>> syrian refugees suffer through a brutal winter while the political opposition searches for common ground ahead of talks with the government. hello, welcome. this is al jazeera live from doha. also ahead, at least 21 refugees drown in rough seas off the turkish coast trying to reach greece. the chinese government aims to prop up its struggling stock markets. for the first time in 16 years, the opposition has managed to gain control of the national assembly. i'm virginia lopez and i've come
to see how people are reacting to this change. top story this hour, the syrian opposition made a list of demands ahead of u.n. brokered peace talks due to happen later this month in geneva. they want confidence building steps from the syrian government, including an immediate end to the bombardment of opposition held areas. here's victoria gattenby. >> the civil war in syria is almost five years old and it's estimated a quarter of a million syrians have been killed. u.n. backed talks to end the fighting and restore the peace are due to start later this month. syrian opposition leaders want confidence building measures from the syrian government before the talks begin. they want sir i can't be government forces to stop bombarding opposition held towns and cities. they are calling for political prisoners to be released and they want humanitarian aid
delivered to those in desperate need. >> you can't enter negotiation whilst people are being slaughtered en masse. at least stopping this onslaught would be a sign by the regime to tell the opposition that it is serious about negotiation. >> the various groups who make up the syrian opposition are fighting on the front lines against the sir i can't be government and its allies, such as iran and russia. however the armed and political opposition lack a unified command and have very different visions for the future of syria. last month, opposition leaders met for three days in the saudi capital riyadh to try to unify the opposition before scheduled talks with syrian government leaders. >> the riyadh conference last month shows it is possible for independence for faction leaders, rebel leaders, as well as the political coalitions to come together and form a platform, but how can they go to the table when the situation on the ground is so divorced from
the reality or the unreality of what could take place in geneva? >> even if the syrian opposition can't find common ground, talks with the government to try to end the war will be difficult. the opposition won't bargain with bashar al assad and demands he leave before a transitional government comes to power. foreign ministers who make up the international syrian support group say assad's future isn't predetermined. while there is a sense of urgency among many parties to end the civil war, the reality is that all of them make that not be ready to do so. victoria gattenby, al jazeera. syrian refugees in camps in the middle east continue to suffer because of the bad winter weather. a snowstorm has hit areas controlled by the rebels in northern syria. internally displaced people in camps lack basic supplies and energy to cope with what's going on. in lebanon, 200,000 syrian families are at risk during winter months and in need of special assistance.
the bodies of 21 refugees have been found on two locations on the aegean coast of turkey. the area is a starting point for many refugees and migrants trying to reach lesbos, the greek island. turkish coast guards rescued eight people. they are looking for more survivors opinion paul nesser says more women and children are expected to try to cross into europe this year. >> the water is cold, the sea is rough and the time it takes if a boat capsizes for you to drown is so much shorter, and we are short object search and rescue capacity. we need more fast and small boats. we are talking to european authorities. we have sent one ship from norway. we should have had another small one, but i think this is definitely an all european responsibility, and the support of other european nations are much below what we could expect.
