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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 27, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am EST

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"consider this". >> hello and welcome to al jazeera america. live from new york city i'm tony harris with a look at today's top stories. cutting the life line. extended federal jobless benefits are about to come to a screeching halt leaving desperate families wondering, what in the world are they doing now? split decision, one judge's decision is that the nsa data collection is probably unconstitutional. another judge says, it's just fine. where does this battle over your privacy goes next. assassination in beirut, the question now, who did it and why. and changing times. same-sex marriage, marijuana and
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more. look back at how american tuts attitudes shifted in 2013. time and money are running out for more than a million jobless americans. the emergency unemployment benefits that they have been getting from the federal government are expiring tomorrow. about 1.3 million people who have been out of work for months will stop receiving payments. the average recipient will lose out on more than $1,000 each month. the benefits program was introduced in 2008 at the height of the recession. since then the payouts have caused the federal government $225 billion. extending them for another year would tack on another $19 billion but congress hasn't done that yet. months ago they lost their jobs, now they're losing the money they get from the government to get by.
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since 2008, congress has extended the emergency unemployment compensation program almost a dozen times. but this time lawmakers have let it lapse. that means that people who have lost their jobs will no longer have a cushion once their state benefits run out, usually after 26 weeks. with the extension, they had up to 73 weeks of help. the change will be especially difficult for people in struggling states like michigan. 45,000 unemployed people there will lose access to benefits right away. 145,000 more sometime next year. >> $161 a week after taxes. >> 56-year-old norbert fronsack is one of them. >> i'm not going to be able to pay for utilities. in fact after this check i get this week from unemployment i have to pay the mortgage payment on the 1st of january. i will have less than $200 in the bank.
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>> michigan's unemployment rate is the highest in the country at 8.8% but the national rate is 7%, the lowest it's been in seven years. that's led many republicans in congress to say there's no longer any need for emergency unemployment benefits but most democrats say the benefits should continue. before heading off to hawaii for the hom days president obama -- -- hol dais president obama consolidated congress for not extending the benefit. >> because of that over 1 million americans will lose a vital life line around christmastime. >> keep looking for work and hope the new year will lead to good tidings and cheer. >> arthur, good to see you, illegalities take this apart in political terms. is it fair to say that republicans want nothing to do with this discussion right now? >> i think that's absolutely
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fair to say. they've been uncharacteristically quiet while democrats have been making a lot of noise about the benefits and blasting republicans for being callous to the unemployed, republicans have been basically quiet but leaders have left their position as ambiguous as possible, and they have said as little as possible about this issue. >> yeah but arthur, is it fair to say that democrats may be screaming now but they didn't scream nearly loud enough, long enough, for some in the democratic base, to get this done the at a point in time when maybe they could have gotten this done? >> we knew this would happen. for more than a year. and democrats have been making more noise since after it was too late to prevent this from happening, than they did when it wasn't too late to do something about it. one thing to keep in mind, though: they have always had a
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sort of casual attitude about deadlines. and this won't be the first time that the extended unemployment benefits lapsed. they did it a few times in previous years and then later passed a reauthorization that retroactively paid people. it is unclear if they'll be able to do that this time. but they are certainly making it seem like they intend to try and there will be a vote in the senate on the sixth or 7th of january. >> albert we talk about 7% as an encouraging number but i wonder if we have lost sight of the long term unemployed in this country, i'm thinking about guys like norbert in the piece and how difficult this has been. >> long term unemployment remains as bad as it's ever been in the past 50 years. it's an absolute catastrophe, more than 4 million people and they are basically left out of the political discussion except
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for this time of year when unemployment benefits are going away. and that's because this is really the only policy that the federal government has that specifically targets this population, and for the most part they are just getting the soylent green and being pushed back by the government that won't push back. >> if you are a member of congress, if you are someone who is watching the program tonight, saying the government ceant afford it -- can't afford it, the fed pulling back on the stimulus program, saying the government can take it. >> that is what they would say, we have let extended federal unemployment benefits, in the past we have let them expire
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when the unemployment rate was as high as 7.2% and yes, the federal reserve is beginning to wind down its erlt efforts to pp the bond market. what this is really about, that remains more than twice as bad as it has ever been in any previous recession, even exaished to the recession in the early 1980s. so it's still a tremendous catastrophe but the fact that the surface numbers are improving, the unemployment rate shooting down as rapidly as it is, that sort of shows you why we are now about to let this program lapse because there seems to be less will to combat the problem than there has been in the past. >> arthur delaney is the political reporter from huffington post, thanks for joining me. >> thanks for having me.
