this is bbc news. i'm lukwesa burak. the headlines at apm. # i don't want your freedom # i don't want to play around tributes to the singer george michael — one of the biggest stars in british music — who has died at the age of 53. the chart—topper‘s death has shocked fans around the world. some have travelled to his homes in london and oxfordshire to pay their last respects. i grew up with him, loved him, loved everything. he was so talented and he meant the world to a lot of people. in goring—on—thames, shock and sadness. he may have been an international singing star but, to them, he was just another village resident. today's other stories — russia recovers some of the fragments of a military plane which crashed into the black sea, with 92 people on board. also this hour — bagging a bargain in the boxing day sales. shoppers turn out in their droves
looking for a deal — it's thought many have stayed at home after already splurging in—store on pre—christmas offers. and coming up in half an hour in a special edition of our world, allan little examines the forces behind the momentous events of the last year and explores the new political landscape as we enter 2017. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. the music world has been paying tribute to george michael, who died last night from suspected heart failure at the age of 53. the singer sold more than 100 million albums in a career spanning nearly four decades. he leapt to fame with the pop duo wham, enjoying global success in the ‘80s,
before leaving to forge a successful solo career. but he struggled with the pressures of fame and press attention. his bandmate andrew ridgeley said he was "heartbroken at the loss of a beloved friend". 0ur correspondent lizo mzimba reports. # wham # bam # i #iamaman #iamaman #job or #iamaman # job or no job... george michael doing what he did best. even then, he was potentially a music superstar. he and his school friend formed wham in the 1980s. their brand of breezy pop captured a generation. a string of number one hits followed. # wake me up before you go, go. # don't leave me hanging on like a yo—yo... as a solo artist, he enjoyed perhaps even
greater success. faith sold millions on both sides of the atlantic. # i've got to have faith... his popularity was not limited to his fans. fellow musicians were equally overwhelmed by his talents. here he is rehearsing for the 1992 freddie mercury tribute concert. # somebody to... according to his publicist, he passed away peacefully on christmas day at his home in oxfordshire. his manager said he died of heart failure. tributes have been led by his former band mate, andrew ridgeley, who said he was heartbroken at the loss of his beloved friend. madonna said, farewell my friend, another great artist leaves us. eltonjohn said, i am in deep shock, i have lost a beloved friend,
the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. paul young duetted with george michael. he paid tribute today. he always had an incredible pop sensibility and a voice that could touch people. some people have a voice and you hear it and it cuts straight to your heart. he seemed to have that ability. as well as success over the years, he also had brushes with the law. his car collided with a high street shop, leading to a spell in prison. he was cautioned and fined for drugs possession and received treatment for addiction. to be a part of people's lives as an artist, that is what i dreamed of and what i'm still grateful for. but, my god, i wish i could cope with the other stuff the way others do. i wish i had been born with that particular suit of armour. cause i wasn't.
