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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  December 10, 2013 12:00am-1:01am EST

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>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york and here are the top stories. it's 7:00 a.m. in johannesburg and the gates to the stadium where the official memorial for nelson mandela will be held. these are live pictures now. more than 100 world leaders plan to attend including president obama and his wife mrs. obama. the stadium holds 90,000 people but many more are expected to show up. al jazeera america will hold extended coverage, starting at 4:00 a.m. eastern, 1:00 a.m. pacific. winter weather advisors posted from arkansas to maine.
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several people have died in storm related traffic accidents. thousands of flights have been cancelled nationwide. the. the standoff continues in ukraine where opposition, security troops raided opposition headquarters monday. ever since the president vetoed a trade deal with europe in exchange for closer ties with russia. that's it, remember you can get more on the news at >> on america tonight: a medical break through, a treatment that could be critical to the future of many patients in the fight against cancer. >> it's not a drug. it's actually engineered cells. they are growing within the patient. they are attacking the cancer wherever it is.
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>> also tonight, veterans serving again. how their work brings more hope to the philippines one month after the super-typhoon. >> it really hasn't hit you until you have actually felt it experienced it yourself. >> and a caring bite. the new movement towards sharing a meal and a a tast taste of self-respect. >> and good evening, thank you for joining us, i'm joie chen. we begin our conversation with a look at some of the lives of the most strongest helpful people we can think of, cancer patients
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and the medical community that supports their fight. almost in the darkest moments there are miraculous possibilities. tonight we hear about one that seems incredible. brave patients who might otherwise have exhausted all of their options. researchers have found that harnessen a patient's immune system with a modified version of the hiv virus can be a potent treatment. correspondent chris bury tells us the treatment may well be a break through. >> for bob levis, a cancer patient, getting back on his bicycle may be a feat. >> at this time were you getting a will ready? >> i think in 2012 that is one of the few things did i do. i actually worked on the will pretty dismal year. >> a decade earlier while based in singapore a routine physical
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revealed that levis had a type of leukemia, a cancer of the blood. >> what was your reaction? >> shock. shocked. leukemia? when you first hear that word, the first question is: well, when am i going to die? >> at first, chemotherapy helped. but then the cancer came back with a vengeance. this time an even tha nastier strain. >> it moved even faster. i knew that. >> what went through your mind? >> oh boy, here we go again. >> he was in such bad shape, levis wore a mask wherever he went. >> you wore this? >> yes, outside, wherever i went, just on here over the ears. bang. >> you were so worried about getting in effected? >> any -- infected?
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>> any germs. i didn't want to get sick. >> by now he was getting blood transfusions every week. >> i'm dying. i'm living on transfusions at that point. and you can't live on transfusions forever. >> in january, his time running out, bob plefs decided on a -- levis decided on a hail mary. a radical new approach at the university of pennsylvania. >> to be even eligible for the protocol you have to have no hope left. meaning no fda therapy would work. in bob's case he had about five pounds of tumor at the time we treated him. in bone marrow and places like his spleen and other organs. >> treating leukemia in a revolutionary way. taking white blood cells known as t cells from the sickest patients. then genetically treating them to attack cancer. they do that by infusing the t
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cells with a form of the aids virus so it cannot cause the new disease. transfused back into the patient's blood then the fighting begins. >> is there a war going on for your body here? >> it's literally a war, it is a cell you a la cellular war. they go from one tumor cell to the next and kill them. >> a few days after the new t cells entered his blood bob levis could find the war raging within. >> my fever got up to probably just above 104. and it cycled a lot. i'd be sweating the bed. my heart rate was the most amazing thing. it went up over 100 beats per minute, and stayed there, 24-7, for seven days.
