>> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello, i'm lauren taylor, this is the news hour life from london. coming up, russian air raids in syria kill a prominent opposition leader. a christmas surprise, prime minister modi becomes the first indian prime minister to step foot in pakistan in more than a decade. we'll have the latest on haiti's border, where refugees have been stranded since july. not a ride for the faint
hearted. a cabin in the sky in a georgian mining town. and i'll have all of the day's sport, including lebron james and cleveland prepare to meet the golden state warriors in a rematch of the final. ♪ the leader of the rebel group has been killed in syria. he died in an air strike which targeted his group's headquarters in damascus. the group says its secret headquarters were targeted by what they describe as russian planes. i'm joined by hashem ahelbarra from turkey just across the border from syria. how significant of a figure was he? >> reporter: lauren he was the most powerful opposition
military commander in damascus. he has an army of more than 20,000, well-trained, well-equipped fighters operating in areas in basically the eastern outskirts of the damascus capitol. he was always seen as the immediate threat to president bashar al-assad. they told fire rockets targeting areas not far from the presidential palace. and his basic task was to wait for the moment when the opposition launches a massive military operation. and he was going to be the man to secure the capitol damascus. that gives you an idea about the man. they were thinking this was a man who could take over damascus and announce the end of the era of bashar al-assad and the
beginning of a new one. his death will be seen by many people as massive blow, a major setback for the opposition. >> reporter: and in terms of the international efforts to bring about a diplomatic solution in syria, where was he going to play a part in that, if at all? >> well, i have been talking to a member of the syrian opposition, and he says the future of the talks now hang by a thread, because they say that after the recent international push, they were hoping to see some confidence-building measures, and they were hoping the russians and the syrian government would stop targeting areas across the country. now they have seen an intense indication of the air strikes, and the killing of a top military commander that was seen as a sign that russian and syrian government are not really genuine in these peace talks. it is going to be extremely
difficult for the syrian opposition to convince military commanders across the country to join the political talks, because they will say, look, he is someone who stood at the bull work against expansion of isil and the al-nusra front in the areas close to damascus. he was instrumental in convincing many factions to join political talks with the government and the agents of the international community and the united nations. and he was killed by the russians and the syrian government, so there is more skepticism now. >> thank you very much. al jazeera has gained first-hand access to a maternity hospital that has been damaged in russian air strikes.
we have this exclusive report. >> translator: there have been russian air raids here 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. and nearby a petrol station was 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. it wouldn't be a surprise if these planes continue their aerial raids that started two days ago. the russian air strikes have
increased since the russian jet was shot down by turkey in november. [ cheers ] and just kilometers away from the front line where rebel are fighting, hundreds of syrian christians gathered by a christmas tree. activists have been delivering presents to children who have been or fann-- orphaned by the . qatar's foreign minister has met with his russian counterpart to discuss the syrian crisis. the meeting comes a day after china and syria agreed on a framework for up coming peace talks. >> translator: we discussed in detail what is necessary to be done, to implement the agreements on the syrian settlement that was reached within the framework on the
international council on syria, and the u.n. security council. >> translator: we agree that the worsening of this crisis does 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 first of all to the syrian people. peter sharp sends us the latest from moscow. >> reporter: the russian foreign minister told his qatari counterpart that his aim was to form a international coalition. but they agreed to disagree on the legitimacy of the government. qatar maintains that assad is one of the main supporters of terrorism in the region, but they both did agree that only a political settlement is going to
bring peace to syria, and the qatari foreign minister said without that, they would be locked into a vicious circle. russia is now, said lavrov is now actively engaged in trying to bring credible opposition leaders and parties to the conference table sometime in january, but qatar was opposed to russia's plan to weed out what it calls terrorists organizations in the meantime. ♪ for the first time in more than a decade, an indian leader has made a visit to its neighboring rival, pakistan. the visit has been both praised and condemned in his country. >> reporter: neighbors not friends perhaps how the relationship between these two nations could be described. this was not only a surprise visit by the indian prime
minister to pakistan, but an historic one. no indian head of government has visited the neighboring country in more than a decade. back home in india, one of modi's political allies sees this as a pivotal moment. >> translator: the prime minister said that if pakistan takes step further then india was ready to take two steps forward, so the steps being taken must be welcome, because if ties improve, then it will benefit both nations, the surrounding region, and also the world. >> reporter: it is a rivalry that dates back to the earliest days of independence. they have fought three wars since they were split back in 1947. two of the conflicts were about the region of kashmir, which they both lay claim to. not all indian politicians think
