>> great conversation. see you next time. ♪ >> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ welcome to the news hour. i'm in doha with the top stories on al jazeera america. [ applause ] >> russia welcomes the crimean vote to join its federation and jekts sanctions by the west. the chain of command in crimea. we speak to the prime minister about the pro-russian troops on the grown. i'm here with other news from europe.
congolese war lord becomes only the second person to be convicted by the international criminal court. ♪ >> and the beat goes on. al jazeera travels with refugees to the border of the car. ♪ the kremlin has wiped away any doubt that it is supporting the successionist movement in crimea. the russian parliament said it supported a vote by crimea to break away from ukraine and welcomed the crimean delegation to moscow. we'll begin with peter sharpe in moscow. [ applause ] >> reporter: a standing ovation for the crimean deputies arriving in the russian
parliament. the message from their russian brother, welcome home and a promise. >> translator: everything is clear from this side of moscow, no hesitations. if we see you are ready to make this kind of decision, i assure you our total support. everyone is just excited about this, because this is a festive occasion. >> reporter: festivities extending to red square and no doubt here that the crimea will be welcomed into the federation when the bill goes before the duma next week. and if the russian majority fail, crimea could become the first territory to join russia since the breakup of the soviet union in 1991. the significance of that not lost among these people. but concern at the pace of change and the direction that president putin appears to be
leading russia. >> if he sees himself as a political figure, as a father of nation, staying several heads -- ahead of the general public, and he brings his country enormous mistake. this is a mistake. >> reporter: talk to experts here in moscow and they will tell you there are powerful reasons why putin is taking such a hard line. there's no doubt that president putin regards ukraine's westward drift as a grave threat to the long-term security of russia. but is there more to it than? kremlin watchers here in moscow believe that the successful popular uprising against the government in ukraine sets a dangerous precedent for vladimir putin's presidency. well ukraine's prime
minister has described crimea's break away movement as illegal and unconstitutional. a referendum will be held in nine days asking the people to decide whether they want to remain autonomous or join russia. >> reporter: welcome to russia, in crimea, now a self declared russian city in an extraordinary vote the city council yuan lat reallily declared itself part of the russian federation. >> translator: for 23 years the governments did nothing for the russians and russian-speaking people here. this is why the situation is developing as it is. >> reporter: a separatist fervor is sweeping across this peninsula. officially answerable to kiev, it's designated a city of special significance, many residence here look to moscow,
not kiev at times of crisis. >> translator: i'm confused and scared. but before she could go on, she was accused of being a provauk tour and shouted down by other women. >> translator: we came because we want peace in ukraine. white is the color of peace and we don't want anyone to think we're involved in some kind of provocation here. >> reporter: the vote of the city council here merely endorses what many people have long believed, but it shows how attitudes not just here are hardening between the two sides. in kiev the language of the parliamentary authorities are subtling changing. it seems negotiations are now conditional. >> translator: we declared our readiness to establish soesh ration with russian federation, but in order for our russian
neighbors have to become our partners they have to first of all withdraw their troops. >> reporter: and there was a stark warning from a churchman. >> translator: this referendum is against all international rights and laws, and i once again ask you to protect ukrainians in crimea, to protect tatars in crimea. what is going on right now will engineer -- end in slaughter. >> reporter: the newspapers are already redrawing the map, but not everyone appears bent on confrontation. away from crimea there is continuing attention between pro-russian activists and police? in an eastern city. it's a strong hold of ousted vt
viktor yanukovych. they returned on friday a day after ukrainian police evicted dozens of protestors from an administrative building. and protestors gathered outside to protest the russian presence in crimea. the russian president has denied allegations that the forces are under moscow's control. we're joined now live now from simferopol. you have spoken to the prime minister who also spoke about the chain of command of russian forces there. what did he have to say? >> reporter: he did ask him exactly if he could describe who the armed forces that we see all over crimea, how they were organized and under which command do they fall? >> translator: we accept the help, people coming from russia to join our self-defense units.
