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tv   Brexitcast  BBC News  December 22, 2017 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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with most of the votes counted in regional elections in catalonia, parties that favour independence from spain are on track to maintain a majority in the region's parliament. there was a record turn—out. the former president of the catalan assembly, carles puigdemont, says it is a victory for the republic and a defeat for the spanish state. the un general assembly has voted to reject the us decision to recognisejerusalem as israel's capital, despite threats made by president trump to cut financial aid to those who backed it. and this story is trending on the first official portraits of prince harry and his fiancee meghan markle have been published. three images were released on thursday by kensington palace here in london. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news, it's time for a look back at the year in science with rebecca morelle.
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from a spectacular eruption at mount etna, this was the year we experienced a volcano‘s devastating power first—hand. to one of nature's most awe—inspiring sights, a total eclipse that wowed america. in 2017 we also met this rhino, she could be the key to saving a species from extinction. and we saw a car that is pushing the boundaries by attempting to hit record—breaking speeds. this was also a year that put global warming in the spotlight again, when america pulled out of the worldwide climate deal. and after 20 years in space, a mission to saturn ended in a blaze of glory.
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a grand finale to a momentous year in science. i'm at the science museum in london and here the public can come to learn about our planet's place in the solar system. and with this incredible close—up view you get a sense of the dynamic world that we live in. the earth is governed by immense geological forces and some of these are of course volcanoes. earlier this year, i went to see one of these wonders of nature for myself but i wasn't expecting such a close up encounter. an explosive reawa kening. after years of quiet, mount etna in italy started to put on a dramatic display. i was there to report
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on a cutting edge new project. mount etna and every volcano around the world are being monitored by satellites and they can track minute movements on the ground which show when an eruption is likely, but the technology could not foresee what was about to happen to us. we had gone to film a lava flow that had formed overnight, tourists had come to see this, too. the molten rocks so slow—moving it is usually considered safe but then this happened. a huge explosion. our camerawoman filmed as steam, boiling hot rocks and lava was blown into the air, and we ran for our lives. many were hit. there were cuts and burns and bruises but amazingly nothing worse. are you 0k?
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stay down. eruptions at etna are frequent but incidents like this are very rare, a volcano expert said this was the most dangerous experience he had experienced in his 30 year career. we have made it back down the mountain and what happened is only starting to sink in. this hole was made by one of the incredibly hot pieces of volcanic rock that rained down upon us, we really thought we were going to die, we had a very very narrow escape. we later found out the blast was called a type of explosion caused when the incredibly hot lava mixes with ice and snow. our footage will now help scientists, who want to better understand these rare events, but for us, our close call was a real insight into the danger that volcanoes can pose. this year also brought a dazzling
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spectacle in the skies above. the moon casting a shadow above the sun, eating away at the disc, it was the start of the great american eclipse. millions flocked to see it, the first total eclipse to sweep from coast—to—coast in the united states for 100 years. the lights dipped as day became night and then a bright final flash before the sun disappeared. blocked by the moon the atmosphere shimmered like a halo. it was like a religious experience. i photographed it, i got some successful pictures, i cried. this was definitely something you have to see in person.
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you can't describe it unless you have been here and actually seen it. the eclipse could be seen across ten states, turning all lights skywards across its path. for astronomers it was a chance to collect vital data. we would like to learn more about how these eclipses affect the planet and the atmosphere, if there is any wind changes or temporary climate changes in the area. the much anticipated event passed by in a matter of minutes, a brief but breathtaking moment to revel in a true astronomical wonder. in 2017 we also met this rhino, seven years of age, at longleat safari park in the south west. the hope is she can save the species from extinction. she was sedated, a little agitated at first, but soon sound asleep. ready to take part in an experiment of fertility treatment. scientists were harvesting her
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eggs to be fertilised in a lab, it's rhino ivf. she has been given hormone treatment over the last week, but what is being done today requires millimetre precision. egg collection is only a technique that has been perfected over the last year, and this is conservation science at its most extreme. this is the animal that the rhino could bring back from the brink, the northern white rhino, once widespread across africa, today there are just three left on the planet, but they are not able to breed. back at the safari park in a makeshift lab the researchers checked for eggs — success. the plan is to take this southern white rhino egg and mix it with sperm from one of the last northern white rhinos, creating a hybrid. designed so it is better than losing the species altogether.
