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tv   News  Al Jazeera  February 23, 2016 10:00am-11:01am EST

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we'll have obama live at 10:30. >> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello and welcome to the news hour. i'm in doha, here is what is coming up in the next 60 minutes. a crisis with no end in sight. more than 100,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in europe this year alone. desperate scenes at the border as afghan refugees demand a way through to northern europe. with no let up in the fighting, there are serious doubts that the plan for a partial truce in
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syria can become a reality. ♪ and keeping old cultures alive, why schools in zimbabwe are teaching children to play this traditional instrument. >> reporter: and i'll be here with all of the day's sport, including the prince requests a secret presidential election be suspended with the vote just days away. ♪ we begin the news hour with the continuing refugee crisis in europe. more than a hundred thousand refugees and migrants have already arrived on european shores this year alone. most of these, 97,000 people landed on the greek islands while more than 7,000 crossed to italy. more than 400 lost their lives
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so far this year mainly on the sea crossing from the turkish coast to the greek islands. meanwhile, afghan refugees remain stranded at barbed wire fences. the macedonians imposed restrictions on afghans entering their territory, while allowing people there syria and iraq to pass through. those refused entry have been staging a sit-in on the border. >> reporter: only iraqi and syrian nationals are allowed to continue their journey. at the moment they are preventing because the afghans have been holding a sit in, saying if we can't go in they can't go in. the buses behind me are waiting to be loaded with afghan nationals, and they will be taken back to athens. we understand in athens there is a backlog, about 5,000 refugees are there. they are not allowed to come
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towards the border area, because authorities here want to solve the situation before allowing them in. this is causing a lot of anxiety not only among the afghans who say we came all the way from our countries to here, spending all of our money, and what is going to happen to us now? we cannot go back to afghanistan. and the iraqis and syrians are on the move and in a hurry. they are worried that maybe soon the borders will also close for them. and they want to continue their journey. so it is creating some sort of friction between these two different groups of refugees. we received this report from kabul. >> reporter: an intriguing statement following the fourth meeting of the coordination group here in kabul. in the statement the group saying it invites all taliban factions to take part in peace
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talks, scheduled to take place during the first week of march. now the invite itself is not earth-shattering news. it has long been the afghan government's position, and the qcg's position that they want to sit down and negotiate a political solution with the taliban. however, the statement suggests that they are narrowing their time frame and the location of the first round of talks. if the statement is accurate, this would mean that by next week, the afghan government will be sitting across the table with representatives of the taliban for the first time since the summer of 2015. the statement coming at a time when there's a lot of uncertainty about the prospects of peace talks with the taliban, a time when there's indications that the taliban is gaining territory in southern pakistan, critical province of hellmann where after man troops have
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pulled out with two very a at no time groups. so if these peace talks happen will all taliban factions show up, and will the talks have a positive out come. meanwhile near the french city of calais, thousands of refugees face eviction from the camp known as the jungle. up to a thousand people could be force today move into nearby shipping containers. many do not want to move, and are hoping for a court intervention. another major factor in this refugee crisis is the fighting continues in syria. isil says it has killed a number of soldiers and captured dozens of others. meanwhile the syrian military saying it blew up an isil suicide car bomb before it reached their check point. a ceasefire agreed between the
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u.s. and russia is due to come into effect on saturday. crossing over to our correspondent joining us from turkey near the border with syria. and even though the ceasefire is supposed to come into effect on saturday, a lot of questions about how the cessation of hostilities will actually be put into practice. >> yes, absolutely. big questions are still waiting to be answered by the americans and the russians. we do know that they -- the two sides, russia and america have called on all rebel groups to commit to this cessation of hostilities. if they do not then they will be considered perhaps terrorist groups. of course the call was not extended to isil and al-nusra, because the deal excludes them. there is also the question of who will monitor the cessation of hostility, which party will be able to determine who of the rebel groups violated that
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agreement. so it remains to be seen. also the syrian opposition, really, are not behind this cessation of hostility -- the idea. they do have huge suspicion about it. they do think that russia and the syrian government are not sincere about it. >> while you are talking to us, we're looking at the right side of our screen, where we're playing footage of the seen this aleppo. tell us about the scene in aleppo because there has been a government offensive taking place there. >> yes, that's true. first we have news from last night, into this morning that heavy fighting continued between a number of rebel groups fighting the ypg, those are kurdish forces in aleppo, heavy shelling, heavy bombardment and fighting. also we have other reports coming in, in the last hour or
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so, that isil has man aged to take control of an area in the southern countryside. this is an important area, because it's a supply route in the syrian army, so the fighting is still raging in a number of areas not only in aleppo but also outside of aleppo. >> thank you for that update. saudi arabia urging its nationals to leave lebanon immediately, and avoid traveling there in the future. the announcement comes despite attempts of the lebanese prime minister to reinstate his support for riyadh. saudi arabia accuses lebanon of failing to back it in its on going dispute with iran. libyan security forces have confirmed the arrival of french special forces.