we do not check their registration, where they come from, some are military officers from russia. they have their uniforms and guns and they just come and join us. besides the self-defense units, some of the police officers have taken the side of the crimean government in response to us. the black sea fleet coordinate our troops and police, not more than that in terms of occasion or invasion, there is russian army. >> reporter: we have been traveling around crimea for the past week, and we have seen them traveling on roads, taking positions wherever they wanted. we tried to ask them if they came from russia, some nodded, but in general they are not talkative, however, the ukrainian soldiers have no doubt these men are under military command from moscow.
russian soldiers come and go, leaving everyone to guess their next move, but few damaged that they would abandon some of their positions. >> translator: they left at midnight we don't know why or where they went. they are still in some base, and in others they are being replaced by so-called self-defense units who are still russians. >> reporter: on wednesday the russians were inside this base. armed men stormed it in the dead of the night and sabotaged the missile defense system. there are so many questions, but this fight give a clue. it is a food ration box it says russian army. one can confidently say that russia is at least putting its full weight behind these men. in a surprise move parliament voted in favor of crimea
becoming part of the russian federation. [ chanting ] >> reporter: it also brought forward a referendum on the future identity for the second time in less than a week. >> translator: this scenario was not kriten in crimea, it was written in moscow. it's like a newborn it can inthat doesn't know what the next step will be. a they are told what to do, but they don't know the plan. the mp's didn't know they would be voting for a cessation when they went to parliament. >> reporter: these are russian [ inaudible ] who cross into crimea a few days ago through the straight of krutsch, now deployed near the regional parliament. >> translator: they have the right to decide on their destiny. we are staying until the referendum, we were invited here to help maintain order.
>> reporter: major maxim says he was ashamed when the soldiers entered his base. now they are gone and his unit are building new defenses. whether they can withstand a yes vote to join russia is entirely a different matter. and there's lots more news and analysis on the crisis in ukraine on our website. you can always go to aljazeera.com to see a live blog and the latest on the ukraine cry sisz. that's aljazeera.com. a congolese mall la sha heard has been the second person to be convicted in the international criminal court since it was set up 12 years ago. >> yes, he was found guilty of being an accessory to murder and pillage over a 2003 attack on a village.
200 civilians were killed, but he was clear to the number of other charges including rape and sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers. his co-accused was acquitted more than a year ago. neve barker has more from the hague. >> reporter: he seemed relakszed as he awaited judgment. a verdict five years in the making. >> translator: for all of the reasons put forward today the court declares him guilty of the crimes committed. >> reporter: he was convicted of one crime against humanity for murder and four war crimes including attacking a civilian population. fighting broke out in 1999 rapidly escalating into an interethnic war. an estimated 50,000 people were killed. his crimes relate to an attack
11 years ago, in which 2 00 range issers were murdered, many hacked to death. >> for the victims it brings them hope that what has happened to them has been recognized as an international crime, and that the message through the icc by the international community that this should never happen again. >> the verdict an important step for the icc, this is only its third verdict. >> he was found not guilty of a series of other charges. he now awaiting sentencing. neve barker, al jazeera, the
hague. >> the trial has been viewed as a test of the ability of prosecutors at the international criminal court. it is only the third verdict the court has handed down since it was set up in 2002. in 2012 . . . at least five cases have collapsed for lack of evidence. others currently on trial or due to stand trial for crimes against humanity are . . . a speaker from human rights says it was a mixed judgment. >> he was convicted for some of the crimes, not convicted for some others. he was not convicted as a
perpetrator but as an accomplice. so there have been changes in the accusations against him. but i think it remains significant for the victims of the massacre that some measure of justice and truth has been found today through this decision at the icc. as you explained, the icc is currently investigating in eight different countries, where the situation on the ground is extremely complicated. so i think it's not surprising that it does take time for the icc to complete the investigations and go through trials of extremely complicated crimes. it's not surprising to me that it has taken until now to have three judgments at the icc, and there are a number of other cases going on. that being said, of course we want the court to be a model of justice, and there are things that can be done to improve the pace of proceedings, and improve
