>> i think the most important thing is playing more shows, because then you become a better musician. >> reporter: and so the bands play on. just remember, you can always log on to our website, there are the details at the bottom of your screen, aljazeera.com. ♪ pivotal primaries in five states today could be a game changer for some of the candidates who want to become president. and the nfl's admission, a league official confirms the link between concussions and brain damage. ♪
this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm stephanie sy. this morning voters in five states are making their choices in the presidential primaries. their decisions could change the course of the election. florida and ohio are winner take all states for the g.o.p. they are also the home states of marco rubio, and john kasich, both men hope to halt donald trump's momentum. if trump loses either of those states the path to the nomination would be a little bit more difficult. the latest poll shows marco rubio trailing. a survey gives donald trump a commanding lead in florida almost double. rubio was a miami native, he says his cuban background and local appeal will trump trump.
>> we are at a cross roads, where we have a nation of a lot of people that are struggling and frustrated. and we are going to decide are we just going to make them more angry, but offer a better way forward to turn their lives around? and in ohio the latest polls put kasick ahead of trump that's a change from recent days. for the democrats, hillary clinton leads in the polls, but bernie sanders is hoping for an upset there, and in illinois. and we have got the big primaries covered this morning. jonathan betz is in miami, but let's begin with roxana saberi in cleveland. what is turn out like, and what are you hearing there voters? >> reporter: more and more people are showing up here to vote, stephanie, and let me give you a look at what the process is like. we're just outside of downtown cleveland, and you will see this is the front door where people come in. one person is now signing in.
and of she signs in, she will be told to go to one of the four tables in this gymnasium, depending on what precinct she is in. people show up here and say i would like the ballot for the republicans or democrats, so they really can stay undecided until the last moment. one of the people who voted was ohio governor john kasich. he cast his vote a few moments ago and this is what he had to say. >> running a positive campaign has been really, really good, and i think my neighbors have been proud of me. i know my daughters are, and my wife. i will be, however, forced going forward to talk about some of the deep concerns i have about the way this campaign has been run by others, by one other in particular. but today not though day to do that. i have been very concerned. i just saw a commercial -- i
guess it was last night of these comments that were made about women. i have two daughters. they see this stuff. what do you think they think? >> reporter: we spoke to several voters here this morning. this is a largely african american community. we asked them why they skam out to vote today. and this is what a couple of them said to us. >> i just don't think that trump is a good fit for me or individuals of my race. that's why it is very important for everyone to get out and vote. >> reporter: whom did you vote for? >> hilary. >> reporter: why is that? >> because i want to give a woman a chance to see how they can work in the white house too. besides the men all the time. how about that? >> reporter: state officials expect turnout to be a little higher than usual today. the economy is the number one issue fore voters in ohio. the unemployment rate in ohio is
a little bit lower than the national rate, but so is the median household income, and voters tell us they hope the next president will help with that issue. >> what is the stake in ohio? obviously for john kasich the stakes are high. but what else is at stake in ohio for republicans? why is that state so important? >> reporter: the stakes are high for john kasich and all of the republican candidates. there are 66 delegates up for grabs. it is winner take all, and if john kasich wins it could slow trump's march to the nomination. if kasick loses, he says that he will drop out of the race, and this is one of the few states left, florida, and ohio, where the anti-trump coalition is hoping to stop his candidacy. >> al jazeera's roxana saberi in
cleveland. thanks, roxana. let's go now to jonathan betz in miami. marco rubio is fighting for his political life. what has he been saying on the campaign trail? >> reporter: yeah, and it is quite a fight. this was really unthinkable even a year ago, that marco rubio, the junior senator from florida, local person, politician for a long time, built his career here is in the fight of his life against donald trump and trailing badly by 20 percentage points as you mentioned earlier. he has been hitting trump hard these last couple of days, saying that donald trump is not qualified to lead the party much less the country, and speaking about the violence at the trump rallies we have seen around the country in the last couple of days. marco rubio is saying that he is the only one that can fight hillary clinton in the general election. so he has been telling his
supporters that if you vote for any other candidate, it is basically a vote for donald trump. marco rubio making the case that he is the only one that can really beat donald trump, and is the one best positioned to beat him in florida. >> and why is florida so important today, jonathan? >> reporter: basically because there are so many delegates up for grabs of the five states today, this is without question the biggest prize, 99 delicates for the republican party. the winner today gets all of them. today, florida could make our break a campaign. donald trump hoping for a sweep of all five states, and a clear acknowledgment that he is the front runner, and marco rubio marco rubio hoping this is a chance for a comeback, and show that winning florida shows that he can fight donald trump and win. >> and what about the democratic race is there a real contest there? >> reporter: in florida not
really. hillary clinton has a lead over bernie sanders by 20 percentage points. she polls well for women and minorities in this state. she has been spending a lot of time in florida, and will have our watch party in miami tonight, because she does face a tougher fight against bernie sanders in those midwestern states. she is definitely bruised from that stinging defeat last week, and she needs a clear divisive win in florida. >> and for hilary, the question is how much she will win by, because these are propotional contests on the democratic side. the democrats spent month trying to rally voters to their side. sanders talked about donald trump and violence at the republican's events. >> when he says that he is prepared to pay the legal fees for somebody who sucker punches somebody, what he is really essentially saying is go do it.
