this is bbc news. i'm gavin grey. our top stories: pope francis pleads for migrants during christmas eve mass at the vatican. so many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps ofjoseph and mary. we see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. after devastating large areas in the south of philippines, tropical storm tembin is heading to vietnam. the king of spain renews his call for unity amid the ongoing fallout from catalonia's independence referendum. the russian opposition politician alexei navalny says he's gathered enough support to stand against vladimir putin in next year's presidential election. from trump taking christmas calls to waterskiing santas, we look at how celebrations are shaping up around the world. hello and welcome to the programme.
pope francis has urged the world's roman catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants who have been forced to flee because of violence. at christmas eve mass in saint peter's basilica, the pontiff drew comparisons with the biblical story of mary and joseph, who found no place to stay in bethlehem when mary was about to give birth tojesus. pope francis said respect for migrants was an integral part of christianity. virginia langeberg reports. in vatican city, the faithful began gathering long before midnight in st peter's square. beneath a giant christmas tree, a scene to reflect the birth ofjesus. while inside the basilica began the annual ceremony, steeped in catholic tradition. this, the fifth christmas eve mass
to be held by pope francis. with 1.2 million roman catholics followers around the world, the pontiff used his speech to highlight the plight of migrants, telling his followers the story of mary and joseph, and the trials they were forced to endure on theirjourney to bethlehem. his holiness urged compassion to those who've also fled their homes. translation: we see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. we see the tracks of millions of people who do not choose to go away, but driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones. in many cases, this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future. yet for many others, this departure can only have one name — survival. outside of the cathedral,
amongst the splendour of st peter's square, there was hope that pope francis‘ speech would bring people together. i hope that the people will be more forgiving, towards one another, whatever their religion is. more accepting... so that we will all live in harmony. i think that the pope signifies a lot of hope for a lot of people, and he has the power to bring a lot of people together. later on christmas day, the pope will be back on the balcony of st peter's basilica to deliver the traditional blessing to the city and the world. at the church of the nativity in bethlehem, midnight mass took place against a backdrop of heightened security. fewer pilgrims than usual are reported in the city because of increased tensions between the palestinians and israel following president trump's decision to recognise jerusalem
as the capital of israel. from bethlehem, here's our religious affairs correspondent martin bashir. the church of the nativity behind me is packed full with no spaces in any of the pews for midnight mass. the reality is that tourist numbers are substantially down on previous years, and that's principally because of donald trump's decision to officially recognisejerusalem as the capital of israel on december 6. as you know, that decision provoked clashes between palestinians and israeli forces and as a result of that, many people, fearful of violence, have decided to stay away. i visited several hotels, which at this time of year are normally oversubscribed at this time of year, whose doors are now closed and they are not open at all. there are no occupants in the hotels. most of the small traders around the square speak about something
like a 50% reduction in trade. so it is a subdued atmosphere here in bethlehem on christmas eve. mahmoud abbas, the leader of the palestinian authority visited this afternoon during several parades when it was not raining, thankfully, and security was very strict. the palestinian authority, police and military forces were displayed right around the square. our own ability to move around was severely restricted. but thankfully, there have been no clashes, no instances of violence, nothing like that. it's been a very tranquil atmosphere in terms of any kind of social unrest. there was some hope for some kind of negotiation into the new year, a new plan, perhaps, for peace, but that seems to have taken a knock with, as i say, president trump's decision on 6 december. there is no sign of a willingness to discuss things. as you know, on thursday
the united nations voted 128—9, asking the united states to rescind that decision. but at this stage, there's no sign of donald trump thinking of doing so. the united nations is warning of a dire humanitarian situation in the southern philippines, which has been battered by an intense tropical storm. around 200 people have died in the flooding and landslides it triggered and tens of thousands more are homeless. rescue teams are struggling to reach some of the affected areas. richard galpin reports. at last, some aid now getting to those most in need after this latest storm to hit the philippines begins to subside. troops helping deliver supplies here in the southern region of mindanao, which lay right in the path of the storm. reaching these impoverished areas has not been easy. they were hit by a landslide, mudslides, caused by an inordinate amount of rainfall that
caused the ground to move and killed people instantly. as well as surging currents from swollen rivers that overcame the banks, it swept people out of their homes and killed many others as well. the speed with which the rivers were turned into lethal torrents over the weekend caught people here by surprise. many drowning in their own homes, others buried under mudslides, including children. the call for people to evacuate in good time before the storm didn't have an effect. the storm passed over some of the absolute poorest areas in the whole philippines. at least 200 people are known to have died. large numbers are still missing and tens of thousands have been forced to move away in search of emergency shelter. at least tropical storm tembin has now been moving away from the philippines.