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the decision comes 11 days after another ruling from a different federal judge who said the nsa's program likely violates the constitution. john terrett has more on the ruling. >> in his ruling, the nsa's mass collection of phone records represents the american counterpunch to eliminate the al qaeda terror network. he says the 9/11 attacks might have been prevented if the phone data collection system had existed then to help investigators then collect the dots before the attacks occurred. he said the government's learned from its mistakes and has adapted to confront another enemy, and he said the data collection program was part of the adjustment, and he dismissed the lawsuit brought by the american civil liberties union after former nsa analyst edward snowden leaked secrets on
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american networks every day. the aclu's lawyers argued the government's interpretation of its authority under the patriot act was so broad that it could justify the mass collection of financial, health and even library records of innocent americans without their knowledge. the aclu says it will appeal judge pauley's ruling, sais it misstates the statutes and misapplies a narrow and out dated precedent. the department of justice, spokesman says they were pleased with judge pauley's decision. robert leon ruled the opposite way, in a suit brought against the company verizon. serious doubts of the metadata collection, as a method of collecting time sensitive information. the white house issued a report
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in which it was suggested that changes maybe in the offing to the way in which information is collected and stored in this country. two different decisions on essentially the same subject, many people think the issue of florida spying is heading towards the supreme court in washington. john terrett, al jazeera new york. central beirut car bombing, five others were killed in the downtown business district and 75 others were wounded. mohamed chatta was a former ambassador to the united states, member a coalition that opposes the syrian government, in neighbor syria has sparked tensions inside lebanon. staying where they are for now. a russian diplomat says the international disarmament team won't succeed by the december 31st deadline. he was speaking on the disposal
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process. he was unsure when it would happen. continued violence is delaying the work. in egypt at least five people have died during demonstrations, near assar university in cairo. almost 300 people were arrested. peter greshla has more from cairo. >> friday was always going to be a day of confrontation. a test of will between egypt's antigovernment protestors and police, it came two days after they declared the muslim brotherhood to be a terrorist group. anyone who joins protests supporting the brother hood would be in jail for five years comarnlgd with insiding terrorist philosophy. thousands turned out after friday prayers. >> and now they want to rule us
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with guns. because of that, we are going to proceed very safely, very peacefully to save our lives. >> the killer will not be in egypt. >> women also joined the march that seemed headed for a confrontation. above them supporters waved from the balconies. >> this is a symbol of the anti-coup alliance, by turning out in such large numbers, these protestors are making it clear how concerned they are about fighting the government. the government to commit mass arrests. >> minutes later the police moved in firing tear gas and bird shot into the crowd. determined core regrouped to fight back. the police tried to arrest anyone involved in the protest. >> we have one person that has
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has a bullet wound in his neck. they are now in prison. >> a photographer perched on a balcony, caught this picture of a woman in police custody. the government's crack down on the brother hood was dealing what the state felt, protestors promise it may well have had the opposite effect. peter bresta al jazeera cairo. >> south sudan's government says it has reached a cease fire. more than 1,000 people have been killed after two weeks of fighting. east earn negotiators said they would -- issue african
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negotiatessors said they would. >> rubber bullets the demonstrators are angry about a government corruption scandal. three turkish cabinet members have already resigned but some want the prime minister to go as well. omar alsala reports from irchl. >> it is one of the biggest challenges that rajib erdogan has faced. after three of his key ministers were forced to resign. but erdogan still enjoys support and countering antigovernment protests. on friday he addressed thousands of his followers at ifnl's airporistanbul'sparent. >> sovereigntyity does not belong to the government, it
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belongs to the people. >> elsewhere in istanbul, although small in number, his opponents force running battles with the police. the police outnumbered the protestors but the signs were very clear. bribery is everywhere. corruption is everywhere. they simply want the prime minister to resign. police tried to break up the protestors inside and outside the city's tac sim square. >> if you want to say, get past. >> this latest scandal has brought to the surface a power struggle in turkey. gulan a muslim scholar and preacher based in the u.s. is said to have big support in
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turkey, including the police and the judiciary. it is why the gulan was responsible to bring the corruption scandal into the public domain. the two men were allies in the past but the rift between them is now threatening the country's political stability. al jazeera, istanbul. >> china has officially reformed the one child rule. top legislature has adopted reforms, allow couples to have two children if either is an only child. boomtion population now they fear an aging deck graphic. the country has reabolished education through labor camps. up next on al jazeera america, skeletons in the closet, why prospective employers could ask you if you have incarceration in your past.