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so i was racing. just boom boom boom boom boom boom. >> but that meant the new killer cells were invading and attacking. >> that's a good thing. >> that is with this therapy a good thing. and it lasts for a week or two. and then when it goes away generally it means then the leukemia has gone away as a target so the immune system goes back to rest. >> the year before the team at penn ha had treatied their first patient, emily whitehead. >> she had a few weeks. >> no option for treatment? >> this is it. >> this is it. >> dr. stephen grupp took care of emily at children's hospital of philadelphia. >> at the time she came to us her leukemia was completely out of control and not responding to
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any rrming therapy. >> the little girl grew even sicker as the new killer t cells battled her cancer. >> she was as sick as you could be without actually dying. she was in an intensive care unit receiving absolutely amazing care from our docs. multiple organs were failing, she was comatose, the family were told to gather in her reflts because she wasn't likely to survive until the next day. >> her doctors fought just to keep her alive in in what they would call the storm before the calm. on her seventh birthday emily awoke from her coma. >> we did a test and there weren't any cancer cells and there never have been ever since.
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>> none at all? >> no cancer that we can detechnicality in her bone marrow anywhere. >> two weeks later bob levis had his cancer tested. >> none there. it was very gratifying. >> end stage leukemia 31 experienced complete remissions. of those only six have seen their leukemia return. the results just published are encouraging. >> this is a completely different way to treat the cancer. they are attacking the cancer wrrve it is. >> has this -- wherever it is. >> has this been a research to deliver a therapy that lives on in the body? >> yes, i think that's the main attraction of cancer gene transfer therapy like this. is that the cells can live on for the rest of your life.
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>> the results here are so promising so revolutionary that the swis swiss pharmma novartis plans the drug. meanwhile, emily has returned to school. a happy smiling eight-year-old. bob plefs is pruning his fruit trees. the cancer behind him. >> it's amazing that something can happen that quickly. a miracle. just a miracle. here i go, i thought i was going to die. i was preparing to die. now, i'm planning forward again. enjoying friends and family. >> so bob levis, like so many others in the penn trial, is
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back in the saddle, looking ahead to a healthier life, and no longer staring at the end of the road. >> correspondent chris bury tells us that bob levis has now been cancer-free for nine months and little emily whitehead she's been cancer-free for 20 months. to get a better idea of what the treatment is involved, we turn to michel liguin. we appreciate you being with us. this is not a treatment for even every leukemia patient? >> not yet. this technology has focused so far on one particular target called cd 19. and so it is relevant to several luke keep yas, in particular the acute
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lymphoblastic leukemia in your piece. >> it has to be very serious before it is tried. it is relevant in your center and u penn. >> what makes this story so remarkable are several things. first, obviously, the dramatic results obtained in these patients in very dire conditions. they've exhausted all the million possibilities known to us and -- medical possibilities known to us and they now go on to a phase 1 clinical trial who we typically enroll patients who have very advanced disease. it is very rare to see such incredible results. secondly, this is not just a small observation in one group. our colleagues at chubb and at memorial sloane kettering, these
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dramatic results in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. >> the approach we are seeing, not typical with cancer treatment, radiation or using a lot of chemotherapy, it is different in its approach and its direction and its design. >> absolutely. and scientifically, this is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this story. this is not using a chemical drug. most drugs of course are chemicals. molecule. it is not either a cancer vaccine or a monoclonal antibody. it is an entire new class of drugs. we refer to these engineered t cells as living drugs. they are cells from the immune system of the patient that we instruct to recognize and attack their cancer. and as we see in these patients with relapsed advanced refract tri acute
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lymphoblastic leukemia they attacked the cells and eliminated them. >> i suppose we have to ask is it applicable to other kind of cancers or do you know yet? >> well, certainly the principle is and that's again another very exciting aspect of this approach. the treatment consists in inserting a gene in the cells of the immune system and that gene can be tailored to recognize and attack different kinds of cancers. it remains to be seen if this is as effective as other cancers but the principle certainly is and many centers today are indeed gearing up for clinical studies in other cancers. >> and i do think we have to ask the question because people make an association with hiv and aids. is there any risk that this would spread aids as it would spread the hiv virus? >> no. no, for two reasons.
