as many treasuries and i think that's why they are holding the money back and using it for their own economy. for updates on stories you have seen in the newscast today, be sure to check out our website, aljazeera.com, including the latest on the situation that continues to develop in yemen. change in direction, the u.n. envoy to yemen resigns as the rebels and government demand an end to fighting. russian president vladimir putin is defiant defending his government's economic record and its actions in ukraine. a new arrest today after an alleged sexual assault on a florida beach in the middle of a crowd during spring break. ♪
this is al jazeera america, live from new york city. i'm stephanie sy. the united nations says the crisis in yemen is growing worse today, and their top envoy for the country has now resigned stepping down citing difficulties in the country as the reason for his departure. he had worked for about five years to bring about peace in that country, but it all unravelled when houthi rebels forced president hadi from power. mohamed vall joins live from saudi arabia. why is this resignation so significant? >> reporter: yes, stephanie it didn't come as a surprise here in saudi arabia and also in yemen, because almost five years of efforts to bring about a solution in yemen has miserably failed and he blamed all of the
sides, particularly the houthis. he oversaw the signing of several agreements but those agreements were no sooner signed than violated by this party or the either but he put much of the blame on the houthis particularly since last september when they took over the capitol and other areas, and then ousted the legitimate president forcing him to go to aden and then chasing him as well, until he fled to saudi arabia. so he is very frustrated and has mentioned it on several occasions, and finally now he seems to have had enough of it. but let me say that it doesn't look like the u.n. by this resignation is going to, you know finish it's effort in yemen or it doesn't also mean that the u.n. has given up on yemen. there is a lot of efforts going on, and the understanding is that a replacement will take place any time soon. this is happening as the two
sides are accusing each other of being the aggressor. >> as you just said the hadi government has now left yemen, so who is actually running the country? >> reporter: yeah the country now is run by two governments so to speak in between quotes. one is a de facto government the government of the rebels in sana'a. they have established what they call a supreme revolutionary commission there in sana'a acting as a government there. but in fact the legitimate government is now in riyadh as the elected president fled to saudi arabia. he appointed a vice president to prevent any constitutional problem. so yemen now is between these two poles, actually and each one of them is trying to convert
the other to stop the war fairs, because before any kind of negotiations can take place. >> mohammed thank you. vladimir putin's 13th annual question and answer marathon has wrapped up in moscow. the public asked the russian president questions for four hours. >> translator: we must use the current situation that is because of the sanctions to reach new levels of development. and i hope that this is encouraging as to develop high-tech industries with faster rates of growth than before. about 3 million questions were submitted. patricia sabga joins us now with more. >> reporter: out of that pile of millions of questions, the kremlin plucked some softballs. one woman asked if putin could persuade her husband to let her
get a puppy. but the imf now expects russia's economy to contract by 3.8% this year, thanks to the double whammy of sanctions and low oil prices. the kremlin needs oil to fetch north of $100 a barrel to meet its budget this year. the gap impacts every part of the russian budget and nearly every aspect of every day life for many russians. russians are also grappling with an eye watering inflation rate that hit 16.9% last month, that's the highest in more than a decade while food inflation was 23%. the rubble lost nearly half of its value last year while sanctions have sent food prices through the roof.
putin pointed out the ruble has been climbing out of that very deep hole. still the ruble is roughly 30% weaker than it was a year ago, but if you think putin's popularity is going to suffer do not hold your breath. a recent poll found 72% of russians have a favorable view of their president. 83% trust him. and nearly half think he has restored russia's status as a great and respected world power. >> he really has been playing on that nationalism, but when the opposition leader that was gunned down in the street during his funeral, there were huge crowds in moscow. why don't those approval numbers reflect that dissenting opinion? >> well attitudes in moscow which is more liberal minded do not necessarily reflect attitudes throughout the rest of russia. and the kremlin controls the
media. they control the narrative, and that is extreme power. >> thank you, patty. south korea is marking one year since the ferry capsized killing 304 people aboard most of them were high school students on a field trip. today the country's president promised to bring the sunken ferry to the surface. that will cost the country millions. many say it has been difficult to move on. >> translator: i get a recurrent dream. i wish someone could make a time machine, so i could go back to 10:00 am on april 16th. then i could go and tell them to get out quickly, and they would all be out in five or ten minutes. a year has passed but nothing has changed. >> family members declined to meet the president and prime minister today in seoul. organizers say they are frustrated at the government failing to improve safety
