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tv   News  Al Jazeera  January 29, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EST

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suarez and that's the "inside story." ♪ ♪ hi, everyone, this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm jonathan betz. what they new about the flint water crisis, and how long they knew? when allegations against governor snyder and his administration. and why a majority of police videos in chicago are missing audio. a group of fired mexican workers were only asking for $0.35 more per day.
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and diversity in hollywood, our conversation with entertainer ben vereen. ♪ michigan's governor is facing new questions tonight about the response to the flint water crisis. even as he sends today rick snyder signed an order for $28 million for flint. still the governor is fining himself defending against his handling of this crisis. records show even as residents were being told the water was safe bottled water was being send to workers in flint. and quote: even though the
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public at the time was being told the water was safe. today governor snyder said he knew nothing about bottled water being delivered. lonnie helped break this story. good to see you. >> thanks. it's good to see you. >> break this down for us, the state was provided bottled water to state workers in flint even though people were being told the water was safe? >> that's right. the email shows the state provided the bottled water for all of the floors in that state office building in flint even as at townhalls and all across public events as people were complaining that their water was nasty and brown and smelling, they were telling them it was safe to drink.
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>> how did you get these documents? >> it was through a foyer request. >> and can you tell us more about what they revealed specifically? >> sure it is sent between several different folks within different departments. there are people from dnr, some people from deq that are all included on this email chain. i'm not sure of the exact level of where they fall in the hierarchy. but it was sent to several people. they were -- back in january 2015, so it's important to note that's almost a full ten months prior to the sneijder administration admitting there was a problem and starting to take action. >> the governor said he didn't know that bottled water was being delivered to office workers in flint. do you believe him.
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>> the governor has consistently tried to blame state workers and works that worked for him for this crisis. so it doesn't surprise me that now that this revelation has come forward that he says he had no idea. the reality is season knew. someone from the deq knew enough to bring in bottled water for employees while they were saying the water was safe to drink. >> is this just incompetence or perhaps something more sinister. >> there's no way to know. michigan is one of the only states that allows the governor and legislator to be extemp from the freedom of information laws, so until the governor removes that from all of his staff, from a broader time line than what he has already released, we may never know. and that's the only way we'll find the truth.
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and we have been calling the governor to change that and get rid of that exemption for well over a year. >> and each day we seem to learn more and more information. lonnie scott, executive director of progress michigan, thanks for your time tonight. the crisis in flint has raised new concerns about water safety in the rest of the united states. those fears are not always unfounded. elevated lead levels were recently detected in parts of ohio. ashar qureshi reports. >> reporter: it's because it's water. >> reporter: at a town meeting in the chicago suburb this week, the water crisis in flint, michigan was at the top of the agenda. >> really what it boils down to is they had a problem. they knew about it. they didn't do anything about it. which is different from elgen.
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>> reporter: she assured residents that the drinking water in their district is safe. >> i have gotten quite a few phone calls and emails, talked to our city council people that are very concerned. we're walking into the control room. >> reporter: she heads the agency responsible for treating the drinking water here. >> this is our system, our supervisory control system. >> reporter: like flynn they get their water from a nearby source. >> you have to take steps to ensure your water is not corrosive. it's about making your water non-corrosive. >> reporter: using water from the flint river without proper control treatment caused lead to leach into flint's drinking water.
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but lead poisoning is a pervasive issue beyond flint. nine counties nationwide told the cdc 10% or more of their lead tests come back positive. and the government says most states don't even report. cost-cutting measures have prompted people across the country to ask serious questions. in sebring, ohio, officials knew there were high levels of lead but chose to not tell the public. >> it seems like they stuck their head in the sand until the problem went away. >> reporter: this week the ohio epa claimed the plant falsified records and called for a criminal investigation. here the water is tested 24 hours a day. field samples are also taken from over 100 homes each month.
