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tv   News  Al Jazeera  May 7, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT

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after an up surge in fighting saudi arabia offers a five-day humanitarian ceasefire in yemen. but will the houthis agree? ♪ i'm loren taylor this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up. fears that fighting in syria's mountainous region will spill over the border into lebanon. more deaths in burundi's protests after the president
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insists he will run for a third term. britain votes in its tightest election in decades. and the out of control russian spacecraft that is set to plummet back to earth. ♪ hello, saudi arabia has offered a five-day humanitarian ceasefire in the campaign it's waging against houthi fighters in yemen, but only if the houthis also stop hostilities. the offer was welcomed by secretary of state john kerry what has been in saudi arabia holding talks. late on wednesday, yemen's ambassador to the united nations asked the international community to send land forces to fight the houthis. that was prompted by an up surge
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in fighting in aden. kerry says he is pleased riyadh is trying to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict. >> translator: i also briefed him about the kingdom's thoughts on a five-day ceasefire in yemen in order to coordinate with international organizations to send assistance and aid to the hue -- yemen people. >> king salman has announced a conference in riyadh which the foreign minister referred to to which he is inviting all yemeni parties, and we support that conference. everyone agreed that that conference can help lead into the subsequent talks under the u.n. auspices. and that all of this dialogue is beneficial in an effort to try
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to find a political solution to the crisis. we're also pleased that saudi arabia has agreed to support the u.n. in its efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the situation in yemen. >> a houthi supporter and activist believes the group will agree to a ceasefire. >> i think when it comes to the humanitarian issue, they -- they will like -- i'm pretty sure that they will agree about that. but let's make it clear that after 40 days of bombardment, the houthis and the humanitarian agencies have been calling for a ceasefire, and the saudis have been refusing. and just two days after the yemeni tribes entered saudi arabia, and attacked many bases inside saudi, now they are calling for a ceasefire. they are using this humanitarian issue to save them because they were losing really really bad in the south.
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and one other thing that a ceasefire doesn't mean that especially yemenese tribesmen will withdraw from saudi areas that they have controlled. a ceasefire means you stop firing at each other and that's all. the fighting inside yemen's port city of adin rages on as our correspondent reports. >> reporter: for thousands of people trapped in aden's district here the sea is their only way out. they have been caught in the battle for the southern port city. the residents are terrified. >> translator: the conditions are rockets, bombing, random shelling on our houses no electricity, no water. >> translator: the gulf states should shoulder their responsibilities for the people of south yemen, or they should step aside. >> reporter: the streets are
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deserted and many are confined in their homes. -- others are looking for a way out. boats like this have become the only hope for survival. but even they have become dangerous. one of the boats was shelled by houthi rebels killing dozens of people. this district is important. it is not far from the city's port. the area is vital for control. the houthis and those loyal to saleh remain powerful here. in the province of ta'izz the fight is equally hard. forces loyal to the current president are fighting but most of the city is destroyed, houthis and their allies continue to push for control of the city. speaking from the saudi capitol, the newly appointed chief of staff says his priority is to renorring nice his forces.
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>> translator: our priority is to unite and regroup the army. the houthis seized all armies equipment, cleared all bases, and sent the officers home. around 80% of the army is not doing their job. >> reporter: back in yemen, most of the country is a battlefield, and millions continue to suffer. >> reporter: before the conflict even began, more than half of yemen's population was going hungry now aid agencies say a lack of medical supplies and food complicating what was already a dire situation. hashem ahelbarra reports. >> reporter: mohammed has spent most of his life here. this is a small community on the outskirts of yemen's capitol, sana'a. he lived along with his father and married brothers and sisters in this house. it took them years to build it.
