a federal court says the nsa broke the rules when it collected millions of phone records from american citizens. but the case is far from over. there could be a break in the ongoing war in yemen. saudi arabia proposes a ceasefire but only if the houthis go along. and voters head to the polls in the united kingdom's closest parliamentary election in decades. ♪
this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm randall pinkston. a major ruling today over the nsa's spaying program. a federal appeals court says the bulk collection of telephone records was never authorized by congress. lisa this rule says the nsa acted illegally, but it isn't stopping the program, why not? >> reporter: that's right. because the authorization that congress used -- or that the government used to do this expires june 1st, so the court said it's just a couple of weeks, we won't stop the program right now. this was revealed back in 2013 by edward snowden, and it created a fire storm of controversy at that time. the aclu then sued claiming this program violated the privacy rights of americans. now the court today -- the appeals court didn't rule on the
privacy question. instead what they said was this bulk collection of data simply wasn't allowed under this part of the patriot act, that it went beyond what congress intended. they did touch on the privacy question in one way. they said the bulk collection of this data,essen shally the entire population of the united states permits the development of a government database with the potential of invasion of privacy unimaginable in the past. the government was sweeping up what it called metadata. it was looking at things like the time date and length of these phone calls. and what the government argued was it needed this huge trove of data, because it wanted to go back during terrorist investigations and try to find connections between suspects. the corticaled that unprecedented and unwarranted. randall. >> so i know the decision is
just out from the court of appeals, but is there any reaction from the white house yet? >> reporter: we do have a statement from the white house which essentially says we're studying the decision but it goes on to reiterate what the president has said in the past which is that he wants to end this program. and he has proposed keeping all of these records with the phone company, and then if the government needs to look at them during a terrorist investigation, it would have to get permission from the foreign intelligence surveillance courts those secret courts that look at issues like this before it had access to the data. >> and that section is up for renew. the alsu is calling the ruling a resounding victory for the rule of law. stephanie sy spoke to spokesperson. >> congress right now is
considering -- passing the freedom act which would adjust and limit the bulk collection and that's really a c-plus effort, the freedom act, which is kind of pathetic given that it's been almost two years since edward snowden's disclosures, and all we have seen is more and more confirmation. this ruling is incredibly significant, because it confirms what edward snowden and the whistleblowers have been saying and it reveals that that twisted secret interpretation is not a legal interpretation. >> what would be the next step in the legal process for the government? >> i understand the case was remanded to the lower court, and if the government's track record remains so it will try to get every ounce of authority and work as hard as it can to get any lawsuit dismissed. and that's what the bush administration and the obama administration has done. and they have been consistent in their ability to keep these
cases out of the court. and congratulations for fighting against that and for letting a court look at this program. and that's what is significant, is that even though the nsa says these programs are illegal, every time a court looks at them -- almost every single time, it has said that it is illegal. >> stay with al jazeera for the latest on this developing story. we'll have more at 1:30 pm eastern. saudi arabia is proposing a five-day ceasefire in yemen on humanitarian grounds. john kerry says the u.s. would welcome the break from air strikes by saudi arabia and other arab countries, but he says the houthi rebels also have to stand down. >> it's vital, thanks to the saudi initiative that all parties agree to the ceasefire before more lives are lost and i am pleased that president hadi
today has agreed to fully support this effort. to mohamed vall now who will explain what this proposed ceasefire could mean in terms of finding a long-term solution to yemen's conflict. >> a nationwide five-day ceasefire is quite an achievement for secretary of state john kerry in his visit to saudi arabia. now they have given this offer to the yemenese particularly the houthis and the loyalest of the former president saleh. and it is conditioned by their favorable reply to it. if they agree, then this five-day ceasefire could be extended. it's not going to happen until there are arrangements by the u.n. and other relief agencies to prepare and be able to channel relief supplies to the yemenese in need. but once it is passed it is renewable as secretary of state john kerry said.
and that mean there is's opportunity that it could turn into one month, two months or even an open-ended ceasefire. and saudi arabia showed flexibility there in saying that they want to host a peace conference on the 17th of this month, but also after that they are flexible if the subsequent talks under the u.n. takes place anywhere else around the world. now everything hinges on the response of the houthis. >> kerry says the u.s. is not discussing sending ground troops to yemen. but that's exactly what yemen he's u.n. ambassador wants. in a letter he also asked aid organizations to dock dock -- document human rights violations in the country. the u.s. is now beginning to train forces to take on isil.