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still some residents worry that despite monitoring and treatment, lead means it could pose a health hazard. >> the city council needs to make sure there is a clear message sent. people can be worried about the city image. they can be worried about the cost involved in replacing pipes, and that's where the people need to get involved. >> reporter: in the end it may mean more awareness. more than 20 countries now have concerns about the zika virus. but the mosquito-born virus will probably not spread quickly to the u.k -- u.s.
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>> reporter: they said americans shouldn't panic, but they should be prepared. >> they was like all over my body. it was scratching like my own family saw my chest, and they were like wow, and you could see the bumps on my lips, my eyes, my ears. >> reporter: she feeling healthy now, but she contracted the zika virus from a mosquito virus. >> you have no strength. all you want to do is lay down and sleep. >> reporter: since then the centers for disease control and prevention has confirmed at least 30 cases in 11 states and the district of columbia. all of those people traveled across to infected areas. >> having said that, you don't just want to walk away and be cavalier and say not a problem, no. we are doing everything that you would do if you are anticipating
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that there is going to be an outbreak. >> reporter: the virus has spread fast mainly through the americas since last year, prompting the cdc to warn pregnant women against travel to 22 countries in the region. it causes a mild illness in most people, but there is growing evidence linking it to a berth defect, caused microcephaly, baby's born with unusually small heads and brains. on friday brazil's president said her country launched nationwide efforts to eliminate breeding areas for the mosquito. >> translator: we're losing the battle against the mosquito. why? because if the mosquito keeping breeding, we are losing the battle against it. so we have to mobilize to win this war. >> reporter: brazil is waging a battle as the company prepares for the olympics in august. on friday, they assured teams
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traveling there that the games would be safe from the virus. but urged visitors to protect themselves by using mosquito repellant and wearing long sleeves and pants. colombia and venezuela also said they are seeing a rise in cases of a rare syndrome that can be linked to the virus. >> thank you for that. using technology to stop the zika virus, how scientists could use genetically modified motte key -- mosquito to help fight the disease. a chicago police that shot a teenager 16 times was in court today. diane eastabrook is live in chicago. >> jason van dyke's attorney
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says it is alarming that that audio is missing from the dash cam video, but he says the chicago police department is to blame, not his client. this controversial video, showing chicago police officer firing 16 shots into 17 year old lee quan mcdonald a year and a half ago, resulted in a first degree murder charge of van dyke. notably absent from the video, sound. on friday his attorney vehemently denied his client tampered with the audio. >> if this audio was tampered with, it was tampered with by somebody other than jason van dyke. this was not his car. and more important, audio in this case would be beneficial to us. >> reporter: the mcdonald video isn't the only chicago police video missing audio, who others one showing police shooting
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ronald johnson in 2014, and the other in 2011 are also silent, neither of the officers involved in those shootings were charged. the chicago police department admits it has a big problem with malfunctioning dash cam equipment. it said about 10% of cameras have video problems and as many as 80% didn't record audio properly. but operator error is also a problem. car mics were not synchronized to the system, or were intentionally defeated. following van dyke's court appearance friday, lee quan mcdonald's family demands a federal investigation. >> these people are policing themselves and it's almost like the chicken hawk watching over the chickens.
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>> reporter: this man says he is holding officers responsible. and has reprimanded 22 officers. police officers are now also required to inspect those dash cams and make sure they are functioning before they start their shifts. >> diane eastabrook thank you. one of three inmates who escaped from a california prison is in custody tonight. he turned himself in shortly before noon. he and two others broke out of the jail last week. >> we have dedicated all available resources to this search and investigation to bring all three inmates back into custody. we will continue with those same efforts using all available resources to capture the additional two escapeees who are outstanding. >> several other people are now
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been arrested in connection with that jailbreak. including some gang members. a 44 year old english teacher at that jail. now to oregon where a district court judge has ruled that ammon bundy, the organizer of the wildlife refuge takeover will remain in custody. katherine barret is live with more on this. so what is the latest there katherine? >> reporter: well, jonathan that hearing is still underway for the remaining defendants who have been arrested here in oregon. they were argued -- all of them to be a danger to the community. prosecutors filed papers earlier today arguing that they ought to be detained until their cases are resolved, also because they demonstrate an inability to follow the law. they have been given amble opportunity to do things that theyry fused to do.