the quality of the investigations. i'll be back later with more from europe, including why hundreds of lawyers have gone on strike here in the uk. >> also coming up, how extreme weather in the u.s. has given adventurers the chance to sample rarely seen ice caves. and ukraine's para-olympians say they will complete in the games, but their chief seconds a strong warning to the president. ♪ a court in malaysia has sentenced an opposition leader to five years in prison for sodomy. florence has more. >> reporter: this walk has by now become familiar. guilty of sodomy and sentenced to prison. this time for five years in a
case his lawyers have described as politically motivated. >> it's unjust on the part of the court to do this. they took a very short time to reverse an acquittal position. >> reporter: the government says . . . >> relax. relax. >> reporter: in 1998 he was also accused of sodomy. not long after his dismissal as deputy prime minister. his conviction was eventually overturned. the decision on friday disqualified him from running in a local election scheduled for later this month. >> that will have a lot of repercussions because the general belief is that if we wins the seat then the next move was for him to be chief minister of the state. that is going to be some sort of
addition for him, to show the country that he can govern, and if he can govern the state, he can govern the nation. those plans are now gone. >> reporter: the future for the opposition doesn't look good either. it was under his leadership that the coalition made its strongest gains in last year's national election. if the conviction is upheld it could be the end of his political career, and to the rise of a stronger opposition month. let's take a look at other global headlines now. north korean official seen here on the left has made a public appearance. there was speculation he had been killed in a political purge. he is said to be the second-most powerful person in north korea
after kim jong un. a turkish court has ordered the immediate release of exmilitary chief. he was sentenced to life in prison last year. on thursday the court ruled that his legal rights had been violated. south africa has expelled three rwandan diplomats it says are linked to an attack on a general. a group of armed men broke into the south african home of the former chief. he is an exiled critic of rwandan president. as the cycle of retall tear violence continues to escalate in the central african republic so too do the number of
refugees. 290,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries in little over a year. nearly half of that number, that's 150,000 have left in the last three months. now around 62,000 refugees are currently receiving food aide in the democratic republic of congo malcolm webb reports from the democratic republic of congo. >> reporter: almost everyone on this boat has had relatives killed or gone missing. they have been hiding in a church for weeks, fearing for their lives. now they have made it to safety. >> translator: there was a lot of gunfire. that's why we fled, i don't even know where my children are, or my parents. >> reporter: the un says nearly a million people have thread the violence in krar and for over 60 thousand their escape route has
been here. >> on this side of the river is the central african republic, and on the other side is the democratic republic of congo. since december thousands of people have fled from the central african side to the congolese side to get away from the violence. the refugee settlements are in such remote locations that they can only be accessed using boats like this. this is a landing site on the congo side. the villages on the other bank were deserted weeks ago. they wait for un trucks to take them to a refugee camp. this man arrived here with his back full of gunshot. he says his girlfriend had an affair with militia member, and then a group came for him. >> translator: i managed to get up and run away, as i was running they shot me in the back with a shotgun. >> reporter: he was lucky.
thousands have died in the violence. this man left when his brother was killed. he says he was targeted simply for not having a traditional hair style. >> translator: he ran into some milit militias. they saw him and said because of his haircut he was a muslim and killed him. >> reporter: he and his friends are in a band. they insist on showing us a dance routine here at the landing site. ♪ >> reporter: they used to perform to hundreds of people back home, but they say the music scene stopped with the violence. it will probably be a long time before they can perform again. along with thousands of central africans they are about to begin new lives in exile, and it won't be easy. but this, it seems is their way to forget for a moment the pain of what they left behind.