washington's plan is to train a force that will eventually total more than 15,000 fighters. voters are going to the polls in the u.k. today. the prime minister is fighting to keep his job. cameron's conservative party is in a dead heat with the labor party. no clear winner could mean a smaller party would have to play a bigger role in the new government. dana it's a big election what can you tell us about turnout? >> reporter: randall we went to one of the polling stations by the london bridge and there were a lot of enthusiastic people and they were saying business was brisk, and we'll have to see at 10:00 when the poles close what the voter turnout was, but it is expected to be high. some of the drift in voter apathy probably because people realize their votes really matter in this election.
so people think if they go that they can make a big difference. it is this dead heat that has everybody concerned. some of the polling coming out, giving the two major parties only about 1% lead one way or the other, and there's about a 3% marge of error in these polls, so it really tells you nothing other than the fact that it is too close to call and that may give us pretty interesting results when we get the exit polls when the voting stops just after 10:00 tonight. neither party will get a majority tonight, and that will mean what kind of minority party or what kind of political soup will be cooked up? >> so of all of those major parties, what is the best guess about which will join with labor or conservatives to create a new
government. >> reporter: well, there are a lot of different possibilities. there's possibility the labor party could try to rule with a minority government. if they can, they will certainly in doing that count on the snp, which some people say is a toxic mixture, because in the end of the snp wants scotland toe independent and break up the united kingdom. the tories would look to the liberals. cameron needs some good numbers to bring about a possible coalition maybe even with ukip although that is an outside chance. but there are a lot of different mixtures. if cameron comes out with a few votes ahead tonight, there is a very good chance he would then try to form a government. he has to do a scene's speech goes to parliament by may 27th outlines his agenda for any next year and then we see if his government will stand or fall
and he may well get voted down. >> thanks a lot. back in washington now where the senate is set to vote on a plan giving it approval over any nuclear deal with iran. a majority of senators are expected to approve the plan. talks with iran and five other nations resume next week ahead of a june deadline. the state of maryland is offering zero interest loans to businesses hurt by riots in baltimore. the department of housing and community development says the loans of up to $35,000 can be paid back over five years. businesses with greater losses may qualify for a different program with higher amounts available at low interest rates. cvs has already announced it plans to rebuild the store that was burned in the riots. the city of chicago is owning up to a disgraceful chapter in its history, agreeing
to pay more than $5.5 million to victims of police torture. >> reporter: chicago's mayor offering an apology wednesday on the city's racist police practices over three decades. >> this is another step but an essential step in righting a wrong, removing a stain on the reputation of this great city and the people that make up this great city. >> reporter: on wednesday chicago announced it was setting aside over $5 million for victims of police torture in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. that equates to nearly 100,000 per victim free college tuition, free counseling and training and a formal apology by the city. about 120 mostly african american men were tortured by the police head. they used electric shocks
beatings suffocation, and even russian roulette tactics to force their suspects to confess. >> i was scared to death. my mind was such that it felt like my head was being blown off when i heard that click, and then he took the shotgun barrel back out of my mouth. they put me in the backseat of a detective car and had my feet outside. i was still handcuffed. they pulled my pants and shorts down and started to shock me with a cattle prod. >> reporter: victims, their families and supporters some wearing reparations now t-shirts stood and applauded. the council's you r -- unanimous vote on wednesday. >> this is the first time any city has acknowledged racist police practices and provided reparations. and we're talking about
reparations for black people in this instance. that is a huge landmark. >> reporter: the reparations package is the work of midnight crew survivors, amnesty international, and the office of chicago's mayor. as to the former commander, after being let go in the late 90s, he convicted and spent four years behind bars. today he lives in florida on a chicago police pension. sect thoughts from bill clinton. he says the tough on crime policies his administration pushed in the '90s went too far. it includes the federal three strikes policy for violent offenders and lengthened jail sentences and created more prisons. he told cnn his policy was not focused enough on rehabilitation. >> we had too many people in
prison and we wound up putting so many people in prison that there wasn't enough money left to educate them train them for new jobs and increase the chance of them living productive lives when they came out. >> clinton says he thinks the law should now be changed. hillary clinton has criticized mass incarceration and favors reducing jail time for low-level of fenners. the san francisco bay area is considered the worst place in america to rent a home. the region is expensive and the eviction rate is higher than ever. >> reporter: we'll introduce you to a school teacher who is fighting an eviction. >> it's not fair to pick on the vulnerable the disabled the seniors, because it is a very
stressful feeling to be evicted. >> reporter: evictions are up over 50% in the past five years. many long-time residents say they are being forced out of the city as wealthy newcomers move in. the housing supply has never kept up with the demand here but now it's reaching a critical point. we'll hear from property owners who say they want to take advantage of the tech boom. >> rent control for 35, 37 years, as messed with that whole market economy. a tenant is paying 20% of what a new tenant in that same unit would pay. >> reporter: we'll look at the growing tension over long-standing policies here. is the city's culture changing? and san francisco's mayor weighs in. >> you with catch the full report tonight at 8:00 eastern. coming up digging out after tornados hit oklahoma.
