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tv   News  Al Jazeera  January 26, 2016 4:00am-4:31am EST

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the syrian army retakes the key town of sheikh maskin gaining a new round of diplomacy. welcome. you're watching al jazeera in doha. i'm peter dobby. diplomatic decisions, the u.n. special envoy for syria say the invitations will be out in the
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next couple of hours. markets fall by more than 6% on the stock market. the filipino kept as sex slaves by the japanese during the second world war activists say government forces have recaptured one of the most important towns in syria. sheikh maskin is on a key supply route. >> reporter: the syrian flag flies against in sheikh mask. it is from weeks of intense fighting with rebels to retake this town. state television showed military forces entering the town center after securing supply lines. battles are reported to be
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continuing on the outskirts. the importance of the ruined town cannot be understated. it lies on the main road linking the capital damascus with deraa where the issue started nearly five years ago. forces had been given up until russian armed forces began their military campaign last september. their intervention has been seen as a dpam changer >> things have turned around 180 degrees for the regime after the russians came in. just last summer the al-nusra front was making gains in the province. now there's this significant reversal which will affect the rebels' logistics. >> reporter: russian jets have carried out thousands of missions helping the syrian government regain control of territory nationwide. it has just recaptured the town of rabia.
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the russian aerial bombardment has been criticized for being indiscriminate. the kremlin insists i.s.i.l. and other armed groups are being targeted. some human rights groups say the air strikes have killed more civilians than fighters. gerald tan meanwhile diplomatic efforts well underway ahead of the indirect talks scheduled for friday. ahead of that, the russian foreign minister has been saying it's impossible to reach an agreement in syria without inviting kurds to take part in the negotiations. >> translation: the fighters which the u.s. supports and who are fighting i.s.i.l., they're trying to prevent them from participating in the syrian talks. this is our common problem. it's not simply unfair and counterproductive. it is a problem with the u.s. the u.s. believes the kurds are one of its closest allies in the fight against terrorism.
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i hope the u.s. will not leave this problem uninvolved we're live to geneva and james bays. the message seems to be the bus is leaving. you have to be on board. >> reporter: absolutely. it's a question, i think, for those opposition groups that are based or have been based in saudi arabia in recent weeks. the controversy here is exactly who gets to send out the invitations. the process that's going to start here, if it does start on friday, was built on the so-called vienna process, a series of meetings in vienna. in those meetings they decided that saudi arabia would draw up the list of the opposition. they did that. they came up with a list that includes many of the armed groups fighting in syria as with well as the syrian national coalition. when there was a u.n. security council pasted at the end of last year, it says the final
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decision of ininvites goes to the united nations. staffan de mistura is the one to send out the invitations. he has been listening to the opposition members based in riyadh but also the russians who have been saying they don't believe that that saudi list covers the whole range of the opposition. they say there are too many fighting groups, too many jidists and not enough representation from the kurds back at the middle of december before the u.n. security council resolution, we heard a lot from people like david cameron saying we will work with a coalition of willing on the ground and they in turn will talk to their political associates in places like, say, istanbul. that element, that strand of the thinking seems to have gone away. is the reality here that that is just a complete non-starter?
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>> reporter: well, i think the idea was to build a process to get the internal players and the regional players embracing this, and they did manage that in the last meeting in new york and in vienna, but there is a difficulty in keeping those regional and international players involved at every stage. they don't agree. you've even got even worse problems with that in the last few weeks since the beginning of this year because, of course, you have the increased tension between saudi and iran which are key players, and another key player is istanbul. turkey does not want one of the key kurdish groups to take part in these groups. they believe that's a red line for them. although he didn't answer the
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question, all the questions are that they are going to be there. that's a big problem, i think, with regard to turkey's view of this peace process which is due to go ahead on friday. mr staffan de mistura says it's starting on friday. i have to say with various opposition groups not saying whether they will come that's in some doubt thanks for that. chinese investors panicking again today, selling off their stocks and shares. it fell by more than 6%. that's another multi billion dollar loss for the chinese economy. the latest big sell off has been triggered by the continuing fall in the price of oil and global equity markets. the late eflt from beijing. >> reporter: it has been a particularly volatile time for china's stock markets. the shanghai has dropped 8% this
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year alone and we're still in the first month of 2016. there's several factors that are causing investors to sell off their shares in china's stock markets. one is the weak economic data coming out from china. last week officials announced that gdp had slowed to its lowest in 25 years and we're expecting growth to slow even further to about 6.5% this year. on tuesday the nation's top economic planners said rail freight activity, and that is the measure of goods that are transported by rail, has fallen about 11.9% in volume last year. that's seen as a measure of industrial activity and the new data certainly heightens investors' fierce of a slowdown in china. the other factor is the weakness that we've been seeing in the
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chinese currency. investors are wary that it may depressure yat even further despite the china's central banks efforts to stabilize the currency, despite the bank giving shaurnss that it won't allow the currency to depreciate. investors have still been spooked by this and that has prompted a sell off the bodies of people have been seen off the coast of malaysia. police receive they were illegal migrants. a search and rescue is underway to find survivors. the malaysian prime minister cleared of 680 million dollars that was transferred to his account in 2013. the attorney says it was a personal donation from the saudi
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royal family and most of it was later returned. however, more than 60 million remains unaccounted for. >> reporter: various media outlets here had 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 krument and that the donation of over 600 million dollars was made by sources within the saudi royal family, but the actual scenario now leads no as many questions as it does solutions. they will be questions within his own party as to what has
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happened to the money, whether it should be in the coffers, should he stay on as prime minister with this cloud hanging over him because the opposition are not going to let this issue lie and that they will completely or continue to hammer the ruling 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 answered in the next few weeks plenty more still to come here on al jazeera. italy's head start in iran. multi billion dollars of deals signed. brick by bring it's construction supplies and expertise nepal needs now to rebuild after
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april's earthquake.
