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tv   News  Al Jazeera  October 24, 2014 9:00am-10:01am EDT

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>> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello, welcome to the news hour. i'll martine dennis in doha. these are our top stories. [ explosion ] >> kurdish fighters retake important ground in the battle for kobani after a u.s. air strike targets isil fighters. [ explosion ] meanwhile in iraq bomb squads clear the way to take baxterer to controlled by isil
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a grim milestone for press freedom, three al jazeera journalists have now been jailed in egypt for 300 days. i'm here with on expanded reopening of the museum. are we seeing a reinvigoration of the paris art scene? ♪ kurdish fighters in the syrian town of kobani have now retaken control of a significant area to the west. there you can see the smoke is still rising. now that's just a stone's throw from the border with turkey. this follows four u.s. air strikes since wednesday against isil positions, but the kurdish fighters in kobani are still calling for more reinforcement lts, and now certain factions of
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the free syrian army have agreed to send a force to help the kurds in their battle against isil. these are exclusive pictures that we have gained of inside kobani town. as you can see the extent of the devastation. the area now gives them control of a large stretch of open land, and they say this will ensure that future air drops of ammunitions don't fall into the wrong hands. >> reporter: to the east and the south, a very, very fluid situation there, the kurds still trying to regain parts of the town from isil fighters, but the indications, either side really making much headway. kurdish fighters did manage to
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gain control of a small hill, but isil forces took it a couple of days ago. and an air strike took that back a couple of days ago. it's significant because that is where the air drops will be. it's also an indication of how reliant the kurds are on the air strikes. it was only an air strike that they called in that was able to get rid of the isil fighters. >> in iraq the army is trying to take back oil-rich area that isil now controls. isil controls a third of syria and iraq. iraqi troops have launched major
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offensive to try to get back the towns of tikrit and bagi in particular. imran khan reports [ explosion ] >> reporter: a controlled explosion is still quite a thing to witness. roadside bombs and booby trips kill too many people in iraq. nowhere is that more obvious than this area. with bomb disposal units stretched, they are coming up with ever-more creative solutions. one of the tactics is to shell empty villages in order to explode hidden devices. >> translator: the process of clearing the main highway is
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ongoing. we came for us to clear the main highway, and then clear the nearby villages close to the highway from land mines and other explosives. by this, we guarantee the safety of our units and give the enemy no chance to hold that strategic supply line anymore, as we clear it inch by lynch. >> reporter: and it can be inch by inch. any battle is being centered around the town to tikrit. one section of the army is fighting in the north. baji is home to one of the largest oil refineries. isil fighters will want to try to challenge the army. for the bomb squad this is just
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one more day on the front lines, and one force that has proved to be crucial in the battle against isil. leaving these men with no choice but to be ever watchful. imran khan, al jazeera, bagdad. senior commander of theal al-qaeda linked front has urged isil not to behead this man. the commander says he is the medic who treated him when he was wounded. isil's threat to kill the american has divided groups fighting in syria, especially in the light of his apparent conversion to islam. let's now talk to the chair of contemporary middle eastern policy in london. good to talk to you again.
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help us to understand this mosaic of rebel groups that make up the free syria army. >> well, first of all, the first point is that there's a civil war raging within the so-called jihadists, you have the islamic state, and isil, and on the other hand you have the [ inaudible ] front. a major battle has taken place between the official arm of al-qaeda and isil or the islamic state which has basically revolted. thousands of skilled fighters have been killed, and any so-called islamic state of iraq and the levant, of isil has destroyed the front. so it doesn't carry much weight
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with isil. the importance of the statement lies in the fact that it confirms that the american convert was basically a humanitarian worker, a convert. he did great good deeds, and complicates the efforts by isil to basically behead him if they have not already done so. >> we have several elements of the free syrian army, about five separate factions that agreeing to help the kurdish fighters to fend off the isil advances. >> you are correct. i think it's very misleading to reduce the syrian rebels to just the musla front and isil.
