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This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Nick Miles. And in the early hours of Friday, the 5th of March, these are our main stories. Italy has become the first country to protect covid vaccine stocks under new EU guidelines. It stopped the shipment to Australia at a quarter of a million doses of the locally manufactured AstraZeneca jab. The US National Guard is being asked to protect the Capitol building in Washington for another two months. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has appealed to the Security Council to impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on the military junta.
Also in this podcast, the mind boggling scale of food waste that would fill 23 million, fully loaded 40 ton trucks which have laid end to end, would go round the whole earth seven times and wonderful.
Absolutely brilliant. It's the ideal, Poppy, that our store isn't it? Excellent. I hate standing in line. So this is great. It's strange walking in and obviously just walking out, but it's pretty cool.
Yeah, it feels like a bit, but there's a lot of cameras shopping at a store where you walk out without paying. Protecting your own citizens is one of the primary roles of any government during the pandemic, nations are resorting to actions they rarely even consider to keep people safe. Take Italy, for example, which has just become the first EU country to put in place an export ban on coronavirus vaccines. The transport of a quarter of a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to be shipped to Australia, was stopped.
The doses were produced in Italy. More from our business correspondent, Theo Leggett.
What's happened here is that the real concerns, 250000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which were produced under contract on behalf of AstraZeneca at a plant to the south east of Rome.
And these doses were meant to be going to Australia, but Italy requested the permission to prevent those doses being exported under the terms of new rules that were brought in in January. Now, these new rules were export controls designed to make sure that any vaccines that were contractually required for European countries should remain in Europe. And they were introduced amid fears that AstraZeneca or others might fail to fulfil their contractual obligations and take doses of vaccine that should have been going to Europe somewhere else.
So Italy decided to retain these 250000 doses in Europe.
The European Commission could have objected to that, but chose not to by not overruling this is the European Commission tacitly saying, look, we messed up our procurement process for vaccines. It's gone very badly wrong.
Well, that's open to interpretation, but it's certainly the case that large European countries are lagging behind when it comes to getting doses of vaccines out there. I mean, if you look at some of the countries that have done best in the world, like Israel or the United Arab Emirates, they have a large percentage of their populations already fully vaccinated, having had two doses. If you look at the UK's strategy, the UK has chosen to get as many people as possible a single dose as quickly as possible.
And in terms of a single dose, at least, it's up to about 30 percent of the population. And you compare that with the EU average, which is about six and a half percent. The question now is how to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. And you do have this sort of impression of a certain element of vaccine nationalism going on. But as I say, that is open to interpretation.
Getting the jab for your own citizens is the immediate issue, as you say. But I suppose the problem might be for Italy and other countries. If you do this too often and go to the very draconian measure like an export ban, it doesn't look good for your reputation. It doesn't look good for your reputation.
And don't forget that this kind of thing can backfire. It can attract reciprocal action and retaliatory action in other ways.
That was Theo Leggett, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar says the crackdown on protesters after last month's military coup requires a strong international response. In a report to the UN Security Council, Tom Andrews called for an arms embargo, targeted sanctions and a referral to the International Criminal Court. On Thursday, the police again used force to break up demonstrations. That's a day after 38 protesters were killed. The UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has also spoken out against the violence, demanding that the military government stop murdering and jailing protesters.
So has her team been able to document exactly what's happening on the ground? Her spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, talked to my colleague, James Menendez.
It is very difficult to get information. As you know, the military has been targeting journalists as well as human rights defenders and civil society actors. And we tend to rely on a lot of these individuals to corroborate our information. But what we have managed to verify is that more than one thousand seven hundred people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained. Now, these figures are underestimates for sure. We only count those where we have names and where we're able to verify with other credible sources.
And does the evidence suggests the security forces are deliberately aiming at protesters.
Now, the list that I've received from my colleague in the details, if you look at it, shot in the head with no round shot in the head with live rounds shot in the stomach, with live rounds shot in the head with live rounds. It does appear that there is a targeting going on.
And what does that mean in terms of, well, not just people's rights, but possible crimes?
