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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 16, 2015 10:00am-11:01am EST

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>> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ it's good to have you with us as we begin another news hour here in doha. our top stories. a mass prisoner swap gets underway in yemen, despite violations of a week long ceasefire. stopping the flow of isil oil. the efforts to prevent the armed group from making millions a month from the trade. i'll be here with all of the
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day's sport including suspended football boss michelle platini refuses to attend a hearing that will rule on allegations of corruption. and the much-awaited new "star wars" film is released worldwide. ♪ hello, hundreds of fighters have been released as part of a prisoner swap between government forces and rebels in yemen. it comes as peace talks are continuing in switzerland. expectations for a deal, though, are low, as both sides accuse each other of failing to honor a ceasefire. zana hoda is monitoring those talks in switzerland. zana, what is the latest?
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>> reporter: well, despite the inis -- incidence of violence that you mentioned, a positive development, the exchange of hundreds of prisoners. this is being described as a goodwill gesture. this is not what the yemeni government has been demanding. what the government wants for the houthi rebels and their allies to release high-profile prisoners, including the defense minister. you mentioned the violence on the ground. the ceasefire is being violated, but overall, we're not hearing either side declaring this ceasefire dead. but we did hear from the saudi-lead coalition saying thatry committed to this ceasefire, but they reserve the right to retaliate. the saudi press agency says a saudi border guard was killed by houthi rebels. so it's a fragile truce, really.
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and this is what the ambassador had to say. >> if we are also declaring all of these violation of the ceasefire, we will stick to the ceasefire. we think this is the only option for us to go further down the path of peace, and achieve peaceful resolution to the conflict in yemen. the houthi delegation came without empowerment, actually. they came just to -- to start the rhetorics of the seven points, the principals and ideas that have nothing to do with the agenda. their only intention to rebuild their operability so they can manage to -- to be effective again in all fronts of battle. we want them to be serious in the peace battle. we asked them to go back, return to the state, and come back as a partner to the political process. if they are willing to do that,
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our hand is extended to them and we will keep extending that hand because we need peace. we feel we have the more responsibility towards our people in their suffering. >> conciliatory statements but there is still deep mistrust between the two sides. >> why, though, is optimism for a deal so low, given that they are still there, still talking, no one has walked away. >> reporter: exactly, and that's progress in itself the fact that it's day two and the delegations are still sitting together discussing in the same room. this is the first time since the conflict began nine months ago, but what we understand is that the houthis and their allies what they are demanding is a ceasefire. they want to talk about a permanent ceasefire. for the yemeni government and
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their allies, this is unacceptable, because they believe the houthis are just trying to buy time, they will be able to consolidate their positions on the ground, resupply their troops and prepare for a new offensive. so there is a lot of sticking points as well. and you heard the yemeni ambassador say we are extending our hands to peace. the houthis want power-sharing deal, and this is why it's going to be very difficult, and the very fact that neither side, really, has the upper hand on the ground, the balance of power is in no one's favor. no one can dictate their own settlement to this conflict. the u.n. and the international community is putting a lot of pressure on both sides to reach an agreement, because the international community is worried that the security vacuum, the chaos in yemen is playing into the hands of groups
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like isil and al-qaeda. >> zana hoda many thanks indeed. the united states says that isil is looking at trying to take control of potentially vulnerable oil assets in libya and elsewhere. it is estimated the armed group is making as much as $40 million a month from the sale of oil. efforts are being made to stop the flow of isil oil, as caroline malone reports. >> reporter: this is a road in northern iraq that has been used to transport illegal oil for isil. the armed group has been able to sneak its trucks in among legitimate oil tankers. thousands of barrels of crude oil can pass through into the city of kirkuk. >> translator: they also use side roads. we cut all of the roads off by digging a ditch around the whole
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area, isil is now forced to send their oil to mosul. >> reporter: crude oil is a major source of money for the armed group. in the past it has used businessmen to sell its oil internationally. the provincial government formed a committee to investigate. >> translator: about a year anding, we learned that huge quantities of crude oil were being sold overseas. 15 people were arrested. one committed suicide or may sl been killed in prison. later we found out that influential figures were involved. but the investigation ended and they didn't release the outcome to the public. >> reporter: the international coalition and iraqi trooping fighting isil have made the flow harder. and it is more difficult for the armed group to transport weapons and fighters too.