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you have the free syrian army which is the weakest link in the chain in terms of forces, fighters, arms, but the importance of what you said in your statement is now the free syrian army is standing up on its feet, it's basically playing a role inside syria, and they will send fighters to help the kurds, will likely be a very significant move, because it shows the free syrian army if trained, and armed, it could play a major role in this mosaic. >> indeed, because the ypg inside kobani have said they need manpower and equipment. so will the free syrian army,
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the contend -- will they come arms? >> oh, absolutely. this will be a highly skilled force that will most likely to go kobani and engage in not only fighting in kobani, but extend to the various kurdish cities and towns and villages. this could serve as the core, of the force that will remain inside syria and take the battle to isil when the american-lead coalition basically expands its efforts in syria, because the priority is for iraq and syria, a as a secondary operation, the reason why the americans have carried out almost 200 bombings in kobani is to prevent the fall
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of the town, because it is the three -- the battle front. so the free syrian army is beginning to play a critical battle. >> thank you very much indeed. talking to us live from london. now let's go to yemen because the protests are continuing in the major port city of aiden. demonstrators are demanding more autonomy. we can go live now to our correspondent who is in aiden. paint a picture of what is going on around you.
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>> reporter: well, the organizers of the protest have set up a tent camp, and they are exka lating their demand, and they say they will continue their protest until they gain their independence. they say the unity with yemen has to come to an end. we think this is not something new, the tendency to separate from the north, but it's only now after the houthi rebels stormed -- or swept through and gained control of the capitol did people get very excited about this. now every friday they gather in the thousands around the day to perform the friday prayers and then they go about with their daily lives. they come towards the evening and gather and so on, so they
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are trying to pressure iedz the government because they think this is their opportunity. the southern movement thinks this is the right opportunity, because the government in yemen is very weak, and they are ho h hoping to gain independence. >> thank you very much. mali has become the sixth west africa nation to be affected by ebola. and in sport the match that turned into a riot. they hand down their punishment to serbia and albania. it has been 300 days since three al jazeera journalists
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were arrested in egypt. they remain wrongly accused of helping the outlawed muslim brotherhood. they were arrested last year. after a long trial, they were sentenced in june, two to seven years, one to ten. the cases attracted condemnation from around the word. and earlier this week, the authorities in cairo, announced a review hearing for their case to be held on january 1, 2015. andrew thomas has been speaking to peter greste's parents to find out how they are coping. >> reporter: the last time peter greste was in sydney was in september last year, when he was reporting on the australian election. now his parents have travelled from their home in try to keep
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their son's plight a campaign. how has it been? >> tough, really tough. >> we really haven't had a life this year. it has been campaign from morning tonight from friday to next friday. >> did you ever envision that peter and his colleagues would be in prison for 300 days? >> no. no. er absolutely not. it has been 300 days too long. >> there have been some pretty dark moments along the way, i can imagine. what were the darkest? >> well, clearly the darkest was the day of the sentence. it still remains as an awful, awful nightmare. >> one of the other darkest was the first time in whites --
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>> in the cage. >> in the cage. >> that pains me to today. >> youing spent two months in egypt immediately after the verdict. how was peter doing when you saw him? >> he was very strong, remaining strong, really. and doing everything that he could to keep himself physically, mentally, and spiritually all together. >> and now? >> well, he is still strong, by having to stair as it were into the abusiness of not knowing what is to come. i am optimistic and have faith in the egyptian highest level to
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make the right decision. >> optimistic, but also a little bit tense about what might happen. >> thanks very much. well, we have also been speaking to baher mohamed's wife. and she talked about the enormous challenges he face in trying to visit. >> translator: it is a long tiring journey of more than 1.5 hour's drive. it's especially hard because i bring my three young children with me. four, three years, and the yo g youngest is 2 months old. we have to stand in the heat and then i and the children are subjected to strict searches. this takes a couple more hours.
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by the time we are in, the and i are exhausted. our journey starts at 8:00 in the morning, and we come back at 5:00. all the visitations are only 30 minutes. during the visitation, we are surrounded by guards. we don't -- do not even have the liberty to talk. i call for swift repeal decisions, but we are sparing to efforts in terms of legal proceedings orallying popular support. now let's talk to the director at freedom house. thank you for talking to us. how do you assess the situation now as we reach this -- this dreadful milestone of 300 days?
