a very warm welcome to bbc news. my name's mike embley. our top stories: israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu retains the leadership of his likud party, and will lead it into march's general election. blocked roads and widespread flooding hamper rescue efforts in the philippines, where a typhoon has killed at least 16 people. fifteen years after the indian ocean tsunami, how ready are communities if disaster strikes again? is this a way to save the world's coral from climate change? scientists are trying to grow new reefs in the seychelles. hello and welcome to bbc news.
israel's prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has claimed victory in a vote that challenged his leadership of the governing likud party. the contest has been a test of his hold on power at a time of mounting difficulties. mr netanyahu, who faces trial on bribery and corruption charges, tweeted an hour after polls closed: "a huge win! thank you to the friends and likud members for their trust, support and love. with god and with your help, i will lead the likud to a big victory in the upcoming elections" one hour later, official results came in, giving mr netanyahu 72.5%. his rival, gideon saar, who claimed the party needs a new direction, took 27.5%. here's our correspondent, barbara plett usher. over the past year, there have been two elections and in both of them mr netanyahu was unable to form a coalition government, he was not able to get enough olitical allies to support him to actually create a government that he could lead. hanging over all of that was the pending possibility of criminal
charges on corruption cases and that, it was widely believed, was why he wanted these elections. it wasn't able to do that and that hung over his ability to form a coalition government exact made potential allies wary and in november he was actually charged in three cases of corruption. that indictment now is something that has weakened his hand going into the third election. he is very popular still, there is a lot of loyalty to him but it's beginning to show a crack. one that shows disquiet amongst members. there is a growing amount of support amongst the grassroots, the local party leaders and the concern is that mr netanyahu might‘ve lost his magic touch, that it wasn't much able to form a government
and the government in this election, will not be able to form a government and the right wing could lose power and that they could go to the opposition. gil hoffman, chief political correspondent with thejerusalem post, outlined what appeals to mr netanyahu's supporters. there are three answers. security, economy, diplomacy. those are three issues people vote on in israel and around the world. the economic situation is very good, economic growth and low unemployment, security situation could be life worse. the diplomaticjewish and, israel has improved ties in recent years with countries around the world. recovery operations are beginning in the philippines, where typhoon phanfone has left at least 16 people dead on islands in the centre of the country. winds up to 190 kilometres an hour stranded tens of thousands at ports, many unable to join their families for christmas. james waterhouse reports. typhoon phanfone first arrived on tuesday night. with it came winds of almost 120mph, causing devastation and fear.
the storm then worked its way over the islands of the central philippines. only today is there a sense of the damage caused. buildings were torn apart, roofs blown off. whole villages were devastated as the typhoon swept through, leaving residents to pick through the debris left behind. it was so powerful, even large boats were overturned. the philippines is no stranger to tropical storms and typhoons, with around 20 arriving each year. the most powerful one to hit land ever in the world, typhoon haiyan, struck in 2013, leaving more than 6,000 people dead. today, as a country rebuilds, the red cross warns it could take weeks to bring back power and running water.
