a christmas surprise, modi becomes the first indian prime minister to set foot in pakistan for more than a decade. ♪ i'm lauren taylor this is al jazeera live from london. al jazeera gets a firsthand look at a maternity hospital hit by russian air strikes. the latest from haiti's border with the dominican republic, where haitian refugees have been stranded since july. and it's not a ride for the faint hearted, the cabin in the
sky in the georgian mining town. ♪ hello, in the first time in more than a decade, an indian leader has made a visit to his neighboring rival, pakistan. the visit comes as a surprise, and cosided with the birthday of prime minister sharif. the two nuclear powers are expected to discuss a number of disputed issues. kamal hyder says there is significant economic significance attached to the visit. >> reporter: the first progress would be the willingness to talk on kashmir, that is one of the bones of contention for pakistan. for the indians it would be to see progress into the probe of the mumbai incident in 2008. both sides will have to show some flexibility. but it shows that both sides are
willing to talk, but the more important thing is the economic aspect of all of this. recently the prime ministers were in [ inaudible ] with a gas pipeline. india is looking at pakistan as a conduit to central asia, so both sides exploring the win-win situation, if they are able to normalize relations, but that will take months if not years of hard talks. >> faiz jamil has more from new delhi. >> reporter: this visit came as a complete surprise to everyone. it started a tweet on the prooil's twitter account that he was going to stop over in pakistan. many modi supporters are calling this a political master stroke or grand gesture just like he
had in 2014 after winning the election and inviting sharif here. but opposition accuse the prime minister of show boating. >> translator: if the decision is not preposterous, then it is utterly ridiculous. you do not conduct diplomacy at the apex level in such a cavalier manner. >> reporter: all of this comes months after strained relations between the two countries particularly over the disputed region of kashmir, but modi is the only one who can at least try to push forward this way. but whether there is any solid break through this time, or just another round in a hot and cold relationship remains to be seen. ♪ al jazeera has gained
first-hand access to the site of a maternity hospital damaged by russian air strikes in syria. our correspondent has this exclusive report. >> translator: there have been russian air raids here in aleppo on the border with turkey. the raids have targeted this maternity hospital. this is not the first time this hospital has been hit. as you can see, the outer fence has been destroyed and there are many injured inside the building. this is some of the damage. a nearby petrol station is also targeted by the russian jets. as you can see the flames are still rising. according to witnesses, the russian raids killed many people, and injured others near this round about. the civil defense teams are trying to put out this fire.
the russian fighter jets are still above us here in the governance of aleppo, it wouldn't be a surprise if these planes continue their aerial raid that started two days ago. the russian air strikes have increased since a russian jet was shot down by turkey in move. the leader of the rebel group [ inaudible ] islam has been killed in syria. he died in an aerial raid which targeted his headquarters. the group is the largest in damascus with thousands of fighters. it says the headquarters was targeted by what it described as russian planes. more soldiers have been sent to afghanistan to fight the taliban. at least four districts in the province of helmand have slipped into taliban control. the army is being backed up by tribal fighters and u.s. air
strikes. our correspondent is close to the fighting. >> reporter: we are hearing from afghan security officials here in helmand, they are telling us that reinforce by road just reached the district, just less than 24 hours ago, afghan security officials -- afghan security officials deployed afghan special forces to the district, where we are hearing from residents that heavy fighting is still going on in a small bizarre which has afghan security officials also telling us they have now control of the police headquarter building and the district head quarter building, but we're talking about the fighting is in a very small area. it's about two to three thousand square meters. so we are hearing that face-to-face fighting is going on still there, and we are getting complaints now, phone
calls from the residents, who could not afford to leave the fighting in this area. they are complaining that heavy use of artillery and bombardment, that they are the ones who are suffering. and at least 28 casualties -- 20 civilians were killed in the last 24 hours. fighting in yemen contested city of ta'izz has killed at least 17 rebels, and at least 4 civilians are reported to have died. aid groups say a houthi siege on ta'izz has prevented supplies from getting in. >> reporter: there are no safe havens left in ta'izz. this mosque bares the scars of combat. the houthis and fighters loyal to former president saleh are in
control of the city. fierce battles are taking place on several fronts. pro-government fighters trying to fend off houthis from entering. and the houthis are about to receive reinforcements from nearby towns. for now a blockade means nothing can get in. the strangle hold is meant to force the houthis out, but is also effecting this normally bustling hospital. doctors say they have run out of essential supplies and can't treat anymore patients. a similar scene plays out to the south in this hospital in the port city of aden. the ward for kidney patients was spared from the bombs, something this man is thankful for. >> translator: when the war started, it was impossible to go to the hospital. it would be considered a miracle if you managed just to get in.
