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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 22, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EST

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thanks for watching. i'm del walters in new york. the news continues live from london next. ♪ [ gunfire ] they are calling it the final assault. iraqi forces storm the center of ramadi, trying to recapture the city from isil. ♪ hello there, i'm barbara sarah. this is al jazeera life from london in fact also coming up on the program. the united nations security council hearing how the war in yemen has lead to a humanitarian crisis that is critical to the country. under massive public pressure, india toughens rape
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laws for juvenile offenders. and the number of refugees arriving in europe passes one million in just one year. ♪ the iraqi military is reporting progress in its mayor offensive against the islamic state of iraq and the levant in ramadi, a city 100 kilometers west of the capitol. iraq's government says its soldiers are advancing on the city center, where it it's -- estimates about 300 isil fighters remain. they launched the offensive last month. progress has been slow because the iraqi government wants to rely on its own troops and sunni tribes rather than shia militia who have been accused of human rights abuses. retaking ramadi would be the
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most significant victory against isil thus far, and here is why, this map shows ramadi in isil's support zone. this is where it's fighters are able to move freely, allowing support and reinforcement. this helps isil maintain these areas where it has enough presence to control the local population. this no longer includes sinjar, and finally there is the attack zone areas where isil conducts offensive maneuvers which have been concentrated around baghdad. zana hoda reports. ♪ [ gunfire ] >> reporter: it has been described as the final assault to recapture ramadi from isil. the iraqi military says its troops are moving in on the center of the city. the provinceal capitol has been
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under isil control for months. progress has been slow. isil is fighting back, using suicide bombers. it is not known how many men the armed group has in the city, but iraqi intelligence believes there could be up to 300. there are also civilians trapped inside, and reports of casualties. the iraqi military dropped leaflets a few days ago calling on people to leave, but isil is reportedly stopping them, so they can use them as human shields. isil stormed ramadi in may at the time much of iraq's western province was already under the arm's group control. the fall was an embarrassment for the iraqi government. the iraqi government didn't put up much of a fight and withdrew quickly. now they are back. and the fight is being lead by
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iraqi special forces. a member of parliament said sunni tribal forces are involved. >> there is a big support from the coalition air forces. there is big support from the tribal fighters also. the attack was bloody, good coordinated by the iraqi forces, and they attack isil from area they didn't expect it. so i think by the weekend if everything goes as they planned, yes, they will retake it. >> reporter: ramadi is a strategic city. it is on the doorstep of the capitol baghdad, and connects to jordan, and syria. taking ramadi was isil biggest victory this year, losing it would be a setback. this is a test on the u.s. strategy for helping troops. it will determine if the shia
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lead community is able to overtake isil. >> this is a big challenge for the iraqi security forces. around 4,000 families are still in ramadi, and they couldn't get out of the city, and the righting now is going on inside ramadi, so it seems there is no clear, no obvious plan by the iraqi security forces, how to protect those civilians. now everybody is talking about the land, it's talking about how to control the downtown of the city, but no one said about a clear plan, how to get a safe root for thousands of families, to let them get out of the city. this is a big challenge for the iraqi security forces, but unfortunately it seems there is no clear plan for the iraqi
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security forces to keep own those thousands of people, how to get them out of the city. everyone is warning how a catastrophe could happen around the city because thousands of civilians are still inside. ♪ the u.n. security council is hearing more details about the war in yemen, which has crippled an already poor country and lead to a humanitarian crisis. the united natio the u.n. estimates moore than 5,200 have been killed. about 1.3 million children have mall nourished and at least 2.3 million have been forced from their homes. the u.n. says there is credible evidence of war crimes and
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atrocities on all sides. the saudi-lead coalition appears to be responsible for a disproportionate amount of attacks on civilian areas. >> i have observed the continuation of heavy shelling from the ground and the air in areas with a high concentration of civilians as well as the perpetuation of the civilian infrastructure, in particular hospitals and schools by all parties to the conflict. although a disproportionate amount appear to be the result of air striked carried out by coalition forces. >> kristen saloomey has been following the developments for us. what is the significance of that statement? >> reporter: the united nations has just wrapped up its first round of face-to-face negotiations between the two sides in this conflict, the houthi rebels on the one side,
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and the saudi-backed government of president hadi on the other, and the envoy for yemen from the u.n. has asked for this meeting, and asked for the council to show its support for the ongoing talks, so this meeting was in answer to that request for the international community to show sup pore -- support, the first time that council members are speaking openingly in support of finding a resolution for the conflict there. i think what we just heard from the high commissioner in terms of concerns about the impact on civilians, this conflict is having, is very key to the message that the council is trying to end here, and perhaps to the saudi-backed coalition.