when george michael revealed he was gay, he said he had kept it secret to stop his mother worrying about hiv. in 2011, he said he had nearly died in vienna after a bout of pneumonia. more music was on the way, a collaboration with producer naughty boy and a documentary was due next march. when it came to pop, george michael had it all, the looks, the voice and the ability to write hit after hit, again and again. let's speak to ben ando who is outside george michael's home in goring—on—thames in oxfordshire. ican i can see behind you people continuing to arrive to pay their respects to george michael. that's right. this morning, there was just a that's right. this morning, there wasjust a small that's right. this morning, there was just a small pile of floral
tributes but, during this boxing day, more and more people have been coming along and laying down flowers and candles, cards, messages, all wanting to perhaps share their grief at the death of somebody who seems to have been able to speak to people emotionally in a way that touch them, ina emotionally in a way that touch them, in a way perhaps that very few artists can, certainly in terms of spanning the generations. people of all ages, some we have seen in tears here. people we have spoken to, they have said he was somebody who was just brilliant, whose music, they said, will live on, will live with them, and was somebody who they could relate to in their own lives. but of course, people in goring—on—thames, he wasn't just but of course, people in goring—on—thames, he wasn'tjust an international superstar, he was also a neighbour. com pletely completely surprised. i knew he was around the village a lot and it's shocking to hear that he has passed
away. he was a very private person and we know that he used to go the local pub quite frequently, but very private. i didn't hear an till late loss might. he wasjust private. i didn't hear an till late loss might. he was just so young, really. —— i didn't hear until late last night. iam sure i am sure that people will be continuing to bring flowers, candles and so on and put them down at the front of this house on the banks of the thames, but also perhaps we will be hoping to learn a bit more about what led to george michael's death at the age of 53. he was found unresponsive in bed yesterdayjust after lunch and was declared dead on the scene by an ambulance crew. later last night, is manager released a statement saying simply that he had passed away. because of death was heart failure. perhaps in the days to come we may learn a bit more about what he may have been that led george michael to pass away
late last night. let's speak to the guardian columnist 0wen jones, who is in edinburgh. 0bviously, surprising to many, but there is so much now that we are beginning to learn about the private george michael, including the fact that he did so much for charity. absolutely, i think his generosity really shines through. i heard this, you know, this anecdote i think a lot of us have heard today in a game show, where somebody said they needed £15,000 for an operation, and quietly, demanding privacy, the next day he rang them up anonymously and said he would give them that money. above all else, we all know this is an exceptionally talented musician who has passed away at such a young age. it's been a terrible year for beloved musicians, celebrities, dying in 2016. it's almost become a cliche to talk about what a terrible
year it's been for so many much loved artists and so on. but i think it's important to understand and acknowledge what a guy icon —— gay icon this man was. he was outed in pretty grim circumstances, hounded, all of this innuendo, in 1998. a lot of people, given how homophobic the tabloid press has traditionally been, almost like the medieval church in this country used to be, in terms of moralising and all the rest, and when, you know, he was exposed, he was outed in that way, a lot of people would have felt ashamed and scuttled away and all the rest. but he basically, his response was so the rest. but he basically, his response was so inspiring, because he stuck his finger up. he did the song 0utside, which was a defiant message to the rest of the world that he was proud of who he was. if we look back, 1998, to a lot of people watching, doesn't sound long
ago but, in 1998, you still had almost all of the anti—gay laws that went on to be repealed, section 28, which banned the so—called promotion of homosexuality in schools, the different age of consent, no civil partnerships or equal marriage. attitudes were different, about half of all britons, according to research at the time, thought that homosexuality was usually wrong. to be outed as a household name at that time was difficult. for a lot of people at the time, particularly closeted young people, it meant a huge amount that this man in the public eye, do a lot of them arms probably fancied back in the day, came out swinging, saying, i'm proud of who i am, i'm not going to be ashamed. that is what he became, and unapologetic gay man, a champion of lg bt unapologetic gay man, a champion of lgbt writes. the danger with a man like this when he is dies —— when he dies is that he is sanitised, people
