hostages are taken in somalia after armed fighters target a busy seaside restaurant. in doha with the world news. ahead myanmar frees political prisoners days before a new government is formed. who killed the spy? links to the president. health authorities ramp up warnings to pregnant women across latin america as the outbreak of the zika virus
spreads. the armed group al-shabab has stormed a popular restaurant. there are three being killed and reports of others held hostage. >> reporter: you can't see the beach view restaurant because it is dark, but you can hear the gunfire. awedding ceremony and a graduation dinner were underway when armed fighters rammed a car packed with explosives into the restaurant. they stormed the building and shot at customers. special forces have been sent in to help. >> so far what we know right now is civilians and also workers, the people that were attending the graduation party and also the wedding were targeted. >> reporter: al-shabab which operates in somalia and
neighboring countries has claimed responsibility. >> unfortunately security services even in the west seem to really understake the threat of groups such as al-shabab. there have been very-- they have been very good at planning operations even outside somalia. >> reporter: last friday a group attacked an african union military base in south-west somalia. al-shabab says 100 kenyan soldiers were killed, although the kenyan government hasn't confirmed that figure. in april last year al-shabab fighters killed 147 people in an attack on a college in kenya. in september 2013 fighters from the group stormed the west gate shopping mall killing 67 people. somalia has been devastated by decades of civil unrest. four years ago the government pushed al-shabab out of major cities, including mogudishi with
the help of african union soldiers. the government and its supporters still have much more work to do al jazeera journalist has been following. he said the attack was designed to send a message to the government >> they have been saying that al-shabab is a spent force. what we've seen recently is al-shabab saying they're not a spent force and what better place to announce their presence than on a seafront restaurant in the heart of the capital. it's not only that they've lost the city, but they have been pushed out by the somalia government forces and the african union forces from almost all the major towns in the country. what they still control is the outskirts of every city in the rural areas. they're still very powerful. what we have seen recently in how they recently attacked three
military bases, so they're not going for the soft targets like restaurants or hotels, but also government officials and also military bases there are reports that myanmar's government is about to release political prisoners. outgoing president could free as many as 30 including student activists. the release comes days before the aung san suu kyi's party is due to form a new government. what more can you tell us about the prisoner release and who exactly is being freed? >> reporter: yes. it's very difficult to confirm exactly who has been released or, indeed, how many numbers of political prisoner have been freed or will be freed later on friday, but it seems that around 30 have been freed already. the reason it's difficult to confirm is simply communication released from several different prisons right around the country, so it takes some time
for ngos, for example, monitor exactly who has been released, but the latest is that around 30 political prison been released and they are-- prisonerers have been released and they are a group of 100 in total being freed, given amnesty by the government of myanmar which, as you say, is on its way out this is all happening before aung san suu kyi's party is due to form a new government. >> reporter: yes. that's right. 1 february the new parliament will convene and most of those seats in parliament will be filled by the party of aung san suu kyi's national lead for democracy that won last year's election so comfortably. many of the former generals who ran the country for 50 years will now move aside. so clearly they want to leave some sort of positive legacy by releasing these political prisoners, that they leaflet help put this country on the path to some sort of democracy.
