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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  December 19, 2013 12:00am-1:01am EST

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>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. here are the top stories. sweeping recommendations today from a presidential commission looking for ways to change national security and the national security agency and their investigation of tactics. one of the most significant suggestions - stop collecting and storing millions of american citizen's calls. secretary of state john kerry expressed regret for the incident moving an indian diplomat. >> the senate passed a budget that could prevent another government shutdown for
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two years. the bipartisan bill eased suspending cuts. >> a woman came forward as one of 2 million lottery winners. a million dollar bonus will go to a clerk where the second ticket was sold. because of different lottery rules the store in georgia won't get a bonus, it will have to settle for publicity. those are the headlines. see you tomorrow night. "america tonight" with joie chen is coming >> on "america tonight" a winning team, the president picks his own olympic squad, not to compete, but to contest the rules at sochi. also tonight, the longest journey in the prison system, and the few given a second
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chance at a way out. >> you know, i know the reality that i could have -- i could be killed, because i'm seeing peoples around me get killed, ok? >> and on the run, those harried travelers in the airport, not all of them are headed to grandma's house. some are going for gold. >> i think i paid like $92 in taxes, maybe, something like that. >> $92 to go around the world. >> yeah, miles are great. >> good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm joie chen. as the olympic movement has seen so many times before, the worlds
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biggest athletic stage often becomes something of a political theater, as well. think berlin, 1936, mexico city, 1968, moscow, 1980, and so it is again this year. just weeks ahead of the start of russia's sochi olympic games, the biggest controversy has been that country's anti gay laws. president obama has been pressed to make the opposition to those laws clear. that he did that picking a delegation to represent this nation that could only be seen as a snub and a very firm message. the details from "america tonight" sarah hoye. >> with less than 100 days before the opening of the games, the white house announced tuesday president barack obama won't be traveling to the winter games this february and said former secretary janet napolitano, billie jean king and
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kaitlyn cahow will represent the united states. today, white house spokesman said the delegation represents the diversity that is the united states. he down played that it is a message about the lbgt in are you sure you is that. >> that's not a message we would wait to send through this american. we have been very clear, the president has been very clear that he finds it offensive, the anti lbgt legislation in russia. >> the president's of germany and france won't attend. preparations for the winter games have been overshadowed by a controversial new russian law popping prop grand da of sexual preference among minors. the law passed by the russian parliament in june sets fines up to $30,000 for distributing info about homo suit to minors.
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critics say it is promoting homophobia in russia. one couple told us they were talked during a gay pride parade. >> we were there for about 30 seconds holding a rain beblagojevich and some guy grabbed or flag and pulled it. i turned around to see what was happening and i felt he a strong punch on the side of my head and i immediately lost hearing. i was very, very scared. >> this was initiated by the current authorities, because they need it. russia has been returning to traditional values. the church is coming closer to the state, we have a state religion now. >> russian orthodox leaders endorsed the law. >> we endorse the law that stops homo suit among the minors, because it's important for our society to maintain the value of the purity of childhood. the aggressive part in this case is the
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homosexual community. they were not the first to prosecutor test against those people. these people actually tried to radically aggressively propagate their ideas and influence upon the streets. >> in the face of protest, putin has stood firm, banning demonstrations nearly three months before the winter olympics. he has patrolsed the olympic committee that sochi would welcome gays despite the law. king, a tennis hall of famer, who has won 12 grand slam single titles recently told u.s.a. today it's time to take a page from the history books. in a statement, she said: >> john carlos, a u.s. track star was expelled from the 1968 summer games along with american sprinter tommy smith for