not only that, many people are still missing. james waterhouse, bbc news. let's get some of the day's other news: rescue workers in austria and switzerland have been searching for possible victims of avalanches that hit two ski resorts in the alps. swiss police say several people were freed from the snow on a piste in andermatt. seven people have died and 64 were rescued after a boat, carrying migrants from south asia, sank off the turkish coast. it capsized near bitlis, on the northern shores of lake van. wikipedia has welcomed a ruling from turkey's constitutional court, declaring a ban on the website unconstitutional, a violation of the right to freedom of expression. wikipedia was banned in turkey in 2017. the government claimed it had cooperated with what officials called terrorist organisations in syria. chile's president has visited the port city of valparaiso, where fires have destroyed at least 2115 homes
in a low—income area. seven hundred people have been left homeless in what the president called a tragedy and a deliberate act of arson. many local people say they've been left destitute, although the government has indicated it will provide subsidies to build new homes. firefighting teams in australia have had some respite over the past few days, with lower temperatures, but that's about to end as the intense heat returns. since september, close to 3,000 firefighters have been out nearly every day, battling blazes. almost 90% of them are unpaid volunteers. many families in new south wales are spending the holiday season in shelters, their villages and towns still smouldering from last week's fires. our correspondent, phil mercer, is in bilpin, about 75 kilometres north west of sydney. the physical, financial and emotional cost of these fires has been immense. communities across
australia have been terrorised by giant balls of flame. we have been talking to simon, originally from lebanon, but has lived here for more than 30 years. he owns an orchard that was badly damaged. he joined the firefighting effort and almost lost his life. we thought we were so, at two o'clock in the afternoon it past us and then the southerly came in at five o'clock and turned the fire around and it came straight towards us. what was the most frightening it for you? facing it, driving towards it in the tractor and could not get out of it, that was the frightening thing. obviously, i made it through, scary, very scary. for simon and his family, there has been an enormous financial cost. 40% of his farm has been lost. cooler conditions today
here in new south wales are helping the firefighter effort but more dangerous days lie ahead. in the most populous state, more than 70 blazes are still burning but this is a nationwide crisis. there are still active fires in the state of gloria and south australia. ben shepherd, from the new south wales rural fire service, told us how they are preparing for yet another heatwave. many of our volunteers have been out there on the fire line, some level of containment on these fires before we see the onset of another heatwave, unfortunately, where we are expecting temperatures to climb to the a0 degrees and coupled with strong westerly winds, drywinds, from the centre of the continent which tend to drive these fires. they are doing what they can. they understand this is going to be still another difficult time and the real thing that we obviously need is rain
and there is just none of that on the horizon so it's going to be a difficult few days and a difficult few weeks whilst we continue to deal with more than 70 fires burning across new south wales. but look, we are fortunate at this time of year, many of our members do take leave but they are using that leave to go out on the fire ground and actually assist where they can but the community response this year has been amazing as well. to see people actually preparing their own homes, ensuring they are well prepared for any impact of fire makes our job easier as firefighters but, look, we have had the support of fire rescue, national parks and also from other states but, with this heatwave now gripping a number of states across australia, that assistance from interstate is going to start to diminish a little bit but, look, as i said, they are in good spirits, they continue to thow up their hand to go help but we have a long way to go before this fire season is finally over. the seychelles, off the coast of east africa, is setting itself up as a hub
for marine preservation. at least half the world's reefs have already been lost to rising sea temperatures but could this tiny archipelago help save some from extinction? catherine bya—ru—hanga, from bbc africa, has been finding out. they're called the reef rescuers. atina and chloe work in the indian ocean trying to find ways of saving the world's dying coral. today, they're checking on their nursery. it's a man—made coralfarm and one of the biggest in the world. this is a large—scale coral reef restoration project. the nursery that we use is a rope nursery. so, our coral fragments are actually placed inside a rope and then they are hung mid—water. over half the world's reefs have already been lost because of climate change. coral gets its colour and its energy from the algae which live inside it. as the water gets warmer, though, the algae becomes toxic, so the coral evicts it.
this is called bleaching. with its food source expelled, the coral often die. from the nursery, the small coral are brought down and cemented to the ocean floor. within minutes, fish swim to what the reef rescuers call super coral. our coral gardening methodology identifies resilient colonies by visiting reefs shortly after bleaching events and looking at which colonies have survived, and have some level of confidence that they are resilient and will make our restoration site resilient forfurther climate change events. the nursery is also an open water classroom. from the surface, i can see hundreds of coral beneath me. scientists have come from all over the world to learn how it's done here. this technique has already been taken to countries like colombia and the maldives, and next
are kenya, tanzania and mauritius. the reef rescuers' project was born here on cousin island, a thriving world—class nature reserve. cousin island was the desired prize... it was set up by nirmal shah. he's been running conservation projects here for over three decades and he's already thinking about the next big idea. so, all these experiences we've learned from scratch, ok? we know the entire technique now. so the next step is to grow corals on land, tinker around with them until they become resilient to climate change and plant them back. scientists predict most of the world's coral will be gone by 2050. innovation might be the only way to preserve them. catherine byaru hanga, bbc news, the seychelles.
