this is bbc news — i'm simon mccoy. the headlines at 3pm: president putin says he will not expel anyone in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats out of the us for alleged hacking. mr putin also said that positive developments in relations between russia and the uk would be mutually beneficial. a postmortem examination into the cause of george michael's death had proved inconclusive. further tests will now be carried out. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the mao in oxfordshire injuring 17 people. clinging on for life — the only survivor of a boat that capsized off kent recounts his 11—hour ordeal. also in the next hour: the ceasefire in syria appears to be largely holding. there's been calm on the front lines, but there are reports of sporadic clashes and some air raids. and learner drivers could soon be allowed on motorways, in a move ministers hope will make roads safer. good afternoon and
welcome to bbc news. the russian president, vladimir putin has said that he won't expel any us diplomats from the country, in a surprise response to president obama's decision to order russian diplomats out of the us. mr obama, who's also imposing sanctions, had accused russia of interfering in the us presidential election. despite advice from his foreign minister, mr putin has decided not to retaliate — for now. mr putin also said that positive developments in relations between russia and the uk would be mutually beneficial. steve rosenberg reports from moscow. following accusations of cyber attacks on america, the us had expelled 35 russian diplomats. so, how would moscow respond? well, today, russia's foreign minister proposed tit—for—tat. he said he had asked president putin to expel 35 american diplomats. but the kremlin leader said no —
no americans would be expelled. he would wait to see what kind of policies donald trump pursued in the white house. that doesn't change what america's top intelligence agencies believe to be true; that state—sponsored hackers, backed by the highest levels of russian government, interfered in the us presidential election, with a cyber attack on the democratic party. the aim — to embarrass hillary clinton. was president putin behind it? washington suspects he was. last week, i got a chance to ask him myself. mr president, your country has been accused of state—sponsored hacking, with the aim of influencing the result of the us presidential election. and president obama revealed that he told you personally to cut it out. so what did you tell him in response? the kremlin leader refused to say,
dismissing all the talk of hacking as sour grapes from the democratic party. the losing side always tries to pass the buck, he said. but president obama had decided there was enough evidence to merit retaliation. as well as expelling diplomats, he ordered russian government compounds in new york and maryland to be shut down. us officials believe they were being used for intelligence. washington has announced sanctions against individuals too, including these men wanted by the fbi for cyber crimes. moscow is furious. today, prime minister dmitry medvedev posted this: the russian embassy in the uk had nothing good to say, either,
about president obama — "you're a lame duck" is the message from moscow. but very soon there will be a pro—moscow president in the white house, and judging by president putin's decision today — not to expel any americans — it could be that vladimir and donald will get along just fine. live to moscow — and our correspondent oleg boldyrev. what's the strategy here? sergey lavrov said he wanted to expel an vladimir putin said no, no retaliation. i think this was a little bit of political choreography. normally when expulsions are announced there is a short and definitive decision, 48 hours, 72 hours, off you go. i think here, the moscow political elite was
preparing public opinion for something that would follow this decision by vladimir putin. talking also about relations with the uk. how did that come about? this is just a regular celebratory address, oi’ just a regular celebratory address, or on the eve of russia new year celebrations that the russian president sends out. a pretty short address, which basically said improving relations between russia and uk would do good for both countries. i don't think i would be looking too much into anything particular stemming out of this pretty much ceremonial dress. even president putin's detractors may raise a smile at the thought he says he wants to invite the children of
american diplomats to a christmas party? yes. full of new year 's chair. i think even the observers who are pretty loyal to the kremlin know this is not some outburst of goodwill, this is just know this is not some outburst of goodwill, this isjust a calculation. i think russia wants to see something from donald trump, hopes to see something from donald trump. doesn't expect to see particular measures, but very much hopes donald trump will try and reverse the sanctions which have been just announced by barack obama. thank you. the results of an initial post mortem examination into the cause of george michael's death have been published this afternoon. richard lister is here with more details. what do they show? a fairly short statement from valley police saying the postmortem carrot examination was carried out yesterday. the cause of death is inconclusive and further
tests will be carried out. the results of these tests are likely to be known for several weeks, the statement continues. the police force is preparing a file for the oxfordshire coroner. thames valley police saying mr michael's death is still being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. you will recall he was found dead on christmas morning by his partner. at that stage, his manager said morning by his partner. at that stage, his managersaid it morning by his partner. at that stage, his manager said it seemed george michael had passed away peacefully and that heart failure was the likely cause of death, but it seems he was speculating. richard, thank you very much. 17 people have been injured after a coach veered off a motorway slip road and overturned in heavy fog in oxfordshire. the vehicle came off the m40 slip road near thame. the met office has issued a weather warning of fog across much of southern england and parts of wales and is advising drivers to take care. air traffic control restrictions imposed as a result are causing
delays and cancellations to flights to and from heathrow, gatwick and london city airport. helena lee reports. it was in the early hours of this morning in thick fog the coach veered off a slip road off the m40, before rolling into a ditch and on its side. its mangled remains and the damage done clear when it was turned back over. 16 passengers were on board, travelling from heathrow to oxford. remarkably, none were seriously injured but all were treated in hospital, some for broken bones, others for cuts and bruises. the bad weather made the recovery operation challenging. all three emergency services attended. with 17 people on board in total, very intensive for the paramedics and the ambulance crews that attended, assisted by fire and the police services, as well. obviously, probably a chaotic scene to start with and dense fog not helping that. the oxford bus company said the driver was very experienced and had been doing overnight shifts for a number of years.
