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tv   News  Al Jazeera  February 16, 2016 12:00pm-12:31pm EST

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hours a day on our website, aljazeera.com. ♪ the u.n.'s syria envoy pushes the government to allow desperately needed aid into besieged areas. ♪ hello there i'm barbara sarah, you are watching al jazeera live from london. also coming up on the program. the humanitarian situation in conflict-torn yemen also under the spotlight. as the band caught up in the theater attack in paris, prepared to play again, french politicians debate whether to extend the state of emergency. ♪ plus, cuba and the u.s. sign
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a deal to resume direct commercial flights, but is the island ready for an influx of tourists? ♪ the united nations syria envoy is in damascus, pushing to get humanitarian aid delivered to besieged areas of the war-torn country. and u.n. sources indicate that the government has actually agreed. he said the government has an obligation to allow the u.n. to deliver aid to all syrians, and it will be tested on wednesday. from the turkish border with syria, zana hoda reports. >> reporter: the battle for aleppo enters its third week. there is no sign that a u.s. russia deal to pause the fighting will happen, but there is a sign of hope for the hundreds of thousands of syrians living in besieged areas across the country. >> i just had a meeting with the
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minister, we are being particularly 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 full-out 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. >> reporter: the special envoy's discussions with officials in damascus was not just about securing unhindered delivery of humanitarian aide. the u.n. is also trying to stop the fighting as agreed in munich last week, but there seems to be little appetite. the syrian government appears to
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feel empowered by its battlefield gains and has ruled out any ceasefire until its opponents lay down their arms. the opposition says those deals are the governments way of making peace on its terms from a position of strength. civilians and rebels have had to surrender in some corners of syria, after long and painful sieges of opposition-held areas. and the opposition is now facing another enemy, an alliance of kurdish and arab fighters. the ypg, the syrian democratic forces and [ inaudible ] are now in control of two main rebel strong holds in the northern corridor close to the turkish border. these were among the first times to rise up against the government, but the opposition says losses in aleppo are not the end of their flight. >> we are not defeated.
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yes, they might have some advances, but why they took those advances? it happened just because the russian air force is working as an air force for bashar al-assad. the best time when the [ inaudible ] army was fighting an insurgency war. >> reporter: the rebels are still holding ground on some front lines in aleppo, but the government is only intensifying its military campaign, and pushing ahead with a military solution to the conflict. zana hoda, al jazeera. meanwhile the cessation in hostilities agreed at the money initial conference was jeopardized on monday when at least 50e civilians were killed in multiple bombings. the u.n. says the attacks violate international law. but russia denies that its air force is to blame and rejects accusations of war crimes. ♪
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you to the united nations in new york where security council members have been given a bleak assessment of the humanitarian situation in yemen. let's get more now. shihab what did the security council hear? >> reporter: this is a devastating accounting of a brutal war by the u.n. u.n. -- humanitarian affairs chief. some 3,000 are thought to be dead civilians of that number some 700 are thought to be dead children, and so o'brien's list went on. >> the conflict is exacting a terrible humanitarian toll. 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 mall
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nurtured children and pregnant or lactating women need treatment. chronic drug shortages, 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: the restriction of humanitarian access by both the houthis and the saudis a major problem. he noted that ta'izz has received some aid, but this is an interesting example he said what they need is predictable access to regions in need. the saudis guilty, he said of restricting both cargo and humanitarian personnel. perhaps the most interesting part of his address was when he
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insisted, he emphasized that aid will continue to be delivered ak coring to need. now this appears to be a reference to a letter circulated by the saudis in recent days both the u.n. and international aid agencies telling them to remove their personnel from areas under houthi control. reminding the saudis of their international humanitarian obligations under international law. >> shihab thank you. staying in the u.n., the former u.n. secretary general boutros boutros-ghali 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, and organized the u.n.'s massive relief operation to the horn of africa, but was criticized for the u.n.'s lack of action during conflicts in rwanda and angola. the current chief in the last hour has paid tribute to him. >> i'm deep i will saddened to
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learn of the death of my predecessor, boutros boutros-ghali. he was a respected statesman in the service of his country, egypt. he was a well-known scholar of international law, and brought formidable experience and intellectual power to the task of piloting the united nations through one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods. saudi arabia and russia have agreed not to increase the amount of oil they are pumping as producers grapple with the flooded global market and low prices. the saudi and russian oil ministers met in doha where they made the announcement. they say they will freeze production at january levels but only if other mayor producers follow suit. iran had pledged to steeply increase output in the coming
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months after the lifting of international sanctions. to uganda now where the main opposition leader has warned that thursday's elections will not be free and fair, but he assured supporters he will still win. this is his fourth challenge against the president who has been in power for 30 years. malcolm webb reports now over increasing fears that the government is using intimidation tactics. >> reporter: sarah is one of thousands of unemployed you gan dans who joined a peace force. the political opposition say in reality it's a militia of the ruling party. here in our home, sarah, her real identity hidden, says she supports the opposition. she says when she joined, received training and was issued with the uniform t-shirt, she had to keep quiet about it.
