syrian factions arrive in switzerland, ahead of talks scheduled for friday, but serious divisions over who should take part threaten the whole process. ♪ hello there, i'm barbara sarah. you are watching al jazeera live from london. also coming up on the program, after fatal shootout, the fbi sends reinforcements to confront members of an armed militia in oregon. and afghanistan's 1.9 million child laborers. and modern day explorers
retracing a journey last completed more than 80 years ago. ♪ crucial talks to find a political solution to end the war in syria could collapse before they have even started. they are supposed to get underway on friday, but rival factions have threatened the talks. so who is going, and who is not? the syrian government will be represented at the discussions. the syrian national coalition, which is one of the main opposition groups, says it is unlikely to attend. most of the factions have formed the higher negotiating committee. it has written to the u.n. for a list of conditions for it to take part. the u.n. has invited a number of delegates who are considered to be pro-assad.
and the kurdish group the pyd had not been invited. russia insisted the group's participation was necessary, but turkey threatened to pull out if the pyd was there, saying the group is linked to what it calls terrorism. and the islamic state of iraq and the levant and al-nusra will not be involved in those talks. let's go to james bayes. >> reporter: remember these talks were set in stone as taking place on the 25th, that was monday. so they have already in fact been delayed. and i think the big question mark is over those that have been formed -- the group that has been formed, the high negotiating committee that has been formed in riyadh, because they still haven't given their answer. they have said yes, they want
peace. they want peace talks, but they have some questions they want answered by the united nations about the way these talks are going to be conducted. they have sent a letter to ban ki-moon and to the u.n. envoy, they want to know, for example, whether all of the different people that have been invited -- and there is already another group of opposition that the high negotiating committee don't really feel are proper opposition, but they certainly -- the people who are already here in switzerland, they have already arrived where i was earlier today, they say they are very much opposition -- they are here already. so the decision from riyadh, i think is the important decision, and that is taking some time. we are expecting at some point today. so far we haven't heard a final decision, because they have asked for the clarification from the united nations. i think if they can't make that decision at some point on
thursday, then the start date of friday starts to be in doubt. >> james one thing we do know is that the syria government has said it will be attending. do we know anything about the people chosen to represent it, the delegates? >> reporter: well the latest news that we hear that the syrian foreign minister himself is going to be coming to geneva to head the delegation. he did that last time, but he wasn't on the actual negotiating panel, and we believe the chief negotiator, again, is going to be syria's ambassador to the united nations. that, i think, worries some diplomats who are watching this process, because they know that the ambassador is a very skilled diplomat, but they fear he is not going to use his skills in a constructive way to help these talks, and there are many that will tell you that he was the
man who managed in many ways to make the talks fail last time, because from the moment they started here in geneva, he was arguing over the agenda, not just what was on the agenda, but the order that things were going to be discussed. this time around the u.n. have said the agenda is set out in the u.n. security council resolution passed at the end of december, but i'm sure there will be disagreement about what they discuss first, certainly we believe the u.n. first want to discuss ceasefires and lifting those sieges to try to help the people on the ground in syria. >> james bayes live for us in geneva, thank you. all of this comes as the united nations security council hears that siege and starvation are still being used as weapons of war in syria. about 4.6 million people are in hard-to-reach areas, and 486,000 are trapped in besieged areas.
steven o'brien is urging those attending the talks this week to put people before politics. >> you have taken action on chemical weapons in syria. you have authorized cross border humanitarian assistance, and taken action recently to launch a political process, but for the millions of people trapped under siege, this council has simply not done enough. we have left those people with no hope. they believe the world has forgotten them. as this conflict approaches its sixth year, now is the time for those council members with influence on the parties to put their differences aside, and come together at the most senior political levels to find ways to improve access to the millions of syrians that remain trapped. the syrian people cannot wait any longer. ♪
25 iraqi security forces have been killed north of ramadi. isil is believed to have carried out the attack at the head quarters of the 10th division of the iraqi army. falling oil prices and the rising cost in the war against isil is causing a government hardship. imran khan has our story. >> reporter: leyla works for the local government in baghdad. she was happy to get a government job because it provides security and a steady paycheck, or so she thought. the plummeting price of oil has left a big hole in the government's budget, causing a restructuring of the state's finances. that has meant a 25% pay cut for leyla, and get she now gets paid ever 45 days instead of monthly. >> translator: most of the employees are totally dependant on these salaries.