it has to be remembered that even though we're seeing around 30 political prisoner released today, there are still reports of several hundred remaining behind bars. so clearly there is still a long way to go thank you for that. a british inquiry has found russian president vladimir putin probably approved the murder of a former kgb agent. he died after drinking tea laced with a radio active substance at a london hotel. the investigation may poison the relationship between the two countries. >> reporter: the long awaited murder inquiry has led investigators to the very doors of the kremlin. the damming findings say the president vladimir putin probably personally sanctioned his murder because of a long personal feud. the head of russia's security service, nsb, has also been
implicated in what has been described as a state-upon sored assassination. >> the sfb operation who killed the spy was probably approved by one and then the head of the sfb and also by president putin. >> reporter: the report says these former russian agents poisoned the spy with radio active substance at this london hotel. it also says this was their second murder attempt. speaking in russia, he called the allegations nonsense. >> translation: everything that has been said by the british media referring to an open and public hearing is a lie. outrageous lie and i can't find any other words to describe it. >> reporter: his wife and son say they're happy with the findings. they're urging the british
government to punish russia with sanctions. >> i'm calling all sanctions on russian operatives and against named individuals. >> reporter: summoned to the foreign office, the ambassador to the u.k., they say the accusations are baseless >> we say the way it was disposed is a provocation of the british authorities. >> reporter: the british government says it will freeze the assets of those suspected of the killing. it was a murder straight out of a cold war spy novel. the former russian agent had defected to the west becoming a british citizen only to be hunltd down and killed on british soil apparently by his
former colleagues. there was personal antagonism between him and the president. he had mated repeated attacks on putin accusing him of paedophilia. >> reporter: there is no legal basis alone, although it could influence what steps the government decides to take next. when it comes to defeating i.s.i.l. in syria, a full-blown diplomatic row is the last thing the government wants a dangerous mosquito-borne video virus is spreading through latin america forcing warnings to pregnant women. it was first detected last year in brazil prompting health authorities there to urge pregnant women to use insect repellant. they're now being told to postpone getting pregnant in colombiaa. in bolivia has confirmed the
first case of the virus. it is the latest of 14 countries and territories to be affected. >> reporter: in this clinic in central colombia future mothers anxiously wait for their doctor's visit. some of them were sick with the virus, a disease that researchers that believes is causing congenital effects in some babies. >> translation: i saw it on television on the news. i'm very worried and that's why i'm here now. what if my child is malformed, can you imagine bringing him to life like that. it's so scary >> reporter: thousands of bear babies have been born in brazil with unusually small heads and brain damage. their mothers were infected by zika. the virus has infected more than 13,000 people in the country since october making it the second worst hit country in the region. authorities say it could infect
as many as 700,000 more in coming months, so they're warning women to avoid getting pregnant. >> translation: they should consider postponing pregnancy for six to 12 months and we're saying that because it is a good way to communicate the risk involved. there could be serious kons. >> reporter: up to this point there hasn't been any confirmed case of this in new born cases related to zika, but officials say it is only a question of times. >> translation: opportunity have unfortunately, we can't avoid all cases. there is no cure for the virus and no way of being fully protected joochlt it can be passed on by mosquitoes which thrive and breed in small amounts of still water. this woman is eight months pregnant. she says that unlike many of her friends she hasn't been infected. she has been careful to rid her home of still water and uses repellant and months is key toe
nets at night. >> translation: the problem is that a lot of women are poorly informed and are not taking any precautions. that is how virus is spread. the government is telling people not to get pregnant and it is not going to work. >> reporter: the government is promising to start a health campaign to convince people to change their habits, but with no cure for the virus, many fear the disease could turn into an epidemic time for a short break here on al jazeera. when we come back, the court ruling that reunited refugee children who were torn from their families. we visit a school for children with learning difficulties. g difficulties.
