welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm duncan golestani. the east coast of north america is shivering in a record—breaking freeze. it comes after a massive snow storm that reached as far south as florida. in parts of the us, temperatures are forecast to fall below minus 30 degrees celsius. the extreme weather has so far been linked to up to 19 deaths in the us and two more in canada. andrew plant reports. a new year, a new low for north america's east coast, bracing itself against subzero temperatures and several inches of snow. it is those who live outside who are now the most vulnerable to a weather event exceptionally rare. in chicago, the thermometers are still falling. those on the streets, encouraged to come inside. in boston, homeless shelters are bringing in more emergency beds, as dozens flee from the biting cold. and in washington, dc, as volunteers serve hot meals to the homeless here, the fear is that the frozen ground and the forecast for record lows this weekend could become a lethal combination. i don't know that we have recorded any deaths based on the weather yet,
but i think it's entirely possible, so we're trying to help in whatever way we can, which is opening the centre between meals, we have warm clothing available for people who need it, and providing hot meals to people when they come in here. but after years of living outside, some still say they'll stay away from the homeless shelters. people in the neighbourhood have been looking out for us. they are totally looking out for us. socks, sweatpants, i mean, more than we even need! the mass of low pressure is moving north up north america's atlantic coast, leaving heavy snowfall behind, and the possibility of temperatures as low as —30 celsius. much colder, though, in the fierce winds. cars and homes already frozen in floodwater. even large bodies of water are now pale and still.
in cities like new york, road salt has helped get traffic moving. but in rural areas, the problems will persist even longer. so far, at least 19 people have died. temperatures could return to normal next week as the storm moves further north through canada, but millions here must get safely through this record cold spell first. andrew plant, bbc news. reports from syria say 17 people have been killed in airstrikes in rebel held eastern ghouta. the british—based syrian observatory for human rights? says another 60 people were wounded in the besieged rebel stronghold, close to the capital damascus. more strikes in this area and in the rebel held, northern province of idlib have been reported by aid workers. they say ten hospitals have been hit by syrian government and russian bombers over the last ten days. this report from our middle east regional editor, alan johnston. the race through the smashed streets, the dash into a ruined building. for the rescue workers, after the bombs fall, the routine is all too familiar here in the rebel—held enclave of eastern ghouta. higher up, people emerge
from what might be a flat. perhaps they were at home when the bomb crashed down. the cries of shock and horror at it all echo through the wreckage. the injured are gathered up, but there have been reports of deaths, too, on this day of many airstrikes in the enclave. translation: we have received more than 50 people today in the emergency department because of the massacre. we documented ten victims, and we have three others who are severely wounded and may die at any moment. aid workers say ten hospitals have been hit in recent days, in ghouta, and here in the rebel—held province of idlib. eastern ghouta lies on the edge of damascus. from here, rebels can fire into the capital. government forces have had this area under siege for years. people here come under attack almost daily. there is every danger that tomorrow
there will be more of the same. president trump has hit back at the author of a book which claims that his administration is chaotic, and he is mentally unfit to be the president. in a tweet, mr trump called himself a very stable genius and speaking at a news conference in camp david where he had been discussing his policies for the coming year, the president criticised the journalist michael wolff as a fraud. he said the book, fire and fury, was made up, and he rejected the author's claim that he had enjoyed unparalleled access to the centre of power. stay with us here on bbc news. still to come: from moscow to bethlehem and beyond, orthodox christians are beginning their celebrations of the eastern christmas.
an ambulance service has apologised to the family of a pensioner who died after waiting nearly four hours for help to arrive. the 81—year—old woman had rung 999 complaining of chest pain. the east of england service said it was stretched, and had warned of the pressures its staff and the nhs were facing. our correspondent, sarah campbell, reports from clacton in essex. we don't know the name of the woman who died, but we do know some of the details of her tragic death. she rang 999 on tuesday evening, and waited and waited. after around an hour and a half, the ambulance service did ring her, but it wasn't for a further two hours before a crew finally arrived. they had to break into her house. they found her unconscious, not breathing, and she couldn't be saved. the paramedics who found her are said be devastated. sirens. the period over new year was, according to the local ambulance service here in essex, the busiest ever. on the day in question, they received more than 4,000 999 calls, far more than usual.