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on the one hand the u.n. and international community recognized president hadi as a legitimate leader of yemen, and the saudis have backed president hadi, but there is growing concern about the impact this fight is having on civilians, and as we just heard, the saudis are blamed for more of those attacks that are hurting civilians than the other side, the saudis of course using jets and war planes to come areas. civilians are being hit as well as civilian infrastructure. so this is a call from the u.n., not only to get the peace talks going, but to get a ceasefire going right away, so civilians can get some relief. kristen saloomey with the latest from the u.n. kristen, thank you. to afghanistan now where the government forces continue to fight the taliban in the
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country's southern helmand province. it is advancing on the district which fell to the taliban on monday. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: afghan forces have regained some outposts, but the main city remains under taliban control. nato ended operations in afghanistan nearly a year ago. al jazeera's political analyst and commentator on afghanistan gave us this analysis a little earlier. >> i think the taliban want to capitalize more on the fact that the government is busy sharing power with their -- with its partner in afghanistan, and as the winter is approaching, they want to gain more territories and put more pressure on the government. it is possible that the taliban will withdrawal, at the moment there's no information to hold off this war that is going on; that the current lead er of the taliban, whether he is capable
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of managing the taliban or not, he wants to prove to the taliban that he is the man to be followed; that he is a leader and that he can take territory in afghanistan and has control of the taliban. the afghan army is a well-trained army, yes, they lack air support, but the taliban do not have any power either. but afghan army is much better and well equipped compared to the taliban. india's parliament has approved amendments to the juvenile justice law. the bill was sitting in the upper house for more than a year. in change follows public out-croou out-croou out-croix -- outcry over the release of the youngest convict
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in the 2010 gang rape and murder. >> reporter: there is a long way before what is in its context is implemented on the ground. this bill needs to go to the president of india who will sign off on it, and it will be returned to the government to fashion laws that can be put in place and used by the legal system. it's really important to know here that while the release of the youngest convict in the 2012 gang rape case once again brought to light the issue of juvenile justice and detention in india, these laws will not be applied retrospectively to this case. there have been numerous debates on either side of this particular issue. those in support of this law have said that is it now better than never, and india needs stronger deterrence.
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on the other hand those who have been more spectacle said we need more time, and quickly developed laws are not good laws. the debate will continue despite the approval of the upper house. still to come on the program, giving generously in the occupied west bank to help rebuild homes destroyed by israeli forces. and we'll tell you about the lottery known as el gordo which carries the world's fattest check of more than $2 billion. ♪
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now a reminder of the top stories on al jazeera. [ gunfire ] >> the iraqi military is reporting progress in its major offensive against isil in ramadi. iraq's government says its soldiers are advancing on the city center. [ gunfire ] afghan government forces continue to fight the taliban in the country's southern helmand province. and the u.n. security council is hearing more details about the humanitarian impact of the war in yemen. millions of people are estimateded to be on the brink of famine. inside yemen, forcing loyal to the government have fought their way on the province close to the capitol. on monday u.n. sponsored peace talks ended without agreement, but will resume next month. richard martin reports.
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>> reporter: pro-government forces are on the offensive, they have taken control of the mountains overlooking sana'a, close to the houthi strong hold. houthi rebels took control of sana'a, 15 months ago. pro-government forces are fighting to allow the internationally recognized president to return to the capitol. >> translator: fighting is now ongoing in that direction on the right of the junction. >> reporter: there are pro-government gains too further north. there has been heavy fighting 50 kilometers from the saudi border. the houthis are on the retreat there, leaving weapons and other equipment as they go. pro-government fighters have taken control of a houthi training camp. both sides want to control this area, because it has most of yemen's oil and gas reserves. >> translator: we are following
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fell thought military plans. god willing we will continue towards sana'a. >> reporter: almost 6,000 people have died in this conflict. the u.n. says almost half of those are civilians. peace talks in switzerland last week ended without an agreement to bring this civil war to an end. the two sides have agreed, though, to meet again next month. the international organization for migration says a record one million refugees and migrants have crossed into europe this year. more than 800,000 people crossed into greece from turkey by sea, nearly 4,000 others died trying to cross the mediterranean in europe's worst refugee crisis since the second world war. 11 refugees bound for greece including three -- children have drowned in the sea. the refugees seemed to have been trying to reach the greek island
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of sumos. just days ago, 18 people drowned while heading for another greek island. the greek parliament has voted to recognize palestine as a sovereign and independent state. the resolution is a symbolic gesture >> reporter: a unanimous vote urging the government of alexis tsipras to recognize the state of palestine. >> translator: the greek parliament pledges to promote all of the necessary procedures to recognize the state of palestine, and to make every diplomatic effort for the immediate resumption of credible peace talks between the two sides. all of those accepting the proposal please rise. [ applause ] >> reporter: the resolution was prepared by the syriza party which is leading the coalition government. the president of the palestinian
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authority was watching closely. he welcomed the resolution. >> translator: we call on countries to support a two-state solution on the palestinian issue. we call on countries that have not recognized the state of palestine to do so now. to proceed to the recognition now. >> reporter: but the resolution is not binding, and the greek government is unlikely to adopt it. the prime minister met abbas on monday. he said greece would take the right step at the right time. he called for a viable two-state solution. greece has strong economic, military, and security ties with israel. the two countries are planning joint energy and infrastructure projects and to increase military cooperation. some people say syriza's move is an appeal to its core supporters who back the palestinian statehood. on the streets people were largely supportive of the vote. >> i am in -- favor, but i'm
