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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 30, 2015 11:30am-12:01pm EST

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publicly are trying to promote a frugal lifestyle. lots more on that and everything else we have been covering on our website, ♪ deadly flooding, mandatory evacuations are called across parts of missouri. time fore a change, chicago mayor is rolling out new reforms for the police department. isil may be losing a tactical advantage with the recapture of ramadi. we'll look in to what it will take to remove islamic state completely. ♪
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this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm stephanie sy. warnings are in place today for millions of americans living in areas at risk of severe flooding. missouri's governor is seeking help from the national guard for what he calls an historic flooding event. residents of one suburb are being ordered to evacuate. rivers are expected to crest at record levels over the coming days. but nixon is hopeful the cleanup phase will begin soon. andy roesgen is live. i imagine the water is continuing to rise where you are. how bad is it out there? >> reporter: getting worse, stephanie. in fact we have been watching all morning long. this business now throwing down sandbags trying to keep the water out. all of this water is coming west of us, from the west of us at the river which has now crested at 35 feet, 20 feet above flood
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stage, all of that water is now heading this way to another river. which at this stage is about 6 or 7 feet above the ground. all of this water is now heading eastward towards st. louis where all of the focus is going. in fact the mississippi river where it is all headed is expected to reach a record crest today. even beating the old record set back in 1993. we have seen construction barrels drifting through here. we have seen a barrier that floated on through as well. the governor has declared this an merge. he is touring the area right now, so we'll get a better idea later today how many homes have been evacuated. at least 13 deaths so far in missouri alone from the flooding over the last few days. all of the water came bubbling up from the creeks first and
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flowed into larger rivers and now into the missouri river and the mississippi river. among the dead, five foreign soldiers who were here as part of a relationship with an american base. we don't know their nationalities. they were all in the car when they were swept away. >> there is no rain in the forecast, but it could be weeks before the flood waters recede. what else are people doing there to prepare? >> reporter: all they really can do is the sandbagging, but if they can't do that, the governor is urging them just to get out. don't let the water rise to a level where you are stuck. in 1993 they had the biggest flood of all in this region. he is touring the area, and
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we'll get a better idea of how bad it is. >> thank you. bill cosby is said to be arraigned later today, after authorities announced a felony sexual assault charge against him. >> these charges stem from a sexual assault that took place on an evening in early 2004 at mr. cosby's home. mr. cosby is charged with aggravated indecent assault. this is a felony of the first degree. >> now the charge stems from a case involving a former temple university employee. the 12-year statute of limitation is coming up in january. this comes amid dozens of occasions of sexual misconduct and assault in recent years. the [ inaudible ] team is fighting extradition to the u.s.
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ethan couch and his mother filed a petition to stay in mexico. authorities say a cell phone call to domino's pizza lead to their arrest. big changes are in store for chicago's police department. later today the major plans to announce new training and tactics for an department under investigation for recent shootings. ines ferre has the story. >> reporter: under scrutiny after a series of fatal police shootings, the mayor and the interim police superintendent are expected to announce a major overhaul of how officers respond to incidents, and how they use force. every onduty officer who responds to calls for service will be equipped with a taser and trained to use it by june of next year. there have been protested aimed at chicago's police department following the release of dash cam video of a white officer
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shooting a black teenager 16 times. jason van dyke pleaded not guilty to murdering laquan mcdonald last year. 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 by shooting first and asking questions later. and part of this is all about poverty and the symptoms of poverty, symptoms of segregating communities the way they have been all over the country. so chicago is -- is the poster child for that right now. >> chicago's police department was criticized again this past weekend after an officer shot 19-year-old and his 55-year-old neighbor. at least one former officer and former member of the independent police review says police officers need more options and tasers should be mandatory. >> as far as i'm concerned if