a statement in response to the death of the 81—year—old woman said: here in clacton, the local mp is demanding answers. i'm furious. it shouldn't happen. we need an inquiry, we need to get to the bottom of it and find out what happened, and make sure that it never happens to anybody again. and is the government doing enough, your government? we'll find out when we have that inquiry. this is the second death in recent days which has been linked to an overstretched service. 88—year—old josephine smalley died following a seven—hour wait for a bed at the queen alexandra hospital in portsmouth. in recent days, the health secretary and the prime minister have both apologised to patients after thousands of non—urgent operations were cancelled. the health service is pointing to a combination of winter flu and cold weather. the union representing health workers says wider pressures
are also to blame. i think that there's chronic underfunding. it's endemic. it tells us that the public sector is under so much strain that it is now beginning to kill people. with temperatures once again dropping, the worry is that the health service simply won't be able to cope. theresa may has said that extra funding has been made available to the nhs, and insisted it is better prepared for winter than ever before. in relation to this particular death in clacton, the department of health issued a statement today saying, "it is completely unacceptable when care falls below the high standards we expect, and it's right the service is investigating how things went so wrong in this tragic case". sarah campbell, reporting from clacton in essex. donald trump has again attacked the author of a controversial book that accused him of being unstable and incompetent. the us president told a news conference at camp david that he had been a "tremendous success",
and that the book, "fire and fury," by michael wolff was a work of fiction. here's david willis in washington. boarding a flight to camp david for meetings with senior members of his party — the image of donald trump that leading republicans would like to project, one of order, professionalism and control. instead, the president is battling claims contained in this book that senior advisers share the view that he is mentally unfit for office. so the commander—in—chief took to social media to assert... later, he took aim at the book's author, michael wolff, who had been given access to the white house to write it. i consider it a work of fiction, and i think it's a disgrace that somebody‘s able to have something — do something like that.
the libel laws are very weak in this country. if they were strong, it would be very helpful. you wouldn't have things like that happen, where you can say whatever comes to your head. but, just so you know, i never interviewed with him in the white house at all. he was never in the oval office. we didn't have an interview. possibly the most damaging claim contained in the book is that the president lacks curiosity, doesn't read, doesn't listen, is like a child. they all came to the conclusion, gradually at first, and then faster and faster, that something was unbelievably amiss here, that this was more peculiar than they ever imagined it could be. the book portrays the white house in a constant state of chaos, reeling under the influence of a petulant, easily distracted commander—in—chief. having successfully passed legislation just before christmas reforming america's taxation system, senior republicans were probably hoping that a new year would mark a new start for the trump administration.