now the coach has been taken away, the investigation turns to how it happened. was the thick fog to blame? and, why did the coach come off a junction earlier than it should have done? things are getting back to normal here, but driving conditions are still very challenging. the met office has issued a new fog warning extended until four o'clock this afternoon, because the fog took longer to live than expected and visibility in some places is less than 100 metres. also, if you're catching a plane today you may face delays. the only survivor of a boat that capsized off kent on tuesday has told how he clung on to the hull for 11 hours. one of his crewmates is feared drowned after he was swept away, while a second was rescued but later died. bryony mackenzie reports. this is the momentjohny ronsijns was rescued from the waters off ramsgate.
he was only spotted in first light, after clinging to the hull of his boat, that went down in a blink of an eye. translation: we capsized... one, two, three and that was it. one, two, three and no more — it was that fast. a fisherman for 36 years, he started in the industry aged just 14. those years of experience and knowledge helping him to survive the freezing conditions. translation: i was on top of the boat for 11 hours. it was freezing. my legs from here to my feet, they were blue. i didn't have any feeling in them. i kept my head warm by pulling my sweater over my head and blowing into it. i moved my hands, and if my hands got too cold, i peed on them. it was absolutely freezing. he last heard his fellow
fishermen while in the water. one later died in hospital, and the other is now presumed dead. translation: the worst thing is your colleagues who can't come with you, that's what's worse, for me, anyway. it's a lottery. i've got the main prize, and they've got nothing. despite this tragedy, he says he won't give up fishing. a nationwide ceasefire that came into effect overnight between the syrian government and rebel factions appears to be holding across most of the country, although some clashes have been reported. the deal was brokered by russia and turkey with the backing of iran in an attempt to end the civil war that began in 2011. the united states was not involved. that began in 2011. in the past few minutes the russian ambassador to the un has said a draft resolution to endorse the ceasefire has been circulated to the security council. here's richard galpin. this was the moment
when the tide of syria's devastating civil war turned. buses lined up earlier this month to evacuate thousands of rebel fighters, defeated in their key stronghold in aleppo. a huge blow to the opposition movement, leaving the syrian regime in a commanding position. and giving the regime an opportunity to negotiate a ceasefire from a position of strength. translation: this reflects the reality that after aleppo's liberation the situation is now different. there is a real opportunity to reach a political solution for the crisis in syria that ends the bloodshed and establishes the roots for the future of the country. but it is syria's key ally, russia, which is leading this push for an end to the five—year civil war. a chance for president putin to portray himself as a peacemaker, although he admits the ceasefire is fragile. and already some rebel
groups are disputing the terms of the truce. osama abu zeid of the free syrian alliance insisting that the ceasefire applies to the whole country and all rebel groups, including islamist extremists, which the syrian army says it will continue to target. two ceasefires agreed by russia and the united states earlier this year did fall apart quickly. but this time the americans and other western powers have been completely excluded, with russia working instead with turkey and iran. and so far this latest ceasefire has held in many parts of the country, although there have been some government air strikes. and clashes on the ground. this lull a welcome respite for a country, so much of which has already been destroyed. richard galpin, bbc news.
the headlines on bbc news: president putin says he will not expel anyone in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats out of the us for alleged hacking. a post—mortem examination into the cause of george michael's death had proved "inconclusive" — further tests will now be carried out. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the m40 in oxfordshire injuring seventeen people. the ftse 100 has ended the year at a new all—time high. the benchmark index closed at 7,142 points, marginally beating the previous record, set yesterday. the sharp fall in sterling, following the brexit vote, has boosted ftse companies, which are largely global firms that generate much of their revenue in dollars. our business correspondent joe lynam is here. that is the main reason? yes. let's
start with the ftse 100, it is an index, a basket of the 100 largest companies quoted on the london stock exchange. not on a currency basis but on a number. the number is 7142, up but on a number. the number is 7142, up on the number one year ago 7%. including it in that basket are disparate companies. over the last year, disparate companies. over the last yea r, let's disparate companies. over the last year, let's strip brexit out for a bit. we've had an unbelievable surge in what are called extraction companies, companies that drill or grab stuff, natural resources, out of the earth. they have had an unbelievable year. if you are a mining company, you are up on average 100% over the last year. anglo—american are up i84% over the last year. that will skew the number and most of their revenue, because most of the drilling doesn't happen in the united kingdom but in far—flung places and they are paid
in us dollars. the pound is i4% wea ker in us dollars. the pound is i4% weaker against the us dollar, so it is earning i4% more on average in currency terms than it was since the brexit vote. ourfirst currency terms than it was since the brexit vote. our first reference to brexit. a lot of the domestically focused uk companies also in the ftse 100 focused uk companies also in the ftse1oo have had a very bad year. the banks have had a very bad year. easyj et the banks have had a very bad year. easyjet hasn't had a good year, the owner of british airways hasn't had a great year. but the mining companies have buoyed the ftse so the overall picture looks like the uk economy is doing really well, whereas one major sector has done very well. with this post brexit focus on the city of london and its role in business... how important is it that the ftse is still seen as an important benchmark? it is a benchmark but a benchmark for the world. the ftse1oo is of benchmark
for companies here, many of whom do their business outside the uk. a wider indexes the ftse 250, smaller listed companies in the uk. if you area listed companies in the uk. if you are a privately owned company that isa are a privately owned company that is a different matter. the ftse 250 is a different matter. the ftse 250 is up 3.7% this year, better than interest rates on gdp but considerably less than the rise in the ftse 100. considerably less than the rise in the ftse100. the ftse 250 is a better guide to the health of the uk economy. many people surprised it is up economy. many people surprised it is up at all, given there was so much fear surrounding the brexit vote. yes, including the previous chancellor and bank of england. many thought there would be a major sell—off post brexit. sometimes investors make jerk reactions down and then think, what will this really m ea n and then think, what will this really mean for our business? just focus on our business and it could be good for them. individuals may say if you are extracting oil or taking out iron ore or what ever it is, you are going to have a much better year than other companies more domestically focused, including