america's heartland, an area known as tornado alley is cleaning up this morning after a series of storms. tomorrow storms destroyed homes and left 30,000 people without power. one woman drowned in a storm shelter. a tornado also touched down in northern germany. these pictures recorded by an eyewitness. one person was killed. dozens injured. while tornado are common in the
u.s. they are rare in europe. teams of sharp shooters are headed to the coast of oregon. they have been hired to kill more than 10,000 birds at the mouth of the columbian river. it is supposed to help the fishing community, but the move has engaged activists. >> reporter: we're about 50 yards offshore from east sandusky -- sand island. this is federal land. they have told us we are no allowed to go on shore. they are about to begin a culling program here at this huge colony. there will be federal teams out here soon armed with rifles and shotguns shooting from boats and from blinds on the land during the day and at nighttime hours using night scopes and they will be trying to kill some
of the birds here who eat 11 million salmon and steel head smelt every year. >> i think it's wrong. we're trying to control mother nay dhur. >> it's not okay. no. they are living creatures. >> reporter: 11,000 birds in your mind that's something we have got to do. >> that's a drop in the hat, yes. >> reporter: the autobahn society and four other conservation groups have joined to file a lawsuit. they are asking a federal judge to stop the killing. this is a very emotional issue for all stakeholders involved. people who love birds, people who love fish and people who appreciate the challenges of wildlife control. the army corps of engineers have been told they need to bring the number of birds down to a very
specific level. we'll have details on that later on tonight. alan schauffler. al jazeera. >> you can watch alan's full report tonight at 8:00 eastern. we rarely hear about men being rescued from boko haram that's because they typically kill them before taking the families hostage. >> reporter: sad and broke. this man recalls the good old days before boko haram met the town it's so-called caliphate. he father of 14 had houses farms, and more than 100 head of cattle. now these two cows are his only asset. >> translator: people still come to ask neighbors whether i am still sane.
i lost so much. at some point even the will to go on. i am still hanging in there. >> reporter: but the pain he feels most is the loss of two adult sons both killed by boko haram. after their death, he and 500 others fled to settle here. since boko haram was run out of town in march, some are thinking of going back. but he sees no future there. >> translator: i think when we eventually go back most of us will be going back to our graves. what is the use when our youths are either dead or gone in how can we cope in some of us just have depression. >> reporter: and there are several farming communities like this that have been displaced. for now they live on handouts as they have neither the money nor the strength to farm or trade. when boko haram attacked and
democrat onning -- occupied territories, there was a system killing of men. in many communities most young men and women have either been killed or left that could impact on their recovery and survival when people eventually return. infrastructure have been destroyed, by it is the people's spirits that may prove difficult to repair. >> it is difficult, but our country's recovery is always possible. it's a lengthy process, but it's always possible. >> reporter: although boko haram fighters are on the run, few show much desire to return home. the question most are asking now is return to what? up next newborns stolen
al jazeera has been following a disturbing story out of st. louis where dozens of african american mothers were lied to and told their newborns were dead. instead the infants were stolen and punt for adoption. since our story first aired more mothers and family members have come forward. diane eastabrook reports. >> it's your mother. >> reporter: this video of melanie gilmore seeing her birth mother for the first time over skype is raising hopes for similar reunions. >> when i saw her moving and the mannerism and everything, i said that's me. that is me. >> medical staff in st. louis told price her premature baby died shortly after birth 50 years ago. >> back then doctors and nurses was held in such high esteem if
they said something, and with compassion they said it in you believed it and mine was believable, because i was so early. >> reporter: earlier this week, price's attorney filed a petition to unseal her daughter's adoption papers. he says gilmore was stolen. >> there is a simple law out there that says you can't traffic in human babies. and you don't have to be taught that, you don't have to go to law school for that, you can't take a baby from a mom. >> reporter: since then dozens of people have contacted his office hoping they too may find long lost family members. were you ever suspicious? >> i always wondered what happened. but in those days all they would say was they were dead and that was it. >> reporter: what would it be like you knowing you have some other -- >> it would be something.
>> reporter: while the hospital has been closed for 36 years, birth and death records sill exist, and if there was trafficking the city could be accountable. so they could be on the hook potentially for millions in restitution? >> millions? i don't think you can quantify the loss of a baby for 50 years, thinking that baby is dead. >> reporter: diane eastabrook al jazeera, chicago. finally this story, astronomers have spotted a galaxy far far away. they located it using the ultra sensitive hubble and spitser space tell scopes. it is believed to be 100 million years old. that's it for us. thanks for joining us. i'm randall pinkston. the news continues next live from london. and remember for the latest