Skip to main content

tv   News  Al Jazeera  April 2, 2015 12:30pm-1:01pm EDT

12:30 pm
yesterday, many analysts, experts and parties of interest are waiting for an answer. is has the coalition taken measures in order to ensure that the reality of the defecting brigades if they rejoin the armed forces -- >> we have listening no members of the saudi defense ministry. that's one of the stories we are following at this hour. dramatic events in kenya where two attackers are responsible for a deadly hostage takeover at a university. a possible deal over iran's nuclear program. a deal in switzerland is expected at any moment. >> i'm angry because prosecutors at the justice -- ♪
12:31 pm
>> the scandal won't end his career. this is al jazeera america live from new york city, i'm libby casey. we begin with breaking news and new details emerging at this hour in the deadly shooting at a university in kenya. officials say upwards of 70 people are now dead. there's also word that at least 500 hostages have been rescued. malcolm webb is in garissa with the latest on the shooting. >> reporter: we are just a short distance down the road from the university and there has been firing going on for hours and a short while ago, it peaked in a heavy firefighting and it appeared heavy weapons were fired. that's all stopped and it's calm. we spoke to two different people who were inside the university campus. they say it's over and they say most of the remaining hostages inside have been killed. we don't have any exact numbers
12:32 pm
and these aren't officially confirmed yet but the eyewitnesses we have spoken to in there one student was 23 years old. and she said she was stepping over more body than she could count to get out of the mace she was hiding throughout the whole day's events. someone else said he's seen over 100 bodies in there. we have seen a lot of ambulances rushing down the road in the last half hour or so presumably taking the injured and the injured hostages and the injured soldiers to the military medical facility here, where they are being kept. >> malcolm webb in garissa. you are looking at the man who they say orchestrated the attack. he's a member of al-shabab. authorities are issuing a $220,000 reward for his capture. journalist robin kreil.
12:33 pm
she's with enca, a broadcaster and she's monitoring the attack from nairobi its no not clear why al-shabab would go after this school. >> reporter: the question, why this university? why not another university? why this particular soft target? some analysts have said, perhaps this some type of diversion or perhaps that it was a disrupted attack. perhaps it was supposed to be happening in nairobi or mum bassa, but because of certain embassies other certain institutions malls et cetera have upped their security, quite considerably in the last month, given the klatter that that -- klatter chatter ash and instead it happened garissa. >> let's take a closer look at the group taking responsible. al-shabab is linked to al qaeda and is on the u.s. terror list. it wants to create an islamic state. most of the targets have been in somalia but the group as
12:34 pm
stepped up attacks in kenya in recent years including the rate of the west gate mall in nairobi which killed more than 60 people. they are protesting the presence of kenyan troops in somalia. now to switzerland and another developing story. negotiators are set to speak in just a few minutes about the status of talks there and we're hearing they could issue a statement about a possible deal. james bays has the latest. >> reporter: we are hearing that we are going to get a statement pretty soon, possibly as soon as one hour from now. journalists who have been waiting here outside the hotel where these talks have been taking place for over two weeks with one recess in the middle have been bussed to a technical college on the edge of lausanne where we are expecting a statement to come. it will come from the iranian foreign minister, mohammad zarif and the e.u. high representative the chief foreign policy person from the
12:35 pm
e.u. we hear that there will probably be some questions to the individual foreign ministers. we will be speaking to report es -- reporters including the u.s. secretary of state john kerry. what is key is what's in this statement, what is in this announcement. is this what the u.s. was originally promising some sort of framework agreement or is it just an understanding or possibly just a statement? we are going to find that out i think in the coming hour and i think that is key because what the u.s. wanted this deadline that was passed two days ago for was to try to persuade congress that no more sanctions were needed. they were going to disrupt this whole process. so a real test that whatever is announced here in the coming hour or hours has to pass on capitol hill. >> james bays in lausanne switzerland, thank you. well officials say al qaeda fighters attacked a prison in the south freeing nearly 300 prisoners. and this happened in the coastal city of al-macolla.