this meeting apparently arranged at short notice is a good idea. >> 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: that scepticism isn't unexpected considering the history of distrust, but the two leaders looked relaxed enough as they met at the residence of the prime minister. the building has been colorfully decorated for his granddaughter's up coming wedding. former pakistani high commissioner to the u.k. joins me now. thanks very much indeed, sir, for coming in. the history of distrust that kamal mentioned, does this meeting change any of that? is it a big step forward? >> i'm sure it will go a long way to dispel some of the [ inaudible ] we have been
having. and i think this meet will lead to fruitful consequences. >> what are the main areas of discussion. >> at the moment terrorism the main problem, confronts pakistan, india, and the region. plus europe, you know, you have seen what happened in paris. so this is a main concern for the world powers, and they have been really keen that pakistan and india should get together, and they have used this to bring them together, and i am very happy they have done it. because unless we fight terrorism, we are going to have increased tension in the region. >> the body language looked fairly relaxed, tell us more about the background on this. >> well, again, the -- prime minister sharif, and prime minister modi met in paris recently before that
[ inaudible ] in russia, and later they met in rhea, in paris, paris was the breaking point that they started negotiations. they were one to one, and they were very confident of each other, what they wanted to do. they addressed the problems of the region, and that is where things started taking off. >> practically what does it mean? what kind of steps have they taken, you mentioned the issue of terrorism. what have they done on that, that is different. >> well, you can not separate the issue of terrorism in india and pakistan. we have a problem in pakistan, but india also has a problem, because i would quote [ inaudible ] and he said you have an elephant in the room. you have kashmir there, and [ inaudible ] for us as well, we want it dissolved, indians are not budging an inch but now i
think there will be talks and things will move forward. >> some have said these are for gesture and show only. do you get that feeling or not? >> this is a goodwill mission. in the background of what he has been saying in the recent past, he has been very hawkish, but he has climbed down and come to the extent that he himself has taken the initiative of visiting pakistan, although there has been resistance in the past. all of the previous governments [ inaudible ] come, and this is the time and the [ inaudible ] why modi came on his own, just as a surprise visit which was very pleasant for day, which was the 25th of december. [ inaudible ].
[ laughter ] >> talk about trade, though, is that going to be one of the key areas where they can work together and perhaps build up the trust that has been missing in the past. >> yes, trust and more exchanges between the people. that's what a confidence-building measure is. and they are taking on this back door challenge diplomacy, which, again, is very good. and there is a victim of [ inaudible ] wars of india and pakistan, and the visit of pakistan to india, it will soon be sorted out, because that is a major interest among the people, you know, it's very significant for us. >> thank you very much indeed. >> thank you. >> thank you for talking us to. still to come here on al jazeera. heading into the unknown to start a new life. we meet the refugee families trying to find a home in europe. i'm tania page reporting from central african republic,
whereas christmas not everyone is happy about the penning elections. and in sport teams prepare for severe weather conditions in the sydney yacht race. farah will have those details shortly. ♪ well, prior to his surprise visit to pakistan, the indian prime minister was on an official trip to afghanistan. he held talks with ghani before giving four helicopters to the army. and initiated the parliament building which was built by india at an estimated cost of $19 million. >> in the minds of the two prime ministers we have got to move ahead, either of us can afford to remain trapped in the cycle of the past, recommendations,
and border problems. pakistan -- india has suffered a great deal from terrorism, which hazem nated from pakistan. pakistan now itself is a victim of terrorism, and of course, then there is afghanistan, and i think there is awareness that the relationship between our countries are interinked, in the sense it's quite symbolic that this visit comes when the prime minister actually had an official visit to kabul, and on his way back he stopped over in islamabad, so you can say there is an understanding in india that the road to kabul goes via islamabad. so the intention is not to look at relations in a zero-sum sense but to look at it in a quarter-sum sense. and i expect they will supply more military equipment to afghanistan to enhance the power of the afghan security forces. more afghan soldiers have
been sent to helmand to fight the taliban. at least four districts in the province have slipped into taliban control. the army has been backed up by tribal fighters and u.s. air strikes. [ inaudible ] is in helmand province close to the fighting. he says people have been trapped in the area by the conflict. >> reporter: we are hearing from afghan security officials here in helmand, telling us that reinforcement via road just reached sangin district, less than 24 hours ago, afghan security -- afghan security officials deployed afghan special forces to sangin district. we are hearing from residents of sangin, that heavy fighting is still going on in a small bizarre which sangin has. afghan security officials telling us also they have
control of the police headquarter building, and the district headquarter building, but the fighting is in a very small area. it's about 2 to 3,000 square meters. we are hearing face-to-face fighting, heavy, is still going on there. and we are getting complaints, and phone calls from the residents who could not afford to leave the area, and they are complaining heavy use of artillery and bombardment is -- they are the one who are suffering, and there were a number of civilian casualty, at least 20, confirmed by afghan officials here, that 20 civilians were killed in the past 24 hours. fighting in yemen in the city of ta'izz has killed more
