will tell you they still want to see that light flashing. >> reporter: and in a few places they'll continue to see them, so long as local communities keep doing what used to be the federal government's job. a reminder you can keep up to date with all of the news on our website, aljazeera.com. right now, the head of volkswagen america is talking to a congressional hearing. he is telling them he knew about an emissions problem in vwdiesel cars for more than a year. a midnight agreement keeps 40,000 auto workers on the job. and nato nations promise action over fears moscow's air strikes into syria, are hitting
western-backed rebels and not just isil. ♪ this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm stephanie sy. authorities search volkswagen's offices in germany today as prosecutors gather evidence in the company's diesel emissions scandal. while in washington lawmakers are grilling the head of volkswagen's american operations. michael horn just started speaking a few minutes ago. it began with an apology and an admission. he knew about the problem more than a year ago. lisa stark joins us now from washington. we know he just began, but what is he expected to say? >> reporter: well, stephanie as you can imagine, michael horn is going to fall on the sword. he is going to apologize, say these events are deeply
troubling. he is going to admit that they have broken the trust of customers, dealerships, please, the public, and regulators. he is also going to say that volkswagen will take full responsibility for its actions. he is going to tell the committee that the company is investigating, and people will be held accountable, and finally he is going to assure those who bought the cars nearly half a million of them in the u.s. that the company is working on a remedy. >> so what is the fallout from the admission? what exactly is he admitting too first of all, and what can congress do? >> reporter: well, the language from the members on this committee has been extremely harsh, let me say that first of all. saying that wv has portrayed a nation, clean it up or get it off of the road. here is a representative from michigan. >> vw has betrayed a nation, a
nation of regulators, loyalists, suppliers and innocent customers. it's time to clean it up or get off of the road. >> reporter: as i said. lawmakers were saying look, the american public, they aren't crash dummies, they can't be treated as much. what they want to know is who knew what, when, how did this happen, and what is the company going to do to make consumers whole, and as one lawmaker even said, we cannot trust volkswagen. he said their word isn't worth a dime. >> what is the impact on the general public? >> clearly those folks that bought these diesel engine cars, has seen their car value drop. and there are cars sitting at the dealerships, and cannot be sold.
and some of these cars are made in the u.s. it could affect that plant and those workers, so there's a big economic impact as well. >> lisa thank you. gm is recalling thousands of brand new suvs because their wind shield wiper motors could cause fires. they are all 2016 models, and only 6400 of the vehicles have been sold. gm is warning owners not to use their wipers until they get them repaired. this morning thousands of workers at fiat chrysler at work and not on the picket line. the uaw says the agreement addresses worker concerns about jobs and their futures. bisi onile-ere has more from warren, michigan. >> reporter: both sides have yet to disclose the details of this new tentative agreement, however, the two-tier pay scale,
ten-hour work days, health care, and outsourcing with major issues. the uaw said it won significant gains. union leaders will now meet on friday to discuss and vote on this agreement, and then it will go before more than 40,000 union members. union members began posting notices inside the plants across the country, informing workers this week of the possibility of a strike. if a strike did occur, which it could still, it would undoubtedly have an impact on the auto maker's bottom line. we spoke with one worker. >> i don't know exactly what the company is going to do. i'm hoping we don't strike. it's a loose-loose if we go on strike. but we are looking for them to come forward and honor some of the -- the -- to honor some of the promises they have made us to. >> reporter: the union is expected to release the details of this agreement if union
leaders agree to the terms. i'm told that what happens with fca will likely impact negotiation between the uaw, ford, and general motors. bisi onile-ere, al jazeera, warren, michigan. nato says it is ready to step up its response in light of russia's activities in syria. nato secretary general renewed a pledge to defend allies at all costs. >> nato is ready to defend and protect all allies against any threat, and that of course, also goes for -- or is valid for turkey. >> russia says its recent violation of turkish air space was a mistake. russia has increased air strikes on syria, which today were followed by a major ground offensive by syrian forces.
neave barker has more. >> reporter: ever since the air bombardments of specific targets in syria started it has posed of course security concerns for nato countries, including turkey. of course all of this has come very much to head off of the back of two apparent incursions by russia jets into turkish air space. the russians say it was an accident. in that the first happened during bad weather, with regards to the next incursion, nato has their suspicions. and there are allegations that russia is targeting groups that are against assad, and backed by the united states have also possibly found themselves on a list of legitimate targets for the russians to hit as well, so it's very important now for nato to show common resolve. the head of nato said, it's
important to consider security implications for nato's own security. and undoubtedly as meetings continue this afternoon, we will hear moret rick like that, but when it comes to actual action on the ground, nato's hands are bound, it's very much about condemning russia from a distance. former president bill clinton is urging a different approach from the obama administration for ending the war in syria. >> so as long as he has a different world view of how russia can restore its greatness, we're going to have these conflicts. nonetheless, he surely does not want isis to succeed, because it won't be long before that infects the rest of muslim populations on his southern under belly, so i still believe we need to see if we can
straighten this out, because if we work together for the purpose of blocking the gains of isis, and understanding that we would have differences of opinion about how to handle syria, if we can get this under control, that's what is best for the syrians, that's what is best for the region, and i think in the long one what is best for russia. >> clinton also advocating cooperation between arab states and israel on iran. doctors without borders believes as many as 33 people are still unaccounted for after the u.s. bombing of a hospital in afghanistan. president obama called the group's president wednesday to apologize. the air strike left at least 22 people dead including doctors and patients. the pentagon says it was a mistake and is conducting its own investigation. but doctors without borders is calling for an independent investigation.