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anything can happen to them, and then the genetics would be lost. if we had at least 50% of this species preserved in a hybrid embryo we would preserve at least half of it for future generations. with herjob done, she was back on her feet. at a later stage it could be implanted with a fertilised egg, but with her northern cousins so close to extinction it will be a race against time. in this gallery we can find out about the science of who we are and ask what are the factors that give each of us a unique identity. these are questions that researchers are examining, especially when it comes
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to the brain. this year they made a major breakthrough, that sheds light on the inner workings of our brain matter. the human brain revealed in unprecedented detail, this is one of the most comprehensive scans that scientists have produced showing nerve fibres, the brain's internal wiring that carries billions of electrical workings, this could show a range of neurological disorders. it is similar to being handed a hubble telescope when you have only had binoculars. and for the first time we can address what i have called the missing link between structure and function. in canada they were carrying out
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the world's biggest study into sleep, what happens if you don't get enough of it. if you don't get four hours i will personally come and wake you up. volunteers were asked to carry out tests designed to work at how well we function if we are tired. the hope is we will find out how much sleep we need for our brains to be at their best. and at this lab in london researchers have been manipulating the dna of very early embryos, to see how one fertilised cell can create a human. this is basic research that is providing a foundation of knowledge about early human development within this first seven—day window and our hope is that this information can be used as a basis to build further understanding about underlying causes of infertility. the technique is called gene editing, and inside the nucleus of each cell in our body is our genome —
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the blueprint for life. a single error can affect development, trigger disease or disorders, but now scientists can scan the genome and replace the gene they want to target. the goal is to see if gene editing can eradicate inherited disease. already this year scientists have shown it is possible to remove a gene in embryos that causes heart disease. it's early days but some believe the technology has the potential to transform medicine. but with ethical and safety concerns others warn that any research needs to advance with caution. in 2017 mysterious mercury was also in scientists' sights. it's the smallest planet in our solar system and the closest to the sun, covered in craters, towering cliffs and ageing volcanoes, until now it has been little explored but this year preparations were underway for a major new mission. this is the spacecraft called colombo after a famous italian scientist and the launch will take place in 2018. it is only when you get up close
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that you get a sense of the size of this huge piece of kit. this is a spacecraft built to withstand extremes, and to get to mercury has to travel towards the sun which means dealing with intense radiation and heat. 0n the surface of mercury temperatures can reach a50 celsius and that is hot enough to melt. the journey will take seven years, arriving at mercury in 2025, once it is there the engine will be jettisoned and two spacecraft will separate, and they will work together to give us our best ever view. we will see its features in incredible detail, and look inside to solve the mystery of what lies at the core of mercury. this is the instrument we have built
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at the university of leicester. british scientists have developed x—ray cameras for this mission. we will be the first people on the planet to see this data coming back from mercury, the first people to see x—ray images of the mercury surface which will tell us about what the surface is made of and it will revolutionise our understanding. the spacecraft is now almost ready for its long journey, and while it might take some time before we get the first results back, scientists say the wait will be worth it. the science museum's mathematics gallery was designed by the late zaha hadid and this beautiful curved overhead structure represents the mathematical modelling behind airflow. in 2017 studying the atmosphere was a priority for scientists, as well, and with the surprise rise in greenhouse gas emissions and levels of carbon dioxide
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reaching a record high, climate change was in the spotlight again. the effects can be seen in the stunning landscape of the arctic. this year british scientists went to greenland to understand why the ice sheet is melting and they found that white ice is turning dark. and the blacker the surface the more sunlight it absorbs and the faster it warms. scientists believe it is linked to microscopic algae. what we want to know is, how far the algae can spread under the greenland ice as the climate warms, and it might well be that they will cause more melting and an acceleration of sea—level rise. over the last 20 years greenland has