reduce him to an entertainer, as talented as he was, but we should also remember what he stood for, what he represented to so many people. he was in lgbt activist and entertainer —— campaigner and an inspiration to lots of people who struggled at a time when it was very difficult to be gay. witch those who knew him said that he was not a celebrity who was playing normal. he was himself and he spoke honestly and openly. do you think much of that side of george michael carried through into his hits? absolutely. 0ne through into his hits? absolutely. one of the terrible traumas that in particular the gay community suffered in the 1980s onwards was hiv- aids. that suffered in the 1980s onwards was hiv— aids. that killed thousands. you speak to people of that time and this was a time when people were dropping dead. not a single person who was openly gay did not know somebody, a lot one, a friend who
died or didn't somebody, a lot one, a friend who died ordidn‘t die somebody, a lot one, a friend who died or didn't die as a consequence. his lover died in the 1990s, and he did one of his number one hits, jesus to a child, about that. freedom was a song he did before he came out, but it became a song of 93v came out, but it became a song of gay liberation, i suppose, came out, but it became a song of gay liberation, isuppose, of, we are going to be who we are, society judges us and condemns us, but we are not going to let that do us down. 0bviously, 0utside was probably the most striking example, but he was somebody... go on, sorry. many musicians have said in their tributes that he was ahead of his time. in what way do they mean that? i think time. in what way do they mean that? ithink in time. in what way do they mean that? i think in lots of ways. i think... i think in lots of ways. i think... i think he pushed the boundaries in his music. he became a household name for lots of reasons. he combined lots of different music genres. but ijust think
combined lots of different music genres. but i just think that, combined lots of different music genres. but ijust think that, in 1998, yes, you had other gay musicians at the time, but for somebody who was a household name, beloved by millions of people, to come out and say, so stridently, how proud they were to be who they were, that they were not going to apologise, that they were not going to feel belittled, that they were not going to be ashamed, was something that i think transformed a lot of attitudes. a lot of people can come out and say, i am gay like george michael. i know people who did. he was very political, somebody who backed labour in the time of thatcherism, supporting the miners during the miners strike. when his mum died, and he loved her so much, he put on a benefit gig for nhs nurses. during the iraq war, when it was an fanciful —— unfashionable for musicians to be political, he did, he hooked up with miss dynamite and
did a song against the iraq war, and then another song, wag the dog, about tony blair's alliance with george bush and the disaster of the iraq war. he was courageous and determined and he spoke out in a way. a lot of musicians agreed with him but they didn't have the guts to risk their commercial and music reputations were speaking out about what they believed. that is what i worry about, when a lot of the reports of his death, they sanitised. people just think of him as that guy who did that hit they listen to at christmas, the occasional song played at a wedding. you are saying you worried he will be sanitised. 0bviously, he was in lg bt be sanitised. 0bviously, he was in lgbt icon, a spokesman for gay men and women, the lgbt community. how do you want him to be remembered?” wa nt do you want him to be remembered?” want him to be remembered as somebody they tried to shame. they tried to make him somebody who was
almost, you know, something that lg bt almost, you know, something that lgbt people should be ashamed of. all of this ascetic, the way he was outed and portrayed, that he was somebody who said, i will never be ashamed of who i am. i am proud of who i am and, if you don't like it, tough. a lot of lgbt people listened tough. a lot of lgbt people listened to that message at a time when so much of society rejected who they are, and still do to this day, a lot of people watching this programme even now feel rejected by society and the people around them, and the reason things have changed is because people fought against those attitudes, and one of them was george michael, in lgbt icon who stood up against registered and bigotry. remember him as a musician and an artist but remember him as somebody who fought so courageously against repression and bigotry. that is something we should all remember. thank you for your time. and there's more online.
you can look back at george michael's life in pictures, music that defined his career, and celebrity tributes — that's at bbc.co.uk/news. the headlines on bbc news: tributes continue to be paid to singer and songwriter george michael, who died at his home on christmas day. he was 53. russia recovers some fragment of a military plane which crashed into the black sea, with 92 people on board. bargain hunters hit the high street for the boxing day sales. it comes as figures showed the economy grew by 0.6% betweenjuly and september, faster than predicted. sport now — and, for a full round—up from the bbc sport centre, here's hugh woozencroft. sam alla rdyce returned to football as the new manager