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>> well, first of all my heart goes out to the familiar -- families and the men themselves. their imprisonment is part of a broader war on journalism. the egyptian government is clearly trying to crack down on freedoms of the press. close down on the flow of information to its own population. >> and how important is it that you have a free and independent and vibrant press? does it really matter? >> yes, it's absolutely critical in order to keep the government honest, inform the population of what is going on in the country. if you don't have a free and vibrant press it's impossible
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for the people to know what is going on, and the government to be held accountable. >> what about this court hearing for january 1st? do you have much faith in the egyptian judicial process? >> well, i think at the higher levels, judges have a much better reputation for independence and judicial skill, so there is some hope there. the broader egypt janish -- egyptian judicial second amendment is doing what the governmenting wants it to do. we have see this not only for journalists, but human rights activists and so on in order to keep them silent as well. >> do you think there's more than u.s. government in particular can do? because they can bring pressure
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to bare like no other, are perhaps are their hobbled because of egypt's special position in terms of american regional strategy? >> well, i think the growing roll on isil and the perception of an egyptian role in that has weighed heavily. but i think there's more the government of the united states can and should do. primarily by speaking out and highlights these violations. the egyptian government is subject to public criticism. the u.s. could send a powerful signal to the government of egypt. >> thanks very much indeed for talking to us here. >> my pleasure.
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>> al jazeera continues to demand the immediate release of our three journalists imprisoned in egypt. we will be marking the 300 days in jail by having 300 seconds of silence on friday. a least six people were killed in tunisia outside of the capitol. this was just before the elections. there's freedom of speech, but journalists firth freedom may now be at risk. >> reporter: this is how most
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tunisians get their news. one of the presenters used to work in state television. he said political interference got him sacked. >> presidents who own mee media. we have corrupt people, from things they have done even before banali left >> reporter: and there is a powerful media owner running for president. some see him as the bell sconeny of tunisia. there's no doubt that media free dome is important to
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tu -- tunisia democracy. this is the organization appointed to watch over the broadcast industry. it was set up last year after a lot of political disagreement. it has tough on outlets that break rules. taking away some licenses. >> translator: politics is politics and immediate wra is media, and we need to separate the link between them. because in modern history media was corrupted by mixing the two, and that leads to propaganda. >> reporter: this new documentary tries to capture the atmosphere of the last four years. it could never have been made before the revolution. >> we need politicians also
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to -- not to make us go back to where we came from. so with these elections, i hope that, you know, we will go on and continue to -- on the path of democracy and liberty of speech. >> reporter: now the media is free to question politicians, but it's still learning to adapt to this new more independent environment. a doctor in new york has tested positive for ebola. he had just come back from west africa and went through enhanced screening procedures. new york's mayor says the city has always that it needs to control the virus. >> the patient is now in isolation. the health department has a team of disease detectives who have
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been at work tracing all of the patient's contracts. a 2-year-old girl has been in guinea and now has ebola. the worst-affected countries remain liberia, sierra leone, and guinea. more than 4,800 people have died. nigeria and senegal had their cases, but they have been cleared as far as being free of the disease. now european leaders are holding a meeting in brussels. they meet periodically and normally it is a rather bad-tempered affair. let's go to jonah hull to find
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out what with has been irking them this time, jonah. >> reporter: a lot of bad display, particularly on think part of david cameron. he is complaining loudly at a bill that has been slapped on the united kingdom because of top-up budget payments because of better than expected gdp for the year. all three countries have challenged the demand. there will be an emergency meeting next week to look into the figures precisely. but for david cameron it is a particularly difficult position for him to be in. because of course he has lots of support of his party. he comes to these summits more and more now, needing to look
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and sound tough in the case of e.u. demands. he looked and sounded angry. here is what he had to say. >> this is completely unacceptable. it is an unacceptable way for this organization to work, so suddenly present a bill like this for such a vast sum of money, and it's an unacceptable way to treat one of the biggest contributors to the europe union. >> jonah also the issue of funding for this ebola crisis has been dealt with, hasn't it? and spain has been the country that has been singled out to poorly contributing to fighting ebola, when of course it had that outbreak to deal with
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itself. >> well, perhaps more console lags for david cameron who has been urging for more help. and pointing out that many of his colleagues have been lagging behind. they have stepped up and doubled the financial pledges to double. they have appointed an ebola envoy, the in-coming e.u. humanitarian affairs commissioner. he will be coordinating efforts of aid going to west africa and they are taking this seriously. of course, as you say, spain has had a brush with ebola, and germany and norway. >> all right.