houthi fighters and at least four civilians. gerald tan has the latest. >> reporter: this mosque now bares the scars of combat, the houthis and fighters loyal to the former president saleh are locked in a bitter struggle for pro-government forces for control of the city. fierce battles are taking place on several fronts. pro-government forces are trying to fend off houthi fighters from entering, and there are reports the houthis may be 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 it is also affecting this normally bustling hospitals. doctors say they have run out of essential supplies, and can't treat anymore patients. a similar scene is hundreds of
kilometers to the south in the port city of aden. most departments here can no longer function, but 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. immaterial would be considered a miracle if you managed to get in. >> reporter: with aden now back under government control, the race is on to rebuild this hospital and resume much-needed services. >> translator: a lot of people come to the hospital. we have all types of military and civilian cases. some injured military fighters from ta'izz also receive treatment here. we work with what we have. >> reporter: it has been more than a year since the houthis took over the capitol, and nearly nine months since the saudi-lead coalition started its campaign. iraq's prime minister says
his forces aimed to recapture mosul from isil after they defeated the group in ramadi. it says it is making strategic advances, but has been slowed down by explosive devices left behind by isil. mosul is iraq's second-largest city and was ceased by isil last year. the arab league has demanded turkey withdrew its troops from iraq. there has been rising tensions over turkey forces based near the isil strong hold, mosul. iraq has condemned turkish military saying it's an assault on iraqi sovereignty. >> reporter: israeli forces have shot dead a palestinian woman, they say she was a driver of a car that tried to ram the border guards. witnesses say the car was loving slowly and the guards were
trying to shut the border. 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 the government started a crackdown on what it called illegal migrants. a cholera outbreak has also been reported at some of the camps. adam raney has the latest. >> reporter: things are much bleaker at this camp than they were six months ago when we first visited. al jazeera was the first international media to film here. since then dozens of people have come down with cholera. at least nine have died in this camp. but there have been cases in camps that run up and down this border. this follows the fleeing crisis
of thousands of people who left the dominican republic many say they were forced to because they feared for their lives others say that authorities literally deported them. that's a charge the dominican government continues to deny. meanwhile there are unsanitary conditions in this the camp. people say they sleep in dust and dirt, and they breathe that in, and some think that's where the cholera came from. on christmas eve we spoke with someone from the water department who was installing a very basic water filtration system and some latrines, so far they are not operational and they continue to run dry. a camp where we see so many young children here using the toilet in the open, in this camp, making it extremely
unsanitary. harsh winter conditions in europe have not stopped the flow of refugees. but despite the bad weather they arrive daily. more than 3.5 million are sheltering in countries which neighbor syria. hundreds of thousands more have made the journey to europe and applied for asylum. most refugees take the west balkans route. however, several balkan countries, including macedonia have built boarder fences to block the passage of refugees, turning greece into a bottleneck. >> 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. many here have escaped wars, rape, and the islamic state of iraq and the levant. this iraqi family fled sinjar, a town that until recently was under isil's control in northern iraq. >> translator: sinjar was cleared from isil, but everyone there wants to establish their own authority. we decided either we live in peace, or die together trying. the journey remains long and hard. their next goal is to cross through macedonia, through serbia and beyond. the flow of refugees crossing the border to macedonia is constant. so far over 2,000 people have crossed. and on wednesday over 3,400 people went through. the u.n. refugee agency says some were subjected to ill treatment is and pushbacks by the macedonian border police. volunteers and aid groups are doing what they can to help. >> we have a camp with medical
services. we have shelter, which is covered and heated. >> reporter: come 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 at the time they need it, we are nothing. >> reporter: about 20 minute's drive from the border this gas station became a waiting point. families rest and are allowed to wait to continue their journey. some protestant groups felt it's time to preach. >> we are giving people some free magazines a that they speak of that will help their life. >> reporter: handing out leaflets and copies of the bible. dozens of people have their stories to tell. mohamed is a pharmacist there 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 here the risk is worth it. there is hope for a better and safer future, despite the hurdles along the way. two people have drowned and 12 others were injured when they tried to swim to a spanish enclave in south africa. thousands have attempted to scale the fences in recent years in an attempt to reach the e.u. 371 refugees have been rescued in the southern mediterranean. they were picked up by the italian coast guard. its says it has rescued more than 1100 people in the last three days. still to come, president, and tourists are evacuated from victoria state as wildfires burn out of control. like a rolling stone, we meet the americans embracing a mobile life on the road, and sri
