figure out how we get there. >> reporter: there is excitement building over how the science might be applied. and the salt lakes of the north american prairies could be part of it. daniel lak, al jazeera. more on the website, aljazeera.com. ♪ deadly flooding, mandatory evacuations are called for across parts of missouri. changing tactics, major rom emmanuel, is rolling out new reforms for chick's police department. and isil may have lost a tactical advantage with the loss of ramadi. we'll look in to what is next to help remove the group from iraq completely. ♪
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 calling for help from the national guard. residents of one suburb are being ordered to evacuate, and rivers are expected to crest at record levels in the coming days. al jazeera's andy roesgen reports. >> reporter: just west of st. louis, we're now seeing what is happening all over this area, sandbagging. you can see the business back there, here along the river. the convenience store throwing down sandbags. all of this water is rushing in from west of us, the river has now reached its crest at 35 feet. that's 20 feet above flood stage, so all of this water is now heading eastward towards us.
this river now stands at about six to seven feet off of the ground that we see here. with another three to four coming in overnight. you can see all of the debris in the water. there are floating barrels, floating orange cones and barriers that came off of the highway, now floating around here. all of this water heading east ward to the mississippi river which is expected to crest sometime tonight or tomorrow. it could reach anywhere from 13 to 23 feet above flood stage, and we have also been told that about a 24-mile stretch of interstate 44 will also be shut down because of the flooding. the governor has declared an emergency. he is now touring the damage, urging residents to evacuate when necessary. he doesn't want them to attempt faith in all of this. the sandbagging continues and as of this moment we have had 13 deaths in missouri. eight in illinois, at least from
the flooding, and all of this water heading now southward down the mississippi towards memphis and new orleans eventually in the next few days. back to you. >> thank you. andy roesgen reporting from missouri. bill cosby is expected in a pennsylvania court this afternoon. we'll be arranged on sexual assault charges. >> 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 indy cent assault, this is a felony of the first degree. >> the 12-year statute of limitations on the case was coming up in this january. this was the first official charge against bill cosby, but he has been accused by dozens of women. big changes are in store for chicago's police department. the mayor plans to announce
revised training and new tactics. ines ferre has this story. >> reporter: under scrutiny, mayor and the interim police superintendent are expected to announce a major overhaul of how officers respond to incidents and how they use force. according to reports every on duty officer who responds to calls for service, will be equipped with a taser and trained to use it by june of next year. this follows the outrage over the release of video of a white officer shooting a black teenager 16 times. since the video was made public, the police commissioner has stepped down and there have been demands for the mayor's resignation. >> the use of guns creates an environment where people are solving problems by shooting
first and asking questions later, and i think part of this is all about poverty and its symptoms of poverty, symptoms of segregating communities the way they have been all over the country. >> reporter: chicago's police department was criticized again this past weekend after an officer shot a 19-year-old and his 55-year-old neighbor bettie jon jones. police say jones was shot accidentally. one member of the police review says officers need more options. >> as far as i'm concerned if you do not have a taser, you should not even have responded to the incident. >> reporter: as pressure grows on the mayor, he has issued a statement saying: >> we need a new reality. ines ferre, al jazeera. earlier on your world this
morning, i spoke to retired police officer, and he said police do not have a shoot first ask questions later mentality. >> my personal experience is that we have a tendency to try to avoid situations with use of force at that level. that's the simple plain truth and it's irrefutable. in regards to the mechanisms that are in place, they need to continuously educate, inform, and support their police in the street with equipment, tactics and philosophy on how to approach these situations. there is no magic book that we travel with, a lot of the decisions that we make, which are split second are hinged on our formal training in a classroom environment, for example in a police academy, but we continue to learn in the street, in other words the learning environment just isn't in an academy or seating where they lecture you.
