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This is the global news podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Jackie Leonard, and in the early hours of Wednesday, the 17th of February, these are our main stories. A leading Democratic congressman has filed a federal lawsuit against Donald Trump, accusing him of inciting the assault by his supporters on the U.S. Congress on January the 6th. French lawmakers have voted in favor of President McCalls flagship project to combat extremism. And the Hamas authorities in Gaza have agreed to revise a controversial ruling that banned women from traveling without the permission of a male relative.
Also in this podcast, the European Space Agency says it's planning to recruit someone with a physical disability as a potential astronaut. And we look ahead to a world when the pandemic is finally over, covid is going to have more of a lasting impact than than any of us can quite imagine.
We need something to look forward to where everyone can relax and just let the house down and have a brilliant time.
So will this decade turn out to be a repeat of the last roaring 20s? He avoided the two thirds majority needed to find him guilty in the U.S. Senate, but former President Donald Trump now faces a federal lawsuit accusing him of inciting the assault by his supporters on the US Congress on January the 6th. The case is being brought by Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. It also names Mr. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and far right groups, the proud boys and the Oath Keepers.
So just how serious could this be for Donald Trump? A question from our Washington correspondent, Anthony Zuiker.
I think it's an indication that Donald Trump's legal challenges from that Capitol Hill mob are not going to go away. Whether this particular case has a chance of success, it has a lot of legal hurdles. It has to get over before then. It's citing a law from 1871 right up to the civil war that was used to keep the Ku Klux Klan from preventing elected black congressmen from coming to Washington to cast their votes to prevent black newly freed slaves from voting in the South.
So it's a kind of a novel use of this law and it's a civil action. So it's not criminal. But there could be another example of the financial challenges that Donald Trump faces after he's left office. So it's not a slam dunk by any means, but it is showing that people are trying to get Donald Trump to be held accountable even after the impeachment and trial acquittal.
And what is the precise focus of this lawsuit? Is it all about the events of January the 6th, that day itself, or are they looking at previous tweets and things as well?
It's not just the actions on the day, like the impeachment case that was brought by the House against Donald Trump. It is going to look all the way back to Donald Trump's conduct before Election Day, his calling into question the legitimacy of the election before and after Donald Trump lost the claims of voter fraud, the claims of the election being stolen from him. The case that they're trying to make is that all of this was done knowingly by Donald Trump to stir up his supporters, culminating in that attack on the capital, which he could have not only could have foreseen, but also that he and the people who also in that lawsuit, they engaged in planning to prepare for such an act.
And just finally, Anthony, we're actually going to see Donald Trump in court. Well, it doesn't seem likely the Fifth Amendment protects against self incrimination. So Donald Trump could conceivably cite that and decline to testify. Another thing that they're going to have to deal with in suing Donald Trump is that president are protected from lawsuits when they act in their official capacity. So they're going to have to prove to the judge that Donald Trump was acting in his personal capacity as a candidate and not as president of the United States before they can even get to the point where they could try to get him to testify.
Anthony Xhaka, the lower house of the French parliament, has approved President Emmanual Merkel's flagship project to combat extremism. The draft legislation aims to modernize the cornerstones of French democracy laid down more than a century ago. The Senate will debate the measures next month. From Paris, here's Lucy Williamson.
This bill covers a vast array of measures from closer scrutiny of religious associations to better protection for public workers and tighter restrictions on home schooling for children. It also includes a new offence introduced after the murder of school teacher Samuel Party last year, which means that anyone who endangers the lives of others by maliciously disseminating personal information, for example, on social media could face three years in prison. France's main opposition parties, both left and right, voted against the bill, with some deputies believing it didn't go far enough and others concerned about freedom of speech.
Those divisions extend into wider public opinion here, with critics of President Macron seeing the new law as a bid to prove his credentials on security and national identity ahead of presidential elections next year.
Lucy Williamson in Paris. The authorities in the Gaza Strip say they will redraft a law passed by a Hamas run Islamic court that said women in the territory must seek the permission of a male guardian if they wanted to travel. Human rights groups and social media users have decried the ruling, saying it eroded women's rights. Arab affairs analyst Alan Johnston told us more.