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let's get a view from the managing director of a consu consulting firm. is isil trying to take control of these oil assets in libya, do you think? >> i think if you go by their past and what they have done -- i have said this many time. i mean isil has been really obsessed by oil assets, oil wells in iraq and syria, and if you look at the areas where they control, the -- in iraq for example, in the north part, they -- when they attack, they tack the area far from mosul. all of the other areas where they try to gain a foothold was the oil rich areas where they have tried to develop oil fields. the kurdish forces were quick to respond with the help of the allies. and syria is the same story. if you look at -- although
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geographically those areas are historically sunnis and it fits their profile, but the areas where they really established themselves is the area where the majority of syrian oil is. and these groups are really obsessed with those oil-rich areas, and libya, and yemen and other places are not immune to it. and i can see in the near future, if the they manage to organize themselves in libya, they can really get ahold of assets there, and sell it very easily, because they will have very easy access to the mediterranean. very much like the nigerian story where at some points there is about a million barrels going on the black market. so it could easily make it to anywhere in europe and elsewhere. >> okay, so how do you stop it? is bombing oil facilities the most effective way to do that?
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>> indeed. i think what has been happening, isil have been very clever in trying to establish the -- sort of -- the way they organize the oil fields and the way they sell the oil. most of the oil from isil is sold in oil wells. so you have truckers businessmen, middlemen, smugglers, everyone comes to their wellheads. they gather oil, pay the money and then they take it away. in the past, especially last year, when oil prices were around $120 a barrel, it was very lucrative to get a good deal from isil, get across the border, and sell it, and double the price. that trades has now stopped. so they have been very effective in trying to utilize what they have, but because of the civilian involvement it has been very hard to target them. >> if you bomb oil facilities, though, does the islamic state
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of iraq and the levant have the wherewithal to rebuild those facilities? and if it doesn't, of course, that means that sooner or later, the international community will have to rebuild those facilities. >> i -- i think that's very accurate statement, but depending on how -- what you target -- if you target the facilities -- the delivery areas where the pipelines involved are involved, that can be easily fixed. but if you damage the wellheads itself, that would be very, very difficult for isis to repair in a short period of time, because it needs rigs, expertise, you know, expensive and high-tech equipment, but if you just damage the surrounding areas where some of the pipes get damaged and there's a fire, eventually they can control that and get production up and running. on the question of rebuilding
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it, that's a legitimate question, but if you let isil utilize this oil, they -- they are going to be very hard to be defeated by the local -- other local forces as known as moderate, or the kurdish forces in the north, once they have this income coming through, none of the other groups have that types of resources at their disposal. so if you are going to defeat isis from the air, you have to attack those oil heads. rebuilding is another question for another day, but at this moment, i think the immediate threat is trying to eliminate their main source of funding. >> good to talk to you, sir, many thanks indeed. >> thank you. isil has launched a series of attacks in anbar province. the bombings and attacks
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happened in the north of where soldiers are based. 23 iraqi soldiers and tribal fighters were reported killed, 35 others were injured. u.s. defense secretary ash carter is in iraq as part of his mission to gather more regional support in the fight against isil. two aid agencies have begun delivering food to thousands of people in the syrian city of homs. delivery has made it to the district of the city, which was, until recently, controlled by rebels. aid had been unable to get through in the past, because syrian forces besieged the area last week, but all of this changed last week. a spokesman for the international committee of the red cross spoke with us. >> in a year where you don't
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have a stable supply of water, when the electricity is not available, when your child is sick, you cannot get the basic medicines to treat him, whatever is difficult, when you are confined to a very, very narrow space with 60, 70, 80,000 people, i mean -- and this is not only a feature of this area, there are more than 4 million people are in areas where access to humanitarian aid is still very, very difficult. the situation of the people are already deteriorating day by day. we are trying to do what we can to help people to [ inaudible ] their collective shelters, their basic houses, and buildings in the skeleton buildings, but that is definitely not enough, and much more needs to be done, and
