[ explosion ] the fight for kobane - the u.s. says its strikes have killed hundreds of i.s.i.l. fighters. hello, welcome to al jazeera. i'm martine dennis, and we are live from doha. also coming up, hong kong's leaders announce more talk with protesters after another night of scuffles the w.h.o. warps transmission of -- warns transmission of ebola in west african countries is rampant.
>> it's called "nuns on the bus" tour. i'll tell you about the tens of millions in secret political spending used to influence the congressional election, and what this group of nuns is doing to fight it. now, the united states is saying that it's killed hundreds of fighters from the islamic state of iraq and levant in the town of kobane. the town is on the border with turkey, and is the last remaining area along the border region that is not in the hands of i.s.i.l. fighters. within the last 48 hours or so, more than 40 air strikes have been launched against i.s.i.l. targets the u.n. special envoy general john alan spoke to the
media, he gave a briefing and said the u.s. led coalition is stepping up air strikes on kobane. >> we are striking the targets around kobane for humanitarian purposes. i would be reluctant to assign strategic target or outcome for the strategy. clearly there was a need, given the circumstances associated with the defense of that town. there was a need for additional fire support to go in and relieve the defenders, and buy white space for the re-organisation of the ground. we have picked up the tempo and the intensity of the air strikes to provide the white space. >> let's go live to the border region, our correspondent bernard smith is on the border. you can see kobane, and you can see the air strirks, of which -- strikes, of which we have seen
weeks of them are yielding positive results. >> those air strikes have continued in intensity. they have been going on for the last couple of weeks. the intensity has ramped up. you can add 40 to those that have taken place. there are, apparently, from what we can hear and see, making a difference. it's quiet again over there this morning. there's the occasional burst of gun fire and in the middle of the night, in the dead of night, there was an intense gun battle. otherwise it's quiet, and the kurdish fighters in kobane are saying that the air strikes are making a difference. >> there's a suggestion that these issue strikes forced i.s.i.l. to yield something like 20% of the territory that it had seized previously.
>> well, we know, we were told yesterday by the y.p.g. fighters, that they had taken back about three specific places that i.s.i.l. held on to. they have taken those back. percentage wise they have not given us precise figures, they pushed the fighters back. i.s.i.l. have been suffering casualties. they are not in the same numbers we believe as i.s.i.l., both sides are seeing fighters killed in a long - month-long battle for kobane. >> is it too soon to say whether the - this glimmer of hope coming out of kobane itself is helping to diffuse the tensions in the border region where you are, between local kurds, and those that have come from syria, and the turkish authorities?
>> well, i think we have seen from whatever vantage point turkish serbs and syrian kurds can get at, they have been watching what is going on, and lechg to the reports -- listening to the reports, reed the reports. the mood has changed because they can see what is happening, and there's a hope that maybe they may be able to save their town, or the fight can save it. the pentagon spokesman, the u.s. defenseman said kobane might - the air strikes on their own may not be enough. we have to come at this with an abundance of caution. >> bernard smith on the turkey-syrian border allegations emerged from a libyan politician in tripoli that egypt's air force bombed targets in benghazi. but the egyptian government is
denying involved in the battle for libya's second largest city. victoria gaetan by reports. >> reporter: the battle for benghazi is fought on the ground and in the air. forces loyal to renegade general khalifa haftar say they want to liberate the second-largest city from terrorists. ansar al-sharia are defined. >> translation: the army barracks are in our hand. anyone who dares to mess with us, we will bury them. benghazi will be your graveyard. >> as the battle for benghazi intensifies, there has been more allegations that egypt's air force has bombed targets in the city. >> translation: after calling for peace in libya, we were
surprised there was no calls for the u.a.e. in egypt to stop interfering. we know the limited power of the libyan army, it's unaccepted to help general khalifa haftar with the air stripes. >> reporter: egypt's government says it denies involvement, but it is in egypt's interest to bring back the separatist leadership. >> egypt would not like to see an islamic regime neighbouring in libya, so will do its utmost to make sure that a representative government, whatever system that is, emerges in libya. >> libya is in the grips of the worst violence and political turmoil since the uprising that toppled muammar gaddafi in 2011. it has been run by a huge
number. all wanting power and unwilling to compromise. >> to yemen, where shia fighters have taken control of another city. they were met with no resistance in ib, not far from an al qaeda-held area in the east. it comes a day after taking the port city. houthis took over the capital last month and expanded their territory in recent weeks. >> hong kong's leader c.y. leung hopes new talks with protesters can take place next week, after a night of scuffles between police and students who are calling for more rights. the demonstrations shut down parts of the city over the last two weeks. >> we are ready. we are prepared to start a dialogue and maintain the dialogue. this is why over the last
few days, and including this morning, through third party, we expressed the wish to the students that we would like to start the dialogue to discuss of the coverage. >> let's go live to our correspondent in hong kong. sounds as though that may be making a concession. did you bet a detail as to the format of the dialogue. how the talks about take place. >> it certainly sounds like it will be a step forward. restarting the dialogue is the step forward. last week the government cancelled the talks. there's a lot of distrust from the students about whether this will achieve anything. it's a positive step. they'll bring on the university students to act as in those discussions and will use them as a key person to find the common