This all began on Sunday when the high higher Sharia council in Gaza issued its ruling. It said unmarried women wanting to travel would need the permission of a male guardian, usually a father. And the law suggested that married women would need the permission of their husbands. And there was an immediate backlash on social media. Hamas was accused of rolling back women's rights and human rights groups in the Palestinian territories. This contravened Palestinian law on gender discrimination and there was even a protest outside the doors of the higher Sharia Council, the judge who turned this edicts into a law has said it will be revisited, it will be redrafted.
He didn't say exactly what changes will be made and of course, they'll be scrutinized. But for the moment at least, the protesters seem to have made an impact.
Why would Hamas have tried to do this in the first place? What was behind it?
Well, Hamas is an Islamist organization in its bones, in its DNA. It makes very clear that it believes women should be dressed modestly. There's no alcohol, for example, allowed anywhere in Gaza. But this business of requiring women to get permission to travel from a male relative was something unusual, something you really more associate with Saudi Arabia, perhaps, than with Gaza. It's not surprising there was a backlash. And I've seen one women's rights analyst in the Palestinian territory suggesting that Hamas is perhaps concerned that too many young women wanted to get out of Gaza.
The situation there is desperate. There's continual tension between Hamas militants and the Israelis. The Israelis impose a blockade to stop, they say, the militants getting weapons and so on. The economy, as a result has been strangled, unemployment to chronic levels. Many young women would no doubt like to leave Gaza. Perhaps Hamas, with its conservative worldview, is looking to put a control on that in a very patriarchal sort of way.
Alan Johnston, Japan is starting it's covid vaccine rollout on Wednesday, and it's doing it with the help of a cheerful cartoon dog in a white doctor's coat called Coyoacan, the Japanese for coronavirus vaccine. He's a chat bot on the popular messaging app line who is primed to counter a vaccine hesitancy in a country where opinion polls suggest only half the population want the job. Euge Yamada is one of the doctors who came up with a canine chatbot. James Coomaraswamy began by asking him why so many Japanese people are unsure about having a vaccine.
I can think of several reasons, but let me share three significant examples. So number one, in Japanese history, there have been lots of misinformation regarding HPV vaccine and it was unfortunately exaggerated by the media company. So in Japan, HPV vaccine has not been recommended by the Japanese government. So this program was recently fixed, but I think it was enough to give people the impression that vaccines are risky. And number two, in Japan, we experience much smaller coronavirus outbreak compared to England or the United States.
So people tend to underestimate the risk of infection. On number three, there is a general mistrust in current Japanese government, and this mistrust in government might be somewhat associated with mistrust in vaccines.
So how can a cartoon dog help? Even though there are great resources for vaccine information open to the public created by the Department of Health, people tend to get more information from social media where there are a lot of misinformation. So our chat bot was created by 10 physicians all over the country and gives correct information about vaccines through one of the most commonly used social media platforms where people can ask questions about vaccines or look for any information about vaccines.
You said that there's a lot of misinformation out there which this chatbot is designed to counter. What kind of misinformation? What are people saying? What do they believe which isn't true?
OK, so I think one of the most common misinformation in Japan is this RNA vaccine will eventually alter its genetic information in people. So people tend to think that maybe this vaccine will cause cancer or maybe that people get infertility. And there's no evidence behind that. And we are trying to explain the reasons in the top chalkboard and people have started using it.
Have they? How is it going? How many people are using it? What kind of response are you getting so far?
Around 20000 to 30000 people daily. But we expect after, you know, a vaccination program, it started for the general population in Japan, maybe around April. More people start using it. One final thought, why a dog, is there something about a dog that is more comforting to Japanese people? Yeah, so, you know, we named this after coronavirus vaccine. It's called Coyoacan in Japanese. And we were imagining maybe Coyoacan, something like that.
And I think people live with it. So we decided to make that dog character to ease people's anxiety. And people are reacting well to the dog, are they? I believe so, and I hope so.
