naturalized citizen. he decided to become one, and now he is the nation's newest hero. ♪ twin suicide attacks in the hezbollah strong hold of southern beirut. at 16 are thought to have been killed. ♪ good to have you with us. i'm david foster. also on the program, russia moves to force out the head of its athletics federation as the olympic doping scandal grows. tense meeting in malta ends with european and african leaders approving a $2 billion plan to stop the flow of refugees from africa.
the university entrance exam that brings south korea to a virtual stand still. ♪ that breaking news first out of the lebanese capitol beirut. the reports are that at least 16 people have been killed in twin explosions in the south of the capitol beirut. that area is a shia strong hold, a hezbollah strong hold. let us get an update from zana hoda live on the line from the lebanese capitol. what can you tell us, zana. >> reporter: like you mentioned two explosions in beirut's southern suburbs. initial reports are suggesting that this is the work of suicide bombers who approached on foot. now the first bomber, detonated his explosive, and when people gathered, the second bomber -- approximately five minutes later, the second bomber
detonated his explosives. we're getting reports that there was a third bomber, but he was killed from the pressure of the previous explosion. this is considered a hezbollah strong hold, but it is more accurate to say that hezbollah supporters live in this area. the explosions went off close to a shia shrine. this is not the first time the southern suburbs of beirut, the popular base of hezbollah has been targeted by explosions, but this is the first time in over a year, and it happened despite stepped up security measures over the past few months. we know the lebanese army has set up check points around the whole area. hezbollah has been taking precautions, but we all know how difficult it is to stop a suicide bomber. the red cross saying at least 16 people killed and 40 injured.
and reports from the site -- we're heading to the site right now, but there is chaos in the streets of beirut, roads are blocked, and they are expecting the casualty figure to rise. >> this is an area that is incredibly densely populated, it is where, if i'm remember correctly, at least one refugee camp is to be found. this is home to a great many people in a very small area. >> reporter: yes, it is a very crowded area, and what we understand is that the bombs went off in a very crowded and narrow streets. now hezbollah -- this is clearly a message to hezbollah. hezbollah has been fighting alongside the syrian government, an ally of the syrian president, bashar al-assad, and has earned itself a lot of enemies, by its stance in the syrian conflict, and like i mentioned in the past
this area has been targeted, many civilians have been killed, and there were claims of responsibility at the time. al-qaeda-linked groups who do operate in syria, there has been no claim of responsibility as of yet in today's bombings. but most observers will say that this is a spill over of the conflict in neighboring syria. >> and just in terms of the -- the -- the area itself from memory, this is close to where hezbollah has its own television station. >> reporter: well, this whole area, hezbollah has a lot of offices, like you mentioned, their television station as well. it's -- it's critics call it a security zone run by hezbollah almost like a state within a state in lebanon. and like i say they have been -- the group has set up security in the area, and the lebanese army has set up check
points along main road leading into these southern suburbs of beirut. this is undoubtedly a blow,est specialingly because of the tightened security that has been imposed ever since the area started to be targeted last year. >> we'll let you get there, thank you very much indeed, zana hoda reporting from beirut. kurdish forces say they have captured a number of villages from the islamic state of iraq and the levant after launching an offensive to retake the iraqi town sinjar. it's a town which is of huge strategic importance in the battle against isil. that is because it sits across the main road between raqqa and mosul. cities which are isil strong holds in syria and iraq. the operation is said to involve about 7500 forces.
when isil captured sinjar in august last year, they killed thousands of men and kidnapped women and children. >> reporter: in the early hours of thursday morning any operation to take back sinjar began. coalition air strikes hit isil targets in and around sinjar town which isil has controlled since august last year. the operation is on three months. the iraqi kurds are confident they will prevail. >> translator: today it's our duty to liberate sinjar from injustice and this is the duty of every kurdish citizen. we are fully prepared to attack and liberate it soon. god willing we will help itself people return to their homes. >> reporter: it's importance as been unz skoers by the rife of the kurdish regional president
to monitor progress on the front line. success here will be seen as victory against isil. but isil fighters have proved themselves resilient and booby trapped houses and rigged car bombs. sinjar is also home to the yazidis community. when the armed group took control of the town in the surrounding area, it killed between 3 and 5,000 yazidis men. that pushed the u.s. to launch air strikes in iraq and a month later in syria. which lead to kurdish peshmerga forces remaking the mountain. right now the peshmerga are in villages on the out skirts of sinjar town and will use them as a staging post for the final push, but it's not clear if that will happen in the coming days. isil fighters have dug themselves in and are prepared
for a long fight. >> the syrian army and allied forces say they have managed to recapture a rebel-held town in the northern syrian province of aleppo. pro-government forces have reportedly taken full control, forcing the rebels out. elsewhere in the aleppo provans, syria's army has fought its way into an air base. it is a move which breaks a nearly two-year siege by isil, freeing military personnel who have been stuck inside. ♪ more developments in russia's doping scandal. the country's olympic committee says it has recommended that the former russian athletics federation head resign as a member of the committee executive. this after monday's report accusing russia of state-sponsored doping,
