dozens of people are killed in a series of bombings in damascus, over shadowing talks aimed at ending syria's war. coming up in the next half hour, the new faces of politics in myanmar. at least 86 people killed in a series of attacks in north-east nigeria. boko haram is responsible. still fighting for justice after nearly 30 years we catch up with filipino political prisoners.
talks to end the war in syria. the saudi backed opposition says the meeting with staffan de mistura was very positive. they had threatened to walk away from the talks unless humanitarian terms were addressed first. they're due to meet again in a few hours. our correspondent is live for us in geneva. yesterday we saw both sides talking to the media. what can we expect today? >> reporter: i will try to breakdown the schedule as we've been told it will go today. right now behind this hotel there are supposed to be meetings going on this morning, delegates, members of the opposition, the high negotiation
council, they can agree on how to go forward. they're also expected to meet later today with staffan de mistura, the u.n. envoy staffan de mistura for syria, although the opposition here has stressed on many occasions that just because they may meet at the u.n. with staffan de mistura does not mean they are actually taking part in these talks, whether you want to call them negotiations or proximity talks as we've heard. in the next couple of hour we are expecting there be a meeting at the u.n. between the delegation and staffan de mistura to try to get that going forward. it has been quite chaotic on the ground here. schedules that may be agreed in the morning are not adhered to. things change, sometimes minute by minute, sometimes hour to hour. so things could definitely shift, but at least this morning there is a little bit more optimism than there was in the
last few days that, perhaps, they can get these talks, again whether you want to call them negotiations or proximity talks, perhaps they can get these back on track and that staffan de mistura can meet the representative from the opposition and the regime today there is some sort of optimism that a compromise will be made on both sides. >> reporter: it is a little too early to say there's optimism that compromise will be happening now. there is a belief right now, there is a lot of speculation here that, perhaps, both sides are amenable to some kind of compromise going forward. we've heard from the syrian opposition many times the last few days, they have these conditions that they want to see met. they say that these conditions have been agreed to by the international community, that it was part of the u.n. resolution
that preceded these talks happening. they wanted to see sieges lifted in syria, humanitarian corridors being opened up and prisoners relief. the syrian regime has stated they don't believe that the syrian opposition coming in here with these demands shows that they are serious going forward with these talks. so it's tricky. it will be very difficult to get anything agreed to. right now, though, there is some sense that, perhaps, there are talks about prisoners being released, or at least those from the opposition, as, perhaps, a show of goodwill on the part of the regime, but again we're a long way off from that happening. the major achievement today will be if the opposition gets to the u.n. later this afternoon, if they that meet officially with staffan de mistura and exactly what that will yield thank you for that.
on the ground, though, in syria i.s.i.l. is claiming responsibilities for bomb attacks which claimed 60 people in damascus. it happened in a shia suburb at a shrine. >> reporter: the triple blasts ripped apart nearby vehicles, shattered jafbt buildings and killed scores of people. it appears to have been a bus which was carrying shia militia men was the target. militia men and syrian army soldiers operate road blocks around the shrine. the lebanese group hezbollah and other iraqi and iranian militia have a strong presence here. >> translation: i say mercy for them and a quick recovery for the injured. i would like to say that these messages that are drenched in
blood will not stop us but make us more resistant and determined >> reporter: syrian state new agency quoting a source said the car bomb had been detonated near a public transport garage and the two so suicide bombers blew themselves up as people were being rescued. the explosions happened as delegates began convening in geneva for the first peace talks in two years. the head of the syrian government delegation claimed it showed a link between opposition and terrorism. i.s.i.l. which follows the sunni branch of islam has claimed responsibility for the bombing more from our correspondent. this was a very brazen attack by i.s.i.l. in the capital. talk to us about the significance of the target of the bombings. >> reporter: like you mentioned, one of the deadliest, really, attacks in the syrian capital, a