it's currently over the south china sea where it's picking up strength again and has been categorised as a typhoon. meanwhile, the people of the southern philippines continue the search for loved ones. they'll be hoping for much more help to reach them in the coming days. richard galpin, bbc news. sarah keith lucas from the bbc weather centre has the latest on the storm's trajectory as it heads towards vietnam. typhoon tembin intensified rapidly to the east of the philippines, for a few reasons. it has been strengthening and is heading towards the southern tip of the numb. it is likely to weaken a little bit, just making landfall around south vietnam. damaging wind
but also big waves around the coast. coastal flooding will certainly be a problem. then it will head out into the gulf of thailand, possibly a little weaker, it still were strong wind and heavy rain, but then heading towards thailand. it is going to have further impact, making landfill during monday, could be more than 300 millimetres of rain. flooding and landslides likely as well as gusts of i30 rain. flooding and landslides likely as well as gusts of 130 kilometres an hour. and you'll find much more about storm tembin and the other top stories on our website. just head to bbc.com/news. you can also download the bbc news app. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. the president of guatemala, jimmy morales, has said he plans to move his country's embassy in israel tojerusalem. guatemala was one of only seven countries that voted with the united states and israel against a united nations resolution
calling on the us to reverse its recognition ofjerusalem as the capital of israel. peru's jailed ex—president, alberto fujimori, has been pardoned on humanitarian grounds. he's serving a 25—year sentence for corruption and rights abuses. the 79—year—old former president was rushed to hospital following heart problems on saturday. a medical review concluded that mr fujimori was suffering from "a progressive, degenerative and incurable disease." tunisia has banned emirates airline from landing in the capital tunis. the move comes two days after the uae banned tunisian women from flying to or transiting through its territory. the uae says this was due to security information without providing more detail. the first of a group of 80 venezuelan opposition activists have been released from prison in what's been called a gesture of christmas goodwill. the government says all of those jailed had plotted to overthrow president nicolas maduro.
among the 36 so far released was alfredo ramos, a former provincial mayor. he insists he has committed no crime. the king of spain has called for unity and mutual respect following the catalonia parliamentary election in which separatist parties won a small majority. in a conciliatory christmas message, king felipe vi urged the catalan people to choose coexistence rather than confrontation over the issue of independence. translation: a few days ago, the citizens of catalonia voted for their representatives in parliament. and now, they must face all the problems that catalonia feels, they must think of the good of everybody. the road cannot take them back to confrontation or exclusion. as we know, that only generates
discord, uncertainty and moral impoverishment, as well as civic and of course financial as well. for the whole society. the russian opposition politician alexei navalny says he has the signatures he needs to be registered as a candidate in the presidential election in march. he told a meeting in moscow that the support he received from events he held in 20 cities across russia proves that he is a viable alternative to vladimir putin. the bbc‘s sarah rainsford has more. in this huge tent on a river beach on the outskirts of moscow, there are hundreds of people who have been queueing for some hours now, to show their support for alexei navalny, the anti—corru ption activist who wants to be president of russia. now, he says that russians have had enough of vladimir putin, that they've had enough of corruption and that russia needs to change.
he argues he is the man to do that. these people here agree. they have been coming to sign up to nominate him as their official candidate, as the beginning of the official process for registration. the problem is navalny has already heard from electoral authorities here that because of a criminal conviction, which he says is politically motivated, he won't be allowed to register. i believe he is the only presidential candidate who can change something. i don't want to live in corruption country. and i have hope only for this man, navalny. this is the moment when everyone here is raising the red card to suit show they support the nomination of alexei navalny for president. everyone here in this room is obviously backing him. translation: we are ready to win these elections and we will win. i say this without irony. this year, we've seen that putin does not have much support anywhere.
even with all of his resources, even with all the constant lies on television, he has no support. there's just melancholy and emptiness. alexei navalny now has to bring those signatures of his supporters here to russian‘s central election commission. if they reject his candidacy, he says he is determined to go on fighting. he has talked about a boycott of elections, protests, a strike. he wants to prove that he is a viable alternative to vladimir putin. what happens here over the next few days will be the first real test of that. stay with us on bbc world news. still to come, a flair for christmas — we take a look at how people are making the most of the festive season. we saw this enormous tidal wave approaching the beach, and people started to run, and suddenly it was complete chaos. the united states troops have been
trying to overthrow the dictatorship of general manuel noriega. the pentagon said the operation had been 90% successful but it's failed in its principal objective — to capture general noriega and take him to the us to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle was hastily taken away. the russian flag was hoisted over what is now no longer the soviet union, but the commonwealth of independent states. day breaks slowly over lockerbie, over the cockpit of pan am's maid of the seas, nosedown in the soft earth. you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys high, a football pitch wide, falls from 30,000 feet. christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkroda where there were anti—communist riots ten days ago. this is bbc news.