hello again, a reminder of the top stories here on al jazeera, the leader of a rebel group has been killed in syria. he died in an air strike which targeted his groups headquarters in damascus. india's prime minister has made a surprise visit to neighboring pakistan. it's the first time an indian prime minister has visited pakistan in more than a decade. more soldiers have been sent to helmand province to help fight the taliban. dozens of people have died in nigeria in an explosion at a gas plant. many people are said to have been trapped and burnt to death. nigeria's president has extended his condolences to the victim's
families. voting in the central african republic has been delayed for a fifth time because boxes of ballot papers has not reach all of the provinces on time. the election has now been postponed to december 30th. tania page has more. >> reporter: they simply aren't ready. there is still a mountain of election material at the airport here in bangui waiting to be taken to the provinces. there are about 4,000 polling stations around the country. a second reason, we're told at those polling stations the staff simply haven't been trained properly and they are not exactly sure how to deal with the election on the day, and after the election is finished,
once the ballot boxes have been sealed they haven't finalized the logistics of getting those ballot boxes back to the provincial headquarters, so some fundamental issues, and that has added weight to the elections we have seen all year. they are going ahead, we understand -- many say they are essential and necessary to get this country back on track and out of the transition period to an elected government. boxes of ballot papers destined for the provinces, but time has run out for these materials to get to all of central african republic's polling stations, so for the fifth time the vote has been delayed. tons of material are still sitting here. 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 the chance of a fresh
start. supporters of the most prominent muslim candidate circle a market. muslim-armed groups and christian vigilantes have been fighting since the mostly muslim seleka group was driven from power in 2013. they overthrew the president a few months earlier. these check points are meant to keep the muslim community safe. some feel the elections have been rushed and risk excluding people like this man. >> 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 that now is as good as time as any for the election. >> translator: central african republic will never be ready because there is no state in place. we have put in place an electoral authority to organize this election, and the next government will form the state. >> reporter: no one thinks this vote will be perfect, but it's the best that can be hoped for right now. the situation here remains volatile and unpredictable. there have been ongoing clashes in the last couple of years between the mostly muslim celica group, and the mostly christian fighters. in september a muslim man was killed here in the capitol, and that sparked a resurgence in tit-for-tat violence between
largely those two groups, and about a hundred were killed in those proceeding weeks. around the time that pope francis was here, there was improved security, largely put down to a new command leading the u.n. peace keeping force who meant that those peace keepers have been more responsible to travel outside of the bases, as well as we have seen a return on to the streets of the central african republic army. and people have responded positively to them. that has meant a slightly calmer situation. there is still about 460,000 refugees in neighboring countries, and about 460,000 living in internally displayed camps. we're not going to see any real change in those numbers until quite a way after the election, once we and the people living in those camps see how those armed groups respond to the election
result. recovery teams have begun cleaning up wide-spread damage caused by storms and tornados across six states in america. in several states flights have been delayed. the eastern united states is experiencing their warmest winter in years. dozens of houses have been lost in a large bush fire burning out of control in australia's tourist hot spot the great ocean road. thousands were moved out on friday as hundreds of firefighters battle the blaze. southeastern australia has experienced record heat waves for december. the beach side towns are popular with tourists, and some have described why they have had to put their christmas on hold and run. >> they were all prepared to put
on their barbecues, and all of a sudden they could see the smoke coming out of the hill. all of a sud init was an hour away, and all of a sudden it was a half hour away, so they dropped everything, stopped cooking, jumped in to their car and headed here. pope francis has urged reconciliation among communities ravaged to war and violence. he appealed to palestinians and israelis to try to find a peaceful settlement. he also asked his congratulations to pray for the people of syria and the hundreds of thousands forced from their homes. >> 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
the drug trade. a group of americans taken hostage in iran have been awarded more than $4 million in compensation by the u.s. government. they were held for more than 400 days after a group of students stormed the u.s. ambassador in teheran. the incident lead washington to break off ties with tehran. 37 of the hostages are still alive and have been seeking restitution for more than 30 years. now to the final part of our special series of mobile homes in the u.s. >> reporter: in the winter, van dwellers congregate here in the arizona desert in and around courtside seeking warmth often after months of seasonal work. bob wells is known as the guru of van dwelling. he said there was a particular surge after the 2008 financial
crash. >> my website was uninundated with people losing their homes, jobs, apartments, and literally no choice but to move into their vans. >> reporter: these are not luxury vehicles, but as the name suggests, vans, ideal for mobility and discreet parking. >> i hear from a lot of people who have just retired on social security, especially woman, a lot of women who just retired with social security, their social security is 5, 6, 800 a month, and in the u.s. you can't live on that. >> reporter: but many embrace the idea of living in their van, like debra. >> waking up and seeing everything i own, and know, working for me. >> reporter: alan was in advertising. with the 2008 crash many of his clients disappeared.
