al jazeera america. >> i am excited about really getting into the debate with senator sanders about the best way forward to fight for us and america too close for comfort. democrat hillary clinton and bernie sanders are neck and neck at the start of the presidential race. coming up in the next half hour, the world health organisation declares a global emergency over the zika virus but brazil says the olympics will go ahead. syria talks in geneva formally
begin with the opposition taking part in its first official session. plus. >> reporter: i'm in south africa. the land appropriation bill has many concerned we start in the u.s. state of iowa where the race for the white house has begun. delegates have been casting their votes at the iowa caucus to choose their presidential candidate. ted cruz has one against donald trump. hillary clinton and bernie sanders are neck and neck. martin o'malley has bowed out after a weak result >> i congratulate my opponents. i wish o'malley the very best.
he is a great person who has served our country. i am excited about really guess into the debate with senator sanders about the best way forward to fight for us and america >> i want to take this opportunity to congratulate secretary clinton and her organization for waging a very vigorous campaign and i want to thank governor o'malley to our correspondent who is in des moines in iowa. clinton and sanders there in a close race. take us through the numbers. how close was it? >> reporter: it's astonishing
really for hillary clinton we're getting 49.8%, for bernie sanders at 49.6%. it's a virtual tie. really it was hillary clinton's race to lose given the fact that when bernie sanders announced his candidacy she was some 50 point ahead. now it is virtually the same number. this is really a difficult and psychological blow to her campaign because now she depose to new hampshire where the next contest will take place and that is where she trails bernie sanders significantly. what this really means is that this signals that this is not going to be an easy democratic inevitable candidate contest that she may have anticipated at the start of all of this. she is now facing a long and drawn-out competition that is the democratic camp. the republican camp, however,
hopeful donald trump was pleased with his result despite coming second to senator ted cruz. >> tonight is a victory for the grass roots. tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across iowa and all across this great nation. tonight the state of iowa has spoken. >> i was told by everybody do not go to iowa. you could never finish even in the top ten. i said but i have friends in iowa. i know a lot of people in iowa. i think they will really like me. let's give it a shot. they said don't do it. i said i have to do it. we finished second and i want to tell you something, i'm just
honoured going back to our correspondent now. we always knew it was going to be a race benefit donald trump and ted cruz. >> reporter: there are two winners in the republican side if you look at the numbers. the declared winner is ted cruz who thanked his supporters, but the other big winner is senator marco rubio. you have to remember this field of g.o.p. republican candidates, there was enormous number of them. it's very hard to keep track of them all. marco rubio shows he is a strong can't died and came-- candidate and came out in the top three. the real loser was donald trump who had been polling very high going into this, was getting enormous number of support in terms of thousands of people showing up to big rallies, yet
it didn't translate in the caucuses-- translate in the caucus. marco rubio and mike huckabeeing have now dropped out a professor of public policy at george mason university says marco rubio has a very good chance of winning the republican nomination. >> republicans had a division. those who voted with their hearts voted for ted cruz. they liked him. those who voted with their heads voted for marco rubio. he looks like a winner. i think the republican power holders, the insiders in washington, are fearful about ted cruz taking the nomination because they don't think he can get elected, to win. you will see pots and pots of
money from washington, from rich conservatives being thrown at marco rubio because he looks like a win. there have been a race between chris christie, jeb bush, marco rubio and john kasich. marco rubio looks like he stands out, but he has to do good in new hampshire. the question is what is going to happen when the democrats go to the south and the west where there are a lot of minority voters, african-manner voters and latinos who don't know much about bernie sanders and likely to be loyal to hillary clinton representatives from 23 nations are meeting in rome and taking part in a day-long meeting discussing how to cut off i.s.i.l.'s funding as well as the success of the air strikes. our correspondent gives me. take us through what we can
