Skip to main content

tv   News  Al Jazeera  April 30, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am EDT

11:00 pm
more complex than canine. the show may be over but the conversation continues, the and watch us on @ajconsiderthis. we'll see you next time. >> hello and welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john seigenthaler in new york. under review. the botched execution in oklahoma. tonight we talk to a witness who was there and a warden who had a change of heart. >> i don't think i could live with myself if i knew i executed an innocent person. >> swept away. 20 inches of rain in 24 hours and more to come the extreme weather taking a toll across the u.s. core confusion. comedian louie c-k takes on standardized testing and he's not alone we'll quiz one of the people who wrote up the questions.
11:01 pm
plus ready to wear. the evolution of spacesuits moves light years ahead. we'll bring you nasa's new design. >> we begin with the death penalty. we're not going to debate the issue, we know there are opinions on both sides. but tonight the execution of one condemned killer is raising questions about how capital punishment is carried out. the inmate was clayton lockett a man who buried his victim alive. his execution in oklahoma last night was botched. lockeett died of a heart attack more than 40 minutes after being given a lethal injection. oklahoma's governor is ordering a review to find out what happened and why today the white house had this to say about the incident
11:02 pm
>> the crimes are indisputably horrific and heinous but its also the case that we have a standard in this country that even when the death penalty is justified it must be carried out humanely. >> ziva branstetter is an editor for the tulsa world newspaper. she witnessed the botched execution last night and joins us this evening from tulsa. ziva. welcome, and when did you notice that something was wrong? >> thank you. quickly i witnessed three other executions and this one didn't start on time, it started later than the others, and it was different right off the bat for me. >> what else did you notice? >> the inmate didn't have any last words, they pronounced him conscience, and then three or four minutes later, unconscious, that was ten minutes into the execution, and that's not something that they have done in the past. and they're using new drugs this time, and i thought that was odd. for about three minutes after
11:03 pm
they pronounced him unconscious, the inmate didn't do anything at all. >> he didn't do anything at all. and then something happened. >> correct, so six minutes after they pronouncele him unconscious, he began to rise, cleverlied his jaw,rized up on his shoulders three or four times, and he mumbled three or four phrases that we couldn't hear him say, and he said man! this is a man that was unconscious, and it was very shocking to everyone in the chamber. >> i'm sorry to interrupt, but when you say it was shocking to everyone in the chamber, can you explain? what were you hearing in the chamber some. >> we could hear everything that's being said. it's mic'd and it's a separate room, but we could hear everything that he was doing. i could hear a lot of grandparenting and grimacing, and there were five officials in the execution chamber, and none
11:04 pm
of them were making a sound. >> what about the witnesses? were they commenting on what you were about to see. >> well, there were 12 witnesses and we had a lottery, and we were all furiously writing notes because obviously this was a big news event. and we knew we would have to get it accurate to have the same versions. there were two attorneys at the other end, and one of them was weeping at this time. >> did you think that the man was suffering? >> i thought he was in obvious pain. level of pain was hard to tell. yes, clearly the man was in a lot of pain. >> when you witnessed some executions, have you ever soon anything like this before? >> i have not. i witnessed three other executions before this. and all something like this can be relatively peaceful and the inmate die in six to 8 minutes, and this is up like anything that i've witnessed in the past >> so i know as a journalist,
11:05 pm
you're there to record the events and provide the facts, but what sort of impact did this have on you? >> i wanted to do my job well. and i think that the thing that was the most difficult for me, they closed the curtain 6 or 7 minutes after the execution began, and something had gone wrong, and i wanted to see what was happening to do my job. >> and you didn't have a sense at that point what had gone wrong. you didn't see a lot of movement. but they suddenly closed the curtains, and did they show off the mic too? >> they did, we saw shadowy figures in the execution room. we sat there for three or four minutes, and the warden said that he halted the execution, and stayed the other execution that was to occur that night. and something had gone wrong
11:06 pm
with the inmate's vein. >> that's what you were told that night? >> we were told that he was pronounced it dead at six or seven p.m. of a heart attack and that's it as far as the official word. >> can you tell us what the reaction has been in oklahoma today? >> it has really ranged from shock to dismay to groups like the aclu calling for a moratorium, and others saying that they want an investigation, they want it to be transparent. i've had a few emails of people who are critical of us for reporting -- i guess for sympathizing with the offender for reporting the way we have been. telling the facts, and it has been a range, but mostly surprise and shock. >> i understand, and if you don't want to go beyond that, i understand entirely, but it's one thing to report, and another thing to watch a man who clearly