retail. thank you. learner drivers in britain will be allowed on to motorways for the first time, if new government plans are approved. the lessons will not be compulsory and driving instructors will decide when their students are ready. ministers hope the move will make roads in britain safer. sangita myska reports. britain's road network is amongst the safest in europe and today's proposed changes to both driver and motorcyclist training aims to build on that record. under the plans, for the first time, learner drivers will be able to have lessons on motorways, but there are caveats. learners would have to be accompanied by an approved instructor. the lessons would be voluntary and the instructor would decide if learners are ready. any proposed change to the law would be well publicised. at the moment you can't learn on the motorway until you have passed your driving test. there's a very small take—up which means that people learning by trial and error afterwards. much better that they get taught properly right at the outset and encouraged actually to make long journeys using the motorways rather than other roads.
novice motorcyclists would face changes too. they would have to take a theory test online and those holding a provisional licence could have their compulsory basic training certificate revoked if they accrue more than six penalty points. the proposals also include a trial of target number of hours of lessons for all learner drivers before they take their tests. the government stresses that there are no plans to make any target compulsory. sangita myska, bbc news. people in india have until the end of the day to hand—in high denomination bank notes which are being taken out of circulation. last month, the government surprised the country by announcing it was withdrawing the two most popular bank notes which account for more than 80% of all cash. the move was designed to tackle corruption and tax evasion — but it has caused widespread chaos. yogita limaye reports from mumbai. this workshop used to be a hive of activity.
at least 20 people worked here, making hundreds of leather wallets and purses every week. now there are just four. after the government withdrew most of india's banknotes in november, work has almost come to a standstill. translation: i need cash to pay my workers and to buy raw material. no one accepts cheques. we don't have the means to make digital payments, nor do the people we purchase goods from. we cannot operate without cash. most of my workers have left and i don't have any orders, either. some businesses have simply had to close down. this is another unit that used to make leather goods. behind me is a row of factories, all closed, some of which used to make things like clothes. india's informal sector industry sector is most heavily dependent on cash. job losses have been mounting. workers who travel
from india's villages to its cities to earn a living have been heading back home. employers don't have cash to pay them, but there is also less work because consumers are cutting down on purchases. the pace at which new banknotes are being introduced is slow, atms run out of cash and many banks have queues outside. the government says it is cleaning up the economy, but almost two months after the announcement, people are divided. if one plans one's expenditure well, it doesn't really matter. initially, when it started off, i thought it was a really good idea. but what i feel could have been done better, was the fact it could have been planned out a little better. i feel like there was a lot of chaos and you can see it everywhere, notjust in one or two classes, everyone is affected in their own way. those worst affected are those at the bottom of india's economic ladder, those who cannot afford
to go even a day without a job. theresa may has criticised president obama's policy on israel, after the us administration described the government injerusalem as the "most right wing" in the country's history. downing street said the comments were inappropriate. our political correspondent, chris mason, said it's a row that number 10 didn't need to get involved in, but felt that it should. it's criticised the pretty barbed language of the obama administration not once but twice. firstly on the language around the description of the government in israel. on the issue of settlements in the occupied palestinian territories it said yes, it believed they were illegal but john kerry's focus on this one issue ina john kerry's focus on this one issue in a deeply complex dispute was not the way to negotiate peace. that reference tojohn kerry's speech, the outgoing secretary of state the other day. those remarks from
downing street have now been criticised by a senior conservative on preston brown. the state department in washington said it is surprised. so why are they doing it? firstly it is their view, but secondly, diplomatically it's useful for theresa may to align herself relatively close to donald trump, given in three weeks' time he will be president. police have confirmed that the body found in a car on the outskirts of rio dejaneiro is that of the greek ambassador to brazil, kyriakos amiridis. mr amiridis was last seen on monday evening. the car he'd rented was found burnt—out on one of the main roads to rio. according to local reports, investigators believe he was murdered and they have requested the detention of four people, including his wife. the billionaire philanthropist bill gates has warned that the world's health systems would struggle to cope with a majorflu epidemic. mr gates said the recent ebola and zika outbreaks showed the world was slow to respond to health emergencies. he said that complex regulations and lack of organisation meant drug
companies took too long to produce vaccines. national parks in england have lost a quarter of their government funding in the past five years, according to research by the press association. campaigners warn it could threaten the areas for future generations, but the government says their budgets are protected until 2020. clare fallon reports. with stunning scenery and rare wildlife, 19 million people visit them every year, but england's national parks have had their funding cut in recent times, down by a quarter since 2010. areas loved by many and described by the government as "national treasures" simply aren't getting the cash they used to. figures show the grants given to nine out of ten national parks in england have been shrinking, reduced by more than £10 with inflation factored in, that's a real—terms cut of up to 40%. in a statement, the department for environment, food and rural affairs says: there are efforts to bring in more
money by bringing in more visitors. there is a government plan for encouraging school trips and overseas tourists. campaigners, though, point to information centres closing, bus services being axed and staff cuts in some national parks. they say there will need to be more cash so the beauty of the parks can be enjoyed by generations to come. newly released government files reveal that guards at the faslane naval base were ordered to shoot suspected intruders on site, after three people broke into a nuclear submarine. the prime minister at the time, margaret thatcher said she was "horrified" that the intruders had succeeded. nick higham reports. faslane, home to britain's nuclear submarines and one of the most secure military establishments in britain. or so you would think.
