helping some greeks and their businesses to flourish. >> lots more news whenever you won't it on aljazeera.com. aljazeera.com. missouri's governor warning residents to head to higher ground. chicago's mayor is about to roll out new reforms for the city's police department. a decision over food stamps in louisiana could leave tens of thousands of people hungry at the start of the new year.
>> this is aljazeera america live from new york city. i'm stephanie sy. warnings are up today for millions of americans caught under the threat of dangerous flooding. in missouri, residents are bracing for the mississippi river to crest at near record levels. other rivers and streams near st. louis are already overflowing. the governor has called the national guard in to help. we are live west of st. louis. what measures are residents taking to prepare for these rising water levels? >> they are not sandbagging. they are told just to get out. you can see why. the governor said don't tempt fate, just get out. the national guard is helping in the evacuations. this is the meramec river which has flowed over its banks just west of absolute. this water stands six or seven feet above the ground here. it is expected to rise another
four feet before it crests tomorrow. the river which feeds into this has already crested to the west at 35 feet, 20 feet above flood stage. it's all heading eastward toward st. louis, so the waters and the threat are still rising. >> along the rising rivers, neighbors are lining up with sandbags. gas stations and restaurants almost completely submerged. >> the water's come up really fast. we still need help. we really need help. we're saving my housing right now. >> hundreds of roads are closed across the state. the missouri department of traps portation warns that a section of i-44 that last flooded in 1982 may be underwater today. >> i understand there's other ways around not using interstate, but a lot of those routes are blocked right now, as well. >> flooding has already knocked out one sewage plant and threatening another. the coast guard closed a five-mile stretch of the mississippi river to traffic. the severe storm system behind
these floodwaters is blamed for more than a dozen deaths. dozens more have died in outbreaks of severe weather over the past two weeks. many after their cars were swept away. missouri's governor said the mississippi river is expected to reach its highest level ever recorded. he is activating the national guard and warning residents it's likely to get worse before it gets better. >> it's very clear that missouri is in the midst of a very historic and dangerous flooding event. >> at least nine feet of vertical water or more coming. be safe out there. >> this is a one way sign that was earlier today, a couple of hours earlier that was still visible, but as you see now, it is almost completely submerged. you see a lot of debris around here. we see orange cones floating past. we saw a construction barrier float past, as well that, a lot of debris here. we're waiting to find out how much evacuations will happen
today, officials getting ready for more evacuations. >> what do we know about the levees holding back the water? >> there are 18 levees that are considered vulnerable around this area. some of holding back the water on the mississippi river. if those are breached, that's real trouble, because that water has no place else to go but into homes and businesses. all this water is heading eastward into the mississippi and on ward to memphis and new orleans, you are next. >> andy, thank you for the latest on the flooding. i want to bring in meteorologist kevin corriveau. kevin, how bad is this going to get? >> in terms of more rain, there is good news, because we do not have more rain, but we are looking at cooler temperatures. normally flooding like this is in the spring time but we are talking about temperatures at freezing or blow in this particular area. snow pushed through. that has now pushed out of the
picture. we do not have more rain in the area, but the rain has been recorrecord breaking already ths month. st. louis, we are talking about they have received 440% of their monthly average. normally they would see two and a half inches. they have seen 11 and a half inches already this month. same for springfield, towards iowa and down towards memphis, they have seen 88%. over a foot of rain has fallen in this area, this i also the layout of the rivers. you can see as the rain fell across missouri, it's going to enter to the missouri river or meramec river and make its way down. these rivers that are hitting flood stage to the north will hit flood stage towards the south. it's going to be a long process, one that is not going to end anytime soon. it could be next week. by the time it gets down to the southern part of mississippi, we could be talking about another week and a half or two weeks. all these areas need to be on
alert and hopefully we are not looking into anymore rain coming into the picture. we don't see it in the forecast as of yet, probably north next four or five days, so that i also good news there. big changes are in store for chicago's police department. later today, the mayor plans to announce new training and tactics for a department under investigation for recent shootings, al jazeera has the story. >> 16 shots and a cover up. >> under scrutiny after a series of fatal police shootings, mayor rahm emanuel and the interim police superintendent are expect to announce a major overhaul of how officers respond to incidents and how they use force. according to reports, every on duty officer who respond to say calls for service will be equipped with a taser and trained to use it by june of next year. there have been protests aimed at chicago's police department following the release of dash cam video last month of a white officer shooting a black 17-year-old 16 times.