go beat up people -- >> a permission slip? >> absolutely. it's more than a permission slip. it's an enticement. it's saying you can beat up people. and don't worry about it, i'll pay the legal fees. >> sanders ended monday holding a late night rally in chicago. the latest polls show a tightening race there. clinton spent last night talking about gun control. >> the gun lobby really intimidates elected officials. and they basically vote the way they are told. my opponent talks about powerful lobbies in washington and there are a number of them. and until the gun lobby on, we cannot reduce the epidemic of deaths from gun violence. >> the national rifle association has praised bernie
sanders for saying gun manufacturers should not be held liable for shootings. we'll have complete coverage of the primary results tonight at 7:00 eastern. the man responsible for switching flint's water supply is in a hearing in front of congress today. and an american surrenders in the fight against isil, but it's not clear yet who he is.
this morning the man at the center of flint's water crisis is testifying before a house committee. he is already facing some tough questioning about who he new about the tainted water supply, and when he knew it. john terrett is live in washington. the hearing just got underway. we're looking at live pictures of darnell earley testifying, what is he expected to say? >> reporter: stephanie, good morning from washington. here we are before the house oversight committee. that is darnell earley, he oversaw flint at the time the water supply was switched over. he is the former emergency manager. and i know what he is going to say, because he have prepared testimony. he is going to say he relied on experts in the water crisis, but the experts failed him and around 100,000 people. he is going to say he was
overwhelmed by an impoverished city. and the commissions he was relying on, he says he believes at the time what they were telling them were scientifically accurate. but with hindsight he should have done more. >> who else are we expecting to hear from, john? >> it's a list of four people, including suzanne headman, the former region 5 administrator for the epa, that the reason gone in which flint, michigan existed. we just heard ore opening statement, and she said that what happened should never have happened. she said the epa had nothing to do with it, and regarding her ez resignation which came quickly after the whole scandal broke, she said -- unlike press reports, which she has been unable to correct, because the epa has been unable to do anything about, she says she didn't sit on the sidelines while this crisis was going on. later we're going to hear from a former mayor, and also is
processor of water engineering. >> it looks like mr. walling just started to speak there in the hearing. talk a little bit about the politics behind this, john. >> reporter: the politics in this town, as you know is inevitable. you can't get away from it. even though this is a personal crisis for a hundred thousand people up in flint, the politics still dominates. and the republicans are trying to blame the epa, and here is a clip that illustrates that from the house oversight committee, and he is talking about a memo which he showed to the committee room. take a listen. >> why isn't flint the community they go to? of all of the communities out there, the one that is having the toughest time is the one that needs the most protection. and you can shake your head and say, oh, yeah, but the epa had
every opportunity to make -- make the right move here, and they didn't. >> the republican chair of the house oversight committee, ally ga cummings on the other hand praised him for inviting the governor, and he is coming. he is going to be here on thursday. mr. couplings praised the chair for that. that is very unusual. but he went on to say you can blame the epa all you like, but really responsibility for water comes at the state level. >> john terrett live for us in washington. we know you'll continue to follow the details. thanks, john. earlier we spoke with a flint resident and water activist. she says she hopes to learn more about what city leaders did to
stop the crisis in its early stages. >> we need the emergency management law brought out to light so other states can see just how often it actually is, and the horrors that can come from a complete stripping of democracy. i blame the emergency managers, but that comes with the government. they answer only to him. so you know they reported to him. we all know that they did. we blame the michigan department of environmental quality, because this was their one job. they didn't do what they were supposed to do. they failed at that one job, and the worst part is everyone involve -- you know, the county health department, the city, the state, every single person involved in the cover up, they are also to blame. >> reporter: she says she is also concerned about the long-term effect of lead poisoning in the water on her kids. the obama administration is backing away from a plan to
allow oil and gas drilling off of the southeast atlantic coast. the interior secretary made the announcement a short time ago. the white house intended to let drilling begin as seen as next year, but there has been a backlash from coastal communities who fear a oil spill. russian planes and troops are leaving syria this morning. one of the top diplomats says the deployment has largely achieved its goals against isil. >> our diplomacy has achieved a lot of our goals. we believe we have helped undercut their infrastructure and undermine their infrastructure, destroy much of their infrastructure. the fight against terrors there is going to continue. senator john mccain criticized russia's move. he said the air campaign was unsustainable from the start, he