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always in favor of keeping the diplomatic relations with israel as well. it think it's possible to maintain peace there, god only knows, but, yes, i am in favor. >> reporter: other countries have adopted similar resolutions in the past year. the vote is a symbolic step and the resolution is non-binding for the government. but for the palestinians it's another european recognition of their just cause, and their right to an independent state, it also gives them hope that greek government recognition is a step closer. security forces in burundi have carried out dozens of extra judicial killings according to new report by amnesty international. the report says the police and military were responsible for several deaths on one of the worst days of violence earlier in december. at least 87 were killed after three military bases were attacked by gunmen. 400 people were killed and 3,500
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jailed after the president announced he was running for a third term in office. our correspondent reports from the capitol of burundi. >> reporter: the government of burundi has reacted to the amnesty international report. the government says the report is a fabrication and all of those people who were killed on that day, by the security forces were enemy combatants, what they are calling enemies of the state, people who had taken part in an attack on three military bases in the capitol. the amnesty international report details the events of that day, which is the most violent day since violence began in burundi in april this year. it says that security forces on a security operation took people out of their homes and shot them point blank on the streets, and
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it also detailed how people, including fruit sellers, and young children as young as 15 were killed by policemen on the security operation and how the government later on came and took away most of the bodies, and took them away to an unknown destination. the amnesty international report says the killings are a horrific illustration of the growing human rights crisis in burundi, and calls for urgent international help. rwanda's president has slammed western critics over a constitutional referendum that extends his term limits. as malcolm webb reports the view is not shared by all. ♪ >> reporter: the president hasn't said yet if he will run in the next presidential election in 2017.
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almost everyone here says they want him to. he has been president since 2000. but effectively in power since his rebel group took control in 1994. and the referendum is a chance to give rwandan's an opportunity. >> this is an opportunity to observe firsthand important matters, in our country, rwanda, that is transparently, inclusively, and respectfully. >> reporter: most of the people who speak are full of praise. >> translator: we have agreed that only you, should continue to lead us, so that we can remain on the course that we have been on. >> reporter: the whole event is extremely well planned and choreographed. this temporary structure has been put up, especially the security, typically rwanda is
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very well organized and the staff very disciplined. and there are video links connecting this video with other videos all over the country. this man speaking from a rural district says he is grateful for the president bringing stability after the genocide. >> translator: we had died, but he resurrected us. >> reporter: but nobody here says anything critical, supporters say that's because he is such a good leader. critics point out some opposition are in prison, others have been killed. the government denies it was involved. this man fled to the united kingdom in the 1990s. in 2011 the british police told him the rwandan government was trying to assassinate him. they put him under protection. >> in rwanda they live under extreme fear, because they know the -- the costs of expressing
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alternative view or alternative voice, so they would rather express the government denying, in order for staying -- you know, to be safe. >> reporter: but for many, his rule is still much better than the violent past. critics say a small elite reap most of the benefits. but there's no sign of change here any time soon. malcolm webb, al jazeera. human rights groups say gold and diamond sales are being used to finance conflict in the central african republic. gold is proving much more difficult to trace. our correspondent visited a gold mine in the car.
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>> reporter: every day at 7:00 am these men come to dig for gold in one of the world's poorest countries. this person started working in the mine a year and a half ago after his father was killed. >> translator: the income here is good. some of us collect money to go back to school, others just want to make enough to be able to return to their villages and have a comfortable life. >> reporter: the war which started three years ago, cost thousands of lives. the fighting has now stopped, but divisions run deep between communities. however in this mine, muslims and christians work side by side. >> translator: i work here with my three brothers. it's our only chance to feed our family. >> reporter: this mine is part of a bigger problem. human rights groups say rebels from all sides are using mines
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to buy weapons and fund their operations. >> and now in the west of the country where you have a diamond industry which kept on paying fighters for protection or for the simple operation of their mines, and also in the east where you have several ex-seleka groups, mainly muslim rebels which have used mines to fund their operations in the country. >> reporter: and this mine sells 15 kilograms of gold monthly, making a profit of $350,000 a month. they exported half a million careats of diamonds. it is possible to trace
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diamonds, but impossible to trace pressure metals such as gold. >> it's very difficult to find and trace back to where gold came from. >> reporter: militia leaders deny exploiting minors and will not be filmed. they say they are just trying to put food on the table for their families. they call it el gordo, a fat one, and this year a small town in southern spain is celebrating a very big lottery win. it's the word's largest with prizes totaling nearly $2.5 billion. the biggest winner this christmas is this town on the southern coast, where a lucky group of residents will shell out a $4.3 million prize. great christmas for them. an estimated three out of four spaniards buy tickets for el
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gordo, with more than 1 million people taking home a cash prize. obviously nowhere near $4 million. much more on that and everything else we have been covering on our program, the website, there it is, ♪ >> renewed efforts i afghanistan. >> for me it is the entire process, it is the secrecy. >> demanding answers reacting to the news that no one will be indicted for her death. and chipolte stock taking a beating after more cases of e. coli are links to it's restra


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