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tv   News  Al Jazeera  September 9, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT

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new plans to provide homes for more than 100,000 people. i'm lauren taylor. rebels in syria capture a key military base, after a two-year long battle. a bad deal, u.s. politicians attack president obama's nuclear deal agreement, during a marathon session in congress.
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>> [ inaudible ]. >> and lucky escape for passengers as a jet catches fire on takeoff. ♪ hello, tackling europe's refugee crisis is a matter of humanity and human dignity, according to the president of the european commission. he is calling on member states to agree to provide homes for 160,000 refugees. but critics say it won't be enough. he warned that half a million have entered europe this year. tens of thousands have made the dangerous journey across the mediterranean by sea. those numbers still pailing in comparison with the number still in the region, there are 4 million. our first report is from jacky rowland in strasburg.
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>> reporter: another group of weary people cross the border between greece and macedonia. as they continue their journey north by foot or other means, the european parliament has been discussing how to cope with the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have already made the dangerous journey. for the president, the task ahead is clear, but he needs to sell it to politicians and people across europe. >> 160,000, that's the number europeans have to take in charge, and have to take in their arms. and i really hope that this time, everyone will be on board. no rhetorics, action is what is needed for the time being. >> reporter: germany would take in more than 30,000 under the scheme. people like these families boarding a train in vienna
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station. the german government is pushing hard for other countries to accept their quotas. for its part, france says it will take 24,000 refugees. in a symbolic gesture it has already welcomed a small group who have come across the boarder from germany. but other in france say the government is encouraging illegal immigration. >> translator: we oppose the clandestine immigrants who have access to job in a country like france who have 7 million people out of work. >> reporter: it's a debate that is testing to the limits the idea of european unity. there is a lot of hostility in eastern europe to these proposed quotas, and far right politicians argue that an influx of people from the middle east and africa will change the character of europe forever. but not everyone arriving on the shores will be allowed to claim asylum. these new arrivals in spain, for
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example, may ultimately be classed as economic migrants not refugees, and the e.u. has said that people simply searching for work and a better life will be sent home. jacky rowland, al jazeera, strasburg. and the european union plans to set up a $2 billion fund to help stop the influx of people from africa seeking a better life in europe. the plan would address the issues in north africa which are causing people to flee. their money will also help african countries improvement management of those trying to leave and also fight people traffickers. u.s. secretary of state john kerry says a number of syrian refugees will be offered homes in the united states. rosiland jordan is in washington for us. give us an idea of what the figures are in this case. >> reporter: lauren, the secretary of state just spoke to reporters outside a closed-door hearing over on capitol hill.
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he is not revealing any numbers, but he did stress that it is important for the u.s. to try to figure out how it can help practically as well as simply giving money to the overall relief effort for syrian refugees. there is growing pressure on the obama administration to bring in people from the syrian conflict, people who are trying to basically save their lives and that of their families. in fact a leading republican on the senate side, senator john mccain said the obama administration essentially is responsible for the numbers of people trying to flee the syrian conflict, because he accused the obama administration of quote leading from behind on foreign policy. >> okay. rosiland jordan, thank you very much indeed. thousands of people are making the dangerous crossing from turkey to the greek islands in a desperate attempt to reach
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europe. bernard smith met some of them. >> reporter: it is a deeply affecting sight. a family prepared to risk everything to make it to europe. children far too young to be doing something like this. a baby who will never remember this night, if he or she makes it. we counted 17 people from one afghan family. all to be squeezed into this dingy. they are on turkey's aegean coast, about 12 kilometers from the greek island of kos we're afraid of dying, of course. some died recently. but dying is much better than starving here. but there's a problem. their outboard motor won't start. they begin packing up. they are shia muslims, a
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minority targeted by afghanistan's taliban. they have tried making a life in turkey for the last three years, but apart from syrians, turkey does not accept refugees. there is no way for them to settle legally here. >> translator: even if i'm in the usa or england or elsewhere, i will go back to afghanistan if there's no war. i promise you. my daughter is a student and i cannot even pay her bus fair or give her pocket money. in europe they know about humanity. they will help us. so we'll try again and again. if they catch us a hundred times, we will try a hundred times. >> reporter: the family is desperate to leave and decides to try to fix the engine. they are making their own way to avoid being ripped off by smugglers. but the engine won't start, the family will sleep here tonight.
