pulled from the rubble, a tiny survivor of a growing offensive in syria putting huge pressure on peace talks. the world news from al jazeera. also ahead dozens of houthi fighters killed in air strikes in yemen where pro-government forces are trying to retat the province. australia's high court rules that the government can hold refugees in offshore camps.
the u.s. deals with a growing religious divide. beginning in syria where an offensive by government forces is being blamed for threatening fragile peace talks involving the warring sides. at least 45 civilians are known to have died in the northern province of aleppo on tuesday. activists say they were killed by russian air strikes which is supporting a significant government push to cut off aleppo city. emergency workers are searching for survivors and amid the destruction small signs of hope. this child was trapped in rubble for hours. he was presumed to have been killed. a rescue crew found him you just in time.
its advance began late on sunday and has taken a string of villages, including these. the regime is trying to link up with territory control. the aim is to cut off rebels inside the aleppo city, the largest city in syria. our correspondent has the very latest on the turkish side of the syrian border >> reporter: the opposition is describing this as the most intense assault yet. they're saying that the bombing is unprecedented. russian air power is aplaying a key role. it is allowing the syrian government and its allies to advance on the ground. the government has advanced. they have captured a number of towns. they're a few kilometers from reaching a few loyalist towns. we understand there are fighters
there. they have been surrounded by the opposition. if they take that, they will have the extra man power that they will need. the objective of this campaign is to cut rebel supply routes. they will be able to separate rebel controlled districts inside aleppo city from the countryside and they will be able to sever supply routes to turkey and turkey has been their life line. rebels are saying that they're facing troubles. they're appealed to foreign powers to help them with weapons and they've called on other factions to send reinforcements, but the government seems to have the upper hand. this shows that the government has no good intentions, it is not willing to negotiate and it is negotiating on the battle field. this offensive gives times to coincide with the geneva talks is jeopardizing this. >> reporter: the government
defensive in russian air strikes threaten to derail negotiations before they even begin says officials in geneva. >> reporter: the delegation from the syrian regime arriving at the u.n., they're supposed to be talking peace. instead their government has launched a major escalation. the man in charge of convening the talks, staffan de mistura, has repeatedly called for the lifting of seiges and has asked all the countries that are the sponsors of this process to help arrange a nationwide ceasefire. however, opposition members say one of the most powerful of those countries, russia, has instead been doing the exact opposite in recent hours carrying out heavy bombing in support of the syrian government offensive around aleppo. >> we were hoping for a good supplies, a nice supplies that would have given us some oxygen to hope and to reassure our people that we made the right decision by coming to geneva.
instead we have this enbelievable attack of this morning, unprecedented air bombings on the city of aleppo and the city of homs, and aleppo is currently under huge attacks. we have not seen that since the beginning of the revolution. it looks even like aleppo might be besieged. >> reporter: members of the main opposition block have been having almost continuous meetings in this hotel. they decided not to go to the u.n. again to see the special envoy but for now they're staying in geneva. they know very well that their position is undermined by the russian and syrian government which they believed was timed for this moment. they want their allies to speak out. the bombardment is not only causing blood in syria but it is risking these talks to yemen where about 40
houthi fighters have reportedly been killed by saudi-led air strikes. it happened north-east of the capital in the mountain range where pro-government fighters are trying to take back control. six yemeni soldiers and allied fighters from the popular resistance armed group were also killed in the clashes around the camp. japan has put its military on alert to shoot down a north korean rocket if it threatens japanese certain. the north koreans insist that the rocket will carry a harmless satellite. japan's prime minister says he and other leaders are far from convinced. >> translation: when north korea says it will launch a satellite, it really means a ballistic missile. these tests is an obvious violation of security council
decisions. in terms of important security decisions for our country, it is a provocative act harry faucet has more from seoul >> reporter: given the coordinates as to where the first and second stages of this rocket are likely to fall, it seems as though it will go along a very similar path to the one which was launched in december 2012. that is pretty much direct south from the western launch pad in north korean territory, the first stage dropping to the west of south korean territory and the second to the northest of philippine territory. japan says if it any way endanger's japanese territory, then japanese forces reserve the right to try and shoot it down. the japanese prime minister abe come out and saying this is a grave issue against security and clear violation of u.n.