stay with us on bbc news, still to come: pa rents parents pushing children to reach the top in china. the most ambitious financial and political change ever attempted has got under way within production of the euro. it's just got to be the way to go. george harrison, the former beatle, is recovering in hospital after being stabbed at his oxfordshire home. a 33—year—old man from liverpool is being interviewed by police on suspicion of attempted murder. i think it was good. reporter: it was just good? no, fantastic. that's better. big ben bongs
this is bbc news, the latest headlines: rescue and repair operations going on in the philippines after a powerful typhoon left at least 16 dead and tens of thousands stranded. 15 years ago today, more than 230,000 people were killed in a massive tsunami along the coasts of countries on the indian ocean, triggered by a a 9.1 magnitude quake
off northern sumatra island. memorial services have been held in indonesia, thailand and sri lanka, which were among the worst—affected countries. since then money has been spent to improve warning systems in the case of similar natural disaster. olivia crellin reports. 15 years and the images of devastation brought by the indian ocean tsunami are no less shocking. waves as high as 17 metres, killing more than 200 and that thousand people and displacing more than 2 million. by the physical landscape has recovered, and development has returned to thailand and sri lanka and indonesia, among other areas affected, the psychological trauma remains. this person lost both parents and other relatives in that term hit the thai province. i'm still scared, very scared.
i want to live somewhere else but is not possible because i was born here. i grew up in. father and mother died here so must remain and live here. sometimes i dream that a wave is coming. i'm still scared, is an image that scares me when the wave was coming. i can still remember. the disaster was indiscriminate. hitting families from the small fishing village of benmanken, where an interfaith memorial was being held. foreign tourists holidaying and even the country's royalty. officials remembered the king's nephew, who was last seen jetskiing off the coast when the tsunami hit. many bodies were never recovered.
many people have contributed to building seismic centres, but doubts remain about how many countries are ready for a giant wave. if we encounter it again, i'm not confident we can handle it. anyway, thais are always ready when it comes to volunteering in a crisis. those killed in 2004 received no warming of the approaching waves and were left with no chance to escape. those still living with the threat of a similar disaster hope that by now lessons have been made. mexico is threatening to take bolivia to the international court ofjustice over what it calls harassment of its diplomatic mission in la paz. the bolivian government is demanding that mexico denies asylum to nine bolivian officials who've taken refuge at the mexican embassy. the two countries have been in a diplomatic spat since mexico granted asylum to bolivian ex—president evo morales after he resigned in the face of mass protests. the mexican foreign minister insists
they will protect the interests of their people in bolivia. lebanon is ending 2019 with its worst economic crisis in decades. growth has fallen to zero. many companies have been pushed into bankruptcy. others have laid off staff and slashed salaries. the prime minister, saad hariri, resigned in late october, because of anti—government protests. his replacement, appointed only last week, has promised to form a government to deal with the country's problems. but as martin patience reports from the town of arsal, many people are losing hope. it's back—breaking work at the stone cutting factory in northern lebanon. but these men are the lucky few, who have a job. lebanon's economic crisis is hitting hard. orders have dried up, workers have been laid off. despair has set in. "the economy is so bad, it's beyond imagination", says this worker.
