good evening, everyone, welcome to al jazeera america, i'm john siegenthaler in new york. wildfire, hundreds of bone-dry acres burning in los angeles forcing thousands to evacuate. 15 minutes, how long it took for a new type of lethal cocktail to kill a convicted inmate in ohio. 200 million texts the number of electronic messages the nsa reportedly collecs every single day. the latest document leaked one day before a presidential announcement. and a cost of characters, the real people who inspired several of the movies now up for an academy award.
>> we begin with a fast-moving infur know. firefighters are making slow progress in the foothills near los angeles. police say the fire was likely started when paper was tossed into a campfire. it forced thousands to evacuate. jennifer london is live with more tonight. jennifer? >> we're at the command post where about 30 minutes ago firefighters held a press conference. the fire stands at 1700 acres. five homes have been destroyed. sever buildings have been damaged. they have had three people
arrested in connection with this fire. they have got between 600 and 700 firefighters on the scene. they will be working in 24-hour shifts throughout the night to try to bring that containment percentage up. again, it's at 30% contained right now. john, if you live in southern california, you live with the threat of wildfires, but because the state has seen multiple years of below average pain and precipitation, these threats se to be even all the more real and increasing, and the colby fire is a dangerous reminder, but it is the perfect example of just how bad the situation has gotten here in california. and to give you a frame of reference, 2013 was the driest year on record for the state of california. in los angeles, for example, that region usually sees an average rainfall of about 15 inches. last year, 2013, 3.6 inches of rain fell and that is the same
story up and down the state. and we are told that if we don't get rain soon, it could have a real serious economic impact on the state. >> all right. let's talk a little bit -- >> colorado'sing a culture is impacted from a dry 2013. the price of food will go up, labors, industries that depend on water supply, many impacts to california by a dry water year. >> farmers in the central valley and water managers have been urging the governor, jerry brown to declare a drought emergency. i spoke with someone from the governor's office yesterday and they said that is very likely. >> obviously the drought is a
very serious problem, what else can be done to prevent these fires. >> well, january is supposed to be one of the two wettest months for california and here we are in the middle of the month, and we have had no rain. homeowners can take some steps, they can do brush clearing, but really we need to see rain. and will is no rain in the foragenciable future on the forecast. >> now with have rebecca to tell us more. >> after years of studying this kind of dry weather in the west, meteorologist are familiar with the terms that we look for, like red flag warning and also strong winds with temp chairs 20 degrees above normal. all of these apply to southern california. it's a very localized event, the
santa ana winds. right now only 7 for san diego, but note a gust of 31 for camarillo. but as it is going downhill, it sinks, gives additional heat. we hit 85 for los angeles today which is only one degree away from a record temperature for the date. several spots came close to a record high, and this is where the majority of california is in a drought right now. if we look at our snow depths, last year january, quite thick with the snowfall. it was a good year for all of the different snow sports, not so much this year. all of the storm systems tended to go from the south, southwest from mexico directly into texas and eventually, perhaps arizona, but all of our flood issues were much farther off to the east
from california. john >> all right. rebecca thank you very much. there is controversy over the death of a convicted killer in ohio with a never-before tried drug cocktail. >> reporter: dennis had been sentenced to die the murder of a 7-month-old woman. in recent years a backlog of death row inmates has increased because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs. in this case, ohio officials used a combination that hadn't been tried before, a sedative and a painkiller. a reporter who witnessed mcguire's excuse said at 10:29
his eyes rolled back as if we were going to sleep, six minutes later he appeared to be unconscious, convulsing, gagging and struggling to breathe. 15 minutes went by until mcguire was dead. his attorney argued against this method of execution. but lawyers for the state of ohio argued while the constitution bans executions that are cruel and unusual, that doesn't mean inmates are entitled to a pain-free death. >> andrew welch was well for the execution this morning, and he has witnessed 11 other executions in ohio. so andrew, welcome. let me ask you first, how was this execution different than the 11 other you have seen? >> well, to put it this way. most executions i have seen, the
inmate simply appears to fall asleep. essentially the drug takes effect, there might be initial movement and then the inmates essentially become still. today the process almost seemed to reverse itself. dennis mcguire was quite still for a few minutes, and then about five, six minutes into it, he emitted a loud snorting or snoring sound and after that for the next ten or 12 minutes, he repeatedly snorted, gasped, his mouth would open and close. it just seemed to go on forever. it took quite a long time, so really completely different from anyone we have seen recently. >> were his eyes open? and could you tell whether or not he was suffering? >> his eyes rolled back about a minute or two into the