yet in october 1983, three anti—nuclear demonstrators broke into the base at night and got aboard a nuclear sub. documents released at the national archives show the prime minister was appalled. when mrs thatcher was first told of the security breach, the thing that evidently horrified her most was that the intruders had managed to get into the control room of a polaris submarine. her adviser charles powell wrote, "had there been armed terrorist the consequences would have been incalculable". and mrs thatcher herself noted at the top of the page, "i am utterly horrified. we could all have been put in grave danger." polaris was the forerunner of today's trident. the vessel was hms repulse. this is me. philjones, then a young peace activist, was one of the demonstrators. he says they were astonished at how easy it was, and shocked. when the commander of the submarine came into the control room,
and he was shouting at us, "who the f are you? who the f are you?" over and over again. we were shouting back at him. "this is outrageous, we could have been the ira", because they were still active. the files show staggering security failures starting with the perimeter fence. the alarms had been switched off. as a result of the incident, royal marine sentries were given orders to shoot anyone suspected of trying to damage the sub, but it didn't stop the same thing happening again at least twice — once in 2002, once in 2014. time for a look at the weather. chris fawkes has the latest rather chilly forecast. we could get patches of frost in central and eastern areas of england but otherwise things turning milder. the thing we should pay attention to overnight is the potential disruption of fog. the fog will
continue to affect the midlands, central and southern england, anywhere from east anglia. as the night goes by, the worst of the visibility will become confined to easternmost areas of east anglia and south—east england. nonetheless, the risk of some localised transport disruption and some localised problems. in scotland and northern ireland a mild night, temperatures in double figures, and then this band of rain. tomorrow this rain area will sink slowly southwards. eventually it will turn wet in scotla nd eventually it will turn wet in scotland and the central belt, england and largely dry. largely fast forward to midnight and if you are out celebrating you might get some rain for northern england and wales. cold air moving in across the north, golden enough for some snow showers across the hills of northern scotla nd showers across the hills of northern scotland for hogmanay. —— cold enough. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines... president putin says he will resist
calls to retaliate against america's expulsion of 35 russian diplomats. the us has accused the kremlin of hacking the emails of senior democrats and then publishing them during the american presidential campaign. he also said that positive development between russia and in the uk would be mutually beneficial. a postmortem into the death of george michael has proved inconclusive. the singer was found deadin inconclusive. the singer was found dead in his home on christmas day. a nationwide ceasefire appears to be largely holding in syria, although some clashes have been reported. islamic state fighters and militants linked to al qaeda are not part of the deal. the only survivor of a boat that capsized off kent on tuesday has told how he clung on to the hull for 11 hours. one of his crewmates is feared drowned after he was swept away, while a second was rescued but later died. the government is considering plans
to allow learner drivers to drive on the motorway, they will be given access during lessons as part of plans to improve road safety. times of the sport. tim hague. thank you very much. andy murray, the world number one, started his new season with a surprise defeat in the semifinals of the world tennis championships in abu dhabi. the scotsman had not conceded a set previously but the run was broken, murray then look like regaining control when he led 4—2 in the second but his opponent produced great tennis to break andy murray twice and win four games in a row to ta ke twice and win four games in a row to take the match 7—6, 6—4. george norton will return for northampton saints in their premiership match at gloucester on sunday, the first game for the welshman since suffering a head injury against leicester, his
fifth concussion in two years, including two in the match on your screen now, between england and wales and fabric 2015, a review board said that he should not continue to play against leicester, but they did not sanction northlands. anthony watson will also be back in his first appearance in three months after being named on the bench ahead of the match against exeter tomorrow, watson broke his jaw in training camp in october but is now on course jaw in training camp in october but is now on course to jaw in training camp in october but is now on course to return for the six nations. hull city manager, m phelan, says 2016 has lived up to expectations, being turbulent and difficult, they are bottom of the lead going into the match with everton tonight. we are open and honest, the players at this football clu b honest, the players at this football club understand that we need to do better when it comes to trying to wina better when it comes to trying to win a football match. i think that what they have shown is a great appetite, a great passion for their play in the premier league, it is
difficult for them, but i don't think for one instant they have dropped away from the challenge. i think they are all ready and willing to ta ke think they are all ready and willing to take it on again in the new year. it isa to take it on again in the new year. it is a difficult one. they lost our way to west ham, 0— one, but they we re way to west ham, 0— one, but they were the better team, they hit the post for a five times, that means that, don't focus of positions in the table, it is a tough one, a difficult one, and we must be at our best to get a good result. middlesbrough play manchester united tomorrow it will be a first return tomorrow it will be a first return to old trafford for the brazilian defender, fabio da silva. he and his twin brother, raphael, played under sir alex ferguson, winning the premier league title three times, the brothers spoke to our reporter about the kind of reception he expect. it is hard. ithink about the kind of reception he expect. it is hard. i think about in my head how it is going to be, but