welcome back. the top stories here on al jazeera. the armed group al-shabab has stormed a popular restaurant in somali. at least three have been killed. myanmar's government is about to release prisoners. it could be as many as 30. a british inquiry has concluded that the murder of a further kgb agent was approval approved by russian president vladimir putin. alexander litvinenko died after drinking tea which held a radio active substance. in tunisia protests of unemployment are spreading from the city of kaksserine to other
areas. the government has back tracked on its promise to create 5,000 new jobs. 5,000 unemployed people will be put on training schemes instead. our correspondent reports on a third day of protests. >> reporter: the feeling of desperation here is real. this protester is threatening to commit suicide. his colleagues save him at the last minute. tension is mounding and the crowd is losing patience. -- mounting. this is one of the leaders of the movement. he graduated from university eight years ago. he has been looking for work ever since. >> translation: we are united against discrimination and marginalization. we have suffered for decades we
don't feel like we belong to this country because government officials don't care for us. >> translation: there is a budget for buildings roads and hospitals but nothing has been done. i come from the poorest place in the country to denounce corruption. >> reporter: the crowd converges near a police station. moments later they start hurling stones at policemen who were asked by their commanders to show self restraint. they will not fire tear gas unless the situation gets worse. as protests spread across the country, government leaders have little option but to try and contain discontent before the situation degenerates even further the head of the u.n. refugee agency says that the syrian war is the largest crisis it has
dealt with. he was visiting aid agencies in the syrian capital. more than a hundred u.n. and other humanitarian groups have issued an appeal to end the conflict which will soon enter it's fifth year. the u.n. says an estimated 400,000 syrians are still isolated in 15 besieged areas across the country. >> translation: the reality of the crisis hits me when i talk to people like the ones that i saw just now in the hospital with the doctor. people that in addition to being displaced forceably by war away from their homes have serious illnesses or children that are traumatised by war and that have developed some problems, some physical/psychological problems as a consequence of that trauma the chinese president has pledged millions of dollars in humanitarian aid while addressing the arab league in
cairo. president xi jinping announced money for many countries, an end for the syrian conflict and stressed the need for political dialogue. after delays and questions about who to invite, the syria talks could begin a few base behind schedule. the u.n. special envoy to syria told al jazeera that last-minute hurdles remain. >> reporter: we are now, i believe, getting to a point where everybody is feeling that there is time for doing it. there are many new elements which you didn't have before. one, we have now suddenly a feeling of the refugee crisis touching every country in you're and beyond. secondly, everybody in the world is realising that all this, apart from the suffering in syria, is producing a monitor called d.a.e.s.h. three, this has regional and
global potential implications, so everybody feels that if we have vienna meeting, it is time to talk about peace. of course it will be uphill, it will be difficult. there would be walk outs and walk ins. that's why we have concrete example for syrian people, some food is coming all the time, vacuum nations are coming and less bombs. there is no no doubt that the migrant crisis has been a wake-up call for everyone in europe, now heads of states, prime ministers are concerned because it has been causing a destabilization of their own policy. there has always been concern about the humanitarian side. now it is becoming a political issue. the russian military intervention has been a game changer too, an acceleration of wanting to address, even by the russians, because i'm sure they are realising this is an
operation that cannot last too long as they have been saying themselves. you see how many factors? >> reporter: let's talk politics then. 25 january is supposed to be the day the talks happen. it's up to you to send the invites out. have you done that yet? >> no. because this time i had promised to myself and to the section, when i do so, i need to feel comfortable that it will not be another geneva 2. there have been hiccups. we have an agenda agreed by everyone, agreed by the security council unanimously, and it is about new governance, new constitution and new elections in 18 months. we have a timetable, 18 months a group of syrian children who had been living in a refugee camp in calais have been reunited with their families in britain.
>> reporter: how easy it is, how simple a journey when there is finally nobody in your way to stop you. a small group of three teenagers and a young disabled man who had been in a camp for several months picked up their stuff, sat on an hour and got off again. they were greeted privately by their relatives who were already living in britain. in a nearby café the brother of one of the teenagers could barely contain his excitement at being able to look after his little brother again. >> translation: i want to provide my brother with all the affection he has missed out on by being on his own for so long. i want him never to live another day by himself ever again >> reporter: this happened because of the work of citizens u.k. one gave up her job and looks for children who have been
separated from their families. she has counted 200 in the camp. they were conveniently lie allowed to come because of a ruling. the children should seek asylum in france and then try to get transferred to britain. since the government may continue to fight the ruling, it isn't clear exactly how many more children might able to come. >> reporter: it's worth bearing in mind that all this has happened despite rather than because of the actions of british government in allowing refugee children to be with their carers, but nonetheless it does demonstrate that u.k. still has an independent legal system and that could have implications in other countries as well. what, for instance, the refugees in denmark trying to be with families in sweden who activists have been taken by boat to get around border controls. civil rights campaigners might be able to use this as well >> these children, if others can
follow suit, is a wonderful dwochlt we know it's a big blow to people smugglers across europe because they exploit those people most desperate. >> reporter: it is no help to the thousands of refugees and migrants stuck in northern france without families already in the u.k. but all the same this was a nice celebration for the activists trying to prove that u.k. retains a way of looking after the vulnerable. as for the syrian children, they have disappeared into the london night and a new life no longer surrounded by police with tear gas but instead a warm bed, a roof over their head, some love and finally some refuge in the u.s. a huge snow storm is about to hit the north-east of the country. a warning is in place in several sittings are bracing for at least a metre of snow. states of emergency have been declared in seven areas. in new jersey sand barriers are being created to protect areas from flooding. for from washington dc.
