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tv   News  Al Jazeera  April 22, 2015 12:00am-12:31am EDT

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saudi arabia ends its military air strikes against houthi rebels in yemen saying a new phase to rebuild the country has begun. welcome to al jazeera. coming up in the next half hour from president to prisoner egypt's former leader mohammed morsye is sentenced to 20 years in jail the u.n. declares april the deadliest month for migrants trying to get to europe and a powerful storm battles ausa's southeast leaving three dead and thousands without
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power. saudi arabia has announced an end to its military air strikes against houthi fighters in yemen. for now it says it's ending its operation after achieving its main objective of weakening houthi control over certain areas. now operational renewal of hope will begin focusing on preventing the houthis from advancing further, protecting civilians, and allowing humanitarian aid to get to those in need. and the u.s. has welcomed to end of those air strikes. first, this report. >>reporter: saudi led air strikes in yemen are over as coalition forces say they've achieved their military goals. the houthis are no longer a
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military threat but warn any future attempts by the fighters will be met with force. the air strikes may be over but the campaign moves into a new rather unclear phase. >> we will continue to target the houthis to prevent them from attacking or hurting yemeni citizens. we'll also support evacuations and humanitarian support. operations will continue regarding the three goals. there will be some military actions whenever it's deemed necessary. >>reporter: the coalition says it began the offensive at the request of yemen's elected president hadi. >> shortly after the cessation was announced hadi spoke to the nation. >> allowed them to bring the
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country to the brink. we'll exit this crisis soon with god's help and return to our precious land soon to restore hope and a smile onto the faces of our people. we'll build, treat our wounds and compensate our people from all the crisis to start a new yemen. >>reporter: the houthis reject the authority of president hadi. they've so far ignored all calls to leave the areas they control in yemen including the capital. >> the bombing alone is not going to do -- would never achieve its objectives and with the civilian casualties i think the saudis realize they've done everything they can and the best thing now, you can have is an negotiated solution. this was a face saving way out for them. >>reporter: the air strikes may have ended but peace remains a long way off and it's not just houthi fighters. troops loyal to former president saleh are still active across the country. hadi may not be able to
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commandeer the support needed and replaced by the vice president. they now face the difficult task of uniting yemenis and bringing an end to decades of instability. u.s. president barack obama says the conflict can only be resolved through dialogue. he made the communities during an interview with u.s. channel msnbc. >> that's always been an fractious country and right now people in yemen are suffering. we need to find a political arrangement. it is not solved by having another proxy war fought inside yemen. we've indicated they need to be part of the solution and not the problem. >> here's more now from
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washington d.c. >>reporter: the obama separation says it welcomes the decision to end the air war against houthi targets in yemen. the officials both at the white house and the pentagon say that they are very supportive of efforts now underway to try to deal with the humanitarian suffering of yemeni citizens. they also say that they're very supportive of efforts to try to negotiate a political settlement between those who support president hadi and those who support the houthis as well as those who support the former president saleh. political negotiation is supposed to worked out under the auspices of the united nations a court tuesday ordered
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mohammed morsey to 20 years in prison. >> he escaped the death penalty. he's been sentenced to 20 years in prison without the possibility of parole. for what the prosecution says was his role in the arrests and torture of protesters at the presidential palace in 2012. three protesters were killed. he can still appeal this conviction but he also faces several other charges including an attempt at a prison break in 2011 where some prison officers were killed. a verdict on this is expected next month. he's accused of conspireing to commit terrorist acts in egypt with hamas. leaking state secrets. fraud in connection with the
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muslim brotherhood. he's also charged with insulting the judiciary. muslim brotherhood leader along with several other defendants were also sentenced to 20 years. it was a long road to egyptian democracy in 2011 -- kicked out of office during a revolution against his rule. then in a devicive election in 2012 morsey became the first democratically elected president. he sacked the head of the armed forces escalating a power struggle between the military and the president. >> i guess a decision has been taken by the military before running this election the first
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democratic election fair elections, that at a certain point, the military will intervene and take over. >>reporter: on june 30th, 2013 millions of people rallied across egypt calling for his resignation. three days later, the man who morsey pointed as the defense minister al sisi led a coup that knocked him out of power. the u.n.'s refugee agency says april has been the deadliest month ever for fleeing migrants in the mediterranean. about 1,300 migrants have died crossing the mediterranean sea this month alone. that's a big jump from the same time last year when the number of people who died was 56.