on tuesday, police officer jason van dyke pleaded not guilty to murdering laquan mcdonald last year. since that video was made public, the police commissioner has stepped down and there have been demands for the mayor's resignation. >> in our city and other cities, the use of guns creates an environment where people are solving problems shooting first and asking questions later. i think that part of this is all about poverty and symptoms of poverty, symptoms of segregating communities the way that they've been all over the country, so chicago is the poster child for that right now. >> chicago's police department was criticized again this past weekend after an officer shot a 19-year-old and his 55-year-old neighbor, betty jones. police say jones was shot accidentally. at least one former officer and former member of the independent police review says police officers need more options and tasers should be mandatory. >> you know, as far as i'm
concerned, if you do not have a taser, you should not even have responded to the incident. >> as pressure grows on chicago's mayor rahm emanuel he issued a statement saying: turkish police say they stopped a plot to attack news celebrations. two suspected isil fighters were arrested. they were purportedly planning to detonate suicide vests at two locations during celebrations. the pentagon says more than two dozen airstrikes hit isil in syria and iraq over the last 24 hours, including strikes near ramadi where iraqi forces say isil fighters have been driven from the center of the city. officials now say the strikes have killed at least 10 top isil leaders.
>> the u.s. says one of the isil leaders killed this month in syria was directly linked to the paris attacks last month that killed 130 people and for which isil claimed responsibility. the pentagon says this man, killed in a u.s. drone strike in syria christmas eve, had been in direct contact with this man, who was killed in a police raid in a paris suburb and was said to have been the leader of the cell that carried out the series of attacks. at least three of the 10 killed by u.s. drones and coalition jets were said to be connected with the paris attacks and planning additional attacks. >> these are individuals who are specifically working to strike the west. they want to strike in europe. they want to strike in our very own homeland. it's important that people understand that as long as those external attack planners are operating, the united states military will hunt them and we will kill them.
>> the pentagon said that this month, coalition airstrikes based on u.s. intelligence this month targeted 10 separate isil operatives, killing two december 7, one on the eighth, oh two more on the ninth and five more on the 10th, 12, 26 and 27. >> we are striking at the head of this snake. we haven't severed the head of the snake yet and it's still got fangs. we have to be clear about that. there's much more fighting to do. >> the pentagon released its kill list along with u.s. drone video showing iraqi forces raising their flag this week over a government compound as they declared ramadi liberated from isil. a pentagon map told a slightly different story, showing in green parts of ramadi that had actually been secured while indicating a quarter of the city still needs to be cleared of remnants of isil fighters. al jazeera, the pentagon. no reaction from the white house to new accusations over
the n.s.a. spying programs. the wall street journal reports the n.s.a. continued to eavesdrop on benjamin netanyahu even after the white house said it would stop spying on friendly heads of state. the journal says the snooping included private conversations with members of congress over the iran nuclear deal. investigative reporter told us earlier on the allegation shows the disconnect between jerusalem and washington. >> two things are clear, the united states despite the snowden allegation did not stop. secondly, there's a deep wrist and huge mistrust between the two nations and the two leaders, something that never happened before, even when the united states discovered that israel recruited a spy back in the 1980's, jonathan pollard was his name. >> the journal report said nato
members made the list have countries not to be speed bonn, but the obama administration allowed the n.s.a. to target their top advisors. the pentagon said a missile came within 1500 yards of the u.s.' harry truman in the strait of hormuz last week. the pentagon is calling the exercise unnecessarily pro have gone active and unsafe. the next step for two cleveland police officers involved in the killing of tamir rice. new details about the capture of an american teenager in mexico, the phone call that led to the of a fluency da teen's arrest.
the obama administration is making plans to transfer 17 guantanamo bay prisoners in coming weeks, ash carter notified congress as required by law. it is not clear which detainees will be transferred and where they will be sent. this would be just 90 men left at the prison camp if it happens. an administrative review is underway in cleveland for two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of tamir rice. two days ago, a grand jury declined to indict the officers. it was a decision that brought protestors to the streets. we spoke with the family's attorney.