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welcome back. a reminder of our top stories. activists say government forces have recaptured one of the most important towns is southern syria. sheikh maskin is a main route. shire prices have lunged more than 6% following a further foil in the oil price. the latest investor panic has cost the chinese investors.
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the prime minister has been cleared of criminal behaviour. the attorney-general said he received a personal donation from the saudi royal family but most of it has now been returned. the i rainian present is to meet the pop francis later today. his delegation are expected to sign deals worth up to 18 billion dollars during his trip. >> reporter: the iranian delegation including around 100 business leaders dashes through the streets of rome towards the italian presidency. this is his first official trip to europe since international sanctions against iran were lifted a week ago. he chose to make rome rather than paris his first
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designation. italian companies 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. >> translation: we have always been in the front line in the battle against terrorism. if iran hadn't taken this role, we would be in a much more difficult situation today. we have worked withity lee in many sectors. >> reporter: iran has about 100 billion dollars in frozen assets which it will now be able to access. it plans to buy more than 160 european planes, mainly from airbus. it is to sign deals worth up to 18 billion dollars largely with italian energy and steel firms. the european union and u.s. still have a number of issues with iran. notably in the field of human rights and also on its support
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for groups like hezbollah and ham as. however, they've come to the conclusion that there's more to be gained from engaging with iran than isolating it. iranian infrastructure desperately needs investment and state-of-the-art equipment from the west, especially in the oil and gas sector where iran is already ramping up production. there's also a huge appetite for consumer goods, including designer brands. in your honour it is hoped iran reduces tensions and conflicts in the region >> being an e.u. member or an ally of the u.s. a can also establish and develop an intense political dialogue with are russia and iran which are a crucial partner for any issue in the middle east, but in syria and libya. >> reporter: the visit continues on tuesday when the president heads to the vatican to meet
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pope francis the iranian government is being criticized for executing teenagers. 73 cases where teen yijers were executed in the past 10 years. the country has failed to follow-up and abolish the death penalties for juveniles. the former president of the maldives says he might not return home after being left to travel to the u.k. for surgery. he was freed last week on condition that he returns to serve the rest of his 13 years in prison. he was jailed last year over the abduction of a judge. >> reporter: appearing with his lawyers in london, he said his temporary release from jail to seek spinal treatment abroad did not signal political change at home. >> every opposition leader is
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either in jail, facing criminal charges or intimidated by the regime. understand constant threat and every day the regime takes a further step to undermine or eliminate democratic institutions. at this moment of maximum visibility, it is essential that the international community is not deceived into thinking that because i am here today that the battle is over >> reporter: democracy, activist and the first president who once famously held an underwater cabinet meeting to show the effects of climate change, was jailed a year ago on so-called terrorism charges described by the u.n. as arbitrary. his first meeting on arrival was
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with david cameron who promised to keep up pressure on the maldive maldives. >> that list represents those most responsible for human right issues in the country. those individuals should have their assets in the e.u. and u.s. frozen and that they should have their travel to those territories banned. >> reporter: in response, the maldives foreign minimumer said in a statement it is clear the former president hasee disingenuous at best and misleading at worst no seeking medical leave in the u.k. this is not medical leave but media leave. what they wanted to know is will he go back to the maldives after the 30 days of medical leave granted to him expires. he answered a question with a question. the man widely believed to be capable of winning a democratic
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election if he is allowed to pars advertise patent said, i will go back. the only question is how and when several european countries are planning to extend temporary border controls for up to two years. that announcement follows a meeting of e.u. interior ministers in amsterdam in response to the ongoing refugee crisis. human rights groups are criticizing denmark's proposal to tighten immigration rules ahead of a parliamentary vote on tuesday. the government wants to force refugees who have recently arrived to handover any valuables worth more than $1500. human rights group say the legislation is cruel and degrading. the emperor of japan is making an historic visit to the philippines which their army
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populated during the second world war. >> 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 arm 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 first came forward 25 years ago. they say they were kept as sex slaves in so-called comfort stations to service imperial japanese soldiers. they're still waiting to be recognised officially and offered an apology by the
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government of japan. the japanese emperor will be here for five days. the views of sex slaves is not up to japan. they signed a 550 million 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. >> reporter: japan has become the largest aid donor to the philippines. now with mutual concerns over china's intentions in the region, the two countries are strengthening their defense cooperation. that could see japanese forces back in the philippines >> i think the philippine government hasn't done too much with this issue because they're so dependent on the economic relationship. i think they've been giving greater priority to these large aid and bigger political issues.