standards and failing to shareholder high-level officials accountable for the disaster. the search for malaysia airlines flight 370 may soon expand. they say they will double the search area if the plane is not found by may. the boeing 777 flight disappeared more than a year ago without a trace. officials in panama city beach say they are outraged and are promising major changes in how spring break happens there. this comes after a video surfaced on an alleged sexual assault on a crowded beach. >> reporter: this is the portion of the video that police released to the public. the explosive part is what you don't see here an unconscious young woman being sexually assaulted on a beach. >> this is like no more than a group of wild animals preying on
a carcass, as it's laying in the woods. there were three subjects shot on video with an incapacitated female as she lay incapacitated, these three subjects were sexually battering her. >> reporter: on wednesday police arrested a tennessee college student, he is the third person to be charged in this case. the 19 year old victim has not been identified. the alleged incident took place in brood daylight at a time when thousands of students were crowding panama city beach. >> we have got to get control of our beaches. it is not safe for our children. >> reporter: residents have been asking local leaders to reign in the beaches during spring break. >> i don't believe the original
two guys that we arrested personally knew him. but we do have him on video, and we have the victim identifying him. and now that we have him on video we are able to identify him as the third person. >> reporter: they say they are still searching for a fourth suspect. general motors has won major legal victory. a federal judge says the auto maker is not liable for death and injury claims for crashes that happened before 2009. that was the year gm was reinstructored in bankruptcy the ruling could save the company as much as $10 billion from potential claims. mr. hillyar thank you so much for your time. how many clients had claims are that were pre-2009 that will now be blocked? >> there were about 180 claims
filed directly in bankruptcy court, including over 20 deaths. the devastation to them as one of my clients told me yesterday, he has lost his pregnant wife due to one of these defective vehicles was that he believes this wasn't an ordinary bankruptcy. the judge yesterday, though granting gm its relief and protecting them from these claims, he acknowledged -- the judge did acknowledge that gm kept this issue from its customers while they knew of the defect. and so my client asked me well how can they get protection, if they committed fraud? he said i lost my wife and now what do i do? so he and, you know, another 180 victims are going to receive a letter from me that sadly explains to them unless we can get this reversed on appeal you
know they will be prevented from ever going in front of a jury and showing that jury what gm did to them and their lives. >> i imagine you are planning an appeal. what would be the time line for that? >> the time lines are set by federal rules. the appeal will begin as soon as we ask the court to reconsider. it will be appealed directly to the second circuit in new york. the decision on the appeal would likely be late this year or early next year. >> will clients like the one that you just described who lost his pregnant wife will they still be eligible for compensation from the gm fund that was created for victims? >> that's a good question so the fund for ken fineberg to manage only covers the first two recalls, which is about 10% of the defective vehicles. so there is a yes and no answer.
this particular client's car was not eligible to go into the fund even though it was recalled for a defective ignition switch. if you have a defective ignition switch and your accident occurred before 2009 and your car was recall but not during the first two recalls, then you are not eligible for the fund and now you cannot file a lawsuit, so it's a double hit. >> does this mean that gm has zero legal liability for the faulty ignition switches before the bankruptcy? >> again, i apologize, but it's a yes and no answer. they have zero liability if your accident occurred pre-'09. what the judge said yesterday is let's say you bought the car after bankruptcy and you would not have bought the car had gm issued a recall and because of the recall you have a [ inaudible ] of value in your
resale. those claims survived against new gm and you might recall if you have an old, pre-2009 vehicle, and your accident occurred after bankruptcy, then your claims are live and well and there are approximately 1,000 personal injury and death cases pending that are not affected by this decision because their accident just happened to occur in 2009 forward. >> got it yeah. well it doesn't seem like this is going to be the last word on the issue, and the department of justice continues its investigation. thank you so much for your time sir. >> thank you. there are reports today that a volunteer sheriff's deputy in oklahoma who shot and killed an african american man may not have taken state mandated training.
supervisors were told to sign off on robert bates records even if he had not completed gun training. sheriff's officials deny the claim. in south carolina prosecutor says the death penalty will not apply in the case of a white police officer who shot and killed a black man as he ran away michael slager is charged with murder in the death of mr. scott. the yazidis women falling victim to isil fighters. a new report documents the atrocities.
america. hillary clinton now has some competition for the democratic presidential nomination. former senator and rhode island governor announced that he is running for the white house. he is a former republican who became an independent and then changed parties. the vatican has ended its controversial investigation into a group of u.s. nuns. a group was accused seven years ago of taking positions that undermined catholic teaching. the vatican says the group is now following church mandate. and veterinarians say more than a thousand dogs have been sickened with a flu believed to have come from asia. a new report says isil committed war crimes in its treatment of yazidis women.