protocols. it is called a rocket launch, but as far as south korea, jap and the u.s. is concerned, this is a missile test. the south korean national security council met early on wednesday, the defense minister has come out and called this a grave escalation of tenses on the korean peninsula, but such words in the past haven't seen them not launching the government has ruled australia's offshore detention is lawful. refugees are held on nauru and png. it could see 250 asylum seekers returned to the detention centers. joining me now live is nicholas reece, a public policy person at
melbourne university. what do you make of this argument by one refugees advocacy group which says the government won this case on a point of technicality and the court didn't get into the substance of the issue. >> good to be with you. there have been successive challenges to the validity of australia's offshore detention system. this is just the latest. this time, however, unlike some of the previous challenges that human rights groups have not succeeded. their argument was that the indefinite detention of asylum seekers in another country was a breach of the australian constitution because it amounted to imprisonment by an australian government in another country, but the high court via majority six to one ruled that that
argument was not valid and the government did have the power to do that does this mean that hundreds more asylum seekers will be transferred to some of those islands? >> the government faces a number of vexing questions. the most important is the fate of 267 women or mothers and children who are currently on shore in australia. they are scheduled to be deported or sent to nauru and mannos island, but there has been quite a spirited campaign for these people to stay. for example, australian newspapers have been running photographs of the 30 plus babies, their faces on the front page saying this should not occur, but as recently as last night the immigration minister was signalling that it was still the government's attention for them to be moved-- intention for them to be moved to the offshore
detention centers. the bigger question is going to be what will happen to the people on those islands. the government has been working hard to try and get them deployed to third countries like the philippines and elsewhere there is a question on that point, too, isn't there. amnesty international said those who are sent back to the islands or those who are there are facing the risk of severe human rights violations. does this ruling in any way, does it mitigate the conditions, the risks that people may face there? >> of itself, no, it doesn't. the australian media has been widely reporting cases of rape, of sexual assault against children, about murder that have been occurring in these detention camps which are effectively run by australian
government contractors, so nothing in this high court decision today goes to the actual operations of those centers. what today's decision goes to is actually the power of the australian government to indefinitely send people to the centers and they've found they've been able to do that good to get your analysis on that. thank you for that. still to come on the show, anger in pakistan as workers rage against plans to privatize the national airline. indigenous women in guatemala telling harrowing stories of sexual slavery as alleged war criminals are brought to trial.
welcome back. a recap of our headlines on al jazeera. activists say 45 civilians have been killed by russian air strikes in aleppo. opposition delegates attending peace talks in geneva say the attacks are undermining efforts to end the war. japan has put its military on alert to shoot down a north korean rocket if it threatens japanese territory. the than north koreans insist the rockets which they plan to launch is just a satellite. in yemen about 40 houthi fighters have been killed by saudi-led air strikes. it happened north-east of the capital where pro-government
fighters are trying to take control back from the rebels. at least three pakistan airline employees have been killed and several injured during a second day of protests. they chanted for the resignation of the president. they are furious about plans to prioritise the airline. >> reporter: protests for the second day after violent protests in which three employees of the national airline were killed. the government has been trying to privatize and sell off 26% of the share of this airline because they said the airline has become a burden on the national budget. the death of these plea employees is going to become a political issue because of the
trade unions of the pakistan international airlines. some people think the political parties will try to politicize this issue. it is running a debt of over $3 billion dollars and it is costing another $300 million annually the french government wants to extend its state of emergency for another three months. it will submit that proposal to parliament later on wednesday. the measures introduced after the paris attacks gives the authorities sweeping powers. the proposed extension is splitting public opinion. >> reporter: in a land of liberty, equality and fraternity matters of national security are now center stage. after the paris attacks the country has been living under a state of emergency and many people welcome it
>> translation: they are good. they allow us to identify people with bad intentions. >> >> translation: i prefer to see a soldier in the street. we must be very careful today >> reporter: at the end of february the three-month long state of emergency will expire after weeks of speculation, the french government is now almost certain to seek parliament's approval to extend it. it gives the authorities unprecedented power to be able to arrest and conduct searches without the need for a warrant, also to shut down web sites seen to be glor fighting acts of violence and to stop public gatherings and demonstrations. the french government says the country is at war. >> translation: we are going to extend the state of emergency. we have already voted for two anti terrorism bills and we are also going to propose an allow giving more powers to the police and the courts.
>> reporter: the plans to extend the measures have led to this, thousands took to the street of paris over the weekend, many here say the measures threaten french values, freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate. there are also questions about the effectiveness of the measures. since the attacks police have carried out thousands of raids but so far only four terrorism-related investigations have been opened. activists say the heightened security has unfairly targeted muslim communities >> the meshs taken by the government are counterproductive. it gives measures, the stigmatisation of communities. nothing works. >> reporter: even within the government's own ranks there are some signs of dissent. last week the justice minister resigned about a reform that would allow people convicted of terrorism to be stripped of their french citizenship.
more than two months since the attacks, the square is still a place of mourning. security must come first says government, but many in france question were whether these temporary measures will become a permanent reality zambia is seen as one of africa's stable democracies. some worry freedom is being erod eroded. our correspondent explains. >> reporter: he is zambia's richest man and he wants to become the most powerful. hh as his supporters like to call him, he wants to become president to save his country and its democracy. thee contested the presidency last year when snap elections were called. he lost by the smallest of
margins, less than 2% of the votes. >> there's no doubt that the votes were manipulated. there were elements of manipulation in the counting of votes and tallying and psychologist of votes-- consolidation of votes. >> reporter: freedom to form political parties was only secured around 2 # 5 years ago. zambia took its final steps towards coming a deck openly res. the united party for national development believes the democracy is under threat. >> there sa a law being abused by the ruling party restricting the option from movement, from assembly, from basically a freedom of constitution. >> reporter: unlike some neighbours, the country does enjoy free press. many publications go to print each day.
also this is an absence of voices, when it come to democracy there is nothing would worry about >> you have media on the left that is highly critical of the government, you have media on the right that supports the government and then us in the middle who are independent, so in my view i don't think there's any obstruction to media freedom in this country >> reporter: the president signed a series of constitutional amendments earlier this month. they include a revision of law making it necessary for any candidate to exceed 50% of the vote to become president. his supporters say it is a sign of how he is trying to improve the country. his opponents described it as a pr stunt as he starts his campaign ahead of this summer's presidential poll. >> enthusiasm in constitution, which we are seeing a new democratic country.
