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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 28, 2013 4:00pm-5:01pm EST

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>> this is al jazeera america live from new york. i'm jonathan betz. time runs out for more than a million americans relying on long-term unemployment benefits. refugees in south sudan are growing more desperate while the world searches for a political solution. >> an intense heatwave has hit argentina creating misery for residents, without power, and why the russians are shining a new light on winter. >> it is a tough weekend for those struggling to find jobs.
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long-term unemployment benefits ran out. a live line for -- life line for 1.3 million people. they are cut off. they won't be getting what they used to go - a little over $1,000. it start at the height of the recession. since then it cost $225 billion since 2008. >> the u.s. economy is adding jobs, but is well short of a total before the bottom fell out of the labour market in 2007. the hardest hit are the long-term unemployment, 4.9 million will exhaust emergency benefits during 2014, unless congress acts to renew the program. people like 56-year-old norbert franzak are being cut off now. >> i'm not going be able to pay for utilities. in fact, after this check i get this week from unemployment, i have to pay the mortgage payment
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on 1 january, i'll have less than $200 in the bank. >> before congress adjourned for the year president obama appealed for the benefits to be restored. >> for many looking for work unemployment insurance is a life line that can make the difference between temporary hardship and lasting catastrophe. >> congress has been opposed to extending the program. >> if people thing we need two years of unemployment benefits, they should come forward and say to raise taxes. >> others discourage unemployed from stepping up the job search. that does not impress david sexton who lost his job. >> seems there's an impression that people on unemployment benefits are sitting, enjoying the money. nothing could be further from the truth. >> almost three americans are competing for each current job
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opening. >> to further discuss the cuts we have on set tom doherty, and a former advisor george pataki to the government, a strategist from mercury, and rebecca dixon, from the national employment law center. thank you for being with us. tom, good idea to cut the unemployed benefits? >> not a good idea. there's two sides, the factual side. the economy is at the point where we are moving forward, a good pace. doing this would slow down the economy. all this is going back to the economy. there's a political equation. the developments want to trap the republicans into being the bad anies. >> you are a republican. >> yes. i get it. people are suffering in this country. what is the long-term solution. we should give vouchers or
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benefits to move from nevada to north dakota. >> if you say it's a bad idea to cut benefits, why do others say it's a good idea? >> because if you sit here, the average working american says at what point does it end? when do the handouts end, 26 weeks, 53 weeks, 97 weeks. we don't have a long-term plan. it's a political equation that we need to come up with. republicans need to say, "listen, middle class americans are suffering. the economy has taken a turn, let's not screw it up. these are voters we need to win the next election." >> what will happen to the 1.3 million americans without these benefits? >> as you know, workers depend on the benefits for basic expenses like housing and food. when you have been unemployed for six months or more, which is the population of people we are
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talking about, who are losing the benefits. at that point you have exhausted your savings, you borrow from friends and you sold anything you have of value. this is basically the only life line that we have for these families. there's not a lot left as far as the safety net that the families can take advantage of. >> when is enough enough. you hear a lot of people in washington say the benefits have been going on for too long, the economy has recovered enough where the government does not need to support people for over a year after they've been let go from their job. >> i say there's still an emergency. we have near-record long-term unemployment. for these workers, there are not enough jobs. we know the economy has not created the jobs we need to get them back to work. we know there's three people for each job opening. congress should make the effort to come up with a rob unfortunate job creation program. there are things that work, that
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we know that work. there was the subsidised employment program through the stimulus package. we can invest in the employment service. so i just think it's leaving people between a rock and a hard place to cut off benefits and ignore urgent need for job creation. >> unemployed americans will get help, six months of support after being laid off for their job. it's not as much help as they were getting. is it not enough? >> what we don't discuss - rebecca said at some point americans say we have down a lot. at this point, because of the fragile state of the economy, we should really talk about how are we going to fix the economy. that's where we get to the rubber hits the road in the political debate. if this was a critical issue for democrats, how did they allow the budget deal to go down. they did it for young reason. they want to make this the