Well, this is clearly against international law. I mean, these are peaceful protesters you're talking about. Even where there is violence, where there are pockets of violence and protests, the state has a duty to ensure that peaceful protesters are able to carry forward and to go ahead and they have a duty to exercise proportionate force. In this case, we're talking about peaceful protesters who are being shot at. So the high commissioner, in fact, is calling on all those who have information or influence to contribute to international judicial processes that are ongoing, where proceedings are ongoing against the military of Myanmar.
They are ongoing and what that might lead it one day to prosecution, it might I mean, what we are seeing now is a lot of individuals in the civilian administration are defecting or are, in fact, joining the civil disobedience movement. And what the high commissioner is saying is use the information that you have to share it with these international bodies, like the International Criminal Court, like the International Court for Justice, to hold the military accountable. Yes.
I mean, you know what I'm getting at, which is that lots of people see these pictures here, these terrible stories of young protesters being being shot and say something must be done. But I just wonder what in the short term, what pressure can be brought to bear in the short term?
It's really for states bilaterally, multilaterally, states who have influence in the matter, whether economic influence, political influence, any influence to exercise that influence that the commissioner has called for tools such as targeted sanctions against military officials to be used, asset freezes, travel bans. There are many steps that states with influence can take to pressure the military.
Ravina Shamdasani. Security has been ramped up in Washington, D.C., amid intelligence that a militia group was possibly planning a plot to breach the Capitol building.
The concerns, of course, follow the storming by pro Trump writers of Congress in early January.
While the authorities first don't seem to have been realized, there's real cause for concern not just in Washington but across the US, as our North America correspondent Gary O'Donahue explains.
Well, the plot was warned about by the Capitol Police, who had some intelligence, obviously, from their law enforcement partners. I have to say, things are quiet down there. Happily at the moment, there's an increased police presence. There's some 5000 members of the National Guard here in Washington, D.C., and they're involved in protecting the capital. What's the only detail we really have about the plot was that they were taking it seriously. It was thought to involve these three percenters, group of extremists.
Sure, the police in the D.C. area are worried enough to ask the National Guard to stay on for another couple of months. So the authorities have got to take it seriously. But I suppose one of the issues could be that rather than highly publicized plots like this one, the real danger could be lone wolf attacks on soft targets, a long way from Washington.
I think that's a real risk. And I'm sure that's something that law enforcement and the FBI are thinking about, because in a sense, the January, the sixth attack, whilst it took them by surprise, in some ways, there had been evidence of organizing online, talking about rendezvous and logistics and how to get driving to D.C., et cetera, et cetera. Whereas if you've got an individual who's determined to do something destructive and deadly, it's very, very difficult to stop that without a certain amount of luck.
Gary O'Donahue, a new survey by the United Nations has come up with a horrifying and to be honest, rather shameful fact 900 million tons of food is thrown away every year.
The UN Environment Program's Food Waste Index revealed that 17 percent of the food available to consumers in shops, households and restaurants goes directly into the bin.
When our science correspondent Victoria Gill sent this report every day in the UK, we throw away 20 million slices of bread, 4.5 million potatoes, one point two million tomatoes and 720000 oranges.
Great British Bake Off when a TV cook and author, Nadiya Hussain is just one of the famous foodies lending a social media presence to the global campaign against food waste. Because according to this UN report, waste is substantial in every country it's measured globally. The figures are eye watering, with 17 per cent of all food in shops, restaurants and homes just thrown away.
That would fill 23 million, fully loaded 40 ton trucks which have laid end to end. We go round the whole earth seven times.
Richard Swannell is director of the sustainability charity Rap, which partnered with the UN Environment Programme to carry out this research. He says reducing food waste would be one of the simplest ways to fight climate change.
Food waste is responsible between eight and 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. That means the food waste as a country would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.
