impeachment trial is going to wrap up very quickly or potentially we commit to a new phase and potentially, even more politically appointed phase which would of course or out in the midst of that presidential election in november. the brexit process has cleared its final legislative hurdle — the european parliament has voted overwhelmingly to ratify the withdrawal agreement. the vote, after farewell statements from members, clears the way for the uk to leave the eu at 11pm on friday. our europe editor katya adler reports. # for auld lang syne, my dear # for auld lang syne...#. it's been an emotional day in brussels. most of these meps deeply regret brexit. they felt honour—bound today to approve the negotiated brexit deal. but they meant what they then sang. after more than a0 years of eu membership, old acquaintances, the uk in this case, will not be forgotten. to come to results...
the new european commission president declared everlasting love for the uk today, using the words of british novelist and poet george eliot. only in the agony of parting do we look into the depth of love. we will always love you and we will never be far. long live europe. applause it is all over, finished! and the uk's best—known european parliamentarian ensured he would not be forgotten. he told the eu it was doomed, and then... i know you want to ban our national flags, but we are going to wave you goodbye, and we will look forward in the future to working with you as sovereign. . . mid—sentence, he had his mic cut. no national flag—waving allowed here. could you please remove the flags? there's something slightly surreal about this day, this week of goodbyes here in brussels, and that's because the day after
brexit day, we enter the transition period. so, yes, legally we have left the european union, but while we are sorting out a new trade deal, practically, things stay the same — paying into the eu budget, accepting laws made here inside the european parliament, but we will no longer have a seat here at the decision—making table. that is a lot of voices to lose. for some uk meps today, even emptying their post box at the european parliament was a symbolic event. it is a disaster, it's a huge disaster. europe is not going to go away. we are going to have to trade with them. we will come on holiday and we will move around and we will drive around. the regulations will be made here, in this house, but there will be no british voice standing up for the uk when those regulations are made. tonight, scottish national party meps bid a tuneful, tea rful farewell to
the european parliament. music: flower of scotland. the union flag flies here until friday but, with trade talks just ahead, the eu—uk conversation is far from over. katya adler, bbc news, brussels. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: france is to outlaw the culling of unwanted male chicks by the end of next year as part of new animal welfare measures. the shuttle challenger exploded soon after lift—off. there were seven astronauts on board, one of them a woman schoolteacher. all of them are believed to have been killed. by the evening, tahrir square, the heart of official cairo, was in the hands of the demonstrators. they were using the word "revolution".
the earthquake singled out buildings and brought them down in seconds. tonight, the search for any survivors has an increasing desperation about it as the hours passed. the new government is firmly in control of the entire republic of uganda. survivors of the auschwitz concentration camp have been commemorating the 40th anniversary of their liberation. they toured the huts, gas chambers and crematoria, and relived their horrifying experiences. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the world health organization has warned the entire world needs to take action to stop the spread of the new coronavirus which began in the chinese city of wuhan. the white house has warned president trump's former national security advisor
that his controversial new book can't be published unless he deletes classified information. two decommissioned satellites, travelling at more than 50,000 kilometres an hour, seem to have had a near miss. organisations tracking space objects estimate they came within 150 feet of each other, above pennsylvania. some estimates had put the chances of a collision at one in 20 raising fears of catastrophic damage to other satellites from the crash debris. one of the people keeping an eye on the satellites, was jonathan mcdowell, an astronomer at the harvard—smithsonian centre for astrophysics. you are a busy person, thank you very much for your time. they have been following your twitter feed, is more they have been following your twitterfeed, is more than 30,000 other people do, what is the latest on this? well, it's good news. the satellites didn't hit each other. the radar tracking, post the encounter, has confirmed that they are both still carrying on