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shining issue as if the republicans are the grinch that stole christmas. that said, we should have a serious debate. the fact is americans need help. at the same point, why don't we talk about in cases of uneducated workers. lower the minimum wage so that people, younger people can get into and get a new job. >> democrats say the reason why it would not pass is republicans don't believe the same thing you do. >> i disagree. i think leadership means that the president needs to be out there talking about ways and figuring ways of compromise. why not pay a fee. if you are on unemployment, how about a bonus to a person who gets a job. motivate them. the longer someone is on unemployment, the less likely they are to get a long-term job. >> is that the concern. staying on unemployment for up to a year? >> it is, but we need to throw in different areas where we say find a job, we'll give you a
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bonus. give a relocation fee. there are opportunities. move your family from a depressed state like nevada, move to south dakota. i don't think we are talking about creative solutions. that was the foundation of the republican party, good, solid ideas. >> are there other solutions other than extending unemployment benefits every couple of months? >> well, we would need to have a rob unfortunate job creation programs. there's a lot of ideas out there that have been part of the different ideas from both parties, but there's a gridlock in congress and an unwillingness to take it on. in america we don't look at problems like this as too big. we can't forget the unemployed because it's a hard problem to solve. in the meantime we shouldn't leave people out in the cold,
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facing new year unable to pay the rent or mortgage payments. >> should unemployment benefits remain out there? we are seeing people getting benefits up to a year. is it not too much. are there other solutions that should be pursued instead. i wouldn't say that you need to do it instead. i would say that you need to do both, and contrary to what people believe, the extended unemployment benefit ranges from 14 weeks to 24 weeks, the large majority receiving the low end. it takes the average worker 27 weeks to find employment. most are not on the benefits for long. the ones who are need a strong program, they need congress to do something, funding for the unemployment service to match them with jobs and skills. we need to have a conversation
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to figure out how to do it long term. >> your final thoughts since there's talk that there might be a possibility that congress might come up with a solution. >> the solution is the president taking the lead. he needs to work across the aisle. when you have that - the budget agreement is an example - we can get good stuff done. the president needs to take the leadershipers not point the finger at the republicans as the bad guys. >> thank you both for your time. >> things will cost a little more next year. dozens of tax credits are set to expire. as stacey tisdale reports, not everyone will celebrate the start of 2014. >> while 2013 came in with a bang. it's end may mean a higher tax bill for many. tax breaks are expiring affecting a range of americans from small business owners to
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educators. >> teachers in the u.s. spend $1.3 billion out of pocket et. that's right, $1.3 billion. >> more than 3.5 million in the u.s. spend money out of their own pockets to make sure students have supplies and resources they need. they have been able to deduct $250 for out-of-pocket expenses and that disappearings at the -- disappears at the end of the year. >> i hope the councillors, teachers and aides continue to spend the funds. it will cost more. >> the tuition fees deduction allows families earning less than $60,000, and single parents earning less than $80,000 to exclude $4,000 from their income giving them a lower tax bill. >> we hope congress does something to make the incentives
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permanent. to provide permanent si. you need to know after tax expenses for tuition and fees. >> tax experts say affected parents should try to pay 2014 expenses by the end of this year. struggling home owners will face a financial disaster with the expiration of the mortgage debt forgiveness relief act. it prevents forgiven mortgage debt being taxed as income. 624,000 americans received relief in 2012. the size reduced by an average $1008 so monthly payments were affordable. mortgage reductions made in 2014 will be taxed as income if congress doesn't act. >> it will hit the people who are the most vulnerable, people struggling with mortgage payments, people hurt by a
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declining home price market, and that hurts the housing market, hurts the economy. small businesses in the united states create more than 60" of private sector jobs. economists say their ability to grow is less of a deduction. 2014 drops to $25,000. >> because the exemptions are set to expire does not mean the taxpayers will not get relief. congress can restate positions and make them retroactive. it doesn't mean they'll come back in the same size and form. taxpayers and businesses need to brace themselves for a higher bill from uncle sam. >> the lights are on for thousands of people in the north-east. an ice storm cut power to half a million homes. warmer weather in the next few
