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tv   News  Al Jazeera  February 16, 2016 11:00am-11:31am EST

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the u.n. syria envoy pushing the government to allow aid into besieged areas. ♪ hello there, i'm barbara sarah, you are watching al jazeera live from london. also coming up uganda's main opposition leader warning that thursday's elections will not be free or fair. as the band caught up in the theater attack, prepare to play again, french politicians debate whether to extend the state of emergency. cuba and the u.s. sign a
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deal to resume direct commercial flights, but is the island ready for an influx of tourists. and after a deadly riot, authorities find saunas, aquariums, and other luxury items in a mexican prison. ♪ hello, thank you for joining us. the united nations syrian enjoy is in damascus pushing to get humanitarian aid to besieged areas. he has held talks with the syrian foreign minister in the capitol. he says the president bashar al-assad has an obligation to deliver humanitarian aid to all besieged areas in the country.
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>> we have been talking about the issue about humanitarian unhindered access to all besieged areas, not only by the government, but also by the opposition and by isil. and we will have another meeting today at 4:00 in order to address this urgent issue, which is as you know, related to the well-being of all syrian people, and is connected to the very clear discussions and conclusions of the munich conference. the cessation in hostilities was jeopardized on monday when at least 50 civilians were killed in multiple bombings. five medical facilities and two schools were targeted. the u.n. says the attacks viola violate international law.
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but russia denies its planes were to blame. >> when you destroy a hospital, it's not just the surgery and the war injuries, it's chronic disease treatment, it's a place for women to give birth. all of this is now gone. the same day another hospital was hit, and at least one other hospital in azaz district was also hit. so we're seeing a number of attacks on local medical facilities. people are moving around all the time, so it's very difficult for them to reach medical treatment. there was not a hospital in the area, but that was always attacked yesterday. and we're not sure what services they are offering there, basically, so it's extremely difficult for them to access medical care.
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similarly in azaz, 12 days ago there were nine functioning hospitals, today there are only three. this is consistently happening across swathes of syria, and it's incredibly difficult for people on the ground. >> zana hoda joins us now. zana, first i want to know what the latest is on these talks in damascus. >> reporter: he held two meetings in damascus with officials there, trying to secure government approval to deliver much-needed supplies to half a million people who are living in besieged areas. the meeting ended, a statement was released. in that statement he said the government has a duty to deliver aid, tomorrow we will -- we will discuss more about this tomorrow. not explicitly saying an
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agreement has in fact been reached. so we know there are dozens of area under siege not just by the government, there are a number of areas besieged by the rebels, as well as 200,000 people living in areas besieged by isil. so it seems either some sort of an agreement has been reached, but it is not final as of yet. the u.n. has been tasked not only with delivering aid and -- to those in need, it has been tasked to bring about a pause in the fighting, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen any time soon, because before he arrived we heard from bashar al-assad, make it really clear before any ceasefire the war against terrorists has to end, and in his words every person who carries arms is a terrorist, really. this has been the government's narrative since the start of the
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conflict. a government feeling very empowered by its recent gains and not in the mood to compromise. >> we had this agreement in money initial for a cessation of hostilities, that does look like it is not going to happen. tell us about what you are hearing the violence and the fighting is like now. >> reporter: it's ongoing, and the opposition suffering losses, really, in the northern corridor which is very close to the tur -- turkish border. they are not losing ground to the government, they are losing ground to a new alliance, the ypg and its allies. the rebels lost their strong hold in [ inaudible ]. we also understand they are about to surrender in another rebel strong hold, mara. and it is clear that the ypg and
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their allies are bent on further advances towards the border. they say they will not stop. they want the border town of azaz. and we heard the turkish government say they will not allow azaz to fall. it's a red line. and for the opposition if they lose this, they lose the northern corridor. syrian government war planes in the skies, dropping leaflets in the remaining territories under control of the rebels telling them to withdraw and to surrender, and those are even falling in aleppo, and they are giving them four hours -- they say you have four hours to withdraw and surrender, you have one road to leave, you might as well leave now. zana hoda with the latest there. thank you. ♪
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in the last hour, the united nations security council has been briefed on the humanitarian situation in yemen. let's get more now from our correspondent in new york. so what was said? >> reporter: this was a devastating account by the humanitarian chief of a devastating conflict, beginning with some 35,000 dead and injured casualties, of which 3,000 are thought to be civilians, some 700 are thought to be dead children. and so the list went on. >> some 2.7 million people have had to flee their homes. at least 7.6 million people are severely food insecure. some 2 million acutely malnourished children and pregnant or lactating women need
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urgent treatment. chronic drug shortages, unpaid salaries, and conflict-related destruction means that around 14 million yemenis do not have sufficient access to healthcare services. since march last year, nearly 600 health facilities closed due to damage, shortages of critical supplies, or lack of health workers. >> reporter: a major problem, remaining humanitarian access to areas in need both the houthis and the saudis guilty of that. although they did note that some access had been granted to ta'izz which we have been hearing was facing famine. although he emphasized they needed regular access to areas, not just ad hoc arrangements. the saudis guilty of not allowing in staff and cargo. but the humanitarian chief
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emphasized that aid would continue to be delivered according to need. and that appears to be in reference to a letter that is coming on international aid agencies to remove their personnel under areas of houthi control. the u.n. chief remaining the saudis of their obligations under humanitarian law. >> shihab thank you. energy giants saudi arabia and russia have agreed not to increase the amount of oil that they are pumping as producers grapple with a flood of global market and low prices. the ministers met in doha where they made their announcement with their counterparts. they say they will freeze production at january levels, but only if other major producers follow suit. iran pledged to increase production after the lifting of international sanctions.
