tv Weekend News Al Jazeera January 31, 2016 3:00am-3:31am EST
>> only on al jazeera america. stepping in for syria talks, the main opposition arrives in geneva but demands an end to the bombing of civilians. there's no sign of a let up on the ground, though. syrian forces backed by russian air power are on the offensive. live from doha also ahead on the program, a far right mob threatens to attack refugees in the center of sweden's capital. all eyes are on iowa as u.s.
presidential candidates make one last push for the first vote to secure their party's nomination. the main syrian opposition group is in geneva for talks aimed at ending the civil war, but only hours after getting there they're threatening to walk out. their calling for u.n. resolutions to be acted on and demanding humanitarian access to besieged areas. >> reporter: a very large group of press here, quite chaotic scenes when they arrived here because we all want to know the position, the exact position, of this, the main opposition grouping. when the spokesman came here said that they still believe that that u.n. resolution at the end of december means there are things which should be put in place now before talks take
place. he said they weren't his group's conditions, they were conditions of the u.n. security council. i then pressed him as to whether these conditions had to be met before they would sit down for talks. >> reporter: if those conditions are not met, will you engage in talks? >> we will. we are ready, we are here to make this a success. we are ready to start negotiation, but at least we should see something, you know, on ground there in syria. we should really stop these massacres against our people. so please help us, you know. save our children. save the remaining children of syria, then we are willing to do anything that really puts an end to this war. we want to put an end to this i.s.i.s., to terrorism in syria. we want to put an end to what this dictatorship is doing. we want to see new syria. >> reporter: yes.
they want to see those measures that are in the security council resolution put in place, but no longer does it seem that that is a condition for the start of talks. i understand that the opposition delegation is likely, and i have this from a number of diplomatic sources, likely to see staffan de mistura on sunday for their initial meeting, not quite clear where that meeting will take place. some sources tell me it will be at the u.n. and others say it will be away from the u.n. i think it is then a parallel meeting in many ways, the one we saw on friday that we saw with the syrian government want those meetings to take place. i think there will be more discussion, but it is just possible we could see both sides in the same place. not the same room, because that won't happen for some considerable time, but maybe both in the u.n. in geneva on monday. i think that would be the best hope of the u.n. team who are trying to mediate these talks up to 400,000 people in
syria are trapped and need emergency treatment. our correspondent is in gaziantep has spoken to syrians about their hopes for the talks in geneva. >> reporter: this is the reality in syria. the government backed by russian air power is on the offensive. their focus now is on the suburbs south-west of the capital damascus. they are tightening the siege after opposition rebels rejected an ultimate mate um to withdraw from the area area. >> translation: when the regime can enter the enter, their strategy is to blockade and push the people and fighters in submission. while geneva is happening, they are tightening control over areas and the air strikes are
increasing. >> reporter: many are supporting the saudi based high councils decision not to involve in the situation. they want the release of detain detainees before it agrees to negotiations >> translation: we are against the meeting. geneva is not serious about the talks. >> reporter: people inside opposition held territories are also concerned about what they see is a shift in u.s. policy. they believe washington is cooperating with the government's main backer, russia. the two powers are behind a u.n. peace plan that could see syrian president bashar al-assad stay in office at least during the transition period. >> translation: at the beginning the u.s. publicly stood against bashar al-assad, but they kept making false promises to the opposition and now their true position is out in the open. the u.s. is not against bashar al-assad. they accept him on the negotiating table.
they consider him the leader. >> reporter: bashar al-assad's future has always been an obstacle on the road po peace. many in the opposition believe russia's intervention has changed the military and political balance in favor of president bashar al-assad. recent battle field gains has made the regime stronger and that is why the opposition believes it has little to gain by negotiating. it is one of the reasons why it is pushing for concessions before agreeing to talks. diplomacy has so far seen only failures in this conflict which has become an international regional war by proxy and many people feel their voices have become irrelevant. >> translation: syrians should be the ones to decide their fate, but unfortunately big powers intervened and are imposing their decisions. >> reporter: for now there is a road map, but the warring sides are nowhere close to even discussing a solution why are syrians worried about geneva?
