diplomats debate who can attend talks in geneva, a southern taken is town in syri . the world news from al jazeera. also just ahead a new warning from the world health organisation on how far across the americas a virus linked to birth defects is likely to spread. an investigation into hundred dreads of millions of dollars dollars transferred to malaysia's prime minister is shut down.
fighting for an apology. the filipino women kept as sex slaves for the japanese in the second world war. thanks for being with us. activists say syrian forces have retain one of the important towns. a number of highways are in the area p and it's close to the border with jordan. the government says there are pockets of resistance in some areas. its offensive have been supported by fighters jets. southern syria is the last stronghold of the group. we will look at the significance of those events on the ground, but going to geneva first. that's where the u.n. special envoy will announce that talks will take place on friday. while the opposition is losing
ground, there is disagreement who is allowed to sit at the table. more details about that. >> reporter: the delayed talk is due to start on friday, but still the controversy is over who will represent the opposition. the u.n. special envoy says that the decision in the end is his and he will send out the invitations. he says his agenda will be based on the u.n. security council resolution passed at the end of december, but he says he knows which issues should be discussed first. >> the agenda will be already set up. it is the resolution about the new governance, new constitution and elections. the first priority will be to focus of the talks of what most
syrians, if not all, want to hear. the possibility of a broad ceasefire and the possibility of stopping the threat of i.s.i.l. and, therefore, thanks to the ceasefire, an increase of humanitarian aid. >> reporter: who are you going to invite, and you are going to be subtling between the different-- shuttling between delegations. how many delegations are there going to be? >> the issue about the rooms and delegations will be part of the creativity of these proximity talks. there will be, in my opinion, a lot of shuttling because there is not only different delegations, but there are also
women and others who deserve to be heard. the issue is that they will be meeting me and my colleagues and those we will be assigning as facilitators or negotiators. so you could have quite a lot of simultaneous meetings taking place. >> reporter: so potentially a great deal of diplomatic activity here in the u.n.'s european headquarters in a number of different rooms simultaneously starting on friday. but that, of course, is if the talks start on friday and that depends when the main fighting groups, those on the so-called riyadh list, decide to attend let's talk about those developments on the ground in syria. our correspondent with the story. the revolution began in 2011 and
this has been - it is a largely sunni arab province. 07% of it-- 70% of it was in the hands of the rebels. it is one of the approaches to the capital. so one plan was for the units to come up from the south and take the capital and cause the regime to collapse. because largely of russian air intervention, the rebels are being scattered. >> reporter: how much has the russian air intervention, the military involvement, changed the balance of power in syria to the regime's advantage? >> things have just turned around 180 degrees for the regime since the russians came in. obviously, iran had asked hezbollah forces to come over from lebanon to support the regime, but that seemed just not to be enough. some of the free syrian army
units had received tow anti tank missiles and other armaments via the saudis and the u.s. they seemed to be devastating, and just last summer the al-nusra front, the al-qaeda affiliate, were making gains in the province. now there is this significant reversal. >> reporter: why is russia so invested in the regime. you can understand why iran would be and hezbollah, but why russia? >> i think russia sees syria as an old-time client back to the soviet union days. libya was stolen and then declined into chaos. the russians are very nervous
about muslim fundamentalist movements and violent movements in the areas, and it is only a 24-hour drive from aleppo, if you could do it, from turkey to the areas. syria is very near and there are units fighting there. so this is partly an extension of its fight against radicals on its own soil the race is on to develop a vaccine for a mosquito born virus linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in brazil, but it still could be three to five years away. the world health organisation is warning zika is likely to spread to every country in the americas except canada and chile. >> reporter: it all started last may with the first case of zika virus. even calling in the will army couldn't start its affecting 1.5
