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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 22, 2015 9:30am-10:01am EST

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lima have been building a gingerbread village in support of syrian refugees. they are trying to raise money for a specific spanish charity working with refugees in aleppo. facing justice, former army sergeant bowe bergdahl goes before a military judge. the charges that could land him in jail for life. no indictment in sandra bland's death in a texas jail. the family wants answers. a landmark landing ushers in a new era of commercial space
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flight. this is al jazeera live from new york city, i'm bisi onile-ere. army sergeant bowe bergdahl is due to go before a military judge this morning as the beginning of his court martial on desertion charges. bergdahl walked from his post in afghanistan in 2009 and spent years as a taliban cab active. al jazeera's robert ray is live at fort bragg in north carolina. robert, what can we expect to happen during today's hearing? >> good morning. it's raining cats and dogs here in north carolina at fort bragg, but bowe bergdahl just walked into the courthouse behind us, just momentarily, a few minutes ago, expected to kick off at about 10:00 a.m., the arraignment, that is. the charges will be put against him and then we'll expect in about an hour or so after that from the military to come out and give us a statement and tell
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us more about what is going to happen in the coming months after this arraignment is done. >> this morning, i called bob and janie bergdahl and told them that after nearly five years in captivity, their son is coming home. >> that was president obama in the white house rose garden in may of 2014. it was in june, 2009 that bowe bergdahl disappeared from his remote army outpost in eastern afghanistan. he was unarmed. a day later, he was then captured by the taliban. >> my name is bowe bergdahl. >> and held prisoner for five years. this is how he described that experience. >> it's like how do i explain to a person that just standing in an empty, dark room hurts. i couldn't see my hand. i couldn't do anything. the only thing i could do is touch my face. >> after international political chess, it was all over in the
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spring of 2014. bergdahl handed over by the taliban, placed aboard to helicopter flown by american co man dose and in exchange, the release of five taliban prisoners in guantanamo bay. >> we maintained ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home. >> shortly after bowe bergdahl's return, soldiers who served with him began to speak out. >> he is not an american hero. he didn't serve with honor and dignity and respect, and he is a deserter in a time of war. >> sergeant bergdahl endangered the lives of thousands of men and women sent to search for him. >> at the time, the administration said there was no proof that anyone was killed trying to rescue him. >> this was the right thing to do, because we in the united states do not leave our men and women in uniform behind. >> after an intense investigation in march of this year, the army charged bergdahl with. >> desertion with intent to
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shirk important or hazardous duty and one count of article 99, misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place. >> sergeant bowe bergdahl has been working a desk job at fort sam houston in san antonio. he could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty, given the charge that the 45 day search spanning thousands of square miles that followed his disappearance in afghanistan put the lives of his fellow soldiers at risk. >> the trial could begin as early as may, 2016, as late as october of next year. >> ma makes the case and the charges against him so unique? >> what's interesting is the misbehavior charge. that's not a common thing to be put forth on people in the military. one of the last times that happened was after world war ii and what that essentially means is he put other troops in danger and perhaps even leaked tactics
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or classified information to the enemy, the taliban, when he was held captive for five years. if indeed, eventually after the trial goes forth, easy charged with in a misbehavior, that is likely a life in prison for bowe bergdahl, 29-year-old in the courthouse behind me, about to be arraigned at 10:00 a.m. >> thank you for your report. >> the family of sandra bland will keep demanding answers after a grand jury failed to indict anyone for her death. her arrest over the summer and death in a texas jail made headlines around the world and despite the grand jury said decision, the prosecutor insists this case is not over yet, as al jazeera's john henry smith has more on the grand jury's decision. >> for more than 10 hours, a grand jury in texas discussed evidence presented by special prosecutors in last summer's jailhouse death of sandra bland.