there are a thousand things in my head, like, how will it be? how will be the reaction? but i think it will be the reaction? but i think it will be nice. it might even be stranger for you, raphael be nice. it might even be stranger foryou, raphaeljacquelin be nice. it might even be stranger for you, raphaeljacquelin deciding who to support? well, i love all the supporters but i must support my brother this time. so to be absolutely clear, you will be supporting middlesbrough?” absolutely clear, you will be supporting middlesbrough? i support my brother. i want him to win. sol will be supporting middlesbrough. you can see more of that interview on football focus tomorrow at 12 p-m-, on football focus tomorrow at 12 p.m., bbc one. stuart broad took an early wicket for his australian big bash aside, hobart hurricanes, but they still lost against the brisbane heat by seven wickets. he removed
the opener, jimmy pearson, forjust a single, as brisbane made a poor start in their pursuit of hundred and 74. but after that, brandon mccollum, former new zealand captain, making light work of the run chase. look at that six. brisbane cruised to victory with 22 balls to spare. that is all the sport for now. i shall have more in the next hour. president putin says he will resist calls to retaliate against america's expulsion of 35 russian diplomats. he had been advised to order the same number of us officials to leave — but insists russia won't "stoop" to that level. the us has accused moscow of hacking democratic emails during the presidential campaign. our diplomatic correspondent jonathan marcus is here. in terms of the pr war, vladimir putin appears to be winning, with this. he is winning hands down. consistently. whether it is
relations with the west, syria, ukraine, he plays a very limited hand a very skilfully indeed. this idea that he has restrained himself from responding is a complete load of tosh, it has been carefully... that is rather undiplomatic language, if you excuse me. why? it is choreographed magnanimity, designed to make it sound like the russians were on the brink of taking this action and vladimir putin himself magnanimously stayed his hand. the fundamental point is that it is a huge put down to the president obama administration, he is essentially saying, you are a lame duck, we don't even care what you do, you are a relevance, we will not respond, although he has left the possibility of responding at some point in the future, but he has passed the buck to president—elect donald trump, when he enters office onjanuary 20, he has a huge task before him, by then presumably he will have been briefed and seen in detail the
evidence that the american security services claim to have, and he will have to decide, how is he going to set out his stall in terms of policy toward moscow? vladimir putin clearly hopes that it will be a different tact. we will need to see, once donald trump has seen the evidence, and remember that there is huge pressure from capitol hill, where most senators and congressmen doindeed where most senators and congressmen do indeed seem to believe their own intelligence agencies, so there will be conflicted pressures and mr trump, a very early test of his foreign policy. but the expulsion of russian diplomats should not be taken lightly. in the diplomatic world it isa lightly. in the diplomatic world it is a big deal. a very big deal. an even bigger deal, frankly, is a country allegedly interfering in the democratic process of another country... which the americans claim. they claim. they had say they are published on the evidence, you are either so cynical you assume they
are making top, or that if they are going to these lengths, there might be something behind it, but remember that this is not an isolated action, we know that there is a concerted information war being waged by russia, and its various information agencies so on, we know that this battle of the narratives, if you like, has gone on, and we know full well from what we see in syria and ukraine and so on that very often the russians is a black when the reality is white, those are facts, not mejust reality is white, those are facts, not me just making it reality is white, those are facts, not mejust making it up, we know that russian troops were fighting in eastern ukraine, we know that the russians drop bombs indiscriminately on civilian areas, these are testa ble on civilian areas, these are testable fact is that independent groups, who monitor these things, have provided, the evidence, the physical evidence for. so the weight of the argument is not perhaps as it appears, this battle in the
tit—for—tat information realm seems to be one that the russians are winning. they say it is president obama tried to wrong—foot his successor, nothing to wrong—foot his successor, nothing to do with us, guv. that would be extraordinary. whatever one thinks of president obama or the american system, it is a democracy, donald trump has been elected, there are clearly many people, president obama amongst them, don't see it as a positive thing, but everything we have seen from up till now between the interactions of president obama donald trump, the personal interactions and so on, is a president that is at least going through the motions of an orderly handover and transition of power, i think, for the russians to simply, you know, cast this is a little bit of petty internal american politics is, is curious. i mean, the fact remains that we have still not seen all the evidence, maybe once we see it many people will remain sceptical, but i think we should, you know, stick to the central
issue, which is, if, the russians, as the americans claim, and they say they have evidence for it, have intruded into the electoral space of a western democratic country, that is extremely worrying, and we know already in the wake of what has happened with america, we know that the french security services, the german security services, have all expressed themselves concerned about what might be in store during their election campaigns in the coming year, so it sounds as though it is something more than just a figment of the imagination of president obama, ora of the imagination of president obama, or a petty attempt, as russia claims it is, to try to clear the pitch for mr trump before he enters the white house. opposition parties at the northern ireland assembly or renewing the call for arlene foster to resign because of a massive overspend on an energy scheme she supported in which companies got incentives for energy—efficient heating and it is now expected to go at £490 million over budget in the next 20 years,
