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tv   News  Al Jazeera  October 22, 2013 3:00am-3:31am EDT

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hundreds of firefighters flown in from around australia to battle bush fires now threatening sydney. ♪ ♪ hello from me david foster you are watching al jazerra live from doug doha. amnesty internationals says the u.s. should identifies war crimes over drone strikes. protesters and police clash in rio over the sale of brazil's biggest offshore oil field. >> reporter: and i will be reported on the poachers who have become cons solutionis cond
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helping to ron tourist lodges. the worst bush fire in decades continue to threaten the australian city of sydney. one person has died, more than 200 homes have been destroyed. and we can join andrew thomas in sydney. and this is a 24 hour a day operation, andrew, are they getting anywhere? >> reporter: well, very slowly they are trying to back burn is the phrase that they use, they are trying on burn out areas in the controlled way before the wildfires reach them. don't be fooled by the gray skies behind me and a sprinkling of rain that sydney has on tuesday afternoon. it's knowing no not going to lat conditions will get much, much worse and thousands of volunteer firefighters, particular any in the blue mountains if near sidney have been working around the clock trying to prevent the fires, i spent monday night with
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some of them just outside the town of lithgow. >> andrew sphoeugt night shift fosmith is on the nightshift foa row. normally smith works as a chef almost a thousand kilometers from the tur town of lithgow. but tonight he's one of hundreds of volunteer firefighters who have flown in from all over australia to help protect the blue mountains towns near sydney. >> that's what we are going to do any questions? >> reporter: the hills above lithgow are alight. tonight's task is to top the bush fires traveling down to the town. they'll be fighting fire by lighting more fire. but first, an edge of town house needs protecting. >> basically putting in a five or six-meter line of wet dirt. so that if any embers do fall down on it it will not catch alight. >> reporter: once the ground around the house is wet, i don't
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understand it is lit. >> that will do it. >> reporter: and within seconds, this. the idea is that these flames travel up the hill and meet the big filed bush fire coming down it. this area is burned out, the wildfire can't reach that house and can't reach the town of lithgow. it's risky work. >> as you can see the embers coming off the tree it's going up. and the wind is going to start bringing it back. see these big ones here. >> reporter: yeah. >> if that drops down in here and ignites behind us, that house is gone. >> reporter: there are hundreds of operations like this going on across new south wales. much of the work being done when it's coolest, and the wind is lightest at night. >> basically if we didn't do this tonight this would come straight down the hill here straight through to lithgow. >> reporter: so you are protect a whole down? >> yep. >> reporter: under controlled conditions, two of the biggest bush fires have now been brought together. that means that there are now two huge fires across the blue
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mountains. the concern is that as the weather deteriorates on weather are the northern and southern fires could meet creating what some are calling a mega fire with a fire front hundreds of kilometers long, that could threaten not just towns like lithgow, but the western suburbs of sydney. this is what is being done to stop it it. >> i am going ask you, andrew in just a moment. about how close it's getting to sydney. but i want to ask you about the update from the man in charge. he's been giving us his assessment. >> reporter: that's right. in the last half hour shane fits simons who is the heads of the rural fire service who oversees this entire fire fighting operation has given a pretty doom-laden press conference to be absolutely honest. he said while wednesday was predicted to be the worst day weather wise, the latest weather forecast, is everybody worse than predicted. very high temperatures in the high 30s, little humidity in chance of rain and very high
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winds the exact same condition that his started these awful fires last thursday when all those homes were lost. and of course already this time around lots of lots of fires lit these huge mega fires some are calling them spread ago cross the blue mountains it will be trying to control those in terrible winds it will be difficult. he says there is an extreme fire danger right across the blue mountains and across greater sydney it. he said that there is every potential we could see more homes and lives lost on wednesday. he is saying anybody who doesn't have to be in the blue mountains should leave that area before lunchtime on wednesday when conditions are supposed to be at their worst. and he said that just because you have been hit by fire already doesn't mean you won't be hit again. so some pretty all of warnings and an update as well on these back-burning operations you saw in my report there. he said that although they are putting in every effort, those operations have not been as successful as was hoped. that i am afraid is a sign that he really is saying things could get bad. now, of course, this has to be tempered by the fact that it's
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his job to warn people. needs people to be prepared. so he's not saying everything is going to be all right you can go back too your normal lives. >> absolutely i agree. >> reporter: i was quite taken aback by how much was in this and how many doom laden he was. >> greater sydney he is saying is threatened. it's a sprawling, it's a massive area that is covered by greater sydney, but how close are the fires to that area? how many of thousands of homes are possibly in danger? >> reporter: well, what you need to know about sydney is what a big city it is. people think about the opera house and huh are bore behind me. in fact it sprawls many kilometers to the west, it's the i can't is to the far west of sydney in the war western suburbs that could be at threat they are at the foot of the blue mountains indeed which are on fire. so if the wind change direction and starts pushing the fires towards the east that's when sydney could be at risk. i should stress, though, it's mainly the towns in the blue mountains themselves that are in
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most danger, rather than the city, but given the worst conditions in many, many years here, the city itself could be at risk. >> andrew thomas, thank you very much indeed for that update. syria's president says no date has been set for international talk aimed the ending the civil war. assad indicated that he has no intention of quitting think saying there is no reason he cannot run for reelection. foreign ministers from the friends of syria core group are he had meeting the leaders of the opposition syria coalition in london over the course of the next few hours, let's go to barnaby phillips in london. ahead of the possible talks the geneva two within of the things that's key to this is making the opposition extremely united. otherwise those peace talks might be a waste of time. >> reporter: laabsolutely david.
