>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we're following for you. a controversial u.n. invite to iran putting the geneva talks in jeopardy. >> drink the wawt? drink it occasionally. >> capping up to the west virginia governor about the state's water woes. >> plus one of the largest martin luther king day gatherings in the country.
>> there could be an about-face with the united nations concerning iran in the syrian peace talks. the u.n. now expects the u.s. to withdraw the are invitation to iran, expected to begin wednesday. john tret is in iran and ban ki-moon's invitation causing controversy. >> that's putting it mildly. backed by other governments around the world, u.s. including britain and saudi arabia, very unhappy that the secretary-general of the u.n, ban ki-moon, has invited iran to peace talks on wednesday. promised that they will come with a positive attitude, no preconditions but the united states has said look they haven't publicly signed up with the communique of geneva 1 that
these talks will create a icial traditional national governmen government -- transitional interim government. here is the u.s. ambassador to the united nations. samantha power. >> as of this morning, iran has still to demonstrate its willingness to explicitly and publiclpubliclypublicly subscrie communique. that is a minimum are are prerequisite to the process. >> he speaks for the the russian administration and he puts the other view. he says teheran and indeed anybody should be invited to the talks. >> translator: we support the principled approach of the u.n. secretary-general, sending
invitation of participation to all those who could directly have an influence to the situation on syria. including iran. not soliciting the participation of these key players would be an unforegivable error. >> are ban ki-moon didn't appear to being consult the security council. today it's gone badly wrong for him. he has egg on his face. again we are told by a spokesperson that he's considering options. i don't know what option he there are to consider other than uninviting teheran. we'll see. that's what they think will happen in the state department but nothing yet del. >> when do we know as to whether or not iran will be uninvited? >> the opposition national council's main opposition group in syria who only agreed to go to the talks two days ago is now saying they will pull out of the talks at 19 hours gmt is right
now. and so far, the iranians haven't been uninvited so you've got oassume therefore that the main opposition group won't be turning up on wednesday which means these talks are dead in the water before they have begun, del. >> john, thank you very much. how volatile is this situation? earlier this morning, i talked to former u.n. ambassador, kurt voleker. >> i think what we're seeing here is a poorly prepared process to begin with. we have a preponderance of force on one side, that's assad. that is radicalized an opposition which indeed is conducting, which is influenced by sunni extremists, that means, you have a process where the results are most negative liblgible. you're never going to get so a proper solution. the first step if there should
be one is an immediate cease fire respected by the government and the opposition. it is disproportionate capacity of force on the ground and no cease fire on in place, the idea there's going to be political settlement is not in the cards. >> meanwhile marking day 1 of that historic program with iran over its nuclear program, halted some yeurm enrichment work. the united states and its partners will follow through on their commitments. iran wants modest are sanctions relief. police say six parked cars and two improadvised explosive devices are exploded in the capital of baghdad, shia neighborhood. nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks. the assembly are electing
bangui's mayor, katherine sambi panza, calling for christian militia and the opposition to lay down their arms. the head of the house intelligence committee says it's no coincidence that edward snowden end it up in russia. >> this was a thief who had nothing to did with privacy, our army, navy, air force, marines have been incredibly harmed by the data that he has taken him. i believe there's a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms of an fsb agent in moscow. >> an american still being held in north korea now hoping the u.s. can help secure his release. kenneth bae has been held for more than a year, pleading for help when he spoke to a few media outlets in pyongyang.
he was sentenced to hard labor after what north korea said was an attempt to top it will regime. why legislation seeking oversight of what was leaked. are robert ray is in west virginia. robert. >> del, good afternoon, lots happening here this afternoon. there's a lot of people here at the state capitol building introducing new legislation. just moments ago we caught up with with the governor asking him several questions about the chemical spill. here's what he had to say about the faith and restoring people's confidence in the water. >> obviously we continue to test the water supply, every hour, and it is showing up at a nondetect level as i've been told, we will continue to do that and to try to get the smell out of the water as quickly as possible.
