and foreign investors see a business opportunity as china struggles to cope with an aging population. we begin with the war in syria which is now going into its fifth year. 21 leading aid organizations accuse the u.n. of failing the syrian people. the groups say the international body has not protected civilians. these latest pictures from aleppo show the aftermath of a barrel bombing. the syrian government is accused of continuing to use the bombs on civilian areas violating a u.n. resolution against them. well a u.n.-backed report says the war has cost syria $200 billion and has plunged most of its people in poverty.
more than 220,000 people have been killed so far. 7.5 people have been displaced inside syria. and 4.6 million are said to be trapped in hard to reach areas. nearly 4 million people are registered as refugees in neighboring countries. at least 12 million people in syria are in desperate need of help the battle for aleppo began one year after the up rising started in syria and since then syria's second city has been divided into government and rebel controlled zones. here's a report on how the fighting has devastated syria's former commercial capital. >>reporter: it is one of the oldest cities in the world. its historic center is now in
ruins. aleppo has been an urban battle ground since the summer of 2012. syria's largest city has been divided by many front lines and on many of them sheets and drapes are used as cover from snipers. the government controls territory in the west and the opposition controls the east. and the only crossing point that allows people to move between the two areas is now a wasteland. dozens were killed because of sniper fire but it was a life line. especially for state employees who were relying on their salaries to survive. >> the crossing was vital for civilians. now when they need to go to the regime areas, it's a 12-hour journey. this crossing allowed people to visit their relatives. >>reporter: society has been torn apart. in many areas there is little sign of life.
last year tens of thousands left when populated areas were continuously hit by barrel bombs. many others were wounded. those who have lost their livelihoods have been left to help themselves. >> we need money to go to turkey to get treatment. we have been forgotten. we want someone to help us. >>reporter: also in the rebel-held east, health facilities were bombed at the start of the conflict. the people of the area managed to set up make shift hospitals to deal with the many casualties of war but they are not up to the standards needed. >> we don't have surgeons. most of the doctors were either killed or fled. we don't have medicine for diabetic patients. >>reporter: the health system has all but collapsed. the syrian war is entering its fifth war.
neither side can claim victory. the people on both sides of the divide remain trapped in what many describe as a deadly stalemate. it's a daily struggle. it takes hours just to buy bread. government planes have targeted crowds standing in bakery lines. the battle for aleppo is strategic but it's destroyed the lives of those living in what was once syria's commercial capital. a prominent member of the syrian opposition doesn't believe the international community has fulfilled its obligation to the syrian people. >> the u.n. mentioned many times this is the largest humanitarian carcinoma carcinomaaif i for any nation in our times and even out of that never sent into action to the security council to be able to take the necessary
actions to stop -- carcinomaaif i -- continue waging war against its own we have tried everything and nothing has worked. all other who tried before like kofi annan, none of this worked because still assad believed that he would be able to win the war iraq's army are advancing into the center ofty --ty cretetiki
hell. ty cretehelltikirit -- many iraqis resent iranian involvement in the conflict. >> some countries try to get involved in iraq's affairs, not to protect the country but because they don't agree with the iraqi government so if we don't stop the militia, iraq will be divided. >>reporter: but iran says it plays a crucial role in fighting isil. >> even though most of the burden is on the shoulders of iraqi people standing up to the islamic state, the group would have attacked many regional
countries. >>reporter: some blame foreign intervention in iraq for creating an unending cycle of violence. >> this is a repeat of an earlier cycle in 2007 there was a massive sunni resistance. that was overcome but there was no reconciliation because the sunnis do not accept that iraqi shiite religious parties who they see as more shiite than iraqi should be the rulers of the country. >>reporter: and iraq's allies realize what's at stake. >> this is something that is concerning to us in particular because the sectarian danger in iraq is the principle thing that can unravel the campaign against isis. >>reporter: but unless that campaign results in bridging the shiite/sunni divide, the gains
against isil might not last long at least 13 people have been killed in a series of car bombings in baghdad. 11 people died of a suicide attack. at least 30 people were injured. the attack happened just hours after another explosion in the area. and another blast in eastern baghdad killed two people. the u.s. secretary of state has criticized a group of republican senators for trying to scuttle a nuclear deal with iran. john kerry said they were wrong to send a letter to at the ran. here's that story. >>reporter: republicans in the u.s. senate are on the defensive after sending an open letter to iran's leaders broadly seen as an attempt to kill the negotiations over its nuclear program. >> this letter is about nothing more than stopping iran from getting a nuclear bomb.