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uganda's main opposition leader has warned that thursday's elections will not be free and fair. but assured supporters he will still win. he is mounting his fourth challenge against the president who has been in power for 30 years. >> reporter: sarah is one of thousands of unemployed you gan an -- you gan dans who has joined a peace force ahead of the up coming elections. here in our home, sarah, her real identity hidden, says she supports the opposition. she says when she joined, she had to keep quiet about it. >> translator: some crime preventers have to present their are supporters of the ruling
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party, but in fact they support the opposition, and since they have to follow orders, it's as if the they work for the nrm. >> reporter: police say the unpaid recruits are taught patriotism and martial arts and that they are politically neutral. but some say they are part of the ruling party's plan to keep itself in power by force if it has to. it comes as the president is seeking to extend his 30-year rule by another five-year term. >> those opposition groups, there are some who don't know what to do, and then they go -- they don't want strength. they want weakness. these crime preventers are a social strength for the country. >> reporter: the campaigns have been largely peaceful.
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the opposition have a lot of supporters here in the capitol, and many people are worried that a disputed election result could lead to violence. there were demonstrations following the last election in 2011. that prompted a brutal crackdown by security forces and the authorities have been very strict with anyone trying to organize demonstrations ever since. >> reporter: this man has documented human rights abuses for the past 30 years. >> the whole question of harassment and intimidation seems to be a practice perpetrated mainly by the security agencies. normally against the opposition, and that's something we really must -- must fight. >> reporter: the opposition says the ruling party will cheat if it has to.
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and while many are advocating for change. others just hope the election will pass without more violence. the former u.n. secretary general has died. the egyptian who lead the u.n. from 1992 to 1996, was 93 years old. he was the first secretary general from africa a organized the u.n.'s massive relief effort to the horn of africa. >> translator: colleagues, we have been informed that the secretary general -- the former secretary general butras butras, has passed away. we would like to ask the members of the council to kindly observe a moment of silence in his memory. still to come in this half hour of news, why zimbabwe's
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prosecutor general is facing 15 years in jail over a bomb plot. and europe prepares to launch an earth observation satellite to help monitor sea ice, marine pollution, and wildfires. ♪
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♪ welcome back. here is a reminder of the top stories on al jazeera. diplomatic efforts are underway in syria to try to implement a pause in fighting. the u.n. special envoy has been
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talking with syria's foreign minister in damascus. the u.n. humanitarian affairs chief is urging the u.n. to act on what he has described as a dire situation in yemen. he said 7.6 million people are food insecure. uganda's main opposition leader has again warned that elections there will not be free and fair. he was detained and released twice during rallies on monday. he is mounting his fourth challenge against the president. a one-day strike called by opposition parties has paralyzed most economic activity in the capitol of the democratic republic of the congo. the constitution bars heads of state from running through a third term, thu beopthe the
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opposition fears the president is delaying elections to stay in power. an attorney general is accused of ordering the release of who activists who were allegedly plotting to bomb a dairy farm owned by the president's wife. >> reporter: inside the magistrate's court, one of the most intriguing cases being heard. it involves sichl bob way's top prosecutor. he is being accused of obstructing justice. four men, some soldiers, some civilians tried -- or allegedly tried to bomb the dairy owned by the president's family. it is alleged that the top prosecutor basically released two of them, saying they had turned state witness. some people thought he was
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obstructing justice, he maybe had a hidden agenda, that's why he was arrested, brought to court and is out on jail. if he is found guilty, he could get up to 15 years in jail. zimbabweans are asking what is this really about? some say it could be personal. but many are saying this could be a much bigger issue. the president is getting older, some say this could have something to do with a succession battle. who will take over after him. the president's wife alleges that some people in the military are trying to kill her son, and an official says there was a bomb scare at a top hotel. zimbabwe has been relatively quiet, but many people are now saying things could start getting more interesting. france's national assembly is debating whether to ex -- extend the state of
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emergency law. some question whether the extension is actually necessary. the law gives officials extra powers to restrict large gathering, and place people under house arrest outside of normal judicial process. this comes as the band who's concert was stormed by gunmen during the paris attacks prepares to stage another show in the center of the french capitol. they are due to perform later in front of hundreds of survivors of the attack. we're joined live now from outside of the national assembly in paris. david let's start with the extension of the state of emergency law. is it likely to pass? >> reporter: i think it's very clear the opinion of the deputies here inside the national assembly, barbara. it will be passed, perhaps in about two hours time. sometime in the next two hours, with an overwhelming imagine yourty of deputies.