in their orbits. and i was watching with a friend from the roof of the harvard observatory and we didn't see any nasty flashes as they passed each other, so that was really a relief. but, you know, no collision today, but there is a lot of space junk out there. so it is going to happen at some point in the future. given out, are you surprised that they didn't? no, one in 20 is still i9 chances out of 20 they don't, right? iwould not have been surprised if they did. i am relieved. but at any one time you don't know if it will happen, all you know is eventually collisions like this will happen, like the one we had back in 2009. jonathan, how common a situation is this, how big a problem is it? it's a problem and an increasing problem. right now we are running at about one major collision every 10—15 years. and that has increased the
amount of junk that and that has increased the amount ofjunk that other satellites have to dodge. but as the number of satellites increase we are looking at expectations of a tenfold increase in the number of satellites in low orbit in the next few years. that would increase the risk of near misses actual collisions by rate of 100. an increasing problem in the sense that every piece of space debris, no matter how small, is an issue, isa matter how small, is an issue, is a threat. that's right. they are all going at 18,000 mph. this potential collision today, they were going at 50,000 kilometres per hour towards each other. and that is pretty typical. that is a lot of energy. so even a tiny piece could destroy a valuable satellite that is providing safe weather data or communication services. fascinating stuff and alarming stuff. jonathan, thank you so much. you're welcome. france is to outlaw the culling of unwanted male chicks by the year 2021, as part of
wider animal welfare reforms. currently, male chicks are killed on an industrial scale because they don't lay eggs and are often not wanted for meat. this report from rich preston. you may find some of it upsetting. about 7 billion male chicks are killed around the world each year. it's common practice in the food industry. male chicks don't grow as quickly as female ones, so aren't considered useful for their meat and, of course, they don't lay eggs. they're sorted shortly after being born and either gassed or sent to high—speed grinders. now france says it will put an end to the practice. translation: certain practices today may be considered shocking to our fellow citizens. our farmers do not do these things out of pleasure. we're going to publish the regulations in the next few weeks to ban all painful practices in animal husbandry. the move will make france one of the first countries to ban the culling of male chicks. it's already banned in switzerland and germany's only allowing it to continue temporarily until a new measure is found.
it's hoped techniques will be developed to allow the sex of a chick to be determined before it hatches — making culling no longer necessary. but animal rights activists say the moves don't go far enough, highlighting that there have been no promises to improve slaughterhouse conditions or move away from intensive animalfarming. rich preston, bbc news. astronomers have revealed never before seen images of the sun — and they've got closer than ever before. the striking high resolution images of the sun's surface were captured by a solar telescope in hawaii. this is one image, looking a lot like a collection of gold nuggets, actually, each one of these nuggets is roughly the size of texas. thomas rimmele is the director of the inouye solar telescope project. well, what you are looking at are the first images of what is the largest and most powerful solar telescope in the world. what you are seeing are convection cells on the solar surface. that is where hot plasma rises
and cools off and drops back down beneath the surface. and as part of the motion, magnetic fields are generated and you see those in the images as little bright features, little bright points which, for the first time, we have been able to resolve at their intrinsic scale. and that scale is extraordinary, isn't it? obviously you knew what you are trying to get. when you first saw the images what was your reaction? oh, i wasjust very, very happy. we have spent 25 years of work on this telescope. a whole team of engineers and scientists have basically put their life's work into this and seeing the images was the reward after all this work. we were just very, very happy. so, in more detail, what are the images telling you? these images let us resolve the magnetic fields which the sun generates
on these very small scales, the size of manhattan. and we are looking at those from 93 million miles away. what we really want to accomplish with this telescope is to precisely measure the magnetic field, not only on the surface of the sun, but also in the upper atmosphere, in particular in the corona of the sun, so the corona is the outer atmosphere of the sun that you can see with your naked eye during an eclipse. what we currently cannot do is measure the magnetic field in the corona. and this telescope will let us do that. that's incredibly important to us because the sun generates this immense amount of energy and stores it in the magnetic field that sometimes becomes unstable and leads to solar eruptions, flares, coronal mass ejections that impact us very much here on earth, power grid failures, communication failures, satellites can be taken out by solar storms. so we're very much interested in fully understanding the physics behind the solar magnetic field. yes, on the particular point,