our correspondent gave us over budget in the next 20 years, our correspondent gave us the latest, arlene foster was in the firing line because she was the stormont enterprise minister at the time and is now widely discredited energy scheme time and is now widely discredited energy scheme was time and is now widely discredited energy scheme was set up, back in 2012, it was called the renewable heat incentive, the idea was to encourage people to switch to environmentally friendly fuels, but paid out more in subsidies than the cost of fuel, for every £1 of fuel somebody burned they got £1 60 back from the public purse, initially there was no upper limit on the amount which could be claimed, all that amounted to a huge overspend now estimated to run to £490 million. over the next tw enty before christmas arlene foster faced a vote of no—confidence in the northern ireland assembly, she survived it, but there has been no letu p survived it, but there has been no letup in the pressure from opposition parties over the christmas holidays, this development has come today, on christmas eve a newspaper reported that arlene
foster, when she was enterprise minister three years ago, when the department of enterprise was running the scheme, she wrote to banks about the scheme, she wrote to banks about the scheme, she wrote to banks about the scheme, now today the stormont department of the economy has released that correspondent, this is it, and this is a letterjust before christmas arlene foster faced a vote of no confidence in the northern ireland assembly, she survived it, but there has been no letup in the pressure from opposition parties over the christmas holidays, this development has come today, on christmas eve a newspaper reported that arlene foster, when she was enterprise minister three years ago, when the department of enterprise was running the scheme, she wrote to banks about the scheme, now today the stormont department of the economy has released that correspondent, this is it, this is a letter from arlene foster to bank chiefs back in 2013 in which she
says, that she wanted to encourage banks to look favourably on approaches from businesses who were seeking finance to install renewable technologies and she went on to say that government support was reliable, long—term, offering a good return on investment, now, the leader of the biggest opposition party in stormont, mike nesbitt, the ulster unionist party, says that this shows that mrs foster was across this shows that mrs foster was a cross every this shows that mrs foster was across every detail of the scheme, he has repeated his call for her to the main nationalist opposition party, sdlp, say she should stand aside pending a public enquiry, throughout this whole affair she has made clear she has no intention of going anywhere, in the last few minutes, simon, stormont has released a statement, saying that you have to see this letter basically in context, but at the time mrs foster wrote to the banks the uptake on the scheme was actually very slow and she was trying to encourage people to take it up and the floors in the scheme which are now very apparent were not then obvious at all, so it is not then obvious at all, so it is not the development in this story, a saga that has put the power—sharing coalition between the democratic unionists and sinn fein under strain, and in the new year when the assembly returns we will see plenty more on this. . a study has found that people on zero hours contracts earn an average of 1,000 pounds a year less than other workers doing the same job. around 900—thousand people are on zero hours contracts which demand that they be available
at any time, but do not guarantee work. the think tank behind the research, the resolution foundation, says even when it's taken into account many such jobs are low—skilled, these workers are suffering a pay penalty of seven percent. the polish government has bought a huge private art collection for a fraction of its value of $2 billion including a portrait by leonardo da vinci but thethe polish government has bought a huge private art collection for a fraction of its value of $2 billion including a portrait by leonardo da vinci but of only four mac portraits of women by the italian master. it alone is insured for 331 million euros. it is one of the pieces in the charter risky foundation collection, the treasure trove consists of around 86 objects, and also includes a rembrandt. it has been housed in the foundation museum in crack of, which is currently being refurbished. now, the polish government has amended its budget to raise 1oo the polish government has amended its budget to raise 100 million euros to buy it, although it is thought to be worth 2 billion euros. the foundation president, adam charter risky, said he felt like making a donation. it seems that the government has got a good deal. this collection, which was in polish hearts, is now the property of the polish nation. the foundation
collection, which is housed in crack of, and any future works of art claims, now belong to the polish nation. but the sale, at a fraction of its worth, has not gone down so well with the foundation's board. it has resigned over the bargain price, saying it was not consulted, but others see the purchase is a precious legacy for the future of poland. the headlines on bbc news at exactly quarter to four: president vladimir putin says he will not expel anyone in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats out of the us for alleged hacking, a postmortem examination into the cause of the death of george michael has proved inconclusive, further tests will now be carried out, drivers are told to ta ke be carried out, drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions as a coach overturns in the 40 in oxfordshire injuring 17 people. people in the uk are expected to have used around 300 thousand tonnes of card during the festive season including packaging