12:36 pm
that's in yemen. they also took control of government buildings the central bank and a radio station. many of the freed prisoners were al qaeda fighters. civilians in yemen have been bearing the brunt of this fighting. not only are their lives in danger but their businesses and jobs are as well. we have more now on how this war is impacting the arab world's poorest country. >> reporter: a food store that's open for business. it's become something of a rare sight in a city under bombardment. it has forced not only people to flee their homes but has made many businesses shut their doors, as an already battered economy is further devastated. >> there are very few people left here. everyone has fled and those who have stayed live alone without their families. so hardly anyone comes to buy anything anymore. >> reporter: what makes things more difficult for assam ali
12:37 pm
his store is not far from the airport and military base. prime areas against the fighters who currently control the capital. in yemen almost 1 million children under the age of 5 are malnourished and the world food program feeds 13 million yemenese depending on polluted or dirty water for drinking. >> there's no doubt that this war has greatly affected yemenese, even though food and other products are available. the average yemeni can afford to buy them. it's making poverty and unemployment rise drastically. >> reporter: back at his store ali finally has a customer. but all he buys is a bottle of water. >> now i'm lucky if i make $20 a day. how can i pay my represent or even my electricity bills? if the situation stays like, this then i'm sure i will be out of business within days. >> as the war in yemen rages on for the ordinary citizen every
12:38 pm
day is a battle for survival. prosecutors in france say crews have recovered the second black box from the germanwings crash site. right now, they are updating reporters with the latest on the investigation. they say the flight recorder was badly damaged, but it may have useful information. they also say cell phones were found at the site. the first black box was recovered last week, and it held voice information that led investigators to believe copilot andreas leubitz brought down the plane. it appears he appeared to research suicide methods and cockpit door security in the days leading up to the crash. in less than an hour, robert menendez will appear in a federal court. he's back arraigned on bribery. he sold the power of his office in exchange for gifts according to some.
12:39 pm
walking into a room full of supporters to a roar of cheers, new jersey senator robert menendez called out prosecutors. >> i'm angry and ready to fight because today contradicts my public service career and my entire life. >> reporter: menendez faces a long list of charges that include conspiracy violating the travel act bribery fraud and making false statements. all stemming from his relationship with his friend dr. solomon melgen who has also been charged. >> i'm angry because prosecutors at the justice department don't know the difference between friendship and corruption, and have chosen to twist my duties as a senator and my friendship into something that is improper. >> reporter: the justice department alleged that melgen showered menendez with gifts with trips to the dominican
12:40 pm
republic and campaign contributions totaling $1 million. in exchange, menendez men dated melgen's personal and financial interests. according to the fbi menendez changed the medicare reimbursement. melgen received more medicare reimbursements than any other doctor in the country. and prosecutors say the senator helped to fix visa problems so that melgen's international girlfriends could come to the u.s. menendez says he paid back the cost of the flights and he's done nothing wrong. he's vowing not to step down from the senate. >> i'm proud of what i have accomplished and i'm not going anywhere. >> menendez has stepped down from his spot as the top democrat on the influential senate foreign relations committee. the charges he faces come with some serious penalties. the eight counts of bribery could result in 15-year jail terms for each count.
12:41 pm
robert shuler founded crystal cathedral. his weekly services, the hour of power were beamed into millions of homes for decades but in recent years the empire built by the 88-year-old crumbled. the cathedral near los angeles was sold to the catholic church in 2011, and his ministry had to file for bankruptcy after being taken over by his children. extreme measures in california straight ahead on al jazeera america. what is being done to help the golden state deal with an unprecedented water shortage. and a deal that was supposed to lend to cheaper electricity instead has raised utility bills. we are hear more about that in a moment.
12:42 pm
12:43 pm
blache >> this is another significant development... >> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live... for first time california is under mandatory water restrictions. officials say the four-year drought has reached near crisis proportions. after a winter of record low snowfalls. to get a sense of the devastation, take a look at these pictures, this is like or
12:44 pm
oville in 2011 and this is lake oroville now. as you can see the water levels have plunged 68%. this is a look at the same lake. this is before and this is after. jennifer london reports for us now on why the state is taking desperate measures. >> reporter: desperate times calling for desperate measures in the golden state. standing on the slopes of a bone dry ski area in the sierra nevada mountains jerry brown announced new mandatory water restrictions. >> we are in an historic drought and that demands unprecedented action. >> reporter: the state was already reeling from an epic drought. now after record low snowfall this winter, officials are running out of options. >> i ask this gentleman over here, have you ever stood on this meadow in this day that there weren't snow? and he said no. >> reporter: the new restrictions aim to cut water usage by 25% statewide potentially saving half a
12:45 pm
trillion gallons of waters, golf courses cemeteries and other facilities with large landscapes will take the biggest hits. the governor's action also creates a temporary statewide consumer rebate program giving consumers an incentive to replace old appliances with no water efficient models. the restrictions also prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with drinking water and the state says it's going to replace 50 million square feet of municipal lawns with drought tolerant landscaping. watering of ornamental grass on public street medians is also banned. >> we are standing on dry grass and we should be standing in 5 feet of snow. >> reporter: sierra ski resorts know the severity of the crisis after one of the most dismal seasons in their history. now the rest of the state that relies on that snow pack throughout the summer could be in fora harsh reality. california needs a staggering 11 trillion gallons of water to even begin a recovery. >> people should realize we are in a new era. the idea of your nice little
12:46 pm
green grass getting lots of water every day that's going to be a thing of the past. >> reporter: jennifer london, al jazeera. let's look at what exactly all of that water in california is being used for. it's mostly agricultural. 80% of the state's water goes towards producing produce. on average it takes 5 about the 4 gal -- 5.4 gallons to grow one head of broccoli and the numbers are staggering for almonds. farmers use 25 gallons for just aid handful. that's the same amount needed on average to take a 10-minute shower and it's nowhere near the amount of gallons for washing machines. mcdonald's is raising pay for 90,000 of its u.s. employees. workers will get $1 more than the federal minimum wage. an average of $9.90 an average to start and then up to $10 per hour next year. but the move only affects workers at instruments that are run by mcdonald's itself.