you are out on the street learning every day about people, about yourself, about various situations, about remedies to situations. >> he says the instincts and intuition developed on the job also play a part in the split-second decisions officers must make. the after flew went sa teen was granded a three day extra decision stay. police have been looking for the teen since he missed an appointment earlier this month. a cell phone call to domino's pizza lead to their arrest. they say the get away appears to be well planned. >> what we suspected all along that happened was that they planned to disappear. they even had something that was almost akin to a going away party. >> if we proceed in a juvenile sentence, his maximum sentence
he will receive is four months of confinement. that is not a sufficient punishment for the taking of four lives. >> he was convicted of killing four people in a drunk driving crash. his lawyer said he should not be held responsible for what happened because his parents never taught him right from wrong. >> reporter: more than 50 families have been rescued from ramadi. iraqi forces evacuated groups of men, women, and children, some of them disabled or elderly. officials say they will be taken to a secure location. about 700 islamic state fighters are still hiding in the center and eastern outskirts of the town. iraqi fighters are clearing the city of explosives before a large number of troops move back
into the city. >> reporter: according to the anbar police chief, 500 sunni tribal fighters have come to the front lines in northern ramadi to help consolidate and carry out the clean and sweep operations with the iraqi security forces. these are the two areas which are key in order for the iraqi forces to cross the euphrates river into central parts of ramadi. iraqi forces are confident they cannot just take over ramadi, but also other areas like fallujah and the surrounding areas of ramadi from isil. but the fighting still continues and the iraqi forces are saying it will take days to clear and sweep the whole area of land mines, rigged houses, and ied's that isil fighters have left behind. earlier today i spoke with u.s. army colonel steve warren.
>> he iraqi army of 2014 which broke and ran when isil attacked mow cull was a completely different army. in that was an army we built 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, and obstacles and the like. so it took us almost a year to rebuild this iraqi army. but now that they have been rebuilt and retrained, we have given them modern equipment, and sophisticated training, now we're beginning to see the fruits of that labor. >> reporter: are there enough troops that have been trained, equipped and ready to take on other isil strong holds such as mosul and fallujah.
>> 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 actually under attack now by the iraqi army. it's in the early stages of that operation. it's what we call the isolation phase, so the iraqi army is encircling fallujah and will slowly begin to squeeze it. and fallujah is a very small town, frankly. and will probably be easier than ramadi. mosul is a different story. population is nearly a million. iraq's prime minister toured the destroyed city of ramadi on tuesday, and personally thanked the iraqi soldiers for their effort. a sid environmental disaster, tens of thousands of people in california are in jeopardy after a major gas leak. and the road ahead for iran,
>> new moms forced to choose. >> the united states does lag behind other countries on this. >> now a revolution in workers' rights... >> my story is so many peoples' story. >> that could decide the election. >> it can be different. no reaction yet from the white house to new accusations of the nsa spying programs. the wall street journal says the u.s. continued to spy on benjamin netenyahu. the jurnal says the snooping
included private conversations with members of congress over the iran nuclear deal. our investigative reporter told us earlier, the allegation shows the disconnect between jerusalem and washington. >> two things are clear, first that the united states in spite of the snowden affair did not stop its surveillance over even friendly countries. and the second is that there's a deep rift 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 '80s. the journal report says nato members made the list of countries not to be spied upon. but the newspaper says the obama baum allowed the administration to target their top advisors. the u.s. is accusing iran of firing a missile very close to a
u.s. ship. it was part of a missile test. and while the u.s. says the missiles were not directed at the ship, the pentagon is calling the exercise unnecessarily provocative and unsafe. ♪ all of this week, your world this morning is looking back at some of the most important stories of 2015, and one is the historic deal to curb iran's nuclear program. ali velshi travelled to tehran, i asked him just 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 wanted the sanctions gone. they didn't want talk of war with the united states and israel, they wanted to buy things at the same price that people in the rest of the world buy things. they wanted to be able to move money around the world. they wanted tourists to come in freely and use their credit cards. they wanted to sell their wares. iran was a lot like what turkey is today. a big economy are manufacturing, and things like that, 80 million people. they wanted to be welcomed back into the world fold and they didn't care how they got there. most people seemed in favor of cutting a deal just to move on. >> it is almost like you are saying they didn't care about the details. what parts of iran eye society had been most negatively effected by the sanctions? >> the middle class. they want to be able to spend on cars and iphones and everything
like that, but everything has to be smuggled in. on the other hand you have the worker class that doesn't get to move the ladder because of the things going on. half of the students in iran are women. half of the graduates are woman. but a small number work. so there are all sorts of things that are not moving forward because of these sanctions. >> was there optimism that the deal would lead to a greater role for iran on a -- global stage. >> iran is very interested in being a big regional player. that's their plan. 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 at least this is the message that officials gave me that they wanted the west to hear is that isil is this remarkable threat.