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unfortunately, that relative gates this aspect of history to the back door. >> reporter: women like this woman don't want to be cast aside. no matter how hard it is for me, i am still here. just to ask for a due, for what was done to on us by the government of japan. >> reporter: every year there are fewer of them left, but i don't want compensation they long for an official pal gee from the japanese government. only then, they say, can they start to reclaim the dignity taken from them 75 years ago turning our attention to the high lands of nepal where the village is near the epicenter of the earthquake last april. it was virtually completely destroyed. people there are eager to restart their lives, but they want to build literally again on firmer foundations. >> reporter: this man has come from the united kingdom to repair his house in the
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foothills here. he is a soldier from the british army and has been living in britain for almost two decades. >> my house, this was built by my forth. it is time to come around and sort it out down here. >> reporter: like most people here he does not want to do too much right now. >> the government is planning to build proper houses here. i'm waiting medical that comes out >> reporter: waiting for the government to act is not something that villagers here like to do. for generations people have joindz the army. locals say they don't need the government or ngos to rebuild their homes. what they do want is designs for earthquake resistant homes so they can rebuild their lives. back in october the nation
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planning commission said it had drawn up designs for earthquake resistant houses, but the people here say they're still waiting for the details. making the best of a bad situation, locals here have decided to go ahead with some basic improvements to their village. roads have already been widened, plans for water and sanitation have been laid out. people here say they now need skilled help, not other forms of charity. >> translation: right after the quake we needed r ice, oil, tents, blankets, everything. we are very grateful for it. if people give charity to us all the time, we will get spoilt. if people want to help, they can give us building people. we don't have carpenters, masons. we need to rebuild houses. instead of charity we want to
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receive training, men and women are all ready for training. >> reporter: villagers here have been to the local authority to push for action. even though they have been given assurances, they say not much has happened since. without official guidance, they're moving ahead to rebuild their homes as best as they can for now some australians observing their national day which marks the arrival of the first white settlors, but for many aboriginals australia day is known as "invasion day". protesters have taken to the streets of sydney calling for that day to be changed >> reporter: for those here, and there are more than a thousand people here, 26 january is not a day to celebrate but a day to mourn, for people here it is invasion day, the anniversary of the moment that the white settlors arrived in australia and started pushing aboriginal people off their own traditional land. they see no reason to celebrate
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that. at the very least people here think the date of australia day should be changed so that it doesn't fall on a date that people here see as a very sorrow occasion. to this day aboriginal people are more likely to be in jail than nonindigenous people, they're far less likely to have jobs at all, or certainly good jobs, their educational achievements are lower. even today aaboriginal australians are not recognised in australia's constitution. it reads as if australia was uninhabited when settlors arrived. >> it is important to show the world what is happening here. australia is still committing genocide against the indigenous people of australia >> i live here and see what is happening. i see the prejudice. you only have to open your eyes and listen to conversations on trains and think we have to educate people. >> these days we still have
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policies that actually are in place that when you look at them actually are discriminatory towards aboriginal people >> reporter: so the speech is over. people will now march to the center of city where there will be a rally to mark invasion day. it should be said though for the vast majority of australians, this is 26 january, australia day, a day to celebrate with parties, celebrating what is to be australian. the people here don't mind that at some other point in the year. it's the anniversary on 26 january that bothers them. they think more respect should be shown to aboriginal people in australia staying with that theme of marking significant days around the world, india celebrating republic day by showing off its arsenal of military equipment. francois hollande joined the indian p.m. they signed a deal for 36 french war planes but still have to agree on the price tag. france also wants to sell nuclear reactors to produce
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electricity there. the celebrations are the 67th since the constitution came into force following independent and partition from the british empire in the 1940s. do checkout the website, al jazee you can talk to everyone here on the team on social media. i'm at peter dobby one. the headlines are a moment away. this week on talk to al jazeera musician and activist, moby. >> glamorous dating, going to the right parties, et cetera, these can be fun, but they're not. they won't sustain you. it's like junk food or cocaine. >> he went from being a relative unknown to one of the most important electronic dance music pioneers. moby has made more than a dozen albums. the singer-songwriter has another set to come out in 2016. >> quite electronic,