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you did not have a taser, you should not even have responded to the incident. >> reporter: as pressure grows on chicago's mayor, he issued a statement saying: ines ferre al jazeera. more than 50 families who were being used as human shields by isil in ramadi have been rescued. iraqi security forces on tuesday evacuated groups of men, women, and children, some disabled or elderly. officials say they are be taken to a secure location. u.s. officials say about 700 islamic state fighters are still hiding in and around the center and eastern outskirts of ramadi. in iraq that countries army is trying to consolidate and bolster its control over ramadi a day after driving out the isil fighters. they are also clearing the city of explosives before large numbers of troops and people
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move back into the city. our correspondent has the latest. >> reporter: according to the anbar police chief, 500 sunni tribal fighters have come to the front lines in northern ramadi to help carry out the clean and sweep operations with the iraqi security forces. these are the two areas in northern ramadi which are key in order for the iraqi forces to cross the euphrates river into the central parts of ramadi which are still being held by isil. iraqi forces are confident that they cannot just take on ramadi after they captured the major government buildings but also other areas of fallujah and the surrounding areas of ramadi there isil. but the fighting continues and the iraqi forces say it will take days to clear and sweep the whole area of explosionives that isil fighters have left behind when they fled from the area. >> steve warren is joining us
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now. he is the spokesman for the operation in iraq, and joins us from baghdad. thank you so much for your time. what is going on? there has been a drum beat of successes against isil coming out of the pentagon lately. ten isil operative killed in the last three weeks. ramadi government center retaken by iraqi forces. is this a turning point in the war against isil at least in iraq? >> well, we are very encouraged. it may be too soon to start saying turning point. but isil is in a defensive crouch right now. they have been hit from the air, on the ground, we have taken away their ability to make money. we have taken away their leaders and eaten away at that so-called caliphate. >> what changed in ramadi that the iraqis and americans can maybe learn from in future
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operations? >> well, there was no single change. this was a gradual buildup. the iraqi army of 2014, which broke and ran when isil attacked through mosul is a completely different army. in that was an army we built in the early 2000s, that was trained and equipped to fight counter insurgency operations, clearing roadside bombs, manning check points, things of that nature. this is a conventional fight. it involves attacking, defending, it involves obstacles and the like. it took almost a year to rebuild this iraqi army. but now that they have been rebuilt and retrained, we have giveren them modern equipment, and sophisticated training, now we're beginning to see the fruits of that labor. >> you talked about mosul, are there enough troops that are
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ready to take on other isil strong holds such as mosul and fallujah? >> well, we have so far trained about 16,000 iraqi army soldiers. and we're going to continue to train more, and we'll need more for mosul. fallujah is under attack now by the iraqi army. it's in the early stages of that operation. it's the isolation phase. they are encircling fallujah and will slowly begin to squeeze it. and fallujah is a very small town frankly. and in fact will probably be easier than ramadi. mosul is the second largest city in iraq, population nearly a million. >> and it's more densely populations as well. you may have heard our earlier story talk about how isil has been known to use human shields.
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how iraqi forces preparing for that in the densely populated city of mosul? >> this is a significant challenge. the enemy's use of human shields really does pose a problem. and the only way you can do it is by getting on the ground and working your way in with soldiers. that's one of the things we're training the iraqis to learn how to deal with. the coalition air contribution to this fight has been significant. nearly 6,000 strikes in iraq since this began. hundreds of strikes only in ramadi during that fight. so this will play an important role in mosul as well, but at the end of the day, you still have to have boots on that ground. in this case it will be iraqi boots. >> and there continue to be coalition air strikes, ten isil operatives killed in the last three weeks. was there a specific
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intelligence boom that lead to that rapid succession of strikes? >> reporter: the way intelligence works is it works on it's a, as we gather intelligence, that leads to more intelligence, so it's kind of a building effect. so it's the cumulative effect of a year's worth of work. we had a successful operation to rescue hostages in kirkuk about a month ago, that netted us quite a bit of intelligence, which we were then able to use to our advantage. >> steve warren, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. it's good be here. it is a hid environmental disaster. tens of thousands of people in california are in jeopardy after a major gas leak. ♪
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>> al jazeera america brings you independent reporting without spin. >> not everybody is asking the questions you're asking me today. >> we give you more perspectives >> the separatists took control a few days ago. >> and a global view. >> now everybody in this country can hear them. >> getting the story first-hand. >> they have travelled for weeks, sometimes months. >> what's your message then? >> we need help now. >> you're watching al jazeera america.