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then a few minute's drive along the coast, we find another group. they are wet. clearly the trip hasn't gone well, and they are frustrated to be back in turkey. they are syrians. they salvage their life vests, but their boat is left to drift off. to see what these people go through to try to make it to kos, well, it's impossible not to be moved, really, and you know that now that they have been forced to come back to turkey, because they didn't make it this time, they will risk it again. they will risk their lives again to try to make it to europe. >> with dawn, we see another boat. it's packed and low in the water. it's passengers are paddling furiously. some are bailing out water with shoes. kos is in the distance. it seems tantalizingly close, maybe these people will make it.
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but then, the turkish coast guard appears, and the refugees are taken on board, their dreams of a new life in europe are frustrated, for now. bernard smith, al jazeera, on turkey's aegean coast. ♪ syrian troops have pulled out of the air base in the northwest. it captured the military airport after a two-year battle with forces loyal to president bashar al-assad. many say the fall is likely to increase pressure on government-held coastal areas north of the capitol damascus. >> reporter: these are pictures of the military base in idlib after al-nusra front fighters took it over. it was one of the last remaining military strong holds in the province and had been under siege for almost two years.
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another major base is under attack by isil fighters. the fall of the base means the northern province of idlib is now under control of rebel fighters. they have seized the city of idlib, and the town of [ inaudible ] bringing them closer to government-held coastal areas north of the capitol. as the war continues, the death and destruction has been stag r staggering. an estimated 220,000 have now been killed and life expectancy has dropped to 55 years. 3.9 million have fled the country, and 7.6 million have been internally december -- displaced. 80% of the population now is living in poverty. the country has gone dark with 83% of electricity supplies now
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cut. and it looks like syrians are running out of options. 12 iraqi soldiers have been killed by isil. the bomb targeted their convoy near a check point. think first shot at the group thin two suicide bombers attacked, 16 others were injured. protesters in lebanon are angry over the government's failure to provide basic services are back on the streets in the capitol. the you stink campaign initially began over piles of uncollected rubbish, but now it has expanded to a movement against corruption. no sign of this movement losing any steam? >> reporter: at least in terms of the numbers and frequency of these protests it has gained pace, and obviously none of the
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demands that they have set out since the protest movement began, have been heeded by those in power. if i stand away from the camera and allow the viewers to get on idea of the crowds that have been gathering, you can see that there is still a large number of people who have decided to come to the streets of downtown beirut despite the sand storm which has crippled traffic and the country for the past 24 hours. people are angry not just because of the garbage and even not only because of the corruption, but also because they feel the government is essentially ignoring them. there are two significant meetings of political leaders that took place today. one was to try to elect or choose a president. lebanon has been without a president for over a year now, mainly because of the sectarian makeup of the political system. all sides have failed to come up
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with a candidate that they can agree on. and another significant meeting was a cabinet meeting which was held to try to solve the rubbish crisis, but the movement of the [ inaudible ] refused to attend that meeting, partially because they are upset that their candidate for the president has still not been given that position, so the people -- these people are growing more and more frustrated with the government or political elites which they say is not interested in serving them, it is more interested in power games. >> what is the next step aside from continuing the demonstrations? is there anything they can do to speed up the political resolution to the problems as they see them? >> reporter: that's a good question and one we have been posing to the activists ever since we started covering this several weeks ago, they have tried to make some sorts of difference in terms of not just
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taking part in the protests, there is a group of around -- just over a couple does when are on hunger strike. they have been on hunger strike for about nine days, but this is a unique movement, here, lauren, and that's why it's not really clear which direction it is going, because prior to the movement all of the protests that have been taking place have been sectarian, so when hezbollah calls for its supporters to come into the streets, they come into the streets, when [ inaudible ] calls on his, like wise they come into the streets. this is very organic, spontaneous, and based on principles, and therefore, they don't really have that political experience to mobilize in a way where they can secure a specific achievement. however, that hasn't disheartened them, if you hear the speeches on the stage and read the banners, they seem very
