good afternoon. two people, a man and a woman, have been arrested by police investigating the illegal use of drones at gatwick airport. repeated sightings led to the runway being shut for long periods, with around 1,000 flights being cancelled or diverted, and more than 100,000 passengers stranded. the airport is open but delays are still expected because of the backlog in cancelled services. 0ur correspondent jenny kumah reports. the nightmare before christmas appears to be coming to an end at gatwick airport. after three days of disruption, flights are getting back to normal, but there's still a backlog to clear, leaving some passengers travelling today concerned. we fly off to france today, skiing in the alps. kids, taking them away properly for a first white christmas. and, yeah, it's been really anxious times for us. frustrating, really frustrating, especially at this time of year when people are just trying to get back to see family. it's not ideal. we're not at all happy with that. we don't have a very long holiday, so it's frustrating to miss out some of it.
seems rather stupid that this incident had to happen at all. sussex police say two people have been arrested in connection with the criminal drone activity and investigations are still ongoing. the disruption caused widespread travel chaos, affecting 1,000 flights and 150,000 passengers. six flights have been cancelled today, but the airport hopes to run 750. some airlines are considering putting on additional flights in an attempt to get the schedules back on track and passengers to their destinations for christmas day. more details have emerged about those arrests. a 47—year—old man and a 54—year—old woman had been arrested in connection with that illegal drone activity. both are said to be from crawley. the
investigations are ongoing. police would like anyone with relevant information to get in touch with them. in the meantime, the airport say that measures are in place to keep the airfield safe and keep flights running. a partial shutdown of the us government has come into effect after congress and president trump failed to resolve their differences over the budget. mr trump, who has to sign off any deal, refused to approve a short—term funding deal which has cross—party support in congress because it doesn't allocate the $5 billion needed to build a wall along the us border with mexico. two teenagers have been killed in a road crash involving a suspected drink—driver. two cars collided on the lincoln bypass at around 12.50 this morning. the occupants of a white citroen were pronounced dead at the scene following the collision with a blue ford mondeo. police are questioning a man suspected of drink driving. surgery to repair the spinal cord in unborn babies is to become routinely available on the nhs from next spring.
nhs england says carrying out the procedure during pregnancy will help correct spina bifida, a condition where bones don't form properly, leaving the spinal cord exposed. our medical correspondent fergus walsh has more. i might not go too much deeper, frank, because we might need membranes in a second. this hospital in belgium has trained british doctors to carry out surgery to repair spinal defects during pregnancy. now families won't need to go abroad for treatment. thank you very much. hands crossed. spina bifida develops during pregnancy when the bones of the spine don't form properly. this can cause a bulge from which spinal fluid leaks out. the condition can cause a range of lifelong health issues such as paralysis, bladder and bowel problems, and affect brain development. the delicate surgery happens at around 26 weeks pregnancy. the womb is opened and the baby's nerve tissues are pushed back into the spinal cord,
which is then closed. the pregnancy continues for another three months. this must be my baby! hello! this is baby ayesha from belgium meeting the british surgeon who corrected her spina bifida when she was in the womb. doctors expect she will walk normally. two pregnant women in the uk have had the surgery this year. now it will be routinely available in england. a combined team at london's university college and great 0rmond street hospitals hope to treat 10—20 babies each year. fergus walsh, bbc news. church attendance in the uk has been in steady decline in recent years but not in cathedrals. they're bucking that trend with a 13% rise in attendance in the last decade. ten million of us visited as cathedratl last year. 0ur religious affairs editor martin bashir has been to lichfield in staffordshire to find out why 20,000 people have made the trip in the run—up to christmas.