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so that was an argument. and also because of the chance if they were released they could perhaps return to the refuge which is still actively occupied, or perhaps even arrive at another federal facility. the judge said that she would only consider release if and only if this occupation here were to end, jonathan? >> thank you katherine. still ahead, three days to the iowa caucuses, the debates are over, but now candidates are making their final pitch to iowa voters. plus america and oil, how a changing strategy has the u.s. less dependant than ever on foreign energy. stay with us. ♪
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less dependant than ever on
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the american economy lost its momentum in the final three months of 2015. new numbers show the gdp slowed sharply to 0.7% growth rate. analysts worry that problems overseas are weighing down the u.s. economy. a surge in american oil production has helped drive down gas prices and it has lessened our dependance on oil. tom akerman reports. >> reporter: 70 years ago this was the king's first trip outside of his country, to forge an alliance with u.s. president franklin root velt.
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>> understanding each other's problems brings east and west together for a better world. >> i think we signed a bad bargain with the saudis that in exchange for stable supplies of oil, and this has continued to this day, but when opec imposed an oil embargo, the u.s. launched what president richard nixon called project independence. >> by the end of this decade, americans will not have to rely on any source of energy beyond our own. >> reporter: what happened instead the u.s. increased its reliance on foreign oil to a peak of 60%. in the past few years, though, the explosion of american crude production has cut that to less than 30%. nearly half of the imports come from canada and mexico. meanwhile the increased u.s. confidence in its energy security is evidenced by three
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recent decisions, lifting a ban on exporting american oil, preparing to sell off nearly 1/10th of the reserve, and participate plt cut an action to the keystone pipeline project. president obama has also declared that america's military assets will be rebalanced, away from europe and the middle east and towards asia and the pacific, but perhaps not just yet. i think the pivot to asia is maybe not quite as important as we made it at the time. >> reporter: energy expert says the rise of isil and the arab spring's failure will force the u.s. to concentrate on protecting it's protecti protecting itself old interests. >> now we have iran back into the equation. if they come out of their isolation, they have also been a
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player, one against our interests. >> reporter: so even if the u.s. us does enjoy a greater sense of energy security than it has in decades, the geostrategic ties are not soon likely to fray. tom ackerman, al jazeera, washington. the obama administration confirmed some of hillary clinton's emails on her private server contain top-secret information. this comes as clinton is campaigning in iowa three days before the caucuses. the new badge of emails released will not include those with classified information as she was secretary of state. and this comes as she and others cross state the state. but it's the candidate who was not in iowa that is getting all of the attention. >> reporter: with the iowa caucuses only three days away, donald trump who skipped thursday's debate managed to be
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absent once again, this time from the entire state. >> last night we had an exciting night. >> reporter: the billionaire was the only candidate not campaigning in iowa, focusing instead on new hampshire. he has hardly campaigned in the state, but polls suggest he is far ahead of the republican field. trump bragged to supporters in this granite state about his decision to skip the fox news debate after engaging in a war of words with the news network. >> what happened last night that was amazing, because i did something that was very risky and i think it turned out great, because on the front page of every paper i'm getting more publicity than if i -- you know? >> reporter: also texas senator ted cruz on the front page. according to iowa cruz had a bad night. >> the truth is, ted, throughout this campaign you have been
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willing to say or do anything in order to get votes. ted you worked for george w. bush's campaign, you helped design george w. bush's immigration policy, now you want to trump trump on immigration. >> cruz appeared to steal a page from his closest rival's play book. >> the last four questions have been rand please attack ted, chris please attack ted, jeb please attack ted. if you guys ask one more mean question, i may have to leave the stage. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> with trump absent from the debate, and cruz the main target. >> i don't think ted can have it both ways -- >> some strategists say it may have provided a boost for rubio. >> i think you got a better picture of ted cruz and that didn't do well for him. i think marco rubio had a very