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and snow skiers go for the gold. many worry that the gains made in education will not stick in the future. aljazeera's jane ferguson takes us to a school in kandahar city that was long considered a success and is now facing closure. >> it's a place offering more than these girls know, a quality education in real tangible skills, a path away from positivity and early marriage and towards university and career. since 2002, the modern stud has been teaching women languages, like management and computer skills. that they are skills that speak of ambition which in the heart
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of tallle ban country is remarkable. >> we are a unique school, preparing women to go to jobs. our school is preparing women to go to universities. >> start with one issue education... gun control... the gap between rich and poor... job creation... climate change... tax policy... the economy... iran... healthcare... ad guests on all sides of the debate. >> this is a right we should all have... >> it's just the way it is... >> there's something seriously wrong... >> there's been acrimony... >> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself? and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5 eastern only on al jazeera america
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>> new concerns for target customers a week after confirming a major security breach. the company says cyberthieves also managed to steal encrypted pin numbers, from 40 million credit and debit users. target says it's confident the pins are secure. banning the box, that's what some employers asking job applicants if they have ever been convicted of a crime. seattle is one of the cities that have adopted the policy, tanya moseley has the story. >> a simple interaction he isn't taking for granted. before he was hired by the community resource program year up, taylor had applied to more than 100 jobs.
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>> i got zero interviews. i got zero call backs. no -- nothing at all. >> reporter: terribly thinks he was shut out of the hiring process thanks to a little box on the applications that asks, have you been convicted of a crime? at 18 taylor spent time for robbery. >> when you fill out the same job applications and hears the same thing, no, makes you want to turn on recidivism and makes you want to commit crimes. >> trying to make it easier for felons like taylor, to move on from their crimes. ban the box is, they can't ask until after they are brought in for an interview. >> they have to give a person a chance to explain or correct their record if it is something they don't want to go forward in the hiring process. >> this does not apply to crimes
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that are in direct conflict with the job they are applying for, in other words, sex offenders cannot apply for a job with children involved. >> with those provisions in mind some like jim tharp question the effectiveness of the law. tharp rents victims to convicted felons. he believes education programs could help. >> there needs to be not just laws but programs so these people can get into jobs and without that we are going to quownls havcontinuously have the problems. >> am i qualified for this position? can i do the best in this position than there other applicant? my background doesn't say i can do that, my program says i've made a mistake.
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>> he says it is not asolution but the first step in helping americans give back to society. tanya moseley, al jazeera, seattle. >> so the winter olympics is less than six weeks wra. >> 41 days until the winter olympics. there are actually 12 new are events, snow skiing with runs tricks and aerial attacks. our tanya moseley last the story. >> this is an opportunity of a lifetime to showcase their talent. >> we had no item this was going to be an like spor olympic spora year and a half ago. childhood games were our dream. that was our loiksd before sochi. >> the indiana native started skiing when he was just five years old. >> i started skiing when i was
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five and i started doing flips on my skis when i was 11. i grew up on southeastern indiana not known for its amazing skiing. but i grew.near a 350 foothill that i skied on every day and every weekend. and that's what got me into it. >> this was costly but he had to get creative. >> my dad lost his job and was unemployed for two years and financially my family was a little unstable so they weren't able to support me to the full extent with all my skiing endeavors. i had to go out and get the initiative of financing my career myself. i was kind of an entrepreneur those days and i went to my mom and gave her this idea and she supported it. we went to the store and bought candy bars.