The report wasn't able to distinguish between voluntary waste just buying more than we can eat and involuntary waste, which is likely to be significant in low income countries where people have less access to cold storage for their food. Here in Britain, the coronavirus pandemic had a surprising impact on household waste, according to Wrap's research a shift in people's shopping habits with more meal planning portion calculating, careful storage and use of leftovers. Reduced domestic kitchen waste by more than. 90 percent in 2020, hanging on to those less wasteful habits as we emerge from lockdown.
The researchers say could help stop truckloads of food and all the resources used to produce it being sent straight to the bin Victoria jail.
In our earlier podcast, we heard the latest renovation's from Meggan, the Duchess of Sussex, who suggested that the British royal family is spreading falsehoods about her and her husband, Prince Harry Jackson. Well, those revelations came in a clip from their interview with Oprah Winfrey due to be broadcast on Sunday.
Meanwhile, it's been announced the Buckingham Palace is investigating claims that Megan bullied royal staff.
The allegations about her, which she denies were published after the interview with Oprah was recorded.
Or Peter Hunt is a former royal correspondent. He says he's shocked by the police investigation.
It's almost as if the anarchists have taken over the palace. I mean, it is utterly extraordinary that they have launched this investigation. They could have quite simply said no comment, instead of which they're meant to be putting out fires. They have started fires and they have not thought through what the consequences are of their actions of doing this investigation, because the investigation should have happened when the allegations were first made. It didn't. The stable door they're now shutting off of that horse has bolted.
You know, the prospect, the likelihood is the possibility that they would ever find that the the wife of the son of a future king was a bully or that is just not going to happen. So what they have opened up as a whole can of worms that they have not thought through, because this could be the moment in an organisation, an institution like the royal palace, the royal household, where maybe others will think, hang on a minute, I, Fred, or for you to feel that I have been the victim of bullying by a senior member of the royal family.
And I'd like to see this follow through. And they cannot do this in private. There will be a public expectation from journalists and others that they tell us what is the outcome. So they have started something that they haven't thought through about what the consequences could be. This is a battle over how you and I and your listeners, what is all settled view of why this couple chose voluntarily to go into self-imposed exile in California and abandon the House of Windsor?
And this is what the battle is about. Is it are we are you and I going to accept what they tell Oprah, which we already have? A clear sense is that they were they are the victims, that they were forced to do this, that their very survival was at stake and that's why they've had to move. Or is it more nuanced than that? And clearly by the stuff that is coming out now, the other side are clearly very keen on ensuring that Harry and Meghan don't have a clear run, providing that narrative for us to decide on them.
Settle on Peter Hunt.
Still to come, butterflies, our glue that holds together various parts of terrestrial ecosystems. And we love them because they're beautiful. So we don't want to think of a world with fewer butterflies. We look at the need to save them.
As we record this broadcast, Pope Francis is due to arrive in Iraq later today for the first ever papal visit to the country.
He hopes to use the trip to reassure Christians who are persecuted by the Islamic State group and deepen ties with the Muslim world. But the visit comes amid a global pandemic, of course, and growing security concerns in Iraq. More from our Middle East correspondent, Martin Patience.
This group of teenagers in Baghdad will presumably be rehearsing to the very last minute, because when you're slated to perform in front of the pope, you want to get it right. They, like many others, can't quite believe that this visit is going ahead. Take the city of Mosul not so long ago, it was the capital of the so-called Islamic State, but now this weekend, Pope Francis will be offering prayers in the ruins of the city. Among the religious leaders he's expected to meet is Archbishop Najib Mahidol.
How did you learn when met and this. Is very important. The pope's visit is significant not only for Christians, but for all the Iraqi people.
But some question the wisdom of a papal visit in the middle of a global pandemic to a country where violence remains a serious issue. Archbishop McCarl says that despite the difficulties, it's right that the trip is going ahead more when it comes to security and logistics.
It will be a mess. But the most important thing is that it brings joy to everyone's hearts. This isn't just a formal visit. It's a spiritual moment.
Among the stops on the pope's visit is to the holy city of Najaf, where he'll meet Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. It will be a hugely symbolic moment designed to deepen ties between two of the world's great religions. But the church in Iraq is in decline. The Christian population is now barely a quarter of what it was 20 years ago. Lina is an Iraqi Christian who lives in the capital, Baghdad Unified.
