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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 24, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am EST

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this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris with a look at tonight's top stories. christmas in bethlehem. keeping the faith, the meaning of the holiday for a changing country. and a massive winter storm wipes out power in communities from michigan to new york. and u.s. forces poised to enter south sudan. ♪ we begin in bethlehem where it is christmas day.
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thousands from come from all over the world to celebrate the bit of jesus, and just hours ago many attended midnight mass. nick has more. >> reporter: thousands have flocked to this church behind me. it is actually the largest turnout in in decades. and that's boosting hopes for peace here in this holy city in this little town of bethlehem. ♪ >> reporter: here in bethlehem, a solemn celebration of one of christianities most sacred moments. tradition holds the birth jesus took place below this church. after 12:00 the sounds of midnight mass filled st. katherine's chapel. ♪ >> reporter: politicians,
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palestinians all praying for peace. jerusalem archbishop blessed the crowd in six languages. he told palestinians to stop infighting and prayed for all in the holy land. so this is the renovation i see. just a few feet away, this man is praying for the future. he is overseeing the church's first facelift in 600 years. >> this is water. >> this is all water damage. >> reporter: parts of this church is 1500 years old. 2 million pilgrims visit each year. >> when it starts raining, waterment comes down throughout the walls and mosaics and -- all
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over. >> reporter: repairs will begin on the roof's wooden beams. they were last restored in 1498. >> it is okay, but it needs to be protected for another 500 years from now on, and this is our determination to protect this holy church for -- for the coming generations. >> reporter: he is christian. his family has lived here for as long as anyone can remember. he jokes that one of his ancestors witnessed jesus's birth. >> we are not coming from abroad. we are not coming from antarctica or anything else, we are deep rooted here. >> reporter: palestinians argue they can't bring the church to its full splendor while under occupation. >> reporter: in order to have the best atmosphere for -- for
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developing and also protecting our -- our history and our her taken is to end the occupation. >> reporter: this church is now a unesco world heritage endanged renovation site. >> our dignity, our history, our future and our aim is to live in peace and dignity. ♪ >> reporter: it's a chas wish from this holy land and from this sacred shrine. and one of the reasons that those renovations took 600 years to do, the greek orthodox, armenian, and catholic monks who own the church, well, let's just say they don't really get along.
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meanwhile some catholics here in the united states are preparing for mass. st. cataract's cathedral is one of the most iconic in the country. ray lynn, look, we're less than an hour away from the midnight mass. what is it like there tonight? >> well, as you can imagine it is very festive. and rightfully so, this is one of the biggest days of the year for christians and catholics all over the world. they are getting ready for that midnight mass. and just imagine the 3 million that come here ere year. it's one of the best places to be tonight for many christians and catholics. >> do we know what the theme for tonight's mass is? in >> absolutely. the cardinal said tonight is all about stillness, to remember what really matters to you, which is your family and faith,
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and that's what your focus should be. of all of the evenings of the year this is the one to have a silent night. >> and what about the message from pope francis tonight? >> tony as you know, very highly anticipated service there. and the message is really similar to the one he has been spreading all year, which is very toned down and stripped down from all of the commercialism around christmas and the holidays. it's about peace and brotherhood and love and sharing that message. and really to focus on the heart. open your heart. let the darkness out and think about your neighbors and certainly the poor. >> ray lynn thank you very much. it has been quite a year for pope francis who continues to make a huge impact on the church and beyond. claudio has our report. >> reporter: in st. peters square it may look like any
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other christmas. the tree is towering over the basilica, the faithful are queueing, but there is a growing sense of anticipation, because to preside over it all is a very special pope. when he appeared on the balcony after his election, only a few recognized him, and even fewer could pronounce his name. everyone, however, recognized his chosen name as pope francis. from day one he proved to be just as humble as his namesake. . he dodged sewerty to be with his flock, and was especially interested in the well-being of the displaced, disabled, and children. on his first trip back to south