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days may not be a good thing. falling ice and tree branches could damage more power lines. >> well, as jonathan says, the lights are on, and i think folks are happy that the heat is on, certain across michigan where there's cold air pushing in out of canada. look at the map. we don't have a lot of moisture with the front, but there's a lot of wind and cold air behind it. we are looking at winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour, with the cold air sinking in to the dakotas, portions of minnesota, and back to michigan, as the air mass pushes south and east. a few light snow showers across the dakotas and minnesota where there's a wind warning, gusting up to 60 miles per hour in rapid
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city. towards chicago winds of 22 in the windy city and there's a snow pack in place. blowing, drifting snow across the dakotas. it will be very chilly out there as we track into tomorrow. right now we are at 26 degrees. 39 degrees in minneapolis and over the next several days. the wind and the cold air will continue to sink south and east. by tuesday the cold air will reach the east coast. in the south-east it's warm. there's a lot of instability in the atmosphere. a lot of moisture as areas of low pressure tracks north and east. it tracks down past mississippi, georgia. heavy rain, and we could see storms turn severe with winds, rain and isolated tornados, a different story across the south-west. winds picking up across los
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angeles. >> thank you, a different story in south america. it's a red alert for parts of argentina. people are protesting after two weeks of a heatwave caused many to lose power. we have this report from buenos aires by danier schweimler. >> temperatures in buenos aires have been above 32 degrees centigrade since december. humidity and other factors makes it feel like it's in the mid 40s, and it's likely to stay like that since the new year. >> we have beaten parameters for 141 years. never have we had high temperatures, high humidity and low atmospheric pressure. that's why we are alerting the population - take care.
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>> the heatwave has put a strain on energy supplies, causing power cuts - sometimes for a few hours, occasionally for several days. frustrated residents blocked this road after living without power for 10 days. >> no one listens to us. we followed the correct procedures and called the energy companies. only a computer deals with us. engineers are out working. it's a lie. we had no alternative but to do this. >> the government and energy companies said they are dealing with the problem, and all power will be restored shortly. in the meantime emergency measures are implemented. and issues about how to deal with the extreme heat. >> with the high temperatures, we are suffering here, young and old alike. with no electricity in some cases for five, 10 or 20 days,
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the situation becomes unbearable, sufo kating. with no end in site. we have to look for respite wherever we can. >> with some going to any lengths to keep their cool. all around they are fuming about the heat, humidity and power cuts. >> coming up on al jazeera america, after days of peace walks, the world's youngest country is on the verge of a civil war. >> trapped in the ice, a race to rescue passengers off the coast of the apt.
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nick goepp nick goepper
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>> 25,000 soldiers are on the move in south sudan. the former vice president sent them to retake the critical city of bor. hope is timing. the country's president -- dimming. the country's president and african leaders hoped for a cease fire.
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they find themselves on the middle of a civil war and crisis. mohammed adow is at a camp. >> these are the people, two weeks after seeking protection at the main u.n. peacekeepers base in juba, they are not confident to return to their homes. the exciting exposed ethnic divisions in south sudan as neighbour against neighbour. this man watched as his brother was shot. >> my brother was killed, not by soldiers, but civilians. he died because he belonged to an ethnic group. >> with thousands living here, the area is overcrowded. the shortage of basic services, such as clean water. help is beginning to arrive. here officials of the world food program distribute food and household items to the
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displaced. >> it's been a challenging task for the world food program and its partners, in terms of distributing food. we are doing so in challenging circumstances, but are doing our utmost. >> with more and more displaced people seeking shelter in u.n. camps across the country. u.n. peacekeeping mission is overwhelm overwhelmed. there are plans to increase the numbers from 7,000 to 12,000 and 500 from people from democratic republic of congo and ivory coast. >> 73 police officers from bangladesh arrived. they are from the u.n. mission from the democratic republic of congo monusco, trained in crowd control. they'll be spread across the country and assigned to u.n. camps overflowing with the displaced. >> we believe the need for additional peace keeper troops and u.n. advisors is critical.