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good night. >> i had more time tonight. >> reporter: he was hoping to ride some post debate momentum into an iowa upset, taking dead aim at hillary clinton. >> hillary clinton the other day here in iowa, you know what she said, someone suggested that barack obama should be appointed to the supreme court. she said what a great idea. can you imagine? we're in a lot of trouble if she wins. >> reporter: as for democrats it's down to the wire between clinton and bernie sanders who is feeling upbeat. >> another national poll she beat trump by 7 points, that's good. we beat him by 13 points. that's better. >> reporter: as for clinton she is enlisting the help of her husband and dauther this weekend. still ahead tonight. a labor dispute over $0.35 a day, the american company that fired mexican workers who were demanding a raise. and fighting isil does the
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military have what it needs to stop this group, or could more troops be sent to iraq and syria. ♪
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♪ there are protests on both sides of the border against the u.s. company in mexico. it began when lex mark fired 120 workers. the layoffs came just days after a strike over a $0.35 a day pay
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raise. heidi zhou castro has the story from juarez. >> reporter: at the foot of el pas passo's mountains just steps from the u.s. border, the behemoth manufacturing plant mostly owned by americans, employs hundreds of thousands of mexican employees. this woman assembled ink cartridges. >> translator: i was one of the best. i worked very fast. >> reporter: in 2014, lex mark made $3.7 billion. it paid her 105 pesos a day, the equivalent of $5.30. things worsened last year when she injured her hand.
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>> translator: i asked how i could keep working with my injured right hand. he said use your left. >> reporter: that's when she joined a group trying to start a union. the demand was simple, a raise of $0.35 a day. and on december 7th, 700 workers walked off of the job. by the end of the five-day strike. 76 had been fired moreno was among them. >> translator: they used us up, and then through us away like we were rusted iron. >> reporter: a spokesman says the workers were terminated for workplace disruption and declined to answer detailed questions. meanwhile the fired workers have continued their protests outside of the plant. >> open the doors, guys. can we enter? inside these makeshift headquarters they have held a
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three-month vigil. >> the decision of the workers was it's very necessary, then the world knows what the condition at the plant is. we know they have the power and the relationship with the government. >> reporter: the protesters say lexmark used that relationship to learn the names of workers who supported the union. in mexico a union must supply to be recognized by the government labor board. 76 lexmark workers had submitted a confidential application. each was fired. how did they know which 76 to fire? >> because of the present of the [ inaudible ] that must obey the law and keep secret these situations, inform the company, the 76 names. >> reporter: did this board give the names of the workers who wanted to unionize to the
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management at lexmark? >> no. >> reporter: then how did they happen to fire those same people? >> translator: we cannot share those names. the company has nothing to do with the worker's application. it can't know any of that information. >> translator: there were 700 people who stopped working. the only ones fired happened to be the ones who gave their names to your board. >> translator: no, the names didn't leave this office. that's 100% certain. >> reporter: meanwhile the demonstrations against lexmark have expanded to el pal sew on the u.s. side of the border. >> translator: we will keep fighting. we are not alone in this. >> reporter: heidi zhou castro, al jazeera. the latest round of talks to end the war in syria got underway today in geneva but not much was accomplished, largely because the main opposition
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group wasn't there. james bayes has more from geneva. >> reporter: the start of the syria talks, but on day one just one side was present. the syrian government delegation headed by the country's ambassador to the united nations meeting with the u.n. special envoy. it was during this meeting that news emerged that the main opposition group said it would now travel to geneva. mr. de mistura told reporters he had to wait for official confirmation, but said he was optimistic. >> i have good reasons to believe that they are actually considering this very seriously. and therefore, to be in a position on probably sunday to actually start the discussions with them and -- in order to be able to proceed with the