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and perhaps even before that make sure that the opposition are ready to turn up at all to geneva peace talks. at the moment, the position of the syrian national council, a key part of the national coalition, is that they won't go. obviously the leading western powers are going to meet here in london and is the leading middle eastern powers, are going to try and convince them otherwise, they see a little window of opportunity, dip natural i cannilidiplomat ibelievely spean otherwise bleak syrian picture and they want to press home their advantage. but they have a lot of convincing to do in london. i don't think it will be wrapped up today i expect the diplomacy will carry on in the weeks ahead. >> i suppose the fact that it's called friends of syria is an irony that won't be lost on some of those from the opposition who believe that they have been massively let down by the united states and the west in general. over sorts of getting in to bed, if you like, with the russians over the chemical weapons deal.
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>> reporter: that's right. i think there is a real gulf of perception that has opened up over the last month or so. here in the west, i think people feel quite encouraged they see the chemical weapons deal as a good thing, they also see it as a template for cooperation with the russians, they finally see some momentum in the united nations security council, the syrian opposition on the other hand, feels very neglected and perhaps what is worse from their point of view, is that this process over the chemical weapons to some extent legitimizes or perhaps even relegitimizes the regime of president assad. and leaves the opposition out in the cold and as they are at pain to his tell us, david, makes very little material difference in terms of the suffering, the death scale and the refugees on the ground in syria itself. >> okay, barnaby, thank you very much indeed. more details of that meeting a little later here on al jazerra.
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barack obama has called up the french president and talked about accusations that the u.s. has been spying on millions of french citizens the allegations come from further leaks by the u.s. whistle blower edward snow 10. we are talking in paris the u.s. secretary the state john kerry is saying the united states is reviewing how it gather intelligence. >> as president obama said, very clearly in a recent speech that he gave at the united nations general assembly just a few weeks ago, he said we in the united states are currently reviewing the way that we gather intelligence. and i think that's appropriate. that our goal is always to try to find the right balance between protecting the security and the privacy of our citizens. >> amnesty international says u.s. drone strikes are illegal and could amount to war crimes. human rights group investigated 45 strikes in north west pakistan between january of last year and august of this year.
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highlighting incidents where civilians were killed. among them the death i've 14-year-old boy. amnesty also documented cases of so-called rescuer attacks where those who ran to help the victims of a drone strike are killed in a follow-up attack. we spoke to one family who were targeted. >> reporter: this is the family, they say the 68-year-old mother and grandmother was killed in a u.s. drone strike in october of last year. all they have left to remember her by is this photo from her i.d. card. her son says these strays show the injuries sustained by his children when the u.s. drone fired its missile near name home in the village. >> everyone was working in the field where we have crops that's when the drone hit. i thought it was terrorists so when the missile struck it was so powerful some of the children
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tumbles down the steps. >> reporter: the interviews were carried out by amnesty international in a wide-ranging report on drone strikes in pakistan released on tuesday, the human rights organization expressed serious concerns over the deaths of penal lik people . >> the u.s. have to explain why civilians were killed. it must pr provide justice to te people, those responsible for the killings. >> reporter: according to government and n.g.o. statistics the u.s. has launched between 330 and 370 drone strikes in pakistan between 2004 and last month. the united nations says during that nine-year period more than 2,000 people have been killed in drone attacks and at least 400 of those are believed to be civilians. it's difficult to get accurate figures because the cia's drone program remains secret and journalists are prevented from entering areas where the strikes occur. but that's unlikely to prevent pakistan's prime minister, a
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vocal opponents of drone strikes from bringing up. issue with president obama when the two meet on wednesday. >> pakistan cannot afford picking up rivalry with the united states. but at the same time, but pakistan's requests are reasonable the u.s. cannot simply ignore them. >> reporter: but few expect drone strikes to end any time soon. earlier this year, president obama called the strikes lawful and part of a legitimate campaign against terrorism. relations between pakistan and the u.s. have been tense, particularly since 2011 when o*euosama bin laden was found lg not far from the pakistani capital. but in a sign of warming ties the obama administration has requested more than one and a half billion dollars in military and civilian assistance for pakistan. and while drone strikes will no doubt continue to be a problem between the two countries, it would appear this relationship is on the mends as the u.s.
