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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 31, 2014 12:00pm-12:31pm EST

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palestinian president signs a treaty to join the international criminal court. ♪ you are watching al jazeera live from our headquarters here in doha. more than 30 people are killed in the yemeni city of ibb. almost a thousand migrants abandoned by smugglers are rescued by the italian coast guard. and new year celebrations begin around the world. this is the scene in thailand
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as they welcome 2015. ♪ if you agree, raise your hand. those were the words of the palestinian leadership as they signed a treaty applying to join the international criminal court. it was one of over20 international treaties signed by the president. the decision followed the u.n. security council's rejection of a move to end israeli occupation. james how significant is this move? >> this is something the palestinians have been threatening to do for a very long time. they have thought about it. they have been worried about doing it because they knew there would be international repercussions, but they have now
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finally taken this very important step which could pave the way, eventually to things that have happened in israeli and palestinian territory, being taken to the international criminal court. potentially israeli leaders, and palestinian leaders could find themselves eventually in court, but of course there will be a long procedure, and investigations to go before that was to happen. now i think it's worth just explaining to youthe path ahead. it doesn't make the instantly a party. what happens now is having signed the treaty they have to give it to the person who acts as the depository of that treaty, that is the secretary general of the united nations, ban ki-moon. he will then look at the signed
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treaty from president abbas, and decide whether they should become a member. and then the international criminal court will have jurisdiction over palestinian territory. now it's not clear how long the secretary general will take to look at this. certainly i'm sure his legal office have been aware of this and they have probably given him an opinion already. and he'll know the position of the u.n. general assembly but the u.n. general assembly's position on this is pretty well-known. and i'm pretty sure if it was put to a vote then they would say that palestine should be admitted. then assuming that happens there is a couple of month's delay before the jurisdiction of the court becomes active. then of course, there is one other step which is actually starting an investigation. in the international criminal court to start an investigation, there are three different roots
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to do it. one is the security council, and we saw the u.n. security council won't do anything because the u.s. will use their veto. the second way is for the chief prosecutor to initiate her own investigation, and the third way is for palestine to ask for an investigation, so in many ways there is a second step for president abbas to take which is to actually ask the international criminal court after a period of some months for an investigation. then they can ask for an investigation, that is retroactive that looks at events in the path. some legal doubts about what would be covered there, from the start of the international criminal court or when palestine was granted status of the u.n.
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general assembly in 2012. but some believe the fighting this gaza this summer could be covers. so international criminal court will have jurisdiction over palestinian territory. >> james thanks. let's go to ramallah and as james was saying this application to join the international criminal court sets the stage for filing a war crimes case against israel. that's one thing. what has been the initial reaction there in ramallah toward this move? >> well it's interesting. as we heard from president abbas himself, we were watching palestinian tv where we made this statement. i could hear fireworks going off in the distance. i think a lot of people want the president to be very muscular in
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his approach to trying to find ways to end israel's occupation of palestinian territories. the fact of the matter is is that mr. abbas has made good on what he planned to do next which was to join several international conventions, sign several international conventions, including the rome statute, which has james pointed out, is a very significant move by the palestinians, something they have been talking about for a very long time. from the israeli point of view we haven't heard anything formal just yet, but one would imagine they are not happy about this. for a very long time since discussions over the past several years really have erupted about whether or not the palestinians should go to the icc, join the icc, and pressed war crimes against israel
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israel has consistently said well, then we will do it to you. so although as james pointed out, we're a long way away from any formal cases being opened the israelis are very unhappy, but there's much happiness here in ramallah at this movement by president abbas. >> thank you. meanwhile in the occupied west bank a palestinian home was set on fire in a village. a family with young children was asleep when two attackers threw a fire bomb inside. no one was injured. two of the victims of sunday's air asian crash have been brought back to the airport. a woman, and a boy are so of the bodies that have been recovered so far.