12:47 pm
more than 750,000 workers at mcdonald's franchises will not get a raise. deregulation was supposed to be a great deal for homeowners and businesses, cheaper competition. that's not what happened in new milford, connecticut. in fact, bills increased dramatically. >> he told me it was going to be a fixed rate and a specific rate. they told me it was a two-year contract. >> reporter: gretchen master yani owns theo's downtown diner in new milford connecticut one of a growing number of consumers upset with their new electric supplier. >> it ended up not being a fixed rate, not even starting at the rate that they gave me and it ended up being a 36-month contract. >> reporter: so it's not what you were promised? >> no. from the very first bill because it tells you what they are charging you per kilowatt hour. since i was expecting 4 and change. the first one is 8.13.
12:48 pm
>> reporter: within months she was paying five times of the rate she had been promised, costing her thousands of dollars, almost bankrupting her business. do you feel like this company was, like -- >> ripping me off? yes! a lot! >> reporter: connecticut was among the first states to give the green light to deregulated power in 2000, allowing third party electric providers to market to consumers. 123 states have passed laws -- 23 states have passed laws deregulating their electricity markets and electricity suppliers are actively selling to consumers in 15 states including texas and most of the northeast. >> it's as if the electric utility is owning the roads and charging you tolls but you can choose which cars to drive on. >> reporter: ellen katz heads the office of consumer council in con could be which has fielded hundreds of complaints about electricity suppliers. >> the basic model is still
12:49 pm
you -- you sign up for one rate, and all of a sudden you look at your bill and the rate has gone up to doubled or it's gone up 50%. >> reporter: craig goodman defends the new marketplace. he runs the national energy marketers association and says deregulation brings competition and lower prices. >> i think the state of texas is bragging that their prices today to consumer are significantly lower. >> reporter: but deregulated electricity has sparked allegations of deceptive marketing and fraudulent practices in six states. >> are there bad operators in your industry? >> there are bad operators in every industry. >> reporter: what are you doing about it? >> the bad ethics stink. i don't like them. the consumer doesn't like them and it doesn't do any good for the company either because they lose money. >> reporter: a new report in connecticut finds in one month nine out of ten consumers paid
12:50 pm
more with third parties. mastroyani is done shopping the market place. >> i felt they were trying to get me. >> reporter: al jazeera, new milford, connecticut. straight ahead on al jazeera america,. >> reporter: i'm heidi joe castro in corsicana texas where three girls died in a terrible house fire 20 years ago. their father executed for their murders, but now the state's star witness says his story was a lie and the state may have executed an innocent man.
12:51 pm
>> every sunday night. >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping... inspiring... entertaining. no topic off limits. >> 'cause i'm like, "dad, there are hookers in this house". >> exclusive conversations you won't find anywhere else. >> these are very vivid, human stories. >> if you have an agenda with people, you sometimes don't see the truth. >> "talk to al jazeera". only on al jazeera america. >> now available, the new al jazeea america mobile news app. get our exclusive
12:52 pm
in depth, reporting when you want it. a global perspective wherever you are. the major headlines in context. mashable says... you'll never miss the latest news >> they will continue looking for survivors... >> the potential for energy production is huge... >> no noise, no clutter, just real reporting. the new al jazeera america mobile app available for your apple and android mobile device. download it now we are waiting for word from negotiators in switzerland over the talks in iran. you are looking live at lasawn on -- lausanne. there's questions over the conviction of a man in 1991. cameron todd willingham was
12:53 pm
found guilty of starting the fire that killed his three children but that may have been based on a lie. we are following the latest developments. >> reporter: 23 years ago was the place where three young girls died in a terrible fire inside this home. they were the three daughters of cameron todd willingham, later convicted of their murders and sentences to death. the state's case rested on two pillars of evidence, forensics believed at the time to show that the fire was intentionally set, and the testimony of a jailhouse informant who said willingham confessed to him. willingham professed his innocence throughout his trial and incarceration. he was executed in 2004, but today the state's evidence has been called into question. independent fire investigators now say the fire may have been accidental and the jailhouse informant says his testimony was a lie. coerced by a prosecutor who promised him a secret deal, never disclosed to the jury.