the latest headlines: pope francis has urged the world's roman catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants forced to leave their own land because of violence. at christmas eve mass in the vatican city, he drew comparisons with the biblical story of mary and joseph. aid workers in the philippines are struggling to reach thousands of people left homeless by a tropical storm. around 200 have died in severe flooding and landslides on mindanao island. the united nations is warning of a dire humanitarian situation. christians in mosul are celebrating their first christmas since the city was taken by islamic state militants in 2014. is persecuted and drove out christians, while many others of all faiths who stayed were brutally oppressed. iraqi forces retook the city injuly this year. more than 10,000 civilians are thought to have been killed in the battle to retake mosul. alan johnston reports. they gathered in mosul‘s cathedral, marking a christmas they will never
forget — the first christmas after the war. under the rule of the islamic state militants, this would have been impossible. there could be no christian worship in public. the community was persecuted, and many fled. this was a coming together not just of christians. muslims helped prepare the church for this special service. and they were here, too, as the worship unfolded. mosul was the scene of months of ferocious street fighting. iraqi forces and western allies battled to drive out the militants. thousands of civilians were killed, and much damage was done.
now, the healing must begin. and the christmas service was a small part of that vast process. translation: without peace, there is no life. 0ur message is that, after everything that happened with our glorious victory against islamic state and others, we must all call for peace. among those in the church, the message was being heard. translation: we are from the muslim community, and today we share this glorious celebration with our christian brothers in the city of mosul. we share theirjoy today, and hope our brothers outside of iraq from the christian community will return to mosul,
because we are brothers and we are united. beneath the cross on the cathedral this christmas eve, there was some of the best of the spirit of this time of year. and nowhere needs it more than mosul. plans to ditch the british army's slogan "be the best" have been stopped by the new defence secretary. £500,000 had been spent on a rebranding exercise that would have got rid of the slogan, because it was felt to be elitist. andy moore reports. it is a well—known slogan that has been at the heart of army recruiting for more than two decades. there is more than one way to be the best. the army spent over £500,000 on market research, and found that message was not getting through to many in its target audience.
it is not clear when the new defence secretary saw these plans for a rebranding but he clearly did not like them. the research reportedly showed that the "be the best" slogan was dated, elitist and noninclusive. plans for a rebrand were well advanced at a senior level here at the ministry of defence. then, there was a sudden about—turn. a statement issued last night said the defence secretary believes that the uk army is the best of the best, and these proposals have been put on hold. the commander of british troops in afghanistan says a lot can be improved in the recruitment process, but there is nothing wrong with the slogan. if the army is not an elite, then it's hardly likely to defeat our enemies. if we're not better than our enemies, all of our enemies, we will not win. it must be the best. young people who think about joining, they want to join the best. they do not want anything second—rate. the rebranding exercise was said to have the support of the most senior officer in the army. but his authority has been publicly undermined by the defence secretary.
whatever the argument on tactics, the crisis in recruitment remains. foi’ seven years now, more soldiers have left the army than have signed up. around 160 people have been rescued in the french alps after being left hanging for several hours in the resort of chamrousse when a ski lift broke down. faith 0rr reports. delighted to be back on solid ground, this woman is just one of dozens of people who were trapped in gondolas when this ski lift broke down in a french resort. a vast rescue operation was launched at 2:00pm gmt on christmas eve. it took the emergency services 2.5 hours to bring everyone down safely. the skiers involved are looking on the bright side. translation: i'd like to start over again, it was so cool. translation: we made friends, we met people from everywhere. translation: it's an experience i would have wanted, so it was cool. around 70 gondolas were stuck
and officials don't yet know what caused a lift to break down and strand skiers 25 metres in the air. but those rescued had nothing but praise for the emergency services. translation: they managed very well for christmas eve, and we'll be back home in time, so it's great. a christmas crisis averted in the alps, even if the festivities were a bit more ropey than these skiers had in mind. bali's mount agung volcano has been sending ash and smoke into the atmosphere in its latest eruption. surrounding airports were not affected by the ash clouds, and no closures have been reported. the indonesian government set the alert status for the volcano at its highest level last month, following a series of larger eruptions. following the latest rumbling, the threat level remains the same. the last two known dancing bears in nepal have been rescued by an animal charity. a 19—year—old male and a 17—year—old female had suffered a lifetime of cruelty after being sold to their owner for the illegal, centuries—old practice of bear—dancing.
