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tv   News  Al Jazeera  January 5, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EST

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i'm ray suarez, and that's the "inside story". >> this is aljazeera america, live from new york city, i'm tony harris. executive action, president obama gets emotional while owling new steps to curb gun violence. and we'll talk to the mother of a son who was killed for playing his music too loud. sales and background be checks. one of the president's orders might not change that. >> and claim being the second amendment is under attack. a special report on guns in america starts now.
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saying the country can't wait for congress to act, president obama laid out an executive order. and he shed tears as he recalled the children killed at the sandy hook elementary school in new town in 2012. the president put it this way, we can't save everybody, but we could save some. mike viqueira is in washington for us. >> reporter: tony, good evening, and there will be legal challenges and the president's proposals may not survive the process, but for one day for the president and the white house, this was a long day coming. at times during his presidency, he has been called aloof, detached and even cold. but talking about the murdered
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children of new town, connecticut in the packed white house east room, president obama openly wept. >> every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. >> reporter: the gun violence and the victims' families. the president talked about new actions immediately, cracking down at gun shows, where no background check on a buyer is needed. under the plan, those who sell guns for profit, no matter how many or where the transaction takes place, will have to get a license. there by getting background checks for families, and mental incomp tents and others that would prohibit them from buying a gun under current law. mr. obama rejected the critics who say that the new rules attack the right to bare arms. >> this is not a plot to take away everybody's guns. you pass a background check,
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you purchase a firearm. the problem is, some gun sellers have been operating a different set of rules. >> republicans are unmoved. the party's presidential candidates immediately bash the president. not only for what he did, but for how he did it. and promised to undo the executive action as one of their first being acts if they make it to the white house. >> if he was serious about gun violence, he would be focused on violence, and what's happening in our culture that's leading people to commit violent acts. >> but blocking as they have in the past, the president is asking for hundreds more fbi personnel to enforce the rules, that will require funding, and the gop and congress is likely going to try to stop it. in the wake of the 2012 shooting at sandy hook, many thought that the time had come. in a month after the tragedy, president obama invited the
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parents of hadia pendelton, a 15-year-old girl in chicago who was killed while standing with friends. but the vote never came. tuesday n. the east room, the same couple stood behind the president. they say without cooperation from congress, he's doing all he can, and his emotions were genuine. >> he has two daughters, and he's a father first, and the thing is, it touches home. >> today, gun violence, children are looking left and right to make sure that where they play, on the front porch and thing of that nature. and it's unfair to them. and i think that -- -- >> reporter: tony, at the end of the day, even the president's harshest critics say that the new rules put forth by president obama are
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beefing up existing law, and it wouldn't do anything to stop the high-profile shootings over the past seven years. and to that, the president responds, it's not just the high-profile killings, but every day homicides and suicides could stop. and if one life is saved, that's enough. >> the president announced his executive actions on guns in a room filled with people who have lost loved ones to gun violence, and among them was lucia mcbath. her 17-year-old son, jordan davis, was shot dead at a florida gas station. it happened over an argument with music playing in a car. he rejected the stand your ground defense in 2014, and he's now serving a life sentence. lucia mcbath joins me on the program. and good to have you. >> thank you so much. >> i have to ask you, what was your reaction to what the
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president announced today? >> it's such a bold and progressive move toward gun violence prevention in this country, and for those of us who have been fighting this battle, particularly the victim, that finally we're moving forward. >> you know, lucy, you mentioned something that i think is very interesting there. you said a move toward, that indicates there's a way to glow here. you have been fighting for tougher gun laws than what the president -- dego far enough for your liking today? >> um, yes, he has. i mean, he has gotten to the point where he had no other recourse. when our legislatures refused to be beholden to the constituents, the communities
