>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm richelle carey. here are the stories that we're following for you. what next for millions of americans who have lost their unemployment benefits. a federal judge ruled the wide-ranging surveillance program by the nsa is constitutional. refugees in south sudan are growing more desperate. building just a few apartment buildings isn't enough in china where new cities are on the rise.
while the economy seems to be picking up millions of americans are simpling for jobs and relying on government unemployment benefits to pay the bills. but long term unemployment benefits expire today. 1.3 million americans who have been out of work for months have been cut off. the government check they depend on will not be showing up. the long-term program began i in 2008 at the height of the recession. since then the payouts have cost the federal government $225 billion. extending them into next year would add another $19 billion. the congress has yet to do that. president obama is vacationing in hawai'i right now. we're live in hawai'i on who this effects. i understand that this seems to be the top of mind for the president and it has not amounted for a working vacation, correct? >> well, it certainly is, and richelle the white house has stressed the president is very much on vacation. he's still doing the people's
business and he's working behind the scenes. as you mentioned richelle this is not the holiday present that anyone was hoping for. some 1.3 million americans will see their federal unemployment benefits expire today. that's because extending those benefits was not part of the bipartisan budget deal that was reached earlier in the year which was ultimately signed by problem earlier this week while he's on vacation here in uaw. with congress in recess there is no hope for an immediate fix until they reconvene on januar january 6th. benefits kick in when someone has been unmr.ed for 26 weeks and that's when most state's jobless benefits end. while the president is on vacation he did give a press conference before he left for hawai'i. he told reporters that congress should have acted to extend
these benefits before they left town for the holidays. >> because congress did not act millions of their on it tit wentconstituentswithout any res. >> reporter: so far the president has not spoken publicly about this, but we do know that he has been pushing and working hard behind the scenes for months to get the benefits extended. we do know that harry reid has vowed extending the benefits when they get back to washington. and there is a push for a three-month extension, but nothing will happen until congress is back at work january 6th. >> jennifer, since you're there in hawai'i let me ask you how people are in that state affected? >> well, hawai'i actually has one of the lower unemployment rates in the country.
the latest numbers from november show the unemployment rate here in hawai'i is 4.4%. still yesterday i did have a conversation with a representative from hawai'i's department of labor and it said that hawai'i has 2200 people who are receiving unemployment benefits and on the grand scheme of things that might not sound like a lot of people. but when there are 2200 people who are cut off and won't have that source of income coming in, that's 2200 people too many. >> to be clear there are 1.3 opinion losing benefits today but more than 4 million people who receive benefits. live from had hawai'i, thank you so much. target shoppers have a new reason for concern. last week the store said hackers had stolen credit and deb bet card of course up to 40 million customers. now target said they also stole their incrypted pin numbers. in a statement the company said that thieves won't be able to access those numbers. this is a statement.
we remain confident that pin numbers are safe and secure. the pin information was fully incrypted at the key pad and remained incrypted at our apple and when it was removed from our system. it's okay for government to listen to phone calls, read e-mails and track people. a federal judge made that ruling yesterday. that the surveillance program is lawful and does not violate the privacy of american citizens. but the fight is not over for the agency. >> reporter: in his ruling federal judge william pauley said that the surveillance system represents the counter punch. he said the 9/11 attacks might have been prevented if the phone data collection had existed then to help investigators to connect the dots before the attacks occurred. the government has learned from its mistakes and has adapted to
its new enemy. he said the data collection program was part of the adjustment, and he dismissed the lawsuit brought by the american civil liberties union after edward snowden linked details of the top-secret programs that pick up millions of telephone and internet records on american networks every day. it was argued that the authority was so broad that it could justify the mass collection of financial health and even library records of innocent americans without their knowledge. the aclu said it will appeal the ruling saying that it misinterprets the statute, and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections. now the department of justice spokesman said they were pleased with judge pauley's decision. earlier this month federal judge richard lyon sitting in
washington, d.c. ruled the opposite way. he wrote: >> reporter: last week it was suggested that changes were in the offing in the way information is collected and stored in this country. two federal judges coming up on two completely different rulings on the same subject many believe that the issue of saying will be headed to supreme court. >> state department said men were detained at a checkpoint friday night after scoping out possible evacuation routes for diplomats. apparently an altercation took place with reports of gunfire that cannot be confirmed. government officials are not saying why the men were taken
into custody. the republic of south sudan former vice president reik machar are sending soldiers to retake the city of bor. this is as african leaders are hoping to broker a cease-fire as ththe newest country faces civil war. >> these are the displaced following clashes. almost two weeks, the they do nt feel confident to return to their homes. this man says his brother was shot. >> my brother was killed. not by soldiers, but by civilians. he died because he belonged to a certain ethnic
group. his body was still in the open when i last remember. >> reporter: with thousands living here th the shortage of n the most basic of services such as clean water. but help is beginning to arrive. here officials of the world food program distribute food and household items to the displaced. >> it has been a difficult change, distributing food. we're doing so in challenging circumstances but we're doing our utmost. >> reporter: with more and more displaced, seeking shelter across the country, the u.n. peacekeeping mission of south sudan is overwhelmed. there are now plans to increase troops from 7,000 to 12,500. the first of the extra forces detachment of 73 police officers
from bangladesh have already arrived. they are from the u.n. mission. trained in crowd control they will be spread throughout the country and assigned to the areas overflowing with the displaced. >> we believe peacekeeping troops and u.n. advisers are critical. we have something on the order of an estimated 63,000 civilians housed at a dozen locations of the peacekeeping mission around the country. >> reporter: u.n. officials say however even with additional peacekeeping, the country is too big and the conflict is spread over wide areas to be effectiv effectively policed by 12,500 troops. al jazeera, south sudan. >> earlier i spoke with hilde
johnson, i asked her about the threat of machar's soldiers and the situation at the refugee camps. >> the numbers are much, much fewer than even the battalion, which is 850. we have facing thousands and thousand it is goes without saying that this is totally disproportionate, and one isn't able to face the military confrontation of this nature. i have in prior engagements to protect civilians.