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first of all, the little piece of the aids virus that is utilized in this therapy serves the purpose of facilitating the insertion of the gene in the patient's t cells. so it's not hiv. it's about 12 to 15% of all of the genetic material of hiv. first more, that element is not required for this therapy. several centers including our own utilize other genetic approaches to insert the gene so the hiv itself is not critical to the outcome in this therapy. >> well, it is quite fascinating research. we appreciate you being with us. dr. michel setalane, sloane kettering center. thank you. coming up next, the world prepares to say good-bye to nelson mandela and the changes he made in their lives.
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later in our program, market value, the restaurant that's dirk up a commodity in a california community. consider this: the news of the day plus so much more. >> we begin with the government shutdown. >> answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> it seems like they can't agree to anything in washington no matter what. >> antonio mora, award winning and hard hitting. >> we've heard you talk about the history of suicide in your family. >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> but, what about buying shares in a professional athlete?
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al jazeera america is growing and now more americans are getting the high quality, original, in-depth reporting al jazeera america is known for. >> to find out more about al jazeera america go to
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away. >> the long walk to a final rest has begun in south africa. where leaders are moving in now to remember nelson mandela. nearly 100 heads of state and leaders, former president of the country, nelson mandela died thursday at the age of 95. a national tribute to mandela will take place at a johannesburg soccer stadium with thousands of ordinary south africans, including cube afternoon president raul castro. al
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al jazeera's ali velshi is joining us from south africa. tell us what you're seeing, there are so many dignitaries there for the commemoration of his life. >> i heard said, short of the united nations, this is the largest gathering ever held. like president obama and president george w. bush. jimmy carter arrived earlier, we were actually on the same plane, and i subsequently sat down with him and interviewed him to discuss his relationship, his long standing and very close relationship with nelson mandela. interesting point as the world celebrates nelson mandela jimmy carter says in all the times he talked to him nelson mandela never thanked him for what the american government had done to end apartheid and bring south africa into a post era. this is what he said about nelson mandela.
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>> i never heard him say that he was grateful to the united states. he was grateful to cuba, he was grateful to others that spoke up for him while he was still in prison. he was grateful to the people that condemned the apartheid regime. but i don't think that he felt that his freedom and the change that took place in south africa was attributable to the united states. >> in the end joie, nelson mandela appreciated americans. he made many trips to america. he had great relationships with both bushes, with president carter, with president clinton and with president obama. he loved the american people and he felt a great deal of support from them but he didn't feel that the government and the governments of western europe the at the time supported the anc and the antiapartheid cause joie.
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>> world leaders coming to pay their respects to nelson mandela, they are the poorest people of south africa whose lives were so impacted by what nelson mandela did. cause. this is the country where 85% of the population, the black population had access to virtually nothing while only a small percentage had access to education and property and wealth. you know in the old days under apartheid blacks couldn't live in the city centers where i am now, they would come in on a daily basis. one of those outsecurities was alexandra township, now fully part of it. just beyond alexandra is the suburb of sandton, probably the richest place on the entire continent, more millionaires in sandton than anywhere else.
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i went, it wasn't good for 70,000 anyway, but at least double that number live there and some say maybe 3 quarter of a million people live there. there are some houses that the post-apartheid government built, they are small? they have electricity, the streets have lights, but there were shanties, where there was garbage all over the place, filth, rats, and some people have given up hope. they wanted an end to this, they wanted educational opportunities and work opportunities and training and a new house and they didn't get it. the government admits it is way behind schedule. it's got a lot of work to do but there are some people say they don't see it happening and now that nelson mandela is gone they don't see how it's ever going to happen joie. >> that is hard to fathom. thinking about the impact that nelson mandela and the leadership that came in his wake changed the condition of life in south africa, can you talk to us
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a little bit about the economic environment in south africa today? is there industry that has developed, where are things going for their economy? >> yeah, so that's the bad side of it is those people who are in the worst of situations who have not seen an improvement. but in fact there last been generally speaking improvement across the country, it has grown terriblsubstantially from wheres in the apartheid days. prosperity. it is a lot safer than it used to be in south africa, education is opened up, health care is more accessible everyone. but bottom line, it's a comparison, i compared it to the united states and people got mad at me for doing it. the rich are getting richer in south africa, the poor are stabilized, probably not getting a lot worse but they are not growing a middle class at the speed, the rate they need to to sustain the infrastructure projects and the education they need to.
