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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  April 19, 2020 2:30am-3:01am BST

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the headlines: the uk government has admitted that more needs to be done to get personal protective equipment to health workers. 400,000 new gowns are due to arrive from turkey later on sunday. it comes as the uk recorded another 888 coronavirus deaths, taking the total number of hospital deaths to over 15,000. president trump has insisted that the united states is performing better than other rich countries in its response to the virus. at his daily news briefing he said there were signs that the virus has passed its peak and that the lockdown could be relaxed soon. doctors injapan have warned that the country's medical system could collapse amid a rising number of coronavirus cases. two medical associations said the extra burden caused by virus infections meant emergency rooms were refusing to treat some people, even those suffering from strokes and heart attacks.
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now on bbc news: dateline london. hello and welcome to dateline london. i'm carrie gracie. this week, a world divided by hope and fear as some countries tentatively emerge from the shadow of the epidemic and others go towards it. even when lockdown is being lifted, other sorrows arejust beginning as we all begin to absorb the scale of the economic damage. but death and destruction do not stop great power politics. the
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president of the united states has announced a cut in funding to the world health organization, accusing it of going soft on china. my guests on socially distanced screens — isabel hilton of china dialogue and stephanie from bloomberg news — welcome to both of you. and here in the studio we have the bbc‘s chief international correspondent. welcome to you. let us start with the who developments. stephanie, is that defunding pro president trump a symbol of american withdrawal from global leadership or is it something else? well, it's another example of american withdrawal from global leadership, but i fear it's a more cynical political move than that. i think it's trying to shift blame for his mishandling of the crisis onto an international body, and the irony here is that trump himself praised
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china's handling of the crisis back in late january and praised beating's transparency so it's ironic that he is attacking the who for having done that the real issue is that the who needs to be strengthened at this time of global pandemic. it's a tiny organisation relative to the scale of the crisis we are facing? the budget is something like $2 billion. it really ought to be beefed up rather than undercut. but i think the real issue is- undercut. but i think the real issue is — how does trump respond to this long—term? is — how does trump respond to this long—term ? if is — how does trump respond to this long—term? if he's to deflect blame for it on to the who, what is the future of the who if indeed he gets re—elected in november?
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future of the who if indeed he gets re-elected in november? we'll deal with the blame issue in a moment, but isabel, first, looking at china, if this is a distancing from global leadership by the us, will china turn around and offer a helping hand to the who and other international bodies at this moment? china has rarely missed an opportunity to step into a vacuum vacated or created by the us president. it could do. there's been inevitably with trump a huge exaggeration of the scale of the us contribution. the us country contribution is the largest, but that's because they are assessed on the size of the country's economy — the size of the country's economy — the us has the biggest economy. china is the next biggest. then we have japan and germany and the rather familiar list. but trump in his speech exaggerated that
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contribution by a factor of four or five — no surprise there. the other interesting thing about the who, which i absolutely agree is underfunded, but 80% of its funding comes from other contributions — either voluntary contributions by states or people like bill gates, who personally pledged $100 million to combat the pandemic a few weeks back. it's a damaging thing that trump has done, one of many. china could supplement the funding. i'm not sure that that would be very good for the credibility of the who, because actually before this pandemic there were big questions around the relationship with china, which had derived largely from the who embracing traditional chinese medicine in 2018, which caused a huge negative reaction in the global medical community. traditional chinese medicine, in addition to
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being untested in a scientific sense,is being untested in a scientific sense, is also the driver of a huge amount of illicit wildlife traffic, which comes to the roots of this pandemic. so that's not a good move, andl pandemic. so that's not a good move, and i think china would be well advised not to embrace the who too closely at the moment. widen this out into the international system more generally. the international secretary hazard covid—19 is the biggest challenge in the organisation's history, 75 years. but they seem to be missing in action. under a lot of disquiet and open condemnation for months, so much so that nine members of the ten nonpermanent members of the security council finally pushed on april the ninth to have the first closed—door meeting of the security council. its delay was partially said to be — as we have already been discussing —