11:07 pm
seems to be in pain and not have some sort of reaction to it, and i just wondered what that's like to watch. >> it is unsettling, no doubt about it. it did help that it was not my first execution. there were several reporters in the chamber who had not seen one before. and i assured them that it was difficult, but something that you can get through, and this was different. so it was very unsettling for all of us, but it's difficult. you set that aside and do your job. >> well, thanks for doing your job and talking with us tonight. ziva, thank you. now to a man who knows what it's like to take the life of a prisoner. earlier, i talked to jerry givens, and he's a prison warder and he provided over dozens of executions and we asked what happened in oklahoma. >> i would say for a man to suffer for 43 minutes, and he's
11:08 pm
trying to lift his head and still breathing, with the chemicals that could put a horse to death, he suffered. and to say that he had a heart attack, you know, it's hard. >> don't they all suffer? >> yeah. we all suffer. but you know, through that much pain, you know, for 43 minutes, lying on a gurney, you can't help yourself. we don't know. he only knows what he did. >> have you eve of an execution taking 43 minutes for an inmate to die? >> no, not in this time. not under my watch. not during my time of execution. >> what do you think is wrong here? >> i think, by them using some
11:09 pm
unknown chemicals, cocktails to perform the execution, i think that's the problem. according to this, what i read about this inmate's health condition, i think he was in good health. he had good veins, and he shouldn't have had a problem that way. >> you administered the death penalty to 62 inmates, but i read on your t-shirt there that you want to replace the death penalty, can you tell us why? >> just this example. the things that happened in oklahoma. i mean, we're experimenting on something. these are human beings, and although they committed a crime, they deserve a death penalty, but they don't deserve to be killed. you can have a death sentence, you can sentence a man to die in prison, but you don't have to kill them. >> when did you change your mind?
11:10 pm
i didn't change myself. god changed me. and i don't think that i can live with myself if i had known that i executed an innocent person. >> do you think that one of those 62 may have been innocent? >> they could have been. if i executed app innocent person, forgive me, god, i wouldn't want to be part of that. the doubt is placed in the back of your mind. and what had convinced me, the crime itself. i didn't look at the crime. i didn't look at the inmate except for the condemned man himself. i couldn't look at him. because on death row, you don't see that person. you don't see a killer, you see a human being. >> is it hard for you to live with yourself, knowing that you were part of these 62 executions? >> no, not really, because i don't really place myself as fully responsible for their
11:11 pm
death. anybody could have taken place, and anybody else would have executed that person. i don't have nightmares of what happened. >> in this country, many people put to death were african-americans afternoons. do you think that that has changed? >> when i was executing people, i didn't look at the crime. whether black or white, if you killed a person, the state said you deserved a death penalty and i believed in my heart that you deserved the death penalty for the crime you committed, i didn't look at the color. i looked at an inmate as an inmate, he's going to be executed, whether black or white or whatever. and i executed more whites than i did blacks. >> let me take you back to the executions that you were involved in. can you tell me what the process
11:12 pm
was like? was it a switch that was pulled? who pulled the switch? >> it's a button you push. i pushed the button, and the flow of electricity goes through the man's body. and i was the only one to push the button. >> you pushed the button? >> yeah. >> what goes through your mind when that happens. >> well, like i said, i focus on the crime itself, not the individual. >> is death penalty fair in the united states? >> is any laws fair in the united states? if you have a lot of money, it's fair, but if you don't have any money, it's not fair. that's everybody. if we can do thing to change, let's change. i mean, we're in 2014. we're supposed to be a modern day society. and well advanced but we're still executing, and if you
11:13 pm
think about it, if you put the trap on execution, jesus was executed. and we're still conducting execution as of yesterday. when do we learn? when do we stop this? when do we put a halt to this? >> jerry givens, it's good to talk with you, and thank you for sharing your story. thank you. now to the dangerous weather sweeping across the south this is pensacola, florida where a scenic highway collapsed from the torrential rain rain that continues to pound state after state. emergency operations are still underway. also hundreds have been evacuated and entire communities hit with as much as 4 feet of water. there's also severe flooding in north carolina tonight. backyards turned into lakes. cars under water. some are calling the storm's damage worse than hurricane floyd 15 years ago. this time tornadoes causing the destruction.
