on the hour only on al jazeera america >> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm morgan radford live from new york city. here are some of the stories we're following for you. fires burn in california while it deals with the worst drought on record. plus how presidential reforms will change spying by the national security agency. >> hi and dry out west, a wildfire that began in the hills of glendora, california, is still burning. firefighters have stopped the flames from spreading but there is nothing they can do about the
state's historic drought. stephanie stan stanton with morn that fire and that drought. >> reporter: good morning to yon to you, morgan. this fire is 30% contained. we do expect to get some updated numbers throughout the day, but this fire is just one consequence of the drought that is crippling california, and the governor's recent drought declaration is hoping to actually alleviate and prevent some of the damage from this drought, especially the the drought for the agriculture industry. >> reporter: mounting pressure from politicians, business leaders and farmers struggling to cope with the dryest year ever on record. emergency declaration means
california can now apply for relief aid from the government the news count come soon enough for paul who is struggle to go feed his cattle just outside of santa barbara, california. >> if we don't get rain, we'll be in dire straits. we're faced with no feed and cows that need fee. >> cal's a.g. industry is worth $40 billion and produced a large percentage of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed by americans. the industry is threatened by the catastrophic condition. reservoirs that depend on snow melts and rainfall are at historically low levels including this one, which is at 40% of its full capacity. >> it creates a lot more flexibility for us to manage the
rresource reservoirs. >> inevitably brushfires have capitalized on the condition. normally fires are not a threat to homeowners, but the high went and the winter front. >> that's what has been difficult, the storms moving through the high and until that december pates and moves off to the east, we're stuck in the same pattern. >> reporter: that pattern is expected to continue until the end of the month, they hope that the declaration of a drought will buy more time to save herds. >> you have animals that you know by name some of them, you've raised up, and you have no choice, you have to let them go. >> unless it begins to rain. and that doesn't appear likely any time soon. >> joining me now is tony,
public information officer for l.a. fire. thank you for joining us. let's talk about the drought. i don't think a lot of people realize that a fire like this in january is so unusual. >> yes, the low rainfall last year and this year really have contributed to very low fuel moistures which greatly increases the potential for rapid fire growth during our santa ana offshore experience into the fall and into the spring. >> now the governor, of course, officially declaring a drought in the state. one of the things within this drought declaration is to increase firefighting, but this is something you've been doing. >> thias a wild man fire as we e ewe have conference calls on a daily basis to discuss the
weather, topography and moisture levels and fire growth. >> how concerned are you guys as firefighters? is this the step of the iceberg here? we're well aware of the predictions. we knew we were going to be in a critical dry period here this time of year, and the potential for extreme fire growth and fire behavior is very real, and we're experiencing just as we thought. >> we know we're not going to get updated figures until later but do we anticipate that the containment will rise? do you think the firefighters havwill move up.
>> stephanie, thank you, and tony, for being with us this morning. there is more bad news about the water supply that effects 46 million people all across the country. an investigation by the associated press found that dozens of cities tested positive for pharmaceuticals in the water supply. the biggest culprits are people in healthcare facilities that flush drugs down the toilets rather than throwing them away. an estimated 250 pounds of unused drugs and contaminated packaging wind up in or near water supplies. egypt is expected to approve a new constitution today. meanwhile there is still continued street violence. this is the second constitution in just two years. the first was written by the muslim brotherhood following the revolution. they were ousted last summer and now are labeled terrorists in the state.
leaders meeting in istanbul debating whether they should attend peace talks. they're expected to vote on it soon but for now the opposition is split. they're vital to the negotiations with the assad regime. >> the syrian national coalition meet something now formerly happening but we still don't have an idea of when they're going to take that crucial vote on the issue of whether or not to participate in geneva two. there are two issues at stake here. one is participation and one is constitution. we have a split in the block. 44 took themselves out of the coalition saying that the lead-up has not been properly handled.
on the other side what the coalition is trying to look at is what exactly it needs conduct a critical vote. it's a question of numbers. do they have to change the constitution before they take the vote or can they do it without changing the constitution. it's all related to a clause. saying they're not meant to meet with the assad regime at all. in the meantime, th they're pressing no matter what to be in geneva. this is where the peace process starts. and unless the syrian coalition representing the broadest body of syrian opposition is there at the geneva meeting how can they make the case opposed to assad.