but, instead of moving forward on such key issues as immigration reform, the focus now is completely on the president, his personality, and whether he is mentally fit to hold office. david willis, bbc news, at the white house. the american astronaut, john young, has died at the age of 87. he was one ofjust twelve men who have walked on the moon, and he flew the first space shuttle mission. he enjoyed the longest career of any space astronaut, serving nasa for 42 years. tim allman has been looking back at his life. the commander, john young... if anyone had the right stuff, it wasjohn young. here he is in 1981 preparing for the launch of the first space shuttle. he'd been working for nasa for nearly than 20 years by this point, but when they needed an astronaut for their newest,
most daring mission, there was only one choice. john was a fascinating, devoted, and passionate, and really fearless man, and just a role model to so many astronauts, including the six people that are up on the space station right now. a life really well livd, and a good friend of mine. near launching pad 19, they get into their space suits, the final mission briefing behind them... he first flew into space with the gemini mission smuggling a corned beef sandwich on board as a gift for a fellow astronaut. and then came apollo, where he became only the ninth man to walk on the moon. but despite all his extraordinary achievements, he was not one to dwell on the past. i'm sure looking forward to getting people off of this planet, ‘cause i think it will be very helpful to getting the future done right for the kids of tomorrow,
our children and grandchildren, and that'll be a lot of fun. john young was born in san francisco in 1930, his family, eventually moving to florida. he served in the us navy before joining nasa in 1962. in a statement, the agency called him "the astronaut‘s astronaut," saying that they and the world had lost a pioneer. germany and turkey moved a step closer to reconciliation on saturday when germany's foreign minister hosted his turkish counterpart. the sides are attempting to improve relations, which over the last few years have been strained. seref isler reports. the turkish foreign minister had come to germany with an offer of new beginnings, and he stayed for tea. his german counterpart offered a warm welcome, but it might take more than germany's famous kugel
to restore relations completely. but the body language was friendly, and both men spoke of the need for dialogue, better co—operation, and mutual understanding. after all, germany is turkey's biggest export market, and has the world's largest turkish diaspora. the two countries are nato allies, and mevlut cavusoglu was careful to stress the closeness of the two countries. translation: turkey and germany are both proud and honourable states. these two peoples do not give in to pressure, or threats. now, you could be forgiven for thinking that europe and turkey never had a falling out. but in 2017, when germany banned political rallies by turks ahead of the presidential referendum that gave president erdogan more powers, this was his response. translation: germany, you have no relation whatsoever to democracy. you should know your current actions are no different to those of the nazi period.
when we say that, they get disturbed. why are you disturbed? chancellor angela merkel, in turn, poured cold water on the prospect of turkey's long—running eu membership bid ever reaching fruition. turkey is now trying to turn the page, but concerns remain. turkey's eu bid has stalled in recent years, leading president erdogan to admit to french president macron on friday that turkey's long wait for membership was exhausting. his government has also arrested tens of thousands of officials, academics and activists in the wake of a botched coup attempt in 2016. this drew criticism from rights activists, so perhaps it is not surprising that the german foreign minister's words urge caution. translation: we should not expect to have the same opinion of all subjects. there are differences of opinion. but i think it is in our best interests to continue our debate with openness and mutual respect, on an equal footing. for now, it seems, the sides have agreed to disagree. the headlines on bbc news.
more than 30 cities in the eastern united states, including new york and boston, are expecting to experience record cold temperatures over the next few hours. aid workers in syria say, over the past ten days, ten hospitals have been hit by government air strikes in rebel—held areas of damascus and the northern province of idlib. madagascar is bracing itself for severe flash flooding and the risk of landslides, as ex—tropical cyclone ava wreaks further havoc. it's thought more than 10,000 people have already been displaced by the storm, while heavy downpours in some parts are expected to bring up to five times the months rainfall in a matter of days. virginia langeberg reports. it is wet season and there are few
places to hide across madagascar. already thousands have been displaced while fears of casualties grow, with reports of missing people. storm ava is in no hurry to leave. parts of the island are forecast to be hit with up to five times the averagejanuary rainfall, a whopping 700 millimetres innings severe flash flooding and the risk of landslides. —— bringing severe. translation: there is no more road. the water is almost up to our waste. it is risky to move by boat. we are scared for our lives, because we can't swim. storm ava has weakened since making landfall on friday but the slow—moving ex— tropical cyclone will continue to batter the island until at least lunched on monday, as it tracks close to the south—east
coastline, packing winds of up to 120 kilometres an hour. some parts of madagascar have already been inundated, forcing locals into emergency shelters like this. others say they can only helplessly watch the water levels rise in their homes, with nowhere else to go. we don't know where to sleep, frankly, because the shelter next door is already full and the tents are lacking. storm ava is the third storm to hit the region this season but comes less than one year after madagascar was slammed by another storm which killed 78 people and left thousands homeless. this fragile islands now suffering another cruel blow by mother nature. —— island. the department store house of fraser has confirmed it's asking landlords to reduce the rent it pays for some of its shops. the group is set to release christmas retail figures next week, with some analysts suggesting its takings over the christmas period were disappointing.