the government is effectively forcing people to seek other options. maybe even terrorism. >> reporter: government leaders say that as soon as oil prices rise, salaries will be restored to previous levels and payments backdated. that cost will be huge. iraqi society heavily relies on government jobs. around 95% of all of iraq's revenues comes from oil. about 4.5 million people are on the state payroll, and another 3.7 million people receive state pensions. any cuts in those pensions, any cut in those payrolls means that there is a direct impact in places like this, iraq's market, and the ability for iraqis to be able to feed themselves and look after themselves. this salesman says shoppers aren't buying as much as they used to. >> translator: the purchase fowler for people has declined because of the austerity measures implemented by the government number people are trying to save money as they
can, in case times get even tougher. >> reporter: economists say that fear is well founded. >> translator: state employees have the right now to be afraid about their salaries. the government's actions in such regard is mounting fear and pressure on civil servants. it coincides have the fast-pacing international economic developments that overshadow's iraq economic situation. his fears will continue. >> reporter: even the most optimistic of assessments suggest iraqis face more tough times ahead for the next 12 months at least. when the cost of the war against isil is factored in, those challenges are multiplied. however, it's iraqis with jobs who are especially suffering, living from one paycheck to another. the leaders of a militia group in the u.s. state of oregon have been arrested during a shootout at a police
roadblock. one person was killed during the incident on tuesday. the police made their move on militia leader ammon bundy and his supporters why they travelled to a community meeting. let's go live to our washington bureau where tom akerman has been following the story. talk us through exactly what happened, tom. >> reporter: well, the leader together with some of his followers were driving to a community meeting several miles away, and were stopped by law enforcement on the highway, and they were ordered to get out of their cars. according to one of the men who was briefly detained, while the people in one vehicle exceeded to the requests -- to the demands and were handcuffed, others simply, rather than accede, they drove off. and in pursuing them -- law
enforcement caught up with them a mile or so away, and just quoting the -- this participant in the occupation, the man who was killed named lavoie fingan who was a spokesman for the group, he jumped out and charged at them, and the law enforcement people. he said he was very passionate about the movement. and just a day earlier, he had said they do not intend to give the land back to them. we are waiting for a statement from the local sheriff to give a statement. but as i said, this was the account of one of the participants of the occupation. he disputed social media accounts that the man that was killed had gone down on his knees and had his hands up.
he said that was not the case. >> this occupation has been going on since january 2nd. do we have any indication whether police are planning to try to storm the refuge to try to end the dispute? >> reporter: well, we know that the authorities have told the people who are in the compound approximately 40 as far as we can tell, including women and children, that now is the time to leave; that they have waited long enough. it has been 26 days. the authorities had been leery of making their presence felt on the refuge itself for weeks now, and they -- they indicated that they will allow people to leave voluntarily, and there are some accounts that that is actually what is happening. but we do not know exactly whether they intend to charge -- to -- to actually launch an offense if, which is something that the governor of oregon and other local authority said was long overdue.
nevertheless, the federal government has been very apprehensive about the possibility of a repeat of the kind of incidents that occurred in the early '90s when similar movements or members of similar months who contend that the federal government has no actual right to ownership of this land, were killed in shootouts, both in texas and in idaho. >> tom ackerman with the latest. tom, thank you. u.s. president barack obama is urging the rapid development of a vaccine for the zika virus. brazil is the country worst effected and itself government is deploying 200,000 troops to try to fight the outbreak. rob reynolds reports. >> reporter: there's a somber mood at rio's droem, seats, fencing, and food stands are all drenched with insecticide.