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she died three days after this traffic stop. >> the grand jury did not return an indictment. the grand jury also considered things that occurred at the jail and did not return an indictment. >> the coroner said bland hanged herself inside the waller county jail using trash bags. special prosecutor daryl jordan would not reveal details of the meeting with the grand jury other than to say that his team carefully reviewed video of bland's time in jail. >> as far as what happened today, the details, of course, those are all secret. >> the biggest problem for me is the entire process. it's the secrecy of it all. >> 1100 miles away in chicago, bland's family continued to express doubt that the sandra they knew would kill herself and about the grand jury. >> we have absolutely no confidence in what we believe is a sham proceeding. we are desperately seeking very
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basic information to conduct our own independent investigation of what happened to sandy there and they are not only not providing it to us, but they are invoking this inherent trust in a system that we think is inherently flawed. >> anything they've asked for, we've done our best to giving it to them. the grand jury is committed to doing what's right and we are committed to doing what's right. >> the grand jury meets again in january to examine other aspects of sandra bland's traffic stop and her arrest. on your world this morning, we spoke with cannon lambert, an attorney for the bland family and asked if he believed someone would eventually be held accountable for her death. let's just be honest. since july, they've had videotape of what happened to sandra at that stop. that's the easiest part to look at, isn't it? yet they still need another two months to examine that video? that's staggering to us. >> going book to that day in july, bland's mother disputes
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accounts that her daughter committed suicide. what does she think happened that day? >> well, the problem is that she doesn't know. we don't even have the preliminary police report that the officer himself authored. that's how little information they have come forth with. the reason that we've been asking for the basic information we've asked for is so that we can get answers for this family. we're coming up on the holidays now and they're still in a place where they can't say to themselves that they know what happened. >> lambert believes the decision to have the grand jury return in january is another attempt to delay the release of a texas ranger's investigation into bland's death. he will ask the federal judge to compel texas authorities to turn over the document. >> prosecutors will have to wait until june to retry a baltimore city police officer in the death of freddie gray. the trial starts june 14. the first case ended last week
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with a hung jury. porter was the first officer tried in connection with grays fatal injuries in a police van in january. the driver of the van will go on trial. a minnesota judge today is expected to decide whether to allow protests inside the mall of america. demonstrators plan to gather there on wednesday over the death of a black man at the hands of police. we have this report. >> these protestors are being told by the country's largest mall not to demonstrate on their property wednesday, asking a minnesota judge to grant a temporary restraining order. the mall of america hopes to prevent a huge demonstration like the one last year where some stores had to shut down. the mall said that protest caused irreparable damage to mall of america, saying as a private retailer it prohibits all forms of protest, demonstration and public debate. mall officials also want protestors to delete and take down any on line materials
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soliciting demonstrators to gather at the mall. black lives matter protestors say that's not going to happen. >> our country was built off of protests, protest is meant to make people uncomfortable. protest is not meant to be easy, but it's a struggle that we must go through to get justice here. >> protestors hope to draw attention to the death of jamar clark, a black man killed by police. they've been demonstrating for weeks, demanding video of the shooting be released. authorities say they can't, because it could interfere with ongoing state and federal investigations. an attorney for the mall says they don't take an issue with the message, but they don't want protests two days before christmas on a busy shopping day. >> we will take this one step at a time. if the judge issues an order retraining the demonstration and that order is violated, we'll deal with it. >> some protestors seem to be
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doubling down on their promise to go to the mall. they've been tweeting with the hash tag sue me too. a bail hearing is scheduled for the woman accused of mowing down dozens of people on the las vegas strip. the 24-year-old is charged with one count of murder. one person died in the crash. 35 others were hurt. holloways 3-year-old daughter was in the car at the time. she told investigators she recently became homeless and had been living out of her car with her child. students in new hampshire are back in class this morning. schools were closed monday due to a threat. the town's police chief said an ongoing investigation didn't find any credible evidence of a planned attack, but didn't say it was a hoax, either. over the weekend, the school superintendent said the district received an email naming two schools threatening to harm students and staff. fighting back against the taliban in afghanistan, fierce
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combat in the countries south a day after six american troops died in a taliban attack. >> taking a stand against gun violence, the demonstrators who spent more than two years fighting to end mass shootings.