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and that really chimes with the feeling in france and the population as a whole, who also support the extensions of those sweeping powers of the executive under the state of emergency. but there is also some problems being raised by human rights groups here, barbara, that they firth is a bit of a blunt instrument. they don't feel in security terms, it's actually coming up with the goods as far as finding anymore networks of gunmen. it is still feared there could be another incident. and also they fear these measures are being used to discriminate against the muslim population here, which in france is the biggest-such population in -- in europe. so those are worrying signs about what is seen by many people as the erosion of the human rights here in france, so
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it's a problem that is going to have to be dealt with. it's very much alienating the young muslim inside paris and elsewhere across france. so that might be a cost that will have to be born and carefully watched by the authorities and the executive and the president. >> and david, by coincidence the band that was playing on the night of the attacks, the eagles of death metal will be performing in paris again. and one of the band members had some pretty strong words to say about i guess security in france. >> reporter: that's right. this is jesse hughes who was on stage when the gunmen entered the theater on november 13th, the night of november 13th. now it's quite a brave thing for him to do, and also amongst the audience there will be a large number of the survivors of that attack. so it's an act of courage and
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defiance, but he has been accounting his feelings of that night in a very emotional interview which he gave only yesterday. >> gun control kind of doesn't have anything to do with it, but if you want to bring it up, i'll ask you did your french officials stop anyone from dying? i don't think so. i think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men i have ever seen in my life. i saw people die that maybe could have lived. i don't know. but i wish i knew for sure if they could have had a better chance, because there were some real angels, real wonderful people in that show, that aren't alive today, and i really wish they were. >> reporter: so mixed emotions here in paris with that concert going ahead in a few hour's
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time, but still a general fear about security here in france and perhaps a general welcome for the state of emergency which is expected to be voted through by the authorities in about two hour's time. >> david thank you. the u.s. and cuba have signed another agreement bringing them closer together. the deal allows commercial flight between the former foes for the first time in more than 50 years, but can the island nation cope with a big influx of tourists. natasha ghoneim went to havana to find out. >> reporter: like most cubans richard can't afford to travel, but he says he is still seeing the world with each tourist he meets. he gives horse-drawn carriage rides on the streets of old havana. with the expected wave of americans and more foreign investment rife, he says this cuba in a time capsule won't
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wash away. >> translator: there is nobody like the cubans. not a mcdonald's or a kentucky-fried chicken is going to change cubans. that's a lie. >> reporter: tourism is one of the island's primary sources of income. when president obama announced the change in relations in 2014, it was like opening a flood gate. cuba is struggling to keep pace with the demand, airports, hotels, and the infrastructure are in desperate need of innovation and expansion. >> it's a shame. frankly speaking, we suffer for some years. we'll struggle for some years, because you do not change that reality in few years. >> they are moving in this kind of -- >> reporter: jesus is capitalizing on the moment. for almost 20 years he and his
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family have rented rooms in their home to tourists. >> i think it's the best moment until we open. one of the things that we have a lot of recognition now. we have a lot of freedom of operation now. >> reporter: the people we spoke with say they are confident the government will devise a strategy to develop the country without overshadowing what makes it distinctive. whether it's next year, or the next ten years, he says tourists are guaranteed to experience the cubano spirit. ♪ >> reporter: natasha ghoneim, al jazeera, havana, cuba. it's transpired that some inmates at a mexican prison where a riot claimed at least 49 lives last week, were living a rather luxurious life.
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authorities have been able to enter the prison for the first time since the riot broke out on thursday. ed in they found cells that were decked out with big beds, saunas, air conditioners, tvs, and there was even an aquarium. from weather forecasting to fighting wildfires, we increasingly rely on satellite day to know what is happening on earth. that's why the launch of a new satellite has scientists excited. >> reporter: it has taken eight years to develop at a cost of $340 million. it's one of the most advanced earth observation satellites ever made. it can measure the temperature, color, and height of the sea, and detect sea ice with
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remarking precision. >> we're able to measure the sea surface temperature accurate to .2 degrees celsius, which is quite something. you try to measure that when you are in the bathtub to that kind of accuracy. >> reporter: the data it collects will be freely available for anyone to use almost immediately. this means it will help scientists monitor changes in sea level, the movement of ships and the mass migration of people across borders. >> we'll monitor systematic all over the world, different areas in the ocean which can support the fishery industries, water resources, and also the sea surface temperature. >> reporter: describes as europe's eyes in the sky, it is
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the third of seven-planned observation and security satellites. it is hoped their data will help us better understand the challenges and threats of our changing planet. and you can find out much more on our website, threats of lawsuits, [ inaudible ] just another day on the campaign trial. several members of opec now taking steps trying to stabilize oil prices. and officials sign a deal that would allow commercial flights to cuba in more than 50 years. ♪