something which russia denies, and which its president vladimir putin has ordered an investigation into. let's go to rory challands in moscow. in a way, after years of innuendo and rumors it is all moving quickly, isn't it? >> reporter: it does seem to be gathering pace. there was one head that rolled earlier in the week. he ran the laboratory in moscow that is at the heart of the allegations contained in the wider report. he resigned. now it looks like we're going to have another resignation. a bit of background on him. he was basically the head of the russian athletics federation for more than two decades from 1991 until february of this year. he was the president of the
athletics federation here. he resigned after the german documentary, made by ard was aired, which criticized him very heavily. he decided in the wake of that, that he was going to step down. he did keep a position on the executive committee of russia's olympic committee. it's this position that he is essentially being instructed or recommended to resign from. he also interestingly has a position as the treasurer for the iaaf, the national association of athletics federation. he is not actually performing his professional duties for them at the moment. he has stepped away from those at the same time that he resigned from the russian athletics federation, basically in the wake of the first stage, if you would like, of this whole doping scandal. >> that's rory challands. we thank you for that, rory, in moscow. let's talk about the international possible
repercussions of this with our sports correspondent lee wellings with me now. this man is treasurer of the international athletics federation, and that body now has to make a decision about russia and its athletes as a whole. >> this is such a difficult position they find themselves in, and i suppose that's because of years of inactivity, of not doing the right thing. they have got this meeting in monaco, which is going to be like a conference call will they will decide an emergency response to what has happened over the past few days. that meeting will start in the evening, gmt and central european time, and they will have time to digest crucially the russian response, because they are going to maintain innocents. they have provided a lot of denials, or within the last few minutes they should have been received, and then we'll receive
their response as to whether they actually remove russian competitors from international competition. >> does that include the olympics? >> that's the big one. i have been saying i think it's most likely that the international olympic committee, a very close relationship between their president and putin, the russians do a lot of business with [ inaudible ] they do not want an olympics without russia. i think they will find a way where the door will be open to reintegrate russia, as long as they show signs that they are trying to tackle doping. >> but we have had boycotts before, why not now? >> they want russia in it. >> but will other countries boycott? >> russia have tried to soothe the waters by saying they won't act in the athletes are banned from the olympics, they won't boycott and nor will others, but i think that's all part of a softer way of saying let us still compete, we'll sort
at least 16 people are reported to have died in multiple suicide bomb attacks in the lebanese capitol, beirut. huge offensive has been launched to retake the isil held iraqi town of sinjar. and more fallout from the russian doping scandal. for years it has been held up as the most generous european country for taking in refugees, now sweden is getting tough. it has introduced border checks. it says they are only temporary, though, and dozens of people from german have since been stopped from boarding ferries to sweden. everybody who crosses the border now will have to show id. >> this is not a fence. we are -- we need to make sure
that we have control over what people comes in into sweden, because it's matter of both the border control, but also that you have to identify yourself on the ferry before you enter the ferry. this is an issue for the whole european union. we leaders of slovenia and croatia have had a meeting to talk about a razor wire fence going up between the two countries. soldiers continued building the fence on thursday as a way to control the influx of refugees from one country to thor. slovenia has rejected a claim that the barrier is on croatia territory. more than 180,000 migrants and refugees have entered slovenia since the middle of october. the meeting came on the sidelines of a summit in malta where african and european
leaders met. about a million refugee and economic migrants will arrive in europe by sea this year. so far more than 142,000 have take then route, making the dangerous crossing from north africa up to the islands of italy and to malta, a small island down there. now the summit of $2 billion fund was announced to tackle the poverty and conflict that many people believe cause a lot of people to leave africa. some african leaders say the money isn't enough. lawrence lee reports. >> welcome to the signing ceremony -- >> reporter: so this is europe's offer to africa, $2 billion in cash about a ten of what europe provides in aid every year. in return, they expect african nations to help repatriate many thousands who europe sees as economic migrantings, rather
than refugees. even hungary's prime signed it, even with something of a smirk, but had already made clear what many europeans think, africans should be made to stay out of europe. >> migration is not a win-win situation for those countries from where they are coming and where they arrive, and we don't speak openly about it. so we should change the language and do not consider migration as a positive thing, because it is totally against the impression of the european citizens. >> reporter: yet as africa's leaders arrived, it became clear how large the gap was between what europe was offering and what africa says it needs. they demand entire reform of the economic relationship between the two can't -- continents on crucial issues like agriculture. based on that 2 billion euros look to many like chicken feed.