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america, he received a hero's welcome. 3 million people came to see him. francis became officially a worldwide icon. he spoke freely to reporters answering tough questions on homosexuality and the role of women in the church. if christmas is a day for remembering, then many catholics will look back at 2013 as an eventual year when a church marred by scandal was re-jew nated by hope francis. a nasty winter storm is being blamed for 14 deaths across america and canada. take a look at this. at least half a million homes were without power at last check. the forecast calls for even more snow. target shoppers may have a new reason to worry. last week the store said a
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security breach has exposed millions of customers, now the company says the customers are getting scammed emails. world leaders are taking steps to protect civilians from the growing conflict in south sudan. 150 u.s. marines are now on standby to evacuate americans from the country if needed. and the united stated nations has agreed to send more peace keepers to the country. today we got an exclusive look inside a crowded hospital in the capitol of juba. >> reporter: most of these injuries are from gunshot wounds. the city is now relatively quiet, but treating some of these patients is still a challenge. >> the other challenge we are having is things like clothing,
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things like water for these patients. most of them when the incident happened they were caught unaware, and left everything behind. >> reporter: the president says his government soldiers have now recaptured the town of bor, but there is still some resistance. it is not yet known how many soldiers and civilians have died or been injured. most people were shot here in juba, but there are a few others from elsewhere. and it's not just soldiers. there are women and children in here too. there are reports that mass graves have been found in the capital of juba. >> in juba we found a mass grave and we will be ready to go investigate. i have not heard about it. but we heard about deaths. some criminals targeted some people. people have died. >> reporter: more un socialed -- soldiers coming here
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could help the vulnerable, especially children. >> we really welcome the decision of the council to send more troops here. hopefully it will give us room and access to women and children that we cannot reach now. >> reporter: tens of thousands of civilians are still hiding around the country. many hope leaders find a peaceful resolution to the conflict, so they can go home. un relief workers say there is evidence tuthing thousands of people have been killed in south sudan in recent weeks. >> no surprises that the un security council with all members voting in favor of ban ki-moon's measure to send in more troops to south sudan. 15 yeses to send more troops and police into south sudan.
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these troops will be coming from nearby peace-keeping missions. they will be coming from nearby areas such as the democratic republic of congo. other contributing countries have also been approached to see how they could also help support south sudan. the secretary general said this is only a temporary measure even with these additional reinforcementments, they will not come overnight. and we cannot protect every cillian there. the unhas repeatedly said this is not the solution to the crisis. that must come through political dialogue. but this will helpfully reinforce the support. >> earlier i spoke about the buildup in south sudan with tim crockett. i asked him what u.s. marines
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can expect if they are sent in. >> they are not new. they are planned for in each embassy and diplomatic union around the world have a plan for this. so these missions -- they are called non-combatant evacuation scenarios. it is a fairly stable situation, but a deteriorating situation, and that will go right through to a hostile environment where troops will have to deploy in a rapid succession to secure evacuation points and get american personnel out. >> what are your thoughts on the trend line so far in south sudan. >> obviously the situation is fairly volatile and it is not one that will be resolved any
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time soon. so what we have seen already with the movement of these marines from their base in spain, is part of the preliminary phases where they will move assets, troops, into a forward-operating base where they can move quickly in to possibly secure the embassy and secure evacuation points to get u.s. personnel out. >> tim should we get to this place where u.s. military have to go into south sudan to help evacuate embassy personnel and citizens out of the country, how difficult are these situations. they would be foreign troops in a sovereign country? >> of course. this is something they have trained for, and they are used to, but adding again, foreign troops into an already volatile situation, it does have the potential to make things worse.