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greater access needs to be granted for us to -- to help those people as the winter is going to be harsh. >> still to come here on the news hour. on the road to fukushima, the long process of breathing life back into a ghost town. farmers in kenya and other developing nations are still shut out of key markets despite pledges to end subsidies for richer ones. and in sport, some of cuban baseball's most high profile detectors, welcomed home for the first time. ♪ >> iran's president says that a decision by the world's nuclear watchdog to end its investigation into his country's nuclear activity is a political victory. it says it has closed its 12-year review, but the united nations says that iran violated
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a missile ban when it test fired a rocket in october. gabriel elizondo reports from new york. >> reporter: first there was the october 10th ballistic missile test by iran. followed on tuesday by a u.n. report by a panel of experts that concluded the test violated the security council resolution. and now the condemnation by the u.s. not only of iran, but also of the security council itself, saying it has a troubling tendency to look away in the face of iran's violations. >> this council cannot allow iran to feel it can violate our resolutions with impunity. the council members who raise violations of our resolutions, who seek action from this council in response, are not the destabilizers. we are not the rule breakers. iran is. when it violates council resolutions. >> reporter: the u.s. and the
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west could propose blacklisting additional iranian officials orentities, but russia and china might not go along with it. president obama said he would not stand in the way. but iran has said any sanctions could jeopardize the nuclear deal signed in july with six world powers. but there were mixed sentiments on tuesday, coming from the u.n. in vienna, the international atomic energy agency ended their decade-long probe on allegations iran worked to obtain nuclear arms. >> the agency has no credible indications of activities in iran, relevant to the development of nuclear explosive devices after 2009. nor has the agency found any
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credible indications of the diversion of nuclear material in connection with the possible military die -- dimensions to iran's nuclear program. >> reporter: essentially the iaea signaled that they support the iran nuclear deal and want to move forward, rather than to continue to probe iran's nuclear activity of the past. here at the u.n. the divided security council is left with deciding what if any action they will take. let's hear now from the dean of the world studies faculty at the university of tehran. he says that any new sanctions would threaten july's nuclear deal. >> if there are further sanctions that would r
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rep -- jeopardize the agreement, because it was implied that the united states and the other members of the p5-plus-1 would recognize that iran does not accept the security council resolutions. iran signed on to the joint statement, to the agreement, and therefore, anything within that agreement that iran has signed up to, iran will accept and abide by those elements within the agreement. so the united states knows, the russians know, the chinese know, and the others know that iran will not accept any limitations on conventional defense. it has been a year since taliban fighters stormed a school and killed 141 people mostly children. the attack lead to the creation of military courts in pakistan, and the re-introduction of the
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death penalty. >> reporter: there was a big ceremony here at the venue of that school -- army public school where that deadly attack took place. today i have with me the brigadier general who also lost his wife in that attack, she was a teacher at that school. can you tell us the importance of marking the first anniversary? >> the message was very loud and clear, because i could see the keenness they showed the [ inaudible ] who participated, and the -- there was a pride in their eyes. i could see the outstandingly intere interesting and -- i think the message was loud and clear to the extremists. >> reporter: and what sort of lessons do you think there are
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to be learned? >> i think we have already learned a lot of lessons. in this incident you could see there was a split in society about the opinion about this terrorism. but this brought the nation together. and then the plan came in, and so did [ inaudible ] and you could see the momentum of the [ inaudible ] in the humans because of that. >> reporter: that was the brigadier general telling us about the -- importance of this day. schools have been closed today, and this will be a day that will be remembered. that attack was the worst in recent memory and most of those killed were kids under the age of 16. al jazeera has spoken to one student survivor. >> my name is mohammed, i am
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studying in [ inaudible ] school. i am in ninth grade. on 16th of december, as i was heading towards the school my mom hugged me and kissed my forehead, and in biology we went to the auditorium for a lecture. a horrible looking men came into the auditorium and they started firing. we were all afraid. i was screaming not because i was afraid, i was thinking i will be no more in this world. i will never hug my mother again. all of those memories were going somewhere in the sky, and when those [ inaudible ] were glaring at me with their cold eyes, they aimed their guns towards me [ inaudible ] and then they pulled my classmen from the chairs and shot them.