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by the end of april, 96 had drowned at sea. a total of 3,279 migrants died in 2014. and the international organization for migration warns that if action is not taken, some 30,000 people could drown this year. >> in 2014, the mediterranean emerged as you know as the deadliest waters in the world for refugees and migrants to cross. on average, 1 in 50 people who attempted crossing perished in the attempt. so far this year it's 1 in 18. so the numbers are really going in the wrong direction. >> more migrants have been rescued from their sinking boat off the coast of italy. the vessel was leaking and an italian fishing boat picked them up just in time. more migrants were found off the
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coast of spain. the deaths of an estimated 800 migrants in the mediterranean on saturday is the worst of its kind. only 28 people were pulled alive from the waters. al jazeera has spoken to one of the survivors, a 16-year-old from somolia who is now recuperating in sicily. >>reporter: it looks like a normal youth club with its table tennis and its television blaring. but these teenagers are a lucky few. the latest to arrive here are probably the luckiest of all. to protect his identity we're calling him jamal and he was one of just 28 survivors from last weekend's deadly sinking in the mediterranean. he told me there is no happiness in somolia, only al shabaab. but what he experienced at the hands of libya's people
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traffickers was even worse. >> the problem we faced in libya was mainly around the fact we had our money taken and were beaten badly. some individuals i know died of starvation. the trafficker didn't allow us to speak to our families. we weren't given food and we were constantly beaten. one time the trafficking ring was uncovered and the boss blamed it on a woman who he beat severely. she came back to us and was crying. >>reporter: eventually he was herded onto the boat for the journey that would turn into disaster. he said the boat was so crowded that at one point he fell overboard and had to be dragged back in. >> when we were on the ship there was no food or water and i only had one fish. we traveled for a day with no water or food. then we saw the ship from europe. >>reporter: and just as he thought they would be rescued, disaster struck. >> i was with a friend who was hungry so i shared by fish with
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him but after yelling for help we overturned and he died. i was under water for five minutes thinking allah and then i managed to swim to the surface and be rescued. >>reporter: hundreds of others weren't so lucky. the migrants had capsized in the dark out at seas and rescuers were working almost blind. >> the sea is completely dark and after just a few meters you can't see anything. the only thing we could see were the beams of light projected by the search lights. we have to rely on what we can hear listening for screams. >>reporter: jamal feels nothing but bitterness towards the traffickers who he believes deliberately put the passengers in mortal danger. the boat's captain and the ship's mate are now facing charges of reckless multiple homicide. but jamal is already looking to the future.
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>> god willing i planned on bringing my parents over here. i'm working hard on that. >>reporter: what the survivors have told us about what happened on saturday is truly remarkable that anybody actually managed to survive. and the way they have described the circumstances of the rescue makes it clear that there are still deep psychological scars they'll have to cope with. but at least here they have a chance to build a new life. a chance denied to so many on that fateful vowage. still ahead on al jazeera, hong kong waits for a decision on electoral reform that would determine its political future and escaping the violence. migrants in south africa are heading home. heading home.