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in that way he compared it to the united states, they need to do much more and they don't have the middle class tax base in which to do it. it is not being felt equally across the population, and i will say this: folks who are rich in south africa are richer today than they were at the end of apartheid and there are more rich people including a growing black wealthy upper class joie. >> you mentioned safety, security, those are long standing issues johannesburg. with the world coming to the stage and so much preparation underway for the big events over the next couple of days can you talk to us about the security questions and how that fits in now? >> yeah. so there won't be as many people as were here for world cup in 2010. you know south africa really had that worked out. they did a great job of keeping this place safe and secure. there will be more world leaders however and they will all be in one place. it will be the stadium in which
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the last game of the final game of the world cup was played. by the way, the place where nelson mandela was last seen in public. it is supposed to last four hours, it may last much longer. people have no sense of how long it is going to last because it is not a ticketed event. barricades and security controls are in effect. tuesday is the memorial service not the funeral, after the service nelson mandela's body will be taken to pretoria, where the capitol building is, where they call the union building. his body will lay in state so people can pay their respect who didn't get to the service. then he will go near the indian ocean where his family place is.
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there will be a lot of world leaders tonight, joie. >> ali velshi, we'll continue to follow up with you out there ali. al jazeera america will provide extended coverage, our live coverage begins at 4:00 a.m. issue, 1 -- eastern, 1:00 a.m. pacific. operation t bird, team rube rubicon, reflects on its mission
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power of the people until we restore our freedoms and r
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>> and now a snapshot of stories making headlines on america tonight. a judge has sentenced bob filner the former mayor of san diego to six months at home. he was convicted of sexually harassing women in his term. hearing that the nsa is
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playing along with him too, u.s. and british spice have been taking on world of war craft, it is not clear what if any has been compromised. the parent companies o of u.s. airways and american airlines, have become one. all of us in the east have noticed a big chill in this part of the country. now led to gridlock on the highways and tarmac throughout the country. the flight tracking website estimates that officials cancelled more than 2,000 flights and delayed more than 6,000 flights sin sunday afternoon. this -- since sunday afternoon. also caused major problems on the roadways. most serious was a 50 car pileup on the pennsylvania turnpike just outside of philadelphia. al jazeera meteorologist dave
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warren is tracking the conditions. dave. >> this weather pattern will give us another round of winter weather, already seeing that around north dakota. this area of pink surrounded by winter weather advisory. the wind is starting to pick up, you see maybe a little light snow coming down. dangerous situation there. wind chills well below zero. 30 below in some areas and the visibility has dropped. the area of concern on tuesday, right along i-95 here around washington, baltimore, philadelphia, up near new york winter storm warning issued, lot of snow in a short time together with a winter weather advisory. this is 11:00, this is where the band of heavy snow, i-95 washington to philadelphia could build up, that could dump a lot of snow in a short period of
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time however it does not last that long. hold tight. the temperature will be below freezing but the road treatment should work and by the afternoon all of this will be clearing out. so a lot of snow coming down right in the middle of the day and it's going to accumulate quickly but look what happens about 2:00, 3:00, it clears out, this will be a fast moving storm. the conditions will improve for the evening rush at 4:00 or 5:00. untreated surfaces will be slick or slippery, additional snow amounts looking to be about three to five inches and that comes between about 10:00 in the morning and 3:00 in the afternoon. a mix maybe initially then the rain continues where it's just above freezing in virginia, north and south carolina, 95 all the way up to boston you can see that snow accumulate and that will be right in the middle of the day tuesday, dry air on
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wednesday and thursday but much cold per. >> our meteorologist dave warren. hard to believe it's been a month since supertyphoon haiyan devastated the philippines. some rebuilding has begun but shanty communities tarps still provide cover. neighbors hammered together what is left of their roofs and even in some hard-hit areas children have been able to go back to their studies. but the nation is struggling with the burden of having nearly 6,000 people dead and more than 1700 still unaccounted for. and there are fears that the needs of the philippines might too soon be forgotten. we've learned about what's needed. in the first days after the typhoon struck, the mead needs were met by air lifts of -- immediate needs were met by air lifts of supplies. food, water, tarps, the most