his retirement savings depleted. >> here is the career going this way, and i'm going this way, and i'm like i don't know what is going to happen here. >> reporter: he sold his house and travels all year sleeping in his van. >> i don't worry about a lot of things i used to worry about. and the only concern now is some day i'll get too old to do this. >> reporter: and then what? >> and then i am going to be moving in with family members. >> reporter: at a nearby church in courtside, former biker turned preacher estimates about a third of those accepting free meals are retirees living in their vans. >> i don't know of that many that would want to go back to a house. almost every one of them will tell you, if you talk to them long enough or for a while, they don't want to die alone. >> reporter: but that's not a concern of bob wells. >> my surety is a 357 magnum.
if i can't live the quality of life that i choose, then i'm going to end my life. >> reporter: it's a model of old age that combines necessity and choice and one that has become startingly relatable and middle class people consider their retirement. some of the biggest cities in the united states have launched a program to eradicate homelessness. washington, d.c. has guaranteed permanent housing, along with medical, and mental health are part of the process. >> reporter: this campsite was torn down because it was unsafe, a health hazard, as well as against the law. but some didn't want to leave. >> it allows you temporary shelter and safety. >> reporter: washington is one of a few u.s. city 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 and stuff up. >> reporter: she and her 8-year-old daughter share the apartment, the rent subsidized. but she is required to pay at least one third. >> it's something that i'm paying for, so it is given me the opportunity to be responsible. >> reporter: within the next five years washington's local government has vowed to make homelessness, ware, deep, and non-recurring. the biggest challenge providing affordable housing. >> 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: community of hope is one of the city's non-profit groups that back up their housing programs with healthcare, legal services, and help to prevent homelessness in the first place. >> sometimes just having resources and people there to -- to help you, and pull you along the way, you know, and you are knowing that someone is there going to help you. it really does push people you know to want to do better. >> reporter: she says her hope is to move on in a couple of years and own a home of her own. tom akerman, al jazeera, washington. much more to come after the break, including in the world of instant messaging and fast technology, we travel to the chinese city where the telegram is still proving popular.
shanghai was one of the first cities linked to t the -- telegraph system. >> it is nostalgic for my parents. they are from a time when i used to write letters, so this will be like a souvenir for them to keep. the telegram begins its journey first by fax, sent to another office where it will then be transmitted. this is low tech in a high-tech world. the telegram is then sent over a network that using machinery that is about as sophisticated as it will ever become. >> a museum starts the progress of the service from its even more primitive beginnings, including the code books that gave the thousands of chinese
characters individual numbers so they could be transmitted. a service that peaked at 44 million telegrams per year in 1988 has been in steep decline ever since. >> translator: traditionally, people would still use telegrams for congratulations or for condolen condolences, but even those uses are now dropping off. >> reporter: hardly surprising in a country that now has hundreds of millions of users signed up to one of the many messaging apps available on their cell phone. the message to say the telegram is on its way took a couple of moments, the telegram itself will take a week. it will probably take more than nostalgia to save the chinese telegram. time for the sport now. let's hand you over to farah in doha. >> thank you so much.
