hello there. this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up. belgian authorities release new video of one of the main suspects of the brussels attacks. protests in bangladesh after another blogger is murdered for posting secular views online. why shakespeare scholars are getting excited about a newly
discovered copy of his plays. hello there. a warm welcome to the program. the syrian army and it's allies have launched a major offensive against rebels. it's the biggest government operation in the area since the partial ceasefire came into effect in late february. it threatens to completely derail the agreement, which has reduced overall violence across the country. the u.n. special envoy to syria just announced new talks to end the conflict have been pushed back by two days to next wednesday. in the north of the aleppo countryside, rebel fighters have taken over a town. they launched an offensive against isil fighters there. it's an important stronghold for the armed group. meanwhile, syrian state tv
is reporting that islamic state of iraq and the levant have abducted as many as 300 people near the syrian capital of damascus. those kidnapped were cement workers and contractors from the cement company. they say it's unclear exactly what happened, but several of those who were taken have now been released. >> there were complicately reports with the factory workers and cement workers, and state television saying isil kidnapped roughly 300 workers. sources on the ground have told al jazeera that the number was far less and one of the armed rebel groups, one of the armed opposition groups fighting the regime as well as fighting isil managed to secure the release of most of them. they say isil initially killed or beheaded ten of those that they took captive accusing them of espionage or spying against them. less than 100 remain in the
hands of isil. however, what this goes to show is not only the lack of clarity with regards to what is taking place on the ground because of the dangerous nature and the unfortunate fact that there is difficulty in findly independent of things that develop. it also shows that everybody in syria is a target, even those who haven't aligned themselves with any one side, and sides are numerous. just those going about their daily lives try to essentially make ends meet in what is, you know, a horrid situation. so people who got up one day to go to work find themselves in the midst of this conflict. the chairman on the u.n. humanitarian task force on syria hopes there's a major evacuation from the wounded and sick from four syrian towns in the next week. altogether it could be up to 500 people being moved. he also is pushing for the syrian government forces to let
more aid into besieged areas. >> we do not have much time. we need to see progress again very soon. it is very dangerous to lose the momentum with humanitarian work because if the humanitarian situation again rapidly deteriorates in many areas at the same time, it will also affect the political process and hostilities and so on. we cannot fail. we must regain the momentum, and i'm hopeful that that will happen in the next week or two. in the face of constant attacks, civil defense forces in rebel-held areas are still trying hard to help civilians. we report near the turkey/syria border. >> reporter: ahmad works for the city of civil defense also known as the white helmets in
aleppo. he's not just a driver. he's also a rescue worker. when there are no air-raids, he helps clean up the city. >> translator: we're trying to help the people in more than one way. not only recovering people under the rubble, but we also clean the streets, the debris left from the roads that contain the rubble from destroyed buildings. >> around 3,000 volunteers work with the white helmets in rebel-held areas across eight syrian provinces. they are auk laer auxiliary people from all walks of life paying a heavy price. always on the front line, and always the first to help. many times they become the targets. >> the syria civil defense say at least 109 of their staff have been killed since the groups founded in 2013. in neighboring turkey we met with the group's regional
office. honoring a long list of casualties and celebrating the unknown heroes. against all the odds, ahmad says they've rescued at least 50,000 people. relying on the nation's from non-governmental organizations and some western countries secondhand vehicles and equipment. >> translator: we have 5519 vehicles. not all are operational. half are second hand. we fix and use them in damascus and homs. our teams there put tanks on pickup trucks to use as fire engines or a motorbike as an ambulance. all of our martyrs were directly targeted. the systemic targeting from the regime and russians, we don't know who is teaching who the way of bombing ambulances and civil defense crews. >> reporter: the group has relied on turkey for help with training and equipment. around 1,000 syrian civil defense workers have received training in turkey and jordan.