Dr. Uji Yamada speaking to James Coomaraswamy. Around the world, most covid vaccines are currently approved only for adults. But now trials are underway to determine if they could also be safe and effective for those under the age of 18. Here in the UK, the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is being tested on 300 volunteers aged six to 17. Medical editor Fergus Walsh has been to one of the trial sites.
We know that after people have their vaccinations and sometimes they can get some resonance and some spelling and some pain at the site of the infection.
In a mobile vaccine clinic in Oxford, dozens of teenagers are taking an unusual half term break from home schooling.
And what we would suggest if that is to take some paracetamol, perhaps take plenty of fluids and take plenty of rest.
They're part of a trial testing how young people respond to a vaccine currently being used to protect people, their grandparents age. The volunteers will get two doses of the Oxford jab or a meningitis vaccine as a control. Tilde, who's 16, didn't hesitate to sign up.
Well, we live relatively nearby. So when I saw that it was going on here, I thought, you know, if I can do my bit to help, then why not?
Children are highly unlikely to be seriously affected by covid. Although a small minority are at increased risk, they generally get few or no symptoms. Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford vaccine trials, says in the long term, immunizing children might help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
But it may be rather similar to the flu situation, where with the influenza program we vaccinate, you'll both protect them, but also because that reduces transmission in the wider population to ensure that all of us are protected against the virus.
All three covid vaccines approved in the UK are being tested in children. Fizer and Moderna are doing their trials in the US. If the studies go well, it is highly likely that all school children will eventually be offered covid jobs. That was Fergus Walsh.
Still to come, the best way to describe how I felt and I'm sure a lot of people can actually identify with this is actually losing your sense of identity, coping with mental health issues during the pandemic.
We are looking towards the moon and Mars, we need very excellent astronauts for the future, the words of the director of the European Space Agency as he announced a selection process which also aims to recruit a candidate with a physical disability and a deputation. A British Paralympic athlete and BBC presenter welcomed the announcement as an April Fool's joke.
I put on my Twitter. I was thinking, what can I do to really get people going? And I thought that I was going to be the first I'd been selected to be the first disabled astronaut to go out there thinking it was a joke. And the response that I got on Twitter was incredible. And I never, ever thought that something like this would be possible or that some would even think about it. So for me, I think this is just absolutely wonderful news.
It's what space travel should be all about is what human endeavor should be all about. And actually what this is saying, he says space travel project or program to include that, to have diversity in it, basically saying that we're using technology to overcome those barriers. This is the biggest barrier ever for everybody. And not to say they want to include people with disabilities. I tell you, I am absolutely positive.
It's the first time any space agency is recruiting someone with a disability. Samantha Cristoforetti is the only woman ESA astronaut.
I always say when it comes to go into space, we're all disabled. You know, we were not meant to go to space. And what makes us able to go to space is technology. And technology so far has been tailored to individuals like Mir to enable us to go to space. And we want to make that next step and see through this feasibility project. What would it take to enable people who are somewhat diverse with a physical disability to go into space and do a meaningful work up there?
ESA will be accepting applications in March to fill four to six vacancies and wants the process to be as inclusive as possible. So in space, is diversity the final frontier? I'm sorry, a question for our science correspondent, Jonathan Amos.
Certainly the European Space Agency has been feeling the heat in recent years. They've come in for a lot of criticism on the topic of gender diversity. We heard there from Samantha Cristoforetti. She is the only female astronaut in the current core. So they need many more female astronauts or certainly the proportion needs to be increased. And I think that is going to be a big aim this time around. But kind of the interesting announcement is that they also want to look into getting somebody on board who has some kind of disability as well, which Samantha was explaining to us.
Now, at this stage, it's a feasibility project. This individual that they select, they will look at how you could fly that person to the International Space Station. And I should say this individual would not be a kind of tourist. It wouldn't be a gimmick. They would have to be qualified in every other respect. So, you know, they would have a masters in a science subject. But ESA wants to look at it, see if it's possible, talk to the international partners on the space station, get them comfortable with the idea that we could very soon, within the next few years, see a para astronaut on the International Space Station.
You mentioned that the European Space Agency has been taking a lot of pressure over its lack of diversity.