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that they served, they refused to enact the background checks, and it might seem a little extreme. but really president obama had no other choice. this is the most progressive move that he can make to enact common sense, sensible solutions in the current gun culture in our country. >> so you know there has been other reaction today. this is from house speaker, paul ryan, and he said from day one, the president has never respected the right to safe gun ownership since it's founding, and are you surprised that the republican party led by the speaker of the house is standing against what the president hopes to do? >> not at all. we expected something of this nature. but the work that we have been doing is policy driven, and we have the statistics to show that a good portion of the guns that have been trafficked through the united states, a lot of those guns that have been sold by gun sellers have been doing so, and they have been selling guns in this
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country online or either at gun shows or either in their own stores without bonified background checks. >> lucy, look, did you get an opportunity to meet with the president before his remarks, and if so, what did he say? >> well, he was just very genuine and spoke with us very candidly about the courage that each of us had to come forward and to fight for what we know is the right thing right thing to do, and that he really admired each one of us, and thanked us so much for coming forward and doing the work that we do, and that we have suffered some of the most egregious tragedies. >> how much did you think about your son, jordan today, as the president was speaking? >> the entire time. and in fact, i tried my best to
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cry myself, because i felt like jordan didn't die in vain, and everything that i had been fighting for to protect him. and if hasn't been for nothing at all, so it was a wonderful moment. and i kept standing there saying, looking at the ceiling, baby, this is for you, this is for you. >> lucia mcbath, it's good to have you on the program. and thank you for taking the time to be with us this evening. gun sales have nearly doubled since president obama took office. and americans will still have an easy time buying guns, despite the president's executive action. >> in the renewed debate over gun control, there's one thing
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that all sides can agree on. by latest estimates in the united states, there are 350 million fire departments, and that means more guns in the united states than people. by most counts, the firearm ownership has intensified. at the blue range in virginia, gun and ammunition sales are stronger than ever, fueled by customers that have long feared new restricts. >> people might want to get stuff before their abilities are taken away. >> the irony is that no abilities at a gun store will be taken away because of president obama's new actions. gun stores have long been required to conduct a criminal background check before a customer purchases a weapon. the president's actions are supposed to help the fbi process checks more thoroughly and faster, but obama's actions will not restrict gun sales by individuals at private shows.
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only seven states, and district of columbia require a background check for an individual. and in maryland t. only applies to handguns. in 43 other states, sellers have no be obligation for a background check. this is known as the gun show loophole. still the thought that a president could take any gun control action, the fears that more sweeping controls and bans are coming. >> there are a lot of people that do feel passionate about it. not just the firearms, but the government telling them what they can or continue do, and what they can have. >> and the fears have spiked during the obama administration. a year before mr. obama took office, the american gun administration said that they did 4 and a half, and last year, it was 11 million. and thanks to mr. obama, the
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biggest impact next may come online. hundreds operate virtual stores, and the president says that all of these gun stores will be required to check the background of each buyer. >> a recent study found that one in 30 people looking to buy guns on one website had criminal records. >> reporter: studies found that overall, americans are significantly more likely to die of gun violence than residents of other countries, and the number of gun deaths per capita in the u.s. over the past decade have stabilized. and compared to 25 years ago, it's down by over 40%. in other words, while mass shootings and gun purchases and calls for action are up, the data shows overall levels of u.s. gun vines are no longer getting worse. david schuster, had aljazeera. >> even as a new national debate on guns and gun control
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was getting underway, the nra was taking aim at its political opponents. america's freedom, an off-shoot group run by the association, shows photos of two members of the new york state legislature lying on a table next to some bullets. they are sponsors of a bill aimed at limiting munition sales. the tweet was condemned as suggestive and shameful. still on the program, he was singled out for his bravery. guns in america continues next. the only way to get better is to challenge yourself,
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>> and from first graders in new town, first graders. and from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad.