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for now, jonah thank you very much. jonah hull at the e.u. summit in brussels. now everton is going to take us to the weather. >> yeah, look at this organized clutch of storms which have been rumbling away for the past couple of days. just look at how the cloud just erupts there. we have been taking precautions here across southern parts of mexico. penal -- people have been boarding up their windows. we have seen huge amounts of rainfall. 125 millimeters of rain in only 25 hours. so the threat of flash flood certainly remains for the next
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day or two. for the remainder of friday, it will be stretching down into the far south of mexico. it will sink its way further southward and eastward. we don't want too much rain in any one time, but we are going to see a lot of rain coming in here in the next couple of days. everton thank you very much. lots more to come here on the program, including canada. we go there to ask how has it changed following the parliam t parliamenty attack and shooting this week. and in sport, the tennis season ends early for the world number 2. farah will have all of the details. ♪
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♪ taking a live look right now at the house oversight and government reform committee. they are holding hearing on the ebola crisis in a multi-agency response to it. that is daryle issa, republican from california chairing that committee. good morning , and welcome to al jazeera america, i'm stephanie sy. that hearing has taken on new urgency. another ebola case has been diagnosed in the u.s. here in new york city. city health officials are insisting there is no risk to the public. officials are trying to track down anyone who came into
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contact with this man, dr. craig spencer. he tested positive days after returns to the u.s. from guinea where he was treating victims of ebola. this morning he is in isolation. his fiance and at least two others are quarantined. he has been monitoring himself for symptoms but also traveled around the city for several days. libby who is expected to testify been this house committee. >> this hearing called for before last night's breaking news that this new york doctor is believed to have ebola, so this is just good timing in the sense that this committee is now try to gain additional details whab the federal government is doing. they'll hear from members of the
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obama administration, ranging from the department of defense to the department of health and human services. we'll also here from the co-president of national nurses united, representing over 190 thousand nurs. she came to national prominence because she says nurses aren't ready to deal with an outbreak, and they feel like they haven't been adequately prepared. she is expected to share information from a survey, showing that 85% of their members don't believe they have been adequately trained. 65% say their hospitals have not yet communities clear policies regarding what to do when admitting a possible ebola patient. >> libby there is somebody that is not going to be at that hearing, and that is the new obama administration point
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person on ebola. why isn't he attending? >> that's right. well, the new so-called ebola czar just started on wednesday. so he declined the invitation to appear, saying that he was just getting into the groove, just getting into think the -- the position. but we will see other members of the administration, and these are faces and names we don't often see. rather than the secretary of the department of health and human services, we'll be hearing from the point person who works on coordinating some of that international response and information and working with guiding the department, someone who has been in that position four years. so they are hoping to gather more information and specifically what the cdc is doing to deal with more cases in
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the country, but also the rapid response. there are new so-called s.w.a.t. teams that went into bellevue hospital to oversee the treatment and make sure all safety procedures are being followed to ensure the safety of the patient as well as the staff. >> libby you mentioned the cdc and the heat that was on the director the last time we saw a live press conference coming out of the hill, sparks really flew. are we expecting to see that this morning? >> that's right. the people testifying today are in less visible roles. but expect them to be hell to task. the committee is chaired by
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daryle issa has you said. he is known for being a very critical voice of what the administration is doing. a number of republicans have called for a travel ban on the three countries in west africa that are most dealing with the ebola outbreak, and that's something the white house and some democrats have say doesn't make sense. in terms of doing the medically smart thing to do, it could harm the efforts to try to help what is happening in africa, and it could force people to go underground. there are now designated airports that people will go to enter the united states. and they could for example, go to other places and get in the country in other ways.