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180 solders have landed in the international airport east of benghazi. in the last few days they stepped up attacks on isil and rebel groups in benghazi. thousands of people are marching in india's capitol, furious about the suicide of student who was allegedly the victim of cast discrimination. there is also anger over sedition charges against six students in what they believe is an ongoing crackdown on freedom of so speech. faiz jamil reports from new delhi. >> reporter: they came in the thousands from around the country, protesting the suicide of a pro-graduate student from the southern city who claimed to be a victim of cast-based discrimination. he was in the lowest cast, who used to be known as untouchables. his death resinates with students across india, but especially with other minorities.
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>> translator: we have come for justice. he was murdered. no one heard us, so we thought we need to come to delhi to be heard. that's why so many of us have come. >> reporter: as the march went on, more students and activists joined. the protests is over the death of the student, but with recent events here in the capitol, issues of freedom of speech is clearly among strong feelings in this crowd. these protesters are also protesting sedition charges brought against several students after a video appeared to show several people making so-called anti-national remarks earlier this month. south of mumbai, students at the film and television institute protested the appointment of a
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new chairman. some students say freedom of speech is under attack in india. >> i do not see any [ inaudible ] sedition charges [ inaudible ] this government wants to [ inaudible ] they cannot take [ inaudible ]. >> reporter: several kilometers from the march, the opening of the latest parliamentary session began. the prime minister who has remained silent on the recent events, appeared to throw an olive branch to the opposition, evidently not wanting the protests to stall parliamentary work. en >> translator: i hope the session will be used for debate. this is the only way to strengthen democracy and fulfill the aspirations of the people. >> reporter: several opposition lawmakers came out to join the
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protesters. everyone here says they want action to stop the discrimination and crackdown on freedom of speech, but no one here truly believes the issue will be resolved by a single protest. the indian government also struggling to deal with another cast-based crisis, involving the relatively prosperous farming community. the government has agreed to some concessions in a bid to end days of protests. they are demanding more access to government jobs and university places. our correspondent has that story. >> reporter: the chief minister, says they are trying to create a new category of affirmative action that will give them more access to government jobs and university quotas. he was heckled showing a deep mistrust of the government. the protesters say they have been promised this many times before and in fact have been promised reservation status by
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previous governments, and each time it has been quashed by the supreme court. the chief minister has been summoned to delhi, where talks are going to go to a national level where there could be higher discussions. here where we have seen some of the worst violence, buildings burned, vehicles torched, and shops looted, residents have told us they are mostly staying in doors in case the agitation flairs up again. there are thousands of troops on the ground, trying to maintain calm in many of the areas where the protests have been. the effects of the protests are being felt in the capitol, new delhi relies on this area for most of its water supply, 50% comes from one particular canal, that canal has been damaged by the protesters, while the government says they are doing everything they can to try to stop a water crisis, they are
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warning that there will be water shortages and it will take at least two weeks for supplies to return to normal in the city. emergency supplies of food, medicine, and temporary shelter are pouring into fiji where the death toll has risen to 29. andrew thomas is with one emergency team, and ours is the first tv team to get there. this is andrew's report. >> reporter: it has taken nearly three days, but help is coming to some of the fijian islands. this boat is the second in two days, with phone communication cut, one did an exploratory cross on monday. >> when we couldn't get in touch with them. we said we have to make a run and check, and what we saw, we were the first point of contact with the outside world, and what
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we saw was really devastating. >> reporter: a day later this is the first trip with passengers, carrying people back who .hahhed to be away from the storm. these are their first glimpses of their homes. >> total destruction. >> reporter: is it better or worse than you expected? >> it's worse. >> reporter: this island used to be lush and green, and the coastal villages used to be intact. the ship docked 45 minutes before dusk, with no power, passengers have 45 minutes of daylight to see what up close what the wind and pounding waves have done. not far from the dock was this man sitting in the ruins of his home. >> very sorry to see the building to be very devastating like this. very sorry. >> reporter: his house is not the exception here.