it's the second report to document the crimes. they say they committed organized rape sexual assault and other crimes against yazidis women and girls. thank you so much for coming in. how did these stories come to you? >> well we have been working in northern iraq to document the abuses of isil since the initial attacks began, and this research represents interviews with 20 women and girls, some as young as 12 some as old as in their mid-60s. and these are a handful of women and girls who have been able to escape and been willing to come forward. >> so we could be talking about dozens of girls that were abused. >> the united nations says about 3,000 men, women, and children where still missing and suspected still to be in isil's
captivity. we also received about 5,000 names from a group working in northern iraq that is documenting people who are missing who are believed to have been abducted and are believed to be dead. so it is a substantial number. >> what kind of treatment did the women, and in this case the 12 year old girl describe? >> they describe multiple sexual assaults. they describe being physically tortured and greaten. forced to convert, forced to marry. >> what happens to these women who were brutalized? i read parts of the report and i know some of them contemplated suicide. >> well that's a little bright spot in the story. many that we interviewed had
firstly been able to disclose to their family members that they had received that treatment. because there had been pronunciations by the religious leader that they need to treat these women as victims. >> so they are not further stigmatized. and the yazidises are a kurdish sect. your report says it is systemic. what does that mean? >> these are not rogue fighters. this is happening in an organized fashion. women and girls describe being rounded up they separate the younger women and the girls out from the rest of their family members. these girls were transported around in a very organized and methodical fashion through parts of iraq and syria, and subject
to systemic rape and torture. so this is not something that is happening without the knowledge of the command. this is very widespread and part of some kind of doctrine of isil. >> victims from the age of 12 to 65. unbelievable. thank you so much for coming in this morning. >> thank you, stephanie. new reports just in se 41 more migrants are feared dead in a new shipwreck in the mediterranean. the u.n. says the number of migrants trying to make the deadly sea crossing has reached an unprecedented level. on monday hundreds are believed to have drowned. italy's coast guard says more than 10,000 people have been plucked from the water just since friday. the number of people dying en route has also spiked. i spoke earlier with a representative of the u.n. refugee agency. >> it is a trend we saw last
year. especially the conflict in syria is still there, we have millions of syrian refugees in the neighboring countries that now feels like a sense of hopelessness, and in addition to that we have many refugees coming from african countries in increasing numbers of somalis that are under the threat of terrorists of ere treeians and people from ethiopia. so these are some of the areas that are pushing so many refugees to find safety in europe. and there is not a legal way for them to arrive to europe and that's why they put themselves in the hands of traffickers. >> the u.n. estimates 3500 migrants died in the mediterranean last year that is
up from 600 in 2013. police are cracking down on violent anti-immigrant protests in south africa. officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters. nearly a week of anti-immigrant riots have claimed at least five lives in the city of durbin. >> reporter: a lot of people have been asking what is the government doing to stop these attacks on foreigners? so they have organized this. it's a peace march, where they have politicians, people from civil society, and people from other countries coming together showing that it is not okay to kill people because they aren't from south africa or because you think they may be taking your jobs. can i ask you why it is important to be here today? >> i think it's very important. because south africa is for everyone. we need peace and we need to carry on in our country.
that's what we need. >> we have come to say peace in south africa. we don't want any trouble now. >> reporter: there are some people from other african countries here but many immigrants chose to stay away. they say what they don't need is mar. they want the government and the police to protect them. other african countries say they are sending in buses and trucks and they will repatriate anyone who wants to go back to their homes. but for many marches here they are telling foreigners they can't be blamed for the actions of a few. they are trying to send a message that south africa is open for business south africa is welcoming to everyone and they hope this march will help alleviate some of the tensions that exist here and in other parts of the country too. the 100 most influential people as seen by "time"
its list of the 100 most influential people in the world. including rapper kanye west that's the ballerina, and the roster also included hillary clinton, pope francis, kim ki-jong, and president obama. one area in baltimore is becoming a designation for middle and upper class families. >> reporter: sand town is one of baltimore's most dangerous neighborhoods, and has a bad reputation for crime and drugs. more convicted criminals come from that neighborhood than anywhere else in the state. but we'll introduce you to a group of middle and upper class people who are making this neighborhood home because of
religion. they believe the only way to actually help is to move in and become neighbors in an almost all-black neighborhood. >> when it's your neighborhood, you feel different about it. these are your neighborhoods. not just the people that you are helping. i think it helps you to live on a more even playing field. and see people less of like oh i'm here i'm coming in to help you. and more like we're neighbors, we're going to figure this out together. >> reporter: tonight we take a close look at the movement known as downwardly mobile for jesus. >> you can watch the full story tonight at 8:00 eastern. the most decorated olympian in the world is returning to the pool. michael phelps will be the water again today.
thanks for watching. i'm stephanie sy. the news continues next. live from doha. ♪ >> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ welcome to the news hour. i'm richelle carey in doha. coming up in the next 60 minutes, yemen's vice president calls on houthi rebels to stop their advance on aden and lay down their weapons. anniversary anger in this south korea as grieving parents force a memorial service to be canceled. plus we go to south africa where the president has called for an end