joe lynam has more. it is one of the key brands on our high streets, with 59 stores and more than 7,000 staff. we don't yet know how christmas was for house of fraser, but we know it has asked its landlords to slash the rent. but do shoppers still like the department store? it's got the shops i like to browse in, within the department store, so it's quite easy to just go from one place to the next. yeah, there's lot of good quality brands in there, and there's quite a lot of variety, as well. i think it has a good reputation for good quality products. but i know all of the high street has been affected at the moment, and isn't doing that well. i kind of think it's for older people, as well. i have that opinion, but maybe because it's more expensive. i don't know. last month, one credit agency said that house of fraser was now far more likely to default on its debts, adding to the issues faced
by the company. it is not unusual for retailers to seek rent reductions from their landlords. m&s and next are doing so already. in fact, traditional retailers are facing a host of challenges, including rising rents, especially in the big cities, the national living wage is going up, and that is pushing up costs, and of course online. £1 in every £6 is now spent shopping online. consumption is a vital part of the british economy. if consumers tighten their wallets, gdp suffers. conditions out there are pretty tough for households. inflation hit a five—year high in the run—up to christmas, and this is putting people's personal finances under a lot of pressure. our research showed that about 50% of consumers said they spent less this christmas than last year, and almost two thirds said that they did some of their shopping online. next week, we will learn
more about how christmas was for house of fraser. if it shows that shoppers reined in their spending, then pressure will grow on a 169—year—old brand. joe lynam, bbc news. orthodox christians have been celebrating christmas eve. these pictures show the midnight christmas mass being held in moscow, in the presence of patriarch kireel. in st petersburg, russian president vladimir putin also celebrated mass, the ritual of the holy cross retrieval. in greece and turkey it was also observed. here the patriarch of costantinopole throws the crucifix into the golden horn, in istanbul. swimmers then braved freezing temperatures to retrieve the cross from the water. and in bethlehem, orthodox christians have been attending midnight mass at the church of the nativity in the town. the palestinian president, mahmoud abbas, was among the congregation. meanwhile, egyptian coptic christians have celebrated the start of their christmas. president sisi joined the head of the church pope tawadros ii as he led midnight mass, at a cathedral east of cairo. worshippers welcomed sisi with cheers. police have increased security at the country's churches after fears of possible attacks. a gunman killed at least 11 people last week in attacks on a coptic church and a christian—owned shop near cairo.
it was the latest in several attacks on the minority in recent years, including bombings last easter. and now for some history from the bbc witness team. we're going back to 1967 and to one of the great land and speed record holders of the 20th century. donald campbell was attempting his latest record at lake coniston in the north of england when things went badly wrong. witness has spoken to gina campbell about her father. my dad was donald campbell, and in the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, my father and my grandfather were both the most prolific land and water speed record breakers. they were pioneers. when you thought that a car back then had a maximum speed of 50 miles an hour, and somebody pushes it
over 100, then to 200, then to 300. i think it's a rollercoaster, you know? you break a record and everybody comes gushing up and says, fantastic, you've broken a record. what's your next one going to be? it is like the mouse in the wheel. you keep wanting to move forward. it was my dad's job. it was what he did. so i was not really aware of the magnitude of his achievements and the dangers. i only knew him in a child's eye. i wish i'd known him longer.
i think he was a fascinating character, with tremendous drive and personality and a dogged determination. he wasn't a touchy—feely lovey "come here, give me a cuddle" type dad. i worshipped the ground he walked on, but was it a daughter—father relationship or was it hero worship? it was all of those combined. my father was a great engineer, and he could work on his machines — not maybe on those specialist things, but on the basics, he was extremely knowledgeable, engineering—wise. my father was very good at cohesing everybody into a group. i was working in a hotel, doing the ironing. i was summoned to a phone call early in the morning injanuary, the 11th of january, 1967. you know that feeling in your stomach, it disappears somewhere down to your knees or your feet. i knew with some foreboding that this was not good news. archive: donald campbell, the man who lived for speed, is dead.