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protesting racial discrimination. this is the first olympics sings the games that a president, vice president first lady has not been a delegation for the opening ceremony. michelle obama led the delegation previously. in 2008, president bush attended the beijing olympics. the sochi olympics open february 7. >> as we noted, world sport and politics are quite often intertwined and the symbolism difficult to miss. at the summer olympics in berlin in 1936, jesse owens in just 10 seconds delivered a sharp that blow to hitler's campaign for arian supremacy. protesting racial segregation in the united states, black gloved 50's were raised on the podium. the south african team helped to
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unit a fractured post the apartheid south africa. >> sports gets another shot at bringing about change in sochi. dr. harry edwards, social at berkeley, architect of the 1968 olympic project for human rights joins us. that moment where we saw those 50's raised in protest. previous, some protests in the world of sport are quite overt, some more as youle. after all, jesse owens went out and ran. he just ran. >> well, you know, there are different methods of making a statement initially, jesse owens was part of a group of athletes who wanted to boycott the 1936 olympic games over the treatment of minorities inside of germany and brundich over the american olympic committee talked them out of it, he therenned them for
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being banished for life if they refused to undergo. it was under that and you say pisses that jesse owens went and participated in the olympic games even though brungige took jewish athletes off so as not to present an affront to adolf hitler. politics and sports are con value looted and complex and oftentimes not as clear as politics in mainstream society. >> you are connected to the movement, and to the action itself at the olympic games. the rails, we cannot forget it and what it said both to the olympic movement and to the world. >> well, i think that john carlos and tommy smith, as well as a number of our athletes, lee evans in particular made a statement concerning not just civil rights in the united states with regard to
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segregation, but human rights and not just in the united states, but around the world. we joined black african nations and a number of other nations around the world in protesting apartheid in what was then southern row keisha and africa. nelson mandela had a photo of the demonstrations in mexico city and one of the posters joining african athletes, black athletes in protesting apartheid smuggled into his prison community on robin island. they took a great deal of solace and encouragement from that photo. >> people say look, it's sport, it's just the games, let the sports be about sports. can it ever really be separated? >> no, it can't be. if the president of the united states had not put gay people on the delegation that's going to russia, that would have been
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perceived as a political move by broad sectors of the world. he put gay people on that delegation because it was representatives of american society and who and what we stand for. in the late 1800s, the mod he were olympics was reestablished to invigorate french youth and inspire them to achieve french empire and domination particularly over non-white peoples of the world, that they had dominated in the past with tremendous repression. it's always been political. there has never been an olympic games that was not political in some guise or manner and this is no different. >> particularly the choice of billie jean king quite symbolic. openly gay and clearly making a message here. >> oh, absolutely. i think there's a message in the low profile of the delegation as stated at the opening.
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this does not involve the first lady, doesn't involve vice president biden, it involves former cabinet member and people who are simply citizens. i think that that's a statement. i think that that's a statement as well. the dang are involved in the situation, of course, should demonstrations break out whether among russians or whether it's athletes belonging to some delegation, certain members of our delegation, of course, would be almost compelled to make a statement about it, and at that point, especially given the terse exchanges over the snowden incident that already exist between the united states and russia, this situation would make it worse. that's not a struggle. that's not a fight. i'm proud to say that our president stepped away from it. i think the statement had to be made and i think he made the right choice in the delegation that he sent. >> sports can never occur in a vacuum, i appears.
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dr. harry edwards, thanks for being with us, sir. >> thank you very much for having me. >> after the break, pulled back from the brink. >> how do you get ready to die? >> we consider the culture of conviction and why some may consider this: the news of the day plus so much more. >> we begin with the government shutdown. >> answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> it seems like they can't agree to anything in washington no matter what. >> antonio mora, award winning and hard hitting. >> we've heard you talk about the history of suicide in your family. >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> but, what about buying shares in a professional athlete?