>> translator: it's not enough. 1.8 billion euros is far from enough. the needs are far greater. that's why we have requested our partners to participate more money, and we want reform. >> reporter: it has become clear how differently europeans and africans see the crisis. african leaders here in malta have reminded their hosts how much of the world europance colonized for money. african countries have found themselves overpowered in trade negotiation by european money and influence, but not here, because the african delegations knew that for once this was not a crisis for africa, but a crisis for europe, and that seems to have given them courage to demand more. so when the leaks emerged of the
action plan, there was but scant mention of what the europes wants help. africa's help in repatriations. >> i think they are hoping that this will be a start of a longer-term engagement. but no, absolutely, one cannot say that they have achieved this goal, and this goal was definitely one of the main plans of what european negotiators came here for today. >> reporter: perhaps all of this is the start of something better for africa, perhaps some hope might come out of all of the tragedies, but if europe is genuine about not wanting africans to come, it will take more than what was offered here. health officials in the occupied west bank say that a palestinian man was shot dead by undercover israeli socials inside the surgical unit of a hospital.
cctv footage show the forcesen entering the hospital in hebron. the 27-year-old palestinian man was shot several times. the soldiers arrested his cousin who was undergoing treatment. the u.n., e.u., and african union are calling for an urgent meeting between burundi's president and the opposition to end months of unrest there. at least 240 people have been killed and 100,000 have had to lee the area. italian police say suspects were planning to attack norwegian and british diplomats in the middle east. security forces from five other countries were involved in the raids. the founder of an islam group
was served with an arrest warrant in prison in norway. police have fired tear gas at protesters in greece who threw petrol bombs during protests. they are angry about budget cuts from the left-wing syriza government that promised to stand up to those cuts when it was first elected in january. john psaropoulos reports from athens. >> reporter: it's a wake-up call for syriza, the first general strike since it came to power resulted in violence with police, a sign of continuing anger. many people believe the party ignored workers on the left when it reversed its anti-austerity policy three months ago. unemployment is stuck at just under 25%, and many don't believe the party's promises to reduce poverty.
no group of pensioners is more worried than the self-employed, because their fund is bankrupt. >> translator: the problem is broader policy. when small business are closing and professionals find themselves on stleet, the pension fund can't gather enough contributions. >> reporter: the burden is already heavy. there are 1.4 workers to each pensioner in the self-employed fund. almost 60% of their pay goes to taxes and social security. like many self-employed people, sophia has fallen behieng and is trying to catch up. >> translator: i don't know if i will ever have a reward for the money i'm paying. if there were a choice i would opt for private insurance without question. >> reporter: these are both at this march, unhappy in work and retirement. a year ago the labor unions were behind syriza, they thought the left was greece's best chance of
breaking the vicious sies sieshg -- cycle of spending cuts and inflation. now that it has caved in, the unions are turning against it. social security analyst says pensions have already fallen by 45%. he thinks the government should crack down on undeclared labor. >> translator: you can't cut pensions and allow 6 billion euros worth of contributions to go uncollected last year. that's the size [ inaudible ] right now. businesses are in arrears to the system. where if someone works 25 days a month, they declare 15 days worth of contributions. >> reporter: but it could push greece further down a spiral of bankruptcies and unemployment. india's prime minister is paying an official visit to the
united kingdom. after lunch with queen elizabeth, he met the british prime minister david cameron to talk about trade links. it is expected the zeal worth between 12 and $18 billion will be announced during the visit. he also addressed members of parliament. >> we are two democracies, two strong economies, and two innovative societies. we have the [ inaudible ] familiarity and the experience of a long [ inaudible ]. britain's resources is impressive. it depends on the future of the global economy remains strong, and mr. speaker, renewed rights of hope and opportunity for the world. there is a school exam that practically stops south korea in its tracks. stude
students taking the exam -- can open or close the door on future prospects. more than 630,000 are believed to have taken the test this year. harry fawcett now with his school report from seoul. [ cheers ] >> reporter: it's the kind of excite usually generated by stars or actors, but his girls are greeting their older schoolmates arriving for the college entrance exam. >> translator: we think we should muster up more energy so that our senior classmates can have more energy. that's why we're cheering harder than students from other schools. >> reporter: planes are rerooted so as not to disturb listening tests, for parents who spent small fortunes on tutors, there is nothing left to do but pray. >> reporter: my daughter studied hard. i felt bad watching her. i wondered whether kids need to
go through this. but society like this, so that she can get a good job and have a happy life. it's a bit painful. >> reporter: this is exam taking as extreme sport and often at extreme cost emotionally to the children financially to the parents. opting out of this kind of mind set is almost unheard of. a 90-minute drive from seoul, you start a school day starting like few others. a time for conversations rather than lectures. [ laughter ] >> reporter: and for sampling the season's first radish. this is a boarding cool designed as an alternative to the high-pressure learning that dominates education in this country. >> translator: no more [ inaudible ] i wasn't going to achieve a good outcome in that exam. i was interested in reading and writing more than my peers. this school helped me to develop those things. >> reporter: but this type of education is rare in a country
of 11,000 schools just a few dozen define themselves as alternative. south korean children top lists of educational achievement, and come last in terms of childhood happiness. >> it is not simply educational policy. it is part of culture. deeply rooted culture or values. >> reporter: outside a buddhist temple in seoul they have laid out extra mats for the parents who come and pray, some all day while their children take the exam. in a land dominated by so-called education fever alternative schools seem december contain -- destined to remain outposts. >> reporter: a group of illeg
illegally taken orangutans have been returned. news hour is in about 35 minutes. more at aljazeera.com any time you like. honored for a selfless act, a retired army captain receiving the medal of honor for saving lives in afghanistan. pushing isil out of a key strong hold. and a powerful storm now moving east. millions of americans could soon feel the effects. ♪