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>> an emotional reaction from president obama while talking about gun violence this morning. shortly after the announcement, house speaker, paul ryan, released this statement, from day one, the president has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that our nation has valued since it's founding. his executive order will no doubt be challenged in the courts. everything that the president has done can be overturned by a republican president, which is another reason we must win in november. larry pratt is executive director of gun owners of america, and it's good to have you on the program. pleasure. and the president is going to extend background checks for buyers. if you're in the business of selling guns, reg as a dealer, he's attempting here to tighten the gun show loophole, and even those who support the president say that he hasn't done much
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here with these executive actions, but what's your reaction to what the president is proposing to do here? >> well, i think that he's ignoring the elephant in the room. and it doesn't have anything to do with background checks, which are almost universal at gun shows to begin w. because most sales are ducted through dealers who have to do a background check. but he's ignoring the fact that all of the massacres that have occurred in the united states since 1950, save two, have occurred in gun-free zones, where the victims were, by law disarmed and had no way to resist when a dirtbag entered their space, and began shooting. that seems to me is where we can begin to make some real changes that are going to save people's lives and have a real impact and stop nibbling around the edges on background checks. >> what are you proposing in
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offering that up? what are you really saying? >> well, we have a federal law that says that schools are gun free zones unless the states jump through several hoops, and stand on the left leg and jump up and down, and it's a very difficult procedure to get out from under the federal law. utah has done so, and some counties in texas, and that's almost the extent of it. those are places that don't have problems with massacres. the rest of the country has our children as sitting ducks in these gun-free zones, and those have to go. >> so are you suggesting ban the gun free zones? >> abolish them would be the more appropriate legislative term, but i'll go with ban, and that's fine. >> let me have you respond to the president here. the president said today, we know we can't stop every act of
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violence, every act of evil in the world. but maybe we can try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence, and to that, you say what? >> well, again, he's trying to divert our attention to something that's a relatively minor situation, and not dealing one iota with, as i call it. the elephant in the room, the gun-free zone, where all of the blood has been shed, for practically purposes, that's the real problem, and i don't hear him talking about it, and i'm sorry to say, i don't hear the republicans talking about it either. they're a pretty sorry lot as well. >> so larry, let me see if i can understand you correctly here. get rid of the gun-free zones, and does that equate to more guns? >> today he kuwait to more guns in victim's hands, and i'm not sure if it would appreciably give more to the bad guys,
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according to what the jurisdictions are. we saw that in washington, they had a gun ban, and the criminals thought it was dappedy because they had a monopoly, and once the gun ban was abolished in washington d.c., their hor end us murder rate started to drop precipitously. so we have all kinds of indicators to tell us what the problem is, and what the solutions are, and the solutions are not to make it more difficult for good guys to get guns or to prohibit the possession of good guys in particular places but to get rid of the restrictions which only facilitate murder. >> so those are the kinds of executive actions from the president you could support? >> yes, i'm sorry to say that what he can do as an executive with the gun-free school zone, but he could promise not to prosecute, which he has done in
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plenty of other areas as well. but he could lead the way. and if he could sound that, congress would more likely respond if they had his leadership in doing away with a gun law? that would be very impactful. >> gotcha, so the president is not by his actions today going to do what you're suggesting might be better from your point of view. do you believe -- let me get your temperature on this -- do you believe that the president, at his core, wants to take away america's guns? >> there's no reason to think that he appreciates why americans have guns. the reason, as nice as it is to target practice, as important it is to defend life with our guns, from individual criminals, the reason we have guns is to protect our form of government. to maintain a limited government in the face of those who might wish to have tyranny, and the fact that we are an
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armed people has, on more than one occasion dissuaded government from moving in a tyrannical direction. so if there's ever a reason to think that the founders got it right. and the second amendment's purpose is still valid, to control government. and hopefully we are able to remind our leaders that, without actually having to use our guns. the best defense is when you don't even have to use it, because it's so credible. >> let me try one more on you here. do you stand with the heavily armed patriot militia movements in the country? and i'm thinking of the ones led by the sovereign citizen's movement, the oathkeepers, and the new group in oregon led by the bundies, who as you know, view this administration as literally going after their guns, and overreaching in all
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kinds of areas. >> well, from what i know, and i'm not part of any of the groups that you mention, and i know some people who are oathkeepers, and as their name would suggest, they're interested in upholding the oath to uphold the constitution from all enemies, domestic and foreign that they took from military officers to police officers. and that's a very decent and honorable motive, and the oathkeepers, to my knowledge, have not been associated with any kind of muteenous behavior, you might call it, but they're simply there serving as soldiers and police officers, saying that i'll obey any order you give me as long as it's constitutional. constitutional. >> interesting. larry pratt is executive director of gun owners of america joining us from washington, and thank you. >> nice to be with you. >> during today's announcement, the president invoked the
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memory of several shooting victims, and the president named one of them, xavion, who was killed while shielding three friends during a drive-by shooting. >> we're not asked to do what xavion dawson d we're not asked to have shoulders that big and a heart that strong, reactions that quick. i'm not asking people to have that same level of courage or sacrifice or love. but if we love our kids and scare about their prospects, and if we love this country and care about its future, then we can find the courage to vote, we can find the courage to get mobilized and organized. we can find the courage to cut through all of the noise and do what a sensible country would do. >> mr. obama said dobson did
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not do anything wrong and was not in the wrong place at the wrong time. and he said that his proof is that gun violence can happen to anyone at any time. in afghanistan, another soldier is killed, and the change in the u.s. mission in that war-torn country. and armed protesters in oregon trying to draw attention to land use issues. why they say the government is overreaching.