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we have something in the order of 63,000 civilians housed at a dozen locations of the peacekeeping mission across the country. >> u.n. officials say that with additional capability, they will not be able to protect every civilian in south sudan. the country is too big, and the conflict spreading over wide areas to be effectively policed by 12,500 troops. >> and joining us live from washington d.c. is steve mcdonald, the senior advisor for the african program at the wilson center. thank you for being with us. there's talk of a peace deal. we see the reports and pictures. how likely is it that that country will come to peace? >> well, of course i have seen the reports. the negotiations on friday in nairobi under the auspices of the intergovernmental authority for development, and the visits
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by the presidents of kenya and the prime minister of ethiopia, plus, as i understand it, probably tomorrow uganda's president is going in. these are welcome efforts, of course. and there has been acknowledgment for agreement by president salva kiir of south sudan to seek a ceasefire and to undergo a negotiation process to bring these hostilities to an end. without like commitment from riek machar, the former vice president who is the one who perpet rated who led the rebel group, these will come to nought >> do you get the impression that the vice president is willing to engage? do you think he'll soften his stance at all? >> this is speculation. i do not get that feeling yet.
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i know the bbc did an interview with him via satellite phone while he was in the bush. his location is not known, but he is somewhere in jonglei state. he probably feels he has a bit of a military advantage. i think we are in for rough fighting and times over the next few days as well something sorts itself out. >> we are hearing reports of 25,000 young men. part of the white army, because they cover their faces and body with white ash to repell insects. what do we know about the movement. how seriously do we take it, how serious is it. >> it is dangerous. we have to wait and see what it means. 25,000 is a huge number. the white army is legendary. they are riek machar followers or the same ethnicity - they are
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nuer - and there is a probability that they may be making this move. that information, of course, is suspect because it comes from riek machar, and others. i don't know that they've been seen on the move yet. if there are, indeed, 25,000 of them, it depends how heavily armed they are. the south sudanese regular army, the s.p.l.a. is moving towards areas, recapturing bor and makala or maybe half of that area. they have a large presence up there. if there's 25,000 of these guys, there may be a knock-down drag-out battle. >> that is the concern for a lot of people across the country and the world. >> steve mcdonald with the wilson center. thank you for your time. >> still ahead - awaiting rescue in the antarctic. the australians are on the way.
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we'll speak to a scientist trapped on the ship and a woman working it help rescue them. >> i'm jennifer london travelling with the president in hawaii. mr barack obama's vacation is not stopping him urging members of congress to restore benefits to more than a million americans. >> politics at up to problems - we'll tell you about plans by the irani government change the capital of the country.