But why does diversity in space exploration really matter? It's not just about being nice, is it?
Well, actually, you say that. But if you look at the history of astronaut recruitment, if you go back to the very beginning, they were all test pilots, OK? They had the right stuff to use. That old phrase when you got to remember is you're in a tin can for six months. You have got to get on with the people that you are in that enclosed space. You have to have confidence in the individuals by your side.
And so just recruiting somebody who is that go tough, get person who is a test pilot, you know, is prepared to get in an experimental aeroplane is not necessarily the best person to put in that tin can with five or six other individuals for six months. So you're looking for a great range of personalities, but personalities that can mix and get on with each other.
Jonathan Almos, both tough and affable requests for mental health treatment, have surged around the world since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Many people have sought help for problems like anxiety or depression for the first time over the past year, while others who have dealt with mental health issues throughout their lives have found new challenges amid the threat of covid-19 and continuing lockdowns. One of our listeners here in the UK shared her. Own mental health story with us. She told our reporter Peter Goffin, is more important than ever for people to realize when they need help.
You think that by dismissing your feelings or by sort of ignoring them, you're being strong? I think that's the main issue with mental health. People sort of think, oh, I could get away with this idea.
This is Juliette. Like millions of people around the world, she began experiencing mental health issues as a young adult. It's been years since she faced what she calls her rock bottom, a period when her depression and eating disorder got so severe that she had to spend two weeks in hospital. But the coronavirus pandemic and England's first lockdown in the spring of 2020 proved a setback to all the hard work Juliet had done since then to keep her health in check.
When the pandemic came and I was being very careful about the precautions I was taking, but that at the same time was a bit swayed by this whole health regime, which which was so popular during the pandemic. Suddenly, on social media, everybody's posting photos of food or whatever their fitness or telling you how many steps they did or how much running I did. And and suddenly was a bit like a competition. In a way. I did end up going all vegan or vegetarian, and it was massively unnecessary.
I mean, even after recovering from my initial depression and the severe weight loss, I'm still technically underweight.
Already separated from friends and family by social distancing rules, Juliette was placed on furlough, a scheme in the UK that saw workers put on leave to help save their employers money. With the British government paying up to 80 percent of those workers salaries.
The best way to describe how I felt, and I'm sure a lot of people can actually identify where this is actually losing your sense of identity. Socializing, I think, is such an important thing. And you get that in the office when you're face to face, you get to see people, you get to chat with them. It just it's part of the whole environments and the circumstance. But then even when you are still working now, you don't have that is incidental coffee breaks when you bump into someone and you can have a nice chat or just anything or and I think we have to make much more of an effort in these circumstances to sort of pluck those needs.
The gaps of interaction.
What social contact Juliette could have with loved ones provided a major boost. Thank God for technology. Thank God that we can see people well, not face to face, but screen to screen, let's call it. And you can really check in with people and still sort of feel like they really are there. You know, my close friends, my family, they were the main factor to really help those feelings not get so bad and keep things at bay.
And even if it's just a few minutes, it doesn't have to be. You know, I'm getting really low and let's have a long chat about it. But just even hearing someone's voice can really make you realize that you aren't alone and that the world out there still exists.
Alison and Juliette speaking to Peter Gougne. Engineers working on repairing Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was partially destroyed in a fire in 2019, are scouring the French countryside to find the trees needed to rebuild its spire. Gareth Barlow has the story.
Even as the embers still smoldered, tears flowed and France came to terms with its loss. Rebooting Notre Dame was already being planned. Building the cathedral took the best part of a century. However, President Macron said its spire would soar once more in just five years time. And so the search is now on to identify over a thousand oak trees needed to rebuild the centrepiece of the UNESCO World Heritage site. But they can't be any old trees, although they do need to be old.
Each oak must stand straight, have a diameter of less than a metre, but more than half a metre, and be between eight and 14 metres tall. To fulfill those criteria, each tree will need to be between 100 and 200 years old. Carpenters are now searching French woodlands and private collections to find oaks that are old enough, tall enough and street enough. Plantations ordered by French kings to provide wood to build naval ships may now come to the rescue of 21st century engineers.