joining us now from the car is the senior humanitarian affairs officer in the capitol of bangui. we know you just returned from the north near the chadian border. give an idea of what the refugee situation is like there. >> we have quite a lot of people that fled from different parts of the country, and they tried to get to place where they feel safe, hence, closer to the border or rather across the border as well with chad, and other countries here. and the situation over there is people are desperate, they are fleeing the violence, traumatized and do need desperately help from everybody. unfortunately the situation is such that with the resources and capacity that we have at the
moment and level of violence as well, the ability that we have to help is extremely limited, but we're trying our best, and that's not enough unfortunately. >> barbara, the united nations deliberating the deployment of more troops to the car. how will more troops help alleviate the tensions on the ground? could they? >> it's important that there is enough stability on the ground, and all of us need to work together, the troops, the international community, but most importantly the government and the parties to the conflict. all of us have a role to play, the civilians as well have a role to play. there are a lot of young people joining the different groups, and that's also a sign of desperation in a way, and this unfortunately causes more violence and more humanitarian
suffering and more humanitarian needs. this is something that we all need to work together. more troops deployed can lower some of the tensions, but no one can be everywhere. and the adjusts we have for the moment are just insufficient for that. >> just shed some light on this issue for us. there are those who say this is an ethnic religious conflict. others say it is a political problem. in your opinion which do you think it is? and what would be the best solution? >> well, the best solution, definitely is reconciliation and engagement with all parties to the conflict, whether this can be defined one way or another that's not the point. the point is there are people that are suffering, and the violence must stop now, and all of the parties have a role to play in this situation. >> i want to go back to the
situation near chad there, near the border and the refugees that are there that are not getting the aid that they need. what is their priority? if you had to prioritize their needs, what would it be? >> well, it's the priority across the border, and i think security is the first priority. if security improves then the people will go back. they need food, medical attention, shelter, water, sanitation, the rains are coming, we have a month and a half before the roads will become very, very bad shape, and be impossible, hence they need really to -- provide -- we don't have also enough resources to do that. the -- the -- the amount -- >> barbara -- >> -- curtails also by the fact that -- >> right.
barbara, we seem to be having some technical problems? terms of getting your audio through. thank you so much for joining us, the senior humanitarian affairs officer. still to come how the war of words between kiev and moscow is affecting assembly lines in eastern yooun. also -- i'm in bayfield, wisconsin, coming up, i'll tell you why record-cold temperatures have transformed this small town into a booming winter destination attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. and still ahead in sport, spanish champions barcelona admits no one knows what is wrong with their star player after another bout of vomiting.
the human trafficker. >> fault lines... al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> they're locking the doors... >> groung breaking... >> they killed evan dead. >> truth seeking... >> they don't wanna show what's really going on... >> breakthough investigative documentary series america's war workers only on al jazeera america
crimea on march 16th. ukraine's prime minister described the breakaway movement as illegal ann underconstitutional. a congolese war lord has been found guilty be the international criminal court. and anwar abahham has been sentenced to five years in jail for sodomy. he plans to appeal. returning to the continuing tension in crimea. and members of theta tar community say they are victims of harassment. the tatar are one of the oldest
ethnic groups in crimea, and they are concerned that russia is making a bid to take over the region. as anina mcnaught reports, the tatar are closely watching the events. >> reporter: a turkish movie, about a russian soldier who changes sides and help turkey. fighting with the russian empire for centuries and finally subjected to mass deportation by joseph stalin in the 1940s, nearly half dieing from starvation and disease. >> translator: they had 15 minutes notice. just time to grab a piece of bread and a koran and flee.
>> reporter: the lucky ones found sanctuary in turkey. >> translator: we will not suffer opposition again like the 1940s. we are receiving calls and emails every day from them. we are a very different group here in turkey. we will not behave like the russians. >> reporter: and the crimean tatars have the backing of turkey's government. the foreign minister jetted to kiev last saturday and stressed the importance of crimea to turkey, and called for stability and the preservation of a territorial integrity of ukraine. when word spread that a ukrainian navy ship was passing through istanbul and might have changed its flag to a russian one. this connects the mediterranean
with the black sea, europe is that way, and ukraine, crimea, and russia are that way. it's one of the world's historic highways, and peoples memories around here span centuries. >> translator: there are muslim solders in the russian army and we know during the invasion of afghanistan some put down their guns and refused to fight other muslims. russia needs to keep this fact in mind. >> reporter: anita mcnaught. russian businesses appear to be delaying investment until the issue is resolved.