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all of this week, we are looking back at some of the most important stories of 2015, one is the historic deal to curb iran's nuclear program. ali velshi traveled to tehran. i asked him what the agreement means for that country. >> when you travel to iran it's a very controlled environment. we had a government handler with us, which means even though i spoke to average people, i probably didn't get as full of story as i would have. but i did understand one thing, while they were not ready to point fingers at their own government for the economic problems they were having, they were all exhausted by it. they didn't want talk of war
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with the united states and israel, they wanted to be able to buy things at the same price that people in the rest of the world buy things. they wanted to move money around the world which they have not able to do. they wanted tourists to be able to come in freely and use their credit cards. they wanted to sell their wares. iran was a big economy with manufacturing and things like that. it's a 80 million people. so they wanted to be welcomed back into the world fold and they didn't really care how they got there. most people seemed in favor of cutting a deal. >> it's almost like you are saying they didn't care about the details. what parts of iranian society had been most effected? in >> the middle class. the upper class earn quite well, but everything has to be smuggled in. on the other hand you have got the working class that doesn't get to sort of move up the
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socioeconomic ladder because of the things that are going on. in iran, a small percentage of the women work, but half of the students in universities are women, half of the graduates are women. so there are all sorts of things that are not moving forward in iran because of the fact that they have had these sanctions. >> there was optimism that the deal would lead to a greater role for iran on a global stage? >> remember that iran is very interested in being a big regional player, right? they have influence in yemen, in iraq, syria, in lebanon, and with hezbollah in palestine. so their issue is that they think of themselves as the vatican for shia islam. and they felt that the biggest issue facing the world or at least this is the message that officials gave me that they wanted the west to hear is that isil is this incredible threat. isil is a sunni group and in
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many instances they targeted shia. so they said we are willing to help in this fight against isil. the gulf states do not want armed iranian-backed troops on the ground. there are already, but that's not a deal that the -- the gulf states and the sunni arab world is interested in the u.s. cutting. but they made that point, we'll help take care of this problem. >> but not only do you have all of these proxies, but this great regional rivalry, wheen saudi arabia, a sunni country, and iran, playing out in places like syria and in yemen. >> yep. >> and does the u.s. somehow end up caught in the middle of that because it has struck this deal with iran on the nuclear issue. >> and the u.s. says it wants bashar al-assad removed. that's entirely at odds with what the iranians think. while you are in iran, in their
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minds, in the minds of iranians, saudi arabia is the big threat. that's the one that you are not supposed to like. so the regional rivalry is very serious. the west seems to be preoccupied that iran has anti-israeli sentiments, that's secondary or probab probably tush rare to their concerns about america as a whole, and saudi arabia. >> there are certains that the sanction regime will be dismantled. >> i think you will have to wait until the latter part of the presidential election or after the election. most of the republican candidates have said some version of we're either going to rip up the deal, they have tart r start -- started to soften and
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say we are going to renegotiate this. so as we get closer to the election, we're going to see iran saying we're going to wait and see what happens. because we're not going to start complying if we think americans are just going to rip it up. >> this is effectively international law, and it is still not a done deal? >> this is the reality of america still being the power that it is. if it wants to wreck this deal, it can. and so can iran. in the end this was p5-plus-1, in the end, america and iran have to stick to this deal, and i think we're probably the better part of a year away from seeing if that happens. >> thank you so much. this week iran did fulfill a major part of the deal by ships out thousands of tons of enriched uranium.