We don't feel safe in Iraq, especially since we're the religious minority here. We fear for our lives and our family's lives. So this visit is a sign of hope. We're very happy about it. We can't believe it's happening.
Her husband, Saad, hopes the pope's visit will accelerate change in the country.
A 12 year old German with every step he's taking coming all the way from the Vatican to Iraq, he will have a solution for the problems he's come to address with people. So, God willing, there will be positive solutions to this country's problems. And God willing, this will reduce the number of people who emigrate, not just Christians, but all Iraqis.
But the story of Iraq's once flourishing Christian community is now fundamentally one of exile. And even a successful visit by the pope is unlikely to change that.
Well, as we heard there in that report by Martin patients, the pope's visit is going to resonate beyond Iraq's Christian community. And that's an assessment shared by Muhsin al Shammari from the US research group.
The Brookings Institution signals to the world that Iraq, despite all the things that we faced in the past few years, still can have a pope come visit and still can manage this kind of large scale event. And for outside of the Christian community, I mean, the pope is a very respected and revered figure worldwide. He comes as a sign, a peace sign of inclusion. Iraq is a very diverse country and we are very aware of our diversity and so very welcoming of a spiritual figure like that.
Yeah, I mean, it's it's wonderful to hear you talk in in positive terms about Iraq's diversity. Of course, you know, over the last 20 years, we've seen that diversity be the cause of tremendous violence and division.
Given that, how important is it that he will be meeting Ayatollah al-Sistani in Najaf?
I think it's very important that they meet. You know, Sistani has played a very critical role in managing Iraq's transition and Sistani has tried to be a figure for all Iraqis. And so when he is meeting with the pope, he is meeting someone who is his equal. In some ways they do the same job. You know, they unite people. They send the message of peace. And so it's also interesting because for the past hundred years, the institution that Sistani comes from hasn't really been able to engage on the world arena because it's traditionally been under an authoritarian state for the first time.
It's not been under a state that oppresses it. So it's able to actually engage with other world leaders. And I hope this visit really heralds the new era of interfaith communication and dialogue between the Shia community and the rest of, you know, religious institutions and figures throughout the world.
Muhsin Al Shamari talking to the BBC's Tim Franks as we record this podcast.
The authorities in New Zealand have issued a tsunami warning after a series of earthquakes in the Pacific. Hundreds of people have been told to move immediately to the nearest high ground.
Shaima Khalil reports.
The warning cover stretches of the east coast of the North Island. The area includes several coastal towns, including Kakutani, close to the volcano, which erupted in December 2019, killing 22 people. The third and largest quake, measured at magnitude eight, hit the Kermadec Islands. Two other quakes of of magnitude seven have been reported in the last few hours, including one that was strongly felt by tens of thousands of New Zealanders, those evacuating to higher ground have been advised by the country's civil Defense Department to walk or cycle to avoid getting caught in traffic.
Shyama Khaleel, four scientists have been awarded the prestigious brain prize for their work on the origins and treatment of migraines. The neuroscientist from Britain, Denmark, Sweden and the United States are going to share one and a half million dollars from the Lundbeck Foundation.
Our health reporter Philippa Roxboro has more.
Migraine is one of the most common neurological conditions. More than a billion people worldwide see the experience symptoms like throbbing head pain, nausea, vomiting and dizziness during attacks. This can damage quality of life and leave people unable to work with women three times more likely than men to be affected. One of those honored, Professor Peter Goldsby, who's director of the NIH Clinical Research Facility at King's College London, said this was down to hormones.
We think it's the cycling, the variation of the female hormone oestrogen that makes the migraine brain sensitive to attacks.
Until recently, drugs to treat migraine often had major side effects and could only help relieve symptoms. Thanks to important discoveries by the four prize winning scientists on how migraines are triggered, a whole new class of drugs has been developed, which can prevent debilitating attacks.
These block the chemicals that cause blood vessels surrounding the brain to dilate and cause pain.