>> reporter: the revolution has brought bad news for this industrial plant in the eastern town, a russian customer has delayed signing a big contract for machine tools until it becomes clear which way ukraine is heading. under its hue boss the factory is diversifying into wind turbines, but it still relies on russia for more than 60% of its business. >> europe market is completely different. our business not well prepared to europe market. our production not competitive in europe market. in the regional capitol, a new governor has just been appointed. the economy is one of his most urgent priorities. >> translator: many people in the region are having big problems because of travel in the banking sector.
many banks are on the brink of collapse, many cash machines are empty, and we need to tackle krep shun. >> reporter: like many towns in eastern ukraine, it still honors its soviet past. this whole region is heavily dependent on russia for trade and jobs, so maintaining good relations is crucial regardless of people's political opinions or how they see their national identity. but some people from this region supported the revolution and paid the heaviest price. this man left his home for kiev to join the protests on independence square. he was killed by sniper fire on february 20th. >> translator: now i'm not thinking about anything. i would like to see comfort. i would like to see peace. >> reporter: the national poet of ukraine looks down on the
main square here. at though foot of the statute flowers laid in honor of the man. in this prorussian city there are those who cherish the symbols of ukrainian independence. jackie roleland, al jazeera. leading ukrainian opposition politicians are traveling around europe seeking support for their country in eu leaders. >> klitschko and kill shaneco have attended a meeting where they held talks with a german chancellor. angela merkel expressed her support. >> translator: we think of the people who have been there for weeks and months. we shout out for them. you have the same right for freedom and democracy as we have
here. all of the countries of the eastern partnership, and nevertheless we have to learn from the past, learn from the wars, and find ways of achieving these goals through peaceful methods. the opposition politician klitschko is now in paris where he and one of ukraine's richest men have held talks with the french president. he said it is up to russia to engage in the discussions. >> translator: our objective is also to keep the dialogue open in such a way that russia has the opportunity to seize the opportunity if it chooses to do so, and i'm talking about president putin. there is pressure that we will need to exert but also an opportunity for dialogue that we can offer him. hundreds of lawyers have
taken part in a protest against the british government's decision to cut legal aid. emma hayward has more. >> reporter: they should have been in court, but instead they were bringing britain's criminal justice system to a halt. lawyers and campaigners pressing the government to change its plans to cut the legal aid budget by several hundred million dollars. man was wrongly convicted of being involved in an ira bombing. >> it will be a lot more injustice. this will get the police on the crime prosecution service a clear [ inaudible ] and go to court, because the people who will be venning you haven't got
a clear [ inaudible ] how the system works. >> reporter: protesters claim that the cuts will create a two-tier legal system those who can afford to pay for advice and those who can't. lawyers here say their reputation is under threat because of these cuts. a ministry of justice spokesperson told us that the uk's legal aid service cost just over $3 billion a year. it is one of the most expensive in the world. and had to be reduced. lawyers told us that jobs could go, and the criminal justice system will be effected. >> they will go to the court in a matter of months not years, and then [ inaudible ]. >> reporter: this is becoming an increasingly bitter row. in the end it could be those who won't be able to get any legal
advice in the future who stand to lose out the most. that's it from landon for now. thank you. a look now at some of the other stories in the middle east. saudi arabia has joined egypt in banning the muslim brotherhood and labeling it as a terrorist group. morsi along with other leaders of the group are currently behind bars. many others outside of the country have warrants out for their arrest. the kingdom now says those who join the brotherhood could be jailed for 30 years. egypt says it is recalling its ambassador from qatar after saudi arabia, and others recalled their envoys earlier this year. they accuse qatar on failing to implement a regional security
pact. several brotherhood leaders have fled to doha, but are wanted for trial in egypt. meanwhile in egypt, protests have been held in at least three cities, seven people have been killed in the capitol of cairo. demonstrations were also held in alexandria. and the trial of three al jazeera journalists detained in egypt is scheduled to resume on march 24th, mohammed fahmy, baher mohamed, and peter greste have now spent 69 days in prison. they are accused of having links with a terrorist organization and spreading false news. al jazeera rejects the charges. another correspondent has been detained for months -- for more than six months. still to come this news hour, the mega city built on debt. chinese officials grapple with an infrastructure and construction boom.