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>> the iraqi military launched a major offensive to retake rimadi in iraq.
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the army has surrounded the city from all sides. isil took over the city earlier this career. the u.s. led isil coalition said retaking the city is crucial to defeating the group. clashes between afghan forces and the taliban. battles have been going on in the southern hellman province. the taliban has almost completely captured a strategic district. on monday, it claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed six u.s. troops. the u.s. and britain are now sending in special operations teams to help with the fight. al jazeera has more from the pentagon. >> in afghanistan's southern province, fighting is intense as the hall ban claim success in capturing the police headquarters, governor's office and other government buildings, the governor there said it has left afghan soldiers and citizens begging for food. like the latest suicide attack that killed a half dozen u.s.
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troops outside bagram air base, it's just more evidence the taliban is back. kabul has been the focus of what the pentagon calls high profile attacks and counts the deadly motorcycle suicide bombing as the 29th such attack by the taliban in or around the afghan capital since the beginning of the year, a 27% increase over the same period last year. at the same time, the taliban has shown it can also take key terrain outside of its traditional strongholds, as it did back in late september and early october, when it briefly held the northern city of kunduz. >> the taliban's advances in some parts of the country, even if only temporary, underscored that this is a tough fight and it's far from over. it's also a dynamic fight. >> defense secretary ash carter was in afghanistan last week to meet with his top commander there, general john campbell, who candidly admitted to reporters the fledgling afghan security forces are still struggling.
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>> the u.s. army's been around for 240 years, the afghan army has been around for seven or eight years. we're trying to build an airplane while in fight. >> the report to congress offered a harsh assessment. it said: >> right now, they're very, very static. that's where they've taken casualties on checkpoints. >> one big factor, the u.s. is no longer providing airstrikes for offensive operations. one of the findings of the investigation into the mistaken bombing of the doctors without borders hospital in kunduz is that the mission never should have been authorized. u.s. air power is supposed to be used only to protect the u.s. troops on the ground or afghan troops in extreme distress. >> u.s. forces are helping
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afghan forces from the air, not as much as in the past, but that's part of the plan, which is to get to the point where afghans are able to provide their own air support. >> the u.s. had been training afghan pilots to fly a ground assault plane so afghanistan can provide its own close air support. the first group of pilots is only completing training in georgia. the pentagon said despite the resilience of the taliban, the afghan military has been able to retake anything lost. the taliban has becoming more effective at finding and exploiting soft spots, leading to fragile security in some spots while in other areas there is a risk of further deterioration. president obama is calling for more action to end the global refugee crisis.
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the white house said the president will host a summit on the refugees next year but isn't scheduled until september. this year, the international organization said more than a million people have fled to europe this year. people who reject refugees are said to be allies of extremists. >> those that reject syrian refugees and especially if they are muslim are the best allies of the problem began da and recruitment of extremist groups. >> the tough talk came at a security council meeting on the humanitarian crisis. he says people are forgetting that refugees are the victims of terror and not the source of it. no official reaction from the hillary clinton campaign to some controversial comments made by donald trump.
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in grand rapids, michigan, he mocked clinton for taking too long in the bathroom during saturdays democratic debate. he used an offensive yiddish term to describe her loss to then senator obama. >> she was going to beat obama. i don't know who'd be worse. i don't know, how does it get worse? she was going to beat, she was favored to win and she got shlung. she lost. i mean she lost. >> the michigan event is not the first time trump used that phrase. in a 2011 interview with the washington post, trump used the same term describing paul ryan in a loss in a special election. the man charged with helping the couple behind the san bernardino attack is still behind bars today. he was denied bail in a california courtroom monday. the judge found marquez still poses a threat to the public. prosecutors say he bought two of the guns used to kill the people
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in the attack. there have been demonstrations outside the white house for two years. we have the story. >> take a look at this protest against gun violence and now this one, what's the different? nearly two years' time but virtually no change in federal gun laws. >> i came out here and saw you almost two years ago. >> yes, you did and we welcome you back sadly, not personally, but we wish we didn't have to be here. >> this group sets up in front of the white house nearly every monday, ever since july, 2012 after the mass shooting at a colorado movie theater that left 12 dead. >> why are you still here? >> we're still here for our children and our grandchildren. >> the demonstrators call gun violence a public health emergency. they want what they call sensible gun laws, background checks for every sale, including those at gun shows, an assault weapons ban and mandatory gun safety training.
