in syria, christians pursue their celebrations of christmas, despite a fifth year of war. those are the headlines this ." thanks force 24 joining us. i am genie godula. the u.s. has launched air strikes against the taliban in afghanistan, targeting and opium rich district in the southern province of helmand. for more now on the situation there, let's bring in our regional correspondent. >> they started today in the morning. after three days or four days off. we saw that earlier. the forces were the ones tahting the liban.
we saw british troops weighing in, but they said they would not take part in combat. right now, the reports we are getting in from the ground are conflicting. -- the capital , athe province of helmand trade route and for the military also. but at the same time the iran government denied these claims and they said we are still fighting the taliban and the fighting continues. we are trying to push them back, and the government is saying we are doing what we can to fight. we are getting reports of the military and the police being
besieged in some of the buildings where supplies are running low. the strikes today may come as somewhat of a relief for the government and the army fighting in the area. genie: that is our regional correspondent reporting from islam a bad. in iraq, the push to take back ramadi is still underway. iraq armed forces started moving in on the last district, fleeing many -- freeing many civilians and families who have been used as human shields. iraqi forces are advancing but the move has been hampered by suicide bombers, snipers, and booby-traps. christmas is also being celebrated by some in syria this year. this is the fifth christmas during wartime. our correspondent has more from a christian town where many residents say the islamic state group could soon move in. we wish you a merry
christmas ♪ >> they want to celebrate like everywhere else in the world, except this will be the fifth christmas stuck in war. >> few residents have set up christmas trees in their homes because of their sadness. we want to put smiles on the faces about children and give them hope because they are tired of war and the sound of cannons. they never know when the enemy might attack. for years, rebel forces were battling bashar al-assad's army visionre control of this orthodox town. now the enemy is the islamic state group. residents are terrified at the idea of suffering the same fate as a village 15 kilometers away, recently taken over by i.s. jihadists. ad is home to nine churches, including ancient sites. only three are still
operational. as christmas day approaches, people pray for peace. year is not this like in previous years because residents of the town became scared when i got closer to the town. half of them have fled to neighboring villages. our young men have picked up their arms and gone to the front lines. and the frontline is only a few kilometers away. remembers its victims with the pictures of civilians and fighters killed, posted on walls. the people all hope this will be their last christmas at war. speaking of christmas, we go now to bethlehem, the historical birthplace of jesus or that is where our correspondent is. today, today is christmas eve. what is it like there in bethlehem? are people in the christmas
mood, or has the recent violence put a damper on celebrations? >> we can say it is a bit of both because where we stand, there are celebrations underway in the heart of bethlehem right next to the nativity church, which is the birthplace of jesus . the christmas tree, a 15-meter high christmas tree is ornamented. xt to that there are choirs and musicians performing all day. since the morning hours, we have been seeing bands marching in the streets of bethlehem, preparing for the arrival of the patriarch, who will be marking the beginning of the christmas procession. going to happen probably another hour from now. for hisre still waiting arrival.
really, there is a somber mood at the same time. thatayor herself told us the celebrations have been downscaled this year compared to previous years because the tree limited.ceremony was there were no fireworks. decorations have been limited to only the square and the two streets around again -- the two streets surrounding it. for have a sense of respect the palestinian lives that were lost in the last three months or so and violence is still going going in the region. so they are saying we are still celebrating christmas. genie: as you say, there has been violence going on between israelis and palestinians for some three months now, with today being particularly bad. tell us about that. >> most definitely. at least three separate
incidents have taken place since the morning hours. we know a total of three in threewere wounded separate attacks. the first one took place outside of have run near the -- near hebron. conducted an man attack on two israel is who were wounded. he was shot that on the scene. another incident took place near where security forces were intended to be attacked by a man with a screwdriver in his hand. he was also shot dead on the spot. rammingorm of a car attack, a palestinian driver crashed his car into a group of soldiers, likely wounding one of them. he was also shot on the spot and pronounced dead. we have three separate incidents, and all three palestinian assailants were
dead. we are hearing breaking news now of another is really ministry raid in the refugee camp. the ministry is telling us there might be also some palestinians who lost their lives in that raid. but at this point we cannot confirm the number. genie: thank you for that. ediz reporting from the west bank are in saudi arabia, at least 25 people including one child were killed in a hospital fire. at least 100 more were hurt in the blaze that broke out in the intensive care unit, and the maternity unit of the hospital in one of the poorest regions of the south. the fire was started by a short circuit in the hospital's underground car park. movement lives matter in the u.s. is protesting christmas eve to try to show the effect it can have on the economy.