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the sniping between china and the united states, two of the big beasts, the veto wielding members of the security council. borisjohnson of course was ill, but they had that one meeting, and they discussed two motions, both focusing on fighting together against the global pandemic, but very little came of it. stephanie, coming back to this question of a retreat from global leadership, it's an obvious point, but the united states led the creation of these international organisations 75 years ago, and it did so because it perceived that an effective multilateral system with it in effective multilateral system with itina effective multilateral system with it in a leading position in its own national interests — why does it see things differently now? it's really the us under trump, and we've seen him withdraw from international accords — everything from the iran nuclear deal, the transpacific partnership. he has defunded the un,
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he has paralysed the wto. so it's in keeping with his undermining international institutions. i think there is support in the us for these multilateral institutions and international cooperation, and we'll find out how big that support is in november when the election happens and whether or not trump gets re—elected. but this crisis has exposed and exacerbated a tendency for national self—interest to prevail over multilateral cooperation. we've seen that in the scramble for masks — the us trying to get its hands on masks. in asia, germany, briefly stopping the export of masks, and this other scramble over supplies of reagents and swabs. soi over supplies of reagents and swabs. so i think it's a broader point that during times of crisis there is a
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retreat to national interest and in undermining of international institutions. we've seen that with the eu, and there is a real question mark over the effect this crisis will have on the eu. they are squabbling over the issue of shared debt to battle the coronavirus — the so—called corona bonds. again, it's exposing these divisions, which were apparent during the eurozone crisis ofa apparent during the eurozone crisis of a few years ago. so i think this need for shared responsibility is even greater 110w, need for shared responsibility is even greater now, but i think there's a real fight for survival, andi there's a real fight for survival, and i think it's exposing the wea knesses and i think it's exposing the weaknesses of these institutions. isabel, your take on that. some people are calling this a g0 wealth —rfon people are calling this a g0 wealth — rf on the failure of the g7, the 620. — rf on the failure of the g7, the g20. we've heard about the un security council. is this a world
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where we simply cannot organise effectively in a multilateral fashion? i think it's almost worse. it's almost an anti— matter situation at the moment. we had a meeting after the coronavirus became a pandemic, and almost nothing came out of it. it was absolutely startling. at the root of it is the trump administration's retreat, which we've discussed, and this toxic competition with china. competition with china is inevitable across a number of fronts. it existed in the obama administration, but there were large areas in the cooperation where it was beneficial to both sides and really flourished. i'm thinking particularly, for example, of climate change, where the obama administration and xi jinping reached a productive
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agreement. but i can't see this changing until the us election, and that will depend on the results of the us election. untilthen that will depend on the results of the us election. until then europe is providing some leadership on some things — at least individual voices are. in europe we have merkel at the end of hertime, are. in europe we have merkel at the end of her time, we are. in europe we have merkel at the end of hertime, we have are. in europe we have merkel at the end of her time, we have macron who hasn't quite made it as a substitute, hard as he is trying. we have britain in a state of political vacuum, still. so it's very difficult to see where it's coming from, where constructive leadership would come from at this point, and into a vacuum of course all sorts of negative forces rush. we have screening propaganda aimed at domestic constituencies coming from all sorts of places, particularly, again, the us and china, and in the middle this toxic disinformation and
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bad actors who simply paralysed the political process, so it's not a great situation right now. let's spend a couple of minutes dealing directly with the sniping between the us and china. the pandemic almost turned into a proxy for this great power struggle. when the rest of the world looks at the constant sniping between beijing and washington, do they see a system superiority on either side as president trump or president xi might like them to see, or do they see, as in the words of william shakespeare, a plague on both your houses? we've already mentioned, most nations, most individuals are looking inwards now — thinking about their family, looking inwards now — thinking about theirfamily, their looking inwards now — thinking about their family, their society, their owi'i their family, their society, their own country, how to get enough masks and ventilators. the reckoning will come. it's not the moment now, when the crisis hasn't even peaked, but the crisis hasn't even peaked, but the reckoning will come. what we've seenin the reckoning will come. what we've seen in the past is that often crises tend to affirm people '5 beliefs that they held going into
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the crisis rather than changing them dramatically. would this have been oi'i dramatically. would this have been on such a scale, permeating all aspects of our lives and relationships, that it would give us a jolt to think about it differently? but already discussion about — who will be able to seize the moral high ground? which was the country which look beyond its borders? what isabel mentioned about the vacuum — we have a little surge of power coming out of the engine i’ooiti of power coming out of the engine room of world powers, with president macron on friday saying he spoke the president putin and that he spoke to president trump and boris johnson, and they will have another meeting of the un security council, a virtual meeting of the five permanent members, to discuss global ceasefire. people will say, who stood up for others, who helped out with masks and protective equipment when we really needed them? and people are saying, well, there's a lot of scrutiny now about using these unprecedented powers, both in