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they would certainly be a target of interest from one side or the other. so yes, they are going to go into a very dangerous situation, but something they are prepared for. egyptians are dealing with the aftermath of two powerful bombs that blew up a police headquarters and several other buildings on tuesday. no one has claimed responsibility. the muslim brotherhood denied having anything to do with the bombing. the interim prime minister called the muslim brotherhood a quote, terrorist group, but stopped short of blaming them for the attack. israeli air strikes on gaza has left one person dead. the victim was a 3-year-old girl who lived in a refugee camp. the air strikes came after an israeli civilian who was shot on the border.
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a chicago institution is closing its doors permanently. that means thousands of pink slips for the store's employees. and a christmas eve mission, astronauts finish a tricky repair. how about this, a live look at the new york skyline tonight. the empire state building lit up in christmas colors, waiting for santa to arrive. come on santa!
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in oakland, california a judge ruled that a 13-year-old be taken off life support, but he is allowing for an appeal. the teenager has been ruled brain dead. she suffered complications from a tonsilectomy.
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the court of appeals in denver has denied the state's request to hold marriages until the appeals process runs its course. the utah attorney general's office says it will appeal to the supreme court on thursday. nearly 700 gay couples have been granted marriages since the ban was lifted last ye week. dominics will close, and anyone who lives in the chicago area knows it. the parent company, safeway announced it would layoff workers on december 28th. >> reporter: dominics had grown into a giant among chicago area grocery stores with 100 locations, but after california-based safe which bought the chain in 1988, the
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number of stores dwindled to 72, and in two days the number will be down to zero. ruby got the word that her starbucks kiosk would also be shut down. workers have been told not to talk onment camera, but ruby still in college, feels confident and lucky. do you think it will be tough to find a new job? >> i think it will be tough. but i think i'm smart enough to handle it. >> this will have a devastating impact on the chicagoland economy for years to come. >> reporter: he says the employees losing their jobs will be joined by nearly 400 more who work affiliated jobs inside and outside the stores. >> the starbucks, the
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distributors that deliver product to these stores, especially around the holidays, it is definitely a kick in the teeth. >> reporter: he says it's corporate greed. safeway says it is providing severance with many employees and in a statement says this . . . and safeway says it is trying to soften the blow with job fairs like this one. >> one layoff is difficult to swallow. we're doing everything we can to ensure that our employees are either a part of a package whereby the new owner takes the store and the store team, or that our employees have access to other opportunities through the job fair today that's one
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way. >> reporter: this is a career placement expert. he says the period between thanks giving and christmas used to be sacred. not anymore. >> more and more companies hit year end and they want to get their business done so they can start the new year fresh. >> reporter: a handful of these 72 stores have been snapped up by rival grocery stores, and one of those is promising to hire 11,000 new workers, but there's no word on when that will happen, and there's no guarantee that any of these workers will get those jobs. today the chick may -- chicago mayor announced buyers who will replace the stores, but it won't be enough to replace a chicagoland staple. >> it's a family. these are people that you get to
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know. it's not just an establishment where you walk in and buy something and walk away. it's like a corner store because of the people. i mean it's about customer service. it's about loyalty. >> reporter: but loyalty for ruby and her coworkers wasn't enough. edward snowden has a special christmas message for the british. he will deliver an alternative christmas message. it is a takeoff on the annual christmas message. he calls for annen of the kind of surveillance message he revealed sick months ago. he recorded the message from russia. a lawyer for an indian diplomat is accusing u.s. authorities of mishandling the investigation. her attorney says the agent made
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a key error which lead to the arrest. the incident has drawn angry responses from officials in india. myanmar is experiencing a sudden economic boom by foreign investors, and that is driving up housing prices. >> reporter: it's different from the city life they know, but this man and his family are slowly getting used to it. there is no running water or electricity here. >> translator: life is hard here. we have communal toilets but they are not enough. also our bamboo houses are not strong enough to resist heavy rains or strong winds. >> reporter: they have had to move here because they could no longer afford rent in the city. an increase of 37% became too