heavily guarded area, a secure area, which really shows that government controlled territory is vulnerable, even though the government has been making battle field gains on the ground, i.s.i.l. as well as other opposition groups are able to infiltrate. i.s.i.l., like you said, claiming responsibility. this is in line with its policy because this attack was sectarian in nature. they targeted a shia area. we're getting reports that their main target was a bus full of shia fighters coming from neighboring countries to fight alongside the bashar al-assad government, but this is close to one of the holiest shrines here. definitely a major blow for the government. the timing of this attack coinciding with efforts of the international community to get the warring sides to agree on some settlement because for the international community they want this in order for the
warring parties to confront against i.s.i.l. so we're still here. the whole political process, the push by the international community to get this process to move forward is aimed really at confronting i.s.i.l. a senior u.s. fish has been reported to have met with the y.p.g. in kobani. what can you tell us about this particular meeting? >> reporter: yes. we understand from u.s. and kurdish sources the obama administration's envoy to the coalition that is fighting i.s.i.l. along with officials from france and britain were in north-east syria, they were holding talks with officials from the syrian democratic forces. that's an alliance of arabs and kurds, but we know npg are the
backbone of this alliance. the timing of that meeting is significant. why? because the y.p.g. was not invited to the geneva talks. in fact, its political wing head was in geneva expecting to attend but he was asked to leave. maybe this was a gesture on the part of the coalition to tell the kurds that we're still your allies, so you still have our support, because at the end of the day they're the only partners they have on the ground, but maybe more importantly apart from giving the kurds assurances is that the u.s. is very well aware that russia is vying for influence over the kurds and maybe this is a message to russia as well thank you for that update. it's feared that at least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have gone missing since arriving in europe in the past two years. the e.u.'s law enforcement agency says thousands of minors
disappeared. europol believe many of those children have become subject to trafficking or sex trade. an 18-year-old palestinian man has been shot dead in the west bank. the death comes after a palestinian police officer was killed after he opened fire on israeli soldiers at a check point on sunday. he wounded three israelis in the attack. the palestinian death toll is now up to 1667 since the latest unrest began in october. to yemen now where there have been fierce clashes. dozens of houthi supporters have been killed in the east of the city. this is after an attack by the popular resistance backed by the national yemeni army. meanwhile, the saudi-led coalition in yemen says that it will investigate civilian deaths
during its air strikes against houthi rebels. the announcement comes days after the ambassador spoke to jams defending the accuracy of their campaign. he blames houthi rebels for carrying out indiscriminate attacks. dozens of people have been killed in boko haram attacks in north-eastern nigeria. gunmen opened fire on civilians and set fire to homes. some of the victims were children. boko haram has been having attacks. an historic parliamentary session held in myanmar. aung san suu kyi's league for national democracy won ending decades of military rule. it will start its term officially in april. >> reporter: in taking up their seat in parliament today the national league for democracy
are effectively picking up where they left off back in 1990. then as now they won a landslide victory, but the decision was annulled by the military that led to more than two decades of military-backed government. the military is still very much in control here, it still has automatically a quarter of the seats in parliament, it has control over important ministries. it also put a clause in the constitution that disallows aung san suu kyi from becoming president, but as mps take up their seats here, given her strength, her control of the n.l.d., it seems that her quest to become president finally it seems an unstoppable force a record number of people in the philippines are seeking compensation for rights abuses during marshall law. the legislature is expected to extend the deadline to give more victims time to file for grievances under the president's rule.