11:14 pm
mississippi hit the hardest, 15 homes destroyed, and 16 people have died in the storms. kevin joins us with more. >> john, this is the worst storm that we have seen so far this year. it has been quiet for the spring, but over 100 tornadoes. down in florida, 24 hours ago, this is what the radar looked like, and notice the orientation of these thunderstorms right here. these were moving west to east. so when it was raining in pensacola, that's when we saw the 20-24 inches of rain, and then 4 feet of rain. i want to show you the video of the area of pensacola last night. at the airport alone, just in one hour, we saw 5 and a half inches of rainfall. and of course that rain, that water has noplace to go. for highway 10 between alabama and parts of mississippi, we saw 30 miles of i10 closed. and it was reopened later this morning, and some of that water
11:15 pm
was able to move out of the region. we're not over yet. we're still dealing with showers here. only 2-4 more inches in the area, and that rain has noplace to go. and we're focusing on northern parts of florida, and up to the north, john, we saw 800 flights canceled across the northeast because of all of the rain moving in. i'll get to this later on in the show. >> thank you, >> since the weekend at least 35 people have died in the storms. and some people are still unaccounted for. 2 tornadoes touched down in lewis-ville, mississippi monday night one was an e- f- 4, the second strongest tornado on the scale. robert ray met one family as they returned home for the first time. >> for the first time, michelle butts is seeing what 200 mile per hour winds can do.
11:16 pm
[ screams ] >> michelle was set to return from a contract job in alaska this weekend, her family was planning to welcome her home with a party. instead 5 bedrooms gone, three generations, homeless. >> where am i going to stay daddy where am i going to stay " >> you are going to have a place to stay." >> officials in winston county mississippi stll don't know how many homes were damaged. the destruction rolls on for miles. the result of a storm system that killed nine people in this town alone. michelle's grown son was sleeping when the tornado struck. she and her mother kay feel god saved him from becoming one of the deceased. >> he's in the hospital, and he survived afghanistan, getting hurt over there and he survived it and he has been out 2 years and then this, he survived this.
11:17 pm
>> and i have to ask, how do you pull it together to be able to say i am going to rebuild and i am going to stay in mississippi after this? >> mississippi is my home, i will be 46 years old tomorrow, happy birthday to me. >> happy birthday, happy birthday. >> and this is my home, my family is here and i'd always dreamed of having a house that had everybody in it but i lost everything i can get it back. >> a family determined not to pull up stakes - because their roots are so firmly planted here robert ray, al jazeera, louisville, mississippi. >> heavy rains in baltimore could have led to a street collapse. a retaining wall gave way today and an entire block of the street fell onto the railroad
11:18 pm
tracks below. it took several cars with it. the fire department said there were no injuries but some homes were evacuated and both the street and railroad tracks have been closed. and in southern california near san bernadino hot, dry winds are fueling a wildfire. these are live pictures now. it's already covered 800 acres. and more than 16-hundred people have been evacuated because of the smoke. you can see the fire burning in the distance. officials tonight are investigating a train derailment in lynchburg, virginia the train was carrying tanks of crude oil when it went off the tracks. nearby buildings were evacuated but there were no injuries. some of the tank cars are leaking oil into the james river. officials maintain that there's no impact on the drinking water. this is the eigth major accident in the u-s and canada in the past year involving trains moving crude oil, and they are raising safety questions
11:19 pm
here's our science and technology correspondent jake ward. >> at the moment, trains are operated by signals. and the safety board has been trying to get an automated crash signal since 1970, and congress has a 2015 deadline for positive control in place. it would add gps satellites, and sensors on the tracks for a system that can slow or stop a train when it senses dangerous speeds. they will make the 2015 deadline, but at an estimated cost of between 8 and $22 billion to implement the system in the industry, much of
11:20 pm
the industry has warned that it will have a lot of trouble meeting that deadline of the it's not clear whether a positive control system would have prevented this crash in lynchburg, it's not known if they had the tracks governed by it. but we know as many as one-third of all rail accidents are the result of human error, and this is the kind of crash that we have been warned about for years. the cars here are the black pill-shaped cars, and they have been involved in several recent oil train derail wants, and they're outdated. the national safety board spoke about the danger of these cars and an oil disaster just last week, and in january, the head said that he is going to be carrying 60% more oil cargo this year than last year. a terrible accident will take
11:21 pm
place before federal regulations are put in place. she spoke about a tombstone mentality. and in this case, she was right. coming up next under arrest. sinn leader gerry adams . now being questioned about an infamous i-r-a killing. plus, beyond the ban. donald sterling's punishment will the clippers owner really be gone from the game?