>> reporter: many syrians, those who oppose the government, believe that the united states and the western general has shifted their position. they're no longer really concerned with regime changes as much as they're concerned with bringing about stability because for them the priority is to fight i.s.i.l. these syrians point to a number of recent events. they say the u.s. is softening its stance, it is no longer calling on bashar al-assad to stand down or on the syrian president to leave power. the resolution, the road map for peace, that makes no mention of bashar al-assad which people feel raises the possibility that bashar al-assad could actually have a role in the transition period. it's not just that. opposition sources say that the language of the u.s. secretary of state john kerry has changed. he told the opposition that there would be no preconditions for these talks and, in fact, opposition sources say that the united states really was pressuring the opposition to take part saying that the political process will go ahead
regardless of whether you come or not. this is what opposition sources are saying. the main sticking point, really, is that the opposition wants to discuss the geneva one communique which calls for a transitional body with full executive powers. we're no longer hearing that. we're hearing the words national unity government which means power sharing and the opposition does not consider the regime as a partner. so the opposition is quite worried. they feel that the western, the united states has changed their position, accepting any political settlement since their priority now is to bring about some sort of a settlement to counter i.s.i.l. thank you for that. at least 37 refugees mostly syrians drowned on saturday when their boat hit rocks and capsized. they were fact of the mattering to reach lesbos from turkey. that follows another incident two days ago when 25 refugees, including ten children, drowned
off the greek island. the capsized boat can be seen around 50 metres from the shore. it is estimated nearly 4,000 people died last year trying to reach europe by sea. russia has rejected claims from turkey that one of its jets violated turkish airspace. the row has deepened the rift between the two since turkey shot down a russian jet in november. turkey's president erdogan sent a stark warning to moscow. >> translation: if russia continues to violate turkey's sovereignty, they will bear the consequences. such irresponsible behaviour will not contribute to improving the relationship between n.a.t.o. and russia or to peace in the region. on the contrary, it will do harm heads of state have been attending the 26th african union summit in ethiopia. violence in burundi has been top of the agenda. the government there has refused to accept a proposed a.u. peace-keeping force. going straight to our correspondent who has the
latest. we understand the u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon had a press conference. what did he say? >> reporter: absolutely. he has given the clearest indicator of the direction in which this issue of deploying troops to burundi is taking. he said that he has been meeting with government delegation or burundi government delegation. that is here. the president and himself is not here, but he has sent a high-level delegation led by the foreign affairs minister and the second vice president. ban ki-moon also said that he has been meeting with various heads of state and that basically mainly focusing more on the issue of a political solution, an all-exclusive political dialogue that they've been talking about starting these talks that will involve all key players. so we asked him what does this mean, does it mean that the
prospect of deploying troops to burundi is off the table. he says that is a decision that needs to be made by the heads of state in close consultation with burundi's government. that is very telling and it is also in line with what we've been hearing that they'rery luck tant to sanction the sending of troops. some have been talking about noninterference, issues, saying this will amount in an invasion. they're saying that burundi is a sovereign country and this is something, a card that has been played very much by burundi's government. they're saying it has an elected president, even if this election was contested. so very difficult. something else that is complicating matters is that burundi is a troop contributing country. it has a little over 5,000
troops in somalia under the banner fighting somalia's al-shabab there. just recently burundi - burundi is a member of the a.u. peace and security council. very telling details, but we are to hear a formal decision. we will hear the formal position of the heads of state towards the end of the day. we are hearing that a decision has more or less be made, so we will legality you know what-- let you know what official decision will come out towards the end of the day thank you for that. plenty more sometime ahead here on al jazeera. we will take a quick break, but when we come back, myanmar's future leaders are serenaded by their former military masters. plus. >> reporter: i'm in india's capital where one third of people have reduced lung function because of the air
beyond the soundbites. we're giving you a deeper dive into the stories that are making our world what it is. you're wachls aal jazeera. the top stories. the opposition delegation have arrived in syria. they're threatening to walk out. russia has rejected claims from turkey. one of its jets violated turkey airspace. the row is deepening the rift between the two since a russian jet was shot down by turkey in
november. votes are u.n. secretary ban ki-moon has welcomed the plan out lined in the summit in ethiopia. on monday the u.s. state of iowa will become the first in the country to hold its presidential nominating contest known there as a caucus. for months candidates have spent millions wooing the voters. a report from des moines. >> reporter: it's in homes like this that the united states will hold its first official votes in it's presidential nominating contest. so where is this caucus going to be held, where are the people going to be here? >> right here in the living room >> reporter: this? >> right here >> reporter: to caucus means to gather. so you won't see polling booths or machines. you will be met by homes, halls
and churches. >> in 1972 there were a series of changes in how each of our political parties would select their nominee to be president of the u.s. iowa happened to go first that year. so iowa has been first ever since. >> we will be passing out slips of paper for you to vote on. >> reporter: it is simple. supporters vote by secret ballot tossed in a hat or basket. the top with the most wins where nominees nor both parties are officially elected. the democratic caucus is more conflicted. supporters gather in the center of the room and then they break off into groups behind the candidate they support. that's where things get a little intense >> they will have one faction or a representative coming and visiting and trying to swing people to their sides.