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intra-syrian talks. >> reporter: one opposition member later confirmed that her colleagues would be here in a matter of hours. >> we just want to let you know, that yes, they are coming. we're going to start discussing with the u.n. about our two important points humanitarian and political detainees. this is what is important for us. so we're preparing the fight. the team is coming tomorrow. and you are going to hear all of the details later. >> translator: the decision to come to geneva has been a difficult one. they say they have been given assurances not just by the u.n., but also by the u.s. and russia, that there will be measures soon to alleviate the humanitarian situation and some of the concerns that they have raised in the coming days. they say they will speak here to the special envoy, and then take stock of the situation before actually joining any negotiations. james bayes, al jazeera, at the
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united nations in geneva. the pentagon is using the lesson's learned last month in ramadi to train iraqi forces to take mosul later this year. jamie mcintyre is at t the -- pentagon with more. >> reporter: the pentagon says so far it has trained about 20,000 fighters in iraq, including regular army, police and tribal fighters. the security forces played a key role in the retaking of ramadi a few weeks ago, and now sometime later this year, they will mount an assault against mosul. a spokesperson in baghdad said it will take 10 brigades to drive isil out of the northern iraqi city of about one million people. each brigade has between 2 and 3,000 troops, so we're talking about a defensive force of
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between 20 and 30,000 troops. analysis is underway now to look at ways to speed up the training process with more trainers not just from the u.s. but from other countries as well. >> it becomes a question of do you make the pipe a little bit bigger so you can put more through faster. so that's what we're working on now. at the higher level it's a matter of working with other partner nations to see what else they are able to contribute. >> while the u.s. is considering more troops for training and enabling iraqi forces perhaps as many as several hundred on top of the 3700 in iraq right now, what the pentagon really wants is for other countries to step up and do more. ash carter has been beraiding some of the other members of the u.s.-lead coalition for doing almost nothing. and he expects other countries to send trainers before the u.s.
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accepting more troop levels. and the u.s. in is in iraq at the invitation of iraq and can't deploy more troops without the approval of president hadi. and now the feeling is that a surge of effort could make 2016 the year that the fight against isil turns the corner. an attack on a shiite mosque in saudi arabia has killed at least four people. witnesses say a man blew himself up outside of the mosque before a second attacker opened fire inside. at least 18 others were hurt. no group has claimed responsibility. a disturbing report out of the united nations today. more children in africa and asia have accused european soldiers and united nations peace keepers of sexual abuse.
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gabriel elizondo has more on the problem one senior official is calling rampant. >> reporter: embroiled in scandal once again. a total of six new allegations have surfaced of sexual misconduct against children by foreign peace keeping troops in the central african republic. the incidents are alleged to have taken place in the capitol at a camp for displaced people in 2014. four teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 16 say they were sexually assaulted by european union peace keepers. three said the abusers were from a georgian contention. troubles allegations were also against french troops, the youngest victim, a 7-year-old girl said she was sexually abused in exchange for a battle of water and a bag of cookies. >> these are of course extremely serious allegations, and it is crucial these cases are
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thoroughly investigated. we are heartened at the initial response we have received from the countries concerned as well as from the european union which is that they take these allegations very seriously. we will continue to closely follow up on these cases and any others which emerge as the u.n. team on the ground continues its investigations. >> reporter: french and e.u. forces arrived in central african republic in 2014 with a mandate to protect people in a country mired in sectarian violence. on friday the u.n. also revealed five new allegations against their own peace keepers and police. >> it's hard to imagine the outrage that people working for the united nations and for the causes of peace and security feel when these kinds of allegations come to light.