they were eventually traced near the border with india, and are now being cared for at nepal's largest wildlife reserve. in case you haven't noticed, it is, or at least will be very shortly, christmas. all around the world, people will be spending time with family and friends. and the festive celebrations can take many different forms for many different people, as the bbc‘s tim allman explains. we all know donald trump likes twitter. but, for his first christmas as president, he tore himself away from social media, to use a telephone instead. he and the first lady taking calls from children, wondering what they want from santa. that's good, ling blocks. that's
what i always like, too. as for mr trump, he said america now had prosperity so he wanted peace. the north american aerospace defence command, or norad, has been tracking mr claus‘s progress for over 60 years. if you are a spoilsport, you might ask if this was a good use of taxpayer money. norad seems to think it is. even if it is rough, it is santa so he can move on out and make sure that all the boys and girls that have been so amazing this year will get their gifts, and as long as they're in bed after 9:00pm and before midnight, i think they'll be good to go. before setting off, he decided to do a spot of waterskiing in virginia, as you do. some seemed impressed, others less so. so santa claus is a busy man, i guess. very, very busy. and somehow he managed to come down here — i don't know how. when you think of christmas, you invariably think radishes. well, they do here in the mexican state of oaxaca. for more than a century they have held this festival,
where artists sculpt — well, radishes. whoever thought of it i think must have had a fantastic vision. to create such imaginative, beautiful, creative, artistic. . . beautiful. ..she laughs. in central romania, they welcome christmas with a light show. with skiers on slopes illuminated by torches. these are just a few of the countless ways to celebrate this festive time. a reminder of our top story: pope francis has urged the world's roman catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants forced to leave their own land because of violence. at a christmas eve mass in st peter's basilica, in vatican city, he drew comparisons with the biblical story of mary and joseph. hello there.
now, we start the festive forecast with a picture from one of our weather watchers of christmas eve, beautiful conditions there in cosby in leicestershire. fairly cloudy skies there above that gorgeous christmas tree and that's the way it's going to look for many of us for christmas day — cloudy, mild and pretty breezy. and for some of us, there's going to be some rain on the cards, but not a complete washout. we're going to start christmas day with largely dry conditions for central, southern and eastern parts of england, and much of wales, too. to the north of that, some rain for northern england, northern ireland too, and it's a windy day, particularly for many central parts of england. colder conditions moving in from the north. but, if we look at christmas day afternoon, 3:00pm in the afternoon, there's that rain pushing in. turning very windy, we could see gusts of around 60mph for a time around the south coast. much of england seeing a lot of cloud, but there'll be some brighter intervals in that cloud at times, too. more rain, though, for the north
of wales, into northern england and northern ireland. just a little bit of sleet and snow mixed in with some of that rain for the pennines, the southern uplands too. then colder conditions with some wintry showers moving into the north of scotland. heading through into christmas day evening, as this band of rain pushes eastwards, it takes strong, squally winds away towards the east coast, and some heavy rain slowly clearing. so, by the early hours of boxing day, with those wintry showers moving in from the north, it's going to be much colder than it has been recently. we could have a few icy stretches and one or two sleet and snow showers, mostly over the higher ground of the pennines. and for northern scotland, more snow showers moving in later in the day. elsewhere, though, a lot of dry and fairly sunny weather on boxing day. a much brighter day than we've seen recently. but also, temperatures on the colder side, around 4—8 degrees. some more persistent rain then works into the south—west of england and wales later on in the day. and, into boxing day evening, that rain and the strong winds push eastwards across southern parts of england and wales, so that could be fairly heavy, some of that rain, at times. further north, it's
a quieter picture. so we've got that area of low pressure as we head through boxing day night and then into wednesday. which brings some strong winds and some heavy rain across parts of england and wales. just on the back edge of that, there's the chance that we could see a little bit of sleet, possibly some snow over the higher ground, with those cold, northerly winds meeting that area of rain. so wednesday we're looking at now. a colder feel to the weather, around 3—6 degrees, but some sunshine and just the odd shower around. a lot of dry weather, too, on thursday, more rain working into the south—west later on in the day. but it is feeling much colder than it has done recently after a very mild christmas day. have a great christmas, whatever you're up to. bye— bye. this is bbc news. the headlines: pope francis has urged the world not to ignore the plight of millions of migrants who are driven from their land in his christmas eve mass. the leader of the world's estimated 1.2 billion roman catholics also stressed that faith demanded that foreigners be welcomed everywhere. meanwhile, pilgrims from around
the world have gathered in bethlehem for christmas celebrations. however, fewer than usual are in the city, due to increased tensions between the palestinians and israelis. aid workers in the philippines are struggling to reach thousands of people left homeless by a tropical storm. around 200 have died in severe flooding and landslides on mindanao island. the united nations is warning of a dire humanitarian situation. now on bbc news. victoria derbyshire takes a look back at the exclusive interviews and films which have featured on her programme in 2017.