on the cold, still waters of lake coniston, 45—year—old campbell was making an attempt on the water speed record which he held. one of the last true adventurers left. no one can fail to mourn the loss of this brave man. that iconic footage, you know, of the bluebird, just very gracefully taking off from the lake and going several hundred feet up in the air, before doing this enormous backward flip. and, you know... i've seen it many times, and it so nearly did the full 360, but then crashing into the depths of coniston, and my father obviously being killed instantly. i remember going to geneva airport the following day and sitting in the departure lounge on my own, you know. and i could see the newsstand over there. they had british newspapers. there were pictures of bluebird up
in the air like this. and "campbell dead." you look at them, but it seemed surreal. i couldn't associate those pictures and that moment with my father. he got his wish. he died a hero. he somehow, in those few moments, immortalised himself. and him talking on his comms, all the way through, you know, what was going on. "i'm going, i'm going, i'm going... i'm don't forget you can get in touch with me and some of the team on twitter. i'm @duncangolestani. weather now, with sarah keith—lucas. hello there.
sunday is set to be another very cold day. we have clear skies which is set to bring us a good deal of sunshine by day, but dawn could well look something like this. a lot of sharp frost around, the potential for temperatures close to —15 degrees across the sheltered glens of scotland. so a very cold start with some icy stretches to watch out for as well. a lot of sunshine on offer, though, as we move through the day on sunday. let's look at the morning. it's across the rural glens of scotland that we will have the coldest temperatures, as i say, potentially close to —15. around about —8 eight by 9am. a few showers for the northern isles of scotland. down across northern ireland and northern england, lots of sparkling sunshine, frosty — watch out for some icy stretches, particularly where we have had some showers. there could still be a few showers across the north—east of england. a lot of dry, sunny weather towards the south—east. just a little bit of cloud drifting around. bit of wind chill with the brisk north—easterly winds across southern england and wales, too.
but through the day, it is looking dry, fine and settled after that cold, frosty and icy morning. there will be a lot of sunshine on offer for most places. quite breezy, i think, in the far south, and also for the northern isles of scotland with one or two showers. elsewhere, dry, but temperatures only between around about zero to six degrees for most of us. sunday also ending on a cold note. another very cold night ahead sunday night and on into monday morning. if you're heading to work during the early hours of monday, do watch out for some icy stretches forming once again on the roads because even in towns and cities, the temperatures will be down below freezing. just a little milder along the south coast because we will have a bit more cloud filtering in here through monday morning. and that's going to be a theme for monday. the cloud in the south will nudge its way further northwards, so clouding over, i think, for parts of east anglia, the midlands into wales later on in the day. it will still cold where you have the cloud around, too. lots of sunshine and northern england, scotland and northern ireland, too.
fairly light winds across much of the country. another largely dry day, 2—6, but that cloud just thick enough potentially for a little bit of drizzle along the south coast. and then eventually, we lose the blue colours, the cold air mass, and we'll see something a little milder creeping in from the atlantic as we head through monday night and into tuesday, too, with eventually some wet weather arriving in the west. but actually, much of tuesday again dry, fairly cold, fairly cloudy, the breeze picking up from the west. that is ahead of this band of rain which will bring milder but also wetter weather from the west as we head through the end of the day. temperatures around 4—6 degrees on tuesday. slowly turning a little bit milder with some outbreaks of rain through the course of next week. goodbye. this is bbc news. the headlines: record low temperatures are expected in 30 cities in the united states over the next few hours. new york's jfk airport set an all—time low on saturday
at minus 13 degrees celsius. in canada, temperatures approaching minus 50 degrees celsius are forecast in northern ontario and quebec. reports from syria say 17 people have been killed in air strikes on a besieged rebel—held stronghold close to the capital, damascus. aid workers said that over the past ten days, ten hospitals had been hit by air strikes in both this area and the rebel—held northern province of idlib. tributes have been paid to longest—serving american astronautjohn young, who has died at the age of 87. he first went into space in 1965. later, he become one ofjust 12 people to walk on the moon and then commanded the first space shuttle mission. nasa said the world had lost a pioneer. now on bbc news, it's time for dateline london.