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much of a financial burden. their neighbors have similar stories. they now live on land owned by a monastery in small bamboo huts they have to build themselves. >> translator: this is very much driven by philanthropic spirit. when we saw the homeless, we wanted to provide some housing to them. >> reporter: the new neighborhood is an hour's drive from the city, so the monastery also runs a school to help with costs for the families. this area has gone from housing 70 families to around 2,000 with another 2,000 on the waiting list. the monastery is already planning to buy another plot of land for a separate community. easing of sanctions have resulted in a sudden inflow of foreign investment. and while construction is taking
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off, it will be some time before supply can catch up with demand. >> what we have seen now this the last two years is a complete turn around in demand. everyone is interested in myanmar, and a lot of companies are starting to take space, and that's going to continue for the next three, four, five, six years. >> reporter: for property owners like this, the boom times look set to continue. she is on the lookout to invest in more properties. >> translator: i'm not worried about a bubble in housing prices, because there's not much space left in town. >> reporter: but for the pour the sudden surge in property prices has been difficult. it's also ancation of how economic progress here appears to benefit only a few. like everything else, christmas changes over time, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing depends on who you
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ask. up next a look at it means as religion and culture converge on the holiday
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welcome back, everyone to al jazeera america. i'm tony harris. here is a look at your top stories. world leaders are taking steps to protect the citizens in south sudan. attention target shoppers first the store said the credit and debit card information of 40 million customers was hacked. now target says some of those customers are getting scam emails. christians across the world are gathered in bethlehem to celebrate the birth of jesus. the turn at the church was the largest in years, boosting hopes
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for peace in the holy city. a recent pole has found that nine in ten americans say they celebrate christmas, but for a growing number of young people, the meaning of christmas is changing. many see it as a cultural holiday, while others are fighting to keep the christ in christmas. >> reporter: tis the season of giving, shopping, and dodging crowds to visit family and friends. >> my name is noel, so i'm big on christmas. >> reporter: polls show for about half of americans that celebrate christmas, it's about faith. >> i'm the elder in the church, so tomorrow i'll be most of the day at church. >> reporter: but for one-third of christmas sell brandts, it is
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a calltural holiday. adults under age 30 are less likely to attend christmas church services. the president of american atheists thinks the real number of americans who see christmas as cultural rather than religious is much tire. this group put up this billboard to show people they didn't need religion to enjoy christmas. >> do something fun, do something festive, you will have a better season. >> reporter: but for shoppers here the season is largely about jesus christ. the owner said shoppers bought 600 of these magnets this year. >> they want people to understand what it is all about.
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>> reporter: from nativity scenes and decorations, these gifts share the same message. that christmas is more about santa claus and vacation. for shoppers it's about the religious meaning of the holiday. >> it's become more about faith as i got older. >> reporter: but as the face of america changes, so does the approach to christmas, with increasing numbers of americans viewing it as a shared cultural experience outside of church. so christmas means something different for every person who celebrates. time now for a trip around the world to see how people are spending the holidays. >> reporter: billions of christians around the world are se celebrating christmas. many take the time to commemorate the day they believe jesus was born with special
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ceremonies. in afghanistan they mark the day with candle lit ceremony and christmas carols. >> i love everyone, i miss you, and hope to see you soon. merry christmas. >> it is difficult, but they love me, and understand i'm here serving our country, and so it's really not very easy, but, you know, it's not easy being away from my family. >> reporter: syria is another war zone with muted celebrations. >> translator: we are trying to bring joy to our children, because when we their age we used to have very beautiful memories. they will grow up later and we don't wish for them to only carry bad memories. >> translator: i say christmas will be merry. why? because our savior christ has come. when he comes to those close, then we'll be happy.