>> reporter: this man has been fighting for justice for nearly 30 years. he was repeatedly tortured as a political prisoner in the 19670s. philippines was under marshall law then. he feels 20 years of dictatorship is being white washed despite a law passed two years ago acknowledging the abusers >> it is written in the law that we would be entitled to some financial compensation and that there would be a roll of the names of the victims and that a museum would be established to preserve the memorabilia of marshall law and tax books in schools would be rewritten to include marshall law. not one of that is happening. >> reporter: at least 75,000
people filed claims for compensation and government officials say they need more time to review all the cases now in this room. >> this is the government's way of recognising the heroism and sacrifices of the filipino people during marshall law. >> reporter: in 2011, nearly 20 years after the family, close to 8,000 victims of marshall law received $1,000 each in compensation. came from the assets recovered in the u.s., assets that the philippine government fought for. separate from that case the philippine government says it has so far recovered nearly 4 billion dollars of ill gotten wealth. there is yet to be an accounting to see where those funds have gone. under the law only some $200,000
has been set aside for marshall law victims. adding insult to injury so far as the victims are concerned is the popular return to politics. three of them are in elected positions and not one member of the family has been successfully prosecuted for any crime. now junior is running for vice presiden president. >> i was able to go to the best school because i am an marcos. now in politics i have been able to enjoy the support of many, many people because i'm an marcos. all of this is clear to me that it was a lucky thing for me being born an maccus. >> reporter: what time he is
thankful for his good fortune, he is still to acknowledge that others are waiting for justice still to come here on al jazeera, the last push u u.s. presidential candidates in the final hours of campaigning in the state of iowa. plus. >> reporter: the latested ignores of-- edition of the hay festival. a hay
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three i.s.i.l. bomb attacks have killed more than 60 people in damascus. it happened after the opposition met the u.n. in geneva. the saudi-led coalition in yemen says it will investigate civilian guests during its air strikes against houthi rebels. it says it regrets the deaths and will appoint a committee to ensure civilian are not targeted. hundreds of opposition politicians in myanmar have been sworn in to parliament ushering in the first democratically elected government in more than 50 years. aung san suu kyi's n.l.d. won the election in october. the w.h.o. organization last declared a global health emergency in 2014. the threat then was the ebola outbreak which killed more than 11,000 people. our correspondent takes a look
at how the threat of the zika virus compares. >> reporter: ebola and zika are transmitted by person to person contact and is highly contagious for weeks and zika is not. it is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. people are contagious for a few days. ebola suffers have severe symptoms and about half of those that catch it die. the rashes and other symptoms with zika are mild. many don't know they have it and needing medical attention is uncommon, deaths are rare. the greatest threat to life appears to be its effect on unborn babies whose mothers catch the virus during pregnancy. zika is strongly suspected of causing a brain birth defect which results in babies having unusually small heads. there are normally between 2 and
12 cases of this for every 10,000 newborns. in brazil doctors ro reporting higher rates, about 1 in a hundred babies are being born with the defect. the potential link between zika and the birth defects hadn't been noticed before because in areas where zika has been active most people are infected early in life so the risk of infection during pregnancy is quite small. the population in the americas has not been exposed to the virus, unless not until now which is why so many women are being exposed during pregnancy. this is why governments are telling them to avoid getting pregnant, at least until they have had the virus or zika has been brought under control u.s. presidential candidates have been winding-up their campaigns in the state of iowa. later on monday republican and democratic voters will take part
in a caucus to choose their nominee nor the election in november. the results in iowa are seen as an early indicator of voting patterns. the demographic of u.s. voters is changing. in iowa latinos want to make their voices heard. >> reporter: there are now just hours until the iowa caucus and the message from both republican as well as democratic presidential candidates is one thing, and that is voter turn out, that they all say will make the difference in the results in the iowa caucus and that is especially critical given there is the threat of snow, both the democrats, the main rivals hillary clinton as well as bernie sanders urging their supporters to come out, but it is donald trump, the republican front runner, who is taunting iowa supporters telling them that they should not be afraid of little snow and they need to come out to show their support. a key demographic changing the outcome of this in iowa is the growing demographic of hispanic