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needed supplies, stabilizing the injured and removing the dead. but now that the very basics have been delivered, relief teams and residents have begun to consider the future. while the philippines government have encouraged residents of shoreline communities to move to safer ground it's not always an easy argument to make. >> they've got to build those bunk houses first so we're working with them to do that. they have already identified some tracts of land where we can do that. but in the meantime it is going to be difficult to convince these people not to go back because they're staying in temporary shelters. >> what can be lost is a sense of community. and there is often a more pragmatic need. jobs. >> people have lost not only their homes but, of course, the mean to sustain their family, everything that was generating income for them is just beyond repair. >> one of the leading reconstruction agencies in the region, the international committee of the red cross,
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spoke to america tonight about what reconstruction for the philippines most affected looks like today. >> the homes is of course an absolutely central feature because every single day we come across people of course who don't know where they're going osettle but their families bring them into safety and think again about rebuilding literally from scratch. >> recreating opportunity for the four million plus displaced by the storm is an expensive proposition which will take years. >> we had an initial goal of 15 million swiss francs now we have met. now that we're going to move into the next phase we will need more money. we are clearly appealing to donors to provide more assistance. >> but donations haven't come easily. the typhoon in the philippines
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did not evoke the same kind of emotional response from the united states that other natural disasters have. >> if you compare haiti and the tsunami that we were just referring to clearly the reactions and the mobilization was stronger at the time. it may be related to the number of fatalities, the lost of life being both in haiti and the tsunami higher and the shock was even greater in that regard. clearly and thankfully the loss of life has been less extensive, the numbers are lower in terms of the number of people that have actually been killed. but the number of people who have lost their livelihoods run now into the 5 million. those are the estimates. that's huge. but i've always been mindful of not ranking suffering between, because for the individual family in the philippines that is affected, doesn't really matter what has happened elsewhere. they are now in the midst of something that is deeply
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traumatic and they have to be helped. >> the trauma is still fresh. hundreds remain unaccounted for, their fates may never be known and the families, the greatest needs that remain are answers. >> one thing that struck me in the philippines is even in the first days you have begun to see, those signs, have you seen this child, have you seen this lost family, do you have any information? what about reunification? is there still a strong sense, there are more missing, that there are more families that need to be reunited, that there is some way to put people back together again? >> this is part of the most heartbreaking experiences that you can have. the official number is somewhere around 1700 mark of people that are unaccounted for. we have collected data with the philippines red cross over 600 people actively being searched and looked for by family
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members, work of the philippine red cross on the ground trying to locate people. so we are doing our best to try and make sure as much news can come the way of those who have lost a relative. >> when america tonight was in the philippines i was quite impressed to meet members of team rubicon. in tacloban, one of the heartest hit areas, i talked to law enforcement volunteers, one of the very first responders in the first days after the supertyphoon hit. today we hear from them again how their service in this area made an enormous difference in their own lives. >> i saw a lot of nothing. which was shocking. i saw a lot of what i tried to close my eyes and pretend what i imagined was there before we got there, before the typhoon. there was not a lot left. >> you know the person that
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struck me i think was flying over some of the affected areas at low level, huge concrete buildings, hotels, just knocked off their foundation, large oil tanks just knocked off their foundation, crushed like you would a soda can. showed how powerful this wall of water and wind was that hit and you try to imagine what that was like for the folks that was there. team reub con a nonprofit organization -- rubicon is the nonprofit organization, that unites with first responders, in the united states and around the world, to focus on emergency medical care, taking doctors nurses and paramedics into affectareas and then telling the ngos or the countries that are coordinated their response where the aid is needed and where it's delivered. bridge that gap of what's not being done in that first week,