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optimistic that they will be able to force some sort of change. >> thank you very much indeed. you are watching, al jazeera, still to come -- >> reporter: i'm catherine soi in rwanda's parliament. i'll be telling you why they so much talk around a possible third term for president for the president. >> [ inaudible ] shall be devoted to your service. >> and more than six decades on the thrown, queen elizabeth becomes the country's longest-serving monarch. ♪
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hello again. president of the european commission has called on member states to agree on how each should provide homes for 160,000 refugees by next year. syrian rebel fighters have reportedly seized the government air base in idlib, after a two-year showdown with president assad's troops. politicians in washington are debating the iran nuclear deal. on tuesday, u.s. president barack obama got the support he needs to overcome any republican opposition to the deal. the agreement would release frozen assets to iran in return for limits to his nuclear program. it's a big day there, both
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chambers launching formal consideration of the nuclear deal, what is expected to happen? >> reporter: that is so hard to deal. we are really up against the deadline, a little more than a week where congress has an opportunity to weigh in. many attempting to derail or undermine this agreement. there is debate taking place. on tuesday, president obama did get a bit of a victory of sorts in that he got enough support in the senate from senators who are backing this agreement that they could in theory, prevent a vote from occurring on this resolution that would reject the agreement. however, it appears that most of the senators want to weigh in. however, in the house of representatives we see that there may not be enough support for this disapproval resolution,
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and it may not go to a vote at all. the fact of the matter is, well, initially we thought it looked like we would have debate and perhaps a vote by the end of the week, now that's looking less likely. >> and some senators still not saying they will support the deal. will obama be forced to use the executive veto power? >> reporter: that's what the white house is hoping won't happen. and that's why there is such an intense lobby effort taking place. we had secretary of state john kerry. he may still be up here or has just left. he has been meeting with top democratic and republican lawmakers and some of the high profile committees, speaking about the agreement. brought with him the energy sector who really knows this agreement and what it means from a scientific standpoint, and argues this will prevent iran from getting the nuclear weapon that so many are concerned
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about. so this may be an argument that is gaining traction. we'll have to see, but right now the white house hopeful the president will not have to use the power of the pen and veto a resolution if it makes it off of capitol hill. >> thank you very much indeed for that live update. rwanda's supreme court says it will hear a case that challenges plans to allow the president to run for a third term. parliament has voted to change the constitution, extending a two-term limit to three. but there is opposition to the move. >> reporter: it's hard to imagine rwanda without this president. he seems to have brought stability and development in a country that was in turmoil following a genocide just over two decades ago. he is winding up what is meant to be his last term in office. the election is in 2017, and the debate to have him stay on is already dominating politics. >> translator: we respect the constitution, but if it's changed to allow him to run,
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we'll agree with that. >> translator: it's for us to decide, and we are happy to change it. >> translator: i don't see why the constitution needs to be changed. >> reporter: parliament is not in session now, but it has started the process to see the constitution amended. parliament is just the start of a long process. there is going to be a commission set up to look into parts of the constitution that deal with presidential term limits and eventually there must be a referendum where rwandan's get to decide for themselves. critics see the president's hand in all of this. they say he is trying to hold on to power, using parliament. the president has not publicly declared his intention. but this mp insists it's the
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people who want him. >> elsewhere we get the pressure to remove you. for him it's the pressure to stay. so he would have to measure the pressures of the international community with what his people want. >> reporter: but some don't agree. the opposition democratic green party has asked the supreme court to block the process that has been started by parliament. their petition reads that the constitution only allows a referendum to change the duration of a presidential term, not the number of terms. >> if it was settled by the people [ inaudible ] but a process there is clear evidence it was started by people within the government. even from the parliament and the senate, they are the ones who have been behind this move. >> reporter: this move is not openly widely supported here, and chances of a victory is slim, but they say they won't