execution. it is unclear if he was awake. his eyes were shut as we was doing this. we think he was unconscious, it's hard to know if he was suffering. he was clearly undergoing some kind of very strong physiological reaction, again, chest rising and falling, these repeated strange gasps and snorts. there were no obviousment grim aces. >> very often you have the room at the same time as the -- as the family of the executed, what was their reaction? >> so two very different reactions. dennis mcguire's son, his daughter-in-law, and daughter were witnesses on one side of the room. they were in tears from the beginning, as you can imagine this was a terrible day for them
anyway, and then their tears and sobbing continued as it went on and on, and clearly they were very upset at how long it was taking oh my god his daughter said at one point. the relatives of the victim by contrast sat quietly. i would say respectfully watched the execution, but there was no visible reaction from them. so two very different responses. >> there is this shortage of the drug used in the death penalty. can you tell us why there is a ? this >> so the drug was manufactured by a danish company for many years, and eventually the company was under pressure to stop making it for executions. it didn't sell to the states for execution, but states were able to obtain it through december contribution networks, and the
company clamped down on that. the drug was sold to the u.s. manufacturer, but part of that sale included the same prohibition. so states ran out of that particular drug. many states have moved to a one-drug method. ohio was the very first state to do that, and that was very effective. now that that has dried up, states are really scrambling to find something to work. >> you have witnessed 12 executions now. can you tell us -- you are supposed to remain objective, but what sort of impact does that have on -- on a person? >> well, there's no question it was a disturbing spectacle to watch. as a reporter my job is and was to be present to observe what happened and to tell the world accurately and factually about what i saw. it clearly was a very unpleasant experience and one that will be
with me for a while. >> andrew welsh hug ins thanks for sharing your story. >> you are welcome. for the third time in recent days there has been a deadly accident involving a military helicopter. the victims belong to an elite aviation unit called the night stalkers. january 8th, three sale sailors died after their navy chopper went down off of the coast of virginia. hours earlier an air force helicopter crashed in eastern britain. scheduled to address national spying. but today a new report from edward snowden. it focuses on text messages, and
collects pretty much everything it can. that adds up to close to 200 million text messages a day at one point. and included messages under no suspicion. glen greenwald is the reporter working with snowden. he said he is not expecting much from the president's speech. >> i think they are going to need more than just a pretty speech from president obama to feel their concerns have been addressed. >> mike viqueira can here now. mike what can we expect from the president tomorrow? >> the president is going to be heading down the street to the department of justice. you remember the recommendations that came from his commission made public last year, the
presidet is expected to adhere closely to some of that but not quite go as far especially on the marquee issue of the collection of millions and millions of records the government is collecting on a daily basis from people all over the world and from the united states. the commission suggested perhaps a third-party should keep those records. perhaps the phone companies themselves should keep those records. they don't want to have anything to do with it. but the commission reck menninged that when the intelligence community wants to get ahold of those records, there should be another step involved. they should have to go to the fisa court to get permission to do that. there are -- indications that the president will punt it over to congress to see what they can
do with it. a public advocate on the court to speak up for the public's right to privacy. there are some indications that the president will endorse that, as he is likely to endorse, we understand, limitations on foreign surveillance particularly of world leaders, obviously the administration deeply embarrassed over the revelation of spying on the chancellor of germany's cell phone for example. jeffery stone was on the commission and from the university of chicago. earlier today he was on "inside story" with ray suarez. they were talking about the metadata collection. remember the commission said they found no indication that it prevented any terrorist attacks, john, but say it should continue because it has potential to be very effective. >> it's important for people to understand the nsa is not a rogue agency. this is not like the 1960s and
'70s, where these agencies were running amuck. the nsa is exercising the authorities, that congress, the president, and the courts have given it. and if there is a fault there, it is in the authority that has been given and the way they have been structured. >> john, incremental steps are what is expected from the president. we'll be hearing more in the morning from white house officials. the president 11:00 eastern time. >> clearly these leaks have impacted the debate across the country, but can you give us a sense of how frustrating it is to the white house that these leaks have come out sort of drip drip drip over the last weeks and months. >> it is. the "new york times" editorial page, others have come forward and said perhaps the united states government should consider some form of clemency. the deputy at the national