>> he is more committed to the party itself >> reporter: the debate between caucus goers can be heated. still the results serve an important purpose. >> just because it's the first litmus test of what americans are feeling about the people that want to be their commander in chief. >> reporter: the process has one big challenge. >> because everybody has to be in one place at one time, it means that if the weather is bad, it makes it harder for people to come out and get to their caucus locations and, of course, it is iowa. it's cold, there's a good chance of snow. >> reporter: so despite months of candidates courting iowa voters, the results could come down to the weather and whether supporters show up on a cold winter night after historic transfer of power to an elected civilian government, mps in myanmar are
gathering for their new parliamentary session. last november's election swept away the military-backed government that has ruled for decades. >> reporter: the measured early mourning routine of myanmar's capital doesn't betray it, but there is history in the making. this woman is one of those making it. she and hundreds of other newly-elected members of parliament for the national league for democracy, or n.l.d., are about to take up their seats. >> translation: myanmar has been waiting for this day for so long. so many ordinary people and members of the n.l.d. have sacrificed their lives to get here. >> reporter: but the military still retains great power. it has control over imported ministries and automatically gets a quarter of all seats in parliament, allowing it to block any changes to the constitution.
despite their overwhelming majority, the n.l.d. mps know they have to cooperate with the military to rule effectively. they also know the ultimate prize for that cooperation could be a change in the constitution allowing their leader, aung san suu kyi, finally to become president. aung san suu kyi is stopped from becoming president from a clause in the constitution that is disqualifies a parent of nationals. her two sons have british passports. >> reporter: whether you are in parliament or outside of it, we can all work together for the benefit of people and the country. >> reporter: at this event for the outgoing mps of the military-backed government and their civilian successors, there was reconciliation in abundance.
>> translation: now our time is up. we dutifully leave for the new people to come in. >> reporter: and then from one of the former generals a ser made-- serenade. crooning to the most influential politician in myanmar right now and possibly its president in waiting. whose dreams may yet come true a german politician has provoked outrage with comments that police should be prepared to shoot migrants entering the country illegally. the chair woman of the right wing party says germany needed efficient controls to stop so many people entering the country. the police union accuses her of wanting to suspend the rule of law. anti immigration sentiment has triggered protests in sweden
amid tight security there. on friday a beganing of masked men ran through the streets of the city threatening refugees. >> reporter:-- a gang of masked men. >> reporter: police moved in when protesters of two rival groups began to fight. an anti refugee group was calling for the resignation of their prime minister. they're angry their country of ten million allowed in 160,000 asylum seekers last year. facing them were more than 200 anti fascists. >> translation: i was pulled down to the ground and one of them tried to kick me in the head. i managed to grab his foot. the police put a stop to the whole incident. >> reporter: swedish police are on heightened alert deploying anti riot officers and helicopter surveillance. they made several arrests on friday after a gang of some 100 masked men ran through the streets threatening some refugees and attacking others >> the target were younger children, refugees or child
refugees, youths refugees, located within the central station. of course, a lot of these attacks revolve around the discussions of the last few weeks >> reporter: knee owe nazi social media messages say it is the duty of swedes to take a stand against north african children living on the streets. staff at an asylum center for unaccompanied children locked themselves in a room while 20 young man went on a ramp age. >> they meet on facebook or other social media forum and then go out to do what they feel is necessary to create an environment where refugees are not feeling welcome. >> reporter: the government says half of those who applied for asylum last year are to have their claims rejected. as many as half of those will be forced to leave
thousands of people have protested in paris with sweeping security measures put in place following the november terror attacks. they may extend the state of emergency which allows them to arrest people without warrant. the french navy has dispatched a specialise anti pollution ship. it is a precautionary move just in case a stricken cargo ship breaks up. rough sees have thwarted all attempts so far to take the frighter under tow. a massive 70 vehicle pile up has claimed the lives of four people in slovenia. this was the scene on the highway about 70 kilometers south-west of the capital on saturday night. cars, trucks and even buses were all crumpled together blocking the highway for hours. police and medical crews