the frozen shoreline of alaska's bering seacoast will be the next challenge for the iditarod challengers. >> the major difficulty for the prosecution, that there was no evidence... >> now a three year al jazeera investigation, reveals a very different story about who was responsible >> they refuse to look into this... >> so many people at such a high level had a stake in al megrahi's guilt. lockerbie: what really happened? on al jazeera america
price. >> reporter: enjoying the wintery sunshine. for people on this sprawling public housing estate, life looks better thanks to massive public spending. living in modern aapartmentments for about $100 u.s. dollars a month. these are the result of the unprecedented building boom. >> translator: the local government pays a lot of attention and creates better living conditions. >> translator: the city has been making great progress in recent years. >> reporter: while residents count themselves lucky, the city has been counting the cost. these grandiose developments are a legacy of the former leader, imprisoned last year in the highest profile scandal to hit the chinese leadership in decades. mostly under his leadership, this mega city doubled the size
of its rail system. it tripled its road network, and public housing estates pushed the city's boundaries even further. it has stood out in infrastructure projects. criticism that china hasn't been as transparent as it could be about the amounts of debt being rung up by governments. they make for disturbing reading with many provinces and cities taking on huge debt compared to their incomes with cities like this leading the way. in china as a whole debt surged nearly 70% in two years. far more than officials publicly admitted. but that's balanced by the central government's strong control. >> translator: economic development varies widely
between the areas, but we believe overall the debt is under control. >> reporter: since assuming power the president has reigned in public spending. the government hopes that rising domestic consumption will provide an alternative economic driver. they have plenty of consumption like every other chinese city, but given the widening wealth gap, it also has its less well off who could be facing tougher times. time for sport now with robin. >> thank you very much. thoeping ceremony to the winter paralympics are happening right now in sochi. 550 athletes will compete in 72
events over the next nine days. and while ukraine has agreed to participate in the games, but the chief said the team pull out if russia invades ukraine. >> translator: the para-olympic team of ukraine is a national team, it represents the nation and the ukrainian people and of course the team cannot remain indifferent to the aggression on the territory of our country which has been carried out by the state which is the host of the para-olympic games. of course we all thought about whether to participate or not. from sochi let's turn to football now in barcelona. the coach had admitted that messy's recent doubt of vomiting
cause is unknown. the defending champions could go two points clear if they win on saturday. >> translator: i have talked about this with messi, and this is something that happens to him regularly. he has even seen specialists and has not been able to solve it. but it is a usual thing for him, and never stops him from playing a game. the fa cup english quarter finals get underway on saturday. jack willshire will be out of his team for six weeks after fracturing his foot on wednesday. >> i believe first of all it was
accidental and that he will be out for six weeks, and -- but we'll keep him -- of course it is a blow for him, for us, and from now on you want to get him to recover as quickly as possible. we want to help him come back as quickly as possible, and prepare for the rest of the season. >> manchester united are in league action on saturday. ahead of that game, the manager has sent an open letter to fans. in it he admitted that the season has been a disappointment, but that supporters should continue to back him and his team. >> i think if you are a football supporter you would understand what loyalty is, so if you follow a club passionately, then you follow them whether it's doing badly or well. and it takes stronger support when it is not going well. sometimes a bit easier when everything is getting -- we are winning, and i think at the
moment as i said previous, the manchester united supporters realize there are some changes take place, and they understand that their time will come again. >> it has been more than months after michael schumaker was hospitalized after a skiing understand, but his condition remains largely unchanged. his manager said he is still being awoken from a medically induced coma. he has had a number of blood clots removed from his brain. the two nba final lists have gone head to head and this time the spurs came up on top. tim duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds to take the spurs to 111-86 victory. tony parker finishing with 17
points and 4 assists. the pittsburgh penguins are looking over their shoulder at boston. meanwhile the detroit red wings who are eighth in the east, retired the jersey of this man. after the ceremony, his old team were beaten by the colorado avalanche in overtime. scoring with 31.4 seconds left on the clock. the buffalo sabres beat playoff contenders the tampa bay lightning 3-1. this man was the star for buffalo. he made 43 saves on the night. the blues beat the national predators 2-1 on thursday.