the white helmets also have four training centers inside syria. back in aleppo, these men continue to work despite the threats or hardship. 40 of them were killed in 2013. there are no guarantees that this year will be better. the truce has brought relative peace and calm, but it won't be too long before they are hit again. >> belgian police have released new video of a man wanted in connection with last month's brussels airport bombing. he believed to have escaped after his explosive failed to detonate. they hope the new footage helps to track him down. >> reporter: walking away from an attack that caused carnage, this video shows the third
suspect in the brussels airport bombing. the so-called man in the hat fled the airport when his bomb failed to explode. cctv footage shows him in a nearby town without his distinctive jacket. police are keen to recover that item. investigators have pieced together surveillance images for two hours after the attack. the authorities hope someone at street level may have spotted him. >> we especially appeal to people who might have filmed or taken a photograph of the suspect or link they can provide the best information on this issue. they're requested to call the telephone number that will be shown on the side or the e-mail address. all information will be handled discretely. >> reporter: three attackers are believed to have targeted the airport last month, with two blowing themselves up. it's emerged that the men on the left worked as a cleaner at the european parliament in 2009 and 2010. he's also suspected of being the
bomb-maker of the paris attacks that killed 130 people last november. abdeslam believed to be the only surviving member of the paris bombings and shootings had his latest court hearing in brussels. he won't be extradited to france for several years so belgian investigators can finish questioning him. >> translator: according to information i just received, the belgian arrest warrant needs to be lifted before he's handed over to france. this will happen within a few weeks. he still needs to be heard in another case. >> as the hunt goes on for the third airport bomber, a senior official accused allies in europe of ignoring tools provided by the u.s. to track terrorists. for the belgians they use the cctv images they have to find this man. protesters have taken to the streets of bangladesh's capital after a blogger was hacked to death with machetes.
hundreds of students from the victim's university have demanded justice after this latest in a series of killings of liberal bloggers and secular activists. he was attacked by four men after attending an evening class. the law student expressed secular views online and showed support for the punishment of war crimes committed during the 1971 war with pakistan. this update via sky from here. >> we know he was intersected in old dabbing ka by a motorcycle, a couple in a motorcycle. the first they hit with a ma chet tee and what we know from the tee tails now, they got down and shot him to make sure he's dead. the stores all around shut their doors because they were scared what was going on. the police are yet to confirm the full details on the incident. est the seventh blogger to be killed in the last three years.
the most famous was an americ - american-bangladeshi blogger. that case to this day isn't resolved, and there's severe criticism against the government to not really crack down on these people behind the killings. no one for sure knows exactly what's going on, but he moved in yesterday and wrote in his facebook, there are concern for the safety and law and order in banglade bangladesh, and this morning around 8:30 local time he was attacked and killed. it is quite a great concern. the government kept promising that they will resolve all this, but there's a lack of inertia and a new proactive movement from the government site to resolve the cases. still ahead here on al jazeera, latest in the investigation into the brutal torture and killing of an italian student in cairo is ramped up.
>> i had to give him a big hug. a reminder of the top stories on al jazeera. the syrian army and its allies launched an offensive against rebels in the countryside of aleppo. it's the biggest government operation in the area since the partial ceasefire took effect late february. belgian authorities have released new video of one of the main suspects of the brussels
attack. they're appealing for any information on the person known as the man in the hat. hundreds of students protested after a liberal blogger was killed in a machete attack. british prime minister david cameron said he benefitted from his late father's offshore fund but it was before he took office. he sold his stake for more than $40,000 in 120 four months before entering downing street. he orangely refused to comment on the matter revealed mountain panama papers leak. mr. cameron insists he has nothing to hide. >> we owned 5,000 units in the investment trust that we sold in january 2010. that was worth something like 30,000 pounds. >> was there a profit on it? >> i paid income tax on the
dividends. there was a profit on it, and it was less than the capital gains taxes. i want to be as clear about the policy and about the future because frankly i don't have anything to hide. >> now, the u.n. security council is being briefed on efforts to bring about a peaceful political solution in libya. the u.n. plan received a setback, though when one of the company's rival administrations backtracked on its decision to support a new unity government in tripoli. >> since the fall of gaddafi, they have competed to fill the political vacuum. in the capital of tripoli there's a self-proclaimed government. it's supported by powerful militias. the justice ministry announced on wednesday this government was stepping down. shortly after he threatened to
prosecute any ministers that support the new u.n. hiech backed unity government. that's the second body, the government of national accord created under a u.n. mediated deal last december. the prime minister designate arrived in tripoli under escort last week. he has moved to consolidate power by winning the backing of the central bank and oil and investment authorities, but the g and e doesn't have the support of the third administration, the house of representatives. that's the parliament in the eastern city that was pushed out of tripoli two years ago. it continues to claim legitimacy because it was created following elections in 2014. it was recognized by the u.n. until last year. the u.n. envoy to libya says its support for the new government of national court will be crucial. >> the house of representatives has to continue to arrange a meeting with all members of the parliament and to ep doris the
government. it's very clear. the legitimacy, final legitimacy for the government of national accord coming from the parliament. >> then there's the newly formed state council. just on wednesday it elected abdul as its president. the state council is made up primarily of former members of the gnc, the general national congress. the old parliament in tripoli. it was agreed in the u.n. deal this body would serve as an upper chamber of parliament with the government of national accord and together they would hopefully unite libya and end five years of conflict. >> let's go live for us at the united nations. hi, there. quite optimistic talk from the u.n., but what chance do you think the unity government has of sur vaiing? >> that's the key question. the russians requested this u.n. security council briefing, this closed u.n. urt security council briefing from the u.n. envoy.
