rare insight into the complexities of life in iran. more on the films that were show cased in the berlin film festival on our website. there, you'll find the news, the top stories, as well, recovering for you at al jazeera, all at aljazeera.com. >> politics in the nation's highest court, democrats and republicans gear up for battle over replacing supreme court justice antonin scalia. an air strike hits a doctors without borders facility. rush is blamed. the push for a long term plan to battle opioid addiction.
this is aljazeera america live from new york city. i'm stephanie sy. preparations are underway today for the funeral of supreme court justice anton sale i can't. his body is now in virginia, the unexpected passing sparked a political battle. the president intends to nominate a successor. many republicans say the next president should be making that nomination. al jazeera has the story. >> i plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate adjusts in due time. >> a simple announcement that has ignite a firestorm of controversy, even before the supreme court officially
confirmed that justice scalia died, republican presidential candidate ted cruz put out a statement saying president obama should not name a replacement for justice scalia. saturday night, it was the only issue the candidates agree on. >> i think it's up to mitch mcconnell and everybody else to stop it, it's called delay, delay, delay. >> there's been a precedent that in the last year especially the last 11 months you do not have a lame duck president make a lifetime appointment to the highest court on the land -- in the land. >> president obama has basically been a lame duck since elected in 2012. are you saying that no president can appoint someone to the supreme court in their second term? >> well, im not saying it's illegal, he most certainly has the power to nominate someone. the senate has said and mitch mcconnell was very clear, we are not moving forward until after this election. >> even when the republican presidents were reminded that
justice anthony kennedy was nominatd with only 13 months left in the president's term, there was this reaction. >> does that mean that you're going to filibuster anyone, anyone that president obama nominates? >> absolutely. >> democratic presidential candidate, bernie sanders, saying the democrats cannot allow the supreme court vacancy go unfilled. >> i think the issue is taking the situation to the american people and i think fair minded americans, no matter their political point of view will say this is absurd, this is obstructionism. >> if the republicans succeed in delaying the process, the replacement is almost certain to become a major election issue for both democrats and republicans. >> people will in a very unusual way indirectly sort of pick the next justice of the supreme court. it's pretty interesting. >> al jazeera.
our senior washington correspond mike viqueira joins us now. >> you don't have to go back very far in history to see contentious, angry debates over supreme court nominations. no one needs to be reminded of the drama with justice tomas. there are a number of hot button issues, visceral issues to the bases of both political parties, particularly conservatives. there are cases involving abortion, affirmative actions, the president's actions on immigration, the executive actions that have been stopped in the court so far, and so conservatives have a lot at stake here as do democrats. president obama no way no how he was going to pass up this opportunity, first of all as he
put it from california on saturday night, it's his constitutional responsibility. second of all, it would be political malpractice if he were to give in to republicans and not nominate, because this will fire up the democratic base, as well. that is his choice as he moves forward. the white house said the nomination will happen in due time, expected to take about a month. they're going to look at the benefits of a moderate, someone who in ordinary circumstances would get by a republican controlled senate and have the republicans try to block that or the president can nominate someone who is definitively on the left side of the political spectrum to fire up his own base in an election year. >> you heard senator cruz say he is going to filibuster any candidate. what is the likelihood any nomination gets past the republican led senate at this point? >> i think the chance are relatively small, but the best chance the president has of
getting someone through the senate would being to the moderate route, who sits on the bench and confirmed by the senate before to a lower court. the d.c. circuit has a couple sitting on the bench in washington. that is known as a stepping stone or waiting room for the supreme court. others, there is speculation, we might as well say it, their talking about attorney general loretta lynch, because she has this possibility. she is an african-american, she has been confirmed by the senate. there would likely be objections raised, republicans could look bad in the offing, so all of these kinds of calculations go into it, but to answer your question, if he's going to succeed in actually getting someone confirmed, it would likely be someone moderate, seen as a serious member all right sitting on the federal bench. >> al jazeera's mike viqueira for us in washington, mike, thank you. to syria, at least 21 have been killed in airstrikes in
idlib and azaz. seven of them were at doctors without borders supported hospital. another eight of missing. the aid groups there said it was a deliberate attack. >> the eastern province area has been destroyed and seven people killed. eight are still missing from the staff. the hospital is totally out of service now. the attack happened in the morning with two differently actually attacks with four missiles within a few minutes of each other. this has created the complete destruction of the building. people are missing under the rubble. we suspect that the death toll might rise. it seems to be an aerial air strike, so the syrian led police
are the only ones in this country that has airplanes, so we can assume that it comes from that side. the whole system has collapsed and there's a desperate need of facilities, and the deliberate and continuous attack on health facilities around syria. we have seen a lot of for example since the beginning of the year, at least five facilities supported have been targeted in syria and many others. the needs for health facilities are desperate and population release on this pros to get health care and we announced when health structure are targeted this way. a town in syria garnered recognition for banners on the war in syria with staunch messages and cartoons posted daily on social media.