>> only a few dozen people protested in downtown cleveland on tuesday, but their message was clear. >> i'm out here today because i'm very concerned, as well as upset because justice was not done. >> justice for 12-year-old tamir rice, shot to death by a police officer last november, as seen in this surveillance video. the boy was carrying a pellet gun that looked like a real pistol. monday, local prosecutor timothy mcginty said a grand jury decided not to indict officer timothy low man or his partner who was driving the car. >> simply put, given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police. >> rice's family attorney said mcginty should have stepped aside for a special prosecutor. >> he said that he made a recommendation of the grand jury that they not charge. how he can do that when the video shows what it shows is completely beyond the rice
family's understanding. >> protestors say they are not surprised. >> race is always a problem in america. it is there. i don't think no one wants to talk about it, but it's there. >> how is it in cleveland? >> cleveland may be the number one. >> we have a long way to go. it's an issue that america has to deal with. >> the tamir rice case has catapulted cleveland into the national debate about how police officers treat african-americans. following the deaths of michael brown in ferguson, missouri and eric garner in stanton island, new york. >> there's a racial animis here and a racial bias and it's a trend that's consistent across this country, we look at police officer involved shootings of african-americans. >> at a news conference tuesday, we asked cleveland police chief calvin williams whether racial bias played a role in rice's case. >> i mean there's bias in, you know, in reporting. there's bias in the criminal justice system. there's bias in the post office.
whether that played a role in the decision, i don't know. you'll have to talk to the members of the grand jury and the prosecutor's office. >> do you think it plays a role in your police department? >> everybody has a bias, myself included. >> the police department and the city say they're launching their own investigation of what happened to rice. the department of justice is also reviewing the case. al jazeera, cleveland. officials in california are looking into allegation that voter data was exposed on line. an independent security researcher said the information of nearly 2 million voters was posted to the internet, including names, addresses, phone numbers and birth dates. the california secretary of state said his office did not post the information and they're trying to figure out who did. a teenager on the run for weeks with his mother is expected to be returned to the u.s. today. authorities say a cell phone call to a domino's pizza led to the arrest of eat chan couch and his mom in mexico.
he is the teen listen lawyers argued suffered from affluenza. >> 18-year-old ethan couch and his mother were found mingling with american tourists monday night. officials say they attempted to disguise themselves. he dyed his hair and beard and had no plans to return home anytime soon. >> i have a suspicion that his mother was assisting him and helping him has proven true, we believe and so we followed those leads and eventually led to puerta vallarta, mexico where they were taken into custody. >> couch hit the headlines after his truck plowed into four innocent by standers killing them in a june, 2013 drunk driving accident. he was 16 at the time. in court, a defense expert argued his wealthy parents had coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility, a condition the expert termed affluenza, meaning he was so wealthy and so spoiled, he couldn't tell right from wrong.
couch was sentenced to probation and rehabilitation, but no jail time. as part of the probation order, couch was ordered not to drink, so when this video apparently showing him taking part in a drunken game of beer pong showed up on line, couch and his mom disappeared, sparking an international manhunt. >> what we suspected all along had happened, that they had planned to disappear, that they even had something that was almost akin to a going away party before they left town. >> addison believes the pair fled in late november. u.s. marshals are now working with mexican agencies to deport them. it's not clear if they had accomplices. >> in a handful of months, couch will turn 19. once back in this country, authorities in texas want his case moved to adult court, where the penalties are stiffer. >> the difference for him in adult court is as long as he's in juvenile court in texas, the standard is the best interests of the child. in adult court, he'll be treated
as an adult and in criminal law in the state of texas, we're interested in the safety of our community. the newt year could bring tougher times for people in louisiana. the state has thrown out a program that let's low income people with children get food stamps even if they are not looking for a job. since losing her job at a new orleans community center a year ago, juanita says it's tough finding steady work. >> it's not like i haven't been working. even if i have a volunteer at a center, different places that i do try to go in and help straighten up or clean bathrooms out, or whatever the case may be. >> she's worried that if she doesn't have a job by friday, the $194 in federal food stamp benefits she gets every month could be cut off. >> why should i have to fight for food right now?