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first 96 hours after a disaster. we were in the philippines for about eight days. we got there very quick. for me this was the worst thing i've ever seen. it was-- i was sad to say it was beyond what i had expected. it really didn't hit -- doesn't hit you until you've actually felt it experienced it yourself and i just -- i hope i never or any of us have to ever experience something like that again. it was absolutely devastating. the military experience helped tremendously. i think that all of us collectively going in we were really -- we were prepared for the worst. we were self-sufficient as a team. you know we carried our own food, water, and shelter that we would have needed as well as any extra supplies that we could provide, whereas other groups show up and it might take them a little acclimated, i felt as
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soon as we got on the ground we got to work right away. >> we were veterans equipped with the skills and ability to go into the situation and thrive. not only help some folks but make a big difference. we had an incident where we had to medi vac several individuals to from tacloban airport because of some injuries they had. there was some questionable weather. the colonel talked about the pilots, how do you feel about doing this medivac mission? there are six of us who might die to do this mission, let's do it. they saved those lives as a result of going oget them and that was sort of -- to get them and that's sort of one example of going into this. going into this situation is going to take a toll and i don't think we realize it until we get home because we are so focused on the mission. we get there, we slept three, four hours a night, wake up in
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the morning, right back to work. what's going to happen the next day? what's going ohappen the next day? always focus on the mission. >> it affects you. it takes definitely kind of knocks you back on your heels a little bit. maybe a lot. medicine. >> this is something that you know you've seen pictures. and you know maybe somewhat similar to some of our experience in combat that until you are there with your own eyes and your feet are on the ground it doesn't feel real. but he felt very real as soon as we got the there. and you could just see that we felt like we were in the right place because these were people that needed help and they needed it fast. and i'm just very grateful that our team was able to get there as quickly as we did. >> come up next, without a
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country, the uproar over a recent court ruling in >> every sunday night al jazeera america brings you controversial... >> both parties are owned by the corporations. >> ..entertaining >> it's fun to play with ideas. >> ...thought provoking >> get your damn education. >> ...surprising >> oh, absolutely! >> ...exclusive one-on-one interviews with the most interesting people of our time. >> you're listening because you want to see what's going to happen. >> i want to know what works what do you know works? >> conversations you won't find anywhere else. >> talk to al jazeera. >> only on al jazeera america. >> oh my! still experienced some racial tension. so my parents who both started out in segregated schools made sure i knew my history as a young african american girl. they made me learn about martin luther king's march on washington and watch nelson mandela's acceptance speech when he first took the
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podium as president. >> so help me god. >> fast forward 17 years later. i'm an eager college senior. and it's no surprise i chose south africa as the place to go for my fellowship. when i got there, i started teaching kids in one of the country's poorest townships, kids all born the year that mandela was freed. they were, as we say in south while you were asleep news was happening. >> here are the stories we're following. >> find out what happened and what to expect. >> international outrage. >> a day of political posturing. >> every morning from 5 to 9 am al jazeera america brings you more us and global news than any other american news channel. >> tell us exactly what is behind this story. >> from more sources around the world.
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>> the situation has intensified here at the border. >> start every morning, every day 5am to 9 eastern. >> with al jazeera america. >> al jazeera america is the only news channel that brings you live news at the top of every hour. >> here are the headlines at this hour. >> only on al jazeera america.
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>> from our headquarters in new york, heretñ
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but you're not leaving anybody out. >> and that is a real flavor for a community. that's it for us here on america tonight. please remember if you would like to comment on any stories you've seen here. log on to our website, tonight. we'll have more of america tonight tomorrow.
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>> welcome to al jazeera, i'm stephanie sy. here are the top stories we are following here this hour. the start of johannesburg memorial service for nelson mandela is now just three hours away. crowds began gathering at fmb stadium at dawn. crowds have been dancing and singing in the stadium for hours. dges had america will have extended -- al jazeera america will have extended coverage of the proceedings. ice cold


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