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been losing more ice than it gains, scientists want to work out how much the meltwater will raise sea levels and impact on communities around the globe. extreme weather also hit the headlines. from a deadly hurricane season causing widespread devastation across the caribbean, to catastrophic flooding in south asia. and wildfires burning across southern europe, 2017 was forecasted to be one of the top three warmest years on record, making tackling climate change a priority. two years earlier in paris, the world came to a landmark agreement to limit temperature rise, but this summer us president
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donald trump dealt the deal a devastating blow. in order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect america and its citizens, the united states will withdraw from the paris climate accord. he claimed the deal did not put america first and penalised the country's workers. this agreement is less about the climate, and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the united states. his announcement provoked an angry response. for the second—largest pollutant in the world and the largest economy, to say they don't care any more is a real gesture of contempt to the rest of the world. donald trump says coal can be a clean technology, but the number of americans working in coal
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is dwarfed by those employed by the solar and wind industries and falling prices are leading to growing investments in renewable energy. the impact that donald trump's decision will have is still under debate, but many remain determined that even without america the climate deal can survive. three, two, one. this year in the world of tech, it was all about finding innovative solutions. this drone is being developed to deliver medical goods in remote parts of rwanda. it uses satnav to fly to its destination and then drops off vital supplies. in the uk, scientists have found a new use for the wonder material graphene. they are using it as a sieve to filter out salt from sea water, making it drinkable. in america, at last,
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a solution to the age—old problem, how to get the last drop of ketchup out of a bottle. researchers have developed a new slippery coating for the containers that allows sticky liquids to glide out effortlessly. so in the future not even a drop of sauce will go to waste. from the first steam train to early forays into the air, and the automobile revolution, when it comes to getting around we have been constantly pushing the engineering boundaries but in 2017 one british team revealed how they wanted to take things further and much much faster. getting ready for a test drive, the bloodhound supersonic car, put through its paces in public for the very first time. hurtling down the runway it reached from 0—200 mph in just eight seconds. but the aim is to speed things up, in 2019 the car is heading
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to south africa, with the help of a jet engine and a rocket that would normally launch vehicles into space, the team will try to break the world land speed record and hit 1000 mph. built in britain, the project has cost £30 million so far and has taken ten years to get to this stage. engineer ron ayres has already worked on two successful speed record attempts and he is ready to do it again. i'm glad we have got this far but of course i will really start getting proud when it starts breaking records. what i really want to do is to make nice supersonic bangs that will reverberate around the world. in its first public trials, the car performed beyond expectations and is now on track to go full throttle in the ultimate high—speed test. this year the shocking trade in baby
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chimps was exposed by an undercover investigation in africa. the bbc team was sent these videos by dealers, offering the animals for sale. this one is about a year old, an orphan, captured in the wild when poachers kill his family. a reporter used a hidden camera to film him being held in the ivory coast, but the police were ready and moved in. police! the dealer was arrested and later found to be part of a global trade network and for the police, stopping this is a priority. the chimp was given
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a name and was taken to a nearby sanctuary after. but he never recovered from his ordeal and just a few months after his rescue he died. conservationists say his death highlights the plight of animals caught up in this brutal trade. this was also a year that a new field of astronomy came into its own, deepening our view of the universe. inside this tunnel in the united states is an experiment that can detect some of the faintest signals in the cosmos, gravitational waves, invisible ripples in space and time, and in 2017 they revealed a celestial smash—up, two small but incredibly dense objects called neutron stars, 130 million light years away, they spiralled ever closer to each
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other before eventually they collide. the huge explosion stretched and distorted space, hurling out gravitational waves. and they were picked up here, the first time astronomers have been able to watch a collision like this unfold. we do not know if we were lucky and this happened to be an event that happened close, relatively close to earth, or perhaps there are many more neutron stars than we thought. gravitational waves were only seen for the very first time in 2016 and this latest finding confirms their potential. a new observational window on the universe typically leads to surprises that cannot be foreseen. we are still rubbing our eyes, or our ears, as we havejust woken up to the sound of gravitational waves.