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i would sell them for one dollar. >> credits his parents to get him started. >> theyer weren't really great skiers but they got me outside and doing active things and they wanted me to get outside in winter. they got me into skiing. i fell in love with it, the cool snow and the speed, everything was amazing to me and i stuck with it. >> like any sport there is an element of danger. >> the fear for us makes it exciting. the adrenalin rush, going out every day and trying these crazy tricks makes it fun to watch. there are so many sports that you prisk life and limb. but i swear we're calculated. >> what we do is very dangerous,
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you're flying high over big jumps and grinding metal rails, the fear factor i would say it's definitely nerve wracking, kind of makes you think twice sometimes. but it evaluates the fun we have on our skis. >> geppert took gold in 2013 and was third in the x games. >> winning gold was all of my childhood dreams coming true and it meant a lot because it was kind of the accumulation of all my hard work and sacrifice and just dedication to skiing from such a young age. >> walesh won his first world championship tiles in 2013 and is called one of the most electrifying slope skiers in the game. walesh wants to keep the same routine. >> i just want to keep it the same, go out, have fun, ski as
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much as i can, be cautious, be safe, know when to call it quits, know when to go it hard and do what i do. >> as far as the political views in russia, wallace tries not to school himself on that. >> it's so different than what it is, just go in there and looking forward to going out there as an athlete and doing as hard as i can and hopefully, bringing home a medal for my country. >> that kid who ate chocolate on the bus. good luck to them tony. >> all right, ross, thank you. denver today began issuing pipelines for recreational marijuana. 42 businesses in the city have been approved to get permits. are most are growers, only eight are sellers, colorado approved the sale of nonmedical marijuana
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last year, an older can buy as much as an ounce, nonresidents can buy up to a quarter-ounce. paying for homeless in their other than apartments. actually less expensive than not. and crooks on motorcycles.
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>> and welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm tony harris. here is a look at the headquarters. six people including the former ambassador to the united nations, were cirltd in a car bomb. blamed on the civil war in syria. another court has weighed in on the nsa spying controversy. a federal judge in new york city
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says it is lawful for the nsa to collect the phone records of americans. a few days before, another judge said it was likely unconstitutional. rielings on unemployment checks for americans that have been out of work for months expired this weekend. the white house called on congress to keep the five-year-old program going. going to tell you not everyone will be celebrating the start of the new year, as stacy 'tis daily reports there are dozens of tax credits scheduled to expire on new year's even. >> while 20 -- eve. >> while 2013 came in with a bang its end may mean the end of credits for many. >> teachers in the u.s. spend $1.3 billion out of pocket for their students. that's right. 1.3 billion every year.
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>> more than three and a half million teachers in the u.s. spend money out of their own pockets to make sure the students have the resources they need. since 2003 they have been able to deduct $250 for their experience expenses. that expires at the end of the year. >> it's going to cost them a little more in 2014. >> it may cost parents with children in college more to send their kids to school. the tuition and fees deduction allows families earning less than $160,000 a year and single parents earning less than $80,000 a year to seclude from their taxable income making that lower. >> when you're trying to decide whether or not you can afford to go to school you really need to know the after-tax expense for tuition and fees. >> reporter: in the meantime
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tax experts say affected parents should try to pay 2014 expenses by the end of this year. struggling homeowners are going oface what many experts are calling a financial disaster with the expiration of the mortgage debt forgiveness relief act of 2007. taxed as income, consider that more than 640,000 americans received relief from the mortgage settlement reached in 2012, affected lenders reduced the size of the mortgage by an average of $108,000 so mortgages were affordable. if congress doesn't act mortgages will be taxed as income. >> it is going to hit these people who were the very most vulnerable, people struggling by their mortgage payments, hurt by a declining home price market, that hurts the economy. >> small businesses in the united states create more than
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60% of private sector jobs and many economists say their ability to grow will be hurt by the expiration of a deduction, lets them write off up to $500,000 in new or used equipment. in 2014 it drops to 25,000. just because these exemptions are set to expire, doesn't mean that taxpayers won't get relief. it is even possible that lawmakers will reinstate these or make them retroactive. now it's a waiting game. millions of taxpayers and bits need to brace themselves for a higher birl from urch from uncl. stacy tiz daily, al jazeera, new york. reducing homelessness and health care costs at the same time. >> my studio.