staying in the west. the los angeles kings [ inaudible ] six consecutive wins after beating the jets. the kings struck back just 40 seconds after the previous score. the iditarod sled dog nears its finish in the icy wild derness of alaska. >> reporter: this is a race that traverses the huge state of alaska and we're here at the western extremity of the race. the races are coming out of the hills -- the hills you can see over to my left. those are the last really rugged bits of terrain after mountains and tundra that they have had to go through. but it was the absence of snow that challenged them in this race. dog sleds and teams were bouncing and tumbling over logs,
over tree roots, 11 or 12 mushers had to drop out it was a mess. another daunting section of the trail lies ahead, the frozen expanses of the bering sea. this brings weather challenges snow is possible howling winds certainly frigid temperatures. several days left to go before they get to the finish line. but the racers all say the same thing, it is all about the challenges. you are racing against yourself as much as others. it is your and your dogs in whatever section of the trail you face, you do it to win, to finish, and just to prove that you can. more of today's big sports stories are on our website, aljazeera.com/sports. it's aljazeera.com/sport for
more. >> robin thanks very much. extremely cold weather in the u.s. midwest has allowed thousands of people to cross one of the deepest parts of the great lakes on foot. that has given them a chance to see unique ice cave for the first time since 2009. >> reporter: the small summer resort town of bayfield, wisconsin isn't accustomed to hosting many winter visitors. so when hundreds of people started showing up in the town's only dinner restaurant. the chef says it was somewhat unexpected. >> i'm pretty sure we almost tripled last year's numbers. >> reporter: bayfield is located on lake superior during the winter it is typically shut down, but a social media picture changed that.
>> that post almost immediately went viral. within two hours it had about 10,000 views, the next morning when i woke up we were at almost 85,000 views. >> reporter: this is what she posted majestic images of ice caves from the park. the unseasonably cold weather has created a gallery of ice formations and the minerals have created a display of color rarely seen. it's not just the natural beauty that is attracting so many. it is also accessibility. typically you would only be able to get here by boat, but because of record-cold sub zero temperatures, you can simply get here by walking across this frozen lake. >> it's beautiful out here. >> yeah, even though it's freezing. >> a chance to get in, under, and around all of these things,
and it's just tremendous. >> reporter: but the ice displays are weather permitting no one is sure just how long they will last or whether they will ever be seen again. >> this is unusual, because climate change is decreasing the average amount of ice on lake sup superior. this is not going to be typical. we're describing this has an endangered national park experience, because we don't know if your kids or grand kids will be able to do this. >> reporter: since mid-january more than 80,000 have braved the temperatures to get here. to catch a glimpse of a natural phenomenon that may never be seen again. stay with us here on al
welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we are following for you. the russian people weigh in on the crisis in ukraine with demonstrations both for and against moscow's intervention. >> the freedom of the individual must come before the power of the state. >> republican presidential hopefuls playing to their bay at cpac. and pork producers around the country deal with a virus that is killing off young pigs. ♪