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so that is something that they have pushed on. >> yeah. i want to go live to bellevue erika pitzi has been covering the latest ebola patient. erica what did the cdc enact when dr. spencer arrived yesterday. >> we know the cdc had a team on the ground already, and also sent up reinforcements from atlanta. and the idea is to make sure everybody is doing and following the protocol. but they also made sure the officials here, city leaders as well as the departments like the fdny and emt's are doing what
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they are suppose. he immediately called doctors without boarders, and they contacted the health department. so fdny sent its emt's into the apartment, saled off the apartment got dr. spencer and rushed him to the hospital, taking him to a quarantine room via privatel rate for. the city leaders are praising these protocols are really being follow followed. >> all right. erika pitzi thank you. now we're joined on set here by
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this doctor. >> there's no question that this has been handled correctly by think cdc, and the new york department of health. and new york was always going to be one of the testing grounds. so the department of health and the cdc have been running drills to make sure we were ready for this moment. >> so what we are covering right now is a hearing happening on capitol hill, discussing the ebola response, and any time politicians get involved in making decisions on these public health decisions, does that give you pause as an expert. >> well, disease is always socially experienced and it's no doubt that people are afraid.
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i think the role of politicians at guest is to make sure we are all well aware of the circumstances, that we know what is being done to address them, and make sure any mistakes made are not made again. we also have to remember we're going into midterm election. >> there have been several candidates that are making travel plans and ebola part of their campaign. right now we're looking at a live picture of the hearing and elijah cummings giving his opening statements. we'll dip into that as news develops, but some of these politicians are now calling for travel bans. is this latest case -- does it support those calls or refute
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those calls? >> i think there's no doubt that this case with dr. spencer refutes those calls. this is a brave american who decided he would take time out of his life toe take care of a number of people suffering in west africa. and i'm thankful he was ail to come back home and come to care. and we can't close our borders on the part of american men and women who are brief like dr. spencer. >> and this is a doctor who had clear protocols to follow when he came back. ho many west africian civilians that don't have instructions might reach these shores and not do the right thing? >> well, there's a big selection effect, right? the people who can actually get
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on an airplane and come to the united states are likely pretty well educated and have access to money. and so in that circumstance i don't think we have as much to worry about. unfortunately, that has been the circumstance in west africa, but we're talking about people from very destitute, rural villages who don't necessarily believe in the same narrative of how this virus propagates. so those coming here are almost entirely likely to find themselves in care, and the situation with thomas eric duncan demonstrates that. >> all right. i want to just take a listen now. this is elijah cummings. >> -- by now we have all seen their pictures, two brave young women who risked their lives to do their jobs and feed their
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souls. just like nurses across this country, every single day, 24-7, 365 days a year. i understand that ms. pham's condition has been updated and ms. vincent has now been cleared of the virus. we thank them for their bravery and combhimemitment. this new case should demonstrate we can no longer ignore the crisis in west africa. nearly 10,000 people have died from this disease or are battling with it, as we speak, many in the most gruesome conditions imaginable. i firmly believe we have a fundamental moral and
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humanitarian obligation to address the crisis in f africa. we are the richest nation in the world, and we have the resources and expertise to take the biggest difference. however, for those who do not agree that we have a moral obligation, they must understand that addressing any ebola crisis in africa is also in our self interest as a nation. public health experts warn to protect americans here at home, we need to address this outbreak in africa, at its source. the longer the outbreak conditions, the likely it will spread to the rest of the world, and if we do not take strong action now, it will cost much much more in the long run.
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health care experts know how to fight this disease. the world health organization declared nigeria and senegal free of ebola. this is a tremendous accomplishment achieved through a combination of early diagnosis. contact tracing. infection control and safe burial. but we still face grave challenges in sierra leone guinea, and liberia where new cases are increasing an at alarming rate. last week, though united states adopted a resolution declaring the ebola outbreak, and i quote, a threat to international peace and security, end quote. the u.n. established a mission for response.
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they set up additional actions and requested a budget. however, they are hundreds of millions of dollars short. they desperately need funding for treatment beds. training for healthcare workers and supplies to prevent infection, they need resources for things like food, vehicles, and fuel. as the security council was warned last week, we either stop ebola now, or face an untirely unprecedented situation. there have already been hearings on how to prepare ourselves here in the united states. so today i intend to ask our witnesses what are the most
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significant and concrete steps we with take to address this outbreak at its source. i'm particularly grateful to the international medical corps for being here today to provide what the group and others need toe do to stop the spread of ebola. i know you must feel great empathy for dr. spencer. i have asked my staff to place your testimony on our website. i think the public should have a read all ten pages. mr. spencer -- dr. spencer was one of your compatriots. battling enin -- ebola in west
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africa. dr. spencer and your group and many others are doing one of the only things that will truly ensure the world will be free of ebola. we need to support you as much as we can, do it foerszfully, and convince the rest of the world to do the same. again, i say this is our watch. and two, my fellow committee members, it is not a time for us to move to common ground. we have no choice but to move to higher ground, and so with that, mr. chairman, i look forward to the testimony today, and with that i yield back. >> i thank the member. with that we go to our panel of witnesses. the honorable [ inaudible ] is the assistant secretary of defense for special operations
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and low-intensity conflict. major general is the deputy director in affairs in africa. the honorable john ross -- sorry, i apologize. the honorable john ross, the inspector general for homeland security. the assistant secretary for preparednessen -- preparedness and response. and the senior vice president of international operations at the international medical corps.