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the stream is uniquely interactive television. in fact, we depend on you, your ideas, your concerns. >> all these folks are making a whole lot of money. >> you are one of the voices of
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this show. >> i think you've offended everyone with that kathy. >> hold on, there's some room to offend people, i'm here. >> we have a right to know what's in our food and monsanto do not have the right to hide it from us. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> watch the stream. >> and join the conversation online @ajamstream. >> now we consider crime, punishment and the never-ending debate over the death penalty. earlier this month, reginald griffin was exonerated. since the death approximately was reinstated in the 1970's, opponents say men and women have died because of a culture of conviction in which prosecutors have incentives to convict and the public reward politicians tough on crime. he was told prosecutors would not retry his case. he was asked about being
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wrongfully convicted and system that griffin says was determined to kill an innocent man. >> reggie griffin thought he'd never walk free again. for 30 years, he's been in prison, sentenced to death for a 1983 murder he did not commit. >> i'm lost. i'm saying, you know, like it's like a bad dream, i don't believe i did, but i know it's real. >> on death row, reggie and his family waited as one by one, his fellow inmates, 69 of them were executed as his own date drew near. >> how do you get ready to die? my mother would come and see me. she'd be like, you know, i don't want them to kill you, and i'm like mom, i haven't even done anything, so i don't believe i'm going to be killed, but, you know, i know the reality that i could be killed, because i'm seeing peoples aren't me get killed. ok no. >> in prison for assault, he was convicten fatally stabbing
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another inmate here president correctional center. one witness died before trial, a second recanted the evidence, a fact omitted from the defense. that this makeshift dagger was found in the hands of another inmate. prosecutors won the death penalty by citing a prior conviction, it turned out was convicted by another man with the same name. >> so do you have any faith in the system anymore? >> do i have any faith in the system. very little. ok? very little. >> it's a familiar story here in america's death belt, a prod swath of the south and midwest, 143 people have been exonerated while on death row, 18 of them by d.n.a. evidence, most people of color. >> we are human, and as humans, we make mistakes. we don't listen very well. we don't listen very well to the clients, the prosecutors don't listen very well to their evidence. >> you're implicating not just
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the prosecutors, but the whole system, judges, defense attorneys. >> the police, all of us. >> with three decades of alive lost, griffin is discovering the changes the years cap bring, cell phones, cars that give directions and he's question the system that seemed determined to kill him. >> me and a lot of other people have been used as stepping stones to broaden people's careers, like who is he? he's nothing to me, but he can help me get where i'm trying to go. so, he's just a pawn in a big game, pawns are sacrificed. >> griffin is now suing the system that cost him three decades of life, but the odds are long. prosecutors are immune from lawsuits and few challenges succeed. oh i go, kansasty, missouri. >> we consider now further this culture of conviction. we turn to alex simpson,
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associate director with the california in sense project at the california western school of law. appreciate you're being with us. you know, we talked to in john henry's piece about this notion of prosecutors, judges and all society being in some way complicit in what happens here when there are wrongful prosecutions and wrongful convictions. i wonder, we want to be convinced there's that the system is fair, the right people are found, convicted and sentenced appropriately. why doesn't that happen? >> well, i think there's a number of different reasons why people might be wrongfully convicted and why prosecutors or police, any investigative agencies might want to get a conviction, and sometimes what that means is that pressure can cause people to get the wrong conviction, and that's what happened in this case. when you're talking about a criminal prosecution, that's sometimes one of worst things that can happen in society.
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you have a lot of people very interested injustice, and in having somebody pay for whatever crime's been committed. i think, you know, prosecutors are fallible just like anybody else is fallible. that's one of the things about being human is you want to please people who are--who have been wronged. >> the decades of d.n.a. evidence and these cases where people are finally found to be innocent after years of incarceration, after many people have been on the death penalty and then exonerated at a later point, has this at all changed the public perception about how justice is meted out particularly when we're talking about the ultimate penalty? >> you know, i think it's a good question. i don't know how much the death penalty conversation has changed as a result of wrongful convictions. i think that it's a lot easier of a conversation to have. you know, you hope that in a death penalty case that people
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actually, you know, are being extra careful in that prosecution, and what most of the research and studies have shown is that, you know, it's just like any other prosecution, you could have a wrongful conviction. there's nothing special about the death penalty that would cause people to get it right. >> talk to me a little bit about how decisions are made, the thinking, the process that goes through. at some level, this is fear, the fear that we will not put away somebody who has really done a very evil thing, and that is what leads to prosecutors moving forward with a hard hand. >> the question as to how do we get to the death penalty, there's so many different reasons why a prosecutor or agency would want to go for the death penalty. i think the ultimate take away is to say if we are confident and we are at this point, that people are wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, maybe even executed for crimes they didn't
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commit, maybe there's a need to change the conversation and rethink whether or not we should even be executing people. >> on the other happened, i also hear a lot of discussion about the cost of incarcerating somebody who lives on death row for many, many years through may be, many appeals, that being a more convincing argument to many people than the notion there might have been inappropriate justice supply. >> yeah, i think that's actually misconception. there's a number of studies that have show that actually the majority of cost in terms of the criminal prosecution for the death penalty actually occurs in the trial. you know, death penalty convictions can take sometimes $2 million, $3 million just to get a conviction and sentence of death. when you compare it to say for example a conviction of life without the possibility of parole, which can be maybe even $100,000, it's actually more expensive to execute somebody than it is to put them away for life. >> alex simpson with the
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california in sense project, the california western schoolful law, appreciate you being with us. >> thanks so much. >> looking ahead to tomorrow on america tonight, a truly solitaire confinement, inmates with special challenges behind bars. >> things happen, you get to know about them. >> why death inmates are targeted for abuse and humiliation. we'll report on that ahead. >> why so many take a risk and why this year has been more deadly than ever. >> al jazeera america is the only news channel that brings you live news at the top of every hour. >> here are the headlines at this hour. >> only on al jazeera america.