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>> welcome back to al jazeera america. here are the top stories this half hour. a new york federal judge ruled the national security agency's spying program is legal. the american civil liberties union filed the lawsuit. earlier in month a judge ruled against the n.s.a. in a case brought against verizon. >> the syrian government agreed to have toxic compound out by the end of the year. diplomats today said it will not
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be finished by that deadline. >> more than a million americans out of work lost unemployment benefits. the program would have cost $19 billion if extended. >> let's go jennifer london live in hawaii, where president obama is vacationing. president obama is hoping to extend the benefits still. >> well, he certainly was before he came out here to hawaii for his vacation. to provide context, today some 1.3 million americans are seeing their federal unemployment benefits cut off. that is because, as you mentioned, extending the benefits was not part of the bipartisan budget act of 2013 which members of congress approved. and ultimately president barack obama signed. >> while the president has been pushing for months for congress to extend the benefits, nothing will happen in the immediate future, and that is because
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congress is in recess until january the 6th. the president called it an urgent economic priority and speaking at his final press conference, he told reportsers ending jobless benefits is not the right thing to do. >> i think we are a better country than that. we don't abandon each other when times are tough. unemployment benefits go folks who are actively looking for work, the mum to feed her kids while sending out resuls. and dad paying the rent whilst working part time and learning new skills. >> federal benefits kick in after six months, when the state jobless benefits end. this was started during the bush administration and was meant to serve as a live line to people who lost their jobs during the recession and were unable to find one quickly. senate majority leader harry
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reid vowed to make extending the cuts a priority when congress reconvenience in january. we know that the president made two phone calls, one to democratic senator jack reid and another to republican senator dean haller. the president called them to show support for a proposal they put forward to extend the jobless benefits for three months, but we are in a holding pattern until congress is back in session. >> since you are in hawaii, how will that state be impacted by all this? >> hawaii actually has one of the lower unemployment rates compared to the rest of the country. numbers released in december for unemployment rates shows a rate of 4.4%, among the lower as it compares to the mainland. i had a chance to speak to a
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representative from hawaii's department of labour, and he said they have 2200 throughout the state receiving federal unemployment assistance. they are among 1.3 million americans cut off today. 2200 people does not sound like a lot. it's 2200 too many in the state of hawaii. finding the much-needed benefits cut off. >> jennifer london live for us in honolulu with the president. >> antarctica's harsh weather. a stalled rescue of a cruise sh ship. it has been stuck in ice, 100 miles east of a french research station. a chinese ship called the "snow dragon" could not reach them. it's nearby, waiting for other ice breakers. andrea hayward-moher joins me now, a speaks woman for the australian maritime safety authority, which is leading the rescue efforts. thank you for being with us.
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i'm curious to know why we think the other ships may make progress where the chinese ships fell short. >> the "aurora australis," the australian research and supply vessel has a slightly greater ice rating than the chinese vessel. so the plan is for that to arrive later today - it's sunday here in australia. and then they will assess the situation and then report back to the rescue coordination centre in australia here, behind me, before the next decision is made. >> so how soon could it be that that ship could free this trapped ship in the antarctic ice. >> well, it's uncertain whether, in fact, it will be able to. so until it arrives down in that vicinity, it's difficult, really, to speculate. >> if it can't free the trapped ship, what happens next? >> the chinese vessel that is
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down there has a helicopter on board. if those - if the "aurora australis" is not able to get any closer than the chinese vessel, then it may be a case of transferring those people off the academic ship. >> evacuating the ship is a possibility? >> it is one of the options at the moment, yes. >> what would happen to the ship? would they evacuate the crew, would someone be left behind? would the ship be abandoned? >> that is something to be determined. the rescue coordination centre remains in contact with the masters of all the vessels and will continue to do so today. >> we saw reports and video from aboard the ship, from passengers and crew members who seem to be taking it in stride. they are in good spirits. is there danger here. could the ice get so thick and powerful that it could damage the ship.
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>> look, it is - it does have its dangers down there. obviously this is a very, sort of, unpredictable environment, and there are inherent risks. hopefully the ice will remain as it is, and the vessel will remain stable and safe with all on board safe at the moment. so, you know, that's great news. >> hopefully the australian ship will be able to go where the chinese could not. andrea hayward-moher with the australian maritime safety authority. thank you for your time today. >> thank you. >> fighting continues in cairo between protesters and police. two students have been killed, over 100 arrested. many demonstrations are taking place at universities. al jazeera's peter greste has the latest. >> we have been speaking about the protests around the universities, here in cairo, and also there was another incident at a university in alexandria
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where authorities were forced to evacuate buildings after finding an explosive device that the police diffused. there are a few other areas around the city. >> a bomb was found on board a bus there was diffused. the passengers found the device hidden under the seats. there was a grenade that was thrown at a check point the north-east of cairo. that grenade went off. there was no casualties, but it caused damage to cars. now, the protests are in response to the government's decision to designate the muslim brotherhood as a terrorist organization. since then almost 400 people have been rounded up by the police, accused of having links to the organization. according to the terrorism law anyone in the group can be gaoled for up to five years. the punishment for those leading the organization is death.