this is the border for all of europe. if you look back at 2015 when we had large numbers, very many were also older male heads of how else holds that were the front line in trying to get to europe on behalf of the families. the families will try to reunite and we need to establish alternative, safe and legal ways for them to come to europe so we don't see more children and wives drowning in an effort to reunite with their families. kuwait recalled its ambassador to iran in support of saudi arabia. saudi arabia and bay rain cut ties with iran while the united arab emirates downgraded relations in protest after an attack on saudi arabia embassy in iran. iran's president accused saudi arabia of covering up what he
called its crime by severing diplomatic relations. surviving a rocket propelled grenade attack on their convoy in aden, government forces recently recaptured aden from houthi rebels. in the rebel held capital sanna, saudi-led coalition forces have renewed airstrikes. there were no reports of casualties. in libya, shelling by isil linked fighters resumed they're the libyan oil port city. an oil storage tank was hilt with a long-range rocket causing a fire. a spokesman for petroleum guard said fighters were 40 kilograms away from the port. rival armed groups have been competing for libya's oil wealth since the call of muammar
gaddafi in 2011. chinese banks trying to stop a major selloffs of shares in the chinese stock markets. investors are worried about china's economic prospects. they are continuing to sell their shares after trading was stopped on monday following a 7% fall in the stock markets. raid doreen brown now from beijing. >> tuesday was another bad day for chinese stocks. the shanghai, shenzhen and hong kong markets were down. monday, shanghai closed down around 7%, and shenzhen more than 8% and hong kong 3%. the reason for the continuing jitters in the market i think is pro bowl this. on friday, restrictions over the selling of shares are do to end. these restrictions were imposed during the market tu turbulencet the summer. if these restrictions were
eased, it would bring stocks down further. the chinese regulatory commission on tuesday issued a statement saying they would take action to stop big shareholders selling their shares in big blue think companies. these companies want to sell shares because they have no faith in their companies at the moment so trying to flog them off to individual investors but the government wants to protect small investors. we've seen plenty of evidence on tuesday of government intervention in the market. they've been buying up shares in blue chip companies, but the day to watch this week is going to be friday. why are worries growing about the economy in china? after rapid growth, it became the world's second biggest economy. it had an insatiable demand for raw materials, supporting countries around the world. now china is maturing into a more developed market, growth slowing. its appetite for goods has
shrunk and the world is worried about who may buy their exports. the chinese government hamasive foreign reserves and estimated to have more than $3 trillion to spend on another stimulus package to boost the economy. joshua rimmen is the director of a trading firm and claims what the government in beijing has done to try to calm the markets. >> what the chinese central bank has done is announced just under 20 billion u.s. dollars worth of liquidity to pump into the market to restore confidence. that will have an effect. another element they talked is also that there's a suspension on large shareholders reselling their stocks. that looks like that selling is going to be extended as well. that will help to restore confidence. a concern around chinese growth and slowdown of chinese growth, we're expecting to fall from 7% to 6.5 or 6%. that's really the heart of the
story here. what we need to see is normalization of the chinese economy which will help to restore confidence globally. a new parliament in venezuela has been sworn in which is not socialist for the first time in 16 years. president maduro ordered security forces to ensure a peaceful handover. from caracas, virginia lopez reports. >> for five years, juan contreras designed laws he said helped lift venezuelans out of poverty. after losing the election, he said he accepts defeat but is call on supporters to protest during tuesday's inauguration. he said the march will be peaceful, but the opposition has often claimed that groups like his function as armed militia-like groups that attack their deattractors.
>> the social movements are going to show their support for the revolutionary government and to tell the far right that we are not willing to lose the social and political achievements of the past 17 years. >> after gaining power in 1998, hugo chavez vowed to transform the nation into what he called a socialist paradise. subsidized food, free housing and free clinics for the poor contributed to his unchallenged popularity, but his successor nicholas has did your row lacks his charisma and the oil subsidies that helped fund these programs is now gone. it has the world's highest inflation rate. >> the community has tradition eight supported hugo chavez and his revolution. even in strongholds like this, the government has lost all support. discontent at the government has become so widespread that the
opposition secured 112 of the 167 seats in december's parliamentary vote. its newly elected president has vowed independence. >> we will not be a counter power. we will be an autonomous institution and exercise the role of an assembly which the past assembly never played. >> their super majority has been threatened by a supreme court decision to block three opposition legislators. >> they claim no vote but this is speculative because i haven't even been presented with a form allen diamond. what i know is from local media and social networks. >> both sides are called on to marsh at inauguration. fears are that power sharing in this polarized country will fail and that there could be a repeat of the political street clashes that in 2014 left 43 venezuelans
dead. virginia lopez, al jazeera, caracas. still to come, when we come back, an aging population and low birth rate are creating a skill shortage in germany. can refugees fill the void? barack obama's latest effort to curb gun violence bypassing the republican controlled the republican controlled congress. when you're on hold, your business is on hold. that's why comcast business doesn't leave you there. when you call, a small business expert will answer you in about 30 seconds.