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>> an american soldier was killed and two others wounded when they came under fire in afghanistan today. the troops were part of a train and advise mission in the province where the fighting is fierce between the afghanistan forces and the taliban. pentagon said that two medevac helicopters were sent to provide assistance, and one was waved off, but it hit a wall and it damaged it's rotor blades, and it was forced to the ground. >> this is an ongoing situation, and there's a fight going on in the immediate surroundings, and we'll provide more details as they become available. we don't have all of the details on what has taken place. >> the taliban has been fighting allied forces for six months now. jennifer glasse is in
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london, and as you know, the u.s. mission in afghanistan officially ended in 2014, and bases were closed and flags lowered and to some, the war was over. so what exactly are the u.s. force it's doing in afghanistan now? >> well, tony, as we head into 2016, we have more trops than we had before. and the president said that rather than draw them down, he will stay at 10,000, and those troops are divided into two different missions. one to train and advise the afghan security forces. the u.s. is farther of a nato force in afghanistan, but they're part of the counter terrorism, and they are seen fighting alongside in afghanistan, in the difficult areas where the afghan security forces are struggling. >> jennifer, you not spend most of your time, and you're based in kabul.
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we have certainly seen signs of a taliban insurgence, and we have seen it in recent months. they have increased the number of attacks since the end of the combat mission, and have they regained ground? >> they have. they have more territory now than any time since 2021, and i think that the most concerning development happened in september, when they were able to briefly take over cundu city, and it's the first time that they have taken over a major air since they were ousted 15 years ago, and the fighting has been fierce, but not just in the south and the east, which have been their strongholds, but in the north. all around the country, they hold villages, and district centers, and most importantly, they hold road sides. they are very good at planting roadside bombs, and that makes movement very difficult around the country, and it allows them to control more territory. >> what can you tell us about this area of marja in hellman
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forgotten where the fighting continues? >> this was a very high-profile area. the then commander, general stanley mcchrystal, sent extra forces down there, part of the surge to clear things up and make peace and also to implement government in a box, to bring services to people that would bring lasting peace, and we haven't seen that at all, tony, and the fighting in hellman province has been terrible. and marga has been fierce. it was called little america because the united states helped a reconstruction project down there, and agriculture projects down there, and they brought irrigation to the area, that's helping the poppy growing region there, and we have seen the opiate production jump mt. past couple of years. not only in the hellman province, but it has been so
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bad for american forces and those fighting alongside of them. >> jennifer glasse, good to see you, thanks. iran's president said that the situation helping to sever diplomatic ties for a prominent shia cleric, they cut off relations yesterday after the protestters set fire to the embassy in teheran and sponsored the execution. several have cut or reduced their ties, and weight recalled it's ambassador to iran and stopped all flights. they thought that crude prices would skyrocket. but today, it dropped to an almost 11--year low. tonaljazeera america explains y. >> conflicts in places like
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saudi arabia and iran, the threat of supplies usually means higher prices. we saw that for a minute when iran and saudi were at it earlier this week, but historically, it takes about three months after a crisis, and when i say crisis, in the middle east, usually it rises by about 9%, compared to the precrisis levels, but that's not what we're seeing in the wake of saudi arabia and other muslim countries cutting ties with iran. today, oil prices actually fell more than 2% to settle at 97 a barrel. and yesterday, after they initially spiked, the spike didn't last because the world market is flooded with oil. opec has continued to pump out oil, despite the world oversupply of over 1 million barrels a day. and because of that, saudi arabia, the world's largest producer, doesn't want to give up market share to iran.