The trees must be felled before the end of March to allow the wood enough time to dry out before being cut and used in construction. The original roof of Notre Dame used so many beams, it was colloquially called the forest. Now France is looking to its ancient forests to build a new one.
While much of the world is still in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, some have already turned their thoughts to what happens next. How will our lives have changed once it's all over? It's been suggested that the 20s could echo the 1920s or the roaring 20s as that decade was known then to the world was emerging from a pandemic, the Spanish flu, which killed tens of millions, as well as the First World War. It was an era when many sought to make up for lost time with hedonistic partying and a shedding of traditional morals.
But it was also a period of great instability with challenges to the prevailing social order. So can we expect more of the same? Palmos reports.
The parties thrown by Alex Haugh have always had a reputation for unabashed hedonism guests, both women and men in skimpy, suggestive costumes entertained by the kind of risque cabaret that might leave a vicar blushing. Alex doesn't know when he'll be able to hold parties again, but he has given some thought to how they might be different once the covid crisis is finally over.
What I imagine, of course, will have a kind of propensity to wild orgiastic release and frenzy and high energy, but will also, of course, need that momentary pause to reflect back, regain energy and then explode that stuff that's been milling around and wanting to escape.
You know, it's like letting open the floodgates.
It's pretty much 100 years exactly since those floodgates opened in a similar fashion. The soundtrack then provided by that new and exciting form of musical abandon jazz. They called it the roaring 20s, a time of unprecedented license to party after the horrors of World War One and the far greater death toll from the Spanish flu epidemic, a period chronicled by the historian Lucy Moore in her book Anything Goes.
People's behavior across the Western world really changed after the First World War in America. You had jazz clubs in England, you had dressing up parties. People were transgressing social norms of gender, of race, of class, and that mood of hedonism filtered down into the rest of society.
But do you think you really can draw any parallels with today other than the fact that, you know, it was the 20s and that it followed a period of widespread death?
In some ways, it's it's quite similar to now because the young people after the First World War felt that they'd given the ultimate sacrifice for the older generation and they'd been the ones dying in trenches. And so they were bloody well going to do what they wanted. And now I think the younger generation feels as well that they've made these huge sacrifices, asked to stay at home. I mean, it's obviously not the same, but it is a sacrifice for an older generation.
And yet that still leaves open the question why? Why in the wake of death and tragedy, would people necessarily want to go out to dance and generally party?
Of course, there's an element of making up for lost time, a feast of festivity after the famine and perhaps an urge to indulge in wild, intoxicated revelry in order to forget some of the trauma so recently endured. But the psychotherapist Lucy Berrisford sees something more deep seated at work as human beings.
We live with this undercurrent of death anxiety about the fact that we're going to die, but we don't know when it's going to happen. So when we have experiences where we have had a brush with mortality or we've been surrounded by people who've had that, we feel so liberated that we then start to behave with excess.
So we could be talking about parties, we could be talking about frenetic sexual activity.
Janey wants to have a party. She lives in rural southern England, and we'll be celebrating her fiftieth birthday in September. So she hopes that by then, the UK's covid lockdown will have lifted 1980s classics like Madonna are what she plans for the party dance floor. But Janie is also making plans for how to keep her guests safe by.
I don't want to create a super spreading event, so basically, if you haven't had a vaccine, you're not coming. That's it. But the main thing is I think I'm just going to do it outside.
Part of me was thinking that maybe I shouldn't have a party because, yeah, but there has been so much death, we've had a family member die ourselves just recently. You know, it doesn't really feel appropriate. But at the same time, I do think it is going to have more of a lasting impact than any of us can quite imagine.
We need something to look forward to where everyone can relax and just let her down and have a brilliant time.
That report by Paul Moss. And that's it from us for now, we're off to plan some wild and frenzied partying, but there will be an updated version of the global news broadcast later. If you would like to comment on this podcast or the topics covered in it, do please send us an email. The address is Global Podcast and DOT co-wrote U.K.. This pod was mixed by Barry Byrne. The producer was Jason Sunley. The editor is Karen Martin.
I'm Jackie Leonard. And until next time, goodbye.