security agency said the same thing. the white house firmly says that edward snowden is a fugitive. but this is an issue that cuts across partisan lines, john, there's no question about it. john mccain on this very program last night, speaking with you, appeared on capitol hill today with an idea. >> call for a select committee, which can look at the whole issue and spectrum of nsa issues, ranging from cyber security, to surveillance, to all of the other aspects of this issue, which has been raised and accentuated by mr. snowden. >> i think the issue has been study sod much by the president's commission and by members of congress that might not fly either. obviously the controversy, john,
is going to continue beyond tomorrow. >> as much as the white house wants it to go away, clearly it is not at least for now. mike thank you very much. the trillion dollars government spending plan already approved by the house has now cleared the senate. it scales back many of last year's automatic funding cuts. some including nasa and the army corps of engineers will see increases. president obama is expected to sign it. now to syria where 130,000 people have died since fighting began nearly three years ago. today, secretary of state john kerry called it one of the planet's most severe humanitarian disasters and is calling on all sides to attend next week's peace talks. >> reporter: john kerry rejects the efforts to change the focus
of geneva 2. he called it an attempt to change history and said it wouldn't work. >> it defies logic to imagine that those who's brutality created this magnet, how they could ever lead syria away from extremism and towards a better future is beyond any common logic. >> reporter: the syrian foreign minister tried to shift the focus of the conference when he accepted the invitation to attend geneva 2. he wrote . . . kerry also leaned on the syrian opposition to unite. saying the syrian people need them to come together. >> on the eve of the opposition coalition, general assembly
meeting tomorrow to decide whether to participate in geneva in the peace conference, the united states for these reasons urges a positive vote. >> a syrian opposition spokesman said it's important for all sides to try to deal in good faith. >> agreed to those six principals in the geneva communique, but the assad regime is rejecting those before geneva, we need him to come out and say i accept all of those otherwise these talks will be a waste of time. >> reporter: kerry called for more humanitarian aid, but there are still questions about whether the conference can make a real difference in the nearly three-year long civil war. no one knows what practical results can come out of geneva 2 yet, be it a ceasefire, a safe
zone for food and water, or a time line for assad to step aside. the obama administration's view, let's get to the conference and see what happens. coming up next, lost boy. we meet a man who fled sudan years ago only to get caught up in violence and chaos in the region again. plus closed for business, the struggling major retailers closing stores and laying off employees.
resorted to steep discounting to lure in shoppers. that's what best buy did, and it now says the price slashing took too big of bite out of its profit margins. the reaction from the market was furious. the company's stock fell by 28.6% by the end of the market day. best buy may have been too aggressive with its campaign to match competitor's prices. although what are their options? something has to give when you are a retail chain competing th something like amazon that operates warehouses and not much else. this is more of a story about how americans feel. 42% of americans say they are worse office financially than they were one year ago. according to a new gallup poll that is. if that's true, then all of the positive retailers we saw in 2013, could be hiding a bigger problem, because the american consumer, john, never lies.
if consumers start to pull back on their spending that could spell trouble for the economy. we'll learn tomorrow. john? >> ali thank you. a new development into the scandal of the chris christie office. 20 new subpoenas were issued today. the question is who ordered the washington bridge. according to egyptian state media 90% of voters have voted for the new military-supported state constitution. this is the second constitution put in place since the revolution overthrowing morsi
welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler, and here are tonight's top stories. ohio execution, authorities used a new type of lethal drug combination to execute a convicted killer. witnesses say he struggled for 15 minutes before he died. the wildfire rages across southern california. investigators say burning scraps of paper from a campfire sparked the blaze. army chopper accident. the pentagon is investigating
the third deadly helicopter crash this month. an army chopper made a hard landing in georgia killing one person and injuring two more. there's another leak in the nsa spy scandal this time concerning text messages. according to the british paper, the guardian, the spy agency is able to collect and destroy nearly 200 million global texts every day. it is code named dish fire and comes from documents leaked by whistleblower edward snowden. this comes hours before president obama is set to reveal his plan to reform the nsa. >> i think there is a real question about whether or not we ought to have a government that is collecting, literally billions of pieces of data every single day about the
communications in which we engage, and the online activities that we do not just here in the united states but around the world. that is describing surveillance. and all of the real reform means are we going to dismantle this machinery that has been constructed in the dark of 9/11 to basically watch that everything everybody in the world is doing, or do we want a more sensible surveillance system where the government only watches those whom they have evidence to believe they are engaged in wrongdoing such as terrorism. >> you can watch greenwald's interview on the "stream" tomorrow. president obama today launched a new initiative to try to make college education more affordable. tripled over the past 40 years.