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steph is there and joins us live now. what can you tell us about the discovery of these bodies? >> reporter: well the new year has started here and it has been a very sad ending of the last year. it's supposed to be a very big street festival right here but as you can see behind me the stage is empty, all of the entertainment programs have been canceled, but that hasn't stopped thousands to come to the street. there has been some fireworks, but it's very subdued. it is a lot different than they had planned. all out of respect for the victims of the crash of airasia. earlier today this afternoon, the two first bodies arrived. they were welcomed by a somber military ceremony at the airport, the first two bodies of the victims of the airasia crash
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of december 28th. bad weather and large waves have been hampering the search. >> translator: the transport of the bodies from the ship to the mainland is very difficult. that's why the ship has come to the harbor which is a much more time consuming process than evacuating by helicopter. >> reporter: a very tragic moment three days after they departed for singapore their bodies have returned here. many more have yet to be recovered. the bodies will be brought to the police hospital for identification, where 90 relatives have supplied data and dna records to help with the identification process. the government has asked people to tone down their new year's celebrations out of respect. >> translator: in east java all festivities are canceled and we
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will pray instead, we will pray for the spirit of the victims, and for those left behind so they can accept this terrible loss. >> reporter: relatives of the victims held their own ceremony at the airport, some still hoping for a miracle. prayers also for better weather conditions at the crash site so the recovery process can be speeded up in the next few days and the victims can be reunited with their grieving families. while the people here are celebrating the new year, although it's a lot more subdued than originally planned out of respect for the victims the relatives are still waiting for more news. many more bodies still have to be recovered and we can only pray and hope that the weather is going to improve where the crash has hand so the victims can be found soon and brought back here.
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steph thanks very much. new years celebrations are underway though as you would expect the mood there somewhat muted in the aftermath of that airasia crash. still to come this half hour -- [ gunfire ] >> 13 years, a trillion dollars, and thousands of lives, we examine the legacy of nato's combat mission in afghanistan. ♪
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>> it's a chilling and draconian sentence... it simply cannot stand. >> its disgraceful... the only crime they really committed is journalism...
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>> they are truth seekers... >> all they really wanna do is find out what's happening, so they can tell people... >> governments around the world all united to condemn this... >> as you can see, it's still a very much volatile situation... >> the government is prepared to carry out mass array... >> if you want free press in the new democracy let the journalists live. >> the stream, >> your digital community >> you pick the hot topics and express your thoughts the stream it's your chance to join the conversation only on al jazeera america ♪ welcome back you are watching al jazeera from doha.
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let's update you on our top stories. the palestinian president has signed 20 international treaties, including one to join the international criminal court. it follows failed attempts at statehood at the u.n. new years celebrations in malaysia have been tuned down out of respect for the victims of the airasia crash. and people released balloons in japan's capitol tokyo, while in australia, fireworks sparkled over sydney harbor. a suicide attack targeting houthi fighters have left several people dead.
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>> reporter: the suicide bomber walked to the cultural center in the city of ibb and detonated his explosive belt leaving dozens dead. it was a gathering of shia houthis to celebrate the fifth of the profit mohammed. some survivors were rushed to hospital. this attack is one of the strongest against the houthis since they took over the city of ibb in november. the group's military and political power is rising. they started to control different provinces in yemen since july. and in september they swept through the capitol. now they control at least nine provinces. many people here believe that the houthis with support from the deposed president. he was toppled in 2012 after wide protests but he still has influence over the military and tribal connections. but the houthis are facing tough
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times too. al-qaeda fighters backed by tribesmen have clashed with the fighters killing dozens. al-qaeda and some tribes waged a war of attrition to weaken the group. but the group remains undeterred. they signed a u.n.-backed peace deal in september to withdraw and disarm. that never happened. now there are plans to integrate their fighters into government forces. the minister of interior has started the immigration process of 2,000 houthi fighters into its ranks, with plans to recruit thousands more. but critics warn this is the beginning of building a state within a state with the houthis in charge. saudi arabia's king has been admitted to hospital for med cat tests. the 90 year old is at the medical city.
