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tv   News  Al Jazeera  May 14, 2014 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT

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>> 120 mine yours still trapped underground in turkey. the prime minister says 238 are now known to have died. ♪ >> hello there, you are watching al jazeera live from our headquarters in doha. also on the program, fearing more mass kidnappings like this villagers in northern nigeria have reportedly killed dozens of boko haram suspects.
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and a massive corporate scandal in china involving a british executive allegedly paying bribes worth millions of dollars. ♪ there are chaotic scenes in soma has desperate families wait for news of their loved ones trapped under ground. andrew simmons reports. >> reporter: it's the agonizing aftermath of every mine your's worst fear and the nightmare of their loved ones. an underground fire, explosion and poisonous fumes. and now stunned incomprehension
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of loss. and on such a vast scale. rescuers did their best, but so many minors died together in large numbers. >> translator: it's one of the biggest work accidents in our history, the fire started in a mine owned by a private company. 77 million people are feeling this pain and it's hard to go through this process. we are sorry to lose the minors working to earn a living. i give my condolences to the families, and hope the injured will get better soon. >> reporter: the relatives had to wait hour after hour. and the death toll just kept increasing. >> translator: we are still waiting here, i have two relatives in the mine. no one has given us any information. >> reporter: it was as if people
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couldn't bring themselves to believe the scale of what happened. and the timing couldn't have been worse. a shift change maximized numbers. a power failure followed the explosion, and that meant the lift to the surface didn't work. there was no escape. it isn't that hard to visualize the sheer horror of this explosion, the fire spreading quickly and the poisonous fumes. but harder to imagine is the enormity of this disaster, hundreds were down below. it was thought most victims died from carbon dioxide poisons. there are claims that safety standards here were not adequate. but they are rejected by the
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mine's owners and the government gave the pit a safety all clear in march. whatever lies behind the disaster, deep beneath the turkish earth, this country will take a long time to absorb the shock, and some will never recover. andrew simmons. al jazeera. western turkey. villages in nigeria have reportedly killed dozens of boko haram nighters they claim were planning another attack. vigilantes stormed the group. meanwhile demonstrations are being held in nigeria's biggest city. demanding that security forces intensify their efforts. boko haram has earlier
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threatened to sell the girls into slavery. many protesters are accusing the government of being too slow to respond. it seems that these civilians are so frustrated with these rescue efforts that they are simply taking matters into their own hands. >> well, in fact, laura, these vigilante groups are not particularly something new. they have been operating for several years in the region now. that is because they are primarily also locals from the state just like the fighters. they know these boko haram fighters better than anyone else. and they are able to get information about impending attackings a lot better than authorities, if you will, and they are tolerated by authorities, and in fact sometimes work in cooperation coordination with the security forces on the ground. so we have seen them operate in
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the past on the ground. but stepping up and the extent of the attacks that have been repeated in the past few weeks. >> and meanwhile we have the government signalling a willingness to speak, to negotiation with boko haram over the kidnapping of these girls. what more developments there if any? >> that has been a particularly confusing picture. we have spoken to several nigerian government officials, and you get a lot of conflicting signals. on the one hand come government officials saying all options are on the table. others reiterating that it is their stand that they refuse to negotiate. and it's a very difficult position. they are seen to be willing to concede to kidnappers to be willing to sit with them and negotiation with them a prisoner swap. but on the other hand a lot of
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people think the rescue effort militarily is not easy, and there must be other ways to enable the authorities to ensure the safety of these girls. so what exactly is going on there is not a very clear picture. what we do know is that the president did ask for an extension for the emergency, the state of emergency in the three states where boko haram has been operational. today the senate deferred making a decision just in the past hour. they did not make a decision and said that what they would like to do is summon the military chiefs tomorrow. and have a briefing with them before they make a final decision on that security situation. >> thanks very much. in yemen ten socialeds among them a senior army officer have been killed in an attack by al-qaeda fighters. the attack happened has the army
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repositions it's a to recapture al-qaeda's last strong hold in the province. >> reporter: this used to be an al-qaeda strong hold, but this town is now under the army's control, and soldiers there say they are ready to capture even more ground. >> translator: we control many areas now. we're preparing for an offense if against al-qaeda's last strong hold in the area. >> reporter: this town has been an al-qaeda base since 2012. houses have been destroyed in the intense fighting. thousands of people have no shelter. >> translator: our houses were destroyed. we lost everything, and we're concerned about the ongoing military operations in nearby towns. >> reporter: troops have been deployed. tribesmen are trying to
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negotiate an end to the violence, but the army says al-qaeda fighters have only two options, surrender or be killed. the attack on al-qaeda shows the risks involved in launching a major offensive against a group well trained in hit and run tactics. now security forces are expecting more revenge attacks across the country. iran has proposed a new plan that could help bring an end to the syrian war. that's according to special enjoy mr. brahimi. he suggested that iran could arrange a new interim government in damascus. joseph is a middle east expert he says talks between iran and saudi arabia are long overdue.