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there has been no movement on any of this in congress. just one day after this month's attack in san bernardino, california, the senate voted down two gun control bills, including one to stop those on the terrorist watch list from buying a weapon. >> change takes time, and particularly when something as entrenched as the gun culture is in our country, it takes time. >> it's a constitutional right. why shouldn't people be able to have their guns? >> they can have guns. i don't think anyone needs an ak47. >> public support for some of these tougher laws has slipped. a recent new york times news poll suggests just 44% of americans favor an assault weapons ban. 50% are opposed. 15 years ago, 70% favored such a ban. the politically powerful national rifle association says americans have rejected tougher
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laws, telling aljazeera america: >> some who pass by here debate gun rights. others shake their heads at the timeline of tragedies spread out on the pavement. >> it seems harder to get a driver's license than it does to get a gun. we need to look at that. >> even some gun enthusiasts say they are open to more regulation. 14-year-old mary catherine dixon lives in georgia and hunts quail, but says she understands the protestors' point. >> you use guns, you're comfortable with guns? >> yes, i am, but that is only my dad, before i could ever shoot a gun. i started shooting a couple of years back, i had to take the gun safety course. >> president obama has talked passionately about tougher gun laws. his administration says he's looking at ways to act on his own, but without congress, there
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may be little the president can do. lisa stark, al jazeera, washington. a successful launch and landing, the big boost for space travel when a commercial rocket makes history.
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a flawless launch and big night for space x. the landing marked the first time a rocket launch, a pay load into orbit and then returned
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safely to earth. as adam may reports, space x is pushing the envelope on space travel. >> cheers of joy, space x celebrating a historic landing of its falcon rocket moments after launching it into space. it marks the first time space x, after three failed attempts, successfully completed its mission to reuse a rocket for future use. that technology setting up new innovations to trim costs and change completely how mankind approaches space flight. >> a ship like no other, its place in history secured, the space shuttle pulls into port for the last time. >> when nasa landed a shuttle for the last time in 2011, its mission of delivering payloads to space came to an historic close. left in its wake, a race to
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space between traditional air and defense contractors and self made billionaires. with the space shuttle grounded, nasa hired orbital a.t.k. for $1.9 billion to fly cargo missions to the international space station. its capsule arrived at the i.s.s. two weeks ago, delivering thousands of pounds of equipment on a rocket purchased from lockheed martin and bowing. space x, founded by tesla's elon musk has several launches under its belt uses its own rockets. nasa is reportedly paying $2.6 billion for space x. to transport crews to the space station by 2017. in 2012, space x launched the first spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the i.s.s. blue origin's new shepherd, backed by amazon's jeff besos got it right first. history was made last month when
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the rocket gently touched down on a landing pad in west texas. >> space x's vehicle went up close to 400,000 feet. it actually went into space and came back down and landed under rocket propulsion. >> the idea is to make the new shepherd capsule named for alan shepherd available to companies and individuals so that space travel becomes almost second nature. >> say you took an airplane and only used it once and had to build a whole new one to take another flight. >> a proposition space x and blue origin will spend billions to perfect as it hopes what goes up comes back down. adam may, al jazeera. >> thanks for watching. i'm bisi onile-ere. the news continues next live from doha.
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>> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello, and welcome to the al jazeera news hour. i'm martine dennis in doha. coming up in the next 60 minutes. [ gunfire ] the battle for ramadi, iraqi forces say they have launched a big offensive to recapture the city from isil. [ applause ] the greek parliament votes to recognize palestine as a state in the presence of


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