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it's now the norm. people say three people died on this island of 6,000, given the damage, that number seems remarkably low. i came here in 2014 to do a piece on what people thought about fiji's up coming election. i chose to come to this island, because it was known as one of fiji's prettiest. i stayed in this village, but look at it now. complete devastation. dusk, and then dark hid the damage, but not its consequences. many have nowhere to sleep but outdoors. still to come in this news hour, we're live to washington where the u.s. president is expected to make an announcement about the future of the prison camp at guantanamo bay. plus elected twice only to be ousted in a cue.
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i'm in rwanda, finding out if they are happy or sad to see the end of sepp blatter's reign as fifa's president. ♪ first, the egyptian military says the sentencing of a four-year-old boy to life in prison for murder was a mistake. the army says a 16 year old should have been sentenced instead. the child was convicted along with 114 others. the boy's father spent four months in jail for refusing to hand him over. >> reporter: well the israeli army has demolished the homes of two palestinians in the occupied west bank. the properties belong to two men convicted of killing five israelis last year. the israeli government enacted this destruction policy when people are found guilty or suspected of attacks against
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israelis. and in ramallah, hundreds of teachers have been protesting, refusing to work until they get better pay and conditions effecting about a million school children. imti imtiaz tyab reports. >> reporter: they chant, dignity, dignity, give us dignity. they are protesting against low wages and poor benefits. they say the palestinian authority has failed to make good on promises, including pay increases. this woman has been a high school biology teacher. >> translator: i want my dignity, to be treated like public employees of other ministries. we will only stop when we get our rights. i miss my students. >> reporter: more than 120,000
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palestinian teachers have been on strike since last week, it has effected about 1 million school children. this strike is about the palestinian authorities failure to implement an agreement that was put in place nearly three years ago. that agreement included guidelines around salary, pay increases and promotions, but as the strike continues, it is becoming increasingly politicized. the party of the president has blamed political rival hamas for the teacher's refusal to end their strike. they say hamas is encouraging the strike to further weaken the palestinian authority which is already struggling with a budget crisis. but striking teachers say this isn't a political issue for them, it's one of fairness, because they make up the second-largest sector of public workers thatry the least paid.
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this spokesperson says the government is doing its best to address the teacher's demanding. >> all prior agreements will be met by the end of the month, as well as the teachers will -- will see an increase of 5% in their salaries, but that doesn't mean that this is the end of the discussion. >> reporter: on sunday the head of the sales -- palestinians teachers union resigned. teachers here say protests like this will not only continue but also get larger. he or his allies have repeatedly won parliamentary majorities in thailand, but military coups has forced him into exile. he says hef fears for his life. he has been speaking to wayne haye in singapore. >> reporter: for the best part of a decade, this man has stayed
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awide from thailand but remained deeply connected to its politics. after he made his money in telecommunications, he was twice elected prime minister on the back of policies that benefited poorer thais. since the most recent coup in his homeland, he has been unusually quiet. [ technical difficulties ]
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well, you are watch that full interview on al jazeera this saturday. that's on "talk to al jazeera" at 0430 gmt on february 27th. oil industry leaders are meeting in the u.s. state of texas, discussing prices to boost prices. the slump is having a big impact on oil-dependant economies. john hendren joining us live from houston, texas, and you are covering that conference, amongst oil leaders. what kind of strategies are they talking about here? >> reporter: well, they are long-term strategies.