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his frequent hospitalization has raised concerns about the future leadership of the oil-producing country. his half brother is next in line to the thrown. nato's 13-year mission in afghanistan is officially ending at midnight on new years eve. a group of french soldiers held a ceremony in kabul handing responsibility to a turkish unit. the turks will be among 13,000 soldiers who remain in place to support afghan forces. the war has cost tens of thousands of lives and a trillion dollars has been spent, but the fighting continues across the country. as jennifer glasse reports from the capitol kabul. >> reporter: in 2007, this province was filled with taliban fighters. nato had already been in the country six years. the fledgling afghan national army joined british patrols. nato troops walked a delicate line in a country suspicious of strangers. >> you have to go in
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aggressively because there could be enemy in there, but we have to reassure the locals that we are not there to harm them. >> reporter: another part of the mission was to get rid of opium poppy crops, but it is now bigger than ever. training of the afghan military place became a mayor focus for nato in 2010, and while there are about 370,000 forces they are struggling against a resurgent taliban. nearly 3500 nato forces have been killed sne united nations has only been keeping track since 2008 but since then more than 9,600 afghan civilians have died, and for afghan forces this has been the worst year yet, about 13 policemen and soldiers die every day. one of the biggest killers is improvised explosive devices, or
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ied's. >> we do not have enough equipment to get rid of the ied's or the equipment to give us early warning, like others but still we are doing better but suicide attacks, and ied's is the biggest weapon they use against us. >> reporter: the taliban says the fighting isn't over. >> translator: this war will continue until america and the west completely leaves afghanistan. changing the name or a title is not important for us as long as the foreign forces are in our country, we will continue fighting. >> reporter: and the afghans bear the brunt of the fighting. a doctor say not only do the
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security forces need more training many of the police are heroin users. >> most of them are addicted. more than 50% of police are addicted, so how can we see that they will ever -- they will create the best security in the future. >> reporter: this year the taliban hooz taken large parts of the countryside across afghanistan, and al-qaeda is reestablishing its training camps in the east. nato's combat role may be ending but it's original mission is far from accomplished. we spoke to the taliban ambassador to pakistan. >> the fighting will be continuing. i don't think the taliban will get control of the country again by force. and the government is not able to control afghanistan. and this is the other strategy for afghanistan to continue fighting in afghanistan.
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and i think that if the fighting will continue in afghanistan, it will be more wars than today. we are witness of that. because it's -- they will increase fighting increase attacks, increase the battle in afghanistan, it will be increasing the [ inaudible ] for both sides, but that's not the way to resolve the problem. i won't say again, and the politics is the solution not the military combat in afghanistan. the u.s. has transferred five prisoners from guantanamo bay to kazakhstan for resettlement. three yemenis and two tunisians were detained for more than ten years. 127 inmates are still detained there. the pakistani army says it has killed 23 fighters in the northwest of the country. the army says it killed them in air strikes. and that four of the shelters
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were also destroyed. a cargo ship carrying nearly a thousand migrants has been brought into port by the italian coast guard, the passengers appear to have been abandoned in rough seas by people smugglers. >> reporter: the italian coast guard took control of the vessel in the early hours of wednesday morning. these pictures show them being lowered on to the deck by helicopter. on board they found 970 desperate migrants mostly from syria and iraq but no sign of the crew. the ship left port six days ago, and after three days of terrible weather, it was apparently left on its own. the migrants locked in the hull. the italian navy brought the ship in to the italian port. the migrants are now being processed here in this school by
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italian authorities who are every stretched at the sheer scale of this latest migrant incident. most are from syria and iraq. they all speak of the terrible conditions that they have endured on board this cargo ship. some were on board for nine days and the journey cost anywhere here 6 and $9,000 for each person. they painted a grim picture of their voyage. >> like you know, no sleeping. they give you every day like -- just like that bread, you know? and nothing. >> reporter: no water? >> no water, just -- like just -- wet. wet your throat. that's it, nothing. >> reporter: hamid is from aleppo in syria. >> it was a very bad trip because the ship was very old