of crystal palace in their 1—1 draw at watford in the premier league. allardyce stood down as england manager after just one match in charge, after a newspaper sting caught him making controversial comments. it's a good point for struggling palace but, as ben croucher reports, he'd have really hoped for more. if crystal palace's 2016 form had left them sliding towards the abyss, optimism has now emerged in sam alla rdyce, optimism has now emerged in sam allardyce, they have a man with survival instincts. his players looked rejuvenated, this effort not quite enough to get allardyce out of his seat. turns out it was just expansive football, and palace opening watford up again. allardyce had his ideal start. it looked like getting better when christian benteke eight and the chance to double palace's lead. what his boss
would have made of this feeble penalty. what would have lost four of their five so resorted to some old—fashioned football to get back into the game. that wasn't working. they were handed their chance by damien delaney‘s penalty area wrestling. surely troy deeney would be left wondering? his 100th watford goal. palace through what they could at watford. wilfried zaha put allardyce's heart rate through the roof. but allardyce picking up and making a point. 0n the basis of the chances we created today, missing a penalty ourselves, that was moment in the game. when we looked like we were going to hold on, we gave a soft penalty away. we didn't look in any danger after that. in fact, we hardly looked in any danger at all, in front of our goal. and we just haven't finished and seen it off,
sadly. it's a point and you always respect the point away from home. but, in many ways, it's encouraging for me to say, we dropped two points today. eight games in all in the premier league this afternoon. six kicked off at 3pm. arsenal are trying to avoid three league defeat in a row. at turf moor, burley against middlesbrough. david moyes back at old trafford with sunderland. andre ayew on the scoresheet, as west ham are leading relegation threatened swansea. pep guardiola's manchester city go to a hull side who are currently bottom. in horse racing, the highly—anticipated first meeting between the colin tizzard—trained
stars cue card and thistlecrack took place in the big race of the christmas period, the king george vi chase at kempton. it was the younger of the two, the 11—10 favourite thistlecrack, with jockey tom scudamore on board, who took it, ahead of last year's winner cue card. john hunt describes the closing stages. he is over safely. a brilliant hurdler. a brilliant chaser. what a win! tom scudamore waving at the crowd. meanwhile, the other top—class horses in behind him, fighting desperately for second. fantastic win for tom scudamore. that's all sport for now. i'll have more in the next hour. russia has recovered some fragments of a military plane, which crashed in the black sea with 92 people on board. a huge search operation has been taking place near sochi where the aircraft had taken off from. the first of the bodies have this morning been airlifted to the russian capital.
0ur moscow correspondent, steve rosenberg reports. across russia, they prayed for the dead — for the 92 victims of yesterday's plane crash. there was a special service today in every orthodox church in russia. this is a day of national mourning. as a sign of respect, russian flags were flown at half—mast. this is thought to be the last picture ever taken of the tupolev154. a few hours later it crashed into the black sea. the search operation continued today, not for survivors — there were none — but for the bodies and also for the plane's black box flight recorders. russia's transport minister said that technical failure or pilot error may have caused the crash. terrorism is thought less likely.
killed in the crash, more than 60 members of the russian army's song and dance troupe. they'd been on their way to syria for a new year's concert. outside the musicians' headquarters in moscow, there is now a shrine that grows bigger by the hour. as well as bringing flowers, icons and candles, people have been leaving messages. this says, you were killed on take—off, farewell, friends. this says, you won't be returning, we couldn't save you. this woman's son used to work in the ensemble but left. we mourn with everybody else, she says, there is pain deep in my soul. officially, there is one day of national mourning but for many russians the sense of loss from this disaster will last much longer. 50,000 people in england at risk
of type—2 diabetes could be helped by an nhs programme that's being extended from today. the advice on better nutrition and exercise has already helped 20,000 people. it forms part of a package of new measures to curb type—2 diabetes, including funding for more specialist nurses. a typhoon has hit the philippines, forcing tens of thousands to seek refuge in emergency shelters. typhoon nock—ten, with gusts of more than 100mph, has killed several people and damaged homes. it also led to flooding in coastal communities and disrupted air and sea travel. it is also known locally as nina. millions of bargain hunters heading to the boxing day sales today — although retail analysts say extended discounting earlier this month may mean the shops won't be
as full as last year. meanwhile, the former governor of the bank of england, lord king, has suggested britain would be better placed to make trade deals with countries outside the eu if it left the single market completely. 0ur economics correspondent, andrew verity, reports. after one day's respite, 1a million of us are expected to hit the shops today, drawn in by the theory that goods are significantly cheaper than they were two days ago. there are just so many bargains. from birmingham to belfast, £3 billion is expected to be spent in shopping centres in the high street, up to another billion online. i always do it, every boxing day morning. why? ijust love sale shopping. i'm normallyjust looking for a really good deal, like half price. we were here last february and the exchange rate was 1.5 and it is much less now. we get a lot more for our money this year than last. the international visitors joining