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terms of technology and other telephones and tracking et cetera. will that and quickly in some democracies? will some leaders say, when will be and this? we saw viktor orban in hungary taking unlimited powers for himself. there are others saying, look at president macron. he imposed one of the strictest lockdowns. who is he to criticise others? there are big questions — people are going to exploit this moment to start finger—pointing. but let's hope there's less of it than people joining hands together to work together. isabel, take us back to the chinese situation. they are obviously slightly ahead of the curve in terms of their experience of the worst of the pandemic and coming up the other end. it's obviously hard to get a sense of where the chinese public stand, given they live under an authoritarian system which doesn't believe in freedom of information,
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but insofar as you can judge, believe in freedom of information, but insofar as you canjudge, where do you think their mentality is going to end up on whether it affirms commitment to their system 01’ affirms commitment to their system or sends adult about their system? well, as you rightly say, carry, it's hard to be definitive, partly because it is 1.3, 1.4 billion because it is1.3, 1.4 billion people, because it is 1.3, 1.4 billion people, but because we don't have access to it in the way we do in other countries. but there was a little window in late january to around the death of that doctor, if you remember, the ophthalmologist in wuhan who had raised the alarm and been rebuked by the police and publicly humiliated. there was a huge outpouring of national feeling. around that time, chinese censorship seemed to falter. it's normally quite a strict system, but it seems a little off balance, not quite sure what to suppress, what not to suppress, didn't know what it was
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allowed, and we got a kind of window of two or three weeks where the strength of feeling was pretty impressive and the range of accusations against the authorities was pretty broad. now, that's been shutdown, but my sense is that these memories will linger, and one of the reasons that we are seeing this very crude and virulent chinese propaganda — fake videos of italians singing the chinese national anthem and that sort of thing — that's not having a very good impression abroad, but it's really aimed at the domestic market, and the message that the regime is trying to convey to its own public is that china is being admired and loved in the rest of the world because the chinese government has dealt effectively with the pandemic, and it's trying to suppress all memory of the first month, five weeks, when lamentably
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the chinese government did not act and allowed the epidemic to get out of control. those two narratives are going to be in competition and will remain in competition, i think, long after this is over. one of the negative results of the us open china situation right now is that it is not going to help us get to the truth of the origin of the pandemic, which we all need to know, in order that it not happen again or that we reduce the chances of it happening again, and indeed in these circumstances i think that is going to be very difficult. stephanie, a last word from you on the perception between the us and china. obviously, unlike china, the american citizens to get to vote with their feet in november. where are they currently? the thing with
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government has shown its weaknesses in responding to this and what you have seen is individual states and their governors stepping in to fill their governors stepping in to fill the void and the vacuum that has been left by trump's mishandling and denial thing of the crisis. i think in many ways, it will... obviously it is going to have an effect on the november presidential election, and thatis november presidential election, and that is what is paramount in trump's mind behind every decision he takes is all about getting the economy going again so that by the time november comes around, he is in a position, better position to get re—elected. but i think ultimately this strengthens, this crisis has strengthened the arguments of the democrats have argued for things like medicare for all, and i think it is really exposed the weaknesses of the rhetoric that we have experienced over the past few
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decades about small government, low taxes, and revealed how important it is to have effective well funded governments to be able to manage a crisis like this, which we don't have. neither china, nor the crisis like this, which we don't have. neither china, northe us crisis like this, which we don't have. neither china, nor the us has handled this crisis very well, and the thing that worries me going forward is if we find a vaccine, which i think we will, if there is a colla pse which i think we will, if there is a collapse in multilateral intra— stu d e nts collapse in multilateral intra— students in this competition between the us and china, who gets the vaccine first, and there is going to bea vaccine first, and there is going to be a fight and a scramble over that, andi be a fight and a scramble over that, and i think that will get very serious. let's suspend discussion of the virus just for a couple of minutes, and look as we do now on a weekly basis at the stories that we are neglecting. take this to your story. we were talking about at