of peace talks later this month calling for the release of prisoners, a halt to attack on civilians and unhindered humanitarian access. in china,le central bank has spent billions of dollars trying to stop a sell-off of shares listed on the stock exchange. investors continue to sell their shares following a 7% drop in stock value. the bodies of seven refugees have been found in two locations on the aegean coast. it is a starting point for refugees trying to reach the greek island of lesbos. in germany, an aiminging population and low birth rate are creating a serious skills shortage. small towns and cities are being affected the most throughout the country. in part one of our look at global falling birth rates, dominic cain traveled to a small town in central germany where they hope some of the thousands of skilled refugees coming to germany could provide an answer. >> nestling at the foot of the
mountains, an affluent town is home to 22,000 people. despite the apparent prosperity, one group is increasingly missing, young people. in the past 15 years, the population of the town has fallen 20%. the decline is blamed on the combination of a shrinking birth rate and net immigration. >> the schools ran out of children. regular school in our area for years has about lets say 150 to 200 children. that's normal. we ran out of children down to 50 children. if you are down to 50 children, you are not able to manage a good school any longer. >> it's a similar story in many german towns and cities. fewer births and an ever-increasing pensioner population.
one leading academic says it's creating a serious skills shortage, and that professionally qualified refugees could be part of the solution. >> the big expectation is that the migrants would all be a remedy to the labor market short automobile that we have in germany. we have a shortage of high skilled laborers, but also a shortage of young starting vocational training positions. >> perhaps this initiative at a foundry in berlin could be a template for the future. it helps refugees who want to work by teaching them vocational courses and german language skills. people like hasan are already benefiting from the training. >> we need to forget about work as done in the past and focus in the future. the people here are very, very good. they are so much kind and so good. that is my dream.
>> back here, many people want to give refugees like hasan that opportunity. the local mayor says that refugees with professional experience could help provide an answer to the shortage of jobs in the german workforce. dominic cain, al jazeera, germany. the french president francois hollande unveiled two blacks in paris honoring the people killed at charlie hebdo magazine and supermarket. following the attacks, people around the world tweeted we are charlie in solidarity with the victims. >> u.s. president president obama will make executive orders to create more background checks on potential gun buyers. the defense and home security
democrats will be required to do more research on smart gun technology. he will request more funding for law enforcement and better access to mental health care for people who might commit gun related crimes. dozens of american deaths each day from gunshots, now the president has his attorney general readying his options for narrowing access to firearms. >> this i also not going to solve every violent crime in this country. it's not going to prevent every mass shooting. it's not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a criminal. it will potentially save lives in this country. >> congress has refused to close loopholes in the law allowing unlicensed gun dealers to sell weapons without criminal background checks. obama will invoke his executive authority to tighten the regulations. >> a lot of the work that has gone on has been to ensure that we would have confidence in the
legal basis of these actions. >> the top republican in congress, speaker of the house paul ryan, says obama's plan to reach a dangerous level of executive overreach and the country will not stand for it. one of the republican contenders to succeed obama said he's acting like a petulant child after his legislative defeats. >> mr. president, because they reject your ideas repeatedly and now you're going to try to impose them anyway? >> the n.r.a., the powerful pressure group which opposes any new gun controls says the obama administration is violating the rights of rifle gun owners while ignoring the roots of the violence. >> the untold secret in washington is that he has all the laws he needs to stop the bloodshed now, take violent criminals off the street, prosecute them under the current federal gun laws and make sure they don't get to their next crime scene.
that's the way to save lives. >> meanwhile, federal authorities in the state of oregon are weighing what actions to take against a group of armed protestors who have taken over a public building in a remote wildlife refuge. they've promised no violence but refuse to recognize washington's authority over the land. obama will follow up his executive orders later this week with a national broadcast devoted to gun violence. in his last year as president, demonstrating his determination to curb an epidemic of gunfire, expected to claim more american lives that that traffic accidents. tom ackermann, al jazeera, washington. >> f.b.i. agents in the u.s. state of oregon are trying to peacefully end the protest by the armed group. their occupation of a wild life center began on saturday. the gunmen protested against jail sentences given to two local ranchers for starting fires. the lawyers say their protestors
don't represent them. we report from outside the city of burns. ranchers and federal government officials have been involved in land disputes there for generations. >> a spokesman for the protestors told us specifically not to expect a lot of guns, and any questions about how many protestors are here were left unanswered during our 45 minute tour of the national wildlife refuge property that this group walked into and took over. >> how's it going so far? >> it's an emotional roller coaster. it's up and down, yeah, but it's going great. there's no bloodshed. this is not a violent or hostile situation. >> there are 15 or so buildings here, dozens of idle government trucks, swamp boats for the marches and heavy equipment.