south carolina residents are being warned about the flood waters heading downstream. thousands of homes are still threatened after last week's historic storms. officials state could be the weekend before the state starts drying out. the death toll is now up to 17 after two men crossed a barricaded street wednesday and drowned. our correspondent is in south carolina, and still surrounded by water, i see in that neighborhood. what is the biggest danger now, and how are residents coping with the stress? >> reporter: well, the biggest concern right now is making sure the dams hold up. some 13 so far have failed. another 62 are being monitored. around here, residences are just waiting for this flood water to go down, and some residents have been waiting for days just to enter their homes. >> oh, not too bad. a little wet, but . . . oh! oh, god.
watch your step. the floor is gone. >> reporter: it only took calvin perry a few seconds to discover there was far left to his home than he hoped. >> you have got these sunken floors here. >> everywhere. every square foot of this place has been affected by the water, and if you don't watch -- like i said, you will get hurt. woe! >> there you go. >> that's it. okay. yeah, please. >> reporter: he returned to salvage what he can from a home that has been in his family for generations. the vietnam veteran came back to south carolina from texas 11 years ago to care for his ailing aunt. perry lives alone now, but the memories are still with him. this place has meaning for you? >> absolutely. all of this property used to be my grandfather's and what not.
and most of the people here are family. i'm at a loss for words. this is just . . . >> reporter: the last time perry left his house in a boat, he took nothing as rescue crews swept him to safety. now he's leaving with handful of possessions helped by a local animal rescuer who showed up with a group of firefighters to save animals from a neighboring property. >> my mission is to leave a heart print bigger than my boot print. my boot print is 12 wide, so i'm thinking i have a pretty good heart print that i have got to leave. >> reporter: jewel daniel certainly left her heart print on calvin perry. he salvaged a box of family photos, including one of himself as a young boy and the two aunts he'll never forget. >> at this time, this is all i
got to remember anybody. you know? so what can i tell ya? it's rough all over, and -- but right now, i can't concentrate on all over. i have to concentrate on myself and what i'm going to do. >> reporter: and perry says he doesn't know where he'll go next. he says he will be applying for fema assistance. as for how much all of the damage in south carolina will cost, one official says that could be upwards of a billion dollars. >> yeah. the concern right now, of course is these dams, and whether they will hold. there are reports now the state has only spent a quarter million dollars on dam inspections and maintenance, compared to north carolina's $2 million. what is the governor saying about that? >> the governor was asked repeated about that yesterday. and she said right now they just want to focus and make sure the flood threats are gone, and
that's expected to be through the weekend. so the governor says, look, as far as these dams, the 62 that they are monitoring, the 13 that have failed, those are just a fraction of the 2,000 dams that the state regulates, steph. >> inez thank you. flint, michigan is changing its water sources. the city deals with high levels of lead in its drinking water. they announced a plan to connect flint to detroit's system. the decision comes after dangerous amounts of chemicals were found in the flint river. >> i could hardly sleep knowing that our youngest and most vulnerable children could be at greater risk if precautionary steps were not taken. >> reporter: the new water source will be online by next summer. for now residences have been giving lead-clearing filters and
bottled water. as republicans prepare to choose the next speaker of the house, the front runner's bid appears to be in trouble. new candidates from the right are challenging him for that top job. and the federal government prepares for the largest onetime release of inmates. it is designed to prevent overcrowding, but what is filling america's prisons? we'll take a closer look at mandatory minimums.