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length if we were not talking about the virus. i was keeping an eye on a story, which is what is happening in afghanistan, which is unfinished business of the last time the world had a global moment which was the september 11 attacks of 2001, and the united states and the afghan taliban signed a historic deal on february 29 to end america's longest war. by now, there should have been weeks of talks between the tell about and weeks of talks between the tell aboutand an weeks of talks between the tell about and an afghan delegation. it has stalled, tell a man to attacks are escalating. there were some exchanges of prisoners this week, far fewer than we were expecting under the deal, but at least a few steps, but there is a huge worry about in nightmare scenario in afghanistan as we deal with a peace process , afghanistan as we deal with a peace process, tax escalating, two rival presidents and the threat looming of the coronavirus. that sounds challenging. isabel, what is your story of the week other than the virus? the story of the week, i
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think, happened yesterday in hong kong with the arrest of a number of veteran civil liberties people, including the lawyer, martin lee, who actually helped to grant to the basic law at the time of the handover, and apple media's apple daily media tycoon. 17 very senior peaceful civil protesters or civil rights campaigners who have been arrested, this is a major escalation in hong kong, which followsjust a few days from the new leader, the new chinese representative in hong kong advocating a return of the security legislation, which kicked off the whole protests in hong kong over the last 12 months. so
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undercover of our inattention, china really has moved to dismantle the basic law and take out from the sea ina numberof basic law and take out from the sea in a number of people who are exempt fired, i guess, in a number of people who are exempt fired, iguess, hong in a number of people who are exempt fired, i guess, hong kong was not responsible use of liberty, people like martin lee really to see him under arrest is a shock. and, stephanie, if you can keep fairly brief, your story of the week. obviously, ijust brief, your story of the week. obviously, i just think the brief, your story of the week. obviously, ijust think the us presidential election has been pushed to the back pages because of the coronavirus. it would be dominating news, bernie sanders endorsed joe biden this weekend is a said democrats are now completely unified behind biden. it is going to be the most important election, will determine a lot of the issues we have been discussing today in terms of the us public role in global leadership, and the reinforcement of multilateral institutions. we only have a couple of minutes left. what i hope to do isjust have a couple of minutes left. what i hope to do is just talk briefly
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around all of you about the economics of all of this, because it isa economics of all of this, because it is a dimension in all of the stories that you have mentioned, and it is a huge dimension of the virus story of the imf now talking about the biggest global contraction since the great depression of the 1930s. huge applications for everyone, and most of all, the poor. this is the virus which is said not to discriminate, it hits everyone from prime ministers to people who clean the streets. but it has shone the harshest of lights on the gross inequalities in our society, so it is the workers who basically live from hand to mouth, the workers thrown out of work now, many of them in societies which have no blanket, no buffer to give them money to hold them over. there has been a lot of attention to migrant workers across the middle east, including goals, millions of them are rather being
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quarantined in places they are likely to get the virus, you can contract the virus more they have been told to stay at home and are not getting paid. there is some oedematous now in the media, when i was going to get out of the lockdown? when will we get back to life as normal? norman wasn't working for so many people around the world. the next big story is going to be the recovery. who is going to be the recovery. who is going to be the recovery. who is going to get those eye watering sums for the bailout? what about those who had nothing to begin with, having less than nothing is hard to contemplate. but it is, it is going to be savage. unless many are saying let is you this opportunity to try to reorder the world as we know it so to reorder the world as we know it so that the inequalities, we can somehow close the gaps. it is a huge ask, but on the other hand, we are living in an unprecedented time. stephanie, coming back to points you have been making during the course of the programme, an opportunity to close inequalities in the us, a presidential election coming up. sure. i mean, i do think people, the
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scale of the economic devastation hasn't quite sunk in yet, and to echo what he said, this assumption we will get back to normal and have this economic recovery wants the pandemic, once the virus is contained, but i think this will have lasting effects on people positive behaviour, ithink have lasting effects on people positive behaviour, i think there will be a fear of going out, i fear of spending in restaurants, fear of getting infected again, mixed savings rates will rise because of people's fears for the future and what you will see is a broad depression in terms of a lack of demand to get the economy moving again. the numbers this week of china reporting... stephanie, ijust will give isabel a last thought on china on precisely that, because we are literally in our last minute of the programme. china posting its first contraction quarterly in modern history since the death of chairman mao, a big challenge.