>> there is a delay in destroying th chemical weapons. they're meant to be transferred on to an american ship and then head for destruction at sea. but many are fighting it, claiming an accident with the shipment could risk their lives. now more details are emerging about the victims of friday's suicide attack on a restaurant in afghanistan. over 21 people killed were foreign citizens, two of them american. we have reports from kabul. >> reporter: only after sunrise was the level of damage clear. over 20 guests were enjoying dinner at this restaurant when it was attacked by the taliban. it is believed none of them survived. >> unfortunately the death toll reports we have indicate 21 deaths including 30 foreigners.
>> when the attackers approached the restaurant there were cars parked all around here as there would be at any popular restaurant on a friday night. still this morning there is blood in the street and they haven't managed to clean up the around angle. now the first attacker was the suits bomber who blew off what were incredibly thick steel doors allowing attackers to enter in here and to start shooting the diners. the restaurant was just behind this wall, and that's where so many people lost their lives. once inside they shot diners and staff footage appears to show that many tried to hide under tables before being killed. the victims were of various nationalities. four of them were u.n. staff. they had hoped that it was safe but no one can guarantee security. >> it speaks to the fact that security is a big issue in kabul
no matter how secure a place may seem it's always going to be an issue. >> the restaurant was popular with foreigners and high ranking afghan officials. a rare space to relax in a time of war. it's owner was really known and liked. speaking to al jazeera in 2008 he was confident his business would not be targeted. >> we do not take part in any political activities. so the revenue from this activity is beneficial. >> he died in the attack. jane ferguson, kabul afghanistan. >> in south sudan a possible cease-fire the conflict that began on december 15th has forced thousands from their homes and claimed an unknown
number of lives. the government has been holding talks with rebel leaders in ethiopia and both sides say a cease-fire will likely be signed by monday. we'll talk more about this with the u.n. special representative to south sudan. a spiritual leader in india has died. thousands come to mourn the loss of the 102-year-old muslim leader. the crowd pushed forward and many people were crushed at the gate with no way to escape. police say they were largely outnumbered by the large turn out. listening, recording, spying. president obama changes some of the rules that are guiding u.s. spy agencies. and protecting a tiny species of deer found only on the small florida island. you're watching al jazeera america.
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only on al jazeera america the. >> controversial nsa spying program that collects millions of american phone records will be limited. that's the commitment president obama made on friday. we have more from washington. >> reporter: the extent of the spying carried out by the united states while hugely controversial overseas only a handful of the usual protesters showed up demanding changes. the president took to the stage and promised to change very little. when it comes to spying outside of the u.s.-allied leaders can be assured that the u.s. won't listen to their phone calls any more. but their people, every text, e-mail, video that they send, that will be stored, just not for as long. and that should not bother most people in the world.
>> the bottom line people around the world regardless of nationality, we take their privacy concerns in account. >> for americans there are few changes. the fbi wants to attack my car credit card company and ask about everything i've bought they may have to tell me about that, but if they want to search records they'll have to ask a secret government court. but that's a court that did not reject one government request in all of 2012. for many people outside of the white house, that is simply not enough. >> it didn't go far enough. he didn't embrace all of the recommendations that his review group made. he really took a very narrow tact here. >> reporter: even before that criticism president took a defensive tone.
>> no one expect china to chan change. >> the supreme court still has to decide if the domestic spying is constitutional. but as evidence by size and scale of the protest, so far they aren't facing much public pressure to change his decision. al jazeera, washington. >> brazil's iconic statute christ the redeemer is missing a piece of his finger thanks to a severe lightening storm. now take a look at this, the 125-foot statue which sits on top of a mountain overlooking rio de janeiro. the archdioceses said that the strict chipped off his thumb. the statute will be repaired.