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>> al jazeera america brings you a first hand look at the environmental issues, and new understanding
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of our changing world. >> it's the very beginning >> this was a storm of the decade >>...hurricane... >> we can save species... >> our special month long focus, fragile planet the top stories here on al jazeera, the saudi-led coalition says its months-long air campaign against houthis in yemen is now over and is replaced with operation renewal of hope focused on humanitarian needs and preventing further houthi advance. am necessity international says the sentencings of former egyptian president mohammed morsey is a travesty of justice. the u.n.'s refugee agency says this month has been the deadliest for fleeing migrants
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in the mediterranean. 1,300 have drowned making the risky sea crossing to europe. on monday 400 were rescued off the coast of italy. let's stay with that story -- our top story, the war in yemen. aid agencies are warning the humanitarian situation there is worsening. hospitals are struggling to cope with the casualties and dwindling supplies. >>reporter: it's a struggle for doctors to treat patients at this hospital in yemen's capital. electricity outages have intensify intensified in the last few weeks. >> the hospitals depend on electricity generators. the first works for six hours and the second one works for six hours. the hospital will come out of a complete stand still once we run out of fuel. >>reporter: apart from electricity, medics are running
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out of essential medical supplies. 944 people have been killed and 3,500 injured. 15,000 people have been displaced. and the number of food insecure people was risen to 12 million. 16 million people or more than 61% of the population required humanitarian assistance back in 2014. yemen is a poor country and even before this conflict began, more than 90% of food was imported. since the houthi takeover and the subsequent unrest ports have been closed and imports have decreased substantially. the shortage of fuel has meant whatever remains is only available at four times the price. most people can't afford it and those who can wait in long lines. basic services have been badly affected. schooling remains suspended for over 1.5 million children.
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>> people are finding it very, very difficult to just live. sleepless nights with the heavy bombing and shelling whether from air or houthis on the ground in the south and other areas. electricity for more than nine days no electricity whatsoever. water, there's no food. many shops have been destroyed. the infrastructure as well. it's very very difficult. >>reporter: the humanitarian crisis has been worse in areas like aden where pro government fighters have been trying to regain control from forces loyal to the former president saleh and their houthi allies. aid groups are warning of a spike in the number of people requiring assistance. many yemenis are welcoming an end to the air strikes but know far too well that a lasting peace may still be a long way off. a bomb has exploded outside
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the spanish embassy in the capital of libya. the latest attack on a diplomatic mission in tripoli. the building was empty. so far no one has claimed responsibility. al jazeera journalists are due back in egyptian court later on wednesday. they are on trial for a second time for allegedly harming national security and aiding the banned muslim brotherhood. accusations that they deny. here's more on their retrial. >>reporter: a second trial, a second opportunity to show the charges against them are baseless. the prosecution's evidence seems to rest on a report that includes videos. it's supposed to prove al jazeera journalists harmed egypt's national security. but the members of a committee who issued that report testified that they either didn't see the videos, write the report or remember what they wrote.
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so a new committee has been sworn in to review the evidence. >> how can somebody say we published materials against national security and now the members say we didn't say that. >>reporter: they say so far the prosecution witnesses have unwittingly supported their defense. the retrial comes after an appeals court ruled earlier this year there wasn't enough evidence to convict the journalists of aiding the banned muslim brotherhood. they spent more than 400 days in jail. in february -- and a judge released them on bail. he was a dual citizen of canada and egypt and had to give us his egyptian citizenship and is hoping to be deported to canada.
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the journalists say they won't give up until they clear their names. south africa's defense minister is sending troops to johannesburg to prevent more attacks. at least seven people have been killed and 5,000 have been left homeless. more than 900 people have been voluntarily re-patriated since the violence began. >>reporter: joyce worked as a hair dresser in south africa. she's from zimbabwe. the money she earned every month looked after her children but she says some of the locals resented her for accepting low pay so when a tax on african migrants started, she feared her family would be targeted.
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>> i was afraid. there were also going to schools. that's why i'm with my daughter here. they're attacking those foreigners in schools. >>reporter: at the border those returning say they're relieved to be safe even if conditions here are rough but the reality of being back in zimbabwe is sinking in. the official unemployment rate is less than 20% but independent economists say between 80 and 90%. families say they're not sure what they're coming back to and many are worried about starting over. some who left blame policies of the president's ruling parties for damaging the economy. >> i don't know what i'm going to do. >>reporter: what is your plan?