you know if people are not comfortable drinking the water they should use bottled water. we will try to get things back to normal as quickly as we can. we are hoping in the next few days people can use the water again with confidence. >> what do you know about j. clifford forrest, the new owner of freedom industries? >> i know nothing about him. we will make sure that the pollution that has been cleaned or let on their property will be cleaned up and there should be money available in their assets to do that. but we're staying right on top of it every day. >> do you drink the water? >> i drink it occasionally. >> we also talked to senator joe manchun about some of the legislation he is putting together with state lawmakers and also senator joe
rockefeller. he just said it's perfectly clear that we should have been better prepared to prevent and respond to a disaster of this magnitude. here is what his fellow senator joe manchun said. >> we have 80,000 different chemicals that were being used in this country today. only 22 have been thoroughly examined what effect they have on human life. that needs to be changed. >> he went on to say that the major economic losses in the state of west virginia are not acceptable. you can see the state capitol behind me, where there is a press conference going on right now where they are proposing brand-new regulations on the containers that are above ground. they are the containers that leaked into the elk river just 11 days ago. he also went on to tell us he's very happy, working with barbara boxer on this, he is in touch
with white house officials, feels that the president will back him up and he feels considerable with the water. one other notable thing we asked him, we said what about about the chemical safety act that failed about a year ago, do you think there's a possibility of that coming back and discussions moving forward? he says indeed he thinks that's the case, that will be front and center, he said they've done nothing in the past 35 years as far as serious where legislation. if you do 100% of nothing, you get 100% of nothing. quote unquote from joe manchun. people here still afraid to drink the water. the governor says he occasionally drinks the water and lawmakers are active in the state house behind me. >> thank you very much. president obama longing a admit he smoked pot when he was
yufnger, but he made a statement that we have never heard from an american president. >> if you are an adult who likes beer, you may want to know about, marijuana, less harmful than alcohol and treated that way. >> the national institute on drug abuse a federal agency quickly responded by a stern statement, claiming that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol is a stern statement. in the interview with the new yorker, president obama says he does not think it is more dangerous than alcohol, clarifying that it is less dangerous to alcohol, i think i've told my daughters it is a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy. the president's comments come as more and more states are decriminalizing marijuana, some
make exceptions for are medical use, some, colorado, make exception for are personal use. >> 162 in the negative, the motion is adopted. >> in a vote just days ago, new hampshire became the latest state to take a step legalizing pot for personal use. new york's governor announced his agenda to do the same but it's not just the blue states with its democratic leaders. republican state representative allen peek where pot is prohibited said he recently changed his stand on the drug? where many children fighting for their lives could benefit from medical marijuana. >> this is a huge shift. i want to be very clear, we don't want to go down the slippery slope of legalizing marijuana for our state.
>> the first step is to admit marijuana is less harmless than alcohol. that is something a group of doctors concluded in the journal of psychospharnlg col psychophay found alcohol more than twice as harmful as cannabis. >> that is erica pizzi reporting. scientists are chasing a comet chaser named rozetta. hibernating spacecraft ros rose. has been chasing the elusive comet since 2004. trying to land on a comet that is two and a half miles wide, it plans on doing so in november. today is the day the nation
beban is there. considered to be the largest in the country. >> i believe that's right, del. a day here of remembrance, celebration and a lot of activity as you can see here at the civic center. thousands of people have just marched about three miles from where we started the morning at city park in denver. they're here for a day of music and celebration and i have a couple of very special guests i want to bring in here, wilma webb, served 13 years and wellington webb, first african american mayor of denver. tell me wilma you were instrumental in making martin luther king day a state holiday here. >> i was dedicated because dr. king was such a great man. he was an easy person to know that we know he was deserving and that he was worthy of the holiday. i carried the legislation for four years four different times and each time i had to make it a different bill. i was so glad that i saw the
bill grow over the years from first being a minority bill and then one being combined the sponsors to be black people, white peel, both democrat and republican and everyone in the legislature and then finally getting all kinds of sponsors and happened finally in 1984. >> so 30 years. and you can see that it really brings the city and state together. mayor webb tell me a little bit about the relationship that martin luther king day and maybe a personal relationship that he had to the city of denver. >> well dr. king had been here several times. one of those photos where you see him holding onto a chair was actually done in denver. one of the sings that he likes to say was one of his most -- songs he liked the best, my living shall not be in vein was done here in denver. his wife coretta, came here to
denver. he says, i have a dream, he spokes to the mountains of colorado. it's appropriate and i also want to give tribute to this former state represent because people think the holiday just happened. and it didn't. people said she would not get it passed. she was punished by the majority leader for pushing the bill. they killed all the other bills of hers after killing the king bill. they tried to have the holiday named after a mountain instead of dr. king. it was a real struggle. she never faltered. we'll combine lincoln and washington like the federal government, and it will be the same number of holidays. she's one of the underlying heroes for this holiday in the state of colorado. >> you two dedicated to this