struggled to provide help because of the sheer scale of the accident. thick fog in the area is being blamed. tens of thousands of ee italians have protested a bill that if approved will legalize same sex civil unions. italy is the only western european nation without such a law. our correspondent reports from roam. >> reporter: rome rome >> reporter: they chose the theater of ancient battles to bring their fight against same sex civil unions and adoptions. tens of thousands of traditional families from all over italy together to say no to a law that proposes to give some sex couples legal recognition and the right to adopt the partner's biological child. >> translation: we are against this law because children are not given the right. since the beginning of time children have come from a mother and father. >> translation: two men can't give birth to life so you can't call that a family.
it's selfish of them to want children just to satisfy their desires. >> reporter:ity lee is the only country in western europe without a law that recognises and protects same-sex couples. it was condemned against the law of human rights. that is why the government is trying to fix that anomaly, but clearly a lot of italians disagree. in a counter demonstration, last weekend thousands of gay rights advocates show their support for the law in more than a hundred cities across the country. on thursday some of them gathered in front of the senate where the bill is being debated. a wake-up call for a country that can't wake any longer to keep up with the rest of europe. >> translation: we've been trying to have a law for same sex ask couples in italy for the past 30 years. i hope the government finally approves it without compromises because this is already a
compromise as it is not a law that legalizes same sex marriage but it is a first step. >> reporter: the bill will be voted on in the senate starting next week, but because of the hundreds of thousands of people who voiced their opposition on saturday, the outcome is far from predictable a city in colombia has launched a campaign to try and get rid of the mosquito which transmits the zika virus. the area has been hit hard by disease. rubbish and debris has been removed. fumigation trucks have also been spraying the streets. more than a third of people living in the capital of india have trouble breathing. thousands of people have been tested as new delhi's pollution levels reach historic highs. children and the elderly are at risk, but even healthy men and
women are affected. >> reporter: this is how this man stays fit in new delhi. he used to exercise here in the park every day until this winter when it started making him sick >> i get minor koldz, headaches, i feel my lungs are extremely heavy and these are the problems that i never really noticed in the previous years when i was living here. >> reporter: a government survey shows that one third of people in the city now have reduced lung function mainly because of air pollution. while he doesn't know how badly he has been affected, his doctor tore has advised him to spend less time outdoors >> i used to go running every evening and now i don't do that any more because i feel like my lungs feel so heavy and every time i go to a neighborhood park to run, i actually come back feeling ill because i can spell like the pollution out there. >> reporter: many doctors have seen an increase in complaints of breathing problems, especially amongst children who
are more vulnerable. specialists warn the effects may last even after pollution levels decrease >> once the pollution level goes down, this will go back, but not totally one hundred% back. so we say there may be a chance that it will not be perfect for a recovery in the initial stage >> reporter: with pollution levels now among the worst in the world, people are demanding the government act. the growing popularity of cars is one of the main sources of solution, along with factories, construction and agri business. the state government is adding more buses and expanding the metro rail network. it has banned sets of drivers on alternate days. in the short-term the government wants people here to think hard about the choices they make. >> translation: if people want to reduce pollution, they can. if they feel they have to pie a car, maybe after five years they will do it. >> reporter: rising temperatures are expected to bring down the
pollution in the air, making it at least more tolerable. restoring the air quality will need some thinking on the long-term horizon don't forget there's lots more on other website. aljazeera.com. get the latest on all the stories there. aljazeera.com. >> i'm russell beard in the sea of cortez mexico to explore the future of fish farming >> and i'm gelerah darabi in kapama park south africa where a specialist team of conservationists are fighting back against rhinoch