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a lot of people are getting worried. i know that there are a few people reconsidering their new year's eve plans, for example. a lot are thinking twice about going into public spaces for fear of an attack and talking about spending the evening at home or with friends. >> today the "new york times" is reporting that they found to evidence that al qaeda or other terrorist organizations participated in the attack of the u.n. embassy in benghazi. instead it was anger over demeaning video about islam made by an american that drove the assault. based on months of investigations the attackers had benefitted from the air power and logistic support during the uprising against muammar gaddafi in 2011. ambassador christopher stevens and three other americans were killed. >> the death toll in the ba route car bomb has risen to
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seven. mohamad chatah, former ambassador to the u.s. was kill. >> hezbollah has been blamed. mohamad chatah was outspoken against the government and is believed to have been the target of the attack. >> iran's government is flirting with the idea of moving the capital from tehran to another city. others say it is a short-term solution. >> tehran is a new city by iranian standards. it's only been the capital tore 220 years. if some politicians get their way t will not be the capital for much longer. they want to shift the seat of government. >> translation: if we move the capital, it will remove the question, not the solution. there's too many ministries in tehran, highways built and planned. i don't think it's positive. >> i think it's funny, it's not
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possible to move it with the government buildings. if you move it somewhere else, we'll have the same problems. it's ridiculous. >> iran's population fluctuates between 8-14 million as people come and go during the day and is the largest city. add to that 150,000 that move to tehran each year, and there are problems. pollution is the major one, forcing the closure of schools and businesses, causing serious health problems. >> when you come to tehran you can't see it because of the pollution. it's so bad i can feel lead on my tongue. they should do something about it, instead of making a specialised lung hospital. do something that is healthy. this pollution is the unhealthiest thing for people, and we are all in the same boat. >> estimates, including from the world bank say because of that iran's economy loses $900 million a year.
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>> decentralisation and moving the capital is not a new idea. the previous government of mahmoud ahmadinejad made it a focus of his administration. instead of improving tehran, he focused on strengthening the power of regional areas. many saw that plan as short-sighted and a waste of money. >> critics say parliament is creating headaches for the new president hassan rouhani. introducing a time-consuming and costly proposal at a time when the government is trying to solve significant economic and foreign policy problems. one politician said it will take 25 years to build a new capital. by that time who knows what tehran will look like or whether it will still exist. >> americans living in india are about to face more government scrutiny. the government says it will clamp down on tax violations by the families of u.s. diplomats and are investigating the status
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of men -- american teachers working there, a week after americans arrested a diplomat for visa fraud and underpaying her housekeeper. >> now olympics. and michael eaves is here with a couple of new sports. >> it's hard to believe we are 40 days away from the winter olympics , and 2014 there are 12 now events including slope-style skiing and snow boarding, a run with a different assortment of tricks, and aerial tracks. jessica taff caught up with serious air between two olympic hopefuls. >> for free skiing athletes like nick goepper and tom wallisch, this is an opportunity of a lifetime to showcase their talent. >> we had no idea this would be an olympic sport until a year and a half ago. a lot of us the childhood dreams were the x games, not the
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olympics. that was our olympics up until socchi. >> known for his near flawless slope of this style runs the indiana native skied when he was five years old. >> i started skiing at five and doing flips at 11. i grow up in south-eastern indiana, not known for skiing, but five minutes away from a 350 foot hill that i skied on after school and on the weekend. that got me into it. >> this sport is costly, so nick had to get creative to continue to ski. >> when i was 14, 15, dad lost his job and was unemployed for two years. financially my family was unstable. they were not able to support me to the full extent with skiing endeavours. i had to take the initiative to finance my skiing career myself. i was kind of an entrepreneur. i went to mum one day and gave her an idea that i had. she supported it. we went to the store and bought candy bars in bulk.