>> i don't think it is for all the people. >> reporter: this parliament and other democratic institutions stand testimony to freedom here. as the race heats up, the hope is regardless of who wins, those elections will further enrich and protect that democracy refugees on the greek border with macedonia are blocking the main highway demanding to be allowed onward passage. hundreds of refugees set out on foot heading north down the main road into macedonia after being stranded today. 80 buses full of refugees were stopped short of the border. the first case of the zika virus being transmitted within the u.s. has been reported in texas. the person contracted the disease from a sexual partner. the virus could spread not just across latin america but
elsewhere. brazil's president has declared a health emergency as the country struggles to combat the zika outbreak. >> translation: we will partner with the american government, with president obama. we have talked, established our capacity and improved in the sense of creating as soon as possible a vaccine for the zika virus four military officers have gone on trial in guatemala for crimes committed against indigenous women during the country's 36-year-old civil war. they're accused of murder, rape and enslavement in an army base in the 1980s. >> reporter: these women have waited more than 30 years for justice. now they have a chance to tell their story. all of these women say they were taken as sexual slaves in 1982. this woman says she was held on an army base and repeatedly
raped for six days. some say the abuse lasted for years. >> translation: they told us to take a shower and then the fat man came and he would rape us. i was raped many times. my daughter was also raped. >> reporter: the victims say guatemala's army was punishing their community for trying to get legal title for their land. even now the women cover their faces due to fear of reprisals. this marks the first time in guatemala's history that crimes of sexual violence will be prosecuted as international crimes and it's also the first time in anywhere in the world that a national court will hear a case of war time sexual slavery. guatemala's 36 year civil war ended in 1996 and left some 200,000 people dead. a u.n. truth commission held the army responsible for more than 90% of the resume rights violations. legal observers say this trial
would have been unthinkable just five years ago. since then, the work of a pair of determined attorney-generals has helped strengthen the justice system. there are still signs of weakness, the biggest being the stalled genocide trial of former guatemalan dictator. for many others, however, the days of impunity are over >> a couple of weeks ago the ministry ordered the arrest of 18 high ranking military officers for grave human rights issues. that in of itself is a sign that things are progressing in the guatemalan justice system. >> reporter: retired colonel necessarily says the-- colonel says some things shows what really is in charge >> translation: the u.s. has the weight and they're guiding the process to a predetermined place which is against the army >> reporter: the sexual slavery trial is expected to last more
than a month. with it lies the hopes of those whose voices have until now been silenced u.s. presidential hopefuls have turned their attention to new hampshire, the next state to take part in the nominating process. following his win in iowa, ted cruz held a rally with supporters in wyndham. donald trump and marco rubio were attacked over their ideas of immigration reform. bernie sanders is also in new hampshire. the senator for vermont urged people to get out and vote for him. later on wednesday u.s. president obama will make his first visit to a mosque in the u.s. critics say she should have done it a-- he should have done it a long time ago rather than
waiting to his last year in office. >> reporter: this man is worried about getting into medical school rather than what obama has to say to the muslim community on wednesday. it will be the first time he has set foot in a u.s. mosque during his entire presidency. the white house says he will highlight the xhish imprisonment of muslim americans. she hopes he won't repeat what he often says. the groups like i.s.i.l. don't represent islam >> it already puts the connection there. it says that, like, it's our responsibility to do it, but it should be everyone else to realise we're not this way. >> reporter: for this student, it is not what the president says, but what his government does that matters. >> we have had mosques infiltrated, we've had fate converts coming in. it creates an environment of distrust. >> reporter: the president is
doing this to contrast what has been said lately >> donald trump is calling for a total and complete shut down of muslims entering the u.s. >> the proposal to bring tens of thousands of musts imrefugees to america i think is stupid. >> reporter: those are the top two candidates. critics say it is having an impact >> looking at last year and to this year, the muslim than community is definitely under seen. we had an unprecedented attacks on muslims and their places of worship in 2015. it's still continuing this year >> reporter: it's not hard to find people saying they're supporting them because of their views of muslims. >> they can say anything about them about our christians and they can cut off our heads and imprison us, which they've been doing. >> reporter: an agreeing fear, a
growing divide. the president hoping his visit sends a message to muslims worldwide and to people at on home who may not want to listen listen if you want to get more on those stories that we've been telling you about, head over to our page aljazeera.com new york new york 8.4 million people call the city home. >> it's snowing hard in central park and 20 in midtown and snowfall one to two feet and saying we could have snow hour. >> the coldest winter in 81 years and coincides with a grim realit