where they are marching towards the city which can imply a significant challenge for everyone. so the engagement now has to be very strong on the political side to try to prevent this from marching forward. we're using every single contact point we have to reach them, every single contact to those who are influencing them, and every single contract we have to religious leaders and community leaders who can reach them and stop this from happening. >> thousands of people the united nations are trying to help. the number we've been working with is that there are 60,000 people in your camps. is that number correct, and what
other assistance does the united nations need to meet the needs of these people? >> the number is 63,000 in different locations and bases of the u.n. mission in south sudan. it is not humanitarian mandate that peacekeeping missions like hours have. that is why this is an incredible challenge beyond anything anyone has seen within the bases of the u.n. we're facing this challenge with calling on partners who are relentlessly now working to provide services to the idps, but the camps are really, really a major challenge. people are living under very, very tough continues, and this is really not what we would like to see. we hope to be able to rapidly see a turn around in the situation so they canning
feeling safe and protected and able to live in own areas in a safe way. at this point in time we have to help them to make sure that the conditions are as good as they can be in this difficult situation. and following that, work with our humanitarian partners so that funds can come in so help in the response, and those that are displaced people all over the country we think there is around 121, 22,000 elsewhere also assisted. not only those at the bases but those who are fleeing for their lives around where fighting has been going on and violence has happened. >> hilde johnson with the united nations. the death toll of the car bomb in lebanon has raise on it
seven. the target of that car bomb was mohammed chatah. he was outspoken against the syrian government. the united nations says refugees in a camp in damascus, syria, are starving. five people have died of malnutrition. al jazeera's stephanie decker has this report, and we must warning there are very graphic images in this report. >> reporter: besieged, bombarded, and ultimately starved to death. this is what happens to the human body when it doesn't get enough food. [ crying ] >> the humanitarian situation is disastrous. there is a threat of famine and people are getting sick. basics like rice and sugar are hardly available, and some
corrupt traders took advantage of the says and sell rice between $50 and $70 u.s. also medicine has run out. >> reporter: in the last few months it has been surrounded and completely cut off by government troops. it's prompted the united nations relief agency for palestine refugees to call for an immediate humanitarian corridor to access the people trapped inside. >> there are perpetual reports of staff aggravation, mal malnutrition and hunger. those reports are disturbing. they must lead to a lifting of the siege as the commission general and other world leaders have asked. there are as many 20,000 people trapped inside, many of them children, and aware extremely concerned about their light today. >> yarmouk is or was home to the
largest palestinian refugees in syria with 160,000 people living there. it was established in 1957 and built up as an urban quarter with an outside schools and health centers. the conditions here were far better than other palestinian camps in syria, but that is no longer the case. many are calling for the en of e seen. they're desperate for help. >> we only have dust and dirt to eat. have a look at us if any of you have honor or dignity, we have nothing to do with fighting. >> reporter: the fear is if aid doesn't come into the camps soon those who are left in yarmouk will continue to bury their dead. stevistephanie decker, al jazee.