11:22 pm
11:23 pm
>> in northern ireland, leader jerry adams is suspected of being involved in the 1972 killing of the belfast mother of ten. the irish republican army later admitted to the kidnapping and killing. he said that he turned himself in for questioning, and says he's innocent. in iraq, voters lined up today for a landmark election. it's the first nationwide vote since forces in 2011.
11:24 pm
security was a top priority, months of rising violence threatened the day, but things were mostly peaceful. today's vote goes back to decisions made in washington a decade ago. lisa stark looks back. >> it began with shock and awe -- the bombardment of baghdad - march 20th - 2003 coalition forces were hunting for saddam hussein's weapons of mass destruction they never found any. with that - the rationale for the war shifted. >> it was a dangerous dictatorship. and to put in place a democratic order. >> in less than two months, u.s. troops reached the iraqi capital- saddam's regime fell- president bush was triumphant. >> major combat operations in iraq have ended. >> the celebration was premature sectarian violence, bombings, unrest would keep us troops in iraq for nearly nine years
11:25 pm
when the last u.s. forces left in december of 2011-- nearly 5000 troops and u.s. civilians had been killed, more than 32-thousand wounded. the number of iraqi dead -- at least 180,000. >> ambassador james jeffrey was our man in iraq when the u.s. pulled out. the place was essentially in pretty good shape. that's why the troops left. jeffrey: today, the place is not in good shape, for several reasons. >> the fragile coalition government led by prime minister nouri al-maliki has unraveled it began the day after the u.s.left iraq - maliki - a shiite- moved to consolidate power his sunni and kurdish partners. many believe that has destablized the country further - leading to a horrifying increase in violence and opening the door to al qaeda - this administration or perhaps the next administration is going to have to find a way to deal
11:26 pm
with it. how that will be done, i don't know, but this is a problem from hell that is coming back. >> in november, president obama and maliki agreed iraq needs additional u.s. military equipment to help fight terrorists - but the white house made no specific promises- >> the strategic partnership between our two countries remains very strong -- >> the u.s. has some leverage in iraq, through arms sales -- but it is hardly the only player - iran has close ties to the maliki's shiite government -- despite the violence and the uncertainty - those we spoke with called today's election an important milestone- when you put american troops and allied troops on the ground, fighting for causes where there is at least some chance that some day, wounded people and old ladies will hold up their purple marker i say give it a chance. >> a former marine now with the group iraq veterans against the war - believes the u.s. invasion
11:27 pm
was wrong- and hopes iraq can-one day- recover. >> iraqi are a very robust, dilligent and strong-willed people. and they will come back, and be able to forge their own path forward. >> lisa stark, al jazeera. >> the ballots from today's vote are being counted results are expected to come out next month. >> coming up next a core problem? new criticism for common core the new standardized testing for students. even comedian louis c-k is not laughing. plus, decision day for the teen who was accepted at all 8 ivy league colleagues.
11:28 pm
11:29 pm
>> this is aljazeera america. i'm john seigenthaler. we've got a lot to cover this half hour: fouled out. the n-b-a's next steps for taking donald sterling out of the game. not so common core. even adults are getting stumped by the new standardized tests for students. and nasa goes high-tech with its new spacesuit. i'll talk with one of the designers.