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prepares its exit from afghanistan by the end of next year. >> coming up for you here on al jazerra he won the legislate i have fight over health care law, but computer glitches are now putting barack obama on the defensive. stay with us for that if you can. on inside story, we bring together unexpected voices closest to the story, invite hard-hitting debate and desenting views and always explore issues relevant to you. [[voiceover]] every day, events sweep across our country. and with them, a storm of views. how can you fully understand the
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impact unless you've heard angles you hadn't considered? antonio mora brings you smart conversation that challenges the status quo with unexpected opinions and a fresh outlook. including yours.
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you are watching al jazerra with me david foster. the stop tories thi tore storier
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the worst bush fires instead sids any. one person has died and 200 homes destroyed. amnesty international says u.s. drone strikes are illegal and could amount for war crimes. 35 between january 2012 and august this year in pakistan. u.s. secretary of state john kerry says his country is working hard to change how it gathers intelligence, this is after reports that the u.s. spy agents seu monitored millions of phone calls and messages in france. an ocean of brazil has let to violent protests in rio. the brazilian president saying the sale will help fund health care and pay for schools. but there are those saying it isn't worth the cost of putting their oil in the hands of foreign inning have you tours, >> reporter: the pow test protee
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been loud and color. they wanted tote grebeshkov tote hotel where the auction was held in their way riot police, they used rubber bullets and tear gas to drive the protesters back and the protesters took out their anger on any available target. they married their ona range little for protection as they pushed forward. >> this is unbelievable. since morning they have been attacking without reason, just people in general. there were old people and children. and they were shooting tear gas. >> we are understand that the government instead of helping out the people with health, education and public transport it helping the multinationals and big business. >> reporter: demonstrators want to thwart the auction of brazil's largest offshore oil block. it could be holding up to 12 billion oil barrels oil and e than 100 in other areas. exploit that go would make brazil one of the top oil
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exporters, but letting fly he are florencers do that they are selling a tick toyota wealth. an accusation the president says is baseless. >> the results of the auction means that 85% of all income from the field will belong to the br brazil brazilian state. >> reporter: the justice minister denies the policing has been heavy handed. >> it's clear the right to protest exists and has to be insured but the event security had to also be guaranteed 67 the winning connor sum show, includes shell, two thine keys firms and brazil's state run patrol vinnipetroleum company. all of brazil will be better off says the government. but not everyone is convinced. al jazerra. flooding in peru has killed one person and forced thousands to flee their homes. two people are reported missing
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after being washed away. more than a thousand homes have been abandoned. smog has caused havoc in northeastern china forces roads and airports to close. dozens of flights have been postponed or canceled according to state media visibility has been less than 50 meters. peter a journalist from the christian sign monitor based in beijing he says china pledges to tackle it by regulation isn't enough. >> reporter: you can see it and i have to breathe it. it's just dreadful. accord to this official statistics today is very unhealthy. that's not as bad as it has been in the last few days when wa its hazardous not as bat in north east china where visibility was cut to 50 meet nurse some places bass they turned the central heating over the weekend and it's powered by coal. they have announced aid number
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of measures in north eastern china this winter, they are going to try to control the growth, i.e. to build fewer cement factories, fewer steel mills and move fore coal-coward central heating planned outside of bay ying and they are going to stop half of the cars in beijing from driving on the roads when things get really out of control. so these are serious measures, but they are difficult to implement because it means cutting economic growth and economic growth is absolutely of paramount importance to the government. and they are longer term. it's hard to see how this will get better. while the government -- the country relies on coal for nearly 70% of its energy needs. the former rebel group says its ended a 21 year peace deal with the government. the groups the military raid on its jungle base force it had to break the pact. a million people wer estimated to have died following the sieval war after it achieved independence from portugal in
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1975. funerals in egypt for four coptic christians shot during a wedding. two men on motor bikes drove up to the church and opened fire. come make kane reports from cairo. >> reporter: the christians attend the church for the funerals of the victims, these members of their community were killed outside this building and so for their relatives. the grief is still raw. the bishop let the service. and he had these words of comfort. >> if they believe this incident will keep us from going to church they are mistaken. the blood will deep you are our roots in to the grounds. this is blessed unfortified by the noble bloods of the fallen martyrs. >> reporter: across the city many wounded are being treated