"it's the worst i have seen in almost 30 years." for one man at the factory, it was too much. he'd had no work for a month and a half. and when his seven—year—old daughter asked for lunch money, he didn't have it. he hanged himself at the back of the house. who do you blame for your husband's death. translation: i don't blame anyone. it was my husband who decided to put an end to his life. but it was poverty, it was the economic situation that pushed him into it. i urge officials to change the situation as quickly as possible, so there will be no
more victims in lebanon. this story might seem like an extreme case, but it's an indication of what's happening across this country. people here are feeling more and more desperate and many fear a complete economic collapse. this is a country, that in recent years, has held together against the odds. but lebanon is now facing its worst economic crisis since the civil war. martin patience, bbc news, lebanon. in china, pop stars who are young, mostly female and highly trained in singing and dancing are attracting billions of views online. now, inspired by their idol‘s
instincts. it is a butterfly, is com pletely instincts. it is a butterfly, is completely unknown to science, never seenin completely unknown to science, never seen in its caterpillar or chrysalis state. now a team of french explorers to the central african republic see if they can find out more about this exclude —— elusive creature. mark you have to admit the scenery creature. mark you have to admit the scenery here is pretty spectacular. the opportunities for discovery, even more so. the opportunities for discovery, even more so. hidden away somewhere in this forest, a butterfly. not just any butterfly. these men are looking for africa's largest, and the search is exhaustive. translation: we use different techniques. we have a look out on the banks of the river on top of the trees, searching for a host plant with be botanist, and also searching for the host plant with a drone. so far this is as close as they've got, an illustration by the expedition‘s
in—house draughtsman. the african giant swallowtail, with its distinctive brown winds and dark markings. the team want to learn more about its early stages, crucial in understanding its development and longevity. but that is easier said than done. we find ourselves in a forest that is rather deforested, and in which there is mining activity, which does not make things easy. even the animals are looking for them. the big ones, but even the small ones. the search has so far been unsuccessful. but nobody is in any mood to give up. this forest is keeping its secrets. these men will keeping its secrets. these men will keep trying to unlock them. and a reminder of that menus again. the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, israeli prime minister, benjamin neta nyahu, has defeated israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has defeated his rival for the governorship of the leading a likud party. he will now lead
likud into a general election in march, despite being charged with fraud, bribery and breach of trust. thank you for watching. hello there. after the dry and often bright weather of christmas day, boxing day brought a return to something wetter for many of us. this was the scene for a weather watcher at southport on merseyside, quite a lot of rain here. but it wasn't like that everywhere, parts of northern scotland had the lion's share of the bright and dry weather. and i think more of us will get to see some dry weather over the next few days. a lot of cloud around, and with that it is going to feel milder. this is what's going on as we start friday. this warm front moving its way north eastwards, taking a bit of rain with it, but also as the name suggests, introducing some warmer, or at least milder air, which will be wafting its way up from the south. particularly, i think, western areas feeling the effect of that as we go
through the day ahead. so, we start the morning with a outbreaks of rain drifting across scotland, some of that rain getting into northern england as well, pushing its way eastwards. anotherfrontal system bringing rain back into western scotland and northern ireland through the day. elsewhere, generally a lot of cloud around but generally it will be dry. some glimmers of brightness here and there, top temperatures in single digits across eastern areas of england, but further west, 12 degrees for belfast, stornoway and plymouth. quite windy across the north—west of the uk, particularly western scotland. then as we got the friday night, we will see another pulse of rain putting back across northern ireland, northwards across scotland. for england and wales it's predominantly dry. some clear spells, generally a lot of cloud on what will be quite a mild night. i think the vast majority will stay frost—free. so, the saturday morning then, still frontal systems running up towards the north—west, so there will be positive rain at times, but high pressure close to the east and south of the uk keeping things fine and dry here. but still, rather cloudy for many of us on saturday, some glimmers of brightness again developing, i think particularly across the south of england and south of wales through the afternoon. but for northern ireland, for scotland, we will again see some outbreaks of rain, some of that will be heavy over hills in the west
but notice that mild theme, temperatures of 9—12, maybe 13 degrees. and it stays mild into sunday and at this stage we're likely to bring some slightly drier air up from the near continent. so more sunshine to come across england and wales, northern ireland and also the south and east of scotland. still some rain to the north—west of scotland, but with those southerly winds, those temperatures up to 11, 12, 13, maybe for the moray firth for example, could see around 1a degrees. and then we head into the last couple of days of 2019, we stick with that relatively mild theme, a lot of dry weather, still some rain up towards the north—west.
the latest headlines. israel's prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has deleted his rival, for the leadership of the governing likud party. he will now lead the party into the third general election in a year. it is due in march. the contest has been a hold of his system power. he faces criminal charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust. a rescue and recovery operation is under way in the philippines. authorities say the storm killed at least 16 people and cut a swath of destruction through the centre of the country. many more are missing. firefighting teams in australia are bracing for renewed activity, with expected return of intense heat in parts of the country. there are currently 72 bushfires just in the state of new south wales. about half of them are burning out of