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and i would go to school, on the bus, with 20 pound box of candy bars every day and sell them to my friends for a dollar on the way to and back from school. i am sure i was a pest and they were sick of me asking them to buy candy bars. >> and for the pittsburg native tom wallisch credits his parents. >> my parents were into skiing, not racers or skiers, but they were good at it. more than anything they wanted me to get outside and do active things and get me out of the house in the winter. i fell in love with it, the speed, the air, the cool air, the snow. everything been being on skis was amazing to me. i stuck with it. >> like any sport there's an element of danger. tom wallisch tours mcl during the 2013 season -- tore his mcl during the 2013 season. >> it's fun to watch.
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so many sports you risk life and limb. this time you look crazy, but we are calculated. the. >> what we do is dangerous. you fly high over big jumps, grinding metal rails. the fear fact - it's nerve-racking, making you think twice, but elevates the amount of fun. >> nick goepper took the gold at the x games and third at the f.i.s world championships. >> the x games was really kind of all my childhood dreams coming true. it meant a lot. it was the accumulation of hard work and sacrifice and dedication to skiing from a young age. >> tom wallisch won his first fis title in norway in 2013 and is called one of the most electrifying slope skiers. tom wallisch wants to keep the
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same training routine. >> it's been working. i don't want to jin. it. i want to keep it the same. go out, have fun, be cautious and safe. know when to call it quits and when to go hard and do what i do. >> as far as the political views in russia, he tries not to consume himself with that. >> there's so many things going on in russia, trying to respect what that is. i'm looking forward to going out as an athlete, do the best i can and hopefully bringing home a medal for my country. >> nick goepper glinched his birth -- clinched his olympic berth and tom wallisch is trying to qualify. this sport has been around for a long time, but now it's getting accreditation. i didn't realise it was so dark in moscow. >> in winter people in moscow deal with 18 hours of darkness. the government is trying to
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cheer up the day with right, as peter sharp reports. >> wakey, wakey, it's nearly 10 o'clock in the morning, but it could be midnight. ever since the kremlin scrapped daylight saving time people have to scrap 18 hours of darkness going months without seeing blue sky. >> for people of moscow, the daily walk to work can be depressing and dangerous, carried out in total darkness, crossing treacherous icy streets and it has to be repeated eight hours later on the way home, again in darkness. >> it really influences people. they can get depression. statistics say that 10% of people suffer the disease. almost every person can feel lack of energy. 10% have to get medical treatment such as anti-depressants.
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for the first time the city authorities declared let there be light. lo and behold there was light. they don't celebrate christmas in december. that didn't stop officials splashing out there 10 million to turn moscow into a winter wonderland. we are not talking about regent street or new york's times square. but this is an improvement. they lit up 7,000 trees and plastered lights across moscow. decorations that will remain in place throughout the winter olympics. >> it is lovely. we walk here after a long day in work. >> i hate the dark days. we wake up at 11 in the morning and have to turn the lights on in our apartment. what about the children, very have to spend mornings and evenings in darkness. >> if you live outside moscow.
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tough luck. no lights in the suburbs, just months of bumping into things. >> long, lonely dark winter. >> challenging students in a unique way. >> i don't know about you, but my high school campus was never quite like this. just ahead - i'll introduce you to a school where aviation and education mix.