locations where these crimes were likely to occur. >> alright, where are we going? >> put your hands behind your back. >> can science predict crime before it happens? here is more. >> beneath the fluorescentsun in a former meat packing plant is the latest trim in farming. they call it "vertical farming." these fields grow on floors on at industrial park and farmer john adel and his staff agrees user. >> my shipping proceed did you say 1500, 2,000 miles to get
are. >> the plant of the indoor -- as the indoor formers call it doesn't grow corn or soybeans but mustard, high end micro greens on the plates of white-napkin restaurants. these fish supply the vert liser that number issues the >> the lights are back on for thousands of people in the northeast. the ice storm cuts the power to half a million homes. warmer weather over the next few days might not be a good thing. falling ice from tree branches could damage for power lines. >> meteorologist: we had a bit
of a warm up, producing just a light snow showers across western portions of montana in north and south dakota as well. this air mass going to draw in the cool air today. into tonight and into tomorrow. right now we have blowing drifting snow causing visibilities to diminish one-tenth of a mile. that's the situation across minnesota. later on today we could have white out conditions, a lot of snow really across the northerly central plains and we have the winds gusting up to 20 mph. 38 mph. and up to 43 mph in rapid city. that's when you get the white out conditions. we want to be careful out there today particularly along i-94 where it will be a chili day back towards fargo and the indiana and detroit and that
cold air making it's way south and east over the next several days. this area will push into the midwest, ohio and tennessee valleys and then towards the east coast. by tuesday look at how chilly it is across portions of the north central plains. our other major weather maker, gathering strength across the gulf coast bringing heavy rain across i-10 and later on to i-95 j. >> a new city in china has everything that you want. plenty of stores, schools, lots of brand new housing. the only thing that it doesn't have is people. al jazeera america's andrew thomas explains. >> reporter: six years ago all this was farmland. now there are tens of thousands of apartments, and plans for many more. shendoa lives in one. in her apartment only four argumentapartments are occupied.
>> it's too quiet. on weekends or weekdays it's the same. you don't see anyone on the street yet sometimes cleaners. >> reporter: do others are around to ask. if there are tumbleweeds this is where it would be blowing. it's a weekend, middle of the day, it's not raining. hundreds of apartments and the streets are virtually desserted. the only sound, the winds and the birds. it's as though some terrible accident has cleared all the people out. in fact, they've never arrived. most front doors are still wrapped in cellophane. the city has been planned by its pro convention government which hopes 2 million people will live here. in established cities houses has become prohibitively expensive. 15 families have two rooms each in this building.
the theory is that this will offer quality housing, but most of the housing has been sold to speculators. even though they've been empty for two years prices for the first apartments built have already doubled. >> it's an investment. here it's still cheaper than downtown and it's speculation for the long term. >> reporter: real people may move in, universities and government offices are being moved from nearby to bring in students and jobs. but now that speculators have driven the price of the two-bedroom flat to $80,000 they're already out of reach for those they were aimed at. the results is an expensive ghost town with few people and without much traffic. in china's planned economy building the right sort of affordable housing in the right place is proving tricky.
>> welcome back. i'm richelle carey. here are today's headlines. more than a million americans who have been out of work for months now has lost their unemployment benefits. the national security agency controversial surveillance program has been ruled legal in new york. a judge in washington ruled against the nsa in a different case. an international community is condemning the assassination of a lebanese politician killed in a car bomb in beirut.
mohammed chata h and six others were killed in a car bomb blast. iran's government is considering moving its capitol from tehran to a new city. here is more from tehran. >> tehran is a new city by iran's standard, it's been its capitol for 200 years. now they want to change the seat of government. >> this is just moving the question, not the solution. there are too many ministries in tehran. highways built and planned, i don't think it's positive. >> it's not possible to move it with all these government buildings. okay, if you move it somewhere
else we'll have the same problem. it's ridiculous. >> reporter: tehran's population fluctuates between eight and 14 million as people come and go during the day. it's also the country's largest city. add to that the 150,000 people who move to tehran each year and there are problems. pollution is the major one. it forces the closure of schools and businesses and causes serious health problems. >> when you're in tehran you can't see it because of the pollution. it's so bad that i can feel lead on my tongue. they should do something about it instead of making a specialized lung hospital. doing is that is healthy. this pollution is the unhealthiest thing for people and we're all in the same body. >> reporter: estimates includi y because of that tehran's economy loses $29 million a year. moving the capitol is not a new idea. the previous government of
mahmood ahmadinejad made that a focus of his administration. instead of improving the capitol tehran, he focused on strengthening the power of regional areas. at the time that many irans saw that plan as shortsighted and a waste of money. now critics say parliament is just creating the headaches for the new government of hassan rouhani. at a time when the government is trying to solve significant problems. one politician said it will take 25 years to build a new capitol any way and by that time who knows what tehran will look like or whether it will still exist. al jazeera. >> thank you for watching al jazeera. i'm richelle carey. "techknow" space can dead is next and check out our website throughout the day www.aljazeera.com. thank you for your time. do keep it here.