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>> knew snapshot of stories making headlines on america tonight. more pressure on the obama administration to reign in the n.s.a.'s sweeping data collection efforts, urging mr. obama to end widespread collection on phone and the accident records and purge what is already gathered. >> putting a price on detroit's priceless. the motor city's art collection
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is worth $867 million, this comes alleges the city is trying to figure out what assets to sell off to pay its debt. >> renewed violence in south sudan just days after the president said his forces put down a coup. gun battles have left as many as 500 dead. >> thousands are on the run from those clashes already, a reminder of the tough choices many make trying to flee to safety, civil wars, natural disasters and the simple search for a better life lead mills to become migrants. a new report concludes that year is the deadliest yet for the world's migrants. a few incidents raise the toll, ship wrecks killed migrant traveling from syria and palestine. >> that stretch of the italian coastline is one of the world's
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most dangerous spots for migrants. erika speaking for the national organization for migration joins us. that when we say this has been a particularly deadly year, the deadliest so far, how do you know? >> the number of migrants documented to have died this year is 2,360, up from last year and previous years. we think it's because of the on going economic crisis, turmoil, for example in the central african republic, syria, there's almost 2 million people displaced in syria, there is, you know, natural disasters, so all of this is adding to the already migration which occurs normally all the time anyway. >> so people seeking economic benefits or something like that, people looking for work. >> exactly.
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the vast majority are people leaving countries where there is no work, no future for them. within these flows of people especially in the mediterranean, we're seeing people fleeing conflict in their country. we're seeing that we need to have countries allow these people to be interviewed and so they can apply for asylum if in fact they are seeking refuge. the other thing asked for is a shared type of approach in the u. and in our regions in the world, because only in the case of lampadusa, they're taking the brunt of these people arriving. >> help us understand some of these areas particularly bad this year. in the bay of bengal, who are the migrants? >> they could be anyone from south asia, but they could also be afghans,
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bangladesh is. after the fall of the taliban we saw an increase in those going to australia. these migrants are mostly economic now, seeking better lives, employment. >> and on the high seas, they are particularly at risk. >> they are particularly at risk, because the vast majority of these vessels are unsea worthy, overpacked, always. they don't have enough food or drink on them, so even if it's an able-bodied young man who sets sale on one of these ships, by the time he gets to his destination, he's die hydrated, weak, hungry. this is why we're seeing to many deaths. there's women, pregnant women, children, so there's a mixed bag in these vessels. >> a smaller number, but still significant, number of death
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occurs on the u.s. mexico border. can you speak that to what's happening there? is there a rise. >> the numbers on oh the u.s. mexico bored he have always been, you know, certain times of the year, there's more death because of the summer, because of the heat, dehydration, the numbers that we have for death this year is 444, but these are official numbers only from two sources, one source is in pima county, arizona, wimp is all the way west. the other source is close to mccallen, texas. it is a huge border. >> and hard to monitor. >> hard to monitor. you have remains found all the time. >> thanks very much for being here. >> my pleasure, thank you. >> recently, america tonight's rob reynolds traveled to the mexico-texas border to hear
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about the members surviving the crossing. some of the images may be disturbing. >> a corner of the cemetery in texas is set aside for the lost and left behind. these are the graves of unknown migrants from mexico and trail america who died lonely deaths in the thick mesquite and bad lands of south texas. >> it's horrible. it's just a senseless death. i don't really understand it. >> vinnie martinez is chief deputy sheriff. last year, he recorded over 100 dead migrants. this number the years are on trend to exceed that. >> we're already at 92% increase from 2012. we had 129 in 2012. we see the influence, the volume high
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on pedestrians, walkers that come in through the brush a town 70 miles from the mexican border with a check point just south of town is the last barrier for migrants en route to houston, dallas and beyond. human smugglers have found a way to evade the check point. ten miles before, migrants rush out of vehicles and head into the bush. they knock down highway fences like this one and the smugglers then lead them on a long march. anyone who can't keep you, gets hurt or sick is left behind. most of those people never make it out of the forest alive. these photos are of corpses found on the sprawling ranches. exhaustion, heat stroke and thirst can kill a person in a matter of hours.