and christmas cards. the government—funded charity wrap says this causes all kinds of recycling problems, and people are confused about what can — and can't — be recycled. sean farrington, has been to a recycling plant in the west midlands to investigate. soi so i also in the west midlands, at birth is recycling factory, they have still got all that to go through, or more, it is not gone down at all, because it is the busiest time of year, you got all this kind of stuff, cards, giftwrapping, glitter does not help either, that it has got to do, and thatis either, that it has got to do, and that is why these pickers are sorting through everything because the waste that comes here is all in one, it is people's recycling all
in one basket, so the plastics, the tins, the paper, gets split here, not at home, people might more familiar with that, that is why, you still end up with... what makes it awkward, you still end up with dvd players, hairdryers, getting in here, that is why the machine we cannot do it all on its own, let's talk to a couple of people who know a little bit why this is happening here. you represent the packaging industry. how much of this year is because of the amount of packaging that your members use when customers buy certain products? well, the packaging that you see here has arisen because consumers have bought products that have do have packaging around them in orderfor the product to arrive fit for purpose that it was intended. so in that since you can say that our members are responsible for it, but they actually save waste by avoiding the product twice. margaret, you are a professor in sustainable waste management, do you think the packaging industry can do more?” think the packaging industry does a lot but maybe if people change their behaviour they would be incentivised
to do more. there are lots of schemes we have talked about, people have talked about extending producer responsibility, where the producer's waste materials might fund their collection and then be incentivised to produce less. is that a bit of an issue? where do the incentives, for people tend to be the right stuff in the right beans to get customers buying the right products with maybe not as much packaging as they might wa nt not as much packaging as they might want to? remember that the products which are put on the shelves are done so because consumers buy them and therefore manufacturers will a lwa ys and therefore manufacturers will always produce the product at a consumer wants, but a majority of packaging is certainly from packaging is certainly from packaging these days, has got information on it, so that consumers can see how to use less packaging are all they're all about the... ? see how to use less packaging are all they're all about the. . . ? people wa nt all they're all about the. . . ? people want to do the right thing but they are not clear what it is. so we get really quite recycling rates considering that actually for most householders there is no benefit.
thank you very much. there are still loads of wrapping paper, shiny wrapping paper, going through here, these guys are working pretty hard this morning. hospitals these days are full of high tech equipment to treat people who are ill, but could they also benefit from something as simple as a visit form a pet? senior nurses are calling today for much more use of animals to help patients. holly hamilton has been to southampton hospital to see how one dog is making a difference. good, lad. meet leo. he is a volunteer here at southampton general hospital and a very popular one at that. oh, yes. he says hello. he and his handler, lindsey, have been delivering therapy to patients and their families for the last four years. a dog in a hospital environment is an incredible social lubricant so you end up talking to people you would never ever talk to in a normal course of the day. it is a partnership. nobody would be interested in me coming alone and he cannot drive a car.
we come together and it is a privilege for me to have a dog who can come and do this. hang on. from lowering blood pressure to reducing anxiety and stress the benefits of animal assisted therapy have been documented. bringing a smile to the face of this 4—year old child is enough. we were told he had a condition that was permanent brain damage and we probably would not expect much more than what we had then, which was a little bit of eye movement. but when they introduced leo and he smiled for the first time, didn't he? it is a medicine in its own right. as soon as you tell oscar that leo is coming, he brightens up and he smiles and it is nice to see. one of leo's first patients here was alice. when she was initially diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer she refused to leave her bedroom. and then she met leo. took a picture of leo and took it
to show her and i said look, the next time, if you want to see leo you have to come out of your room and she did. it was lovely. he has been in ourjourney for four years, almost. it was nice to have a dog in the hospital. how does it help you? it's a bit of normality. we have dogs at home ourselves so having one in hospital is nice. he is nice to cuddle. and it is notjust dogs. in a survey, over 50% of nurses said they had worked with animals and nearly all of them agreed it was a benefit to the patient. despite that, almost 25% said no animals were allowed at their place of work. the connection that people have with animals can be far more profound than it is with the doctors and nurses and their parents or the people who love them. as a nurse and as a human being i think we have to think about what else can we do that would make a difference to helping people to get well. or if they do not get well,
make their day better. some people may have some reservations. it is important that there are rules and regulations around how it works. i have been here all morning watching the way that the children here have reacted to leo and to lindsey and it has made their day. it has made those people's day. say cheese! some argue that this type of treatment is simply a temporary fix. but leo's patients are happy for him to keep coming back. for fans of the world's only consulting detective the wait is nearly over. the new series of sherlock begins on new year's day. details and plot lines have been kept a closely guarded secret, but the show‘s writers have described this fourth series as the darkest yet. tim muffett has been to meet the star of the show benedict cumberbatch to see if he can squeeze out any more information.