11:30 pm
but first here are the top stories in tonight's briefing. a fallout over oklahoma, and last night, convicted murderer, clayton locket, convulsed in his execution and died of a heart attack. florida the latest state to be hit by the storm system, which is tearing across the country. the panhandle was hit by almost 2 feet of rain, causing flooding, and tornadoes spun off to the south. the severe weather is blamed for 3 dozen deaths in eight states. >>states. >> there were flames black smoke and evacuations in downtown lynchburg, virginia this afternoon. a train carrying crude oil derailed, sending burning oil spilling into the james river. a few of the tank cars are leaking into the river but officials say the city drinking
11:31 pm
water is not affected. tomorrow the nba takes the next step toward taking the l-a clippers away from owner donald sterling. team owners will soon vote on whether to force a sell. and tomorrow they hold a conference call to discuss the subject. but as akiko fujita reports that could be just the beginning of a long legal battle. >> i am banning mr. sterling for life. >> nba commissioner, adam silver,'s decision to ban donald sterling was embraced around the league. and the owners rallying around the new commissioner on twitter, but some legal observers say that sterling's punishment is no slam dunk, raising serious questions about privacy. jody is a law professor at the university of california. >> other owners see this as a dangerous precedent. you want to give your
11:32 pm
commissioner power to sanction owners and harsh sanctions for things they say in private. >> all of these lies... >> sterling is reportedly heard making racist remarks on tape. but california law requires both parties to consent to a recording, and while he doesn't agree with sterling's comments, he says that the owner may have a strong legal argument. >> as long as as you're in your heart, your secret thoughts don't tribute it an act, you're entitled to harbor those feelings, and we want to make sure that it doesn't filter over to social consequences, and there's no always here that they did. >> it's a concern shared by other team owners. earlier this week, dallas owner, mark cuban, said that it could have a chilling affect beyond the nba. >> should he with take steps to
11:33 pm
condemn people fo for in the privacy of your home, what you think and what you say versus what you do. >> still, this isn't the first time that sterling has been accused of racism. five years ago, he settled a lawsuit after he was accused of discriminating against african-americans in apartment buildings that he owned in los angeles. sterling agreed to pay $3 million, but denied the accusations. >> for three years, the housing advocates, and probably most african-americans who lived in the building definitely knew that donald sterling did not welcome african-american residents in his buildings, and he would do anything to try to evict them from the buildings. >> donald sterling thought of himself as landlord and owner in the literal sense of the word. not only does he own the nba
11:34 pm
team and the players, but is the lord of his properties and the lord of his lands, and he has the right to do whatever he wanted to do. >> but the nba took no action against sterling until these private conversations are released. he has been mum so far, but he could go public soon. the question then, will sterling agree to sell swiftly or put up an epoch legal fight. i'm keekee fujita, aljazeera, los angeles. >> now, oprah winfrey reported that she would bid for the clippers. and others, music mogul, and they join a growing list of people interested in buying that team. okay, you probably heard of the common core. it's a four-year-old set of educational standards meant to guide what students learn in
11:35 pm
each grade. lately, it has been under fire. indiana, one of the states to vote for the common core voted monday to withdraw from the common core. once supported the common core but now opposes it and wants to remove his state from the program as well. now comedian louis c-k is taking to twitter to express his frustration with the common core. while helping his children with their homework he posted: my kids used to love math. now it makes them cry. thanks standardized testing and common core! then even gave a screen shot of a question saying: this is one of my favorites. also for third graders. who is writing these? and why? william mccallum was one of the 3 lead writers for the math section of the common core curriculum he joins us tonight from washington d-c welcome. >> thank you. >> common core has been getting a lot of heat lately, a lot of
11:36 pm
criticism, especially from parents, who say that it's too hard. and what do you think? >> well, you have to expect that it would be raised standards, and the questions are quite hard. but i would like to say that the particular question that louis c tweeted, then you should support the common core, because those are questions that have been around for years, and we actually cut back on them. in elementary school. >> let's look at the questions, and we looked at some of them released last year which best represents the difference from 0 to n on the number line below? and it's a multiple choice. isn't that a little complex for a third grader? >> well, i wouldn't ask it that