choral singing if wise men followed a star, then what would they make of this? a laser light show at lichfield cathedral in the run—up to christmas. £6 for adults, £4 for children, and it's a sell—out. inside this medieval cathedral, 22,000 doves float above the nave. modern technology telling the ancient story of peace on earth. you could see for miles as we walked in and it draws you in. absolutely brilliant. i think it's really good to come and see something like this locally. the spectacular light show is also having an impact here. that's £8.80 altogether. a recent study found that cathedrals give a £200 million boost to their local high streets. with all the light shows and all their events,
basically it's bringing in a lot more people into lichfield which is great for the bars, the restaurants and shops. attendance at lichfield is up 25% and while they are reluctant to attribute this to any single cause, the dean says that cathedrals have worked hard at improving their product, combining the tranquillity of a sacred space with the stimulus of modern media. what has any of this to do with the message of a saviour who is christ the lord, born at christmas? well, the message of the angels wasjoy. "i bring you news of great joy." when you look in the face of a newborn child, you experience joy, and it's that spirit of non—anxiety, of joyful freedom, that we want to put people in touch with. the light of the world has certainly come to the midlands. martin bashir, bbc news at lichfield cathedral. with all the sport now,
here's lizzie greenwood hughes at the bbc sport centre. that was spectacular and i'm sure the sports team can come up with something equally spectacular! good afternoon. we will do our best! 0le gunnar solksjaer will take charge of his first game for manchester united this evening as their new interim manager. the popular ex united player is the club's fifth man at the helm, temporay or otherwise, since sir alex ferguson left in 2013 and says it's time to move on from past failures. you cannot criticisejose mourinho, david moyes, because they have had many more games than me, more experience than me was how to deal with players and the club. it's not down to me to talk about the last five years, it's down to me to talk about the next five months and work the next five months, tojust
about the next five months and work the next five months, to just get us happy, get off smiling, get us winning games because we are too far down the league. we are not used to being six. we are used to challenging for the league. that game gets going at 5.30 tonight. meanwhile, in the lunchtime kick off between arsenal and burnley, arsenal are leading by a goal to nil. then, after that, manchester city will hope to close the gap on liverpool with a home win against crystal palace. as manchester and london prepare to host a big night of uk boxing, there's a fight going on outside the ring over the scheduling clash which leaves two high—profile events both on pay—per—view tv at the same time. adam wild reports. boxing rivalries often run deeper than most. it's what makes the sport spectacle. now fans are being asked to pick their side. in london, the much anticipated rematch between dereck chisora and dillian whyte. 0n
the same night in manchester, carl frampton fights josh warrington for a world title. both televised, both asking armchairfans a world title. both televised, both asking armchair fans to pay almost £20 for the privilege. it's not a good thing for boxing to have two pay—per—view fights on, it means boxing fans have to fork out for both all one or zero. it's very close to christmas as well. it's not a good time for axing. that appear to be the view of many. the conflict faced by fight fans now becoming a war of words between the promoters. it's stupid, it's this respectful to the fighters, the fans. you have got £500,000 and 251 watch one and 250 lost the other, both sides have lost 250,000 fans, it's stupid. this is the fight game in and out of the ring, it's a terrible business but it is what it is. when not here to disrupt people or property. we just get on with our business. the attraction of both contest is not in
doubt. pay per view is big business. dillian whyte's last fight was bought an estimated 470,000 times. but british boxing success comes at a price. boxing is really flourishing at the moment and one of theissuesis flourishing at the moment and one of the issues is that there are so many good fighters in big fights. so the number of free weekends where television companies can put the fights on on those weekends, and where there are a reader is big enough to house the expected turnout, they are free as well, getting all of those factors in place is not easy. these are much anticipated clashes. boxers and boxing tonight going head—to—head in the ring, and on the box. adam wild, bbc news. every christmas, the world's top showjumpers travel to the centre of london for the 0lympia international horse show. it's a week—long event and this afternoon is the one they all want to win, the world cup qualifier. it's the most prestigious indoor classes in brtitain, valuable notjust for the huge prize money but also for the points which count towards a place
in the world cup final next year. you can follow the action on bbc two and the bbc sport website. coverage starts on 1.15pm. that's all the sport for now. that was pretty spectacular, thank you! you can see more on all of today's stories on the bbc news channel. the next news on bbc one is at 5.50pm. bye for now. hello. this is bbc news with shaun ley. it is 13 minutes past one. let's return to our top story this afternoon. police are questioning a man and a woman in connection with three days of severe disruption at gatwick airport, caused by a series of drone sightings. flights were grounded for more than a day, affecting about 140,000 passengers. the airport has since reopened and flights are operating on schedule. philip ingram is a former british army intelligence 0fficer.