>>reporter: but if the headlines are an indication it's backfired big time. >> this letter is a hard slap. >>reporter: democrats and some republicans say it was out of line for 47 republicans to warn iran the next president can throw out the deal or congress could change it. u.s. secretary of state john kerry says it's also not true. >> it's incorrect. when it says that congress could actually modify the terms of an agreement at any time. that's flat wrong. they don't have the right to modify an agreement reached executive to executive between country -- between leaders of a country. >>reporter: secretary kerry will travel sunday to continue negotiations. many analysts say they don't think the letter will impact the talks but it could help iran if a deal is reached. >> they can say you didn't have your house in order but this letter in the event there's no agreement by this summer makes the probability that the sanction regime will stay intact
that much harder. it's hard to see how the russians chinese are going to stick to not obama but the hard liners of the republican party. >>reporter: the democrats are also less likely to stick with the republicans now meaning it's more likely if a deal is reached, it will stick regardless of what some senators say or even write about. international monetary fund has approved a $17.5 billion aid package to ukraine to prevent its economy from collapsing. the money will only be paid if spending is slashed and reform is implemented. secondly the united states will give $17 million in nonlethal aid. still ahead on the program, venezuela's president has given more powers to fight u.s.
>> sunday night. >> 140 world leaders will take the podium. >> get the full story. >> there is real disunity in the security council. >> about issues that impact your world. >> infectious diseases are a major threat to health. >> "the week ahead". sunday 8:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. good to have you with us. these are the top stories on al jazeera. 21 aid groups have used the u.n. security council of failing to protect the syrian people. it's four years since the beginning of the up rising
against president assad and the fighting shows no sign of ending the iraq government backed by sunni and shia tribes are slowly taking overty -- tick crete -- tick receiptkrittikrit. pro russian rebels have hit the economy hard. the police chief of the city of ferguson in the u.s. state of missouri has resigned. thomas jackson has faced criticism since one of his police officers shot dead an unarmed black teenager miking brown, in august of last year. >>reporter: thomas jackson has long maintained there was no racism on his watch but on
wednesday he became the sixth official forced to leave their job in the small midwestern city accused of systemic racism. >> it's a mutual separation. >>reporter: it had long been demanded by a protest movement formed after the shooting of michael brown last august in ferguson. the belief that the police force targeted the african-american community was vindicated by last week's department of justice report on the city. the doj found the police and courts saw the local african-american community as a means of making money for the municipality. millions of dollars were raised by targeting ticketing jailing and keeping black residents in what are called modern debtors prisons in order to pay fines. the nationwide movement is about far more than ferguson.
now each time an unarmed african-american youth is killed by the police demonstrations usually follow. in madison, wisconsin there have been daily demonstrations since the killing of another unarmed black teenagers. >> especially in light of what's happened over the summer. >>reporter: around the country they are demonstrating against the entire judicial and economic system they say is unfair. ferguson is a tiny city of some 21,000. a change in its municipal personnel is unlikely enough to appease those wanting greater change. to nigeria now where one of the country's top security chiefs says he's confident boko haram will be defeated before
elections later this week. >> i feel -- i'm very hopeful we shall win this war before march 25th i think it will be finished with. and france has pledged more troops in the fight against boko haram in nigeria. here's that report from paris. >>reporter: french soldiers on patrol patrol in the streets of mali. just one example of how the french military is heavily engaged in its former colonies in africa. right now 8,000 troops are deployed in foreign peacekeeping missions which is straining them. >> we are not the only country
to have this goal to fight against terrorists. and we ask for help from the european union to do more for military operations abroad. >>reporter: on top of overseas missions, another 10,000 troops are currently deployed inside france itself in direct response to the attacks in paris in january in which 17 people were killed. more demands are being made on the military than were budgeted for. this is a time of economic crisis in france. all government departments under pressure to reduce public spending so the defense ministry is set to make a special case as to why it should be an exception. maintaining an army that's fighting fit is an expensive business. while some units are on active duty others are training back
at base. then there's the equipment. the army says it must have the most up-to-date technology to confront current and potential enemies. >> we have around 30,000 people deployed out of 70,000. that's almost one out of two. that's too much. and currently we have to decrease our training. >>reporter: france remains on its highest state of alert. the president wants to keep the current number of troops on the streets particularly outside synagogues and jewish schools. this military presence will be part of french life for some time to come. venezuela's government has given their president initial approval to rule by decree. he asked parliament for the extended powers to fight what he