11:37 pm
way, but i would want the students to know that the point is a quarter of the way. >> i wasn't sure whether to measure it from the arrows or the lines. >> yeah, i think there are some issues there, and it's the zero that you want to pay attention to, and it's important for the kids to learn about the number line and the placing of the 0 and the 1. kids in third graders in singapore can do that, and i think that american kids are just as good as the third graders in singapore. and the question is is it good for us to assume overnight? >> i want to talk about that. but let me go to another question before we do that. here's another question. "what is another way of expressing 8 x 12?" once again not a terribly hard question but some say this could be too advanced for 8-year-olds in third grade. not a hard question, but it does
11:38 pm
appear that it would seem, i don't know, that it's tough for a third grader. >> i'm going to say the same thing there. third graders in singapore. and we haven't had standards of the same level. >> how do you ramp up overnight? >> it's not the questions that are at fault but the way that they're being used. if you expect a miracle to occur overnight, and 23 you're holding teacher's jobs on the line for such questions, that's terrible. but however, if you want to know where we are in the progress toward achieving these it standards, you have to start asking questions like that to find out. without expecting overnight. >> isn't there a disconnect between the conquer's tests and the standards? >> the standards are attempts of where we would like our kids to
11:39 pm
be, curriculum is an implementation of those standards, and we don't have much out in the standards, new york is developing a curriculum and the assessments that are being developed in the consortium of states, we have a long way to go, and i wish that people could be less panicked and wiser about implementation. >> if you go through all of the tests that the kids go through, it seems like a lot of testing, and aren't teachers eventually just going to teach to the test? >> i completely agree, there's a lot of testing and i think that we have lived through a period of test mania, and one of the good things, it's forcing a conversation about that. you cannot have high standards at the same time as the test. and i think that the tests have to be considered. and i think that conversation is very healthy. >> how do you respond to
11:40 pm
teachers teachers simply teach to the tests without actually helping students learn? isn't that a problem? >> it's a problem, and we have a test that we would like teachers to teach to. and questions that are thoughtful and it's not easy to do, but it's not impossible. another thing s. the teachers will teach the test if the state's accountability is high. we can test as a way to find out how well our investment dollars are going in education and if they're paying off. if the teachers have things to help them, that's a good test. >> do you have anything else to say to louis ck? >> i talked to him about the
11:41 pm
standards, and that offer still stands, i'm a great admirer of his talents. >> he's not very happy with your test. >> it's not my test. >> william mccallan, thank you for joining us, >> and he's made his decision. the new york high school senior accepted to every ivy league college in the country, 8 in fact says he'll be going to yale this fall. he made the announcement at a news conference at his high school. enin says he visited the connecticut university and their music program stood out among the rest. >> i look forward to the next phase of life and i'm excited and proud to announce that this fall i'll become a member of the yale university class of 2018
11:42 pm
(applause) >> a first-generation american of ghanian immigrants , he plans to study medicine and music. no word yet on what financial aid yale promised, but kwasi says he's satisfied with yale's offer. >> the u-s government estimates nearly 60- thousand undocumented minors will cross into the u-s this year alone. we have been following the journey of one boy who hopes to reunite with his father in houston. paul beban reports >> a vast, remote and dangerous desert surrounds the city of nogales. a tall steel fence slices through it. over the last month, this teenager and two cousins have traveled 24-hundred miles, by foot, by bus and by train. to make it to the mexican side of this border town. >> my name is axel isaac cabarello fernandez.
11:43 pm
i am 15 years old, and i am from honduras." >> axel's hometown of san pedro sula is one of the most violent cities in the world. after crossing illegally through guatemala and into mexico, axel and his cousins made their way to puebla, where they climbed atop one of the notorious mexican freight trains collectively known as "the beast" a dangerous and dusty free ride more than 1,400 miles, all the way to the border in nogales. the trip wasn't easy. because we came on the train. when you don't have water or food, you get really hungry. you're always afraid because people are telling you that someone has fallen from the train, that the train can kill you. >> that night. the three cousins. axel. ever and omar. stayed in a cheap hotel, sharing the cost with a friend made along the way.