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>> i think that everybody realizes now that in fact there will not be a political settlement in syria without the full cooperation of both saudi arabia and iran. of course the two countries have been at odds with each other over syria for the past three and a half years, supporting different sides, but at then of the day, the saudis and the iranians have to address issues that go beyond syria. there is the question of iraq which is very important, yemen, which is very important, and here in lebanon. ukrainian government has launched talks on decentralizing power as part of a european-backed peace plan. seven soldiers were killed in an ambush but pro-russian activists. kim vinnell reports.
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>> reporter: this is where ukrainian troops were am established. medics treat soldiers wounds. the defense ministry says a convey of armored trucks was attacked by dozens of pro-russian separatists. >> translator: it was hard to understand what was going on. shells started exploding, and then there was shooting. total chaos. helicopters were flying around. >> reporter: dozens have been killed in recent weeks as ukrainian forces try to regain control of parts of the east from pro-russian separatists. residents are frightened. trp it's scary when you sleep at night, but what can we do? life goes on. >> translator: we stand for our freedom for our right to speak, for our right to choose, because
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nobody has been listening to us here for quite a while. >> reporter: the government in kiev is launching the first round of talks aimed at de-escalating the violence. after a moment of silence, politicians began preparing for the talks. the round table talks will include politicians and regional leaders, and is part of a peace plan proposed, but representatives of the pro-russian separatists in the east are not invited and critics say that means any real progress will be difficult. >> reporter: russia is backing the plan, while kiev is being more cautious. but as the death toll on both sides continues to grow, the calls to expedite the process become louder. kim vinnell, al jazeera,
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donetsk. still to come, with just weeks to go. world cup fever is growing ahead of the big kickoff in brazil. plus -- >> i'm kat turner in new york. thousands of bridges have been deemed unsafe by the federal government. so why isn't the money being spending to repair such critical infrastructure.
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♪ >> hello again. the top stories this hour here on al jazeera. 238 people are now known to have
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died in turkey's worst ever mining disaster. hopes are fading of finding survivors underground, and the death toll is expected to rise. villages in nigeria have reportedly killed dozensover boko haram fighters they claim were planning another attack. it has been a month since boko haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls. yemen's military has launched another attack against al-qaeda fighters in one of their last strong holds. more now on our top story, that mine accident in turkey. the incident has turned the focus on mine safety standards in the country. >> reporter: turkey's mining safety record shows just how great the risks are that tens of
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thousands of men like these take every day. according to the most recent figures, there were 7.2 deaths in turkey per million tons of coal mined in 2008 that compares with 1.27 in china, and 0.02 deaths in the us. questions are now being asked about whether any prime minister's ruling party could have done more. according to an opposition politician in the area where the accident happened, ten inspections of the mine found more than 60 safety violations. turkey labor and social security minister said the mine had been inspected eight times since 2012, and there were an additional eight investigations due to accidents and complaints. the government is being accused of ignoring warnings.
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politicians with the ruling ak party voted against the inquiry only last month. the mining company said the accident happened despite measures taken as part of the highest and most sustained inspection process. protesters gathered at the company headquarters in istanbul, the graffiti on the wall reads murders. >> translator: they privatize the mine, we're told this mining corporation came out and talked about how successful they were. and then what happened? together with this explosion we have seen that no precautions were taken. the lives of the workers were not valued. >> reporter: mining experts say safety standards are often more lax than at state-run mines. there's hopes of finding survivors fade by the hour, the
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turkish community want answers as to how and why this latest tragedy happened. qatar has announced changes to controversial labor laws affecting migrant workers. the sponsorship system gives employers tight control over employees. workers cannot leave the country without permission. they will now apply to the government rather than the employer for an exit visa, and companies will face stiff penalties for withholding a worker's passport. mohammed is from the qatar ministry. >> translator: the moment we cancel -- when it comes to
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employers withholding worker's pass ports this will be illegal, and the penalty will be 50,000 reals. the laborer has to pay for anything that needs to be done. >> james lynch is a researcher with amnesty international. he says the proposals don't go far enough. >> there is a little bit of -- left unclear in the air about these -- these proposed reforms. we have seen a press release and still have many questions about what is meant by these measures. having said that, i think while we would welcome the government's attempt to improve conditions, we do not think these measures are going to go far enough to address the fundamental route causes of the abuses that we have documented. looking at it from the perspective of a migrant worker
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and the people that we talk to and raise cases with us, it still appears that a migrant worker needs the permission of the employer to move jobs, for the duration of their contract, and also the employer still may retain some kind of right to object to the worker leaving the country, which is completely illegitimate. al jazeera arabic correspondent as now been on hunger strike for 114 days. he has been taken to an unknown location. two days ago his attorneys asked authorities to transfer him to hospital. peter greste mohammed fahmy and baher mohamed are accused of conspireing with the outlawed muslim brotherhood. al jazeera rejects all charges
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and is demanding their immediate release. china says three galaxosmithkline executives bribed doctors. among them is mark riley. tim friends has more. >> reporter: these charges if confirmed against one of galaxosmithkline's leading executives are more serious than anticipated. the maximum sentence for bribery is life. but ten year's jail is a more likely sentence. gsk london headquarters said it had no idea of what was allegedly taking place. chinese police say that bribes were transferred to doctors. >> reporter: the company said . . .