called u.s. imperialism. >>reporter: the president of venezuela was greeted tuesday with a standing ovation. he was there to ask the national assembly for power to fight the u.s. imperil -- imperialist threat. >> we will prepare ourselves economically financially, and commercially for any type of blockade enabling a shield. >>reporter: this would be the second time he asks for this. his mentor the late hugo chavez requested the right to rule by
degree four times during his time in power. >> it's a normal situation. they have had a lot of this for the last 17 years. so it's not absolutely new for us. but in this moment they're using it as an excuse in order to create a new environment. they're using it to present -- >>reporter: the president of venezuela has said he needs special powers to protect venezuela but government critics question whether he won't use it to gain the election advantage he needs to maintain control of the congress. calling venezuela a threat to
the u.s. has cost indignation among neighboring allies like ecuador and cuba. until the u.s. responds with hard evidence it's likely he'll continue to speak greater popular support. firefighters are battling a number of forest fighters to the country's south. at least two homes and a warehouse have been destroyed. the u.s. music industry is assessing a landmark judgment awarded to the family of legendary soul singer marvin gaye. a jury decided that the 2013 hit song blurred song by robin thicke and producer pharell williams infringed on a song
originally by gaye. >>reporter: it's here that some of the greatest musicians in the history of american jazz sprung up. all had an impact on marcus johnson. >> influence is key and i grew up listening to people like bobby lyle quincy jones, george duke. influence is very important. >>reporter: but how much influence is too much? that's what i jury decided in los angeles last tuesday in a landmark legal case. ♪♪ >>reporter: it involves this song released in 2013 called "blurred lines" written by pharell williams and robin thicke. the family of gaye charged they were not just inspired by his work but plagarized it. they claim the hit was too similar to gaye's 1977 hit "got to give it up."
>> they thought the gaye family would not have the resources or ability or wherewithal to fight this fight. they learned wrong. >>reporter: the jury sided with the gaye family awarding his heirs $7.4 million as a result of the inflingmentringement. >> any clients know in their heart they wrote that song independently. >>reporter: still the accusation is not uncommon. earlier this year singer tom petty settled out of court that sam smith's song stay with me sounded like his hit i won't back down recorded in the 1980s. in an industry where the majority of music is downloaded off the internet copy right laws have not kept up with technology and that this case highlights the need for an updated system. >> that effectively allows musicians who want to create derivative works, it allows them the opportunity to do so while
still working within the copy right . construct. >>reporter: and allow them to pay oppage . to their musical mentors 86,000 employees walked off the job because of concerns about government benefits. staying in china where the country's aging population has outgrown its elderly care facilities providing more opportunity for foreign providers. here's that story from shaning high. >>reporter: volunteers performing an afternoon concert in a retirement home. unlike most care homes in china, this one is providing expertise
expertise from the united states. according to the u.n. more than -- there's a shortage of facilities to care for them so china is forced to allow in foreign providers. he's 88 and moved in a year ago after his wife died. >> we used to live with my children but they were busy with their own children to look after. i didn't want to make their lives even harder. so i moved here. >>reporter: the care costs him more than $1,500 a month, a third more than the average monthly salary here. he covers the fees with his state pension, interest from savings, and renting out his former apartment. but some residents need specialist care. she was partially paralyzed after a stroke. she shares the room with her
husband who has dementia. the fees are paid by their daughter. >> my mother used to live with us in the past. she could not handle it safely. it's not just three meals a day. she needs more medical care especially since her stroke. >>reporter: it can be a painful decision to send a parent here but it's a decision more children are having to make. in chinese society, it's traditionally fallen to the children to take care of parents and grandparents only those with no one to look after them when sent to a home but as the middle class has expanded a cultural shift is now underway. >> these days most of the children are working, husband and wife are both working. so the only recourse that they have if the senior at home needs help is to get a domestic helper and when this does not help this is where they need help.
>>reporter: he's still alert and in strong voice and enthusiastic. ♪♪ >>reporter: his children have pleaded with him to come home but i'm happy here he says. >> on "america tonight": >> in the four years since fukushima, life has not been kind to the people who fled. do you believe that fukushima city will ever be a safe place to live again? >> translator: not in my lifetime. not the same fukushima that existed before. >> we ventured into towns inside and around the seclusion zone which remain frozen in time at the moment residents fled. >> marv and linda