voters. they are mobilizing saying that they are determined to put a stamp and their issues on the outcome of the iowa caucus. >> what i say is if you are a candidate and you want to vote on the latino community and you knock on the door, if you're outside before saying that you're going to did deport their family members they will not open the door for you. >> reporter: there is a roughly 200,000 turn out that is expected for the iowa caucus. the goal of latinos in iowa is make a showing of approximately 10,000. that would put them at about 5% of the voter turn out here and they hope that that will be enough to elevate the issues they care about in a changing demographic and political u.s. landscape malaysia's top prosecutor says he is willing to cooperate
with swiss authorities to say 4 billion dollars may have been stolen. one was cleared of misaappropriate reeighting funds-- this is a story that is haunting the prime minister. is the government feeling the pressure to cooperate with the swiss authorities now? >> reporter: i think the government has been under pressure for over a year now and i think that the pressure continues not just within government circles and the international community that is asking for the malaysian help but also opposition politicians who are scathing about the current situation and it really came to a head last week as you say when the attorney-general had charges of corruption and
embezzlement by the prime minister saying that the 600 million dollars that had been alleged to be in his account had come from the saudi royal family. there was still a large amount of money counting into the millions that was missing. opposition parties and members are saying where is this money, where has it gone. of course, over the last few days we've heard from the swiss attorney-general saying that at least 4 billion dollars has gone missing from malaysian companies all under the board which is a financial institution which invests malaysian money abroad. it comes under the finance ministry but is not part of the finance ministry and that portfolio is held by the prime minister and that is why he is under so much pressure, that he has too up control over the finances of this country and how and where has all this money gone and in retrospect come into his account potentially
this is very embarrassing for the government. how is the malaysian public reacting to this scandal? >> reporter: monday is a public holiday here as we lead into the chinese new year, so perhaps we will get more reaction to how the public and opposition voices will react maybe on tuesday, but what we are hearing, obviously, is that initially over the weekend when these reports came out from switzerland was that the attorney-general and even the deputy prime minister were very upset that the attorney-general of switzerland had made such an open account of where the investigation lay. now, that is the protocol in switzerland, to be open, and that has been justified by one of their legal counsel. however, long-term the problem and the embarrassment for the malaysian government may be, for example, if they want to try and arrest any individual who is malaysian or question them
regarding this, trying to get an arrest warrant, for example. it requires the cooperation of the malaysian authorities by the swiss and that's where the sticking point might be, for example. it's more of a wait and see scenar scenario at the time. but the pressure is on thank you for that. in colombia organisers of a festival are hoping to tackle the rising inequality in the country. this is a four-day event. >> reporter: when the hay festival was brought to this area 11 years ago, colombia was still a country struggling with violence and international isolation. but today with the peace deal at hand, events like this have become common.
>> we create a vote of confidence for the people, so it's good to come here, you bring all these great things. we creating a space to imagine a better world >> reporter: big names in literature and the arts are the backbone of the event, but from a simple celebration of the written word, the festival has gained confidence and tacked head-on various issues. this year's top tickets are economists on how to reduce economic inequality. >> with the rise of politics, we need a way for people to better understand the different
nations, different things and i think this kind of festival where different people from very different countries come together and talk and is essential in today's world >> reporter: for all its openness, the hay festival is attended by colombians elite and also one of the poorest cities, some doubt the impact for the larger population. at this book market outside the city's walls few have heard about it. >> translation: no. i haven't heard about it. hay festival, what is that? >> reporter: others wish they could be involved. >> translation: we don't see many benefits. those who go to those events don't come here. a lot of us don't even know about it >> reporter: the festival organisers acknowledge the limits. they have been offering free tickets to students and sending their guests to surrounding towns and poor neighborhoods.
it is a long process in a country still stifled by a huge divide, but one worth fighting one talk at a time foent don't forget all the news and analysis at our website aljazeera.c aljazeera.com aljazeera.com pass hello. i'm peter gizbert and you're at "the listening post".. here are some of the media stories we're looking at this week. afghanistan and the suicide bomb aimed at the media there.