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>> reporter: christmas joy is expressed in many ways including radish night in mexico. it is a tradition handed down from priests who carved radishes to boost sales. so in the nation's capitol, a toy give away turns ugly. we get one of these stories ere year. a man dressed as santa claus was struck with a pellet gun, twice. take a look. oh, yes, mer -- ahhhhh! >> did you hear the what the -- it happened while he was being interviewed by a local news station. the shots were apparently fired from a nearby home. the man was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries and volunteers continued to deliver the toys. russian authorities say they
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are dropping the charges that followed a dramatic high seas protest by a green seas group. >> reporter: there is a gradual easing of the diplomatic and legal log jam that has seen the arctic 30 confined to their hotel in st. petersburg since bailed in november. the prosecutor's office is summoning them one by one. they go there, and receive a document -- an individual document which proves that the charges against them -- charges of hooliganism, which carry a seven-year jail sentence have in fact been dropped and then the next process is that the defendants then have to take that document to the federal migration service to get their exit visa put in their pass port, and only then can they leave st. petersburg. but it's a very time-consuming process. these people were really hoping they would be home by christmas.
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they are all going to be released -- they are all -- the charges will all be dropped against them. it's just this legal hoops you have got to jump through here to get the process completed to allow them to leave the country, because of course they had no entry permits in their passport. they were taken at sea, and without an entrance permit you have can't get an exit permit. the singer katy perry wants to use her fame to help the world's children. unicef just appointed the pop star to be the next goodwill ambassador. >> reporter: throughout its existen existence the un has been trying to help the most needy in the world. 60 years ago it tried a novel approach.
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it was in 1954 that danny kay, became the first-ever goodwill ambassador. for unicef. his path was followed by many over years. stars, singers, sports stars, and even one special agent. >> my name is moore, roger moore, and i'm a goodwill ambassador for unicef. >> reporter: the years the corridors have been packed the politicians and diplomats, but many celebrities come to this billing. the latest goodwill ambassador to be announced, the pop star katy perry. so why did she take the job? >> i have a lot of attention and
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a lot of spotlight, and it would be so easy and lazy for me to put that spotlight on something that is kind of, you know, material or funny or not really meaningful, but what i do want to do is i want to take all of the extra attention and put it on something that needs that illumination, that needs that light. ♪ >> reporter: some may question her incite on the issues facing children around the world, but not our impact. it's here that the idea of sendty ambassadors is getting a knew boost. katy perry has 49 million followers on twitter, 60 million likes on her facebook page. >> when she tweets she'll get something like 5 to 6,000 engagements retweets or faye rates or people tweeting back. and unicef has come out to say they want to engage a younger
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audience. and katy perry is the perfect person to do that. >> yay! [ applause ] >> reporter: in this new age of communication, the celebrity's social media reach gives the un a big boost. just compare katy perry's followering on twitter with old mia. 60 million people is almost five times more than the print circulation of the best-selling newspaper in the world. >> 49 million -- okay. in london the man credited with helping the allies win world war ii has been credited with a pardon. he is considered the father of modernment computing and vital to the creation of artificial intelligence. most of the time we think of crowd sourcing as a way to fund
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projects. but in nepal it is be used to provide essential health services. >> reporter: at the community hospital, up to 500 people come for treatment every day. people here say the hospital has been god send. it's services are free and it refers come by -- complicated cases to other hospitals. >> translator: we have people from all over who come here. >> reporter: the hospital was built after three medical students at yale in the u.s. saw dire need for health service in this region. they raised funds to open a health center here. over a decade that health center
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has grown into this hospital. and now strangers from around the world can pick or choose a patient they might want to partially or fully fund for treatment. anyone can give money online to a patient needing a life-saving operation or even help a mother have a safe delivery. >> we saw this as an opportunity to improve care that we were already providing, but enable us to provide better care in maternal and child health through this program. >> reporter: to see what impact crowd funding has had on patients, we went to this village with this 21-year-old is a new mother. just a few years ago they had no facility for a sa syrian
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procedure. for her husband the relief is enormous. >> translator: if it was far she could have died before even getting to the hospital, or the baby could have died. >> reporter: her daughter is now one-month-old, the couple are grateful for the kindness of strangers. mission accomplished on the international space station. the astronauts have pulled off an important repair. details from someone who knows just how challenging the mission was. and fans at candlestick park have seen anything from the beatles to the world series earthquake, now the stadium is about to fall to the wrecking ball. and do we have this wonderful shot? there it is. sunrise in bethlehem. hours earlier, the midnight christmas mass, we understand
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was terrific. once again, sunrise is bethlehem. this is al jazeera america.