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>> you find them sometimes so deteriorated, it's electric like a horror movie, missing skin, limbs or eyeballs, you know, and that's a sad situation. >> recently in an effort to identify some of the bodies, the sheriffs department oversaw the exhumation of dozens of unparked graves. these remains were taken here to baylor university in weak co, where they are examined by a team of presencic specialists led by anthropologist dr. mothery baker. >> the job now begins opening them, tying to put information together to see if we can find case reports and figure who this would would have been. >> dr. baker tries to match remains with descriptions of missing persons provided by family members. sometimes she is able to match d.n.a., sometimes relying on dental records or physical
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characteristics, using this labeler scanner. this skeleton is in the process of being examined. >> do you know anything about who this person was at this point? >> what i can tell from a cursory glance is that it's a male individual and they did quite a bit of heavy lifting when they were alive. >> this is someone's, obviously someone's son, perhaps someone's husband, someone's. >> father. >> uh-huh. >> when you hold the remains like that, do you get a sense of -- >> oh, absolutely. >> the tragedy involved here? >> we do, and we talk about that a lot and it weighs heavily on you. when i further started doing that after the first i.d., i cried for a week. i knew about the woman, her mother was looking for her, she had two young daughters in mexico that she was raising by herself and she came to america because she couldn't raise them in mexico.
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she was warned that you'll probably be raped and murdered and this isn't a good idea. she said i have to do this for my daughters. she sprained her ankle and was left behind. when i worked her case, she was my age, i cried and cried at the idea of telling the daughters and mom that she wouldn't be back. >> so far, dr. baker has been able to identify 70 people from the remains found along the border. that. >> do we have any idea how many people have died and are still unrecovered in brooks county no. >> no, no idea. it could be hundreds of individuals each year that we're not counting or seeing and that's happening all along the borders, because they're desolate areas, because people aren't there. it's opportunistic. if you talk to an immigrant who has come through these paths, everyone will tell you they saw at least one body. >> that is what people did tell us when we
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visited mexicali, a temporary area for people. many are hesitant to talk. one man told us what he saw and asked us not to show his face. >> sometimes i see people who died in the desert trying to cross because they didn't have what they needed to survive. they're just laying there dead. i saw one that was just a skeleton and another dead body covered with sand. it's frightening. sometimes there's nothing left of them. there was one, a woman, i think and she'd been eating by wild coyotes. >> he is aware of the dangers involved, but he and the others we talked to were determined to cross the border again. his waive and children are in the u.s. >> there is nothing that could keep me from crossing the border.