lovely to see you. nice to see you too. i am sure there are many things you can not tell us about this new series. almost everything. what can you tell us? i am in a new series, series four of sherlock. it is exciting and it has been fantastically challenging and new and that is the thing that keeps us coming back for more. your demons have been waiting for a very long time. when you see a sherlock script for the first time, what happens? firstly you are amazed at the imagination and the work that has gone into this. and then you start picking out the details that relate to the original stories and then just beautiful character arcs. a screaming demanding baby, waking up at all hours. to obey his every whim. it must be very different. sorry, what? all you do is clean up their mess, pat them on the head. are you two joking?
so much has changed since you began this. social media was around but not as big as it is now. today we have been seen the scene outside and there are crowds who were tweeting about it. how does that affect production? what we use as baker street is peculiar because there is excitement and expectation and if you raise an eyebrow you get a cheer. you also have to complete a day's filming and they are respectful about that. they don't want to be an obstacle to what they eventually enjoy so much. does it put you off your character at all? no, no. it could be a lot harder. you have to go pretty far to upset that character. they are incredibly loyal. what is the very worst thing you can do to your very best friends? tell them your darkest secrets. i don't think some people realise how big globally sherlock is including us. it is everywhere i go.
i am shocked. we were in nepal, i thought i would find a few people who had seen it. it was crazy. the second or third day when they realised that it wasn't christian bale or someone else behind the mask, there werejust hundreds of people sort of chanting "sherlock!" i'm always astonished. what is the most unusual place you have been spotted as sherlock? that would have to be one of them. visiting a tibetan buddhist. it was bizarre. very important figure. we were the ones who were the privileged audience and he was acting as if he was privileged. it was very weird. she is better at this than you are. i texted her. she is a retired superagent with terrifying skills. of course she's better. it's phenomenal. this programme seems to go everywhere and i am thrilled about that.
the stories, they had a massive worldwide audience, the original books. i guess it is an extension of that but within modern media. so... yeah. the headlines at 4pm very shortly, but first, the weather. thank you, fog has been causing problems again across central and eastern england in particular, where it is at the worst, but for the next 48 hours this weather front will move south, introducing cold, cleaner air, getting rid of fog as well, with rain in the mix as well, it has been a great day for many but not for all, there has been sunshine, a weather watcher in northamptonshire captured that but for many it has looked more like this, really thick fog in places, pretty slow on the roads, delays at
some of the airport, and we will keep that dense fog overnight tonight and tomorrow morning, bbc local radio should keep you up—to—date if you have travel plans, the focus bolelli at its thickest across the south—east of england, overnight tonight, here it is really quite cold as well, by dawn we have got temperatures roundabout two, three degrees, maybe even a bit lower, but with a south—westerly breeze across northern ireland and scotland will keep the tempters up quite nicely overnight, nine or 10 degrees, but there will be rain in northern scotland. morning, patches of fog linger on into light morning, i suspect, maybe the afternoon, a bit ofa suspect, maybe the afternoon, a bit of a grey look to things, the southern half of the uk, if not foggy. southern half of the uk, if not foggy, pretty cloudy, but across some parts of northern england we will see something a little bit brighter at least for a time of the morning, up into scotland, we have got a weather front, in the north—west, rainfall totals toting up north—west, rainfall totals toting up because it is quite slow moving it is dry, fairly mild cloudy start, the weather front is slow to
work its way southward, but it will do, it will eventually creep its way to northern ireland and get to do central lowlands of scotland by the afternoon, head of that, england and wales, pretty great many areas, it would sunshine, maybe north wales, some parts of northern england into the afternoon, but the south—westerly breeze across england and wales, not so cold, eight, nine, or1o and wales, not so cold, eight, nine, or 10 degrees. through the evening the weather front will finally click away from southern scotland anchor away from southern scotland anchor away from southern scotland anchor away from northern ireland to be around midnight but it stuck across northern england at the turn of wales, as the fireworks go off, and that the country, it is could be pretty well, actually, some parts of northern england and wales, southeast, likely dry, a lot of the mall, behind a weather front, southeast, likely dry, a lot of the mall, behind a weatherfront, things are turning cold, yes, snow showers are turning cold, yes, snow showers are coming into northern scotland, ona are coming into northern scotland, on a cold, arctic wind, south, through the day on new year's day. pushing this area of
rain, ever southward, year's day. pushing this area of rain, eversouthward, but it year's day. pushing this area of rain, ever southward, but it may well get stuck across east anglia, the south—east, into the afternoon, of new year's day, so a bit of a dull and that the failure, elsewhere, a shower or two, but notably, that bit colder, four, 5 degrees, but you must factor in the wind coming down from the north, it will feel even colder than that. a cold start to 2017. this is bbc news — i'm annita mcveigh. the headlines at 4pm: president putin says he will not expel anyone in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats out of the us for alleged hacking. mr putin also said that positive developments in relations between russia and the uk would be mutually beneficial. a post—mortem examination into the cause of george michael's death has proved "inconclusive" — further tests will now be carried out. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the m40 in oxfordshire injuring 17 people. clinging on for life — the only survivor of a boat that capsized off kent recounts his 11—hour ordeal.