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>> translator: some crime preventers have to preteched their are supporters of the ruling party, but in fact they support the opposition, and since that have to follow orders it's as if they work for the ruling party. >> reporter: police say the unpaid recruits are taught patriotism and martial arts and that they are politically neutral, but some say crime preventers are part of the ruling party's plan to keep itself in power by force if it has to. the incumbent president is seeking to extend his 30-year rule by another five-year term. >> look, those opposition groups they are so many things they don't know what to do, and then they just go -- they can -- they don't want strength. they want weakness. these crime preventers are the social strength for the country. >> reporter: the campaigns have been largely peaceful.
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this man has held the most rallies, nearly 300 of them, many in rural areas where his support base is stronger. the opposition have a lot of supporters here in the capitol, but many are worried that a disputed election result could lead to violence. there were demonstrations following the last election in 2011. and the authorities have been very strict with anyone trying to organize demonstrations ever since. >> reporter: this expert says the government has been responsible for abuses in successive elections, something it denies. >> the whole question of hararesment seems to be a practice. and that's something we really must fight. >> reporter: the president is
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expected to win. the opposition says the ruling party will cheat if it has to, and while many here are agitating for change, others just hope the election will pass without more violence. malcolm web, al jazeera, uganda. still to come on al jazeera, we meet the artist turning afghan war relics into works on art. and why zimbabwe's top prosecutor general is facing charges over a bomb threat against the president's dairy farm.
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hello, reminder of the top stories on al jazeera. the u.n. special envoy to syria, has held talks with the syrian foreign minister in damascus. he said the government of bashar al-assad has an obligation to allow the u.n. to deliver aid. the u.n. humanitarian chief has given an update on the situation in yemen. he said 2.7 people have been forced to fee their homes, and 7.6 million are food insecure. uganda's opposition leader has warned elections coming up will again not be fair. he is launching his fourth challenge against the president. france's national assembly is debating on whether to extend the country's state of emergency law by another three months. it's set to expire by the end of next week.
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but the government is facing resistance from some politicians who question whether the law is necessary. it allows for restrictions to be placed on large gatherings. our correspondent joins us live now from paris. so what is the latest on the debate, and when are we expecting the vote for david? >> reporter: barbara -- barbara you are breaking up at the moment. but the vote is expected within the next hour. there's no question about what the result will be. there will be an overwhelming vote for the extension of the state of emergency by the deputies, and that is very much in chiming with the mood in the country at the moment. the majority of people here think exceptional measures must be taken to increase their security. they do feel there is a danger
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of another attack. but the problem with extending the state of emergency powers is that many human rights organizations are saying this is eroding one of the essential freedoms in french society, and they also believe it is being used unfairly to discriminate against the muslim population here, which is of course europe's largest. there is a fear that in some of the alienated areas of the suburbs of paris, especially, and maybe down in the south of france, many individuals are actually being radicalized by the use of these emergency powers, and also the french president, has said this is a war on terrorism in his words. but they cannot yet point to many real successes, despite these very brood powers. so there are issues that are worrying many people now, and their voices growing more vocal, but not being heard particularly
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in the house of the deputies here in the national assembly, so that vote will pass overwhelmingly probably in the next hour, barbara. >> and also the band that was playing on that fateful night of the attacks is actually playing again in paris, and one of the band members has given quite an emotional interview. what has he been saying? >> reporter: yes. it was an extraordinary interview conducted -- a very emotional interview conducted by a french television channel here. it is the first time he will be back on stage after witnessing that appalling night on friday the 13th of november last year. and it is extraordinary that he is facing these feelings once again. but let's listen to exactly what jesse hughes, the lead singer of the band had to say. >> gun control kind of doesn't have anything to do with it. but if you want to bring it up,
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i'll ask you did your french gun control stop a single [ censor bleep ] from dying? i don't think so. i think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that i have ever seen in my life charging head first into the face of death with their firearms. i wish i knew 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 an about of courage, an act of defiance to put on this concert in the center of paris, and that's very much the mood of the people starting to queue outside. >> david thank you. the pope is continuing his tour of mexico, by holding a
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mass in the state, that is one of the most drug-ridden areas in the country. throughout his trip, pope francis has warned both religious and secular leaders to crack down on corruption and crime. on tuesday he called on priests not to give up in the face of violence. zimbabwe's chief prosecutor is appearing in court charged with obstructing justice and abuse of duty. he is accused of ordering the release of two opposition activists who were allegedly plotting to bomb a darety farm owned by the president's wife. >> reporter: inside the magistrate's court one of the most intriguing cases is being heard. it involves zimbabwe's top prosecutor. he is being accused of obstructing justice. and this is where the story is interesting. a few weeks ago, four men, some