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they all know there's no short-term fix. oil prices are at about $30 a barrel. what they are talking about now is some kind of freeze -- doing something to halt production, but that's just a handful of countries, and of course you have got the increase in oil from american shale producers and from iran, which now that sanctions have lifted is adding oil on to the market. so there's a real glut of oil on the market as we speak right now, the saudi arabia oil ministry is talking about saudi arabia's response. he has been fairly criticized for continuing to pump saudi oil. saudi arabia has strong cash reserves so they can handle a time like this, but other countries, russia, venezuela, are not able to do that. they need to keep pumping, and that's what the american producers are doing as well. so getting control of the oil
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supply has been a very serious problem. we had a forecast by the international energy agency, they said that oil prices will turn to $80 a barrel, that's the good news, the bad news that is not going to happen until sometime in 2018 to 2020. so it is going to be a while before they can rebalance the market. right now that glut will continue, and everyone here expects low prices to continue through the end of 2016. >> they tried to control it last week with the announcement to freeze oil output, but it really didn't help the global price of oil, did it? >> reporter: that's right. it was four countries doing that. however, january was an historic high time, so it's not as if they were cutting back significantly. also it's just four countries, not everyone is doing that. the u.s. frac-ers, are continuing to pump out oil, because they need to continue to make that money, and then you have got iran pumping oil on the
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market as it has not done in the recent past. so really, that cut is being more than compensated for by overproduction by other countries, so there really is no control of the market right now. >> john hendren reporting from houston. john, thank you. you are with the news hour, and there's much more to come on the program, including $500 million for two paintings. we'll look at why the buyer paid so much. plus -- >> i'm phil lavelle in los angeles, a world away from west africa, and yet a lot of people here are talking about ebola at the moment. find out why shortly. and coming up in sport, the l.a. clippers take down the phoenix suns. action from the nba is coming up a little later. ♪
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>> are miners across this region affected by the dodd-frank law? >> sourced from illegal mines. >> this is a serious problem. >> an undercover investigation reveals the real cost. >> there's no way of knowing what minerals are coming in. >> "faultlines". >> what do we want? >> al jazeera america's hard-hitting... >> today they will be arrested. >> ground-breaking... >> they're firing canisters of gas at us. >> emmy award-winning, investigative series. ♪ the top stories on the al jazeera news hour. the international organization for migration says more than a hundred thousand refugees and migrants have already arrived in
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europe this year alone. and hundreds of afghan refugees are stranded at the greece macedonia border, after macedonia blocked them from entering. negotiators representing syria's rebels want international guarantees to be put in place before fighting can stop. syria's government, though accept bs the current terms. meech -- indonesia is the world's second biggest polluter of plastic after china. step vaessen is in jakarta to tell us more. >> reporter: researchers have found that nearly 10 million plastic bags are being handed out to indonesian shoppers every day. and they often find their ways to places like this. they are polluting the seas, the rivers, the streets, the parks, the forest, 187.2 million tons
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of plastic waste is being produced in indonesia every year. and that makes it the second-biggest polluter in the world after china. plastic waste has become a trap to marine life, tourism, and people's health. to reduce all of this plastic waste, the government has started a pilot project where people now have to pay for their plastic bags. it's only 200 for a plastic bag, which is 1-10th of a percent. taking you live to the white house where president barack obama is about to talk about his plan to close the guantanamo bay prison. let's listen in. >> -- intelligence, diplomacy, homeland security, law enforcement, federal, state, and local, as well as the example of our ideals as a country that is
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committed to human values. in this fight we learn and we work to constantly improve. when we find something that works, we keep on doing it. when it becomes clear that something is not working as intended, when it does not advance our security, we have to change course. for many years, it has been clear that the detention facility at guantanamo bay does not advance our national security. it undermines it. this is not just my opinion. this is the opinion of experts, this is the opinion of many in our military. it's counterproductive to our fight against terrorists because they use it as propaganda in their efforts to recruit. it drains military resources with nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running, and more than 200
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million in additional costs needed to keep it open going forward for less than a hundred detainees. guantanamo harms our partnerships with allies in other countries, whose cooperation we need against terrorism. when i talk to other world leaders, they bring up the fact that guantanamo is not resolved. moreover, keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. it undermines our standing in the world. it is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law. as americans we pride ourselves as being a beacon to other nations, a model of the rule of law, but 15 years after 9/11, 15 years, after the worst terrorist attack in american history, we're still having to defend the
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existence of a facility and a process where not single verdict has been reached in those attacks, not single one. when i first ran for president, it was widely recognized that this facility needed to close. this was not just my opinion. this was not some radical, far-left view. there was bipartisan support to close it. my predecessor, president bush, to his credit, said he wanted to close it. it was one of the few things that i and my republican opponent, senator john mccain agreed on. and so in one of my first acts as president, i took action to begin closing it. and because we had bipartisan