million people say the authorities. it is spread by a specific kind of mosquito and is not normally life-threatening for adults, but doctors think it also causes microcephaly, a condition in which new born's brains don't develop. the link between the two hasn't been proven but now el salvador, equador have advised women in getting pregnant in the immediate future. the authorities itself with some cases have issued guidelines on travel to zika hot spots >> we are quite concerned about the potential complications to the foetus of zika virus, infection of pregnant women. we really are advising that pregnant women seriously consider postponing travel to these areas if possible. >> reporter: according to the
w.h.o., there's 21 countries around the americas also with cases of zika. they say it will probably spread to every country in the region except chile and canada who don't have the type of mosquitos that carry the virus. currently there is no vaccine or cure. mexico is also fumigating public spaces and houses in the south to try and get ahead of the virus. >> you will not stop the virus. we haven't been able to stop chickengunya or dengue. to avoid being bitten is the best weapon, wearing plants, sleeves and use repellant. >> reporter: a huge influx of visitors will be coming to the olympics and also will be vulnerable to this virus malaysia's attorney-general says no criminal offence was
committed in relation to funds transferred into the prime minister's bank accounts. he says the sum, more than 600 million dollars, was a personal donation for the saudi royal family and was returned. in decimal asia's anti draft agency sent the attorney-general two reports on the funds. our correspondent is reporting for us >> reporter: various media outlets here in malaysia have been speculating as to what the conclusion of the attorney-general's report would be into his investigation over allegations of corruption made against the prime minister. while those allegations have been put to one side by his statement at a press conference on tuesday saying that the prime minister had done no wrong and that there were no reasons for anyone to think that the prime minister had done anything corrupt and the donation of over 6$600 million was made by sourcs
within the saudi royal family, but the actual scenario now leads to as many questions as it does solutions. there will be questions within his own party as to what has happened to the money and should it go into party's kofrs, and should he say in power. the opposition would not let this issue lie. they will completely or continue to hammer the resuming party as this country heads towards a general election within the next two years. do they want to allow him to step aside and allow a new face to take the helm of the party and lead it into the next general election. all those questions, perhaps, will be answer episode in the new few weeks the emimportanter of-- emporer of japan will be
visiting. one matter is yet to be resolved between the japan's use of war time sex slaves. more on this. >> reporter: fighting for justice. these women have kept silent most of their lives, traumatised and ashamed of being forced into sexual slavery by the japanese imperial army during world war ii. this woman is nearly 90 years old. she clearly recalls the day she was abducted. >> translation: one japanese soldier started to rape me while the other two held my arms and legs down. when he was done the other one started. even though i was screaming because of the pain my body was in, they kept at it >> reporter: she is one of almost 200 women who came forward 24 years ago. they were kept at sex slaves to
service soldiers. they're still waiting to be recognised officially and an apology from japan. >> reporter: the military's views of sex slaves is not up for discussion. the philippines in japan signed a 550 million u.s. reparation agreement in 1956. although that focused on rebuilding infrastructure and developing industry, the philippine government considers the matter of war time sexual slavery closed. japan has become the largest aid donor to the philippines. no doubt with mutual concerns over dhooin's intentions in the region, the two countries are strengthening their with defense cooperation. that could see japanese forces back in the philippines. >> i think the philippine government hasn't done too much to comfort women because they're so dependent on the economy. the economic relationship, i think they've been given greater
priority to this large aid and bigger political issues. unfortunately, that relegates this aspect to the back door >> reporter: women like this don't want to be cast aside. >> translation: no matter how hard it is for me, i am still here just to ask for a due, for what was done to us by the government of japan. >> reporter: every year there are fewer of them left, but beyond compensation, they long for an official apology from the japanese government. only then, they say, can they start it to reclaim the dignity taken from them 75 years ago still to come the final push. democratic presidential hopefuls try to woo voters in iowa. a cold snap hits part of eastern asia bringing dangerously low temperatures.