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particularly involving minors which are so hard to understand. >> reporter: but the investigation continuing and a report by secretary general ban ki-moon expected next month, officials here are privately bracing for the possibility of more allegations coming to light. but now troops accused of criminal activity against a very civilian population they were sent to protect. gabriel elizondo, al jazeera, at the united nations. four minors in china trapped under ground for 36 days were saved today. the dramatic rescue happened after a camera found them. 29 people were in the mine when it collapsed the day before christmas. 11 managed to escape and one died. the fate of those still trapped remains unclear. surveillance over disneyland, a new report shows police in anaheim, california
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used technology to track cell phone activity. one of the devices was called a dirt box. ines ferre has more. >> reporter: the cell phone privacy of millions of businessnyland visitors and residents of orange county, california would have been compromised. >> it's alarming when law enforcement is purchasing tools in secret that take advantage of these devices that we rely on for our private communications. >> reporter: the aclu showed how the police built an inventory of surveillance tools, they include string rays and an air-born device called a dirt box. >> normally your mobile phone could connect to a cell tower
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over here, now with the plane flying over head with a dirt box, this will talk to the mobile phone and be in the middle and intercept all communications, texting, emails, voice and data. >> reporter: this document shows anaheim police requested grant to fund the dearth box purchase, saying every city in orange county has benefited from the device. >> since 9/11 there has been a massive expansion in federal grant dollars that are available to purchase surveillance equipment. and this has made it easy for police to buy these tools without notifying the public. >> reporter: anaheim wouldn't come because of an ongoing lawsuit. the justice department last year limited the use of devices like dirt boxes by federal agencies unless they obtain a search warrant, but up until january of this year, local agencies in california didn't need a
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warrant. ines ferre, al jazeera. still ahead, containing the zika virus at the source. and the future of wildlife in china. the new laws proposed in the country, and what they could mean around the world. ♪
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♪ the so-called affluenza teen will remain in a juvenile
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detention facility for now. in that was the ruling this morning. the 18-year-old was captured in mexico last month after fleeing the country. couch was sentenced to probation in 2013 after being convicted of killing four people in a drunk driving crash. more countries are staking steps to control the spread of the zika virus. the world health organization now projects the americas could see up to 4 million cases. scientists are now considering a genetically modified mosquito to stop it. phil torres joins us from california. good to see you. i know these mosquito-born diseases are never easy to get under control. so can this approach make a difference? >> you know, we're hoping it can. and the numbers seem to indicate that yes, genetic modification is the way to go. and zika is a nominatetive
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disease spread by a nominatetive mosquito that ended up in south america. so hope is on using conventional methods and genetic modification in the lab. >> as scientists we have been fighting a losing battle against mosquitos. >> reporter: andy heads up field operations. all other control methods throughout man kind that we have tried to get rid of mosquitos this is the best. what he is talking about is a program that has been tested in den gay hot spots. according to the company, the release in 2010 reduced the mosquito population by 90%. and what is interesting here is
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this same mosquito spreading zika is also the culprit behind other diseases. so it's one of those cases where if you attack one, you kind of get them all. and the hope is adding this genetic modification can make a difference. >> are there also perhaps ethical considerations here when you are using genetically modified bugs. >> it is something that people consider. in brazil the opinion has changed. people were against genetically modified crops, but when it came to mosquitos they saw that this thing can help. >> we know this virus has been around for a long time, so why are we seeing a sudden explosion in cases right now? >> reporter: yeah, it's interesting. it kind of has to do with when it arrived to south america. and there was this natural
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nine-month lapse between when women were getting infected and when baby's were being born. the other is el niño. it is hot out there. the mosquitos are breeding in water and coming right inside and infecting people. >> and it is true that another consideration that sometimes people who are inflected don't know they are infected? so what are the symptoms like? >> absolutely, for most people the symptoms are a mild flue or you may not notice it at all. the real concern is pregnant woman. a lot of times when the babies are born they have microcephaly meaning the baby's head is 30 to 40% smaller than normal and the brain is smaller as well. >> all right. thank you. we can all see phil torres on
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techno. changes in china wildlife law has conservations concerned. >> reporter: once running free, now in captivity. they used to roam china in much larger numbers. but only dozens of these two species are estimated to survive in the wild. now china is revising its law on wildlife protection. but conservationists are saying some of the provisions are worrying. in particular a provision that allows wildlife to be hunted for captive breeding. >> it's not natural.