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my kids and the love i have for them keeps me trying. >> mike vicars believe the migrants who cross his land to evade the check point include dangerous criminals. >> you always have your cell phone with you and you always got your gun with you. you want to make absolutely sure that gun has got plenty of bullets in it. >> he formed a group called the texas border volunteers, they patrol looking for migrants and alerting the border patrol if they find them. vicars is staunchly opposed to most aspects have immigration reform. >> i'm against amnesty or any pathway to the citizenship. most of these people are not going to simulate. they're going to maintain their own language, culture, their own way of doing things, and they're breaking us. they're coming in here to capitalized on our social services, some of them to find work, there's a lot of them
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coming in here for the crime and the lucrative business in crime. >> at their ranch house he and his wife linda keep guns and several large dogs for self protection. >> as time goes on, i feel less secure. it's not -- it's no longer if i'm going to be assaulted, it's when. >> the u.s. has tightened border security in many areas, but hess so in desolate and difficult regions like south texas. the idea was forcing migrants to hazard the most dangerous routes would discourage them. the migrants keep coming. the border patrol declined aljazeera's request for an interview for this story. deputy martinez doesn't follow the debate over immigration reform in washington, but says
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attention must be paid to what's happening here. >> these persons are human beings. the fact that they're someone's dad or someone's mom, cousin, brother, relative, whatever the case might be, they're human. >> reform, if it comes, would come too late for the restless ones resting beneath the sand. >> that was rob reynolds reporting and we'll be back in a moment. >> evey sunday night, join us for exclusive, revealing, and suprizing talks with the most interesting people of our time. this sunday, >> i spent my whole life thinking about themes and thinking about how to structure movies, so this is highly unusual. >> the director of the sixth sense, says there are five things we can do to fix education in america >> the united states has education apartheid, that's the facts... >> talk to al jazeera
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with m. night shayamalan sunday at 7et / 4pt on al jazeera america >> how important is the future of manufacturing industry? >> you're talking about something that's very complex. >> made in america equals jobs in america. >> welcome back. you're watching scenes from the documentary, made in the usa, a 30-day journey, it's a look at the workforce and consumers, and john paid that documentary, and he got interested in where the goods we buy come from after a plant closed in his hometown, and welcome to the show. >> thanks for having me, appreciate it. >> so talk about how the closing of that plant impacted you and the community. >> well, the film sparred from century aluminum shutting down in my hometown in virginia, and 650 people lost their jobs, including my father-in-law, david nelson, and as time went on, it destroyed our local and regional economy.
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>> at this time of year, a lot of us are traveling, not always do we have the same reasons. rather than catch up with family
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or friends, this december, some are catching up on miles. mileage runners as they're known are frequent flyers in limbo, only a few thousand miles from gaining or keeping their gold airline at that time at us. we went along for the ride. >> jarrod grew up afraid of flying. >> i did not want to fly. i skipped family vacations on occasion because i was so convinced i was going to die on a plane. there was no way it was happening, i was like enjoy the trip without me. my father was an aviation attorney and primarily death with plane crashes. >> the 2001 attacks on the world trade center all dinner conversations in the home. it wasn't until 2009 that jarrod gave air travel a second chance. >> i went on a long trip from here to asia, back through
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europe and back here, and i realized that there was a huge amount of places in the world i wanted to see, a flight to chicago i'm going to take this afternoon will be my 115t 115th flight of the year. >> like jarrod, steve marrow was a mileage runner. we don't mean this kind of runner. >> my first mile run was back in the 1990's when pan am was in existence, and they were so poorly managed towards the end that essentially, every other flight you did, they were giving away that a free ticket. >> the new goal is status, gold, platinum and the first class seats luxury lounges and complimentary champagne that go along with it. mileage runners are willing to travel thousands of piles just to earn status and turn routine business trips into luxury getaways. >> the difference between one of these middle seats in the very back of the planes like the
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lavatories or sitting up in an upgraded seat, it's a huge difference and it just makes the experience all the more tolerable. >> those seats come at a price, $25, $50 or in his case 100,000 miles in a year, giving him one case status. the only level above him, united's exclusive global service status, but it's invitation only and he's never been invited. even worse, he is on the verbal of dropping to silver, the lowest tier if he doesn't do something about it. >> i have not flown that many miles so i am kind of doing a last ditch effort tog up a gold level status so i can make the most of the miles i do already have. you don't have status and you do have a lot of miles banked, it can actually -- it's not as easy to use them. >> his golden ticket, find the lowest p.p.m., fire talk for price per mile.