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some say that this could worsen the oil glut, making it more likely that opec is going to cut production. add to that weak production out of china, and oil traders are still betting that the prices will stay low. for now, you're looking at 35 bucks a barrel. >> thank you, and you can watch ali velshi live on aljazeera america. protesters who have taken over a federal building at an oregon wildlife refuge are once again refusing to leave. so far no agency has tried to remove them from the property, showing a willingness to wait it out. and the demonstrators made it clear this morning that they would not leave until the federal government turns over the management of the land to area ranchers. >> it's our goal to get the logger back to logging, to get the rancher back to ranching, to get the miner back to mining, the farmer back to
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farming, and to jump start this economy so they can see their roads again filled with industry. >> so the protests originally began in support of the hammonds, two local ranchers returning to prison for a controlled fire on their own property. aljazeera's allen schauffler is live for us in burns, oregon, and having said that, allen, what is really at stake here? >> reporter: well, tony, what's at stake in the short-term is public safety and what is at stake in the broader term, land management in the country and especially here in the west. at the occupied federal offices, trucks rolled in and out this morning. the group which took over the facility, seeing that as an
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indication of community support. >> we appreciate the advice that the community members have given us about how to reach out and how to share our message, so that other community members will know that we're not about fear, we're not about force. we're not about intimidation. >> but nearby burns is a town split by the protest. you'll find signs of opposition posted in places, and many say that the cause may be important. but the tactics are wrong. jake mesa came to the protest monday night to get answers, worried about what the long-range plans are, and what could happen here. >> we're not comfortable with a widespread invitation of militia unvetted coming here to our community, where we really have no idea what their clear picture is, as to the end outcome. >> but go to the neighborhoods at dawn, and you might run into bill wilber. >> the hammonds got shafted and
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it was a miscarriage of justice. >> he calls the takeover misguided and the continuing range war to the people year ago the land and the people making the land use rules, and this county, it's mainly federal land. >> the encroachment of government. and their never ending rules and regulations that prevent you from doing what you need to do to make a living, and raise your family, pay your bills and educate your kids and retire. >> tommer sharp runs cat on 1,000 acres of private land, but is still impacted by the regulations regarding the federal land around the sharp ranch. and he said that the hammonds experience was government overreach. but they have to learn to work with, and not against government. >> it's extremely necessary that we collaborate with all of
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those groups, from the federal agencies to the groups, the watch dogs to make sure that the land is not being you abused. yes, there are differences. in hardy county, we have opted to it settle those differences through collaborative processes where we sit at the table with all of the constituents. >> in this case, it has led to the application of federal profit. in oregon's wide open spaces. at the site of the occupation here, no real change to report today. more than three full days after this group walked in and took over, we still see no sign of law enforcement here at the site. if they have come by, they have not been obvious, and haven't been visible. >> so allen, as you said, many charges against the hammonds, and why is that? >> >> reporter: well, those
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charges were very complicated. they stem from two cases. 2001 and 2006. in one case, the people testifying in their trial made claims that one of the fires set on their land was to cover up a coaching operation. in another case, one of the hammonds had set backfires, forest fires in the area to protect some of their land and that fire burned onto federal land and that's how they were charged. a judge ruled that they needed to be resentenced under a terrorism stat ut, for which the minimum was a five--year sentence, and that's why they got sent back to prison. and that again is at the very heart of this protest. >> gotcha, allen shoveler in burns, oregon. there's no indication that the san bernardino attack was directed from abroad, but officials call it an inspired
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attack. they still need information on the suspects, syed farook and tashfeen malik. and speech, they want to know what the two did during the crucial 18-minute period after they opened fire and killed 14 people. >> we have accounted for two hours and 42 minutes of their time, and we're missing 18 minutes of their time. so why is that so important? it's important because we want to ensure that we know whether or not they stopped at any locations, any residences, any business that's we don't already know about. we want to ensure that if they made contact with anyone, that we don't already know about between those hours or between that time that we're able to fully investigate those matters. >> so we can get to the times here. the fbi says they need photos or videos that locate the suspects in between 12:59 p.m. and 1:17 p.m. on december 2n
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december 2nd. a big update to a story that we have been following here at aljazeera, the governor of michigan has issued a state of emergency for genesee county where the town of flint is located, because of lead contamination in the water supply. and bisi has the latest on this. >> reporter: tony, this has been a long time coming. the city of flint has been dealing with complaints over the quality of its tap water for more than a year now. michigan governor, rick snyder, declared a state of emergency for genesee county today, due to ongoing health and safety issues. the problem is, lead found last summer found that the flint river's corrosive water caused old service pipes to leach lead and then high levels of lead and hundreds of children. exposure to lead can cause brain damage and other issues.