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>> aurilio ramirez is living in his other than home for the first time in a decade. >> i'm so happy. >> it's been a long time since he's been able to say that. born in manhattan then raised in puerto rico, ramirez was studying to be a teacher. >> then my mother got sick. i subbed out to tray care of her. >> finally a company he worked for moved away he lost his home and his job, too. for years he lived under the coney pile island pier. >> those people are disproportionately homeless, these are people with a lot of medical problems.
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often co-existing substance abuse problems. >> dr. kelly duran specializes in homelessness but it was a stinlt as a field worker in san francisco that showed her a different approach to health care for the homeless. >> when you really break it down there are so many things that are necessary for health, when you don't have that stability and the roof over your head. having a refrigerator and a stove so that you can make healthy food and not rely on handouts or fast food or something that's bad for you. >> ramirez has a fresh start because of an innovative plan that uses medicaid to help house the homeless. supportive housing showing that states can save money by implementing this plan. >> two years ago, new york state began a first in the nation experiment, using $150 million
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in medicaid money for supportive housing for the homeless. >> we've served over 500,000 individuals now, and what we are seeing is decreased use of er use and increased spend on the primary side and that's exactly the direction we wanted to take. >> before coming here ramirez went to the emergency room three or 74 times a month. and now? >> i haven't gone to the hospital. >> at all? >> no. >> ramirez now takes his medication and makes regular visits to the nurse's office and his case manager, both of them in the building where he lives. >> i'm really proud of ah aurilio and how well he has done. >> a key to these homeless people: having a home. >> where do you think you would have been if you had not found
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this place? >> probably dead. >> it is like a new life. >> yes, it is, a whole different world. >> ramirez is an example of how states may be able to reduce rising health care costs for homeless by showing them how to live healthy in their own place. randall pinkston, al jazeera new york. fueled by the tech industry may be the envy of other u.s. cities, san francisco is now the least affordable housing market in the country. do the math! the city is small, just 49 square miles and housing is not keeping pace with the growing population. rent has gone up more than 10% in the past year. the median rent for a two bedroom apartment is now $3250 per month. that has priced out many middle class residents. it has also led to tensions between new tech money and older residents. melissa chan has the story. >> for almost half a century,
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mary phillips last had this view of san francisco from her balcony. but she stands to lose that view next spring. at 97 years old she fawses eviction from her -- faces eviction from her rent controlled apartment. >> i feel very bitter about it. they have to take me out of here screaming and yelling. >> mary plans to fight the eviction in court. others are not getting kicked out but priced out. jennifer can no longer afford the rent oon her two bedroom place, her landlord wants $3,000, possibly $4,000. >> i haven't done anything wrong except i'm not rich. >> san francisco has the highest median rent among the nation's large cities. feeding the gap has left neighborhoods like this one
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resentment has grown. antieviction protests have become more frequent. >> it's just getting worse and worse and worse. we have three times the amount of evisions we had last year and at some point we had to say stop. >> it's really suck out the soul of san francisco. >> san francisco has become a victim of its own success. a strong economy fueled by the technology industry has led to a tale of two cities. the supply of homes can't meet demand even with new construction. and some real estate speculators are using eviction as a tool to make way for new developments. >> stop eviction now! >> protests have stopped private google and apple buses. a level of anger misdirected in what has actually been a decades long problem for the city. a shortage may clear in this
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boom time. whatever the reason for the crisis, tech has become the target. al jazeera asked google about the bark lash. we received this statement. "google strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we work and live. in the last year we volunteered hundreds of hours with local organizations and gave more than $17 million to bay area nonprofits. we love to do more in the new year." the city is trying to speed up construction of affordable housing, but for some that solution won't come in time. >> i don't know just what i would do. i don't want to go to an old folk's home. >> if mary loses her court battle all she'll have left will be photographs, memories of her decades in this home. melissa chan, al jazeera, san francisco. >> oh that can't happen! in japan the governor of okinawa has approved the controversial relocation of a naval base.