are there specific things that these images make you think we need to know much more about this? yes, as i mentioned, we have to measure the magnetic field. these are the very initial images from this new facility. they indicate that we have achieved the resolution that we were looking for, but now with new instrumentation and that is yet to come online, that we will bring online in the next few months, we will be able to precisely prove the magnetic field and trace it all the way up into the corona. amazing stuff. the swedish climate activist greta thunberg has applied
to trademark her name, to stop people impersonating her. the 17—year—old has also registered her fridays for future movement, the banner under which she first started protesting outside the swedish parliament every friday, instead of attending school. she's also announced plans to set up a non—profit foundation, promoting sustainability and mental health. for the first time, berlin zoo has unveiled a pair of twin pandas to the public. meng xiang and meng yuan are both five months old. they're the first panda cubs born at a german zoo — which probably explains why their names mean ‘long—awaited dream' and ‘dream come true'. they've been nicknamed pit and paule by their keepers. just briefly, the manias again, the chinese government is now saying at least 100 and people are have died from the coronavirus. tell me thursday to decide whether to declare a global health emergency —— 175. cash they will meet.
and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter — i'm @bbcmikeembley. hello there. we started off this week with a wintry flavour, cold for all of us. but wednesday brought a day of contrast. it was a glorious afternoon across much of england and wales with some sunshine coming through, as you can see in bedford, and a little milder with it. different story, though, further north as we saw some heavy, persistent rain. some areas of scotland seeing over a couple of inches in a 24—hour period. now that weather front continues to drift its way steadily north. we've got a weaker area of low pressure pushing its way in from the south—west. but one unifying factor as we move into thursday and friday is a south—westerly flow will drive mild air right across the country. so wednesday morning we saw temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. but thursday morning, and it really looks as though it will be a different story. we're going to start of mild, 7—8 degrees widely
across the country. so, yes, it's a mild start, but it's a rather cloudy, grey, drab one, unfortunately. there'll be some rain, some of it heavy and persistent, moving its way up through western scotland to the north. and then behind it we've got quite a lot of cloud, thick enough for the odd spot or two drizzle, light patchy rain, misty, murky weather conditions, maybe some dense fog lingering in the far south—west. lighter winds to the south, but always strongest the further north and west with that rain. but look at this. those temperatures widely double digits. 10—14 degrees our afternoon highs. as we move out of thursday into friday, unfortunately, yet again, there's another frontal system that's going to push in from the west and that's going to bring more wet weather with it. now, the heaviest of the rain is likely to be through western areas for a time on wednesday. and as it pushes its way steadily eastwards it'll weaken, fragment to showers into the afternoon. but we're likely to see more persistent rain just clinging on to the north—west of the great glen. however, the wind direction's still a south—westerly, still mild for all,
8—11; the high. now, as we move out of friday for the start of the weekend, unfortunately it looks as though we're stuck in repeat. low pressure never too far away, but weather fronts crossing the uk, they ease away, a brief respite before the next weather front which is in. so it does look likely that it's going to stay pretty u nsettled. so this is our city forecast for both saturday and sunday. it's going to be a case showers or longer spells of rain, but it's still on the mild side for this time of year, with temperatures widely into double figures. take care.
is now saying at least 170 people are confirmed dead from the coronavirus outbreak. there are more than 7,000 confirmed cases. the world health organization will meet later on thursday to decide whether to declare a global health emergency. the white house has warned president trump's former national security advisor that his new book cannot be published unless classified information is deleted. john bolton's lawyer insists nothing in it should be considered classified. comments in the book, it's reported, directly contradict the president's defence in his impeachment trial. the european parliament has ratified the brexit transition agreement, the final hurdle before the united kingdom leaves the european union on friday after 47 years. negotiations now begin on a final agreement, which the british government hopes to conclude before the end of the year.