he told us the safety of passengers was paramount — despite all the chaos it's caused. the airport authorities have got one responsibility and that's passenger safety. so as soon as any threat gets into the airport area, they have two stop operations of the believes that aircraft can be endangered. and in terms of those operations to try and mitigate the effects to search for the drones, to identify those who may have been responsible, is there technology that will allow that to happen, or is it, in a sense, trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted in this case? it's a bit of both. all the airports have got procedures in place if there is a drone incident. and the principal threat is of a drone hitting an aircraft and causing damage or worse to an aircraft. and our airports are tested monthly with drones flying into controlled airspace and the procedures work infinding them. this was unprecedented. this was a deliberate attack to try and disrupt and it did disrupt air traffic in and out of gatwick.
so you say it is a precedent. now we have this precedent, now we can see what it can do, do you think it will focus minds, particularly in government and in transport circles, to try and ensure that an airport isn't put in this situation again? because potentially once one person has done this, other malicious people might want to repeat the activity at airports all around the world? 0h, very much so. the civil aviation authority, with the airports, are working on a security management system and this will manage risk registers. this will come very high on it. i was at a conference and expo in london on international security at the end of november and we looked at drone threats around airports and this actual scenario was not part of the mainstream discussions. so they know the threat is there, it is out and it will be mitigated against.
i'm very interested to hear you say that. so you are saying that despite these conferences and major events of this kind, nobody had actually thought this could happen? well, they thought it could happen but it is one of those. you look at all the different events that could happen and you look at the most likely, and you look at the least likely. you look at the ones that cause most disruption, look at the ones that will cause the least disruption and this would fall into the category that was least likely. because why would someone do it unless it was a terrorist attack? and there are a number of measures in place to be able to monitor terrorists from a terrorist prospective to see if this kind of thing is being built up on. but a random individual, possibly disgruntled employees or ex—employees of gatwick airport carrying something just to disrupt, their only motivation is to disrupt, is very difficult to defend against. of course, we don't know the circumstances and that is just an example you have offered. there could be other explanations. butjust in terms of the technical response, to the military response. you will have heard this, it is probably pub talk for you, you would have heard a lot
of it in the last couple of days and people going, why don't they just shoot the so—and—so thing down? what goes up, must come down. and that's the same with drones, is the same with bullets. you do not want bits of ordnance lying around in an airport situation, over built—up areas where you can't control where those are going to land. and they are very difficult to shoot down. the military brought in a series of capabilities that would have allowed to put out and external indicators and warnings fence around to identify where the drones were coming from and potentially disrupt them. but more an identification on at tracking capability. a partial shutdown of the us government has come into effect after congress adjourned without reaching an agreement on a revised spending bill. president trump had demanded the legislation include 5.7 billion dollars for the mexican border wall — but with a threshold of 60 % needed in the upper house — it failed to gain support in the senate. 0ur north america correspondent, david willis, explained what's likely to happen next. both houses of congress are set
to reconvene in the morning at noon and they will presumably start all over again to try to find an agreement. white house representatives, including the incoming chief of staff, mick mulvaney, and the president's son—in—law, jared kushner, have been on capitol hill. they spent about five hours at congress throughout the day, basically shuttling backwards and forwards between senate, republicans and democrats, trying to get beyond this impasse, but with both sides fairly entrenched it's looking increasingly unlikely there will be some sort of solution to this any time now. president trump, though, did put out a video on his twitter feed this evening and he said in that that he thought — or hoped — that the shutdown would not last long, in his words. david willis reporting. a sixth consecutive saturday of protests by the yellow vest movement is beginning in france.