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researchers say this is just the start and they are expecting many discoveries, a new era in astronomy is finally here. i'm in the science museum's space gallery and from the apollo lander to the scout rocket, objects from decades of exploration of our solar system are on display but one missionary stands out — —— one mission really. the orbiter cassini spent 20 years in space and transformed our understanding of saturn, but this time it was time for scientists to say goodbye, but they wanted the mission to go out with a bang. instantly recognisable, saturn and its stunning rings, the cassini spacecraft revealed this giant planet in incredible detail. taking countless amazing
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images but in 2017 it was time for one last look. after spending an epic 20 years in space and completing hundreds of orbits around saturn the spacecraft was running out of fuel. so scientists planned a very grand finale, sending it on a death dive into saturn's thick atmosphere. this is the control room where the very final moments of the spacecraft will be tracked and every last drop of science is being squeezed out of this mission. as it enters the atmosphere of saturn the data will be streamed back here right up until the very instant it is destroyed. this will actually be the grand truth, as it were, being able to sample the atmosphere as the spacecraft goes in, it doesn't have much time,
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but it will be one of the most exciting points of the mission. right at the end of the mission. the day itself was bittersweet for the team. congratulations to you all, this has been an incredible mission and an incredible spacecraft and you are an incredible team. i will call this the end of mission. some have spent entire careers working on this mission. it's been a part of my life for 20 years, we have spent day in and day out thinking about this spacecraft, planning the observations and focusing on the science, and my career has been based on it. it's really hard to see that go. but the spacecraft has left a remarkable legacy, it has spotted colossal storms and found structures as high as mountains hidden within its rings, cassini also revealed
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the planet's many moons, from titan with its methane lakes, to a liquid ocean beneath the icy crust, shooting plumes of vapour into space, a discovery that has shaken up the idea of where we could look for life. we want to know, is there life in the solar system, could there be oceans inside of other moons, that will take future missions to go back and answer those questions. as the spacecraft hurtled toward saturn it vaporised, finally becoming part of the planet it had studied for so long. but for scientists, the work isn't over. so much data has been collected, saturn will keep surprising for decades to come. hi there.
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0ur weather's going to stay pretty cloudy and mild between now and christmas day. looking back at yesterday's weather, it didn't really matter where you came from in england, whether it herefordshire, or north yorkshire or indded surrey, the skies all looked pretty much the same. extensive low cloud. and we've got more of the same to come. not just across england, but across wales, a good part of northern ireland and much of scotland too. the mild air continues to feed in off the atlantic, we've got these weather fronts wiggling across the uk bringing pulses of thicker cloud at times and this will bring some outbreaks of light rain and drizzle. for some of us, it will be a dense start to the day. but look at these temperatures. 10 degrees across wales and southwest england. very mild here. a bit colder in scotland, where there will be patches of frost and there could be some dense patches of fog around as well. temperatures here could be slow to rise, as cloudier weather tends to build in over that cold air as we go on through the first of the morning.
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weatherwise, little overall change, the damp weather tending to move away, left with extensive cloud, still quite murky in the west into the afternoon and those temperatures mild for the time of year. similar to what we had on thursday, highs around 11, 12, even 13 degrees. on friday night we do it all over again, the cloud will thicken further, perhaps a few spots of drizzle and generally turning a bit murkier, some fog forming again around the coast and the hills around the west. these are minimum temperatures and actually above the temperatures we would normally expect during the daytime at this time of the year. now, looking ahead to the weekend's weather prospects. we've got more of the same, really. quite mild and breezy, it will stay on the cloudy side, some rain into the north—west of the uk and that is one small change that we will see during the weekend. saturday then, looks something like this. a lot of cloud around, misty and foggy across western areas, a few breaks in the cloud around eastern england to the eastern high ground of eastern scotland. at the same time it will turn wet in western scotland, thanks to the slow—moving weather front that will be around
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through christmas eve into christmas day, bringing the threat of some localised flooding across these western areas of scotland. christmas eve though, another mild one and another breezy one. temperatures again into double figures fairly widely across the uk, and for christmas day if you want a white christmas, you can have one. head up into the scottish mountains at about 500 metres elevation, you will find some snow. those levels dropping a little bit later on christmas night, with southerly winds for the vast majority of us christmas day is not going to be a white christmas day, it will be mild around ten or 11 degrees with a lot of cloud across the sky. that's your weather. this is newsday on the bbc. i am rico hizon in singapore. pro—independence parties in the spanish region of catalonia celebrate a victory after winning a majority. the pulse of this programme, a
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million cases of cholera in yemen. and running free, we meet the dog given a new lease on life.


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