in airportsotested and malls across minnesota and in california. they have dubbed the day "black giantmas." they are at a mall in minneapolis. four demonstrators were arrested and the protest was broken up swiftly. a court in thailand has sentenced two burmese migrants to death for murdering two british backpackers on vacation. they were found guilty of killing david miller and raping withridge lastah year. the defense argues that the police bungled the investigation and use the two low-paid migrant workers as scapegoats. british, and french embassies in beijing are warning foreigners of a possible terror threat. those and other embassies are telling citizens to be particularly vigilant over the coming days.
ben lujan has more. ben: this came from the u.s. embassy about seven hours ago and has been picked up by all the embassies, but also by the local government in beijing, which has raised the terror alert to yellow, the third highest, so not quite orange or red. that means they are treating this alert seriously, and the threat, which has no specific information, if you read between if the u.s. embassy thinks it is important enough, it must have something to do with something that is islamist related. tomorrow, christmas day, is a normal working day here. there is no christmas in china. lots of westerners were for embassies and western companies, and they have the day off. -- shoppinge has malls and embassies are ramping
up with riot police patrolling and guarding the area, and also they have been reassuring us that they will not -- they will be searching all of the trash cans and rubbish bins to make sure there are no bombs inside. genie: also in china, at least 10 cities are issuing their first ever read alerts for pollution, after the capital of -- chinese authorities were criticized for not telling the population about the maximum pollution levels sooner. ,e will wrap up now in paris just outside with one of the most beautiful chateau's in france. it was this chateau that builded louis the 14th to versailles. how this little gem is getting everyone in the holiday mood.
>> turning a chateau into a fairytale wonderland takes work. lighting,its holiday this chateau helps to attract new visitors. it all starts in slovakia, in a factory specialized in lighting. here kilometers of garland are assembled by hand. one of the major pieces this year is a reindeer. straight out of the designer's imagination. it is a christmas classic. >> if you already have the thepture, you have to bring
shine because sometimes we can make it like this but we want to make it like this. you have to give the light its function. after a 1700 kilometer trip from slovakia, the reindeer is assembled in the chateau garden under the expert eye of the manager. [speaking native language] wreaths arecade, 16 going up but without drilling holes or using ladders. this man is responsible for the indoor decorations. >> nine garland's left and it is finished. >> the chateau closed for two weeks to complete the transformation. >> you are too low.
some 20 christmas trees are being decorated. are up to tree, there 2500 decorations. >> on each tree? >> just about. >> at last, it is ready. the chateau's owners are eager to see how it looks. [speaking native language] >> a beautiful site. once known for its elaborate balls and dinner during louis chateauin, the inspires and impresses. genie: that might help you get in a christmas mood. thanks so much for watching "france 24." i will be back in 15 minutes with more of the world's headlines.
>> welcome to "inside the americas." the former president of paramount -- the former president of panama is a wanted man. typhoonricardo -- ricardo martinelli failed to show up for his corruption trial. a turnaround for canada' refugee policy. the country will welcome 25,000 syrian refugees before the end of february, twice that many by the end of next year. hottestrds may be the christmas gift in the u.s. this season, but it turns out they have a slight tendency to explode. i am genie godula. first, to the supreme court in panama, which has ordered the detention of former president ricardo martinelli. the man who ruled between 2009 and 20 was ordered to be taken into custody for failing to show
up for trial on charges of spying on his opponents. that case is just one of a half-dozen investigations against a 63-year-old supermarket magnate for allegedly. martinelli insists he is being targeted politically and says he will stay outside the country to better plead his case. courts, if they can track him down. presidentamanian ricardo martinelli has been accused of spying on more than 150 people by wiretapping their phones and using public funds to do so. his administration is believed to have gathered information on prominent trade union activists, politicians, lawyers, and business people. among those targeted, high ranking members of the opposition party and the brother of the current president. his lawyers responded to the
news, outraged that a detention order had been issued with no concrete charges. someonethey cannot take without him being charged. >> the allegations of spying come as the former president is also being investigated on suspicion of financial crimes, taking bribes, and giving illegal pardons. he has been stripped of the immunity that the head of a political party would normally enjoy. >> i think it is a good thing that in this country former 'sesident's, as in martinelli case, but also members of congress or anyone who stomps on the dignity of the penny and people -- of the panamanian people, would be brought to justice. >> ricardo martinelli has not been seen in panama for months, but commenting on social media, he says that this was the first round of a political trial.