in paris, which has seen violence in recent weekends, some demonstrators are gathering at champs elysee and other locations in the city. the number of people turning out has fallen recently, in part because of concessions made by president emmanuel macron. a tenth person has died after a driver crashed into the back of a lorry at a yellow vest roadblock near the southern city of perpignan. surgery to repair the spinal cord of unborn babies is to become routinely available on the nhs from next spring. nhs england says the procedure, carried out during pregnancy, will help to correct spina bifida. gina lavis was 24 weeks pregnant when she went to belgium to have the surgery performed on her unborn daughter, frankie — who is now four years old. when we initially got the diagnosis was devastating news as well. it was something you do not want anyone to go through. what did you understand about spina bifida at that stage did you not know anything about it? at that stage we did not know much about it other
than it was a problem with the spine and she would not walk. which is a horrible thought to be told when you're carrying your child with all the hope you have. at what point did doctors say to you this may be an option? we found out at 19 weeks and it was probably about 20 weeks that we found out at the hospital that the surgery could be an option for us. this is in plymouth where you are talking to us from. this surgery could not be done there? no, it had never been done in the uk which we had not realised at the time. so we had to go to belgium to have the surgery. you ended up having to pay there is, did you? no, we ended up getting funding from the nhs. they funded the majority of the surgery and we paid the rest of it.
but that would have involved travelling. it mitigated the effect. can you explain about that. we were told that she would be lucky if she could sit unaided. with the surgery she is able to walk short distances and use her wheelchair the rest of the time. it has been really good for her. mum might think, it is, to have that stress on top of being pregnant and they might think it is better to wait and deal with the situation once the baby was born. what was the advice you had about that. most of the surgery is done much later on. yes. normally the surgery is done once the baby is born. it was done very early on, having it done at 24 weeks. what would be your advice to other mums and dads in that situation, because it sounds frightening, an operation on your unborn child.
when it could be done afterwards. it is frightening. it is not for everyone. it is not a cure and it is not easy. the best thing is to be fully informed and have all the options available to you to have that choice. a british warship has arrived in the black sea in response to russia's seizure of three ukrainian navy vessels and their crew last month. the defence secretary, gavin williamson, says the presence of the royal navy will send a strong message to moscow. 0ur defence correspondent, jonathan beale has more. these are the increasingly volatile and contested waters of the black sea. and navigating his way through them, britain's defence secretary steering a ukrainian gunboat. just a month ago, russia seized three sister boats nearby off the coast of crimea, land now also occupied by russia. but he's here to visit a royal navy warship docked in ukraine's port of odessa — hms echo, a lightly armed survey vessel,
or what moscow calls a spy ship. it's meant to send a clear message. what we are saying to russia, what we are saying to president putin, they cannot continue to act with no regard or care for international laws or international norms. this is why he's intervened. in november, a ukrainian tug boat was rammed by a russian vessel. shots were fired at the accompanying flotilla, blocked from entering the narrow kerch strait. to do what we can do, working with you to ensure your loved ones are back home with you. 24 ukrainian sailors are still being held, these their anxious relatives waiting for news. the uk's defence secretary listened to their pleas for help — they've even sent a letter to the queen. viktor has not seen his wounded son, vassil, since he was captured. he says, "i feel pain, i feel helpless. we are looking for the support
of britain to get them released." the presence of this royal navy warship here in odessa is to provide ukraine with reassurance in the face of what they see as russian aggression but britain is not looking for a confrontation with russia, and this warship is not expected to sail through the kerch strait. does anyone else want one? the defence secretary insists this is not a provocation, but a show of solidarity. the crew of hms echo will be here for christmas. it's quite a long stint, isn't it? and other british warships will be returning next year. jonathan beale, bbc news, 0dessa. nhs england has invested 300—thousand pounds to fund dozens of so—called "drunk tanks", with the sole aim of taking the pressure off hospitals and emergency services during the festive season.