that question will this unity government have any authority over libya was the main question to be asked. the envoy we understand from the leaks out of the meeting said he was cautiously optimistic. going into the briefing the russian ambassador didn't expect much to come out of the meeting. he was spot on, because beyond that cautious opportunism expressed all we got was a restatement of everything we know. the insecure security situation, and the unstable political situation. the conclusion was that the u.n. will continue to consult with actors both on the ground in libya and in the region in an attempt to try and get this unity government off the ground. >> have you talked on some of the points there? why is the international community so concerned about installing a working government in libya? >> there are a variety of reasons, not least to quote or
use the russian ambassador's words as he was going into this meeting. it's catastrophic to have this chaos on the mediterranean, not the least because of the naught toe bombardment gave the islamic state opportunity to establish itself in the country. in fact, also today in washington the u.s. afterwards command is holding a briefing. it was startling stuff. they say in the last six months the islamic state has doubled its presence in libya to about 4,000 to 6,000 fighters. the u.s. would like a unity government so all the different political factions would stop fighting each other and begin to confront the islamic state. that was on the minds of members of the u.n. security council. here's what the french ambassador had to say. the french called the islamic state daish. >> let's be clear about it. libya has now the opportunity to a certain extent, a historic opportunity to create the
conditions for stability, for the the benefit of all libyan people, and roll back on which daish has thrived. >> it's also we've long heard rumors nato wants to expand military operations in libya to fight the islamic state. if there is a unity government with very close ties to the west, like we know this unity government would have, they would give nato the opportunity to really get involved once again in libya. >> thank you. egyptian prosecutors are in the italian capital to update authorities on the investigation into the killing of a student in cairo. he went missing on january 25th, and his tortured body was found in a ditch nine days layer. we have the latest now from rome. >> reporter: it's a meeting
that's been closely watched by italian public opinion. egypt's general prosecutor suleman and the general, a senior police official, arrive in rome for talks. they could expect some tough questions from italian officials on egypt's investigation into the killing of the student. the 28-year-old post-graduate student disappeared in ky cairo. his mutilated body was fount on the outskirts of cairo. among italian officials there's skepticism how well the crime is investigated. they were told initially he was killed in a car accident. the murder has been a highly emotional issue here. the rising public anger over his murder is putting pressure on the government to ensure that justice is being done. some italian media have suggested that the egyptian government has been deliberately giving misnfks to italian prosecutors. the case is a real test of
relations between egypt and italy, which is the north african country's biggest trading partner in europe. they asked egyptian investigators give them data including details of calls too and from his phone as well as surveillance video from cairo's metro. italy's foreign minister told the senate in rome on tuesday that the egyptian authorities had failed to hand over those two sets of information. >> translator: if there is not a change in tack, the government is ready to react adopting measures that are both immediate and proportionate. >> reporter: egyptian authorities insist their investigation is transparent. the visiting officials are reported to have brought large amounts of data with them to rome to discuss with their italian counterparts. all the while, the family of the student are agonizing over why their son was killed and who was behind it.