expect from the meetings today. >> reporter: this is an attempt by the international coalition of international key players to have a coalition against i.s.i.l. in libya. they're concerned that it has become the most aggressive off shoot outside of syria and iraq. we've seen the rapid gains made by i.s.i.l., particularly in the coastal area that stretches a fair way. we see that i.s.i.l. has become a significant threat because it is on the doorsteps of europe and the concern they could easily from libya smuggle their own operatives into europe and launch attacks. that's why today they're hoping to team up with regional players and also the international community to replicate what they have been doing in syria and
iraq, which is to take on i.s.i.l., use the advanced technology, the know-how, the intelligence, to pinpoint the targets which is going to be ahead once a decision is made about starting air strikes against i.s.i.l. in libya just detail for us the challenges that this coalition faces in terms of fighting i.s.i.l. in libya. >> reporter: huge challenges ahead. the international community was hoping to have a solid, strong, unified government operating in libya with a national army well trained with advance equipment that can take on i.s.i.l. that is not going to happen for the time being because of the continuing political divide and the political impasse in libya. they're opting for option no.2, which is basically start hitting the target using what they have on the ground. they will urge the libyan factions to get united, but at the same time they say that
there's no way they can wait because they have seen i.s.i.l. expanding in north africa, in france and turkey and different places in the area. they say enough is enough we have to undermine i.s.i.s. i think the biggest challenge is to try aconvince the libyans to get their act together, form a government and take on i.s.i.l. the second challenge is to convince regional key players, particularly libya's neighbors, that there needs to be an aggressive approach to put an end to the spectacular rise of i.s.i.l. in north after thank you for that. the world health organisation has declared a global health emergency in response to a growing number of birth defects in brazil and their possible link to the zika virus. this means that international action and research can be fast-tracked to tackle the mosquito-born infection spreading across the americas. our correspondent reports from
el salvador. >> reporter: you could be looking at at least part of the answer to the zika epidemic. here they're called zam bo fish and they love eating the lavae of the mosquitos who transmit the virus. health worker found out about there them three years ago while desperately searching for a way to stop dengue fever. since then she has started el salvador's first fish farm. >> translation: from 2012 to 2015 we've had great success in the community. we've had zero cases of din gee and now we're not frightened of zika because this fish is in control of the community >> reporter: as mosquitos have disappeared, so sceptical villagers have been won over. she and her young team of volunteers deliver the fish to houses and restaurants all over town, even the village school
gets a regular supply. >> translation: there were loads of mosquitos in the school but now we have the fish in the tanks so they don't come out any more. people the children used to wear pants because they used to get bitten so often, but not now >> reporter: now that the zika virus is threatening el salvador, the government want to take action. they thrive especially in the water tanks common in poor communities. people throughout central america rely on stored standing water to wash dishes or clothes because there's such a shortage of it, but that does mean there's an ideal breeding ground for the mosquitos in their very homes. the program is trying not just to keep mosquitos down, but also to help the young volunteers stay out of trouble in one of the most violent countries in the world.
this 14 year old is the project's star catcher. >> translation: this really helps me not to get in trouble and bad habits. i'm more focused and i can help the community. >> reporter: the great thing about the fish, once they've got big on all the mosquitos, you can eat them. >> translation: they taste really nice. >> reporter: perhaps it's an unfortunate end for one of the best hopes against zika still to come here on al jazeera, we will take you inside a besieged syrian town where people say what it's like living under i.s.i.l. control. indirect talks between the syrian government and opposition members are officially underway in geneva.
you're watching al jazeera. the top stories. the race for the white house has begun in the state of iowa. delegates have been casting their votes to choose their presidential candidates with most of the votes counted rivals bernie sanders and hillary clinton are still neck and neck. meanwhile the republican presidential candidate ted cruz says his win at the iowa caucus is a win for courageous kon stefshtives. he has-- conservatives. the world health organisation has declared a global health emergency in response to a growing number of birth defects in brazil and their possible link to the zika virus.