the president said they must make sure there are more ladders of opportunity into the lower-class. >> more than a 100 colleges and 40 organizations are announcing new efforts to hell more young people go to and complete college. >> he is also calling on congress to advance educational reform. officials in west virginia have water for some 200,000 people, but that does not include expecting mothers. officials recommending that pregnant women drink bottled water until the pipes are completely flushed. f toxic chemicals leaked into the elk river. and a delegation from rome answered questions in geneva today about how much the roman
catholic church knew about allegations of abuse in its ranks, and the steps they took to cover it up. some victims say the vatican still needs to do much more. diane eastabrook reports. >> reporter: this northern illinois parish is where an 8 year old boy says he was first abused at his first confession 30 years ago. he tried to tell his family about the abuse later, but was >> i was reprimanded for that, because you don't say a those kind of things, you know, about a police. >> reporter: stories like these have struck worldwide outrage and why members of the vatican were called to testify in
geneva. >> there is no excuse for any form of violence of abuse of children. >> reporter: they were forced to turn overthousands of documents revealing sex abuse to attorneys. the documents show the arch diocese sometimes relocated priests after the abuse was cf1 o >> there was no intention of covering up, it's just they didn't realize it was such a terrible thing. so i think they did relocate people, but it was not intended as a way of covering up things. >> reporter: while victim advocates say they is an effort to be more transparent, but they think there is still stone walling all the up to the pope. >> he is a monarch, and has not
yet disciplined one bishop or cardinal for the part they played in this cover up. >> reporter: this victim won a lawsuit. he and his family, like many other victims worldwide want the vatican to acknowledge itself mistakes. >> they just need toment come clean. it was a very bad thing to have happened. >> reporter: he says only then can he and other victims finally heal. it's time now to head to washington, d.c. joie chen standing by to hell us what is coming up on "america tonight." >> tonight an "america tonight" exclusive, big surprises on the stories behind one of the big movies, the blockbusters nominated earlier today. 12 years a slave, it started out
as a memoir, the story of a free black man and his kidnapping into slavery on a trip to washington, d.c. we'll interview his great, great grandson. >> it's part of american history. it is the history of america that has been swept under the rug for way too long. i'm just making sure that his story is known not just to his family, but many know we'll get a story out to the world. >> we'll interview the oscar nominated screen writer of the show. conflict rages in south sudan as government and rebel forces battle for power. relief organizations say almost
of thousands have been displaced. it's a tragic case of déjà vu for one man. >> reporter: carol rinehart can finally breathe a sigh of relief. she has flown around the world to see the man she considers a son is safe. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: daniel is an american who was trapped in the violence of south sudan, again, running for his life. >> when i left it was at gunpoint. >> reporter: daniel was once a lost boy of sudan. that's the name aid workers gave the 20,000 boys, all orphans that fled sudan. daniel came to denver when he was about 19 years old.
that's when carol rinehart took him under her wing. he event yulely got his master degree and citizenship. but now violence has returned. >> i never thought this would happen again, because i knew that we now got our independence [ inaudible ]. >> reporter: south sudan, the world's newest country is again threatening to unravel. >> my home in the war town was attacked. >> reporter: from bor, daniel lead his wife and about 100 people north through swamplands to safety. >> i saw the bodies on the road. all of the shops were looted. >> it was so unreal that i'm on a cell phone with him. he is in hiding for his life talking to me.