11:44 pm
in the morning, ever they told me why they had to get out of honduras >> there are killers, they go to your house and they ask for money and if you don't pay they kill you. >> border patrol agent andy adame knows how hard the last stretch into the us can be. he drove us some 13 miles east of nogales, where the border fence gives way to open desert. these people who come to the unites states looking for a job, which is most of them, they are very vulnerable. >> axel and his cousins couldn't afford to pay a smuggler or coyote to guide them across. instead, they planned to print out maps of the desert at an internet cafe. and just hope for the best. >> i bought a really big backpack so i can fill it with a big wad of cash after i make it
11:45 pm
big over there. i will leave here with socks and return flush with dollars. >> we asked if we could follow them when they left, but they said that moment was just for them. not for our cameras. (time lapse) we thought this was the last time we'd ever see them. but. >> we're back at the hotel on the mexican side of the border in nogales because the guys, we stayed in touch with them, they tried to cross the border and they say they were picked up in the night by a group of narcos who told them that was their territory and they got robbed. so now we are going to try to get the details. >> the guys are here now. they are kind of holed up in their hotel room. they are very nervous. they actually think somebody might have tipped off the narcos that they were here. they feel they really stand out because they're darker skinned, they're traveling with backpacks, they're in a small group. >> "we just know that the border is separating line for people we don't know who they are. we just know those people came from the hills and they just told us you're not supposed to be here. were they armed?
11:46 pm
>> the narcos or bandits, whatever they were, took their money, their cell phones. and killed their spirits. ever said axel was so rattled, that he was thinking about turning himself in to us authorities, hoping they'd just send him home. >> now, axle did turn himself over to comes agents, and today he's not clear if he'll be reunited with his father. coming up next al jazeera's original series borderland. >> when was the last time i saw your mother? >> six years. >> did she tell you anything about the trip? >> >> tonight's episode follows a group of migrants fleeing central america. it profiles one teenager who's trying to reunite with his mother. that's borderland coming up
11:47 pm
at 12 a-m eastern, 9 p-m pacific right here on al jazeera america. >> rob ford, going into rehab. the toronto mayor has been dogged by controversy after videos of him allegedly smoking crack emerged last year. his lawyers say ford acknowledges he needs help and has decided to take a leave of absence. on the time of the campaign trail. it comes after a canadian newspaper reports having a new tape of ford smoking crack as recently as last weekend. ford is still seeking re-election, which is six months away. coming up: space age style. what does it take to create the new suit for astronauts? we'll ask the designer. from space to star wars. our first person report on the never-before-seen pictures from the film that changed everything.
11:48 pm
>> we're looking at better conditions now across baltimore
11:49 pm
and washington. earlier, 5 inches of rain fell. but the heaviest in the metro area. and you can see the greens in the southern part of connecticut, and that's all the way through tomorrow morning. delays will be a problem today. over 4,000 delays in the air because of rain. in boston down to washington. tomorrow, things are better toward the northeast. and the heaviest rain down to the south. in florida, central florida, we see the threat of severe weather through the rest of the day. i want to take you to california. we're now looking at a very dangerous situation because of the very warm conditions as well as the windy conditions. right now, temperatures have come down in los angeles to 81°. but tomorrow, we expect the temperatures to pop up to 96. and you can see where the dark reds are. we're looking at the santa ana winds, pushing off the east coast, and we have fires in the area, and they're going to remain in the next couple of
11:50 pm
days, not just for the weekend. and the temperatures start to come back down. the news is after this. >> nasa is sporting a new look. its new spacesuit design was unveiled today. and it's light years away from the suit worn by alan shepard during nasa's first mercury mission. another overhaul happened in 1965 when ed white needed one that could withstand a spacewalk. buzz aldred and neil armstrong wore an updated version during his famed walk on the moon. while the latest edition was made for the first untethered
11:51 pm
journey by bruce mccandless nasa is calling the new spacesuit one small step to sending mankind to mars. joining us now is nasa engineer and space suit designer amy ross. welcome amy. >> thank you, glad to be here. >> this is a fascinating new design, and where did it come from? >> well, we have been working on advanced spacesuits for a while. and it's a challenge to make a suit that can work like a human, but this is going to go into testing in a vacuum chamber. it's a big step forward for us to go ahead and build a man tear walking spacesuit configuration, and we can trust a human in it in a vacuum chamber. it's before and looking forwardd to future.