>> reporter: huge parts of the east coast of the united states are on stand by waiting to see what will happen over the next 72 hours. it will hit the carolinas, virginia, washington dc, philadelphia - phil, new york, bost boston. the main focus will be around washington dc where they're predicting late on friday into saturday morning there could be up to 60 centimeters of snow. that has meant from friday morning flights across the east coast have been cancelled. train journeys have been cancelled as well. roads are being prepared ahead of the storm with lots of salt being available. we have got a snapshot of what to expect here in washington dc on wednesday and it was bad. we just got two centimeters of snow but the roads hadn't been treated and hundreds of people abandoning their vehicles to walk home and lorries being
abandoned on the side of motor ways. people have been stocking up because they've been told the storm is coming and in supermarkets, and i've been in a few, we have seen the shelves cleared of essentials such as water, bread and milk. people also stocking up on batteries and generates because they're told there could be out of power out ages. 75 million people are expecting the storm to hit. they're waiting to see how bad it will be for them and they're bracing themselves for what could be a very difficult 72 hours and beyond the u.n.'s humanitarian quarteror in yemen has escorted aid. the w.h.o. says more than a quarter of a million people have been living under a virtual siege since november. aid trucks carrying food and medicines have been stopped, hospitals have been targeted during fighting and forced to close because of overcrowding.
>> i think it is important that the medical facilities should stop being targeted and medical supplies should be be allowed to be brought into here also in thies a team has gone missing. our correspondent and crew members were last seen on monday evening - taiz. they're believed to have been kidnapped. al jazeera is calling for their immediate release a new school for children living with autism in poor communities has opened in the african town of suetto. it's a first for the country. >> reporter: she says she noticed something was wrong with her daughter nine months after she was born. >> the doctor tell me she was autistic. he just said to me she was brain damaged. it broke my heart.
i couldn't even tell my parents, my family or my husband. >> reporter: she will be 16 soon. her mother now understands that autism is a knew low developmental disorder meaning that the brain does not develop in the usual way. she is excited because she got a place at a new different kind of school. parents don't pay school fees, so african officials say it is a first state-run school for the township. special schools are found in poor communities and many facilities cater for children with all disabilities. they don't specialise in specific conditions such as autism. it is often misdiagnosed. >> parents either keep their children at home. there's not a word for it in african languages. we have hyper active kid, a kid that can't communicate. >> reporter: there are also private schools in south africa
offering more specialistist care for children with autism. they are well run providing physiotherapy and speech therapy. >> they don't process verbal information very well, but they process visual information better. in that sense it is much easier to have learners with autism together so that you can make the correct adaptations for them >> reporter: basic fees are roughly $400 a month. that's excluding therapy sessions. it is too expensive for this unemployed woman. teachers lack training to meet the needs of autistic children. >> he was hit. i was crying. i was kripg really. it was very painful. >> reporter: this school has 64 students. with time officials hope similar facilities for these children who need a special kind of
education can be opened in other poorer neighborhoods a reminder you can keep up-to-date with the news on our website at aljazeera.com for all the news. [ ♪ music ] good evening, welcome to "america tonight", i'm lisa fletcher, in for glen, who is on assignment. by 2050 there'll be more plastic in the ocean than fish, this, according to a newly released report by the world economic