why should i have to fight for -- to drink water? >> more than 30,000 people in louisiana are in the same situation. they have until january 1 to find employment working at leats 20 hours a week or risk losing food stamps. for years, states with higher than average unemployment have been granted a federal waiver, allowing low income adults without children to receive food stamps, even if they are not looking for a job. nearly 30 states still have the waiver in place but despite one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. outgoing governor bobby jindal decided not to renew it for louisiana. his spokesperson said the best way to break the cycle of poverty is for individuals to get a job and get off government assistance. >> it's not just trying to get on a program, no, you still out looking for work. the stamps we do receive is
nothing to linger through the month to lay off of. >> some called the governor's mood mean spirited considering it is a federal benefit that doesn't affect the state budget. >> again, the problem is not that people don't want to work, the jobs aren't there, the job training programs is not there. we should get people connected to job training, not taking away food. >> louisiana's governor-elect agrees and has sent a letter to the u.s. department of agriculture asking that the food stamp waiver be reinstated. >> i will get up every day fighting. >> edwards doesn't take office until january 11, and the benefits are set to expire on january 1. davis plans to visit a food bank this week in case her food stamps are cut off. at the same time, she tells us, she'll be more aggressive in looking for work. jonathan martin, al jazeera, new orleans. it's been calmed the biggest
sources saying he willing charged. authorities have been investigating claims by a former temple university employee who said that cosby drugged and assaulted her back in 2004. cosby previously said under oath he had consensual sex with the woman. several women have come forward with accusations against cosby. some iconic new york hotels have agreed to cut emissions by 30% in the next 10 years. 16 hotels are on a list as part of a wider city initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. tens of thousands of people in southern california are in the path of an unfolding environmental disaster. it's a gas leak that is making some people sick. al jazeera's jennifer london has the story. >> this is what an environmental disaster looks like, a massive natural gas leak spewing methane into the air captured by
infrared cameras. downstream, 30,000 people living 28 miles north of downtown los angeles. >> it's impossible to go outside. we have to close all the doors, all the windows. >> they have been renting this home for the part few years and are in the pros of buying what was supposed to be their deem home. know, they say, they're living a nightmare. >> our 3-year-old, bell la, she's had three sinus infections in the last two and a half months. our 10-year-old daughter is continuously coughing, and had cold symptoms for the past several months. she has very bad migraines. >> the leak is from a blown well at canyon storage facility. it was first detect october 23. for the post nine weeks, methane gas has been released in the air equivalent to the carbon footprint of 30,000 cars on the
road for a year. >> this is one of the biggest either environmental and community disasters that i've seen in my lifetime, and i've been through the northern earthquake, our annual fires that we have here, where we have to clear out and evacuate entire communities. >> tonight on al jazeera, we'll take you to the area, which looks more like a ghost town than a vibrant community celebrating the holidays. thousands of families have forced to leave their homes, while others say they're trapped, waiting for the gas company to help. >> we understand and we are sympathetic with the customers. we don't want anybody to have to stay in their home any longer than they want to. >> but you have people that are stuck in their homes in essence. why aren't they being relocated? >> where's our governor at? this is a state of emergency. >> jennifer london, al jazeera, california. thanks for watching. the news continues next live from doha. have a great day.
>> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello, and welcome. you are watching the news hour live from our headquarters here in doha. in the next 60 minutes a new syrian offensive, activists say hundreds of civilians have been killed. families leave ramadi and the iraqi army tries to clear out remaining pockets of isil. and we'll bring you the latest on the fifa corruption