>> reporter: with aden now back under government control, the race to rebuild this hospital is underway. >> translator: we have all kinds of cases. we work with what we have. >> reporter: it has been more than a year since the houthis took over yemen's capitol sana'a, and nearly nine months since the saudi-lead coalition launched its military complain. it's straining the medical services to the point of collapse. thousands of people, forced from the dominican republic will be spending the final week of the year in makeshift camps in haiti. they had to leave after a government began a crackdown earlier this year, on what it called illegal migrants, some effects say they were born there, but can't prove it, and some are now facing an outbreak
of call cholera at some of the camps. still to come on the program, heading into the unknown to start a new life, we meet the refugee families trying to find a home in europe. and we'll tell you about the u.s.-drive to make homelessness a rare sight in the capitol, washington, d.c. ♪ else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight.
the stop stories. india's prime minister has made a surprise visit to pakistan. it's the first time a prime minister has visited the country in more than a decade. at least 14 people have been killed in russian air strike attacks on aleppo province. more soldiers have been sent to helmand province to help fight the taliban. at least 20 people were killed in the fighting on thursday night. let's return to thousands of people who are forced to the dominican republic spending the final week of the year in makeshift camps. they had to leave after the government began a crackdown on what it called illegal migrants. some effected say they were born there, but can't prove it. and they are now facing an outbreak of cholera at some of the camps.
adam how bad is the cholera? >> reporter: it's pretty bad here, because, lauren, what we have seen in this camp are dozens of cases, at least nine people have died from the outbreak in this camp, which is a few hundred people. there were some 3,000 people who supposedly crossed the border in the past few months, so thousands of people living in makeshift settlements, up and down the border. these camps are struggled all the way up to the north, many people haven't been resettled, they are living in conditions extremely similar to the conditions after the 2010 earthquake. 60,000 still live in such camps, and cholera as some of our viewers might or might not remember, didn't arrive until after the earthquake when peace keepers from the united states brought it here unwittingly. these people have very unsanitary conditions in which
they are forced to live in. >> reporter: is there a government plan on what to do with these people? >> reporter: no, what you have is basically these people stuck between two entrancegent governments. the only government program we have seen in these camps in july and now that we're back, is a very basic water filter system being installed behind me. it was installed christmas eve, promised to be up and running, so far it is running dry. it may not be turned on. of course, people say they hope it is, but there have been projects like that promised since this crisis, there was a welcome center that was supposed to be built. there was a big sign in july, we want to welcome our country men and women back.
now all that are there are the posts to which that sign was attached. so that shows that there are always these promises by both governments, the haitian a very poor and corrupt government, that has done nothing to help these people. not just this week between christmas and new years, but throughout the rest of their lives in haiti, or the dominican republic. >> thank you very much indeed. dozens of people have died in nigeria in an explosion at a gas plant. it happened in industrial city. many are said to have been trapped and burned to death. nigeria's president has extended his condolences to the victim's families. voting in central african republic has been delayed for a fifth time, because boxes of ballot papers have not reached the provinces in time.
election had been scheduled for sunday, but has now been postponed to december 30th. tania page reports. >> reporter: boxes of ballot papers destined for the provinces, but time has run out for these materials to get to all of central african republic polling stations. so for a fifth time, the vote has been delayed. tons of material are still sitting in this hangar. it's a big job. >> very big job, and we cannot sleep until we have it done. >> reporter: each flight that leaves, brings a country devastated by violence a step closer to a fresh start. supporters one candidate, circle a market where tinsel and trees are for sale.
these check points are meant to keep the muslim community safe. those who dare to leave this zone risk their lives. some feel the elections have been rushed and risk excluding some people. >> translator: this election has been badly prepared. there hasn't been enough time. the international community has pushed us towards these elections. we have said they should happen, but they must be good elections, so we don't have people contesting the result afterwards. >> reporter: one of the leading candidates has won the backing of ousted president's party. he says the exiled former leader should be allowed to come back, and now is as good as time as any for the election. >> translator: central african republic will never be ready, because there is no state left. we have put into place an authority to organize this
election, so allow the next government to organize the state. >> reporter: yet another delay will cast even more doubt on the credibility of the vote. the central african republic has witnessed more coups than elections. but this is the best that can be hoped for right now. qatar's foreign minister has met his russian counter part in moscow, with syria the top of the agenda. they said they were pleased with the way talks had gone. lavrov said they discussed what was needed to encourage dialogue between the syrian government and rebels. it comes a day after china and syria agreed on a framework for peace talks. >> translator: we discussed in detail what is necessary to be done, to implement the
agreements on the syrian settlement. >> translator: we agree with russian party that the worsening of this crisis, doesn't benefit the interests of neither party. we are aware that the delays in the solution of this crisis is harmful to all of the parties, and especially the syrian people. harsh conditions in europe weather has not stopped refugees from trying to come there. most refugees take the west bakkens route, traveling through greece and macedonia, on to syria, then via hungary, towards the favored designations of austria and germany.