said it gives them an upper hand in peace negotiations saying: russia's decision to pull out comes as delegations and the opposition hold indirect talks in geneva to try to end the war. today marks five years since the conflict began. james bayes has more from geneva. >> reporter: we have been hearing from both sides here at the talks in geneva over the last 24 hours or so, but the latest development has come from the actual mediator of these talks. the u.n. special envoy, staffan de mistura, who has just released a statement saying this is a significant development, the news of the russian withdrawal, and he hopes it will be something that will have a positive impact on these talks. remember, they only got underway, again, we have had talks here before, but only got underway again here in the last
24 hours. we have seen the government side, which have been pretty defiant, come here to the united states, and meet with stephane demistura, and what takes place here on tuesday in a few hour's time is the same meeting takes place this time around with the main opposition block, the high negotiations committee coming to the united nations to meet mr. de mistura. i think they know the background has all changed, but i think more questions than answers about what this is going to achieve. whether he felt that he had already put all of the cards in the favor of the assad regime, and wants to lock in these talks, or whether there is something bigger, whether the russian government, perhaps now is thinking of jesttoning president assad after fives of
war. any decemb resolution couldt isil. it does allow russia and the u.s. to continue to go after isil targets in iraq. i spoke with the spokesman for the coalition against isil. i asked him what the u.s. is doing to put pressure in mosul, and the challenges the military faces there. >> well, what we call in the military, shaping operations are underway. it's what we do to prepare for the final assault into the city. in this case we have done everything from drop leaflets, we do strikes inside the city almost every day, and those strikes will be against leaders, against infrastructure, specifically their ability to make war, like ied factories, chemical weapons plants, et cetera, and of course we'll
also strike their fielding forces in an even fort to continually chip away and weaken them. mosul is going to be a difficult fight. it's the second largest city in iraq. there remains a fairly large civilian population in the city, which we have to account for, and it is very far away from baghdad, which is where the main supply lines are, so the iraqis have to figure out the logistics, and there is a major river that runs right through the center of mosul. so any type of combat river crossing is inherently complex and dangerous. kurdish forces in iraq say they have captured a palestinian american man who fought with isil. officials say he turned himself in northern iraq. at the time of his surrender he had a large amount of cash, three cell phones, and three forms of identification, one a
virginia driver's license. >> no. no. no. >> reporter: some 250 americans are believed to be fighting with groups in iraq and syria. the state department says it is looking into the case. a new easing of restrictions with cuba this week. americans will be able to travel to cuba without a sponsor. it still has to be an educational trip. cubans will be able to make money beyond national living expenses, and be able to open u.s. bank accounts. and americans will be able to buy cuban products overseas, for example, cigars and alcohol sold in europe. up next, free styling with obama. ♪ constitution, the potus, i'm free styling, you know this ♪ >> the creator of the hit song,
for the first time, a national football league official is admitting there is a link between the game and traumatic brain injuries. >> reporter: on capitol hill monday, a round table discussion on concussions was playing out as a routine affair. >> children bump their heads all the time, but where do you draw that line between the booboo and
going to the er. >> reporter: until the attention turned specifically to the nfl. a leading researchers testified that she believes there is a link between chronic traumatic enof lopfy and playing the game of football. from mckee says 90 or 94 players had cte, as did 45 out of 55 college players and 6 out of 56 high school players >> do you think there is a link between football and degeneratetive brain disordered? >> certainly dr. mckee's researcher shows that a number of nfl players were diagnosed with cte. so the answer to that question is yes. but there are also a number of other questions that come with
that. >> you are speaking for the nfl, right? >> i think certainly based on dr. mckee's research, there is a link. >> reporter: and with that answer he became the first official to admit there is a link. the league has stanchly maintained that no proven link exists. >> i feel that, you know, that was not the unequivocal answer three days before the super bowl by dr. mitchell berger. >> well, i'm not going to speak for dr. berger. >> reporter: the league has been defending itself and ultimately settled a lawsuit by former players saying it knew of the dangers and didn't warn them. a lawyer representing some of those players filed an objection with the court. he argues miller has now directly contradicted the league's position in that case. john henry smith, al jazeera. the nfl is responding now to what miller said in a statement.
the nfl spokesman writes: mccarthy also said the nfl wants the facts on head trauma to the league can development better solutions. a little bit of musical and political history playing out at the white house. ♪ the $10 founding father without a father ♪ >> that's the cast op-hamilton which visited last night. and the show's creator showed off some of his skills too. ♪ oh, my gosh, i can't believe i'm there, it's so much more intimidating that if it was rare ♪ >> miranda performed an earlier version of one of the show's songs during a white house event as well back in 2009. so night last night the president took some credit.
that's it for us. the news continues next live from doha. ♪ >> announcer: this is al jazeera. hello, very warm welcome to the al jazeera news hour. i'm jane dunton in doha. the top stories. ♪ >> celebrations in russia as forces return back home from their military operations in syria. and a new president for myanmar. parliament has elected a civilian leader after more than f half a century of military rule. >> a