11:52 pm
>> when i look at this, it reminds me of toy story and buzz lightyear, and have you heard that before? >> yes, that's the suit. and the contractor asked us what color we wanted, and when we picked a color, it inspired them. and so there's a similarity. and it's not coincidental. >> so this time, i understand that nasa opened up the design to the public, and why? >> well, because we're going into a vacuum chamber with the suit. and not athermal vacuum chamber, the color is for the garment. and that allowed creativity. and not just functionable, but fashionable as well. so we had the contractor work with the university of philadelphia, and they chose to partner with them, and we were sitting around trying to decide which one to build, and we
11:53 pm
thought, hey, we can ask and get help from folks who are interested. and that's when we opened up the voting to the public. >> what kind of testing goes into a suit like this to make sure that it's safe? >> an extremely large amount of testing. i'm going to put someone that i work with every day and their family and children into the spacesuit and the vacuum chamber, and if we don't do it well, bad things happen, and that's not what i want. so we'll make sure that it's safe by doing an analysis on the design, and testing components on the design, and testing each assembly as we build the suit up and testing the entire suit before we test in the vacuum chamber. >> how long will this suit last? as far as the design is concerned, what's the lifespan of a spacesuit? >> this suit is still a prototype, so it's not being designed for long-term durability yet. that's one of the challenges for
11:54 pm
the mars suit. it will last based on others, for anywhere from 5 to 10 years. >> it's a fascinating design, and i don't know how you came up with it, but it does look like buzz lightyear to me, and it's good to see you, amy, good luck. from spacesuits to star wars. the franchise has the force with the cast announced for episode 7. in tonight's first person report we spoke with david poland. the editor of movie city news dot com and asked him why big names like harrison ford and carrie fisher are returning. >> i think there are multiple reasons why. it's not a bad thing, and more so, it's the tradition of star wars, and that's the exciting thing about this. it's not a prequel like the set of 3, but it's a movement toward direction. the reality of star wars, unlike any other franchise, it was the first, and you certainly never saw the kind of mania that
11:55 pm
happened when star wars first opened in 1977. it's a great mystery. and what impact episode 7 will have on the franchise. this is one that george lucas doesn't have his hands on. and the question of what it will feel like, if it will feel like part of the other six movies is up for grabs. star words from the beginning, it was a game changer. it changed the idea of a franchise movie. they started the merchandising craze with movies. the merchandising rights to star wars from fox, and there was not very much money in it, and lucas built a multibillion-dollar toy empire and t-shirt empire and everything else. i think that the reason we love it so much, it's basic storytelling. there's a really good guy, and a really bad guy. when we first saw it in 1977, it was a visual breaker, something that we had never seen before.
11:56 pm
the question is if you can capture that in twitter and everything else. if you can add that kind of ongoing excitement with the franchise. i'm not sure if they identified with the franchise. but they want to be hans solo, they want to be a wooky. they want to be billy d. williams out there saving the day. how we interact with franchises has changed enormously. >> well, star wars episode 7 is supposed to be in theaters in 2017. tonight's freeze frame, the same storm system that brought tornadoes to the south dumped 2 feet of water on the florida panhandle. the headlines are coming up next.
11:57 pm
11:58 pm
>> this is aljazeera america, i'm john seigenthaler in new york. here are tonight's top stories. white house's response to the botched execution in oklahoma. jay carney said when the death penalty is justified, it should be humane. convicted murderer, clayton
11:59 pm
locket, started convulsing violently and died of a heart attack. flames and black smoke in downtown lynchburg, virginia this afternoon. a train carrying crude oil derailed . sending burning oil spilling into the james river. three or four tank cars are said to be leaking but officials say the city drinking water was not affected. look at this picture of a bridge collapse due to torrential rain. in pensacola, florida, hundreds have been convicted in the panhandle, and some communities hit with as much as 4 feet of water. and in a few hours, officials will take steps to strip ownership of donald sterling for making racially insensitive remarks p. >> the student accepted to 8 ivy
12:00 am
league colleges is going to yale. he made the announcement to teachers and the press. border land is coming up next. coming up on aljazeera's border land.