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i was badly injured, but i decided i will never give up, and at least a man came and rescued me. i was unconscious for eight days, i would not expecting that i would stand up again, but allah helped me, and i am alive. they were trying to stop us from being educated. and make us afraid so we cannot get education. when this insid deng happened my mind decided that i will join the military and fight them. but then my mind changed. i thought i will get education, and through education, we the defeat them. before this incident, i was like a normal child, and i was not that much strong as i am today. >> that was a student at the army public school. now brazil's president
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public popularity appears to have sunked to a new low. the first poll since the start of impeachment process, she gets just 9% approval. the fifth republican party presidential debate has been held in las vegas, the candidates focused on national security. donald trump was, as usual center stage, but faced criticism over his controversial comments about muslims. >> reporter: it was the fight before christmas as the holidays loom the last chance for republican presidential hopefuls to make an impression before the end of the year, and jeb bush decided to attack donald trump. >> you are never going to be president of the united states by insulting your way to the polls. >> i'm at 43 and you are at -- >> doesn't matter. >> reporter: ted cruz insists
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america must use its military might. >> would carpet bomb the location of the troops. the object isn't to level a city. the object is to kill the isis terrorists. >> reporter: marco rubio believes it's about taking a lead in armed events. >> we are the most powerful nation in the world. we need to act like it again. >> reporter: this was a significant debate. they touched on the threat of isil, national security, and immigration. they were determined, though, to suggest that republicans would take a much different approach from barack obama and the democratic white house. ben carson rejected the idea he had a bad night. >> if i'm walking down the treat and breathing, some co come -- commentators will say
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i'm struggling. >> i'm leading by a lot, and i have learned to greatly respect a lot of the people in the republican party. so there won't be any necessity for that. >> reporter: in just over 40 days the voters in iowa will start the process that will take one of these candidates closer to the white house. we're approaching the midway point in this news hour. still to come, a political crisis for south africa, as protesters are out on the streets. and the fifa club world cup has been decided. farah will be here with all of the details. ♪
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>> there is so many changes in my life... i was ready for adventures. >> from burlesque dancer to acclaimed artists. >> art saved my life. >> reflections from her new memoir. >> no no no no no... i'm way to dysfunctional to have an ordinary job. >> see what lies ahead for molly crabapple. >> who emerges from life unscathed? >> i lived that character. >> we will be able to see change. ♪ hello, again, adrian finighan here in doha, with the news hour from al jazeera. hundreds of prisoners are being released in yemen as part of a deal wheen rebels and government forces. it comes as peace talks in
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switzerland continue. pro-government fighters are transferring some 375 houthi prisoners. the u.s. says that isil may be trying to take control of vulnerable oil fields in libya and elsewhere. the kurdish regional government of iraq is trying to stop the illegal sales. and the iaea closed its 12-review of iran's nuclear pram on tuesday. thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across south africa to demand that president zuma step down. investors are spooked and the local currency has plunged. joining us now from johannesberg is one of the leaders of unite
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against corruption. good to have you with us. i know you are no fan of jacob zuma, what do you make of this week's political musical chairs in the cabinet? >> well, [ inaudible ] to us that this country has been on an autopilot for six, seven years now. it's like being on a roller coaster, no driver, or in a deep sea, no captain in the ship, and we are going through very difficult times, i must say. i must give a proper background to this, because it's not just about the represents of this week, it's about the events that have been going on for years now. south africa is going through a tremendous economic challenge, our [ inaudible ] have reached record levels, 34%.