>> good morning. it's another dry day across the southwest. we're looking at rain radios the northeast and we could use that rain in northern and southern california where we're looking at exceptional levels of drought. right now we had 2013 the dryest year on record as we've gone in the first couple of weeks of january. we have very dry conditions. it will be a warm day across los angeles, our high reaching 83 degrees much warmer than this time of year when you culminate that with the low levels of humidity in the atmosphere. that does increase the chance of seeing wildfires erupt across the state. this is a satellite picture. you can see across the sierra very low levels of snow actually right now. we're looking at 29.1% of the country dealing with snow. that means most of the country is very dry, that's all the way
back from april 1st. this is very below average for this time of the year. this is a look at mt. shasta typically this time of year covered in snow but right now very dry as you can see here over the portions of the mountain. we're dealing with dry conditions across australia as well. we have a ridge of high pressure really across the southwest. whenever you have a ridge of high pressure the winds around the ridge are clockwise, funneling through the mountains of southern california and increasing the risk of fire danger. backbreaking work for the men and women who are fighting the fires. we'll continue to look at the pattern not just today but the next several weeks as the storms head to the northwest and portions of the pacific canada. it will be dry here today across
most of the southwest. back to you. >> thanks so much. visitors travel to the florida keys for fishing, snorkeling and those beautiful beaches. but there is another local attraction you may not know about. that is the miniature key deer, they're even becoming even harder to see. we have that story. >> well delegate features and no fear of humans, the key deer so named for its miniature side is a subspecies of a white tailed deal. >> they look like a porcelain doll of the white tailed deer. >> they're entire habitat, 100,000 acres of the national key deer refuge. >> those animals are protected under the endangered species act as federally endangered. >> nancy finley oversees the refuge. she said only 800 key deer
remain. signage and flashing lights alert motorists they're traveling through the refuge. still the key deer mortality raid, 159 deaths, 129 of those from automobile strikes. they also contend with disease, limited food sources, habitat loss from development, and climate change issues suchs a rise in sea level. >> you're seeing a shift, it's not a bad thing, they'll have to evolve with that change as well. >> wildlife ecology professor specialize ms. white tailed deer in pennsylvania. he's now in florida to determine how best to address he describes the paradox of the key deer population. >> they are an endangered species because there are only hundreds of them left in the world. but they're also rather abundant
in that there is 800 or so deer in about 10 or so square miles. >> reporter: a series of public meetings is underway involving local home and business owners biologists and concerned citizens to examine the many survival threats to the key deer. they'll spend the next several months identifying a consensus of needs and wants of the community while best managing the key deer. meetings to gather input will be held again in february and march and overview report is expected by june. it will outline a community vision which ultimately could determine the future of the key deer. al jazeera, florida. >> in the forest of northeast china another endangered species is bouncing back. the siberian tiger, they say their growing numbers are due to better habitat protection and
crackdown on illegal hunting. just ahead on al jazeera america, egyptians demanding democracy during violent prote protests in cairo. >> every single person on the team was shot at, tear gassed, jailed, and you know, that was part of making this film. >> a new documentary takes us inside the dramatic sights of tahrir square in 2011.
record. plus egypt is expected to release the result of a referendum on a new constitution. meanwhile, more people are being killed from political discourt and if the constitution passes it will be the country's second rewriting in two years. a documentary about egypt's revolution gets a hollywood nod and an oscar nomination. the movie is called "the square" and the movie's director talked to us about how the movie came about and what is ahead for egypt. >> i have a big stake in what is happening in egypt. my family is living in egypt. i grew up in egypt, i'm egyptian. i am the director of "the square." when i got to the square, what i found was a magical atmosphere
of people for the first time feeling like they actually have a hand in changing their future. i also met everybody who worked on the film in the square. a street poet, a wise kid, and i fell in love with him immediately. i knew i wanted him to lead us through this story. >> every person on the team was shot at, tear gassed, jailed. >> i'm not going to vote while my kids are being killed in the street. i have lost friends who have lost their eyes. i know people who are in serious condition. i know people who have died.
>> it was unification at the beginning, and then people started to splinter. >> i think that a major problem was the order of things. there should never have been election before the constitution was written. it's going to take a long time for things to change and develop. there are still people who are fighting on the ground and. what is needed is international support local support of people who are continuing to push the system. there is a changing consciousness that has happened in egypt.
what does that tangibly mean? that tangibly means a constitution that represents all people. >> that was the director of "the square." it was first primarily distributed by netflix and earned a nomination. >> three al jazeera reporters mohamed fahmy and bader mohammed, and peter greste have been held. two other reports have been held for five months.
i'm morgan radford. thank you for joining us "techknow" is up next. >> low-end welcome. i'm phil torrez here to talk about innovations that can change lives. we're going to explore the intersection of hardware and humanity . lindsay moran is a former cia agent, kyle hill is an engineer, tonight he's got the dirtiest job and the science that can revolutionize indians's dairy farms. michelle nixon, and i'm phil tors.