think about this from theological terms. isil is a sunni group and in many cases they have targeted shia. iran says we are willing to help in the fight against isil. the gulf states do not want armed iranian backed troops on the ground. that's not a deal that the gulf states and the arab world, the sunni arab world is interested in the u.s. cutting. but they made that point. >> but isn't that part of the problem in syria is that not only do you have all of these proxies but you have this great regional rival between saudi arabia, a sunni country, and iran playing out in places like syria and yemen. and does the u.s. end up caught in the middle? this >> right. and the u.s. has said that it wants bashar al-assad removed.
that's entirely at odds with what the iranians think. while you are in iran while there is an anti american and anti-israeli sentiment, in their minds saudi arabia is the big threat. that's the one you are not supposed to like. the regional rivalry is very serious. the west seems to be preoccupied by the fact that iran has anti-israel sentiments, that is secondary or tertiary to their concerns with saudi arabia. >> we are seeing some of the components of the nuclear deal and iran living up to those. is that what we should look forward to in the new year? >> i think you will have to wait until probably the later part of the presidential election or after the election, because that is going to be a very big point. most candidates have said some version of we're going to rip up the deal, they have started to
say we're going to renegotiate the deal, the republicans are really against this. and if you see a republican candidate gaining steam as we get closer to the election, we're going to see iran say, we're going to wait and see what happens, because we're not going to comply if we think the americans are are just going to rip it up. >> so even though this was negotiated which five other nations, and is effectively international law, it is not a done deal? >> in america wants to wreck this deal it can. and so can iran. in the end, it was approved by the united nations and five other countries, in the end, america and iran have to stick to this deal. >> ali velshi thank you so much. this week iran did fill full a major obligation of the
nuclear deal, shipping out thousands of tons of enriched uranium. tens of thousands of people in southern california are in the path of an unfolding environmental disaster, a gas leak that is making some people sick. >> reporter: this is what an environmental disaster looks like, a massive natural gas leak, spewing methane into the air. down wind of the leak, 30,000 people living in the up scale bedroom community of porter ranch, 28 miles north of downtown los angeles. >> it's a impossible to go outside. we have to close all of the doors and windows. >> reporter: this family have been renting this home 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 in the last two and a half months. our 10-year-old daughter is
continuously coughing, and had code symptoms. >> reporter: the leak is from a blown well. it was first detected on october 23rdrd. for the past nine weeks, methane gas has been released into 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 or community disasters that i have seen in my lifetime. i have been through the earthquake, our annual fires that we have here, where we have to evacuate entire communities. >> reporter: tonight we'll take you to porter ranch. thousands of families have been forced to leave their homes. while others say they are 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. >> reporter: but you have people that are stuck in their homes in essence. why aren't that being relocated. plus -- >> where is our governor at? this is a state of emergency. you can catch the full report tonight at 7:00 pm eastern. worried about going hungry, why tens of thousands of people in louisiana are days away from losing their food stamp benefits. ♪
the new year could bring tough times for some people in louisiana. the state has thrown out a program that lets know-income with children get food stamps even if they are not looking for a job. jonathan martin has the story. >> stretch this rice as much as i can. >> reporter: since losing her job at a community center a year ago, this woman says it has been tough finding steady work. >> listen, it's not like i haven't been looking. even if i have to volunteer at a center, different places that i do try to go in and help straighten up or clean bathrooms or whatever the case may be. >> reporter: she's worried that if she doesn't have a job by this 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 to drink water? >> reporter: more than 30,000
people in louisiana are in this same situation they have until january 1st to find employment, working at least 20 hours a week, or risk losing food stamps. for years states are 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 inemployment rates in the nation, the outgoing governor has decided not to renew it for louisiana. his spokesperson said this >> it's not just trying to get on the program, and no, you are still out looking for work. the stamps you do receive is enough to linger through the whole month. >> reporter: some advocates for the poor have called the move
mean spirited, considering it doesn't impact the state's budget. >> it's not that people don't want to work, it's that the jobs aren't there. and that's what we should be focusing on is trying to get people connected to job training, not taking away food. >> reporter: louisiana's governor elect agrees, and has already sent a letter to the u.s. department of agriculture, asking that the waiver be reinstated. >> i will get up every day fighting. >> reporter: but he 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 in case her food stamps are cut off. at the same time, she says she will be more aggressive in looking for work. jonathan martin, al jazeera, new orleans. thanks for joining us. i'm stephanie sy in new york. the news continues next live from london. ♪