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soldiers, some civilians, allegedly tried to bomb the dairy owned by the president's family. they were stopped before they could do that and arrested. it is alleged that the top prosecutor, basically released two of them, saying that they had turned state witness. some people felt he was obstructing justice. and that's why he was arrested brought to court and is out on jail. if found guilty he could get up to 15 years in jail. some say maybe this could be personal. maybe someone in his office doesn't waning him around. but many are saying this could be a bigger issue. the president is getting older. some say this could have something to do with a succession battle. and things are getting interesting on the ground. a lot of bizarre things have been happening. his wife alleges that some people in the military are trying to kill her son. and officials say there was a bomb scare a few days ago at a
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top hotel. zimbabwe has been relatively quiet over the last years, but many people are now saying that things could start getting more interesting. the u.s. and cuba have sign an agreement where american airliners will fly to cuba for the first time in over 50 years. it could mean up to 150 flights a day. the agreement is expected to come into force in the summer, but until then travel from the u.s. to cuba is still illegal under a 1960 trade embargo. natasha ghoneim is in havana for us. so give us more of the details. when exactly can we expect the flights to resume? >> reporter: barbara the hope is those flights will resume as soon as possible. american airlines will now begin the process resuming these
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flights. so with signatures, hand shakes and smiles, the u.s. transportation secretary called this a critical and historic milestone. 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-drawer carriage rides. with the expected wave of americans and more foreign investment arrive, he says this cuba in a time capsule won't wash away. >> translator: there is nobody like the cubans. not a mcdonalds 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 normalization of relations with cuba in 2014, it was like
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opening a flood get a. cuba is struggling to keep pace with the demand. airports, hotel and the infrastructure are in desperate need of renovation and expansion. >> it's a shame. frankly speaking, we'll suffer for some years. we -- we will 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 family have rented rooms in their homes to tourists. he is hoping the government will loosen restrictions and allow people to own more than one house. >> 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
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strategy to develop the country without overshadowing what makes it distinctive. >> hello. excuse me, sir. >> reporter: whether it's next year, or the next ten years, he says tourists are guaranteed to experience the cubano spirit. ♪ >> and there is still a travel ban in place, though, for some americans. will this agreement affect that at all? >> reporter: no. not at the moment. though there is great hope that eventually those strict shuns will be lifted. right now americans in 12 categories can visit the island, but barbara, there's a real sense among both sides here that this is only the latest in a series of steps intended to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the two countries. >> natasha ghoneim thank you.
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doctors in the australian city of brisbane are still refusing to discharge a baby who faces being returned to an offshore immigration detention facility. protests have continued outside of the hospital for the fifth day now. the one year old is being treated for serious burns which she suffered in the detention camp. south korea's president says its communist neighbor doesn't want peace. she made the comment while addressing parliament in seoul. last week pyongyang launched a long-range rocket into orbit, which it claims was carrying a satellite. but seoul says it was a cover. >> translator: it has become clear that the previous approaches and kindness would never subdue the north korean regime's nuclear ambitions.
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but rather heighten them. which would end up driving the korean peninsula into a catastrophe. some of india's top journalists have joined in a march in protest over a recent arrest over a student leader in new delhi. teachers, students, and now journalists are taking to the streets in a show of support. decades of fighting have left afghanistan littered with decaying relics of war. >> reporter: in afghanistan's former battlefields, now graveyards for tanks, rusted carcasses of war machines are getting flowery makeovers. >> i just wanted to tree it. >> reporter: she is the makeover
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artist. the 28-year-old iranian came to afghanistan on a visit last year, liked the people, and decided to stay. when you told your family i'm going to afghanistan, what did they say? >> you are crazy. >> reporter: when starting an art magazine didn't pan out, she turned her attention to relics of war, abandoned by the soviets in the late 1980s. it tooks months for her to get permission from any afghan army to paint this tank. with the help of soldiers sent along to escort her, she revived the once rust-covered surface into a glossy gold hunk of steel. >> i just wanted to use very bright colors. >> reporter: this is what an abandoned army personnel carry
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looked like before she found it. and after. in another neighborhood, before, after. she insistings her work is neither political for anti-war. her only motivation is to have fun and get people to think. >> i just wanted to make some questions in people's mind of what is going on around themselves. >> reporter: but perhaps the biggest impact has been the fact that she has taken grim reminders of violence and war and turned them into colorful attractions where afghans can come and have a little fun. [ laughter ] [ cheers ] >> reporter: it became beautiful. he love it. say these afghan kids who play football on a nearby dirt field. she says she would like to stay in afghanistan to paint more tanks and murals. an artist leaving her colorful
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mark, on another wise bleak landscape. and you can find out more about that report and everything else that we have been covering here on al jazeera on our website. the address on your screen right now. aljazeera.com. >> lawsuits speeches on race and brotherly love. just another day on the campaign trail for presidential hopefuls. several members of opec take steps to stabilize falling oil prices. u.s. officials sign a deal that would allow commercial flights to cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. and hawaii takes steps to protect against the mosquitoes carrying dengue fever and possibly zeke ca.

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