indirect talks between the syrian government and opposition members are officially underway in geneva. the opposition is demanding humanitarian relief to civilians as well as the release of political prisoner. it is condemning a new offensive of the government. >> reporter: with the arrival of the high negotiations committee at the u.n. it seemed at long last that a break through had occurred. >> we had a one in two hours meeting in which the agency, as far as we are concerned, their arrival to the area and initiating the discussions with us is the official beginning of the geneva talks. >> reporter: but just moments earlier the spokesperson for the saudi backed opposition group sounded far less certain that
any kind of substantive talks with imminent >> we came here to discuss with the special envoy resolution 2254, lifting the siege and stopping the crimes that done by russian air strikes in syria. i believe we received, in fact, very positive messages from the special envoy. >> reporter: syrian opposition groups have been threatening to walk out of the geneva talks unless the government stops air strikes. with russia's help, the bashar al-assad regime has made significant gains on the ground in recent weeks. >> today with russia on the ground, the hezbollah forces are in favor of the regime. we are trying to convince our friends that they must help us.
>> reporter: as pressure mounted on the syrian opposition to start these proximity talks in earnest, more members of the hnc arrived. >> translation: we came here with a clear message from the syrian people, to tell the world the reality on the ground in our country, the continuous shelling, the daily bombardment, the siege and the blockade that our people face, the starvation and the deteriorating humanitarian conditions. >> reporter: with both sides of the syrian conflict now at the u.n., the shuttle diplomacy will finally begin with focus on getting humanitarian raid into besieged areas and a possible prisoner relief >> reporter: after days of difficulties now comes the hardest part, trying to build on the small amount of me mown tum achieved in the last several hours. the u.n. may be cautiously open miss particular, but when it comes to syrian negotiators here, for the regime and
opposition, mu truly distrust has yet to subside. -- mutual distrust james, obviously, very slow steps being taken in geneva to build that confidence talked about in that report. talk us through the agenda today. >> reporter: they continue, the u.n., this difficult and delicate task of trying to keep this show on the road. where i am now is outside the hotel where the syrian government delegation are staying because the next focus is on them, the next meeting is another meeting between the government delegation, which is going to be led as before by the syrian ambassadors of the u.n. they're having a meeting with mr staffan de mistura, and then we're told he has invited the opposition for another meeting
later. they're not discussing the big issues of the future of syria at this stage; they're talking about important issues, though, to try and alleviate the situation on the ground to show the opposition that it is worth staying in this process. you heard mentioned in the report issues like a list of detainees that could, perhaps, be released from jails controlled by the damascus regime, particularly women and children who are being held in their prisons. they're talking about some of those besieged areas, seeing if they could get some convoys with food into those areas. those are the sort of concrete things that they're discussing at this stage with the hope from the u.n., i think, that if something like that is delivered then the opposition side are going to stay here in geneva because there is still tension in that opposition block about whether the right thing to do is to be here starting the negotiations of what about the other side,
we heard about the bombings that occurred in the heart of damascus. i.s.i.l. has claimed responsibility for those bombings. surely the syrian regime now feeling the pressure to compromise so that they can, perhaps, shift their efforts from fighting rebels to fighting i.s.i.l. >> reporter: that is one way to look at it and certainly i think that is how the international community would hope that the syrian government looked at it, but in the end remember we're going, if this process continues and if they continue talking here in geneva, and that remains a big if, if they're going to be here even in a week's time, in the end they will get to issues that are very difficult for the syrian government because they're issues about a transitional government. that's what they're supposed to come up with, to lead the country to free and fair elections, and then you get to that point about president bashar al-assad and those around him, can they be part of that
transitional government. that will be the real difficult, knotty issue at the end of this thank you for that. meanwhile, the u.n. says that half a million people in syria live in besieged areas. many live under a siege imposed under i.s.i.l. the people are starving and living in fear. >> reporter: they are from the area that these men came to flee. they hide their identities to prevent activists back home who helped them broadcast to the world what otherwise would not be seen. a group is being slaughtered silently provide images. al jazeera is not able to verify
these videos. i.s.i.l. is known for its hash rule and activists say here it is particularly brutal because it is facing resistance. >> translation: we don't feel safe because people are fighting back. 3% of the members, while many syrians join i.s.i.l. they're not loyal. they joint enterprised out of fear or to get a salary >> reporter: life is just as hard here. people are poor and hungry. i.s.i.l. has besieged areas where some 200,000 people live. food is scarce and expensive. the u.n. says there have been deaths in starvation, but activists say they're facing a double blockade because the government prevents aid agencies from bringing in supplies through the airports >> translation: the people are face with two realities. in regime areas they're starving. the only way out is through i.s.i.l. territories and there's no guarantee they won't be killed for i.s.i.l.