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once you find your night, you get out of town. he first considered a complicated itinerary to singapore via tokyo, getting him to platinum, but a good deal and a dreary new york december are setting him on that a different course, to the tropical beaches of wit wit kakeikei. >> you've got stacks of boarding passes from what, just the last couple of months here? >> j.f.k. >> san francisco, san jose. >> yep. >> houston. houston. >> that was back and forth mileage running through, like 200 something bucks. i did that twice. i've never actually been to san jose despite the few trips there last month. >> flier talk and the point guy help these runners plan their
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trips, but other websites are a little more dubious. >> i just found a root where i can fly from new york to houston to los angeles and back to houston on a saturday. it costs $550, takes 22 hours i'll get 5,248 miles. >> you are a freaking idiot. >> some would say this is crazy or extreme. >> i would agree with that. >> flying across the country just to get miles. >> i would agree with them wholeheartedly. it's not a pleasant experience. >> these real extreme frequent flyers are a lot like george clooney's character up in the air. >> i plan on grabbing as many miles as i can. >> what's your total? this big no. >> i don't want to brag. >> this is presexy. we're two people who get turned on by elite status. >> starting february 1, delta record flights cost more miles per trip. united is increasing the number of miles required for upgrades
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to destinations like europe. that jarrod sees this as a devaluation of his hard earned miles. >> right now, i'm cashing in miles and trying to burn as many of my united miles as possible, because starting on february 1 next year, they're greatly devaluing their mile program, which is why i plan to move to american next year. >> you're breaking up with united. >> i don't want to do it. it breaks my heart. >> how many miles to do you have to burn. >> i've burned close to 800,000 miles. >> incredible! >> just a few more things to pack and jarrod embarks on a different kind of mileage run. >> to chicago, connecting there to tokyo, frankfurt to stop home, stay with my girlfriend for 10 days there. >> i think i paid $92 in taxes. >> $92 to go around the world.
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>> yes. that's why miles are great. >> with that, jarrod is off to laguardia, where he'll take off on the first of eight legs around the world. he was gracious enough to have it us to the lounge, but since we didn't have enough of our own miles to follow him around the world, we headed to newark to meet with steve more row en route to honolulu. will his one case status get him the upgrade he wants to a sleeping pod and first class? >> did you get your upgrade? oh! not too bad. >> that's a lot bet are that that me, stuck back in row 31, but laptop, headphones and individualized console, more row made the best of coach. jarrod on the other hand started his trip in a wide first class
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seat and the flights just kept getting better. >> just checked in and at of now i'm the only person in first class, so i hope that holds up. there are eight seats in first class, however i'm the only passenger today, so pretty much hit the jackpot. the meal service that just started and it is chilled campaign and caviar time. >> so i'm not sure if you can hear me, it's 12:50. we're a cove in tokyo. >> i'm in the a happy camper, 6:22 a.m. on the express to the airport so i can catch my flight to frankfurt to catch my flight to sweden, so it's going to be a very, very long day. >> so it's 10:55, we just took off headed for frankfurt. i am the only person in first class, which is awesome. >> it's 2:30 p.m. german time. i'm in the first class lounge,
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the cigar lounge which comes complete with its own humidor and bar. so far, i've flown 14,791 miles and it has brought me to dark winter here in sweden. >> so, while jarrod runs down the last of his united miles in the dark, 11 hours and economy plus brought steve more row halfway you to gold. >> we made it. >> yep. >> we made it. you can see the weather's a lot nice are than new york. >> you can say that again. >> it's a long time to sit on the plane. that was an 11 hour flight. >> is it worth it to get that status no. >> combined with the fact that it is a bit of a vacation, as wellle, it is. >> the next time we saw steve, he was on the beach, swimming into the sunset, thinking about how to get into that first class seaten oh the ride back home. adam may, aljazeera, hawaii.