the crowds in london's west end aren'tjust coming for the boxing day sales. the brexit vote has weakened the pound and that means that their money buys about a fifth more here than it did year ago. it's effects like that that create the hope that the brexit vote could lift exports and provide, at least in the short time, a positive economic effect. 0ne legacy of the credit boom of the last decade and the bust that followed was consumers borrowing unprecedented amounts to buy imported goods while exports trailed behind. today, the man that presided over that boom and bust was hoping that brexit might throw that into reverse. there are many opportunities and we should look at it in a much more self—confident way than either side is approaching it at the moment. i think that being out of what has been an unsuccessful european union, particularly in the economic sense, brings us opportunities as well as obviously great political difficulties. to the incoming us commerce secretary though, brexit is an opportunity not for us
but for other countries to benefit from the confusion. billionaire businessman wilbur ross has called it a god—given opportunity for cities from dublin to frankfurt to take business away from the london. and that's the man chosen by trump to lead trade negotiations with theresa may's government. this time last year, the west yorkshire town of hebden bridge was being hit by a deluge of floodwater. homes, shops and schools were all affected and the recovery work in still going on. john maguire reported from hebden bridge last winter, and has returned to see how residents there are coping. boxing day, 2015. torrents of water smashed through hebden bridge with no respect for who, where or what they affected, nor indeed for the time of year. 12 months on and riverside school is receiving a visit from the children's laureate chris riddell, who has helped flooded communities before. sketching as we talk,
he says he is impressed with the attitude here. 0ne comes into the community and sees how resilient they have been in the face of some very testing and trying times, and the way that often brings communities together. the headteacher has been forced to add construction project manager to her skill set. it has been a long return to normal. the heating system is running, but not untiljust before easter. the children were fantastic. as were the parents. i emailed to ask them not to pull them out! some of the children saw damage both to their school and their home. everything was crashed and broken and we couldn't find any of our stuff and there was a massive canoe under our decking and we didn't know how that got there. it wasn't yours? no.
we look downstairs and it was one metre high. it was taking up a quarter of the staircase. an essential part of the recovery is prevention. at this book shop, a local mechanic has devised a way to keep the books high and hopefully dry. i absolutely think that we wouldn't have survived on our own. we just all pulled together, we genuinely did. hopefully it's all behind us. but it does feel like you're tempting fate to say that! whether you think flooding is caused by global warming or overdevelopment, one thing for certain — when it impacats a community like this, it's very much a human response. it is people that drag this town back up, that gets the businesses, schools and families back on their feet. the shops either side were flooded. the pub that we are walking towards was flooded. and that sense of resilience, stoicism and community,
that hebden bridge is renowned for, has been vital. the little things like none of the cash machines worked in town, so there was a regular series of somebody saying, well, i'll drive to the next town, i'll take a bunch of people, we can go to a cash machine and get some cash. when the flood sirens sounds, everybody stops and hopes not to be hit again, but if it does happen this place will deploy its best asset in the fightback, the town's people. i don't know about you, but i woke up i don't know about you, but i woke up to frost. we are going to go across for the weather. what's happened? yes, the weather is finally settling down. we have had gusts of over 90
mph across the far north of scotland earlier, but storm conor is now heading away to scandinavia. although it will be windy overnight, nothing like the strength of wind. further south, light winds and clear skies means dropping temperatures, with a widespread frost and some rural spots as low as minus two. one 01’ rural spots as low as minus two. one or two freezing fog patches. a bright, crisp and sunny day for most places. a fuse showers in the north—west highlands but a lot of dry weather even here. hopefully some sunshine and the wind is nowhere near as strong some sunshine and the wind is nowhere near 3s strong 3s some sunshine and the wind is nowhere near as strong as they have been. crisp, with temperatures around 4—6d. temperatures falling again in the afternoon with widespread frost. folk will be more ofan widespread frost. folk will be more of an issue towards the middle of the week and that will cause problems to travel. i will be back with more detail in half an hour.