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give up. campaigning is underway in singapore ahead of friday's general election. more than 2.5 million people are expected to vote, and the domination of the long ruling party faces a serious challenge from opposition groups. rob mcbride reports. >> reporter: at an evening rally for the worker's party many of the candidates like this man are newcomers into politics. the party has become the major opposition voice in a system where once there was little disscent. still the best they can hope for is unsettling, rather than unseating the ruling party. >> we think that it is necessary to entrench a multi-party democracy, by having more mp's elected into parliament in this election and hopefully in the coming hears. in the years to come, the worker's party is able to provide an alternative. >> the party is trying to build on its best-showing yet back in
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2011. then they managed to unset two cabinet ministers. the ruling people's action party got 60% of the vote in that poll. their lowest ever. for the prime minister, the son of singapore's founder, it has, at least, made the opposition groups something he needs to take aim at. >> and you should make no mistake about it, they aspire to be the government of singapore, why should they not. they are entitled to. but we are entitled to ask them what do you intend to do? show you are fit to be the government of singapore. >> reporter: are you confident prime minister? >> yes, of course. >> reporter: adding to that confidence is the fact this has been a momentous year for lee and singapore. in the year of his father's death the sympathy factor could play an important part in this election, combined with the nostalgia of the 50th anniversary of this city state founding. it is a timely reminder to the
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voters of how far singapore has come under the strong guiding hand of the one party that has been in charge from the start. >> reporter: with no opinion polls, headcounts at rallies matter. and the crowds turning out for any ruling action party have been good. >> i agree with the direction they have been taking. i agree with their policies. >> they have been doing an awesome job. >> reporter: the question is not whether the ruling party wins, but how big their winning marge is. guatemala's former president is to remain in jail until his trial. dani dani daniel reports. >> reporter: the judge said he thought there was ample evidence for the former president to go
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to trial. charging him with criminal association, taking bribes and customs fraud. he ordered him to be held in preventative custody. the former president resigned last week after an arrest warrant named him in a massive scandal in which businesses gave bribes to avoid paying full taxes on their imports. he was eblthed in 2011, promising to tackle corruption. >> translator: there's not one shred of evidence, nothing solid that should allow this case to move forward. >> reporter: corruption in guatemala is not new, what has changed is its successful campaign to end impunity. just a week ago after molina was still the president of guatemala, today he has been in this courtroom under tight security. a sign that there is work to reform this country and absolutely nobody is above the
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law now. >> reporter: his downfall was swift and came after months of protest which grew as details of the case he was allegedly involved in came to light. >> we are all just fed up with corruption in the government. so that was something that really unified us. because other issues here, they tend to divide us, but corruption was something we agreed we didn't want it. >> reporter: while the former president languishes in custody, the race to replace him is marred in confusion. tv comedian emerged victorious and will fight a second round in october. but it's not clear who will face him. former first lady, sandra torres, and right-wing businessman are separated by a few hundred votes. what is clear is guatemala is living in fast-moving turbulent
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times. passengers have been describing the terrifying moment a fire broke out on their plane at las vegas airport. all 170 were quickly lead to safety, some with minor injuries. an audio reporting captured the moment the captain calmly contacted air traffic control. [ inaudible ] >> britain's queen elizabeth ii has become the country's
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longest-running monarch. the 89 year old says the title is not one which she ever aspired to. plenty more stories any time for you on our website, the address is, and you can watch us by clicking on the watch-live icon. the house is supposed to debate over the iran nuclear deal. open for business, a kentucky clerk's office is issuing marriage licenses, but their boss kim davis isn't there. and questioning planned parenthood, congress looks at how the group operates, even though that group was not even invited to the discussion. ♪


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