al jazeera, rome. thousands of greek public sector workers have walked out in a 24-hour strike to protest against austerity measures. schools are closed as is athens international airport and hospitals are running on emergency staff only. we have the story. >> reporter: civil servants are leading the march against further austerity. the institutions which are the country's creditors say the government has to cut the equivalent of 1% of gdp from what it pays out in pensions and raise another 2% of gdp through higher taxes. >> translator: if they take half the pensions, we will bring everything to a halt. there aren't enough doctors and nurses in the national health system. >> reporter: greeks almost lose about half their salary to taxes and consumer taxes are the highest in europe, but it's the cuts in pensions that worry people most. the average greek pension has fallen by half during the crisis
to $837. the government wants to restrict the new cuts to just 2.5% of them. it's also imposing $2 billion worth of consumer tax hikes, so the impact on pensioners will be much greater. some retirees at this municipal center depend on a soup kitchen. those who can use their pensions to help their wider family. >> translator: i hope to god it doesn't happen, but if my pension is cut again, i'll have to stop paying for my grandchildren's ballet, gym and after school lessons. >> the government made the most of a leaked conversation among officials of the international monetary fund, one of the creditors. according to a version on wikileaks, they said that only the threat of bankruptcy would move the government to reform. the imf does not refute the leak but says it has eroded trust. a former greek representative to the imf thinks it's likely the government leaked the dialogue. >> the president is trying to
manufacture a crisis in hoping of pushing the imf out of the negotiations and negotiating just with the commission, which appears more willing to accept the greek positions. he's not pushing as hard as the imf formers for measures of high quality with a permanent, lasting impact. >> many here think they'll be dancing to the same steps until better greek leadership comes along. this looks increasingly like a well-rehearsed script. awe tear rit governments worn thin by discontent have lived short lives, only replaced by austerity govs. the greeks wonder when it will all end. al jazeera, athens. prostitutes in france are protesting against a new law that makes it illegal to pay for sex. they say the legislation passed on wednesday will threaten their livelihood. those found paying for sex face
a $1,700 fine. this is to stop human trafficking. the government says 90% of france's 40,000 prostitutes are victims of trafficking rings. families affected by the recent surgery in violence in the caribak region fled to the capital. fear fighting between armenian and azerbaijani forces broke out on sunday in the onclaif inside the boerz. there are several allegations of violations. robin has been talking to the displaced families. >> reporter: this is the hotel that's one of two hotels where people who have been forced to plea the fighting on the front line have come to find safety. there's 65 people staying here. we're going to speak to some of them.
>> how tu? i'm robin. tell me about the situation and your family here. >> translator: we came here. when the bombing started, we took the family and ran. we're doing okay. we're being looked after, and we're grateful for this. i've spoken to someone who said maybe it's okay for us adults to go home, but not the children. >> reporter: today is mother's day, april 7th, for armenians. for the mothers of children caught up in the conflict, this is for the mothers on the front, it's also a celebration of the virgin mary for the armenian church. [ singing ] today is a religious holiday for church-goers. you can see in this armenian church there's a full
congregation. many people have come here today to pray for those that have been killed and to pray for peace. >> translator: we all want peace, and i think that other azerbaijani mothers also want peace. >> translator: mothers don't have a nationality. mothers have children. any mother should be for peace. a four centuries old copy of the fist edition of william shakespeare's collective play has been found on a stately home on a scottish island. it contains the first 36 plays including several that would not have been published. the discovery brings the number of known survives copies of the first folio to 234. >> some might say it's the bible to allow for them. the most important book in the english language besides the bible. it's the first collected edition
of shakespeare plays and preserves half the plays we would have lost. they would have never gotten to print and wouldn't have survived and we wouldn't have it. those really important. >> you can find out much more on our website at aljazeera.com. >> baltimore's sandtown neighborhood. the heart of west baltimore, and one of the city's poorest areas. this is where freddie gray grew up -- known to friends as pepper. >> why was his nickname pepper? >> i never heard of pepper being bad for nobody, salt is bad for you, salt will kill you. i never heard nobody dying from pepper, everybody loves pepper.