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ladies and gentlemen would you please all raise, raise your right hands and take the oath. [ sworn ] >> i ask you realize your entire testimony will be the record. >> chairman, and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to be here this morning regarding the role in the united states comprehensive ebola response effort, which are a national security priority in response to a global threat. due to the u.s. military's
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unique capabilities. the department has been called upon to provide interim solutions that will allow other departments and agencies the time necessary to expand and deploy their own capabilities. u.s. military efforts may also galvanize a more robust and coordinated effort. which is essential to contain this threat. before addressing the specific elements of the response efforts, i would like to share by observations of the evolving crisis. after visiting liberia, which i returned from several weeks ago, i was left with a number of overarching impressions that are shaping the department's role supporting usaid. first our government has deployed a top-notch team. second, the liberian government
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is doing what it can with very limited resources. third, the international response is increasing regionally, due to our government's response efforts. fourth, i traveled to the region, and found that we face a logistics crisis focused on a healthcare challenge. fifth, speed and skilled response matter. incremental responses will be outpaced by a rapidly growing epidemic. finally this is truly a national security issue. absent our government's coordinated response in west africa, the virus's increasing spread brings the risk of more cases here in the united states. now i would like to turn to
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dod's role in west africa. in mid-september, president obama ordered the department to undertake military operations in direct support of usid. secretary hagel directed that first, support usaid, in the overall government efforts and second, respond to department of state requests for security or evacuation assistance if required. direct patienting care of ebola-exposed patients is no dod's mission. the last six weeks dod has undertaken a number of activities to include
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designating a named operation, operation united assistance. establishing an intermediate staging base in senegal, providing strategic -- >> okay. you are watching -- that's the honorable michael lunkin. he just got back from liberia. you are watching the house oversight commitment's hearing about this country's ebola response here in the u.s. and also overseas. let's bring in libby casey again from washington. libby this is i believe the third committee hearing since duncan died from ebola. what do you make of it so far? and what are the highlights? >> we did just hear from the assistant secretary that he expected to see a health crisis with logistics challenges, instead he describes it as a logistics crisis focused on a healthcare challenge.
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and that's what this committee is trying to avoid, not a logistics crisis. we have heard from very different political places, republican and democrat that there may be more cases here in the united states and they are trying to avoid a logistical night mare. daryle issa said that the obama administration has essentially fumbled the first case here in the united states. and critical of ron's absence at this hearing. we just became the coordinator of the ebola response on wednesday. the white house said it is too early for him to appear. but daryle issa says he hopes to see him in the fruture. and the chairman ask ed is ron's
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job to put in place an interagency coordination? or is his job just to oversea it? but we're also seeing a lot of criticism in terms of who is to blame and how the effort has gone so far. and cummings is focusing on what is .hahhing in west africa. both to help the citizens of the country and also to help the united states so it lessens the number of cases we may see. >> 4800 people have died of ebola in west africa. all right. we're going to take a quick break. folks we'll be right back with live coverage of this response hearing taking place right now on capitol hill.
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♪ welcome back to our special coverage of an ebola response hearing happening right now in capitol hill. i want to go erika pitzi right now, live outside bellevue hospital here in new york city. that is where the late esz american patient to be diagnosed is in isolation. erica, i understand we may get an update this morning from the mayor of new york city? >> yeah, that's right. the mayor is supposed to hold a press conference coming up at 11:00 am, and that's when we're supposed to get hopefully more details, and i would expect that we're also going to hear from the mayor, again, trying to calm the public. we know dr. spencer, the day