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our youth's future is being taken away from them, through that unen employment crisis. the education system is in crisis. the health is in crisis. inequalities have grown to the point that we're now number one in the whole world in terms of a country with the most pronounced inequali inequalities. 40 million south africans go to bed every night without anything to eat. that is the context of the anger of south africans that we're expressing, that we're [ inaudible ] today in the marches that we have organized. >> who's fault is this, though? does the buck stop with jacob zuma or is the problem wider than just the man at the top? >> in my view, the problem is wider than just one person. it can't be, because why south africans are so angry at the
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fact that the ministry -- or there was yet another attempt to remove a minister seen by the public as one of the most effective and efficient, [ inaudible ] but the reason why people are reacting to that, is because they see this as a trend to domesticate, to hollow out, and to basically plant the institutions of the state for the benefit of the corrupt few in society. there's been a consistent attack on the judiciary in this country. there has been an assault on the office of the public protector. the people believe that the independent electoral commission can no longer be trusted to give us an honest view of the views of the south africans. >> but, sir, are we talking
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about here -- the fault, the blame lay with jacob zuma and his cabinet or the wider anc executive committee as well as far as you are concerned? >> reporter: as far as i'm concerned we are no longer just talking about one person. we're talking about collective in the cabinet, as well as in the executive committee of the african national congress. we should be there giving the president a round of applause all of the steps we have taken, they have given support, including the step of removing the finance minister last week. they are saying this was a sign of bold leadership, and we're frankly disgusted, and that's why in my view, removing the president and leaving behind that executive committee that claps hands when he says that
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south africa as a country comes second to his party, the anc, and they say there is nothing wrong, and they clap hands when the lpa was being attacked and its independence compromised, they clap hands. when the president spends 246 million in his private residence. they gave him a round of applause. when the public protector made the steps that must be taken to correct that, they -- they kicked public protector in the mouth. so it's not just one person. as a result, we're sitting with a nation where our [ inaudible ] is compromised, our intelligence communities can no longer be trusted. they are basically ineffective. our hawks which is a high flyer, high intelligence institution that was established, nobody
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takes that seriously anymore. our state-owned enterprises are all in a total crisis, and are falling apart. all of it being deliberate engineered strategy to weaken them so [ inaudible ] the root of a [ inaudible ] and capitalism that is going to be based on the [ inaudible ]. >> sir, we're going to have to leave it there. it has been good to talk to you. many thanks indeed. ministers meeting in kenya say that the word trade organization must deliver on its promise to knock down trade barriers. they say it has failed to assist developing nations who stand to gain most from access to markets. malcolm webb has traveled to the east of the country to see what impact current trade policies have on farmers there. >> reporter: after nearly a year
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of carefully attending the cotton plants, philip will make about $300 from this field. most farmers here in this country in kenya have stopped growing it. it's a lot of effort for little money. >> every day you have to go to the [ inaudible ] to see if [ inaudible ] and have come to destroy your plants. >> reporter: he sells the cotton for processing in a nearby town. eventually it will be woven into cloth, and it's almost entirely for the kennian market. the managers here say it's only operating at about 10% of its full capacity. governments of developing countries, including kenya's say unfair protectionist policies in rich countries prevent them from exporting agricultural products like cotton. and that hinders development. the u.s. is the world's largest
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cotton exporter, and it is subsidized by the government. it has been a contentious issue at trade summits for the last 14 years. member states have never reached an agreement. at the nairobi conference, developing countries say they still want deals to make trade more fair. but rich countries say that discussion is out of date, not the least because some countries like india and china have become powerful themselves. this man runs a trade think tank. he says the e.u.'s subsidies have mostly stopped.
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>> they are challenged by lack of infrastructure, by low productivity, by -- by the sort of issues that make it very hard for them to participate in -- in the global market. >> reporter: back in the country, farmers like phillip continue to struggle to grow their trade regionally and globally. richer countries have made their own regional agreements. some economists say african countries should do the same, instead of waiting for global deals that may never come. a group of [ inaudible ] nationals have been abducted. they were in a hunting party in a desert area. reported by up to 26 of them in the group. they said they had an officially permit from the iraqi government and it is working to secure its
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release. a north korean court has sentenced a pastor to life in prison. he traveled to north korea from toronto in january, and was reported missing in march. now japan where people are slowly moving back to a town close to the fukushima nuclear power station. it was one of the first cities to be evacuated after massive earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown of the plant. for more than four years nature has been steadily reclaiming this town. inside the exclusion zone around the fukushima power plant. its residents were prevented from returning while decontamination work was done. now about 400 elderly people have returned. >> i want to help the reconstruction effort. i call residents who are still