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here is a quick reminder of the top stories. activists say the syrian government has taken a key town. the army is in control of several parts but fighting continues on the outskirts. it is on the outskirts. the world health organisation is warning that the zika virus which has been linked to babies being born with brain damage, is likely to spread to almost every country in the americas.
malaysia's attorney-general closes a probe into millions of funds transferred to the prime minister saying no criminal offence was committed. going to the u.s. presidential race now. democratic candidates have been in iowa for a town hall meeting. it is a final chance to address voters before next week's caulks - caucuses. >> reporter: it was the last chance for iowa voters to hear from all three presidential candidates on one stage. now there is just one week until the first nominatation is held. not suppliesing how tight the race is in this state with the front runners bernie sanders, hillary clinton and a dead heat, sharpening their attacks against one another. there were very tough questions by members of the audience, voters or caucus members who will be gathering to throw their
support to a plit candidate. one thrown at hillary clinton asking why she has an issue with honesty and trust worthiness in the ice of many voters, especially young people, who don't feel enthusiastic about her campaign. she said she is used to being attacked, that a lot of people have said outlandish things about her throughout the years, but she is still standing and she is proud of her record as a former secretary of state in helping to advance gay rights, women rights and human rights, even laying the ground work for the nuclear agreement with iran. she did have some sharp attacks to defend herself against, coming from her key opponent, her main rival bernie sanders, who pointed out that she may have accomplished many things and more experience in foreign policy as a former secretary of state, that she does still have on her record as a u.s. senator the vote in 2002 for the u.s. and 2003 to invade iraq,
something that bernie sanders has said contributed to regional instability ever since. she is vowing to break up wall street and take on the big banks that was understand bill clinton that the big banks and wall street, in fact, were deregulated, something he said he would change if he were elected president. there is a third candidate, and among the democratic candidates, martin o'malley, who is really struggling with less than 5% nationally in polls to stay relevant. he told his supporters with one week to go until the iowa caucus that the american dream, his version of the american dream is worth saving, and despite his low poll numbers, his supporters should hold strong a suicide bomber has killed 35 people in a market in
cameroon. 65 were injured. previous attacks there have been linked to boko haram. protests have taken place in egypt to mark five years since the start of the 2011 revolution. hundreds of muslim brotherhood supporters marched. there were also demonstrations elsewhere. protests without approval are banned and thousands of people have been jailed for demonstrating. thousands of police have marched to tunisia's presidential palace to demand a pay rise. it's the latest challenge to the p.m. a week of protests has been seen. amnesty international has released a report condemning iran for executing you'ves. it details 73 cases where under 18-year-old were executed in the past 10 years.
it has failed to follow-up promises to abolish the death penalty for young people. at least 160 juveniles are on death row. that contrasts with the visit to italy of the iranian leader. he has signed 18 billions in deals. >> reporter: the iranian delegation including around 100 business leaders dashes through the streets of rome towards the italian presidency. this is his first fish trip to europe since international sanctions against iran were lifted a week ago. he chose to make rome rather than paris his first designation. italian companies have fought off fierce competition to clinch contracts with iran. these are among the first deals to be signed. an indication of the longstanding cooperation
betweenity lee and iran-- between ity lee and iran. >> reporter: we have always been in front line of terrorism. if iran didn't take this role, we would be in a much more serious situation today. we have to continue cooperation to ensure genuine peace. >> reporter: iran has about $100 billion if frozen assets which it will now be able to access. it plans to buy more than 1660 european planes mainly from airbus, and it's to sign deals worth up to 18 billion dollars largely with italian energy and steel firms >> reporter: the european union and u.s. still have a few issues with iran, dealing with human rights and groups. there is more to be gained from engaging with iran than isolating it.
they desperately need investment and state-of-the-art equipment from the west, especially in the gas and oil sector where iran is already ramping up production. there's also an appetite for consumer goods, including designer plandz. the west hope that iran contribute to decreasing conflict in the area. >> being an ally of the u.s. can also establish and develop an intense political dialogue with russia, with iran, which are crucial partner for any issue in the middle east, in syria and in libya. >> reporter: the visit continues on tuesday when the iranian president heads to the vatican to meet pope francis european states plan to prolong border controls for up to two years. it the announcement came after a meeting in amsterdam.