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but their house has been badly damaged by the force from explosions that targeted the area in the last few weeks. it could collapse any time. >> translator: my father and sisters lived here. this is where i lived with my wife and children. this is where my brother lived. he was planning to marry in two week's time and move with his wife to this room. it is all gone. >> reporter: this is the moment the saudi-lead coalition air strikes targeted what they said was a scud missile depot last month. jets also strike a military base used by the elite republican guard which is loyal to former president saleh. hundreds of families have had to flee their homes, including mohammed. >> reporter: we first sought
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refuge here but then it rained and we had to evacuate. we now live in a shop that was emptied by its owner. >> reporter: many have lost all of their belongings. they can't return because of the continuing violence. now they say their only hope is for this war to come to an end so they can go back home. hashem ahelbarra, al jazeera. ♪ an iraqi soldier has been killed and 11 others wounded during clashes with isil fighters in the city of fallujah. security forces said rocket-propelled grenades hit a military headquarters in the city. three isil fighters were also killed in a drone attack in northern fallujah. syrian activists have denounced what they say are new
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chemical attacks. they say government helicopters dropped barrel bombs filled with chlorine gas over several villages. fierce battles are underway for control of the border between syria and lebanon. leading to fears that violence could spill over into the neighboring country. the mountainous region has seen tense fighting over the past two weeks. our correspondent reports. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: the battle in syria's mountains have intensified. this is in the western part of the country, a coalition of syrian opposition groups says it is pushing out the syrian government and hezbollah fighters. it's considered a strategic supply route for hezbollah fighters. commanders from the al-nusra
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front say they don't want the fight to distract from the fight in other areas against isil and the syrian government. but the group's fighters are adamant about maintaining control of areas they have taken. the syrian air force has been targeting positions to prevent any interruption in the crucial support it gets from hezbollah. the government denies losing ground to the opposition. >> translator: god willing the army will soon reach those besieged in the hospital to continue the battle to eradicate terrorism. >> reporter: in neighboring lebanon funerals were held for the hezbollah commanders killed in battles. hezbollah says it has also inflicted losses on syrian opposition fighters and promised to clear the area. but the battles where sectarian tensions run deep is a cause for
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concern for others as well. the alliance of political parties that calls its march 14th says it is worried that hezbollah forces could drag the lebanese army into the syrian war. >> translator: any intervention creates a threat for the army itself and for the whole lebanese society. >> reporter: the syrian opposition says it does not want to cross the border into lebanon. but fighters insist on battling hezbollah, considered a vital lifeline to the syrian government. in a fight so close to home where people might take sides based on whether they are shoeny or shia is seen as a threat for lebanon. al jazeera's mohammed is in the lebanese town near the border with syria. tell us a bit more about the
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significance of that area. >> reporter: loren this is a large porous border between lebanon and syria. we're on the lebanese side right now. this is considered to be a vital supply route especially for hezbollah, taking weapons in and out of syria. in the last hour we have seen hezbollah fighters and trucks transporting weapons and fighters into syria, and coming out of syria back into lebanon. it has been important to opposition fighters in syria, because they have wanted to use -- they have wanted to use positions overlooking the supply route to try to attack hezbollah in the past several months. that's when a lot of the fighting really erupted. it's important for hezbollah because this is their supply route to get weapons into syria so they can support the syrian army as they have been do for so long now. we have heard several mortars in
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the past hour and other explosions coming from what sounds like kilometers away over in the mountains in syria. and we have been told by hezbollah officials that even though there is more of a sense of calm here right now, because key strategic towns on the syrian side of the border have been overtaken by hezbollah in the last few days there is still a lot of fighting going on in syria just a few kilometers away lauren? >> how hard is it to find out what is actually going on there? >> reporter: it has been so tough over the course of the syrian civil war to find out exactly what is going on on the ground because of the limited access. this is a propaganda war. we have heard from opposition fighters over the past few days. they say they have killed many hezbollah fighters but hezbollah has acknowledged losing at least two fighters in the past two hours, but they have killed dozens of syrian
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opposition fighters. so it is a propaganda war, and that is really at its heart, they are trying to spread their message that they are becoming victorious but trying to find out exactly what is going on really really tough and getting tougher by the day. >> thanks very much indeed. reuters is reporting that the u.s. military has started training syrian fighters for the battle against the islamic state of iraq and the levant. the program is said to have started in jordan and will soon launch in turkey. still to come this half hour after 13 years in prison a former guantanamo bay prisoner is given bail in canada. and chaos in oklahoma.
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♪ hello again, a reminder of the top stories here on al jazeera. the united states has praised saudi arabia's offer for a five-day ceasefire for humanitarian aid. pictures in syria show people with breathing problems after a chemical attack. and fierce battles have been taking place along the border of lebanon and syria. three more people have been
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killed during political violence in burundi's capitol. two were killed in a grenade attack in the suburb and officials say a third person was burnt to death. protesters have been demonstrating against the decision by the president to run for a third term which they say is illegal. however, a court this week ruled he could seek another term in office. the interior minister is appealing for calm. >> translator: this is different from protesting. we want to condemn this strongly and we are asking the citizen to be patriotic. we are asking the residents to come together and not harm each other, because we should be united. the u.n. says it has received only $22.4 million of the 415 million asked for nepal's earthquake disaster.
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the world health organization says it has launched child immunization campaign against mee -- mee sales and rue bella. mike hannah has details from jerusalem. >> reporter: there has been intense criticism of the new israel government. they say the government is narrow and rooted in self interest. the palestinians have described it as extreme right-wing. but the government may not last long. some analysts contend it is inherently self destructive. a number of the members were brought in with a promise of increased government expenditure on their interest. however, another of the coalition partners is headed by a man tapped to be the finance minister who has insisted that
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he will cut government spending. clearly, the interests are very divergent. there has been speculation too that benjamin netenyahu may invite the leader of the zionist union to join the coalition. however, he has made it clear from the beginning that he has no interest in joining a coalition headed by benjamin netenyahu, and is even less likely to join a coalition composed of parties whom he would regard as even more insavory. ♪ millions of people across britain are casting their ballots in the general election. about 50 million people have registered to take part in the poll. it has been one of the most closely fought complains for a
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generation. let's go live to lawrence lee who is in westminster. i know you are on tight restrictions within those boundaries. what can you tell us? >> it's a nice day. i can tell you that much. it has been very sunny in london and across the u.k. 45 million or more people across the u.k. are eligible to vote. the polls opened at breakfast time. there was a steady turnout reported all over the place. really no major problems reported. a technical glitch or hiccup which might lead to a recount, but not very much. all of the party leaders turned out. david cameron in the middle of the country, the labor party leader further north. the green leader was in london and the snp leader up in scotland as well.