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support, i wanted to make sure that we did it right. i indicated that we would need to take our time to do it in a systematic way, and that we had examined all of the options. and unfortunately, during that period, where we were putting the pieces in place to close it, what had previously been bipartisan support, suddenly became a partisan issue. suddenly many who previously had said it should be closed backed off, because they were worried about the politics. the public was scared into thinking that, well, if we close it, somehow we'll be less safe. and since that time, congress has repeatedly imposed restrictions aimed at preventing us from closing this facility. now despite the politics, we have made progress. of the nearly 800 detainees once
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held at guantanamo, more than 85% have already been transferred to other countries. more than 500 of these transfers, by the way, occurred under president bush. since i took office, we have so far transferred 147 more. each under new significant restrictions to keep them from returning to the battlefield. and as a result of these actions today just 91 detainees remain. less than 100. today the defense department, thanks to very hard work by secretary of defense, ash carter as well as his team working in concert with the office of management budget, said the department is submitting to congress our plan for finally closing the facility at guantanamo once and for all. it's a plan that reflects the hard work of my entire national
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security team, so i especially want to thank ash and his team at dod, this plan has my full support. it reflects our best thinking on how to best go after terrorists and deal with those who we may capture, and it is a strategy with four main elements. first, we'll continue to security and responsibly transfer to other countries the 35 detainees out of the 91 that have already been approved for transfer. keep in mind this process involves extensive and careful coordination across our federal government to ensure our national security interests are met when an individual is transferred to another country. we insist that foreign countries institute strong security measures, and as we move forward, that means that we will have around 60 and potentially
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even fewer detainees remaining. second, we'll accelerate the periodic reviews of remaining detainees to determine whether their continued detention is necessary. our review board, which includes representatives from across government, will continue to look at all relevant information, including current intelligence, and if certain detainees no longer pose a continuing significant threat, they may be eligible for transfer to another country as well. number three, we'll continue to use all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees still held under law of war detention. currently ten detainees are in some stage of the military commission's process, a process that we worked hard to reform in my first year in office with bipartisan support from
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congress. but i have to say with respect to these commissions, they are very costly. they have resulted in years of litigation without a resolution. we're therefore outlining additional changes to improve these commissions which would require congressional action, and we would be consulting with them in the near future on that issue. i also want to point out that in contrast to the commission process, our article 3 federal courts have proven to have an outstanding record of convicting some of the most hardened terrorists. these prosecutions allow for the gathering of intelligence against terrorist groups. it proves that we can both prosecutor riss and protect the american people. so think about it, terrorist like richard reid, the shoe bomber, the man who tried to blow up an airplane over
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detroit. the man who put a car bomb in time square, and the man who bombed the boston marathon. they are were all convicted and are now behind bars here in the united states. so we can capture terrorists, protect the american people, and when done right, we can try them and put them in our maximum security prisons, and it works just fine. and in this sense, the plan we're putting forward today isn't just about closing the facility at guantanamo, it's not just about dealing with the current group of detainees, which is a complex piece of business, because of the manner in which they were originally apprehended and what happened, this is about closing a chapter
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in our history. it reflects the lessons that we have learned since 9/11. lessons that need to guide our nation going forward. so even as we use military commissions to close out the cases of some detainees, which given the unique circumstances of their cases make it difficult to be tried in article 3 courts, this should not set a precedent for the future, as they have been in past wars, military commissions will continue to be an option when individuals are detained during battle. but our preferred option, the most effective option for dealing with individuals detained outside military theat theaters, must be our strong, proven federal courts. fourth, and finally, we're going
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to work with congress to find a secure location in the united states to hold remaining detainees. these are detainees who are subject to military commissions, but it also includes those who cannot yet be transferred to other countries or who we have determined must continue to be detained because they pose a continued significant threat to the united states. we are not identifying a specific facility today in this plan. we are outlining what options look like. as congress as imposed restrictions that currently prevent the transfer of detainees to the united states, we recognize that this is going to be a challenge, and we're going to keep making the case to congress that we can do this in a responsible and secure way, taking into account the great lessons of our maxim security prisons.