The prize was also shared by Professor Lars Edmonson from Lund University in Sweden, Professor Michael Moscovitz from Harvard Medical School and Professor Yes, Olofsson from Denmark. They say migraine is now a reversible problem, which may even be curable one day.
It's been known for some time that butterfly numbers have been dramatically and consistently falling in the western United States. But a study published in the journal Science has suggested a new reason for the decline rising temperatures in the autumn or, as they say in the U.S., the fall.
Matt Foresty is professor of biology at the University of Nevada and the lead author of the report.
There are effects on plants from warming and drying conditions that then have effects on insects. It could also be the case that warming conditions at the end of the year have negative effects on overwintering stages. So insects need to sort of go to sleep, you know, to survive the winter. And it could be there when it's too warm. They can't do that properly and then they don't survive the winter or they are ready to go in spring with less energy than they would have had.
Normally, if you're talking about climate change, then in a sense that's that's rather more worrying because clearly that's something that can only be addressed on a much larger scale.
It's true, but there's an important caveat to that. So it's true that climate change effects are pervasive and need to be addressed at the global scale. But sort of counterintuitively, the fact that butterflies are not OK out there in the open spaces raises the value of lands that are very close to home. Butterflies will use our backyards and our city parks. So we need to take advantage of that and make better habitat for them there. We supplement those areas with water, for example, so they don't dry out in the same way.
So let's think about the lands that we can manage as well as fighting climate change at a global scale.
And Matt, if I can ask you a spectacularly ignorant question, I mean, obviously one of the reasons why we love butterflies is because they're pretty.
But how important are they in terms of the ecosystem?
Butterflies are glue that holds together various parts of terrestrial ecosystems. For example, caterpillars are important food for birds to rear their young caterpillars are also food for other insects that do other things like control pests in agriculture. So caterpillars are really abundant parts of ecosystems. Also, butterflies are pollinators like bees and other insects. So they're just multifaceted parts of complicated food webs that we need to have functioning ecosystems. And like you say, we love them because they're beautiful.
So we don't want to think of a world with fewer butterflies, certainly.
No. That was Professor Matt Forrester talking to my colleague Tim Franks. It is quick, convenient, but is it also a dystopian nightmare? Amazon has opened its first shop in the UK with technology replacing trolleys and tills on the supermarket, tracks shoppers around the store and monitors what they're picking up, meaning that they can leave without physically paying.
Our technology correspondent Rory Catherine Jones went along to have a look.
It's an unremarkable food store in West London, but there's a key difference. The shopping experience on the way in, you scan a barcode using Amazon's smartphone app on the way out, you do well, nothing.
Simply walk out with your shopping and nobody stops you to ask for payment. Most early shoppers seemed impressed. Wonderful.
Absolutely brilliant. It's the you're popular about the stories that it was fun. Yeah. Like, no, but really didn't feel like you. Excellent. I hate standing in line. So this is great. It's strange walking in and obviously just walking out but yeah. It's pretty cool. Good selection of things. Yes. It's where it feels like you. Yeah. It feels like a big watched. There's a lot of cameras.
What is happening is that cameras and sensors are tracking you throughout the store. They can even differentiate between various bunches of flowers as you put them in your bag. Then as you leave, payment is taken automatically from the card you've registered with your Amazon account. The retail analyst Natalie Berg says this is a watershed moment.
Amazon is known for disrupting the status quo, for raising customer expectations and forcing competitors to evolve. But I think there's also this recognition that online only is no longer enough. Today, customers want to shop on their terms. And although throughout the pandemic, many consumers will have shopped more online than ever before. Once a lockdown eases and we get back to a sense of normality, we still will want that choice of shopping in store or shopping online.
The technology could become commonplace. Amazon is offering to supply just walk out system as a service that can be installed in other companies stores.
Rory, Catherine Jones. And that's all from us for now. But there will be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. If you want to comment on this podcast or the topics we've covered in it, you can send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC Dot Co Dot UK today, studio manager was Philipot, the producer Allison Davis.
And the editor is Karen Martin. I'm Nick Mars. And until next time, goodbye.