12:54 pm
the prosecutor john jackson is now under investigation by the texas bar association and the informant johnny webb spoke exclusively with al jazeera. >> you see everybody says i was a snitch. i didn't snitch on anybody. i lied like john jackson told me to. >> reporter: had you ever talked to willingham before? >> uh-uh. >> reporter: did you know who willingham was? you know, johnny, you lied under oath. you are a liar. why should we believe you are telling the truth now? >> you don't got to believe me. believe their words. they are right this. >> reporter: as evidence, he speaks to 20 years of correspondences between himself, jackson and jackson's surrogates in which a deal is implied. a recently discovered note on the d.a.'s file on webb said that his sentence was supposed to be based on his cooperation in willingham. jackson now a retired district judge denies that he coached
12:55 pm
webb to lie on the stand. he also denies a deal between him and webb ever existed. jackson will face those charges, leveled by the texas bar association later this year in a jury trial. if found guilty, the punishment ranges from rep prisoner band to disbarment. whatever the outcome this is the latest chapter in a painful episode that took the lives of three young girls in this community, and that led to the execution of a man who may have been innocent. heidi joe castro, al jazeera, corsicana, texas. be sure to tune in at 8 p.m. for more of heidi jo castro's reporting on this case. today is world autism awareness day. this year's theme is employment. an estimated 80% of adults with autism are unemployed. that's according to the u.n. and cdc data shows that 1 in 68 people in the u.s. have autism, a number that's been rising in recent years a doctor from new
12:56 pm
york's university school of medicine says the increase can be attributed to so much attention being paid to autism these days. >> we have done a great job about increasing awareness of autism and autism spectrum disorders. probably parents and doctors and clinicians are diagnosing it more often. that's part of it. the other thing is because there's no actual test, a blood test like an x-ray to diagnose autism then people are more likely to diagnose it based on the criteria. there's a looser criteria. the treatment focuses on the symptoms so that issues in autism it has to do with language development and only only -- social development. they may not be babbling as soon or talking as soon. so you are really trying to focus on improving that. >> the earlier you notice anything, you know, you can treat autism in terms of the behavioral management and the language management and you want to exclude other things. if the child has frequent ear infections they might show
12:57 pm
some of the tame -- same problems. >> many people are finding new ways to deal with autism, dealing with technology. for one young boy the iphone virtual assistant siri is his connection to the world around him. we have more. >> reporter: like so many children with awe -- autism, 13-year-old gus has trouble communicating with others. except one usual friend. hello, siree. >> reporter: yes siri. >> here's what's on your cald endar. >> reporter: he discovered could have conversations with siri and the two haven't stopped chatting since. what is your favorite thing to talk to siri about? >> i have talked to siri about everything. >> he's always been a loving child. his desire to connect with
12:58 pm
people it's profound. his ability is limited. are. >> reporter: gus' mom judith says the introduction was purely by accident. >> you know how buzz feed has 21 things to do with your iphone. and it was ask siri what planes are above your head. i said why would anyone in the world need to know this? and, you know, he said to me, so you know who you are waving at mommy. >> which planes are flying over. >> reporter: do you ever look up in the sky and wonder what they are doing? >> yes. >> reporter: what began as a way to get answers has developed into a dialogue, something gus had never had with anyone else. >> at the time that it struck me after like a week, that he was spending a fair amount of time talking to siri, was when he said, you are such a nice computer and you always help me. is there anything i can do for you?
12:59 pm
and she answered back something like i have very few needs. >> reporter: judith wrote about the budding friendship in the "new york times" and it became the most viewed article of the month. >> reporter: how much has siri changed the interactions with every day people. >> without wanting to tout siri as a kryt miracle career, it's not. he asked to have a play date and i think it might be partially because he's more comfortable with just back and forth conversation. >> can i marry you? >> i'm not the marrying kind. [ laughter ] >> reporter: al jazeera, new york. >> and again we expect to hear shortly from negotiators in switzerland on the latest on their talks over iran's nuclear program. you are looking at live pictures from lausanne, where the announcement on a possible framework deal is expected shortly. we will bring it to you when it happens. thank you for joining us, libby
1:00 pm
casey. more news in just a moment. more than 70 dead and hundreds still unaccounted for after al shabaab gunmen attack a college in northeast kenya. >> you're watching al jazeera live from london. also coming up iran nuclear talks reach a climax. a joint statement is expected soon, but is it a deal? we'll bring you that