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it too could face subsequent charges for corporate misbehavior. in video released to police to state television. one of the joint accused alleged that mr. riley sanctioned payments. >> translator: during dinner [ inaudible ] once mentioned that costs would be involved. matt riley's response at that time was go ahead. >> reporter: the third told police. >> translator: i feel very sorry and regretful for the damage caused to society, individuals and patients by the company's criminal activities. >> reporter: china is a key growth market for large drug makers who are counting on its growing middle class to offset
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sales in other countries. the people of democratic reform committee or the pdrc has lead protests for six months demanding that the government be dissolved. all 51 leaders, including the protest leader, have now arrest warrants against them. >> reporter: this is not the first time that arrest war rents have been issued for the leaders of these anti-government protests. previously, the police and the government didn't want to act because of other rulings that were made from the courts that forbade them to use force to clear the streets. this time it appears that that is not the case. so everybody is watching and waiting to see if indeed they will go in and arrest these
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leaders. now if they do, it opens a new front in this intricate game of chess almost between two sides that are not black and white as in chess, but red and yellow, in thailand's color coded politics. there are also other delicate matters in play. for example, the government will meet with the election commission on thursday to figure out whether elections will indeed go ahead as planned on july 20th and legitimize whichever government is voted into power, because at the moment there's a real sense of political crisis that could topple any minute into deep divisions that could bring in much more instability. >> anti-china demonstrators in vietnam have set fire to several foreign-owned factories. groups attacked businesses they believed were chinese run.
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the protests are in response to beijing's deployment of an oil, drilling rig in the sea. this is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. the world cup gets underway in brazil in just under a month's time. but there are growing fears that the event could be interrupted by a wave of strikes. >> reporter: late last night in the state of 9 million people in the northeast of the country, police there unexpectedly held a walkout, a strike. this came in late last night. we're still trying to get some information, but apparently what they are doing is showing up to work but not just going out on
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patrols. they are just sitting in the police stations there. this is important because the capitol of that state is a world cup host city. the police are saying they want a 50% pay raise, but the government is only offering a 15% pay raise. this is causing all sorts of problems up there. the governor of the state is holding emergency meetings with the police union right now, trying to avoid a security breakdown, especially ahead of the world cup which is less than 30 days away. so we're watching this very closely. the brooklyn bridge is one of the most famous land marks in the united states, but it is slipping into a dangerous state of disrepair. it's one of thousands of bridges across the u.s. classified as [ inaudible ] to collapse. >> reporter: the brooklyn bridge isn't just an iconic tourist
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attraction, it carries about 120,000 vehicles between brooklyn and manhattan every day. but it was never designed for heavy traffic when it was built. significant wear and tear has sent it classified among those bridges in the worst condition in the united states. but the new york department of transportation has confidence in its maintenance program. >> we take a look at every nut and every bolt. >> reporter: this is what can happen when bridge safety is neglected. in 2007, a bridge collapsed in minnesota sending more than 100 cars plunging into the mississippi river. almost 8,000 bridges have been classified as insufficient and
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structurally critical. barrie is a construction lawyer. he believes when individual states decide how to spend federal money, public safety is the priority. >> politicians do not think of fixing the underside of a bridge or fixing a road in trouble as a political photo op. >> reporter: the average bridge in the u.s. is about 43 years old. the design life is 50. the prognosis isn't good. >> we have a huge slug of bridges that are looking okay now and in the next 10, 20, 30 years, will need repair. >> reporter: officials don't appear to be overly prepared. there's no shortage of solutions to stop the deterioration of bridges in this country, what
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seems to be lacking is the political will, but until that changes people will continue to risk their lives every time they cross a bridge. a reminder that you can always keep up to date with all of the very latest news developments on our website. >> no other sport can kick off mass emotion in indonesia like football, even if the national team languishes near the bottom of world rankings. >> indonesians, they're really crazy. we can see their ranking in fifa is going down, going down, going down. but every game in the stadium, 80,000 people, 90,000 people. >> even local competitions turn smaller stadiums into cauldrons