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>> i don't know right now. >>reporter: government officials and aid agencies are trying to help. >> bring whatever is possible to assist these guys. in this case i'm talking about money, food items, blankets. anything that can assist them. there's a lot of emotion in them and physically they're so traumatized so there's also a need for counseling services. >>reporter: some want nothing to do with south africa. >> no i don't want to go back. the way people are, i don't think i'll ever go back there. >>reporter: they may have to cross the border into south africa again as soon as it's safe to do so. the storm that's battered the east coast of ausa has killed three people and cut power to more than 200,000
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homes. winds of up to 140 kilometers an hour crushed cars and uprooted trees. >>reporter: even for a country used to extreme weather, the severity of these storms took ausa's southeast by surprise. more than 30 centimeters of rain dumped on parts of new south wales. >> we had to swim for it and got in behind the toilets and hung on and we were there for quite a while. >>reporter: even telephone poles struggled to resist high winds. trees also toppled. >> i was looking at the trees up there. looked like a slightly smaller tree than that one and it was deflected just enough so it didn't come through the living
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room. >>reporter: leading to narrow escapes. in sidney the waves were much less welcoming than usual damaging properties along the coastline. with the city's harbor well above its usual level, some were warned they might have to evacuate. a short trip by ferry resembling the high seas. the premier says the storm was much more serious than had been expected. >> there was no doubt that is a very severe storm event and a once in ten year event. it is probably more severe than was anticipated so clearly the consequences are quite significant across new south wales and it is clear we're in the midst of very challenging weather. >>reporter: more than 200,000 homes were left without power. authorities warned the worst of the storm might not be over with more flooding expected. a court in japan has rejected a petition preventing
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the nuclear plant from restarting. it will be the first to operate since the disaster in 2011. hong kong's government is set to unveil a long awaited electoral plan for the 2017 election. it's backing beijing's ruling to screen all candidates running for chief executive. sarah clark has more from hong kong. >>reporter: lining the sidewalk around government headquarters is a handful of tents. the sight of last year's two and a half month long sit in looks more like a camp site with a group of die hard protesters embodying the campaign. >> we have to persist and believe we'll reach success soon. the number of tents is growing. a library has been recreated.
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some are even building seating in the hope that more students will return. but it's inside the government building that the fate of hong kong's political future will be unveiled. the city's chief secretary will present the government's long-awaited electoral reform package for the 2017 elections. she's ruled out open locations and standing firm on beijing's decision to screen candidates who stand for chief executive. >> the work on the political reform resolution is required to follow the basic law and the relevant interpretation and decision of the national congress standing committee. >>reporter: it's that ruling that triggered last year's street occupation in central hong kong. prodemocracy law makers are demanding the right to freely elect the candidates and have vowed to block the government's reform plan when it comes to a vote. >> there is no reason for me to
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doubt that all of us would veto any political reform package that is restrained by the 831. >>reporter: the government's election proposal needs the backing of hong kong's legislative council if it's to proceed but with more than a third of the 70 law makers against the reform plan at this stage, it looks unlikely to get the go ahead. student groups who led last year's protests are hopeful that will be the case. >> it means a lot to us all the people who participated in the movement. >>reporter: but with a vote not expected until july the government is likely to pull out all the stops to make sure its election plan becomes law. sarah clark, al jazeera, hong kong. the world's largest flawless diamond has gone under the hammer for a whopping $22 million.
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now, the 100 carat diamond is the size of a walnut. it was snapped up by anonymous buyer after only three minutes of bidding. and it took more than one year to cut, polish and perfect it. on"america tonight", n urgent warning for tens of thousands of american women, surgery and why there's increased worry that it mite spread cancer. >> i did not know initially. it's not something they tell you when they say your surgery which went well. they don't say your surgery wept well up. >> also tonight - bargain bed or bad deal. new york city wakes up to new,