cause, thank you for being with us on this special day. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> the crowd still coming leer, beautiful day ahead on this mlk day in the rocky mountains. >> paul beban, thank you very much. not divided by race but by economic income. stacy tisdale reports. >> america has defaulted on this promissory note as far as color and conditions are concerned. >> dr. martin luther king was concerned that the economic disparity, being the ultimate segregators. >> he pivoted all of his attention on what was called the poor people's campaigned and he was killed before his first
march. >> reporter: his poor people's campaign was focused on economic rights for black latinos and whites, including a massive investment in infrastructure. job training, affordable health care and a higher minimum wage. the same issues lawmakers debate today. >> it is this consensus of having control of your life and having the personal financial dignity and the choices to then create the reality that you want that i think is the issue. and we've never been in that regard in control of our own destiny. >> and 50 years later by some measures financial disparity has gotten worse. when the poor people's campaign was launched in 1968, the median black family was making 60 cents for every dollar the median white family made. recent numbers find that number has fallen to 67 cents. the average net worth of white
family stands to $610,000, $110,000 for hispanics and $98,000 for blacks. two decades when the struggling minorities become a majority. >> we've got ashift to people of color all around the world, younger and darker. and until we -- unless we empower these folks the world's got a problem. >> i have a dream. that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. >> with an equal chance to enjoy the freedom and peace of mind that come with economic security. stacy tisdale, al jazeera, new
>> welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. here are your headlines at this hour. syrian peace talks scheduled to start this week in switzerland are in jeopardy. unless the u.n. withdraws its offer to iran. u.s. post office iran's presence because it's been a strong supporter of the assad regime. seeking support of above ground storage tanks, nearly 8,000 gallons of chemicals spilling into one of the state's rivers. state and federal investigation are underway. today is martin luther king day, a day honoring the slain civil rights leader, it is a day
of service for people to come together in their communities. national chess champions, kids who dwe defy the odds to be real life kings and queens. >> students filing into school nothing out oft ordinary on the inside but inside, the chess elite of is 3 subpoena. step into the hallway and you're immediately bombarded with banners and trophies, testament to the channel chess teams. they are a legend here for winning more titles, over 30 and counting than any other school in the nation. >> i would say we were like the lakers and the celtics combined and maybe the yankees thrown if >> what started in 1999 is a full time chess culture. the class is taught as part of
the school's curriculum. all with a single minded focus to battle it out on the board. >> chess is not only a game, that easy but it's a way to make your brain smarter and think more quickly. in a way that you could organize yourself. >> 70% of the students here come from families living below the federal poverty line. the great equalizer is chess. >> we think the power of our program is i think it shows that kids can achieve greatness no matter what their background is. so for our children becoming the best at something in the entire united states is a powerful message that when you sit down across the chessboard against anyone you could be the equal of anyone from any private school any school across the united states that takes the hard work and dedication and you can be the absolute best chess team in the united states. >> that was put to the test, when the financial crisis hit.
the chess program was at risk but generous donors stepped in. that allowed the kids to not enjoy victories but dealing with the sting of defeat. >> i like winning but getting better is what i want to focus on. if it means losing then i'm all for it. >> the game has become especially popular at is 318. here these are the cool kids. >> i know people say it sounds like geeky or they're absurd with it but i'm okay with it. >> in 2012 the chess team made history, beating a group of high schoolers. their story became the subject of the are documentary brooklyn castle. but these kings and queens are not resting on their laurels,
they're contemplating their next move to crush the competition once again. richelle carey, al jazeera, new york. >> i'm dave warren. this doesn't look like much now but this will come together and create a big storm, intensifying across the coast of north carolina. this is bitter cold arctic air, zero in bismarck, 46 in only haw, all pushing to the south. this cold front dropping south as it runs into the warmer air, it best fiez, fuels storm and a lot of moisture here right off the coast. watch it develop early tuesday, low pressure just off the coast of north carolina, here is the snow and the colder air. it intensifies tuesday afternoon and evening. that's when the snow will be heaviest. really pulling in moisture and a lot of it off the coast.
watch, the snow amounts will be a little higher than we're exepg throughout the night tuesday and wednesday. wednesday and thursday it clears out but there's some cold air coming in behind this. the snow amount is what we'll expect. late morning and throughout evening four to six inches of snow, heavier amounts just off the coast where the storm intensifies, getting a lot of moisture coming in. six to eight inches around boston, new jersey and delaware. then it cools out and we're talking about much cooler air coming behind it. high temperatures on wednesday not even near zero, in fact below zero in north dakota. watch how the storm intensifies, but it will be in the next few hours. >> we are following breaking news. there has been an explosion at an agriculture plafnlt in north dakota, international nutrition plant. 38 employees are said to have been in the building at the time of the explosion. several are still missing and
there has not yet been any reports of fatalities. crews are still looking for people who may be trapped inside. we'll bring you more on this story as it develops. in the meantime, thank you for watching are al jazeera america. i'm del walters. "techknow" is next. about innovations that are going to change lives. we're testing the intersection of hardware and humanity. rax is a neuroscientist. she has the invocation of bamboo and carbon. mar inkta davidson is a biologist specializing in ecologist and evolution. and i'm phil torrez. i'm an entomologist. but i'm over america for a very bad ride. how bad is our air? that's our team.