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and let me point out, the plan we're submitting today is not only the right thing to do for our security, it will also save money. the defense department estimates this plan compared to eaching guantanamo open would lower costs by up to $85 million a year. over20 years the savings would be up to $1.7 billion. in other words, we can ensure our security, uphold our highest values around the world, and save american taxpayers a lot of money in the process. so in closing, i want to say, i am very clear eyed about the hurdles to finally closing guantanamo. the politics of this are tough. i think a lot of the american
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public are worried about terrorism, and in their mind the notion of having terrorists held in the united states rather than in some distant place can be sca scary, but part of my message to the american people here is we're already holding a bunch of really dangerous terrorists here in the united states, because we through the book at them, and there have been no incidents. we have managed it just fine. and in congress, i recognize in part because of some of the fears of the public that have been fanned oftentimes by misinformation, there continues to be a fair amount of opposition to closing guantanamo. if it were easy, it would have happened years ago, as i have been working to try to get done.
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but the there remains bipartisan support for closing it. and given the steaks involved for our security, this plan deserves a fair hearing, even in an election year. we should be able to have an open, honest, good faith dialogue about how to best ensure our national security. and the fact that i'm no longer running, joe is no longer running. we're not on the ballot, it gives us the capacity to not have to worry about the politics. let us do what is right for america. let us go ahead and close this chapter. and do it right, and do it carefully, and do it in a way that makes sure we're safe, but -- but gives the next president and more importantly future generations the ability to apply the lesson's we have learned in the fight against
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terrorism and doing it in a way that doesn't raise some of the problems that guantanamo has raised. i really think there's an opportunity here for progress. i believe we have got an obligation to try. president bush said he wanted to close guantanamo, despite everything that he had invested in it. i give him credit for that. there was an honest assessment on his part about what needed to happen, but he didn't get it done and it was passed to me. i have been working for seven years now to get this thing closed. as president, i have spent countless hours dealing with this. i do not exaggerate about that. our closest allies raise it with me continually. they often raise specific cases of detainees repeatedly. i don't want to pass this problem on to the next president, whoever it is. and if as a nation we don't deal with this now, when will we deal with it?
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are we going to let this linger on for another 15 years? another 20 years? another 30 years? if we don't do what is required now, i think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history, and justice, and our best american traditions was clear. so, again, i want to thank secretary carter. you and your team did an outstanding job, and you have shown great leadership on this issue. with this plan we have the opportunity finally to eliminate a terrorist propaganda tool, strengthen relationships with allies and partners, strengthen our national security, and uphold the values that bind us as americans. i'm absolutely committed to closing the detention facility
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at guantanamo, and this is a good moment for everybody to step back, take a look at the facts, take a look at the views of those who have been most committed to fighting terrorism, and understand this stuff, our operatives, our intelligence officials, our military, let's go ahead and get this thing done. thanks very much, everybody. >> it was the campaign promise president obama made seven years later he stands at the podium of the roosevelt room at the white house making the case again to close guantanamo bay, and he has a plan, which i have here in my hand. and i want to bring in jamie mcintyre who has probably had some time to go through this plan. it's less than ten pages. jamie what does the plan say, and does it get obama any closer to closing guantanamo bay prison? >> reporter: well, it's a four-point plan, and three of the points i think are fairly
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non-controversial. one of them is to continue the transfers of -- of prisoners, and there are 35 detainees at guantanamo who have been cleared for transfer, and they may be gone by the end of the year. the other is to continue -- and even the president said -- accelerate the review process for other prisons, to see if more can't be approved for transfers to other countries. the third point is to prosecute or have legal consequences for those who can be tried with the military commissions or in other legal proceedings, and the last point, of course, is the most controversial, the people that the pentagon says are unreleasable for one reason or another, the president wants to bring them to the united states and close down guantanamo. he said he has not identified a facility in part because the law that prohibits the transfer, also prohibits the pentagon from doing any work at all towards that end. they can't even work up a real process of what it would take,
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but it has some notional ideas about how to do that. and to review the number of prisoners left, there are only 91 left. as i said, 35 of them are due to be transferred. another 10 are facing those -- possibly facing some sort of trial or military proceeding, and that leaves about 45 or 46 that are potentially could be transferred to the united states. and the most controversial part of the plan, the most questionable part. the fourth point, work with congress to find a way to bring them back. and congress has already pretty much said that's not happening, stephanie. >> you talked a little bit about cost there, jamie, and the fact the president made the point this would save money. there are some 2,000 guards at guantanamo. the u.s. government spent about half a billion dollars on guantanamo bay in 2013.