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>> a public school in seattle
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has a soaring rate going with its aviation theme. alan shaw is at a high school where nearly every student has a degree. >> it makes sense in jet city and in a place where 130,000 work designing and building airplanes that there would be a school named aviation high. you'll see planes out the window and skye mccowan loving maths. >> it's a language that describes the universe. if you want to go space and develop things that worth and get off the planet, we have to understand physics and the language of the universe. that's what sky and her glass mates -- classmates want to do. there's no traditional sport. making the robotic team is a big deal. >> we put a go pro on the robot.
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most classes have an aviation space. every student has a laptop. the museum of flight is an extensive canvas and a source of min tors. one in -- mentors. one in three who apply get into the school and they come from all over the region. college prep meets industry prep. with 200 aviation-related companies, the business community bought in, providing instructors, real-world job experience and money. seattle-based alaska airlines, $1.5 million: oo third of the price tag paid by private donors. boeing's international rival agreed. >> there is a gap that we have to start filling now. >> the aerospace industry needs to help kids like these get
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ready to do jobs like these. >> our industry has huge challenges, environmental, fuel efficiency, cost challenges, quality challenges. to do all this we need good people. >> among educators, there's a push back when corporate money helps schools, with the expectation that employee pooling will improve and businesses benefit. this man is a long-term educator, and he would like to see corporations pay more taxes instead. it's a gooded in if it's a tax contribution, but bad policy if you have a public education system relying on bits and scraps given as a matter of free will by a corporation here or there to promote its particular interest. >> the boss at aviation high sees the public-private union
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differently as a national pairing. essential at a time when school budgets are under pressure. >> it is critical that schools be partnered with business and industry. we can't do it alone. many educators never worked outside the field of education. >> sky wants to build spaceships and sees this place as a launch pad to the dream. >> it's hum bling to go to the school because we are surrounded by male and female role models. >> with high schoolers prepping for the school of flight. >> still ahead - making a difference by saving animals from extinction.
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>> and welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm jonathan betz. the endangered species act turns 40.
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president richard nixon signed it into law to protect animals and plants in the united states that were on the brink of extinction. after all these years, as it worked? we look at what has happened in chicago. >> last year this orphan sea oter pup was on the beach. now it's thriving at an aquarium in chicago. the otters are one of many. >> it wasn't until the enactment of the endangered species act that the public was aware of challenges faced and laws were put in place. >> the endangered species act is itted for saving 247 species and plants. it protects 2,000 species, like the beluga whale, forbidding
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capturing, imprisoning and imposing penalty, and also paved the way for buying land to beast natural habitat. >> these zoos are working to improve the chances of civilal of 74 threatened species. >> there are four female grey wolves here. 75 are believed to live in the wild. the goal is to pair them up and rerelease them into the wild. >> the mexican wolf is the top predator. if that has taken out of the equation, you get too many rabbits and dear. the eco system is ruined when you take out the predator. >> conservation efforts like these say wildlife efforts helped to save the grizzly bear and the bald eagle. >> as we look at the history we have learnt a great deal, how
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delicate the balance of nature is, how difficult it can be to rescue the animal, and learnt that it is possible. >> while many wildlife populations continue to suffer, due in part to habitat lose and human disruptions. conservation hopes displaying these species will inspire others to protect them. >> great to see the animals thriving. 31 species recovered, including the bald eagle, the stellar sea lion and the american alligator. >> a state of emergency declared in mexico's tabasco state following wide-spread flooding. it forced many families to remain inside. rain began monday, meaning some of the worst-hit areas were unable to celebrate christmas. that's the show. thank you for watching. i'll be back in an hour with more news. but up next is "inside story."
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>> this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm jonathan betz with a look at the top stories. >> more than a million americans who have been out of work for months lost their long-term unemployment benefits. congress did not extend the program which would have cost $19 billion next year. the national security agency's controversial surveillance program has been ruled legal by a federal judge in new york, the decision as a result of a lawsuit by the american civil liberties union. earlier in washington a judge ruled against the n.s.a. in a case brought by verizon. >> the syrian government agreed to have toxic chemical weapons out of the country by the end of the year

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