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they all posed for photographers and cast their votes too. tonight in less than five hour's time, they can release themselves from the state of suspended animation when the polls close at 2100 gmt and then start to talk about the election properly. there will be exit polls then which will give the first clear indication even before the results come in. >> lawrence in the past have these polls been reliable? >> reporter: in the last section, 2010 very much so. this is obviously a very complicated election and it depends to some extent on how many recounts there are. but they should hold a pretty good clue. >> thanks much indeed. a court in canada has decided to release a guantanamo bay prisoner on bail.
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he was convicted of five war crimes including throws a grenade that killed an army sergeant in afghanistan in 2002. daniel lak is in edmonton. bring us up to date with how this decision was made. >> reporter: very very dramatic moment in court today. it's complicated and takes time. he was granted bail last month in april, but the federal government immediately appealed that and asked for a stay on his release. i'm standing outside of the court of appeals where a judge said she can't see a reason to release him on bail. so what he is going to do now is live with the family of his lawyer under very strict bail conditions. his lawyer who has represented him since 2010 and he is appealing his conviction by the military commission in the united states. that's an appeal that is more or less in legal limbo.
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he has got a parole hearing next month under canada's rather lenient system of keeping people in prison. for now it's a celebration for him, his legal team and others but there are still plenty of legal proceedings ahead. >> tell us about the build up to this. and how it ended up taking so long. >> he was only 15 years old when he was arrested. allegedly he was involved in a conflict with u.s. army rangers. he is said to have thrown a grenade and one person died. all along the u.s. military treated him as if he was an adult offender. the canadian government when he was transferred back here in 2013 to serve out his sentence in canada they said he was a dangerous, convicted terrorist,
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and an adult offender. by all accounts even in guantanamo bay, psychologists, and many in the u.s. military have said they are very impressed with his demeanor with the way he has done well in prison life. he spent more than half of his life behind bars. he is 28 now, and was 15 when he was arrested. >> daniel lak thank you very much indeed. a series of tornados has torn through the central united states. oklahoma was hardest hit with the twisters damaging homes and cutting power to thousands of people. gerald tan has the latest. terrifying yet ah-inspiring. a tornado rips its way through the u.s. state of oklahoma. more than two dozen twisters touched down on wednesday cutting a path from texas to nebraska. they flipped cars tore down
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trees and power lines, and ripped off roofs. the storm system also brought heavy down pours. the national weather service declared a flash flood emergency. a first for oklahoma city. streets were inundated was water filled parking lots and forced shops to close. >> distraught disshelled saddened but we're here to get it cleaned up and get back to business. >> reporter: more than 10,000 homes lost electricity. people have been advised to stay off of the roads until debris is cleared and the severe weather passes. a tornado watch remains in effect for oklahoma and other states in the great plains and midwest. gerald tan, al jazeera. long lines forms outside of supermarkets are a regular site in venezuela as it grapples with some of the worst food shortages in its history.
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the government says it will install more than 20,000 fingerprint scanners in food stores to control sales and prevent panic buying. >> reporter: friends jokingly call this man in venezuela obama. they say he looks like the u.s. president, but because of how dangerous his job is he has asked we don't show his face. he is unhappy with his current job as a meat smuggler. venezuela is suffering some of the worst food shortages in his history. more than 40% of venezuela imports go straight back out through the country's borders. obama knows he is one to blame. >> translator: i know i contribute to the shortages, but i'm not the only one. and if i stop the people around me won't. i dare to say 80% of everyone in this state is a smuggler. >> reporter: price controls means that driving a couple of
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hours across the border to sell in columbia can quadruple your monthly earnings in just a few days. nothing beats smuggling, and at first site it does seem that everyone is involved in the illegal trade. fingerprint scanners have been installed to control what and how much people can buy. >> translator: the fingerprinter scanners will prove successful when we can integrate the national registries with the system. >> reporter: economists have insisted that until prices are no longer controlled smuggling will thrive and shelves will remain empty. despite efforts like installing fingerprint scanners venezuelan's still have to stand in line for hours, and even then often go home empty handed. no one here hides their
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disappointment as the current solutions or their desperation. >> translator: nothing has changed. it is still the same. you wait the whole day in line from morning tonight, and i still can't find diepers. i end up buying them on the black market. >> reporter: a new street economy is likely to continue booming in venezuela. [ no audio ]
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a federal court says the nsa broke the rules when it collected millions of phone records from american citizens. but the case is far from over. there could be a break in the ongoing war in yemen. saudi arabia proposes a ceasefire but only if the houthis go along. and voters head to the polls in the united kingdom's closest parliamentary election in decades. ♪