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many residents of okinawa don't want a base there at all. activists have been camping out on the proposed site for more than a decade. some call them a playing, they are also used in a surprising number of crimes, allesandro has the story from caracas. >> riding between traffic lanes. flowing red lights, even ambushing drivers, motorcycles have innovated caracas becoming a major concern. iseli was assaulted in traffic bumper to bumper. >> a passenger got off and put a bunch of cell phones in his pocket. i understand they were coming to me next. they knocked on my window an i gave them everything i had as
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everyone else did. >> motorcycles are favored by robbers and hit men and gangs of armed bikers act with impunity like these looting a broken down truck. this driver is one of them. he works as a taxi driver but says he mugs people when in need. >> translator: there are times that you have to. it's like damp. i have no money, there's little work. it rained all week and i couldn't work. you need the money so you're encouraged to steal. i call a friend, we look for victims. >> the two-wheel invasion began a decade ago when cheap chinese made bikes arrived. they are a problem but also a life line in the constant gridlock. transportation infrastructure has been neglected for decades leading to these levels of congestion. things have become so pad that what was a 30 minute commute on a motorcycle takes more than two
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hours in a car. isociologist rafael ramirez says people know the city wouldn't be viable without them but wishes the city could crack down on the violence. >> now we live in a situation of anarchy, this government has planted the idea the poor can do what they want. rules have not been enforced for years so now even if they try, people defy them. >> the government started meeting with associations of bikers many of which support the somebodyist party. but getting them to agree to basic rules may be as bad as navigating caracas traffic. >> set free, but they say their fight against the rule of putin
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is far from over. and just rewards, a cabbie returns $300,000 he found in the back seat. now he plerns how much he will get in return -- now he learns how much he will get in return.
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>> rain showers now but we're going to continue with the rainfall in the southeast this weekend. that has led to flood warnings and flood watches as we look through the southeast for the remainder of the night into the morning hours.
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rain is pretty light and showery at this time, but storm system will be traveling up the east coast. in fact we have something coming the moisture and the warmth from the southeast but it is cold cold arctic air coming out of canada. win chilled advisories some as low as 40 below in north dakota. heavier snow amounts are expected just to be around lake superior, four to eight inches. otherwise it will be lightser amounts from canada down to the parts of the northwest. here is the rain sunday, continuing to travel right up the east coast, but yes maine, vermont, new hampshire you'll continue with the snow so tonight we're going to continue with some more comfortable seasonable temperatures for many of us and that lasts through the first part of saturday.
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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.
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>> members of pussy roitd, the russian punk protest group are defiant. released after 21 months behind bars. in their first statement since being released. they vowed to topple russian president vladimir putin. >> the pussy riot band members released as part of putin's amnesty, they had been arrested in 2012. both are young mothers and the separation from their children had been hard. on friday one of russia's
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independent tv stations, both women met the world press, both looking surprisingly well, after more than 18 months in two of the country's toughest labor camps. they said there would be no more pussy riot, they're moving on in a different direction and their opposition is now to russia's winter olympics. >> translator: what we want to attract attention to, first of all the attention of the people living abroad is that they should not go to the olympics as if it's some sort of sport or cultural event. make it a political event, make your political choice. if you decide to come, there are people here in russia, russian dissention who do not have this opportunity because they are behind bars and for no reason. >> russian president vladimir putin, describing his as: >> reserved nontransparent security officer with lots of fears, he is afraid of lots of
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things, he surrounds himself with walls and doesn't see the reality behind them now. he is deceived and ready to believe in that deceit. >> they are now forming a new charity called zone of rights which will support the rights of prisoners in russia whose conditions they are all too well aware of. they say they have been in touch with mikhail khodorkovsky, not for financial aid but for mutual support in their work. >> our final goal is solidarity, a developed civil society and the ability to help each other. we saw all of this while we we're in prison, it was a real miracle and we are grateful to those who supported us. >> but unlike mikhail khodorkovsky, the now defunct punk band have no plans to leave russia and they say their decision is final.