however, several bakken countries have build fences. >> reporter: tired, but determined to carry on. heading into the unknown to start a new life. the border here has been tightened with new restrictions. only iraqis, syrians, and afghans are allowed in. macedonia is next, but reaching northern europe is not easy. this iraqi family fled a town that until recently was under isil control in iraq. >> reporter: everyone there wants to establish their own authority. we decided either we live in peace or die together trying. >> reporter: the journey remains long and hard. the next goal is to cross
through macedonia, then to serbia and beyond. the flow of refugees crossing the border is constant. so far over 2,000 people have crossed. and on wednesday e over3,400 went through. the u.n. refugee agency said some were subject to maltreatment and push backs by the macedonian police. >> we have a camp with medical services. we have shelter, which is covered, and heated. >> reporter: some greek charities are also cooperating, a group of chefs and volunteers are preparing hot meals. >> if we do not give the food to the people that need it at the time that they need it, we are nothing. >> reporter: about 20 minutes drive from the border, this gas station became a waiting point. some of them have arrived the night before.
some greek and american protestant group felt it's time to preach. >> we are giving people some free magazines, they speak how god will help their life. >> translator: handing out copies of the bible and leaflets. this man is a pharmacist from syria. he says the treatment he has got here is rough. >> translator: we slept on the bus. no toilets, no food. i want to live in dignity and have a better life for my children. >> reporter: for many year, the risk is worth it. there is hope for a better and safer future despite the hurdles along the way. the head of the roman catholic church has delivered h his christmas sermon. he appealed to palestinians and israelis to try to find a
peaceful settlement. >> translator: even today, great numbers of men and women are deprived of their human dignity, and like the child jesus, suffer, cold, poverty and rejection. may our closeness today be felt by those most vulnerable. especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and drug violence. there is a large bush fire turning out of control in australia's vacation land. hundreds of firefighters are battling the blaze. southeastern australia has experienced record heat waves for september. the towns are popular with tourists for the holiday period. >> they were all prepared to putting their barbecues on, they
were cooking away, and all of a sudden they could see the smoke coming out of the hills. then all of a sudden it was an hour away, and all of a sudden it was a half hour away, so they dropped everything, and headed here. >> reporter: groups have begin cleaning up damage from wide-spread storms across six american state. in several states, flights have been delayed. one of the biggest cities in the united states has [ inaudible ] a program to eradicate homelessness. in the capitol, washington, d.c., guaranteed permanent housing, together with medical, mental health, and employment services are all part of the mix. tom akerman reports. >> reporter: a campsite for the homeless in the heart of america's capitol. shortly before washington authorities tore it down, calling it unsafe, a health
hazard, and against the law. but some didn't want to leave. >> well, a tent allows you temporary shelter, and safety. >> reporter: washington is one of a few u.s. cities where local laws require housing for all of the homeless who are in need. for this woman, this is now home after years of living in emergency shelters and short-term housing. >> i did everything. the cabinets were already here. but i fixed the kitchen up. >> she and her daughter share the apartment. she has a full-time job, and is glad she is required to pay at least one-third of the rent. >> it's something i'm paying for, so it's giving me, you know, the opportunity to be responsible. >> reporter: within the next five year's washington local government has vowed to make homelessness in its words, rare, brief, and nonrecurring.
its most serious challenge is affordable housing. providing housing early on is seen as the most cost-effective strategy for the city. >> if they wind up in hospitals, in mental health facilities, substance use treatment centers, jail, prison, all of those costs tend to go down once people are housed. >> reporter: they also back up their housing program with healthcare, legal services, and help to prevent homelessness in the first place. >> sometimes just having resources there and people there to help you and pull you along the way, you know, and you are knowing someone is there that is going to help you, it really does push people, you know, to want to do better. >> reporter: her hope is to move on in a couple of years and own a home of her own. mining town in northern
georgia boasts one of the oldest commuter systems in the world. the rusting cable cars are still used to ferry residents and minors in and out of the city center. ror bin forestier-walker reports. >> reporter: this is a daily commute in this town. rusting boxes suspended from steel ropes, it's not for the faint hearted. >> translator: i would be delighted to go with you, but i'm afraid. >> reporter: for those who live above the city, it's the obvious choice. >> translator: you just need two minutes to come here by cable car, but the bus takes an hour at least. >> reporter: marina has been operating cable cars for the past 17 years. manganese was discovered in the
hills above the town in the 19th century. the cable car system was installed in the 1950s to ferry workers and all from the mines. the town no longer resembles a socialist utopia, but 11 lines still operate, and rides are still free for everyone. the cable car system is the public transport for this city. and this one was built in 1952, and it has been running since then 24/7. this man keeps them rolling with a lot of oil and unshakable faith in a system that was built to last. >> translator: i think the machinery will outlive me. i am human, and who knows i might die tomorrow. >> reporter: it is promised a new network of cable cars. until then, it will continue to depend on soviet engineering, engineering that has outlasted
the soviet union. robin forestier-walker, al jazeera. plenty more stories for you at anytime on our website, the address is aljazeera.com. and you can also watch us live by clicking on the watch now icon. aljazeera.com. ♪ this is a show about science... >> oh! >> oh my god! >> by scientists. tonight: techknow's journey to the arctic. 13 days... subfreezing temperatures... endless sun.