leading the way is a syrian activist joining me via skype. thank you so much for your time. tell us what has been going on in your town? about four months ago, you wrote a piece about russian airstrikes attacking your town. what has continued and what is life like for you and your family? >> they are considering what they are started since three or four months and they keep killing and striking the whole area of the countryside, and they are claiming that they are targeting isis or general groups but there are no isis in the whole area. isis is far from here but they kept targeting schools,
hospitals and everywhere in the city of homs. today, since two hours ago, they targeted the hospital belongs t, you can hear like war planes in the sky now. that's the situation now. people are so scary and most of people are fleeing to the borders, to the turkish borders and to europe. >> you have among the posters that your group happen created, many critical of not just russia and iran who have backed the assad government but of the u.s. who in this cartoon is adding sand to an hourglass, in other words buying russia time. what do you think that the americans should be doing? >> since the beginning, started
talking, they've been talking since the first day of the revolution. in the beginning, they said that assad lost his -- and he must go. they kept talking, not doing anything. they never acted. mr. obama don act like american visible at all. he just say assad must go, but he did nothing. >> do you think that u.s. troops should go into syria and remove assad? do you think that would solve the problem of your country? >> we wish air strike against he assad to protect civilians. that's what we wish. we are civilians, we are people. -- since the first day of the
revolution. america kept claiming that support human democracy but we didn't see nothing that prove that america says from the beginning. >> what do you think is the best case scenario for syria? is it some soft of governance in which different factions can get together or do you think your country can break apart? >> assad is fighting civilians. the terrorism is fighting civilians. we are fighting against assad and terrorism. if we can step down assad, then we can -- the whole terrorism groups. it will be easy. the only reason that they are fighting but when we can keep assad from syria, they have no existence in syria. we will fight them. like now, we are fighting them,
we are fighting against assad, we are fighting against terrorism. we need time to rebuild syria, but we will start. it will be the beginning of rebuilding syria. it's the only way we can rebuild syria. >> thank you so much for joining us on al jazeera. we wish you and your family the best. thank you. >> thank you, thank you so much. meanwhile, a prominent american senator is issuing a certain warning over russian actions in syria, as a mine nick security conference was wrapping up, senator john mccain told the conference not to trust russia. >> mr. putin is not interested in being our partner. he wants to reestablish russia as a major power in the middle east and exacerbate the refugee crisis and use it as a weapon.
and exports plunged in january that surprised analysts who predicted only a slight slowdown. imports fell 18%, exports down 11 percent. this is raising fears about how much china can continue to support global growth. adrien brown has more from beijing. >> china's imports and exports have been falling now more than 12 months providing another indicator about the state, the confused state of the world's seth largest economy. even though imports are down, exports are down, china still made a trade surplus in january of more than $62 billion, so china, inc. is still making money. now one of the reasons why imports are down is that china is no longer buying things like iron ore and copper, these key commodities in quite the way that it once did. this week, all eyes are going to be on china's currency, the yuwan under attack by foreign speculators, seeking to drive down the value of this currency.
they want to force many believe a devaluation. china's government is resisting that that. it wants to control the direction of its currency and not have foreigners do it for them. a fuller picture on the state of china's economy will probably come next month when we get figures relating to retail sales, and industrialout put. >> the chinese economy is likely to be a key topic with president obama and asian nations today. al jazeera's pat trish at a sabga has more. >> this is what rebalancing looks like. president obama standing shoulder to shoulder last november with leaders from asean the association of southeast asian nations, a club of countries in a region dominated by china and where washington is
determined to remain a major player. >> asia pacific is critical to promoting security, prosperity and human dignity around the world. >> the first stand alone meeting in the united states with southeast asian leaders, this week's summit in southern california will formally elevate the u.s. asean relationship to a strategic partnership, a symbolic upgraded rooted in concerns over china's economic heft and growing military might. four nations are fart of the partnership, binding asia closer to the united states. four asean countries lay claim to parts of the south china sea, which china has marked out as its sovereign territory, an
expansive claim beijing has tried to cement by building islands. >> we will fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits. >> and which washington has in turn challenged by sailing u.s. war ships within 12 nautical miles of the artificial features. >> the obama administration says this summit is not anti china but the culmination of a seven year effort to reorient u.n. foreign policy towards asia, a pivot whose success will be measured by how much influence washington continues to wield in beijing's back yard. patricia sobga, al jazeera. authorities in australia have seized nearly $1 billion of meth. they call it the largest meth bust in the country's history and the biggest seizure of liquid meth ever. it was found hidden in a clothing shipment from tong congress and in art supplies in
sydney. four have been arrested in connection with the smuggling. a growing number of americans are struggling with drug addiction. president obama's budget calls for more than a billion dollars to treat them. for those hooked on heroin, help, hard to find. >> at 30 years old, vanessa is out of the 3 million americans fighting an opioid addiction. she is 18 months clean and living a normal productive life that no too long ago seemed completely out of reach. >> i never thought i would give it that much time to get clean. i never thought it was possible. >> six years ago, she began abusing pain killers prescribed for her lupus and graduated to heroin.