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>> mastering mileage really is an art. turns out the points guy himself, brian kelly, joins me now. that what kind of status do you have? >> it's funny, i just booked my flight to go to london tomorrow just to secure that platinum status, which i think is the best out there today. >> what does that give you? >> the big thing is eight system wide upgrades that you can use to upgrade my paid fair. you can buy a $900 chip to china in coach and upgrade to business class you. get 81 way trips a year, easily worth $4,000. it's all about doing the math and making sure the perks you get are more valuable than what you're spending to get it. >> lock at it this way. at the end of the day, you still use it to travel, which means you have to get back into the the hassle of going there. unless you have four some business reason to do it or other reason why you're on the
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road, why keep doing this? >> exactly. that's why i tell people elite status isn't for everyone. it feels warm and fuzzy to feel loved by the airline but there have been huge devaluations lately. the airlines are taking those elite perks and giving them to anyone with a credit card, so unless you're getting the top tier airline status, it's hard to justify getting bottom tiers when so much is being given away to people with credit cards or moo paid for it. >> presumably, people like you take advantage of the points that you've earned. >> i still bring oh lot of business to america. not every single flight i book is the cheapest, you know, and frequent flyers, the top tier of flyers bring in a disproportionate amount of revenue to the airlines. the airlines need to keep their top flyers happy. up grades, perks and award tickets are giving away seats
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that are probably not going to get sold. if somebody is going to pay for that seat, it's not always guaranteed that you'll get the upgrade. the airline gets to keep your loyalty, give you a product that would be an empty seat anyway and take your money. >> i have to admit, i must be like a passenger peasant. i have collected some myles through the year, but certainly nowhere close to anything. i don't even know what my point status is. i don't think i care enough. >> oh, no. i'm 6'7", so i physically do not fit in coach seats. for me, the upgrade, exit row, the premium seat is important. i would recommend everyday spending, earn those trips. don't try to earn them flying all the way around the world just for flying. it is time away from home which is pretty valuable as least to a lot of people.
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>> how common is this no are there a lot more people like you or me? >> most people are like you. in fact, this used to be more common but with air fare's rising airlines are now just giving it away. a lot of people these days bank as many points at possible through their credit cards or even hotel points are big things these days. i recommend diversifying. don't put all your hopes for elite status, because it's not going to happen anymore. >> diversifying your portfolio of points. >> points are assets. >> those hotel points, i've got to keep track of hotel and everything else. it seems awfully difficult. >> you don't have to do anything, but if you want to nice upgrade for free and free internet, not to get nickeled
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and dimed, then it makes sense. there's definitely amount of time that it takes to get used to this world. those few people who mastered this, i went $60 in business class. i flew first class at $90, took a shower in the air. i'm telling you, it's there, but you got to work for it. >> brian kelly, the points is his site. you want to travel with him. thanks, ryan. >> safe travels. >> ahead in our final segment here tonight, man's best friend jumps into action to save his >> start with one issue ad guests on all sides of the debate. and a host willing to ask the tough questions and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story
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weekdays at 5pm et / 2pm pt only on al jazeera america
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>> finally from us this hour, a story you just have to see to believe. it's the kind of thing you're not going to forget. that a blind man and his seeing eye dog
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falling on to the tracks. we go to new york city for the story. >> blind at 61 years old, cecil williams was too close to the edge when he fainted on a subway platform in harlem. >> i saw a man a little wobbly you. >> the furry friend is his trusted old guide dog orlando. the 10-year-old lab was barking frantically and trying to stop him from falling. while the dog is trained to protect his owner from going over the edge, this time it was too much for him. >> the dog was pulling him to come forward, but it was too late. hableed forward and we know backward on to the track. >> the dog tumbled on to the track with him. knocked out for a few moments, cease relevant heard people yelling at him when he came to, do not climb up the platform. >> we told him to stay down, because the train was already coming in. >> those witnesses were waving down the train.
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the conductor saw them and slammed the emergency brake, but it was too late. by the time the train stopped, about one and a half cars had passed over cecil and orlando. both of them were trapped underneath the subway car. >> he was pretty banged up, so thank god he was able to move. he probably fell, struck his head and probably rolled into the middle of the tracks. >> firefighters quickly rescued them and treated cecil's head injury. he was semi coherent when he got to them. >> he asked us how his dog was doing. we told him his dog was fine, the police officer had his dog. >> within the hour, the dog was back at cecil's side, more like on his lap in the tiny hospital bed. >> definitely a miracle. >> wonderful story from new york. that's i for us. we'll have more of "make tonight" tomorrow.
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>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy, in new york. here are the top stories we are following. the indian diplomat whose arrest caused an uproar is in indian u.n. headquarters in new york. secretary of state john kerry expressed regret for the woman's treatment. she was arrested and strip searched. she is charged with visa fraud and underpaying an employee >> recommendations were delivered following the n.s.a.'s tackics, calling for an end to storing telephone conversations. >> the senate ends three years


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