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not here is about coming back and try to help them out. >> reporter: the chief monk of an 830-year-old buddhist temple has also decided to return. but he has done so on his own, seeing his wife and two children only at weekends. >> translator: the village is quiet and so is my home. it feels busy during the day. but what we need are the smiles and laughter of children. >> reporter: the day job is in the local government's education department, helping build a new school with a capacity of up to 900 students. but even he isn't sure whether this is the right place to bring up his own children. there is a huge amount of energy and money being pored into the contest. for it to be a success, for a real sense of life to return here, they need to convince
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people who spent years away, that it is worth coming back. >> it's a message not helped by the 600,000 bags of decontamination waste stored on the edge of town. the mayor insists that the radiation levels are actually lower here than other areas. >> translator: the people who have evacuated have already built the foundation of their lives outside. >> reporter: three years ago we met a champion local fisherman, desperate that the disaster should not kill off his way of life. now an $11 million project is underway to expand the fishery. where they have been able to harvest the eggs of the returning fish. >> translator: hatching the eggs has been our biggest goal. i'm so happy that this coming spring we're going to be able to
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release the hatchlings. >> reporter: this is all a big gamble, a long-term bet on coaxing an abandoned town back to life. harry fawcett, al jazeera, japan. the highest court in japan has ruled on two family laws effecting married women. the old law dated back to before dna testing where the timing of a birth dictated where the ex, or the new husband were responsible for the baby. but the court has upheld the law that says that married couples must have the same name. 90% of women go with their husband's name in japan. michael pen says japan's traditions mean that change can often be slow. >> this is an issue that actually goes back more than a
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century. japan is a very conservative society in the sense of slow to -- to change once something is established, and japanese like predictability, and they like things to be understandable very quickly. so a lot of japanese feel the idea of having married couples with two names is something that could create confusion. so there has been a lot of sluggishness to make changes that are long overdue. more than 50% of the general public is in favor of allowing different surnames for husbands and wives, but still about 40% oppose it. and from this -- the government is a conservative government. the bureaucracy tends to be conservative, so it's more of a matter of getting over this opposition, which continues to have a lot of authority, and so -- the courts have also been very -- very slow to recognize the rights of women to -- to
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have their own surnames. china's president has called for countries to be allowed to set their own rules for cyberspace without interference. he was speaking at china's second world internet conference. beijing is often accused of online krin -- censorship. a new spacecraft developed by the chinese academy of signses is expected to launch in the next hour. its mission is to scan the cosmos. our science editor, tarek bazley explains. >> reporter: launching on board a long-range rocket. it is set to give the country's scientists a view none have had before. the 1400 kilogram spacecraft will orbit ert at an altitude of
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500 kilometers, while it's powerful telescope searches for rays. using a series of the tech fors the craft is able to map the direction in the charge of these particles as they travel through space. from these scientists will hope the telescope will see evidence of what is known as black matter. by looking at the movement of galaxies have concluded it exists, and they believe it makes up 80% of the mass of the universe. >> the disportion of lives from galaxies which are playing with the light from each other from other galaxies, and these measurements of these distortions is telling us there is an in addition amount of matter in the university verse that we cannot see. >> reporter: this is the first of four the chinese academy of
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sciences has developed to explore the universe. it is hoped these ultrahigh-res -- resolution telescopes will give us a new view of the universe. the man who developed basketball explains how he did it, as a rare audio is released.
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♪ time now for sport, here is farah. >> thank you so much. michel
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michel platini is refusing to attend the corruption hearing in protest. discipline hearings will determine whether sepp blatter, and platini are guilty of corruption charges, over a $2 million payment made to platini in 2011. lee wellings has more. >> reporter: platini and his lawyers have been threatening not to attend this hearing, they are going to go through with that threat. but the moment they heard from the investigation chamber of the ethics committee that it was likely to receive a long ban, that's the quote that came out, that has been denied by them, they felt the decision had been made in advance, he wasn't getting a fair hearing, they would be better off saying he hasn't had a fair hearing and take the whole thing to the
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court of artery trags for sports in switzerland. the ethics committee are denying that he is getting an unfair hearing. of course they say it is an independent and unbiased manner. platini was meant to be going on friday. blatter is going on thursday for his hearing. he of course is complaining too. he has written to all 209 national football associations with whom he always had a good relationship, saying there is prejudice against me. blatter at least will be there, both are facing long bans. river plate are the first side through to the fifa world cup in japan. local hopes [ inaudible ] in osaka. the goalkeeper kept the south american champions in the game in the first half with a flurry of saves, but this strike sent river plate through to sunday's