lebron james and the cleveland cavaliers will try to ruin christmas for the reigning champions, the golden state warriors and their league mvp steph curry. this will be the first time the cavs have played in san francisco since losing last season's final to the warriors. golden state meanwhile have lost just once this season and are unbeaten at home. the 27-1 record the best in the league. action is already underway. sri lanka wicket keeper faces being banned for four years after his sample tested positive for a banned substance. he was sent home earlier this
month when the results came through from a test in october. sri lanka says he inadvertently used a banned substance when he applied cream to an insect bite. this is traditionally one of the biggest days in australia, the boxing day test. mark reign reports. >> reporter: on boxing day, most years there are crowds between 70 and 100,000 people, filling these seats. but organizers fear they will be lucky to reach 50,000 on the opening day. the eighth ranked team, though, are determined to show they are still worthy of playing in one of cricket's most famous fix suretu su sure -- fixtures. it's a very special occasion,
everybody knows what we're up against. >> reporter: australia are looking to wrap up the best of three series, and despite the recent retirement of mitchell johnson, they still believe they have the strike power to make it tough for the batsmen. in will be the west indy's first boxing day test since 2000. on that day they lost by 352 runs inside five days on the way to a series whitewash. also on saturday, the world number one test team, south africa host england in their series in durban. they will be trying to win their first series against south africa since 2004. south africa were beaten 3-0 by india in their last series. the first overseas loss in nine
years. >> i think both teams have had some challenges in the previous series. but we have a good record being at home. so i would think that we would be in a good space, but setting the first game would be extremely important to us to set the tone for the rest of the series. >> i think it's a brilliant place to watch cricket, and that makes it a brilliant place to play. and we know the dangers of their team. we have huge respect for them as a team, but also like the lessons we learned from the ashes, we're not playing the men, we're not playing the name, we're playing a batsman and a ball. and teams for the sydney to hobart yacht race have been
preparing. the forecast for strong winds has brought back memories of 1998 when six sailors were killed during the race. the teams believe they are prepared for what is ahead, and that the conditions will make all of the boats more evenly matched. >> it is going to be all about doing a good job the first night and making sure we're still in the race the next morning. just normal pressure, and, you know, it's -- it's exciting, so we're looking forward to it. a 31-yard nothing in overtime saw the cleveland raiders beat the san diego chargers 23-20 in the nfl. giving the raiders a win in what could be a final win in cleveland before a proposed move l.a. and it was the last game for charles woodson. he played in the pro-bowl nine times. the number of children
taking up american football could fall dramatically if the nfl doesn't take the issue of player safety more seriously. that's according to the director of the new film "concussion." the film stars will smith. the director says the concussion crisis is having a dramatic impact at the grassroots level nflt he says parents are stopping their kids from playing football because of concerns about head injuries. >> the big number is the little league football where small children down its numbers are down as high as 35%. what says is those elite athletes are not playing football, they are playing baseball, wrestling, running, playing lacrosse, so if you extrapolate that through the pipeline upwards. those kids will not show up in the nfl. that number is just going to get
bigger. that just tells me there is a seismic change coming for the sport. >> that's all of your sport for now. now back to lauren in london. >> thank you very much indeed. a mining town in northern georgia boasts one of the oldest cable cars in the world. >> reporter: this is the daily commune here. in what are little more than rusting boxes suspended from steel ropes. it's not for the faint hearted. >> 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 able
car, but the bus takes an hour at least. >> reporter: marina has been operating cable cars for the past 17 years. >> translator: it's the fastest and most comfortable transport. >> reporter: 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 the 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 has been running since then, 24/7. and this man keeps them rolling with a lot of oil and unschaubable faith in a system that was built to last. >> translator: i think the machinery will outlive me
because it is metal and it will work longer. i might die tomorrow. >> reporter: this town 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. in australia, people have flocked to bebeach to celebrate christmas during a month that has broken several records for heat waves. thousands were at the beach for a swim. but the warm weather has meant the traditional christmas barbecue has been banned in some parts of the country because of the danger of bush fires. you can always catch up any time by checking out our website, aljazeera.com. and you can watch us by clicking on the watch now icon. that's it for us, but we'll have
the leader of syrian opposition group is killed by a russian air strike on the suburbs of damascus. ♪ hello, this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up, the christmas surprise. modi becomes the first indian prime minister to set foot in pakistan for more than a decade. we'll bring you any latest from haiti's border with the dominican republic where haitian refugees have been stranded