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merry christmas to all of you. we are looking at some better weather and colder weather as we go towards christmas. this is what we did see, a lot of snow pushing across the northern planes and into the great lakes.
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that will continue to be a problem tomorrow. michigan you will see snow on christmas. up towards the west we're looking at better weather. and seattle you will be seeing some really nice conditions for the next five days. your highs will be about 42 degrees, and this is what it looks like. no rain in your forecast for the next five days, and for seattle that is some really good news. low temperatures will be hovering at about freezing. down towards the southwest, we have a major problem and that is the santa ana winds. the temperatures are coming up, the humidity is very low, and that means the potential for wildfires across the area. we are seeing the temperatures very, very warm into the 80s in areas, and gusting up to 35 miles an hour. it could be the driest year in history, 3.6 inches in los
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angeles only they have seen this year. normally they see over 15 inches of rain in one year. this is their forecast going up to about 81 degrees. as we go towards thursday temperatures going into the 70s. texas you will be high as well. san antonio we'll be seeing about 61 for you. ♪
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welcome back, everyone. nasa's big christmas eve space walk was a huge success. two astronauts spent 7.5 hours repairing the cooling system on the space station. joining me now to discuss the successful mission to fix the international space station is a former astronaut who has completed six, count them six space walks. let's start with today's objective. what was the mission today? >> sure. today was the second part of the repair mission. on the previous space walk they had removed the faulty unit and
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disconnected everything. and today they basically reversed that. they took the good unit, put it in its place and then reconnected all of the fluid. >> the space walk lasted 7.5 hours the last time, today's was anywhere from 5.5 to 7 hours. that is a lot of time in space. was this mission more difficult than i was and maybe others were lead to believe? >> the procedures are fairly straightforward. you have this pump module that has failed. and the astronauted had to disconnect the lines, and unbolt the faulty unit and pull it out. and that's what they did on saturday. and today they basically reversed that process, so it founded pretty straightforward.
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they ran into some snags, and said they ran into a snag with one of the high-pressure pneumonia connectors was being sticky, and they spent a little over an hour trying to get that thing off, and when they did, they had other issues that slowed them down -- >> let's talk about the other issues. because i don't know how potential dangerous this was. but there was an an issue with ammonia flakes. what was the problem and how dangerous was the problem? >> right. the working fluid on this side of the loop is high-pressure pneumonia. under high-pressure it is in a liquid state. but when it is exposed to the vacuum of space, it instantly turns into a solid, basically
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freezes, and so it looks like little snow flakes. and the concern is this stuff gets on their suits, and what you don't want to do is then carry these crystals on your suit back into the air lock, repressurize and introduce all of the ammonia into the cabin of the international space station. so they had to basically heat up in the sun and let these crystals sublamate, that is turn back into a gas before they got back into the air lock. >> so leroy chow we have pictures of you on the space station. >> right. >> i know you have been asked this question a million times, but what is the biggest challenge for an astronaut living on the international space station. >> of course you miss your
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family and friends. it helps to know when you are coming back. it was on a 6.5-month flight. so i guess it's the sum of the whole. you are in this schedule and working pretty much, you know, more or less 12-hour days, which is not too bad, but you are kind of looking down at the earth, and that's what makes up for it. the colors are much more bright and vivid than you might imagine, and it's just spectacular to see. >> reporter: leroy chow it's a pleasure. thanks for being with us. >> meture to be back. thanks. it was the end of an error last night. fans after candlestick park got a chance to say good-bye to that fabulous stadium. >> you are a big nfl fan? >> oh, yeah. yeah. >> it is kind of sad when these