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at the hospital. she had gone to the church for her niece's wedding. they had had to wait outside while a previous ceremony came to an end. but instead of her niece's arrival. came two gunmen on motorcycle bikes. >> we were being shot at from every angle. i was hit in the leg. it was as if we were in a war zone. this is the first time i have ever been in this situation. these attackers wants to destroy our country but this attack will not stop us from going to church. >> reporter: on sunday night. the governor promise today increase the security at churches. and the next day, saw him at the hospital to comfort the wounded. while no one has claimed they carried out the shooting, in recent months at least 40 churches have been attacked. those who survived this shooting, have spoken of their determination not to be threatened by the violence. and if these scenes are any
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indication, many of the christians here share that view. dominick kane, al jazerra, cairo. the election of the mall dives have announced new dates. first round on november 9 and this if necessary a second rounds a week later. the vote was to have taken place on saturday but the police stepped in and stopped it saying it was illegal and that brought with it nationwide protests. the new health care laws in the united states face more criticism this time over the website which people use to sign in for the program. it's a site that's been playinged with computer a irrelevant ores and frequent crashes. personal who regards the law as one of his biggest achievements has been forced to say sorry. our white house correspondent reports. >> live web chat assistance is unavailable. >> reporter: it's become a
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familiar reframe of frustration, across the country millions have tried to log onto shop for health insurance now available under the affordable kara, but for most it seems the website just isn't working. >> the excitement became more like a question mark. but we are not giving up. >> reporter: that was the message president obama tried to send monday. promising the website will get fixed. and defending the products it's selling. >> through the marketplaces you can get health insurance for what may be the equivalent of your cell phone bill. >> reporter: by next year, most of the 48 million inning insured peoplinninguninsured have to sir face a fine which may be a bigger problem than getting the website running. the planned of president is promoting are relatively expensive every month but won't pay for much. in many cases people have to spends $5,000 a year for medical care before insurance picks up any of the costs.
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so paying a small fine might be the better option. for people like 24-year-old opera singer ira bark. >> therbarth. there is just not enough money to go around to pay to health i insurance right 2340u679 if he . >> reporter: if healthy people don't signed up it doesn't work if the government doesn't get s*l 7 million people to enroll in match. so far only half a million have started the application process. >> remember the coverage doesn't even start until january 1. how many people do you noah. ly go and spends money to buy something three months before they can even use it? >> reporter: if she's wrong, there will be consequences for the country and its economy. >> insurance companies they are on the exchanges now might pull out of the exchange in 2015 or 2016 because they are not able to make money at the -- given the mix of people who are signing up i'm second pot possibility would be that the government basically increases
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its subsids. >> reporter: the press last just a few months to convince americans need what he's selling. so far, everybody he admits it's not going so well. patty, al jazerra, washington. across africa poachers are preying upon rhinos, elephants and all sorts of big game. but not in ma anybody i can't, bigger story there. it has earned an international conservation thanks to this initiative has tanya page will tell us. >> reporter: rhinos used to be a rare site but since gaining independence from out africa, wildlifes made a come back. protected areas managed by the communities that live on the land. it's turned former poachers like ruben in to conservationists. last year only one rhino was poached in namibia compared to
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668 slaughtered in south africa. >> i will not repeat that mistake because conservancy has given me a job. i have settled down now. the way forward is that i will not hunt anymore. >> reporter: he works at the lodge owned and operated by the community. it earns the conservancies 3,000 members about $80,000 a year. they vote on how to spend the profits. either on improvements or beyond the lodge walls. a soup kitchen for the elderly and fuel for water pumps. the only thing outsourced in s* the marketing which a private company does and although the view really does sale itself, three community members are being trained so that they can take over that role as well. but the system isn't perfect, some people feel they haven't benefited enough and because there is more wildlife now, there is more conflict between people and animals.
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>> there are lots of animals now, and they are eating all the grass and my ghost have to go very far. before we could hunt and eat wildlife but now we are not allowed. >> reporter: john used to poach for food, too. but he's a farmer now, he's just been elected by the community to be the treasurer on the conservancies board of directors. >> i know now that it was selfishness by poaching animals instead of conserving them and getting the benefits for all of the people in the area, i was just thinking about myself. >> reporter: 44% of namibia's lands is protected and forum is now the second biggest contributor to the economy. by entire communities turning to conservation it's insuring theirs and the wildlife future. al jazerra, namibia. >> talking of wildlife, shoppers in the *uz state of florida got a bit ou.s. state of floor got a
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shopping market. it blocked the main entrance to the wall smart store, he police called in but he manage today make a break way. nobody has hurt, pretty common alligators around there in the swamp lands of the mostly southern u.s. state.


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