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final. libya has seen little international football in recent years amid violence and political tour -- turmoil in that country. on tuesday a friendly game was played in the capitol, tripoli, with the local side beating their opponent. the goal now is for the national team to be able to play at home. libya who won last year's second tier african nations championship played in neighboring true knee sha. the ethics committee is beginning a disciplinary hearing in four officials alleged to have covered up doping offenses. those accused include the iaaf long-time anti-doping director and two senior russian coaches. they are charged with various
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breeches, and could face lifetime bans. major league has begun its first official tour of cuba since 1999 with a the in diplomatic relations between the united states and the island nation could offer significant changes for the thousands of cubans who dream of playing in the mlb. >> reporter: posing for photographs, this is considered a triumphant homecoming for some of the biggest names in baseball. defectors who were along hundreds of cubans that have illegally left for the united states. >> translator: i'm very happy. thankful to the major league and the association for giving us this opportunity. >> reporter: the players were once the subject of official disdain, but major league baseball has been moving quickly to rebuild ties since president
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obama, and raul castro, announced a year ago they would reestablish diplomatic relations between the u.s. and cuba. this is the start of a three-day goodwill tour. >> it's the thought of our commissioner and owners to ultimately negotiate with the cuban baseball federation, operation of the u.s. government, and the cuban government, a safe, and legal path for cuban baseball players. >> reporter: this dodger's outfielder feld in a boat in 2012. it has been a familiar story after making less than a dollar a day in cuba, he is now on a $42 million contract. >> translator: what i missed the most was my country and seeing the people here. the cuban atmosphere which i hadn't seen for a while, that left me emotional. >> reporter: it's not all good
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news, cuba is a hot bed of baseball talent, and since the ease of relations, around 100 players have left the island. it is hoped in the future the maj -- major league will negotiate directly with the government for the contracts. a canadian named james may smith is credited with incenting the sport of basketball at the end of the 19th century. the only known audio recording of him has been discovered by a researcher at the university of kansas. this is part of an interview he did with a new york radio station he did back in 1939. >> the inventor of basketball. dr. maysmith how did you happen to invent basketball?
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>> it was in the winter of 1881 in massachusetts. we had a real new england blizzard. for days the students couldn't go outdoors, so they began rough housing in the halls. we tried everything to keep them quiet. we tried playing a modified form of football in the gym, but they got bored with that. something had to be done. one day i had an idea. i called the boys to the gym. divided them up into teams of nine and give them an old soccerball. i showed them two peach baskets i had nailed up at each side of the gym. i said the idea was to throw the ball into the opposing team's peach basket. i blew the whistle and the first game of baseball began. the wait is finally over for millions of "star wars" fans.
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the film has been released in more than a dozen countries globally. no spoilers, gerald tan has the latest. >> reporter: "star wars," the force awakens, the seventh installment of the saga created by george lucas is finally released to the public. fans in france are among the first in the world to see the film where more than half a million people have already prebooked their tickets. >> translator: it reminds us of our youth, and watching the episodes with our children, our teenagers, that's nice. >> translator: we are wondering what it will be like even with harrison ford in it. we'll still go see it. but what is it going to be like to continue the franchise. will it turn a really great saga into something bad. >> reporter: the film is creating ripples of excitement,
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as it is released in some countries ahead of a u.s. launch on friday. merchandising tied to the film will likely bring in billions of dollars in revenue for the walt disney company which brought the franchise three years ago. >> translator: i am actually happy that disney has bought the movie franchise. they brought all of the old cast like luke, princess leyla, and haan solo. i watched the trailer so many times, and every time i cry. >> reporter: since the trilogy began in 1977, it has turned into a cultural phenomenon, a force, showing no signs of stopping any time soon. gerald tan, al jazeera. the force is with lauren taylor and the team in london standing by to bring you up to date with the latest here on al
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jazeera. that's it for me. i'll see you again.
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>> i've been asked to keep my voice down cause we are so close to the isil position >> who is in charge, and are they going to be held to accout? >> but know we're following the research team into the fire >> they're learning how to practice democracy... >> ...just seen tear gas being thrown... >> ...glad sombody care about us man... >> several human workers were kidnapped... >> this is what's left of the hospital >> is a crime that's under reported... >> what do you think... >> we're making history right now... >> al jazeera america
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[ gunfire ] as fighting continues in yemen, the warring parties exchange hundreds of prisoners, during u.n.-backed peace talks. ♪ i'm lauren taylor, this is al jazeera, live from london. also coming up, global concern over vulnerable oil fields in libya, as it's estimated ills is making $40 million a month in selling stolen oil. the u.s. could see its first interest rate rise in ten years. and returning home, the japanese who are trying to coax


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