ground. one discussion may not solve issues about democratic reform or the demands that the students want addressed. he said that there are minor details to be worked out. now, cy loouping hopes to open -- leung hopes to open the talks. they have not set a day or venue or said who the chancellor will be. he's prepared to discuss the changes, but said that he will not betray basic law. he'll stick to what the national congress wants. >> it's interesting, isn't it. i hope wondering how much appetite do the student have for the process of dialogue given there has been another night of scuffles, and allegations of police brutality? >> i think all parties want to move forward, given we are in our third week, and this site is
beginning to look like a fixture. having said that, the students want three principles to be addressed, not to be a one-off meeting, but to be ongoing. they said that they want whatever the outcomes that are agreed on to make sure that the government executes the outcomes. we are yet to see the principals or the foundations to be agreed on. c.y. leung coming before the media, resuming the talks - that is a solid step forward. >> sarah clarke keeper her eye on developments in hong kong. >> the w.h.o. says transmission of ebola in the worst-hit countries is rampant. the situation in sierra leone, liberia, and guinea is getting worse, with 70 new cases in sierra leone alone, and the number of ebola cases is likely
to increase to between 5 and 10,000 every week by december. almost 4,500 people have died in west africa since the start of the year the world food program sent 60 metric tonnes of aid to liberia and sierra leone - including medical supplies to set up more ebola treatment clinics and food. the outbreak meant many farmers have not been able to attend to crops in the field, and there are concerns that the worst affected count are yous may suffer food -- countries may suffer food shortages and famine safety protocols in u.s. hospitals are questioned after a second nurse attracted ebola in texas. she was allowed to board a flight the day before she was diagnosed. she and others were treating
thomas eric duncan who died of ebola. federal health officials are called to the congression to explain what wept wrong on thursday. >> -- what went wrong, on thursday. >> we are making sure something like this is not repeated and we are monitoring in a more aggressive way what is taking place in dallas initially and making sure the lessons learnt are transmitted to hospitals and clinics across the country. >> more to come on al jazeera. including the recruits in taiwan who are battling the bulge, so the army can keep fighting fit. >> disaster strikes mountain climbers in the himalayan mountains. part of our heritage... >> coping with tradgedy >> the enemy of any productive
hello again. i'm martine dennis, and these are the top stories at al jazeera. the u.s. says it killed hundreds of fighters from islamic state of iraq and levant in the town of kobane. the town is on syria's border, and is the last remaining border town not in the hand of i.s.i.l. fighters in the area leaders are hoping to have talks with protesters demanding free elections in hong kong. students scuffled with police for another night now the world health organization says transmission of ebola in the west african countries is rampant.
17 new cases a day are reported in sierra leone. the threat is worsening in liberia and guinea. >> now, in a few hours from now, the u.n. security council will be holding elections for five nonpermanent members to join its ranks. venezuela is guaranteed a place after running unopposed. our diplomatic editor james bays looks at how the country will use its position. >> venezuela president nicolas maduro attacking what he called the imperial forces the united states which he said was undermining democracy around the world. his fiery rhetoric an echo of the words of his mentor and predecessor, the late chavez, who once made this personal attack on u.n. leader george w. bush. >> yesterday the devil was here, and it still smells of sulphur
today. >> venezuela's leaders like to use the united nations as a platform. in this hall the u.n. general assembly, there is a chance every year of an hour in the spotlight. in the other, the key chamber of the united nations, being one of the 15 members of the security council is a proposition. nonmembers serve a 2 year term. for the u.s. venezuela using its seat to take on global event could be a headache. venezuelan, replacing argentina, will have limited power, unlike the five permanent members, it won't block resolutions but can make itself heard. >> nicolas maduro is keen to use the seat to shore up support at home. >> venezuela, the government, has undergone turmoil. there has been protests in the
beginning of 2014, lasting for three or four months. they were bloody, the bloodiest and most long-lasting protests in years. >> president nicolas maduro is less popular than his predecessor. which may explain another choice. he's appointed a deputy ambassador at the united nations, maria gabrielle chavez now, we can go to nepal, because the trekking agency of that country says at least 85 climbers are unaccounted for after a blizzard which triggered avalanches. we think there are 20 people confirmed dead, most foreigners. four bodies have been recovered. let's get the latest, we can go life to the area and talk to our correspondents. start by telling us where you are, and what the situation is
there. >> we are in a place at the base, muktinath, where most of the people are stranded. army choppers are around the corner. five bodies have been brought this morning. yesterday five bodies were taken to kathmandu. it seems unlikely, the weather is beautiful, but the army choppers were trying to rescue people earlier, and up in the pass, around 2,400 meters, the weather was turning and it will be difficult for the army to recover bodies or rescue people. just a while ago the army brought one person, and that person was choppered off to the hospital. >> isn't this usually the peak time for trekking in this part of the mountain range?