in two weeks it will be packed with thousands of people celebrating brazil's carnival. and be a key venue when brazil hostst the olympic games. >> translator: any crowded place is considered a strategic place to combat the mosquitos. all of the football stadiums are considered strategic points. the dome is also a strategic point, especially this season. >> reporter: brazilian laboratories have been trying to determine if there is a link between the virus and birth defects in hundreds of babies. participate barack obama has been briefed on how the virus might spread and the possible economic impact. cases of zika virus have been reported in virginia and arkansas. u.s. airlines are offering refunds to passengers worried
about flying to areas affected by the virus. here in california so far there has been only one confirmed case of zika virus infection, in a teenage girl who travelled to el salvador late last year. she has fortunately made a full recovery. but in brazil, some say warnings about zika and ways to avoid contracting it aren't getting through. >> translator: when i arrived here in the city, i did not see any information about anything. we knew about it from the television, but here in the city i have not seen or heard about it. >> reporter: 25 countries now have the zika virus, and scientists estimate that more than 60% of the u.s. population live in areas where the virus might spread during warm months. rob reynolds, al jazeera. at least ten people have been killed and more than a dozen left injured after a suicide bomb attack in nigeria.
two women are thought to have detonated their devices at the reopening of a market. the market had been closed because it became a target for boko haram attacks. it is where nearly 300 girls were taken from their school by the group back in april 2014. still lots more to come on al jazeera, including debate dropout. u.s. presidential hopeful donald trump says he will not turn up to a tv debate after a row with the network. ♪ the only way to get better is to challenge yourself,
and that's what we're doing at xfinity. we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around.
here is a reminder of the top stories on al jazeera. as opposition politicians arrive in switzerland, there is serious doubt over whether peace talks over syria will get underway with disagreement on who is on the invite list. the leader of an armed group in the u.s. state of oregon has been arrested during a police shootout which also left one person dead. and brazil is to deploy more than 200,000 troops in a fight against mosquitos spreading the zika virus. human rights watch says a report contradicts rationale for telling weapons to saudi arabia during the conflict in yemen. the rights group says the report shows that both the saudi-lead coalition and houthi rebels
violated international humanitarian law. the u.k. which supplies arms to saudi arabia denies it is directly involved in the yemen campaign. it has been five years since protesters took to the streets of yemen's capitol to demand regime change, but the events that followed resulted in an even poorer and fractured country. >> reporter: they came in the thousands. yemen east capitol sana'a, echoed with the call for the president to step down. protesters continued the demand for months. saleh ruled yemen for more than 32 years. it took more than a year, but saleh finally stepped down, but he did not go away. he flew to saudi arabia, but the powerful family members maintained many key positions.
the new president faced bitter political divisions. his government struggled to bring security and address the sectarian tensions. in addition to al-qaeda's threat in the southeast, the new government had to contend with houthi rebels in the north. emboldened by the political infighting, they took control of the capitol. initially they demended an intend to corruption and inflation, but then forced out the government. the houthis arrested and later released under hadi and his government members. hadi convened the government in saudi arabia, that's where an international coalition was formed to counter the houthis, and as saudi arabia put it to counter iranian backs fighters in yemen. 80% of yemen's population now requires humanitarian
assistance, that's more than 21 million people. much of the infrastructure, including the international airport in the capitol has been reduced to rubble. a blockade to houthi's weapons supplies has also caused an accuse shortage to food and medicine. now it has come down to a battle for survival. al jazeera has formally launched arbitration proceedings against egypt at an international settlements body. the claim is over what the network says a breach of international law, and the breach of the qatar egypt bilateral agreement. al jazeera says it follows a long and deliberate campaign by the egyptian government against the network. an international lawyer says this lawsuit is important for the rights of journalists ash -- around the world. >> most parts of the al jazeera claim focused on the breach of the journalists rights, freedom