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go buy. >> it is. the stadium in baltimore when it came down it -- >> yeah. it is a big deal. all of these stadiums have a certain fabric certainly within the community. the final regular season game at candlestick park. the stadium famous for its cold, windy conditions even during baseball time. construction begain in 1958. they played their first game in 1960. the beatles played their final concert there. willie mays reminisces about the ballparks opening. >> i thought it was 1960, i thought this was a great ballpark. i said it is something new for us, and i think when you have something like that, you try to
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play for the fans, so it was a great feeling just to come to the ballpark. now it's an obsolete ballpark. same like all of the ballparks that began to, you know, come up, and they are all knew, and they all look good. >> boy, it's good to see him. later in the '70s other greats played for the giants. remember this, the catch, jan 1982, that thrilling touchdown propelled the niners to the super bowl. and then the earthquake shake. and two years ago the power outage just before the start of a monday night football game. candlestick park over 50 years of memories including last night's exciting win, and now the stadium in oakland is the only multi-purpose stadium remaining housing the aand raiders. the park is scheduled to
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be -- demolished sometime next year. the engineers thought the boom rang shape would keep out the wind and cold, and as we all know that didn't work. >> yeah. willie mays, wow. >> i know. >> but what about the new facility? this >> obviously a lot more money put into this one. it is scheduled to be ready for next football season. here is when the two stadiums open. and then when we get to costs, look at that $1.2 billion for the new stadium. total seating capacity pretty comparable. here is where it gets interesting, in the club seats. so again, that's where all of these new stadiums, and i think willie mays spoke to a bit
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there, that's where the revenue comes from. the renovation has taken several years and that's just one example. >> and there was a huge debate of how much taxpayer money should go into those new stadiums. >> and many times that's what delays stadiums when taxpayers balk and say we have bigger issues, but, again, this is san francisco. but again, oakland the last hold out with this a's and raiders. i love the dirt in the outfield. >> yeah, my raiders. that was a fun look back. thank you. >> sure. we'll be right back. this is al jazeera america. ♪
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in the nation's capitol tonight what is being called a fantasy train display is running through the botanical gardens, and it is a site to behold. holly narrates the story of this
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year's exhibition. >> these structures are one of a kind. there are no other structures like them, because they are made with plant parts. many of these plant parts are gathered from the woods. things like the acorn caps from oak trees and the tendrils from grapevines. they are gathered and used to make these amazing structures. we have doing this display for ov over six years, and every year we change the theme. and this year is world fair. we have the globe which was shown at the 1964 world's fair in new york city, and then we have the fountain which actually is a part of the u.s. bow tannic gardens on exhibit in philadelphia in 1876.
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people are so happily surprised when they see what can be done with plant parts. and it really reaches all ages, even though people might say oh, it's for the children. that's not true. i feel like it is a gift to the nation. it gives people a place to come where we're not selling anything. we're not a shopping mall. we're nothing like that. we're really here for the people to make them, you know, excited about the holiday season, but also inspired about the importance of plants in our lives. >> how cool is that? very quickly before we say good-bye, let's roll in some amazing pictures. there is the empire state building, dressed up ready for santa. merry christmas to everyone in new york and across the country. let's take you overseas now to bethlehem. the church of the nativity,
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christmas day in bethlehem. the headlines straight ahead. ♪ this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris with a look at tonight's top stories. 150 u.s. marines are on stand by near south sudan. today the security council voted to increase the size of the peace-keeping force to over 12,000, nearly doubling the current level. a message of love and forgiveness from pope francis tonight. he celebrated his first christmas eve mass. he told church catholics to choose light over darkness. astronauts will have a day off tomorrow after


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