without proper documentation, without charges, without proper notification, and without sentence, his provisional arrest had been ordered. the former president says the accusations and the arrest warrant are the work of his political rival. each of over the presidency at the end of martinelli's term in 2014. martinelli is also known in panama as a multimillionaire supermarket tycoon. it is believed he fled to the u.s. in january. authorities have filed a notice for his arrest. genie: there has been a major turnaround in canada's refugee policy. newly elected prime minister justin trudeau has decided to welcome 25,000 syrians within the next two months. montreal correspondent takes a closer look at what candidate is doing to help ease the transition into a new home and a new life. this family arrived in
montreal two weeks ago to rebuild their lives. they left aleppo in the middle of a civil war in 2013 and landed in beirut, where they waited for 2.5 years. finally their ordeal is coming to an end in canada. people here are so respectful. when we went to the government agencies, we were welcomed and dealt with very quickly. >> that was part of the promised trudeau made during the election campaign this fall, along with a pledge to welcome 25,000 refugees by the end of the year. his commitment divided canadians because of security concerns. organizations were worried about the tight timeline. eventually the government pushed their headline back to the end of february. >> we are -- speeding things up without consulting us or providing resources. say we will be with you and we will support you. what i am hearing on the ground is that it is very disorganized
and they are trying to get organized. >> there are many challenges ahead, such as finding work for the new arrivals. quebec is offering employers a 10,000 euro subsidy for every refugee they hire. >> we have already reached out to companies willing to open the door to people with skills. just because they do not speak french does not mean they are not skilled. >> it did not take long for her to find work in a lebanese supermarket. it is far from his experience as an industrial designer and it is far from his minimum wage, but it is income. learning a new which come with a french or english, is an essential part of the integration process new canadians undergo. their children face similar challenges. of 9000 refugees, at least 2500 our children, who will enter the school system. there are 30 refugee students in two classes.
more than a third of them are traumatized and troubled because .f their experiences their israel concerned concern that the students may not be getting the help they need adjusting to their spirit -- to their new lives. >> teaching these children is easy but identifying their psychological needs requires a different vision. i think these elements have been overlooked. we do not have a lot of experience dealing with children coming from war zones. canada will have to quickly tackle these challenges as it moves forward to resettle the syrian refugees. now that some 600 are expected to arrive daily from now until the end of the year. the stance in the united states on welcoming refugees is because ofr in part fears over terrorism. critics say flaws in the u.s. immigration system helped the
female shooter in the san bernardino attack coming to the country undetected. there is a new concern for the country's electricity grid, which is not print -- which is not equipped to protect itself from cyberattacks. million american homes could be under risk. grid. united states power it supplies the country's businesses, public transport, and over 150 million households. it is fueled by some 7000 power stations, all under tight towering surrounded by fences and guarded 24/7. today the real threat is not that of a physical intrusion -- byhese facilities, but hackers located halfway around the world. >> there are lots of variables, lots of potential i could happen. we take it all seriously and
protect ourselves with every bit of information we have and every bit of technology we can use. >> according to an associated press report, foreign hackers of in -- have infiltrated the u.s. power grid a dozen times over the last decade. power networks remain vulnerable to further breaches, despite repeated warnings from cyber security experts. among the suspects, iranian cyber attack over the islamic state group leader security firms such as north remain cautious. it employs ethical computer hackers to weed out the black hats that harbor mission -- that harbor malicious intent. >> everyone believes it is secure by default and it is not. nothing we have built over the last 30 years. >> the cyber threat became reality to a u.s. energy group in 2014.
hackers stole employee passwords to get into doors of power plants. if they hack the u.s. energy grid, they can cause a catastrophic blackout by shutting down electricity across the country. of a large cyber attack, we cannot call up vendors and have them say, sorry, it will take eight months to get this back." >> u.s. authorities want to reassure people that hackers need significant technical capabilities to understand how the systems work, let alone sabotage them. especially if the fbi, cia, and lsa are all watching. genie: a lighter note for you now with one of the hottest gifts this year under christmas trees. a hoverboard. they are not quite as free flying as the ones in back to the future. they are more like a mix of the skateboard and the segway. while having one might make you the coolest kid on the block, it turns out hoverboard's are hazardous. olivia salazar wisner explains.
>> is a hands-free, effort freeway to get about town. why walk when you could roll? hoverboard's are the future. it is selling like hotcakes. >> it is nothing easy like this that you can just take it with you wherever you want. tickets of the subway, take it to work, take it to school. so far it is very easy because everybody wants to get this. i am not doing anything as a salesperson, just to ensure they can't the right skills to ride on them. -- to ensure they can get the right skills to ride on them. >> there have even been accounts of hoverboard's exploding. he was using his for the first time when he got a surprise. it like not even road 7500 feet, and it exploded, like room. i'm like, mom, my hoverboard just blew up.