it is a response to the ongoing refugee crisis. europe's free travel or schengen zone is made up of countries. six countries have put emergency passport controls in place. these have been in force in may but now they're looking to be extended. these countries want them to continue. some european leaders are also considering shutting out greece, the main entry point for refugees. a report from passau from our correspondent >> reporter: the free movement across europe is coming to a stop. the german police have been controlling rivals since september. in this is in this this is not what the shenzhen zone was meant to look like. in amsterdam european ministers held talks again on how to
manage the flow of refugees and migrants. some governments increasingly frustrated with greece, which they say has failed to control its borders with turkey, are now talking openly of suspending it from the schengen zone. >> translation: if the border will move towards central europe. greece must strengthen its resources as soon as possible and accept help. >> reporter: the greeks say they've carried an unfair burden on behalf of the rest of europe. it is a blame game being played across a fractured area. all the while refugees keep on coming. these people mainly syrians and afghans are being processed in austria before crossing into germany, all ages, automatic hoping to start a new life far from where they were born. finally, on a dark cold winter's
night, they arrive in southern germany, the last country they hope in their long journey. the german authorities say that between two and 3,000 refugees and migrants are arriving every single gay and this is the middle of winter. everyone expects the numbers will increase when the weather gets warmer again. europe is in a race against time to preserve it's borders and preserve it's unity. they wait to find out where in germany they will be sent while their asylum claims are being considered. they need to rest and recover, but they're grateful to have got to germany while it was still possible to travel across europe human rights groups are criticizing denmark's proposal to tighten immigration rules ahead of a parliamentary vote on tuesday. the government wants to force newly arrived refugees to hand over valuables worth more than $1500. rights groups say the legislation is cruel and
degrading. dozens of people have applied as a blast of extreme cold has spread across asia. some areas are experiencing their lowest temperatures in half a century. >> reporter: asia is freezing. plummeting temperatures and heavy snow falls in japan are blocking roads and reducing traffic to a crawl. cancellations and delays mean public transport is in chaos. businesses are grinding to a halt because staff are struggling to get to work. >> translation: i was supposed to board the 2 o'clock train, but i'm thinking of going home since i don't know when the trains will arrive. >> reporter: in taiwan dozens of people, many of them frail and elderly, have died. the sudden drop in temperature strains their heart and lungs. many homes don't have central heating. in vietnam farmers are helplessly watching their crops freeze and their animals die. >> translation: since i was bosh i've never seen anything like this. -- born.
this is badly affecting our society and my family's economy. >> reporter: the southern kreen island has had its heaviest snow fall fall in more than 30 years. airports were shut over the weekend leaving many travellers stranded >> translation: staying in the airport is exhausting and i really want to get out of here. i have been at the airport for 12 hours. >> reporter: hong kong experienced its holdest day in nearly 60 years. in other parts of northern china temperatures dropped below minus 40. it is forecast to exit on tuesday, which will allow the temperatures to creep back up to normal. this will come as a relief to many. in particular, to the millions of people who will be travelling home for the upcoming lunar new year holiday. >> reporter: for centuries the sport of sumo has been synonymous with sdwrap an. for the past 10 years the
champions have come from overseas. not so. a this 31-year-old won 915 day contest in tokyo and he has been driven around the city in a convertible. he is the first national to win the cup since 206. go to aljazeera.com for all our news. [ ♪ ] you want to talk about what you have, homicide. dad. >> plane crashes. one-year-old. disorder. >> what is the number one cause of death for police officers in the country? >> suicide. >> it's policy with most departments workers comp to deny any kind of a stress claim. >> post-traumatic stress disorder drove me to become a mental case. >> what is the reluctance to rtionz t