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very big challenge. what i think we won't see is the repetition of the financial crisis stimulus, because that has left a legacy of debt, which is still a drag on the chinese economy. what one would hope to see is china accelerating its transition to green and low carbon. this is a huge job creation opportunity and a huge job creation opportunity and a huge opportunity for china to accelerate a transition that was struggling to make. so china could really observe leadership there if it holds to that course. we shall see. isabel, stephanie, lyse, thank you all so much forjoining us. and thank you for watching. we will be back same place, same time next week. goodbye.
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hello. if you saw a bit of rain on saturday, sunday is looking like a brighter day, and plenty of dry and at times sunny weather to come in the week ahead. sunday is looking dry for most, still a bit of cloud across southern and western parts of the uk, but even through this, there will be some sunny spells coming through. this produced a bit of rain, this weather front on saturday, it's dying away. high pressure is building back in across the bulk of the uk, and that's going to give several days of settled weather. this is how it looks temperature—wise to start sunday. there will be a few spots in scotland down to —4, maybe —5 in the highlands. there mayjust be a touch of frost across the coldest parts of northern england as well. but there is plenty of sunshine to come during sunday, increasingly so across the eastern side of england. that cloud toward southern and western england, wales and northern ireland breaking a bit. but we'll keep a fair amount of cloud in northern ireland,
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even into the afternoon. now, there is a freshening easterly breeze, that pegs the temperatures back a bit along north sea coasts, whereas further inland and to the west, a few spots could be as high as 18 degrees celsius. as we go on through sunday night and into monday morning, again, we could see a touch of frost, parts of scotland and northern england, and the chance of seeing some heavy showers pushing in towards the channel islands and the far south—west of england. there's a lot of uncertainty about that, but the potential is there for a weather disturbance coming in as we go into monday. whereas for most of the uk, it is high pressure, so it is dry. but there is a brisk easterly breeze. with these showers, again, a lot of uncertainty about where they'll exactly be, but the chance of seeing some for the channel islands, cornwall, isles of scilly, whereas elsewhere, there should be plenty of sunshine around. the arrows indicating that brisk easterly breeze, these are average winds, gusts will be higher, around 30—40mph in places, especially across parts of england and wales. it does pegs those temperatures back along these north sea coasts, maybe just around ten degrees in some spots, whereas further west,
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getting to around 19. and temperatures head up a little bit more as we go through the week as the easterly breeze starts to ease. just a selection of locations here, but you get the idea. with that area of high pressure around, there is a lot of dry weather in the week ahead. there's lots of blue sky and sunshine on the way as well for a bright weather view, a bright look through your window at the weather outside.
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welcome to bbc news. our top stories: the uk government admits ppe is in short supply in england and that more needs to be done to secure stock. we've got to do more to get the ppe that people need to the front line. this is an extremely challenging situation. president trump insists that the united states is performing better than other rich countries in its response to the virus and can relax the lockdown soon. doctors injapan warn that the country's medical system could collapse amid a rising number of coronavirus cases. and police in hong kong arrest leading figures in the pro—democracy movement on charges related to last yea r‘s mass protests.

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