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>> two russian cost mow noughts completed a spacewalk. the cost mo -- cosmonauts were trying to install equipment at the orbiting laboratory. city of konshassa is going high tech. they direct traffic if you believe. they were installed to direct traffic and keep an eye on traffitraffic traffic violation. ira glass. >> i grew up in the suburbs so i think it was very typical of the people who grew up in the suburbs. i happened to grow up in an
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unbelievably jewish suburb, i didn't realize as a child just how eccentric that was, baltimore county has a huge jewish population, it was more of an enclave than i believed. almost nobody celebrated christmas which is just like it got oh that was really unusual. nobody celebrated christmas. like so, yeah. >> and you -- but now you're an atheist so the jewish upbringing is more of a cultural identity? >> you don't have to believe in god to be a jew, you are whether you choose to be or not. i went to hebrew school in all the way up to the 10th or 11th grade. >> you had a bar mitzvah? >> i had a bar mitzvah the whole thing. and at some point i found that i didn't believe in god. and i've talked about this publicly on the radio and elsewhere.
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and it's one of the things where i feel like -- i don't know. periodically i'll do stories on evangelical christians. when i get along with them as often i do, at some point you think don't you think there's a reason you were drawn to do this story, don't you think there's a reason why we were meeting each other and they'll try to sell me on believing in god again and i wish i feel like i wish i could kind of go there. >> and you could see more of david shuster's interview with ira glass on sun. talk to al jazeera. >> the taxi driver who found $300,000 in the back of his cab, the owner of the money has now given him $10,000 and the owner
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of the cab company has now given him another $1,000. a look at the major issues of 2013.
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>> kwanzaa began 47 years ago as a celebration of unity within the african american community, but since that time the number who celebrate it has dwindled. earlier i asked how the holidays founding principle still relate to people today. >> i find it an incredibly beautiful celebration. you know kwanzaa is as you said it's a secular holiday. it is a celebration of enormous incredibly beautiful values. all the gifts are supposed to be hand made. it is supposed to be a nonmaterialistic holiday, the principles are creativity and faith and collective work and responsibility and self-determination and so it really is a way for people to
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come together, and celebrate ethics. and values. in the context of community. there has been some of those who celebrate kwanzaa who use it as an alternative to christmas for those who are not christian. but i actually think that that's probably not the majority of those who, and to some degree participate in kwanzaa. i think it's not sort of -- it hasn't been embraced as alternative to christmas or some people misparenthesi misapprehef black christmas, in the holiday season to intreas the kind of values that all the major religions as you tensibly embrace but often in the context of the commercialism of the holidays we get. >> from gay marriage to marijuana to mill ennails, americans had a lot to think about in 2013. one major pollster has been looking at the highs and lows of
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the year. ray lynn johnson has a report. >> in the court of public opinion 2013 was a big year of americans, passing milestones on a range of issues. findings from the pew research center suggest that this year for the first time most americans say they support same sex marriage. 51% according to the pew survey. also rising over the 50% threshold for the first time support for legalizing marijuana use, 52% on that question. support for congress hit a 20 year low this year, the polling suggest that 38% of americans questioned said they don't want their representative reelected. ref lawtionzs about the nsa's domestic spying may have put americans on edge. 53% of those surveyed said they considered the government a threat to their personal rights and freedoms. that's a majority for the first time. and a number that might not be surprising given the state of the economy. 36% of mill enyuls, young adults
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from age 18 to 31 say they are still living at home with their parents, that's the most in 40 years. while you happen to be watching tv now, the pew poll says americans are using the internet as a main delivery of news, ray lynn johnson, new york city. >> workers have are are finished installing crystal panels into the sphere. 3,000 glass panels. the sphere is expected to reflect more than 16 million colors as it drops at midnight. one panel includes a drawing of a 12-year-old former cancer patient. and we're going to get to the headlines in just a moment and turn you over to joie chen and the "america tonight" team.
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have a good evening. from. >> and welcome to al jazeera america. i'm tony harris here is a look at the top stories. a federal judge says the national security agency collection of telephone data is not only legal he called it a counterpunch to terrorism. the ruling conflicts to another judge's ruling earlier this month that said the conduct is likely unconstitutional. congress let unemployment benefits lapse when they left on vacation. president obama will present it to them when they return t

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