house republicans take up the fight today over who replaces john boehner as house speaker. kevin mccarthy was the heavy favorite, but that could be changing just hours before the first vote. a group of conservatives is saying it will back daniel webster instead. he may have enough votes to block mccarthy on the first ballot. michael shure joins us live from capitol hill. who is daniel webster and which republicans are backing him this morning? >> reporter: daniel webster is a representative from florida. he is the only person who has been a speaker of the house right now that was running for this, because he was the speaker of the florida house of representatives. he has already gotten votes in this type of election before. he came in second among republicans when these elections were held in january. what he wants to do is very different. i don't think he thinks he is going to be the next speaker of
the house, but he can help prevent the freedom -- he can go into the freedom caucus and help prevent the whole house caucus from electing their guy, and that is kevin mccarthy. they came out and roughly 40 of them said, he is our man. and they are a very far-right conservative caucus. >> but you said he doesn't believe he could actually get the position. so how does this end at the end of the day? who becomes speaker? what kind of votes do they need? and is it clear who that will be at this point? >> reporter: it is certainly not clear who that will be. today the republicans are going to be meeting to select their nominee in this process. of course it's a non-binding vote. daniel webster this morning already when they had their forum, the republicans got together and heard each of the candidates. daniel webster said i don't care
who we are going to send as our, quote unquote, nominee, i am not going to just support the candidate of the party. they need 218 votes, stephanie, and right now they don't have those votes. and if they don't get through these ballots, and they are not able to elect a speaker, john boehner i would remain as speaker of the house. >> michael before i let you go, i want to get to another topic in the senate. democrats are planning to unveil new gun-control legislation, do you have more on that? >> reporter: at 11:00 this morning, some senators are going to gather to talk about new legislation. it's ahead of the president going to roseburg, oregon tomorrow. they are going to introduce, again, new legislation similar to, if you remember, the toomey mansion legislation which failed. it was bipartisan. today they are going to get
those gun show loopholes closed and prevent these straw purchases, people buying guns for people who are not eligible to buy them. john corner has said he has a mental health issue he wants to address, and they are going to maybe incorporate his legislation, but this is not as bipartisan, because pat toomey who was on the previous legislation, is not going to be on it this time. >> michael shure live for us on capitol hill, thank you. hillary clinton is doing out against one of the obama administration's biggest trade deals. the trans-pacific partnership. she said she doesn't believe the trade deal would create jobs and raise wages for americans. the democratic front runner was in favor of it when she was secretary of state. and fox news owner is stirring up controversy in the presidential race. last night he tweeted this:
soccer has been suspended from fifa. they handed sepp blatter a 90-day suspension. he is at the center of a criminal investigation for allegedly misusing fifa money. nearly 6,000 prisoners will be set free by the end of the month. some 40,000 prisoners could eventually be released under the revised guidelines. the wave at the end of the month is being described as the largest onetime release in justice department history. i spoke with the general counsel for families against mandatory minimums. she said three-strike laws make crime rates worse. >> one of the things that motivated the decision was the decision that these drug sentences are all together too long. the adjust they made was a modest adjustment, but it means
a great deal to all of the prisoners. every prisoner that will be resta restart -- released will see an average a six-month reduction. we are taking a new and hard look at how we treat crime and punishment, and what we're finding out, and what the sentencing commission has demonstrated is that people who receive shorter sentences who are released early, do not have greater recidivism rates than people who serve their full terms in prison. >> price says judges have been reviewing these petitions since november 1st of last year, but so many are set to be released now because the sentencing commission pushed back the effective date until november 1st of this year. ambitious legislation designed to fight climate change is now the law in california. governor jerry brown signed the measure last night. it commits the state to use
renewable energy for half of its electricity by 2030. california's drought is forcing farmers to take drastic measures to get water for their crops, and that includes pumps millions of gallons of ground water. but that practice is having serious consequences and jacob ward reports, parts of the state are now literally sinking. >> we're -- we're in a very precarious situation because the only water we have is ground water. >> reporter: when diane friend's well failed this year, she was just about to harvest a big beautiful crop of tomatoes. in the end she had to bury it. when did you know you had to put it under? >> well, it was about 75% made. >> reporter: california is in the fourth year of a terrible drought, and the evidence is everywhere. california gets 60% of its water
from underground aquifers, but drilling wells is almost entirely unregulated. when an underground aquifer is empty it collapses forever. the technical term is subsidence, and it's permanently disfiguring this state. the ground keeps sinking and sinking. that's the point that joseph poland was making when he posed for this photograph in 1977. i'm now standing in the exact same spot that he did, except i'm even further below him. that's because california is sinking away beneath our feet as we continue to pull water out of the aquifers and they continue to collapse. for diane friend, digging a new well is massive investment. without water here, she points out the whole country will
suffer. >> 75% of the nation fruits and vegetables come from here. so, again, it isn't just the valley, it becomes a bigger picture for everybody when it comes to food. >> jake ward, al jazeera, california. aen investigative journalist has won the nobel prize in literature, judges called svetlana alexievich's work as monument to courage and suffering. her first novel, wars on womanly face is based on previously untold stories of woman who fought against nazi germans, and sold more than 2 million copies. thanks for watching. i'm stephanie sy in new york. the news continues next live from doha. have a great day. ♪
>> announcer: this is al jazeera. hello, welcome to the news hour. i'm live in doha. our top stories. syria's army announces a major assault to take back territory from rebel groups boosted by russia's military intervention. also this hour, world football body fifa presses ahead for bans for sepp blatter and two other top fris frishl -- officials.