of expression, and the protection of journalists, where the egyptian authorities have broken or breached every international agreement to which they are a party, in addition to violation of international law and other conventions. the highest number of conventions the egyptians -- the egyptian authorities have broken is in this instance. the french justice minister has resigned. she had expressed concerns over controversial government proposals to strip french citizenship from people convicted of terrorism. the plan would apply to those with duel nationality. it was put forward during the paris attacks in november. u.s. presidential hopeful donald trump has pulled out of thursday's republican tv debate with only one week to go before the iowa caucus. trufrp says he will not take part because it is being moderated by fox news anchor,
megyn kelly. trump calls kelly a light-weight reporter and made disparaging personal remarks about her after a debate in august. >> when megyn kelly didn't ask me a question, she made a statement last time, i thought it was inappropriate. everyone said i have won all of the debates. we have had six debates now. why should the networks continue getting rich on these debates. let's see how much money fox is going to make on the debate without me? okay. all right. let's see. the united nations estimates that as many as 40% of children in afghanistan are out of school because of poverty. in order to survive some poor families are forced to make their children carry out hard labor. >> reporter: these children are forced into hard labor. working to make bricks to help
their family pay off debt. everyone has to work. the young and old. this boy is only 8. >> translator: i collect the broken bits of the bricks and put them together. my hands and feet hurt. >> reporter: this girl is 11. she says she wants to be at school. >> translator: if we have an education, it would be better than this. my head hurts a lot. >> reporter: their father tells me he borrowed money from the brick factory owner to cover the daily expenses of his family of 15. the family's entire income is less than $20 a day, which leaves them always needing to borrow more. he says it hurts him to see his children suffer, but he has no other choice. you can find entire families working here making bricks, but
the main working force are children, those under the age of 10 get to work 8 hour aday, there over 10 will have to work 13 hours a day. child labor in afghanistan issen demmic. it has been illegal since 2003, but families are desperate. the government says it is aware of the problem and is trying to promote education, and create jobs. in the capitol kabul, the situation is not any better. children are found working in many sectors as cheap labor force. government figures show around 1.9 million children work across the country. >> translator: the issue of child labor is a serious one. responsibility lies with the government and families. the government has a prom wi with -- program with the help of the international community to support the children. >> reporter: child labor is a
belong-established custom that is difficult to overcome. back in jalalabad, these children work silently. they have to make 4,000 bricks a day. every brick bares their sweat and pain. a group of adventurers has recreated an epic journey by crossing the vast stretch of arabian desert. the 1,300 kilometer trip was last completed in 1931. our reporter caroline malone saw the modern day explorers arrive in qatar's capitol, doha. >> reporter: 49 days, culminating in this they have walked and ridden camels. they completed an historic journey completed 85 years ago
when explorers relied on natural water sources and the hospitality of tribes. >> there is one thing that hasn't changed, which is the incredible hospitality of the people. >> reporter: the 1300 kilometer trek took them along much the same route. a journey made easier these days by satellite navigation. >> we used gps at the end of the day, but we used the shadow, because we were walking pretty much new north. you can use the -- your shadow to -- to navigate. >> reporter: the british adventurer and a shtick from ammon made the previous journey.
that trip inspired this latest one, which may get others thinking about what they can do these days. >> they will be inspired because -- there will be you know -- maybe some people will not believe it, you know? somebody could cross the biggest desert in the world, in these days, you know? because i cannot do for anybody two, three days. >> reporter: the 2016 team was joined for part of the trip by a relative of the original explorer. >> translator: i will never forget this trip also made by my grandfather 85 years ago. i'm very proud. >> reporter: the desert has changed much, but the start and the end of the journey have. >> the final line of thomas's book, he said he came over a little rocky hill and there before us was the towers of doha. but look at doha now. >> reporter: it is a slightly
different scene that greats this team of adventurers, 85 years on. caroline malone, al jazeera, doha. much more on that and everything we have been covering on the website, aljazeera.com. this is the start of a longer-term process to make sure we are committed to flint. rick snyder undepressure as about vittses file a lawsuit over the city's water crisis. or or occupation, the leader of the wildlife center is now in custody. >> i won't be doing the debate. >> reporter: donald trump pulls out of the final