we took a tour. >> we want to be polite, neighborly. we want to be citizens. we want to be respectful of one another. >> an arizona rancher has emerged as a main spokesman. >> where do you see this ending? >> i believe it shall spread from here. this is -- this grievance that they're dealing with here is widespread throughout the west. this is not going away. >> we saw nobody carrying a weapon, but again, didn't see every room. we asked dwayne amer if people here were armed. >> there's pro bowl a weapon in every pickup truck within 100 miles of here. you know, everybody says they're armed, but each rancher i know has a weapon, you know. so, you know, i had a cougar on my porch last week.
there you go. >> they held a morning press conference to outline grievances about land use restrictions and federal regulations in an area where ranching and conservation has collided since the refuge was formed in 1908. he asked what will it take to end this protest peacefully? >> i wouldn't say words would do it. i would say action would and that would be for the federal government to remove its unconstitutional presence here in the county. >> i want to talk directly to the people at the wildlife refuge. you said you were here to help the citizens of harney county. that help ended when a peaceful protest became an armed occupation. the ham monday turned themselves in. it's time for you to leave our community, go home to your families and end this peacefully. >> so far lots of talking but no serious action as the protest that starts saturday continues.
al jazeera, near burns, oregon. lets wrap up top stories today. india says the six gunmen involved in an attack on the air base near the border with tack stan last weekend have been killed. no gunfire has been heard sunday monday night. seven indian soldiers and six others killed. police in northern china arrested a suspect for a blaze on a bus. the police are investigating the man's motives. the u.s. government is suing volkswagen for violating the clean air act. the german car maker admitted selling diesel cars fitted with illegal software designed to cheat emission tests. volkswagen faces multi-billion dollar fines for deceiving customers. a guatemala voluntarily vain
co erupted. it is 50 kilometers from the capitol. no evacuation orders have been issued. the u.s. territory of puerto rico is preparing for legal action from its creditors after it defaulted on its debt. the caribbean island has to pay $174 million and is now looking to washington for help. >> the island paradise of puerto rico is kicking off the new year defaulting on dealt paymentles. >> the debt is unpale. some of us here in the senate were saying that since 2014. >> local senator ramon knee every have a says puerto rico cannot stop the crisis until washington helps. >> in order for us to pay for debt service, we will have to sacrifice essential services for the people of puerto rico. >> trying to pay down debt, the island has slashed health care
and public transportation services. they have let go of 30,000 public sector workers, closed over 100 schools and celled the sales tax by more than 50%. >> no matter what side of the i'll a politician is on here in puerto rico, if you talk to them and ask what is the reason for the recession and massive debt, almost all point to a 1996 act of congress that cut corporate tax incentives and by the time 2006 came along, most of those big companies left the island. >> puerto rico says governor alejandro padilla described what happened next. >> there was a tool that puerto rico had to bring investors to the island, to bring factories, to bring manufacturing to the island. they shut down that with a 10 year phase out period that ends in 2006. what happened in 2006?
we get into recessions. >> puerto rico's jobless rate is 12 and a half% more than double the national average of 5%. last year, 84,000 people left the island and 1,000 more join them each week, most headed to the j mainland. then, there is the 45% poverty rate, clouding the future of the working class. >> so a crisis that developed that took decades to develop with him not be solved from one tape to the next one, so for them, i know what they are feeling. i'm with them, and it's because of them that i'm trying too hard to fix these crises that we inherited. >> the debt load has been building for over a decade and the longs term outlook looks bleak with more payments coming due in the coming months. the only hope is if congress allows the island to restructure the money owed and start from
scratch. al jazeera, san juan, puerto rico. you can always talk to everyone here via our website, aljazeera.com. click on the icon messages via facebook or twitter or what's app, as well. the headlines acknowledge channel for you are just a couple of seconds away. taking action without congress, president obama unseries latest efforts to try to end gun violence. it's time for you to leave our community, go home to your families and end this peacefully. >> there are new calls for armed protestors to leave an oregon wildlife center as the occupation is now in its third day. saudi arabia allies closing ranks against iran. the leadership saying the saudis are trying to