0ur correspondent chi chi izundu spent the night with westminster council in london to see what measures they've put in place. a little too much christmas spirit, a hangover for the nhs. on a friday and saturday night, up to 70% of visits to a&e are alcohol—related. we find out that people have not made arrangements to get home. they are out injeans and t—shirts sobbing down the phone, sobbing i cannot get home, help me. and a solution could be drunk tanks — or alcohol recovery services — on the streets, helping those in need. nhs england have invested £300,000 in drunk tanks in a bid to ease the pressure on hospitals and emergency services over the festive period. this one in central london's soho is bolstered by angels — volunteers who make sure those who have had a little too much
get the help they need. kitted out with water, flip—flops and sick bags, they've even set up a triage area to treat the more serious cases, like matthew's partner. unfortunately, especially at this time of year, people do have too much christmas spirit and end up needing some help, whether it be alcohol or other substances, orjust getting too carried away and maybe having a fight and getting hurt. so having someone that's there to look after people, making sure they are having a good time and they can get home safely, i think it is actually invaluable. supervised areas have already been used. a report into whether they are genuinely easing pressure on front—line staff is not expected until next year. and, whilst emergency staff want partygoers to have a good time, they want the festive cheer to be less of a stumble home. the world's only albino
orangutan has been released into the wild in indonesia, nearly two years after it was rescued from captivity. alba, a female, was rescued in borneo in april last year when she was five years old — suffering from stress, dehydration and a parasite infection. a conservation team will keep an eye on herfor the next six months to ensure she remains safe and healthy. time for a look at the weather with susan powell. hello. whether it is your last—minute dash to the shops are travelling to catch
up with friends and family, at least today's weather is on your side. there's a lot of fine weather around and some sunshine for the afternoon. tomorrow, the forecast is a bit more iffy. it shouldn't cause too many problems but we do have some weather fronts that are going to come in from the atlantic and that will mean a greyer and wetter story for the southern half of the uk. for the rest of today though, high—pressure and a little ridge of high pressure will keep things pretty calm. still some showers to come across western scotland, a few strays elsewhere but generally a lot of dry weather, some bright or sunny spells and mild in the south, highs of 11 or 12. a frosty start for the north of scotland, it will hold temperatures back come the afternoon. highs of 5 or 6. heading out this evening, you have got a fine evening to look forward to. aside from some showers continue across western scotland. if you do stay out after the witching hour, midnight, there will be some rain arriving into northern ireland, wales and south—west of england. ahead of that rain, quite chilly for first thing on sunday, particularly across scotland, we will have a frost. elsewhere milder under the cloud and rain. but that will make for a pretty greay day across the southern half of the uk one way or another.
scotland will definitely do best throughout there with the best of the sunshine and a dry day if anything than today because we won't have the showers in the west. and a dry day, if anything, than today because because we won't have those showers in the west. some uncertainty about the northern extent of the rain across northern ireland and england. hopefully it will brighten a little as the day goes on. but rain at times and cloud elsewhere. however, very mild, 12 or 13 as the highs. chillier picture in the north with the sunshine, highs of six or 7 degrees. 0n into the new week, christmas week and it is all about high—pressure building and that will kill off any weather fronts and also stop any fresh ones coming in from the atlantic. so some rain around on monday, christmas eve, i think across southern england and south wales. but fizzling out as the day goes by. a lot of cloud sticking around here on christmas eve. elsewhere, hopefully some brighter spells. again, though, in one or two areas we could see some stubborn patches of mist and fog and that could just be a little bit hazardous if you are taking to the roads. so keep up—to—date with that. and again for a christmas day, high—pressure, it will bring a lot of fine weather. could be a frosty start. if anything, though it will be a grey one with some stubborn fog and cloud.
hello this is bbc news with sean ley. the headlines: police are questioning a man and a woman in connection with three days of severe disruption at gatwick airport, caused by a series of drone sightings. passengers are still suffering delays and cancellations — but the airport aims to run a "full schedule" of flights today. a row over the money for donald trump's border wall results in a partial shutdown of the us government. a british warship arrives in the black sea in response to russia's seizure last month of three ukrainian navy vessels and their crew. surgery for unborn babies with spinal defects is to be made routinely available on the nhs in england. now on bbc news — it would be an understatement to say tensions