>> it is the peak time, and the range is extremely popular route. hundreds of people come. earlier we were talking to army personnel who were saying that 54 people were registered on the other side of the mountain who have not been in touch and have lost contact. a lot of people are coming down, and are coming down with broken limbs, frost-bitten people. when we came earlier, when we landed earlier this morning, five trekkers were being rescued. a few of them frost-bitten, arms bandaged. so it's - the problem is the mountain path is so difficult that rescue is difficult for the choppers. >> from what i understand, from what you are saying, there could be many more people, casualties
in the avalanche. 54, at least, still haven't been heard from. yes, that's what the - that's what the army had been saying. a lot of the people - it look like a lot of people try to take shelter in areas that were - wherever there was a dip. and it's more than an avalanche, it was a snow storm, and people were buried underneath, it's difficult to figure out because the know is deep up there. whoever has been rescued is just people who are seen, recovered bodies, people who, when the snow starts to melt. people are seeing the bodies, it's difficult to say how many people are still up there. >> sabina, on that distressing scenario up there let's go to taiwan, off the coast of china, which the united
states is committed to protecting, and to keep their own forces fighting fit, major forces and events are planned. soldiers are asked to volunteer. we have been given access. >> to see the current failings of taiwan's armed forces, you only need to spend a day with conquests. when hostilities between china and taiwan began, all me had to serve time in the military. after decades of peace, the marshall spirit is gone, rather than preparing to battle an enemy, many are battling the bulge. fewer people in taiwan are having children. the kids they do have are spoilt. with conscriptions so unpopular.
taiwan is transforming its military. special force soldiers will be expected to play a larger role. this group of trainees are becoming frog men, members of the taiwan version of the u.s. navy seals. 140 applied. only 10 got this far. those left are struggling. the military had had trouble finding enoughable men for a volunteer army. part of the reason is its own imaging. >> last year draftee hunk chunk chu was caught taking a smartphone on base. he was held in solitary confinement, endured hours of drills, until he collapsed of heat exhaustion. his death led to mass protests, and it stopped the implementation of the army from this year to 2017. the island's president says
taiwan has no choice but the modify the forces. >> translation: with all volunteers, soldiers and officers will receive more training. it will be more effective. i'm confident in this regard. >> back with the special force trainees, we see challenges. it's the time night of the triumph. exhausted, some are struggling to stay awake. >> when it comes to will power, it's not as strong as earlier generations. it's decisive. some are not solid. >> superiors tell us they've been easing requirements for soldiers to be frog men. >> while the test a not as punishing as in years past, it attacks every aspect of the soldier from the physical and the mental. what the soldiers are looking for is whether the recruits have the will to go on.
whether ready or not. the responsibility of defense is on the shoulders of the new volunteer force. the success or failure could ultimately decide the future of taiwan now, you can see steve's foul report on '101 east" at this time. >> there has been protests against the disappearance of dozens of students in mexico, three weeks ago. crowds in mexico city started fires and smashed window in the attorney-general's office. protesters are demanding government action to find the 43 students. some police many in igwello state are accused of being part of the abduction. in the u.s., some are purchases millions of adds to
sway voters. with the congressional elections coming up, an unlikely group is fighting back. kimberley halkett caught up with the nuns on the bus in lexie topping, kentucky. >> it's after sup rise, and this sister and her fellow nuns are heading to a political rally in kentucky. they organised the bus tour to tell residents that on election day next month, the issues of ordinary voters still matter. >> what big money is doing, one is scaring people to keep it away. there's a lot of negativity and fear. >> for months people have been bombarded, hoping to sway the make-up. the sisters acharles and david koch are footing the bill through a foundation known as americans for prosperity to
influence how voters will cast their ballot. >> it's not just the political right that is flooding the campaign with secret spending. liberals and conservatives are spending tens of the millions to influence the election's outcome. according to data. a liberal group calling itself patriot majority. one expert says untraceable election spending is roughly eight times greater than four years ago. >> a small number of wealthy elites are having an incredible influence on the process. it means they change the nature of the debate in an election. they define what is discussed. because it is 100% legal, voters say they feel they no longer have a voice in u.s. politics. >> i think the corporations are
trying to take over. trying to control us. as far as kentucky is, we can use that money some place else. >> so the sisters are setting up registration drives to inspire residents to vote. who say their efforts are shining a light on issues important to the working class. like raising the minimum raise. for the first time in a decade or so, we are talking about poverty in our nation or the needs of those left out and the holy spirit ug it all to hopefully wake us up as a nation. >> she said america's working and middle class can counter the dark money in u.s. politics, if they vote. let's show you some lovely pictures of two astronauts who managed to replace a failed electric unit at the
international space station. >> nice work >> the pair of them had to wait until it was dark in order to remove the old voltage regulator so there would be no electrical discharge. by installing the new unit, they restored full power to the space station. >> texas' new i.d. rules for voters will be allowed to stand. the court said it's too close to election day to change it. in wisconsin the exact opposite. the court said it's too close to election day to allow new rules to go into effect. confused? that's why we're here. that's inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez. we're just a few weeks away from the midterm elections but the dust has not settled in state by