welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we're following for you. the president is holding his end of the year news conference. fear in south sudan as hundreds try to flee the violence. and a robot faceoff in florida. teams trying to create robots that can help out in a disaster. ♪ for the president it has been a long year from gay rights
to healthcare and even a spy program. last year the president was elected to serve another term in his promise? mike viqueira is live at the white house with what we might be able to expect. mi services, and once against it's about affordable care act, obamacare. it has been decided that if you had your insurance canceled, you
>> mike thank you very much. we are also following a developing story coming out of washington. it involves news that broke earlier today. hospital. libby casey is on capitol hill right now. libby do we know why taken to the hospital as a precaution. they said tests have been done, nothing abnormal noted and the senator is feelingnator durbin r this morning and here is what he had to say. >> mr. president senator ace.
chief. janet yellen, confirm her to lead. del? >> libby thank you very much. there are new reports concerning the nsa spying. a report that was leaked by edward snowden revealing that 1,000 senior eu members, united nations directors, african heads of states and their families, and tracking emails of israeli
officials. president obama is urging calm concerning the situation? south sudan. fearing the world's newest country is already on the brink of civil war. u.s. sending soldiers to help secure the airport. 34,000 people now staying in three compounds set up around the country. the leaders are now in peace talks with rivals behind the violence. >> reporter: officials checking pass ports, those here who want to leave must be on the evacuation list. foreigners and some locals are being flown out of the country. they are being told it is for security reasons. u.s. soldiers are also in the capitol making sure it is safe for planes to take off and land. they have been monitoring the situation with troops. but many people condition leave. during the day they go out to find food, but make sure they
return before sunset. this is the area where most of the fighting took place. it's almost curfew time, and families are coming into the compound. they say they don't feel safe staying home at night. the president's are mainly dinka, the man he blames for the violence is from a different tribe. >> if you go outside they can kill you. >> the vice president denies he attempted to take over the country. the area is quieter now, but government troops have lost control. un officials say their base has been attacked. government officials say they have sent in forces. >> it's where the government offices are. that's why the whole government
had to get out of the process of the fight and locate to a camp, so there is still fighting on and on. of course the government has been displaced from their offices. that's why we say we have lost control there. but there is still fighting going on and resistance. so you wouldn't say it is completely captured because they are still present. >> reporter: back in the capitol the day is ending. political tensions and old ethnic rivals could force the country into another civil war. the central african republic now assessing the situation in one city where the attacks have been the worst. christian rebels have killed hundreds of muslims and burned
many homes. the top political opponent of vladimir putin has been released from prison and is now in germany. as peter sharp reports, putin's motives are still being questioned. >> reporter: whatever the criticism of president putin, he can never be accused of hiding from the press. a surprise announcement that he approved for the multi-billionaire. >> translator: he has already spent more than ten years in jail. it's a serious punishment. he refers to circumstances of a humanitarian nature. his mother is ill. and i think it is possible to
make that decision and i will soon sign an order about his pardon. >> reporter: just two days ago putin offered $15 billion of state investment to its troubled neighbor ukraine. apparently no strings attached, apparently no pressure on kiev to join moscow's union. even some conciliatory worlds. >> translator: are we against the association with europe? we're not against the association at all. we simply say we have to protect our economy. we have a free trade agreement with ukraine. >> reporter: and then there's putin's amnesty, pewsy riot imprisoned for two years, were the poster girls of the amnesty.
and the arctic 30, rounded up by russian border police. will also, it seems be home for christmas. >> translator: as for the fact that they are covered by the amnesty, and as far as i know they are covered by it, we're not doing it for them, but if they are covered, it is good. >> reporter: tuesday's news conference comes at a perfect time for putin to put presidential spin on things here, just six weeks before the winter olympics in sochi. kodakoski flew to germany right after he was released. some fence mending ahead of
next month's planned syrian peace conference in switzerland. they are meeting to figure out who will represent the syrian government and the opposition, and decide who else will be able to attend those meetings. the next time there is a natural disaster, you might see armies of robots. engineering teams competing in miami to run their through tests. the grand prize $2 million. jake describe for us what these teams have to do and allow thes teams to develop robot surrogates for human rescuers, and there are eight tasks they will be doing over the course of this weekend. everything from climbing a
win. >> jake thank you very much. coming up on al jazeera america, an iranian director surprising everyone based on the limitations from his government. and no, you are not seeing things. now you have a chance to do this, hover over the alps. ♪ >> start with one issue ad guests on all sides of the debate. and a host willing to ask the tough questions and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5pm et / 2pm pt only on al jazeera america was 17. flat out my whole life. >> reporter: motorcycle riding free spirits like this guy need health insurance too.