>> i was living out of a hotel room selling drugs and robbing people. >> according to a johns hopkins university study, 80% of addicts are not getting treatment. vanessa got lucky. two years ago, she was ordered to rehab after facing jail time for drug charges. that was at integrity house in newark. a bed at the center cost $24,000 a year. the center has been run for decades. >> most folks that come to us have a severe addiction disorder and previous failed attempts at treatment. >> most addicts don't have insurance, so turn to publicly funded centers like integrity house. the facility like many across the country doesn't have enough funds to deal with a growing national opioid epidemic so wait lists many addicts looking for treatment. >> 150, that's about the number of people on the wait list for treatment at integrity house on any given day. they are waiting on average eight to 10 weeks, which can mean a matter of life or death. in that time, hundreds of
americans will die of a drug overdose. >> the alarming numbers inspired local and federal initiatives but they fall short of what many hard hit states like new jersey, new hampsire and vermont need to save lives. last year, president obama's budget request sought $1.2 billion to expand medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction. >> the expansion of medication assisted treatment is very important. it's also important that medication alone will not help an individual transform their lives, and sustain their recoveries. >> many will need long term in-patient treatment, the kind of treatment that saved vanessa's life. >> it's like a family community lifestyle here. a missouri school district that's turning itself around, all thanks to the superintendent. what she's doing to go from worst to first.
al jazeera america. the schools in jennings, missouri were once considered failing. the district borders ferguson and is also low income and predominantly black. thanks to one superintendent, the district has experienced a complete turnaround. >> you see that crossing guard, the one who drove four hours to get here? she has single handedly transformed one of the worst performing school district in missouri. >> awesome, awesome, see you later. >> just try keeping pace with tiffany anderson, the superintendent in jennings,
missouri. she never seems to stop moving through every school in the district. >> here's kindergarten, good morning. >> when she roared into town four years ago, the school district was without accreditation, $2 million in a budget hole and seemingly without hope in this mostly black, poor suburb. >> this work is about serving children well and serving people well. this work is about transforming communities in ways that people thought weren't possible. >> and transform she did. anderson helped establish a food panary in the district, a student homeless shelter, a foundation that doles out clothes, shoes, food and school supplies, both low tech and high tech on a continuous basis. she's established access to a doctor in the schools, and reestablished music and fine arts in the district. >> from birth all the way through college, we make sure we are there with our families. >> grant money and donations are pouring in, test scores up, graduation rates up.
the district is accredited again and financially, the system is black in the back. >> she is you dream, you make it work. >> when she's not shaking up an entire school district, she pops into classes to substitute teach or handing out food at the food pantry or helping students with their most basic need at all, just getting to class. her story has a bitter sweet ending and that's coming up tonight. >> singer songwriter natalie merchant has come out with a new version of her solo album, tiger lily called paradise is there. i talked to merchant about the themes in her work. >> i talked about race relations in that album, about rampant consumerism and corporate misconduct. of course i didn't say this is a
song about corporate misconduct. i mean, it wasn't so overt, but those were the underlying themes. it's threaded through all my work, and i think tiger lily, a song like carnival, it's not political, but it definitely is taking a critical look at the way that we live. ♪ >> i have always wondered what carnival was about. >> it's about manhattan, walking through the streets of new york and just questioning. >> you can see my full interview that airs tonight at 6:00 eastern, 3:00 pacific on talk to al jazeera. thanks for watching. the news continues next live from doha. have a great day.
>> hello, and welcome to the news hour. here's what is coming up in the next 60 minutes. hospitals and a school hit in two separate airstrikes in syria killing more than 21 people. turkey and russia in a war of words as fighting escalates inside syria. plus... >> i'm in sweden where aid workers and officials are struggling what to do to h