>> reporter: rinehart is the cofounder of project education south sudan, working with daniel and other lost boys. before christmas guy needed their help again. >> i said so what do you need? he said i really need your prayers because i don't know if we're going to make it. >> reporter: she did more than prayer for them. she worked to get though family passports and eventually a flight out of the country. this week she headed to africa where daniel and his family had at last made it to safety. >> what breaks my heart is i know a lot of these children and i don't know who is left. >> reporter: neither does guy he is shaken but refuses to give up on peace. >> i hope that come soon i can come back to rebuild the hope and the lives of the innocent.
>> reporter: guy told us he is countg on god to open the door for his return. tamara banks, al jazeera denver. washington state will soon be allowing sales of legal marijuana, but maybe not in every city. voters approved the sale of pot for recreational use last fall, but state attorney general says local authorities can still impose restrictions on licensed pot businesses. some applicants promise to sue if they are granted state licenses but then barred by local counties from doing business. most of the country continues to deal with winter temperatures near or below the freezing mark. it's a completely different story down under. michael eaves joining us now. i mean we expect it to be hot down in australia. >> yeah, high temperatures are nothing new in melbourne. but this year's australian open
is experiencing record-high temperatures that are effecting the players, the coaches, as well as the fans. >> reporter: after three hours many felt was long over due. play suspended. the extreme heat policy meant play was stopped on outer courts, and paused while the roof was closed on show courts. already in the tournament a ball boy and player collapse before thursday's suspension. spectator numbers were already well done. >> you are leaving how was it in there? >> damn hot. it's damn hot today. i don't know how hot it is, 40 or something or the other. >> reporter: the decision to crucial threshold had been reached. what that threshold was, though, wasn't revealed.
it isn't a simple matter of looking at a thermometer. they use the wet bulb globe composite. physiology experts think that makes sense. >> absolutely, and it is used not just in tennis and a whole range of sporting events to take in to account the ability of an athlete to lose heat or how much heat they are likely to gain from an extremely hot environment. >> reporter: but some players even though who won on thursday were not so understanding. >> i think the question i have is no one really knows what the limit is, not the players or the trainers themselves when you ask them when will the roof be closed? no one knows what that is.
>> reporter: on wednesday a player visited the penguin center aquarium, on thursday in the air conditioning, it was one of the busiest places in town. >> yes, absolutely. but it was too hot on -- on one day. >> reporter: back at tennis, the night session promised some relief, but friday will be every bit as hot. and play has already resumed in melbourne with temperatures still above the 100 degree mark. some of the matches today saw federer advance. on the women's side victoria and serena williams advanced. tonight the overnight low is going to drop all the way down to 66 degrees, and the high tomorrow is going to be 75. so you will see a temperature
swing of 30 degrees inless than 24 hours. you heard, 30 degrees. >> that's amazing. but i was trying to think how -- how hot it has gotten at a u.s. open before. >> it has gotten hot, but it is in september and not in -- this is pretty much july, august, might in mel attorney. >> right. >> maybe a closer comparison is the u.s. open golf tournament that is played in june, and sometimes in southern states where the humidity is very hot. >> all right. up next, hollywood's take on true stories.
warm, dry, and 20 degrees above average for parts of the west. fire weather is the big concern for california, but as we get into other parts of the west, it's the comfortable diminishing as we get through the next several days. you can see a big clipper system zipping through parts of the northern plains, great lakes, and leading slowly toward the mideast. the big thing tonight is the high-wind warnings, and blizzard arnings effecting t northwest. omaha, nebraska up to 50 mile an hour wind gust, and just a
little bit of snow. this is a dis -- disturbance that will gradually diminish. here is the warning we have with the blizzard warning expected to go through almost midnight. and we have got the lake-effect snow advisories kicking in after that. so expect most of our weather on friday to be around the great lakes and another little clipper system --
written partly in russian. hackers also targeted numerous unnamed retailers, not just target. the report says the code could not be detected by anti-virus software, and tomorrow on al jazeera the growing concerns over privacy in this country. this year many oscar nominated move i haves were inspired by real life stories. but even in hollywood, real is sometimes relative. >> i will not fall into despair! >> reporter: this was the movie year in which art didn't so much imitate life as copy it. captain phillips, based on the 20 2009 hijacking, the wolf of wall
true-ish. and all of them have been scrutinized for how faithful they have to the truth. >> now people are checking to see if the story was actually what you have depicted. >> 12 years left out details, and say that mr. banks goes easy on walt disney in his idea that he was anti-semantic. and it's hard in a movie like american hustle to be both entertaining and accurate. hustle's disclaimer. some of this actually happened. this is the real life swindler played by christian baio. >> he was great. i only spent three days with him. and he got -- he had me down pat.