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by declaring a state of emergency, the governor has declared available all state resources to deal with the crisis. and the state is hoping to secure federal funding to deal with t right now, flint leaders are asking for $40 million to deal with this problem. governor snyder's announcement comes however after the u.s. attorney's office is investigating the contamination of flint's drinking water. all of this happened when the city began tapping into the flint river for its water supply, and they have switched out of that system, but there are still serious concerns. relief will be on the way to thousands of residents who have gone months without using their tap water. >> bisi, accountability when something like this happens, and has anyone been accountable for this crisis? >> i can tell you that governor rick snyder apologized for the problem, and the michigan
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department of environmental quality, they have been taking much of the blame perfec for thd the director of the dq resigned because of it. but the attorney general's office is involved. and criminal charges are likely. >> but the other question i have for you, the relief for the residents of flint. when might they get some relief and clean water? >> right. relief has been coming slowly and surely, the people have been getting bottled water, but i'm told that right now, all hands are on deck, and the city is going to use all of its resources and look outside of the state resources, and the governor said today that's not enough, they're going to ask for federal assistance. >> bisi, thank you. fiat, chrysler and ford are reporting their best sales year in the united states since the mid 2000s. the automakers rolled out their
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sales figures, and 2015 came in with a record of $17.7 million, topping the old record set in 2000. analysts say that the low gas prices and economy fueled the boom. >boom.
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>> u.s. led coalition forces
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say that isil is now in a defensive crash. >> in iraq, it's 40%, and in syria, harder to get a good number of we think it's under 20, and altogether around 30%, we believe. taken together, iraq and syria. >> colonel ward said that isil has launched self offensives near the city of haditha after losing in ramadi. they have regained nearly 80% of the downtown area, but 200 isil fighters are staging counter attacks in ramadi's eastern neighborhoods. a boat has capsized off of the coast of turkey, and 30 people died, including two children who were found at two separate locations. they were trying to reach the greek island of lesbos.
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>> reporter: it's the first week of a new year. the warm summer long gone, and the refugee's journey is getting harder. off the turkish coast, a rubber dingy has capsized. it's passengers thrown to their fate. among those braving the al gene sea on tuesday, 23 would not arrive, their bodies washing onshore onto the beaches of turkey. >> we came an hour ago, and we heard the boat sank and hit the rocks. i think these people died when they were trying to swim to the rocks. we couldn't get there to help. >> but there wasn't much to be done. the turkish coast guard dispatched three poets and a helicopter to search for survivors. eight people were rescued, including one man who emerged from the freezing waters on his
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own. they estimated 1 million refugees and migrants entered greece through its outlying islands in 2015. traveling through central and northern europe, the biggest crisis in two decades. >> the refugees continued to enter greece at over 2500 a day from turkey, which is the closest through december, and we see them through the winter. and obviously, the fatalities are continuing as well. >> this is where most are heading. the greek island of lesbos, gateway to the europe union, ten miles off the coast. but despite efforts to improve conditions, the refugee's welcome can be a harsh one. >> women, young children, they're not safe at night, as are the men that come with the women and children. because there's stealing, there
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is raping, there is theft, there are knives here, there are guns here. those things happen here. >> reporter: so the fate of even those who survive the sea crossing is uncertain. many will eventually find safe harbor in european countries like germany, but here on the greek shore, their ordeal has just begun. jonah hall, aljazeera. >> israeli security forces allegedly shot and killed an israeli man in the west bank. the soldier was taken to the hospital with wounds on his face. this is the latest uptake in israel on the gaza strip since october. at least 120° israelis and 30 palestinians have been killed. a plan to cut gun violence, an emotional plea by the president of the united states.