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tens of thousands of people in southern california are in the path of a gas leak that is making some people sick. jennifer london has the story. >> reporter: this is what an environmental disaster looks like. a massive natural gas leak spewing methane into the air. down wind 30,000 people living in the up scale community 20 miles north of downtown los angeles. >> it's impossible to go outside. >> reporter: they have been renting this home in the ranch for the past few years, and are in the process of buying what was supposed to be their dream home. now they say they are living a nightmare. >> our three year old, bella, she's had three sinus infections, our 10-year-old daughter is continuously coughing, and had cold symptoms for the last couple of months.
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leah has very bad migraines. >> reporter: the leak is from a blown well. it was first detected on october 23th. for the past nine weeks methane gas has been released into the area, equivalent to 30,000 cars on the road for a year. >> this is one of the biggest environmental disasters i have seen in my lifetime. >> reporter: tonight on al jazeera, we'll take you to partner ranch, which looks more like a ghost town than a vibrant community. thousands of families have been forced to leave their homes, while others say they are trapped, waiting for the gas dpaen -- company to help. >> we understand and are sympathetic with the customers. we don't want anybody to have to stay in their home any longer than they want to. >> reporter: but you have people that have stuck in essence.
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why aren't they being relocated. plus -- >> where is our governor at? this is a state of emergency. you can catch jennifer's full report tonight at 7:00 pm eastern. worried about going hungry, why tens of thousands of people in louisiana are just days away from losing their food stamp benefits. ♪
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>> coming up tonight, we'll have the latest... >> does the government give you refugee status?
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>> they've marched to the border. >> thousands have taken to the streets here in protest. >> this is where gangs bury their members. >> they're tracking climate change. >> welcome to al jazeera america. more reporters, more stories, more perspective. >> from our award-winning news teams across america and beyond. >> we've got global news covered. ♪ the new year could bring
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tough times for some people in louisiana. the state has thrown out a program that lets low-income people with children get food stamps even if they are not looking for a job. jonathan martin has the story. >> i have stretched this rice as much as i can. >> reporter: since losing her job a year ago, this woman says it has been tough finding steady work. >> it's not like i haven't been looking. even if i have to volunteer at places that i do try to go in and help straighten up or clean bathrooms or whatever the case may be. >> reporter: she is worried that if she doesn't have a job by friday, the 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 to drink water? >> reporter: more than 30,000 people in louisiana are in the same situation. they have until january 1st to
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find employment working at least 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 ab you. nearly 30 states still have the waiver in place, but despite one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, the outgoing governor has decided not to renew it for louisiana. a spokesperson said this: >> it's not just trying to get on a program and stop. no, you are still out looking for work. the stamps you do receive is enough to linger through the whole month. >> reporter: some have g gal -- called the governor's move mean spirited because it
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does not impact the state's budget. >> the jobs aren't there. the job-training programs are not there. and that's what we should be focusing, trying to get people connected to job training, not taking away food. >> reporter: the governor elect agrees, and has sent a letter to the u.s. department of agriculture, asking that the food stamp waiver be reinstated. but edwards doesn't take office until january 11th, and the benefits are set to expire on january 1st. she plans to visit a food bank this week encase our food stamps are cut off. at the time same, she tells us, she will be more aggressive in looking for work. a rare sight in the waters of tokyo, a giant squid seen on christmas eve. researchers estimate it is around 12 feet long. they are normally found in the
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deep sea not floating in a bay. thanks for watching. i'm stephanie sy. ♪ syrian troops backed by russian air strikes fight their way into a rebel-held town in the south. ♪ hello there, i'm barbara sarah. this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up on the program. central african republic votes in an election that it is hoped will bieng stability after years of violence. allegations the u.s. has been spying on israeli prime minister, benjamin netenyahu. also how salt lakes might be helping to slow climate change. ♪


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