>> reporter: but it has more drama and cleavage than his real life. >> there were some things i didn't like. one of the things like my wife, she was gorgeous, and my mistress wasn't as pretty, but i thought it was the other way around, the mistress looked better than my wife. >> reporter: and then the search for this woman's son who was put up for adoption. >> it had conversations and recreated scenes, and it itself was a dramatization of the real life story. >> reporter: some stories just don't lend themselves to being told exactly as they happen, and do they even need to be accurate if they are entertainment? >> the problem is that the studios and filmmakers are presenting their work as truthful, and if you are going to present your work as truthful
on the one hand and once you are scrutinized say it is really not that truthful, then you put yourself in a predicament. >> i was never a movie concern. i lived the real thing all of my life, why would i want to go to movies? my whole life was one big movie. >> reporter: now there is a character that hollywood can play but never invent. and he was known to millions "gilligan's island." he died from kidney failure today. he appeared in alfred hitchcox presents and the twilight zone, but is zone best as simply the professor. up next we'll take you on a trip to the rain forest.
down isn't always easy. it took four plane rides, a bus and two canoes just to get to one location, and when phil torres finally arrived he has quite a mystery. >> one of the best things of working the rain forest is the adventure along the way. this is one of the unique places in the amazon that has been almost completely undisturbed. join me on this expedestrian a decision that is sure to get wet, wild, and a little bit muddy. a research found a circular web structure, took a picture of it, and posted it on the internet. little did he know though huge amount of attention he could get from it as experts and amateurs tried to figure out what it was. we're here on a mission to try
to figure out what it is. >> we just found 20 of them a few days ago. so what is the goal? >> try to catch one in the about. >> to try to catch them in the about of making the structure. >> this thing has really confused me because i keep going between it being the spider or maybe some weird spider mite. because everything is so little. >> exhausted discouraged and momentarily stumped, we returned to our tent. the real mystery is how many we have seen, yet we have never actually seen someone build one. now we may be able to solve this
mystery. >> reporter: and phil joins us now. did you ever figure out what the mystery was? >> i tell you what, this was the most difficult scientific expedition i had ever been on. we got dropped off on the island, and told the canoe to pick us up at 1:00 am, and we would search every night for a clue to figure out who was making these things. and to answer your question, yes. when -- it was the very last day, coming down to the very last hours, and we saw what made it. but you'll have to watch on saturday to find out. >> and i will. and you found out more about the decoy spider. >> yes, the spider makes a decoy spider in its web. so there is very little known about it before, and we were
just really digging in to try to get good observations, and what we learned is how quickly they can make these fake spiders, and b, how much the rain was effecting them. >> why is this area such a key place for scientists like you. >> i was drawn to this area of peru because other areas were always impacted by humans. this place hasn't had humans in there for over 50 years. there were tons of animals. i saw three jaguars in one day out there. >> wow. >> so every step we take out there we're always discovering new things. >> "techknow" is one of the best
programs on televis so tell us what else is cop -- coming up. >> well, thanks, john. we're taking a look at something that looks like chicken, smells like chicken, and supposedly tastes like chicken but it's a manufactured protein source. >> all right. so you had fun right? >> i had a blast. i didn't try the foam meat. i'll eat in sects, but the foe meat scares me. >> you can watch "techknow" at 7:30 eastern time on sunday.
this 7-foot high wall was made with money made by the village's farming cooperative. some of the villages have received pay seven times their yearly pay. coming up we'll meet the doctor who went to extraordinary measures to get medical care on the streets. and we'll talk to a woman with a terrific story. all of those stories coming up at 11:00 eastern, 8:00 pacific time. today's top stories coming up in just a moment.
welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. and here are the top stories. police say paper tossed into a campfire sparked a wildfire that has burned more than 1700 acres in california. a new type of lethalen injection was used to kill an inmate in ohio. it took 15 minutes. the military is investigating the third fatal chopper accident in the past eight days. a hard helicopter landing killed one soldier and l