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and he makes another point about the efficacy of the military commissions and their ability to charge the detainees there. let's listen. >> it undermines our view in the world, it is a stain of our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law. as americans, we prize ourselves on being a beacon to other nations, a model of the rule of law. but 15 years after 9/11, 15 years after the worst terrorist attack in american history, we're still having to defend the existence of a facility and a process where not a single verdict has been reached in those attacks. not a single one. >> so jamie, you hear the president make this point that the sort of legal system that these enemy combatants have been facing at gitmo, and i'm talking
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about suspects like who have not been prosecuted. i think there have been eight convictions over all of these years. >> you are quite right, you have a point there -- i'm being told by the pentagon, they are going to need to clear the briefing room, so we may have to cut this short. but the point the president is making is he's appealing on practical, financial grounds, and also on the moral authority, and the fact that he makes the argument that this doesn't really protect america's security. if that were the case then maybe he would have a different opinion. again, i'm going to have to cut this short and throw it back to you. >> thank you for your time. i want to bring in live libby casey who is is in washington. good morning. the president said that george
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w. bush was not able to get it done. looking at this plan and the contours of it, does it get it done, especially since it seems to rely on cooperation from congress. >> cooperation from congress is very unlikely, stephanie. we're already getting resistance. john mccain responding immediately, calling this a vague menu. saying the president has had seven years to work up a concrete plan, and this is essentially vague. it is important to note, though, the white house -- the president's hands are fairly tied. because as jamie pointed out there are restrictions placed on just what the president can do. congress has said the president can't move detainees to the united states, a big goal of the administration, necessary to close guantanamo down many believe. the white house is prevented
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from doing that on a couple of fronts. they can't use funds to move them over. they need permission from congress and they can't build or modify facilities in the united states. the administration has been looking at some facilities in the u.s. last year the pentagon was looking at prisons in south carolina, in colorado, in kansas. we have already gotten a response from republican senators representing those states. senator corey gardner of colorado, pat roberts from kansas, and tim scott of south carolina had this to say: so republicans saying they don't want november the prisoners to the u.s., but not really playing a lot of ball, stephanie, when it comes to figuring out where they would go. and leadership on the house and
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senate side among republicans are opposed to moving prisoners from guantanamo. paul ryan has said keep it open. mitch mcconnell says guantanamo is the perfect place to keep them. and as you point out, it's a political year, and republican candidates haven't shown any interest in shutting guantanamo down. >> a political year in which voters have expressed that national security is top of mind. president obama invokes national security to make his point about why gitmo should be closed. have a listen. >> when it becomes clear that something is not working as intended, when it does not advance our security, we have to change course. for many years, it has been clear that the detention facility at guantanamo bay does not advance our national security. it undermines it. this is not just my opinion. this is the opinion of experts.
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this is the opinion of many in our military. it's counterproductive to our fight against terrorists. >> so libby, essentially based on what you said, certain senators have said both sides are claiming the interests of national security. >> reporter: absolutely, republicans who are opposed to moving guantanamo bay prisoners to the united states say security is their number one concern. now the president made a point during his address this morning, pointing out that there was bipartisan support at one point to close guantanamo down. that no longer exists in a concrete way on capitol hill, and because republicans control both the house and senate, there doesn't seem to be a path forward to get their approval. there will likely be a house hearing on the plan, but even though aspects of the plan may certainly be okay with some leadership in congress, the big question of where to move
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remaining detainees whether to bring them to the united states, don't expect the republicans to get on board, in fact it will probably be an opportunity to push back at the president's plan. there is also reluctance by republicans to give the president what would be perceived as a big political win in his last year in office, stephanie. >> libby, congress did receive the plan this morning. what will they do? >> they will review it. you can expect we will hear a robust response from republican leadership, but don't expect to see movement any time soon, even with one of the president's key points that this would save money, just not enough to sway b opinions here in washington. >> he says it would save $65 million to move the facility to gitmo to a high-security prison here. libby casey thank you so much. and thank you for watching.
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i'm stephanie sy. the news continues next live from london. ♪
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obama presents his long-awaited plan to close the detention camp at guantanamo bay. ♪ hello there, i'm julie mcdonald. this is al jazeera, live from london. also coming up. desperation on the greek border with macedonia, as record numbers of refugees continue to cross the mediterranean. returning to their destroyed houses, we're have fijian islanders coming home three days after a devastating cyclone. ♪

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