welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we are following for you. president obama set to speak in a couple of hours. his end of the year news conference before he headed to hawaii. and a robot challenge, scientists competing to create androids that can help out when disaster strikes. ♪ it has been a long year from gay rights to health a even that
super secret spy program at the nsa. has president obama delivered on the change he promised? in just a out. and hear what he president had to sayeat on a key bedrock principal of the affordable care act of course know as obama care. he appeared at the podium behind me last month offering an apology saying if you like your health insurance policy, you can keep your health insurance policy. now you don't have to have insurance at all if you did lose your insurance as a result of the affordable care act. this is something that is a
the stayed deteriorating situation in syria, dell. >> mike viqueira thank you very much. we switch gears now and go to capitol hill. senators set to leave there after last-minute business. but harry reid was not there. he was at the reid, he is still in the hospital, but it sounds like he may be getting out shortly. he wasn't feeling well this morning, so he went to the hospital in what his office is
in january. dell. >> libby thank you very much. there are new reports concerning the national security agency. there are new documents that have been leaked by edward snowden revealing that the nsa kept tabs on scene your members of the european union, directors at the united nation, african heads of state and their families and tracked israeli officials as well. president obama urging calm in south sudan. two un trips were killed when their base came under attack on thursday. the un also saying that 20
civilians were killed. >> reporter: officials checking passports, those here who want to leave south sudan must be on the evacuation list. foreigners and some locals are being flown out of the country. 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 together with un troops. but many people can't leave. they find safety in un compounds. during the day they go out to find food, but make sure they return sunset. they say they don't feel safe sleeping at home at night. the president's supporters are mainly dinka, the man we blames
for the violence is from a different tribe. >> they are waiting for us outside here. if you go outside they can kill you. >> reporter: the violence is cause of an attempted coup the president claims. the vice president denies that he tried to take over the country. governments officials have sent in reinforcements. >> it was the city center where the government offices are, that's why the whole government had to get out of the process of the fight, and locate elsewhere. so there is still fighting on and on. of course the government has been displaced from the offices, that's why we say we have lost control there, but there is still fighting going on, resistance. so you can't say it is completely captured because it
is still presence. >> reporter: back in the capitol people look for cover in fear of violence ahead. political tensions and old rivalries could plant this country into another civil war. now to the central african republic. chr christian attacks on muslims have been especially violent. christian rebels have killed hundreds of muslims and burned homes. thousands are fleeing the city seeking safety outside of the city limits. vladimir putin has freed mikhail khodorkovsky after nearly ten years in jail. peter sharp has more. >> reporter: president putin cannot be accused of hiding from the press.
this is another four-hour media marathon. allowing the leader a golden opportunity to put a shine on the country's image abroad. he approved a pardon for the multi-billionaire, mikhail khodorkovsky. >> he has already spent more than ten years in jail. it's a serious punishment. he refers to circumstances of the humanitarian issue, his mother is ill, and i think it's 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. a bailout to save floundering economy from bankruptcy. apparently no strings attached. even some conciliatory words
directed at the european yuan yoon. >> are we against the association with europe? not at all. we simply say we have to protect our economy. we have a free trade agreement with ukraine. we cannot leave it unchanged if ukraine opens its doors to the european union. pewsy riot imprisoned for two years for that so-called obscene performance were the poster girls of the amnesty, expected to walk free over the next few days. and the arctic 30 rounded up by russian border police during a green peace demonstration will also, it seems, will home for christmas. >> translator: as for the fact that they are covered by the amnesty, we're not doing it for them, but if they are covered, that's good. >> reporter: thursday's news
conference is an annual event, but it comes at a perfect time for putin to put presidential spin on events here, just six weeks before the winter olympics in this sochi. peter sharp, al jazeera, in moscow. coming up on al jazeera america, we'll tell you about the fallout from that massive credit card beach at target. how much it is going to cost you and target. and it's a warm day across the northeast, but we have the chance for damaging winds, hail, and isolated tornados across the plains. if you are doing traveling you might want to stay tuned. we depend on you, >> you are one of the voices of this show. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> the stream. next on al jazeera america and join the conversation online @ajamstream.