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and very very dirty, and very -- very noisy. i can't tell you what -- the roof -- when -- when the rain drop -- drop in the -- the roof dropped on the ship yes. and the -- the floor -- the floor are water. there is no -- no carpet no -- nothing. no -- no toilet no -- nothing. >> reporter: later the migrants will be bussed to holding centers big enough to deal with the numbers involved. italian authorities say they picked up more than 2,000 migrants in their waters in the last ten days alone. all part of the ongoing traffic of desperate people seeking sanctuary from war and a better chance for life in europe. the last group of survivors from a ferry that caught fire
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off of the greek coast three days ago have been brought ashore in italy. more than 400 people were on board when the blaze broke out. 13 people died. italian prosecutors have ordered a criminal investigation into the fire. the ship itself is being towed to the port in italy. gambia's president has confirmed that his palace came under attack and a coup attempt was foiled. four of the attackers were killed. he was out of the count think at the time but has since returned and is promising tough action against the perpetrators. the mastermind is said to be an ex-army officer based in senegal. nicklas has more. >> reporter: just ten kilometers up this road is the gam beeian capitol. but this is where the coup started. this is where they stormed in
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here. it's not the first time there have been dozens of coups and every time it fails. human rights organizations are particularly concerned, because every time there is an attempt at a regime change, there is also violence in the country. they accuse of him of killings and executions all orchestrated to punish anyone who questions him or his regime. right now all flights in and out of gambia are shut down. there is only one way out for those who fear him, through this border. christians in ghana are calling for a growing regulations for prayer camps. some have been accused of taking advantage of vulnerable people.
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>> reporter: this is an action worldwide prayer camp in the eastern region of ghana. visitors can stay at this camp for free though donations are gratefully received. this woman says she came to this camp as an hiv patient. >> translator: one day, when we were praying, the pastor asked us to put our palms together and drink the blood of jesus. the heavens opened and the blood of jesus was flowing from heaven. the pastor asked me do you know that god has healed you? >> reporter: the drink was just symbolic, but she says after that experience she went back to the hospital and they told her she was no longer hiv positive. she now has a daughter who she says is also hiv free. she stays here because she has been cast out by her community. she is just the kind of vulnerable person that christian
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leaders say need to be better protected. >> somebody must be there to check security sanitation, and to make sure human right issues are done right, and then the churches themselves must also monitor what is happening so that the postors and the various christian councils can just say we are in together, but if you stretch to this point, we are sorry. it cannot be right. >> reporter: christians say the camps are popular because people are looking for spiritual guidance and healing for so many problems. there are no signs to this excluded site, but world of mouth alone brings around 60 visitors a month. the camp is run by a husband and wife who call themselves the opposal and the profitter. >> some people may not believe it, but they have to change
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their mind set. >> reporter: some prayer camps have been criticized for their treatment of mental health patients. here they say they treat everybody with respect. christian groups say such places also need to have other professionals on hand to help address people's problems. parts of asia and the pacific have already celebrated the beginning of 2015. [ cheers and applause ] >> this was the scene this hong kong a little bit earlier, thousands of people gathering to watch the fireworks over victoria harbor meanwhile over a million gathered in sydney harbor in australia. and in north korea's capitol, state media shows crowds cheering at the firework display in the square. wherever you are in the world, al jazeera wishes you a very
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happy new year. and you can of course keep up to date with everything we're covering on our website, the address for that is you will find the latest on all of our top stories, including analysis on everything we're covering. video on demand there as well. do check it out. ♪ hi i'm lisa fletcher and you are in the "stream." journalists around the world condemn the egyptian government for the detention of three al jazeera journalists. plus females talk about being harassed assaulted and stripped on the streets of egypt. and later an american citizen imprisoned during anti-government demonstrations who was said to be near death


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