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because, and also they are going to probably influence and damage the wild population of the wild animals. >> reporter: captive animals cannot contribute to a healthy gene pool. there is also pressure to coach from the wild, to supplement farmed populations in species that do not breed successfully in captivity. conservationists are concerned about wording that would allow the commercial use of wildlife resources. existing law makes it a crime to consume rare and endangered species, but a black market exists in china and worldwide. wild animal parts are sought after for use in traditional medicine as amushslets or mere decoration. allowing commercialization of wildlife resources will only increase demand.
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there are some good points in the draft law, but on the whole it's vague and unhelpful, and in a worst-case scenario, could leave some species even more vulnerable than before. and still ahead here on al jazeera america, a legend of the stage and the screen. >> it was about my truth. it was about our truth. and i had -- for me doing the role, i had to be authentic. >> ben vereen and his on chronic role in "roots," and what he says about diversity in hollywood today.
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in his prime few could match the versatility of ben vereen. from the stage to the screen, big and small. tony harris sat down to talk with him about his career, and how he approached his role in "roots." >> for me it was about my truth, about truth. and i had to be authentic. that was the year the long ships -- i never forget sitting and watching the long ships coming in here, and tears ran down my face, because of the fact that my people didn't come first class. we came as cargo over -- over the atlantic. and we came to this country, and
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we built, you know, john cassandra says it like this. isn't that the damnedest thing you have ever seen. i was treated like a mule and came out a human being. they took away our kingdoms and just tried to strip us, and made us what they call servants in this country, and we overcame it. that's because of that spirit within us. and is still with us? >> and still with us. let me bring you forward to this day right now. what is your view on the call by some african americans for a boycott of the oscars ceremony coming up in a few weeks i suppose, because of the lack of diversity in -- among the nominees. >> i want a job. give us a jobs. we need more jobs. and the thing about it is this, and i say this often. you know, in the beginning says god created.
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it didn't say god manufactured. so we're all creative aspects of this which created us. we in the performing arts, especially those of us doing what we do in the arts, we have a responsibility to reflect society and the bouquet of god's flowers, so that all people can see who we -- we belong together, diversity, that we all are a part -- >> so you are championing that? >> i'm saying it is the responsibility for those in charge to make sure that they reflect the truth of who we are. that way you won't have people pitting against one another, because they don't see themselves as here rose. >> it sounds to me like you are calling for greatest diversities in the offices, in the studios. >> yeah. >> spiritual enforcer, what does
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that mean for you? >> we're enforcing love back on the planet through the arts. i have a program called wta, wellness through the arts. and what we do is we're going into schools where the arts have been cut away -- >> and you are a product of -- >> yes. first thing we do is we cut the arts from schools and build bombs. we're saying stop building bombs, give the kids back the arts and they will take care of the bombs in their lifetime of making this a better place for all of us. in san diego they have the ben vereen awards. and i looked at that, and i said my kids are here, where are my spanish kids? >> where is the diversity? >> and he said the arts have been cut away from the schools. and i said why don't we start a program and have the kids living
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with diabetes, low self-esteem, bullying, make a two-minute video, and we'll look at it, and we'll give them $500 a piece. and then we'll put them together with a director of compos for, and we did it, and it's a big hit. and now we're looking to move it across the country. the kids not only get to experience the arts, but begin to talk about adversities they are talking about such as diabetes. the child with diabetes should be the hero of the school, why? because that child has to watch what he eats, and exercise, if the whole school bought into his program -- and bullying. kids will say i was bullied too, i was bullied too. you'll stand up together. >> ben vereen, it's a pleasure. >> the honor is mine.
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that does it for us at this hour. i'm jonathan betz. thanks so much for watching, but john siegenthaler is back right now. now. >> hi there jonathan. we begin with iowa, the first test of 200 2016, three days aw, defying all conventional wisdom. the candidates are fanning around the state. shaking up the rhetoric. david schuster has more. >> with the iowa caucuses only three days away, donald trump who skipped the last debate managed to be absent from the entire state. >> last night i did something a little bit unusual. >> the billionaire was the only candidate not campaigning in iowa, focusing instead on new hampshire. the candidate has not much campaign i