>> reporter: people need to apply for permission to leave and they have to pay money which many don't have. those close to the government are able to travel from a military air base. the other way out is through foot by i.s.i.l. territory and that is a risk because the armed group has harassed and killed people accusing them of working with the government. much of the area is in i.s.i.l.'s hands. the armed group can move freely between strong holds. it is also rich in oil. the u.s. led coalition has been targeting oil fields in the area, but it has only caused more suffering for the people >> translation: the extra strikes have cut i.s.i.l.'s revenue, but they're still selling oil and the price has increased. civilians suffer because they need oil, especially during the winter >> reporter: it is dangerous to get messages out either by i.s.i.l. or government-held
areas. those who manage to do that they want to remind the world what they call the forgotten corner of syria we have some breaking news out of iraq where there has been a car bomb attack on a military headquarters just north of ramadi. let's go to our correspondent imran khan. what more can you tell us about the attack? >> reporter: i can tell you that this has come as a blow to the iraqi security forces. the north of ramadi was supposed to be secure. it has been secure for the last few days, but i.s.i.l. has managed to get in a suicide car bomb which has killed at least 18 soldiers from the 10th division of iraqi army. there were actually more than one suicide car bomber that attacked the base but they were able to use their shelling to destroy two of the car bombs before getting near the base. this is a blow to security forces because they say that
they've cleared the north, west and south of ramadi and they're in control of that. the main fighting is actually going on in the last remaining pockets of i.s.i.l. strong holds in the east of the city. so they were saying that they have control of the north, but this attack says that i.s.i.l. are still able to mount a fight back. whether they will be able to do that in the coming days as they come under increasing pressure in the east remains to be seen. this is a blow to iraqi security forces who have constantly said over the last week that they're in control of ramadi are we then seeing a resur generals of i.s.i.l.-- resurgence of i.s.i.l. fighters in ramadi? >> reporter: it's too early to say that. we do know that i.s.i.l. fighters are able to mount attacks because they're more nipple bell than-- nimble than the army. whether it is a resurgence, we
don't know thank you for that. to myanmar now where the new power in parliament, the national league for democracy party is facing huge challenges, including issues of ethnic division and poverty. mps from n.l.d. led by aung san suu kyi was sworn in on monday. al jazeera's rob mcbride reports from the capital >> reporter: this transition of power is taking place in the parliament at the far end of this main thoroughfare in the purpose-built but still largely deserted capital. it is seen by many as an folly to the years of military control. the changes promise to roll back the military years impacting the whole of myanmar. a few kilometers from that world is the reality of a country mired in poverty driven by ethnic divisions. aung san suu kyi and her national lead for democracy, or
n.l.d., may not have created those problems but they do now own them and there's a high expectation they're going to fix them >> translation: this government will be better. >> translation: this government will be more transparent and reliable and in past we didn't know what was going on >> translation: i have confidence in aung san suu kyi and that's why i voted for her. >> reporter: with the military retaining the grip on power, the new administration will have to govern constantly looking over its shoulder to see what the generals think, but without betraying the trust of the masses who came out to vote for them. in this atmosphere of hope that support will carry them a long way, but this is a people who expect results more than 50,000 people have been stranded at a rail way station in central china because of severe weather. more than 80 trains were delayed at the railway station on tuesday. rare snow in the region has
disrupted the country's lunar new year travel rush. they're expected to make 2.9 billion trips during the 40-day period which began on january 21. more on our website at aljazeera.com genetic modification, incredible science in the lab usually means this. it can be controversial, it can also be extremely beneficial. >> just like that, i'm genetically modified the mosquitos that carry two de