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he accused the gun lobby of taking congress hostage, and his executive actions have politicians choosing sides. i'm going to talk with u.s. attorney general, alberto gonzales about the president's legal authority and the issue of gun rights. >> the right to bear arms in the second amendment is not absolute. but certainly with the respect to background checks, those have been in the constitution by the courts. >> the new netflix documentary, making a murderer, raising questions about the arrest and conviction of steven avery. ahead, my conversation with the attorney who defended avery. >> i think that it's very rare for police officers to go out and plan evidence against somebody that they believe to be innocent. >> those stories coming up in just about 8 minutes. >> up next on the program, ending islamaphobia, one
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conversation at a time. a unique campaign to combat the backlash against muslims in america.
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>> so take a look at this. a towering gold-colored statue honoring chairman mao zedung has sprung up in china. it was said to have been fund bid local businessmen. it was put up in the region where tens of millions died
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during the famine by chairman mao's push for industrialization. the so-called hate crimes rise in the united states, and two want to answer questions about their faith. four times in the past month, they have set up a sign with a sign that reads, "ask a muslim." >> do you want anything that you want to say to a human who happens to be a muslim? >> she wants to fight fear with doughnuts and dialogue. so she and her husband set up a stand outside of a library to answer questions about their faith. >> so are you converted to muslim. >> my dad is jewish and my mom is christian. >> they say that the conversation is needed now more than ever. >> so what do you think about the idea of american muslims
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[ unintelligible ]. >> speaking out against extremists and things like that. >> well, i think that's what we're out here doing, showing that we're human beings, and we're loving people. >> an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 muslims live in the boston area. some of them say that they felt a rise in anti-muslim sentiment. since the boston marathon bombing in 2013, and following last year's terrorist attacks in paris and san bernardino. >> people think of cambridge as a progressive city, and it is, and this is also where the boston marathon bombing happened. and people are people. you know, there's a lot of very fearful rhetoric going on. >> the first muslim elected to office in massachusetts says overall, he feels welcome here. though recently, he has felt a backlash. >> we have seen people phoning in, and we have
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gottennan violent threat recorded on the voicemail, the christians are coming for, and we're going to see every dollar that got you elected. >> speaking out like they are doing is countering islamaphobia. >> people have been so lovely and sweet. for the most part, when we're out here, we get a lot of thumbs up. >> hadar is also getting a lot of support on her facebook page, but some comments are more challenging. for example, one person wrote, i heard that the qur'an calls for the downfall of people in nations that don't believe. >> it's instructing me to look at those dark parts of myself. and remedy them. >> another personro, we have terror everywhere based on a screwed up view of your religion. >> the qur'an is a book like any other book. you project your own ego onto it. if your ego is to violence,
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that's what the book will say to you. but if your ego or your heart instructs you in life, and heart centeredness and in mindfulness, that's what you'll find that the qur'an is telling you. >> she said that the qur'an is telling her to fight through dialogue, and it's a fight that she and her husband and others hope others will join. >> they have received more reports of islama phobic acts than any other time. >> look, have you heard -- this is the conversation, and this is what we want. and avenue heard of any other groups, any individuals planning this as a muslim project anywhere else? >> in worcester, mass max, there's going to be an event on saturday at an islamic center, and it's called meet a muslim day. >> she puts herself out there and is willing to do this, and does she ever get criticized
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with this idea, you don't speak for all muslims. >> she said that she just speaks for herself, and she's not an expert. >> good to see you, thank you. i'm tony harris, in new york city and john seigenthaler is back with