story begins and ends with people. >> the efforts are focused on rescuing stranded residents. (vo) we pursue that story beyond the headline, past the spokesperson, to the streets. >> thousands of riot police deployed across the capitol. (vo) we put all of our global resources behind every story. >> it is a scene of utter devastation. (vo) and follow it no matter where it leads, all the way to you. al jazeera america. take a new look at news. some fence mending ahead of next month's planned peace conference in geneva. they will decide who will be able to attend meetings, one
sticking point being iran. >> we didn't reach an agreement with iran, and of course, it's known that we, the united nations welcome the participation of iran, but our partners in the united states are not quite convinced that iran's participation is the right decision. >> he also said that iranian officials told him even if they are not present at the conference, they will still work along with the un. james bayes live right now in geneva. james is everything ready ahead of next month's planned peace conference? >> well i don't think things are quite where they wanted them to be. still there is that debate over whether iran will be there. the ambassador you heard just then would like the iranians
there. he wants everyone who has an involvement in syria to be there. they hoped to have a list of the two delegations they were going to have negotiating with each other. thement ambassador is telling us the syrian government have come up with their delegation. they haven't yet, though, passed the names on to the united nations. on the opposition side it's much more complicated he said he had the date of the 27th of december for the opposition to come up with a list of names. he said that was a suggested date, not an ultimatum. he said they are probably not going to make it. when i asked who would be in the delegation, he said he accepted it would not be fully representative, but he said this was just the beginning of a process. he said his talks here in geneva
will not just be one day, two day or three days, he said this is a long process that will take some considerable time to build confidence. >> james bayes thank you very much. taking a look at business news at this hour. stock gains fuelled by a report showing the economy grew at a better than expected increase last quarter. it was the fastest growth since the end of 2011. consumer spending and business investment also climbing. the credit and debit card data hacking usually cost about $17 per account. for customers the average card fraud that you might see on your
disaster response, but helping the elderly, building houses. doing industrial things that currently robots cannot do. so this is a testis represents across the country. there are several university students -- sorry university teams here, including dr. hong, there are private industry teams. shaft incorporated is a new google acquisition. it is the greatest robotists gathered here from the world right now. >> take you very much. wall street looking to break more records today. the dow is up 94 points.
welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. here are today's headlines. president obama schedule to speak in about 90 minutes. he will be holding his end of years news conference. and we will bring that to you when it happens. diplomats are meeting in geneva trying to decide who will meet for the syrian government and the opposition. the president calling for calm in south sudan. u.s. troops are at the an
inairport helping to evacuate foreigners and some civilians. nashville's biggest legacy is its music. the record business there, one of the city's largest employers. and students are now getting a crash course in what to do and what to sing. jonathan martin has more from music city. >> reporter: in high school music education is often limited to band and choreus. but in nashville students are getting hands on experience. >> 16, 17 years old, handle business like 25-year-old people at warning brothers. >> reporter: with big donations, this high school is equipped with a $1.2 million recording
studio. the country's only music business magnet program is designed to give students practical real world experience. in nashville alone some 56,000 jobs are tied to music. >> we sign artists to a contract. we create the image and create the music. >> reporter: courses focus on song-writing, audio production and the business side of the industry. students in the record label class are also responsible for finding and promoting artists. recording sessions are also available for any student in nashville public schools. ♪ >> it's not easy. it's -- even from the singing to the promoting, so the creative side, and art, your look -- you know, your look has to match your -- what you are doing. >> reporter: so what has been the biggest thing you have learned about the music
business? >> probably the -- how a whole record is put together from the recording to the publishing to the selling. >> reporter: five-time grammy winning producers and brothers ov oversee the program. most of the students they teach are financially disadvantaged. >> i find the kids are more talented here. kids are more creative, because they don't have some of the luxuries that other people have, so they are more creative. they write better songs, they experiment, and they are not scared. >> to see them being different and taking those skill sets into society, and making a difference, this is the right place for them to be. >> reporter: with their first full project a christmas album complete, some say they look at production and their future in a different way.
jonathan martin, al jazeera, nashville. it is a beautiful day across the east coast. high-pressure is in control. and we have warm air surging in in off of the gulf of mexico. we're going to continue to deal with that not just today but also tomorrow. we do have a winter storm making its way into the pacific northwest. it was slow go earlier on today. also low pressure spinning here. they definitely need the rain, because it is very dry there. warm air pushing in off of the gulf, and where they meet is where we're going to see some storms. 51 in philadelphia, 51 in d.c., richmond right at 51 degrees. as we charge towards sunday, we'll have record-breaking temperatures across a few areas.
richmond going to beat the record high of 74. and reach a high of 75 degrees. take a look at the water vapor. you can see a ton of moisture pushing its way in. as it does so, there is a sharp contrast in temperatures. we'll see rain across texas and louisiana, but the threat for damaging winds, hail, and isolated tornados, this system is also going to produce a band of ice from oklahoma to portions of the midwest. so it will be a very robust system, and we'll keep you updated on it throughout the course of the day. thank you very much. and we want to thank each and every one of you for watching al jazeera america. i'm del walters. "the stream" is next, and you
can always check us out 24 hours a day by going to aljazeera.com, where the news continues 24-7. hi, i'm lisa fletcher, and you are in "the stream." birth control pills are taken by millions of women without a second thought. but are there new dangers along with the newer generations of the contraceptive? ♪ >> our digital producer, wajahat ali is here. he is bringing in all of your live feedback. waj so many people take these prescriptions sometimes for decades at a time and some don't