that's is the message coming from insurers with commercials aimed at people who may not have been covered in the past. they offer protection and maybe a little piece of mind. >> to go forward sometimes you have to go back to a time when knew. >> reporter: with 30 million potential new customers, insurance companies are expected to shell out half a billion dollars next year on tv advertising alone. >> insurance companies see opportunity in the potentially millions of new customers, and if you are an insurance company in this country, this is your growth opportunity. >> reporter: insurers, state exchanges, and the feds collectively purchased $194 million wort of ads just
an oscar winning iranian director is surprising both iranian and american audiences. kristin has his story. >> reporter: iron's best-known director has been circling the globe to promote his latest film. it is set in paris, but like everything he does, the past is very much a product of his homeland. an iranian man played by iranian actor returns to france to divorce his estranged french wife. while the drama is personal, not political, their relationship
serves as a metaphor for east-west relations. >> translator: there is a world of misunderstanding between them. perhaps we can't really call it their differences. in the opening scene we see them placed on two sides of a glass pane. they see each other and talk to each other, but it seems they don't hear each other. >> reporter: when he released his last movie, it made more than $7 million at american box offices, and earned iran its first-ever oscar in the best foreign feature category. the win was celebrated on iranian television. according to film expert, making an award-winning film under iran's censorship codes is nothing short of a miracle. >> he is quite adept in
navigating through the treacherous waters of the iranian sensorship codes. he manages to make socially critical films without sounding critical at all. >> reporter: as censorship eased under the new president? >> translator: it is still too early to judge. before things were so bad, that anything that happens now is good. >> reporter: with the past he avoided sensors by shooting abroad, but the film has been shown and well received in if iran. in the united states there is talk of another oscar. if his films are any guide, the two countries have much more in common that the two governments
have lead us to believe. we could be looking at a 3-pete on wall street. the dow up 76 points. that would mean a higher close for the third time all three sessions for the blue chips. s&p 500 also on pace for a record as well. the government is saying the economy grew at a rate of more than 4% in the third quarter. that is the best the government has performed in close to two years. times are still tough, though, for blackberry. saying it lost $4.5 billion in the third quarter as sales dropped 56%. the company is now going to team with an electronic's parts maker to produce new blackberries. that news is sending its stock soaring. and some people dream of visiting the french alps, up
welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are your headlines at this hour. from gay rights to health care to the nsa spy scandal in iran, a look back at 2013 and what to expect in the year ahead, president obama set to hold a news conference in just a few hours. we'll bring that to you when it happens. the president calling for calm in south sudan. 34,000 people now taking shelter at three compounds set up by the un. the top political opponent of vladimir putin is now a free man. he is now headed to germany. he received a pardon from putin. he said he did not admit guilt in his request for that release. "national geographic" magazine releasing its pictures
from the year selected from thousands of photographs both professional and amateur. john siegenthaler shows us some of the winners. >> here it is "national geographic" grand prize winner. we see a polar bear peering up from the sea ice as the midnight sunsets. he said he watched him for several seconds just under the surface before taking a deep breath and swimming away. it's a spectacular shot. this one from japan, crows living in tokyo, using clothes hangers to make nests. this from hungary. and this is titled appropriately enough, a man feeding swans in
the snow. from malaysia another winner. adam trained his camera on a town in transition from the old to the new with the mother carrying a child in a basket. here a lioness lies in wait. the photographer said this shot means more to him than the whole sequence that came after it. finally a series of pictures on a poor romanian family living in in belgian, a child bundled up with a gentle, cautious grip on a bird. ♪ well top of the morning to you all. it's a warm morning across the east coast. the first morning in a couple of weeks that i didn't have to wear my jack set outside. we have high-pressure in control
right off of the east coast. continuing to draw the warm air out of the south. we have record-challenging temperatures on the way across portions of the mid-atlantic, and also across the northeast by the end of the weekend in new york city we could reach 60 degrees. a comfortable day here. we're going to reach a high of 65 in norfolk. these temperatures well above where they should be at this time of the year. the ridge of high-pressure will stay in control and keep it dry and mild across the southeast. but across portions of the central plains, we're looking at a severe outbreak tomorrow given the fact there is going to be a lot of instability in the atmosphere. this sharp contrast between temperatures will create the instability in the atmosphere. and we'll see the chance for damaging winds, large hail, and
also the chance for a few isolated tornados. that risk is between portions of texas and portions of louisiana, and just to the west of atlanta. so if you are traveling out there particularly, you are going to need a lot of caution on the roadways. that going roughly through 12:00 in the afternoon, all the way through the evening hours. dell? thank you very much. there is a new way to see the french alp. you walk into a glass box and there is nothing but a drop of 3,000 feet below. it is made of extremely thick glass. it cost $75 for a trip through the see-through cabin. airfare not included.
"inside story" is next. and check us out 24 hours a day just by going to aljazeera.com. what will the president and the congress do? that's the inside story. hello, i'm ray swarez. it is impossible to know if the people at the top of the national security agency ever expected their techniques to be revealed to the rest of us. or if they could have expected what the world would be.