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tv   News  Al Jazeera  December 31, 2015 9:00am-9:31am EST

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syrian rebels fight back after a major event south of damascus. hello, this is al jazeera live from doha. also coming up, critical condition, doctors in yemen protest against the lack of medical supplies in the embattled city of taiz. lost in calais, the children activists say are the forgotten victims of europe's refugee crisis. sydney harbor lights up in
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fireworks to welcome in 2016. rebel factions in syria are fighting back to regain control of areas lost in a government offensive. the army backed by russian fighter jets have launched a major campaign to recapture the city. it is on an important route that connects the south and capital damascus. we have this report. >> these rebel fighters are on the counter offensive. they are launching an attack to repel government troops in an opposition stronghold in southern syria. they say that many that were part of the government offensive were either destroyed or forced to retreat. the army backed by russian fighter jets say the fight is
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almost over, and that the city will soon be under its control. >> the russian arrival is like a game-changer. it added more military assets, more air power, more intelligence. since we know earlier when president assad in his speech said we are, i don't have enough personnel in order to fight, so accordingly, the russians are here trying to limit the spillover, spillback of the regime. >> it is the birth place of syria's uprising. while the capital of the province is still under government control, the rebels have captured most of the towns. it is crucial for both sides. if captured by government forces, the rebels will have to pull out. its fall is also going to be bad news for rebel factions based on the outskirts of damascus. it is also a vital supply route of weapons and recruits for
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groups based in the east. there are many armed groups operating, mainly al-nusra front, free syrian army brigades and others. the opposition rebels have been weakened by divisions and internal fighting. >> a defeat could undermine peace talks for the rebels in geneva. al jazeera, southern turkey. hospitals in taiz in yemen are on the verge of shutting down. they say they are starved of vital medical supplies as fighting continues between forces loyal to the exiled government and houthi rebels. we have this report. >> at the closing of the year, no letup in the fighting in yemen.
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houthi rebels fire shells at a hospital, killing a child. hospitals are on the front line in the battle between the rebels and supporters of the internationally recognized government of adou rabbo mansour hadi. medical staff are struggling to cope. at a hospital in taiz, they plead for more oxygen supplies. without them, they say medical care will suffocate. >> we are protesting today because we are no longer able to save our patients. they arrive injured, but we cannot help them. there is no oxygen, no surgery equipment. >> people with family and friends being treated in the hospital are having to bring in their own oxygen bottles. >> i had to get it from outside the hospital, because none of available here. >> the united nations said more than 21 million yemenis need
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medical aid, roughly 80% of the population. houthi fighters aren't allowing supplies through. some of that aid is now being provided by saudi arabia which has led a coalition fighting the houthi rebels. both sides have been criticized for the number of civilians killed and injured in bombing campaigns. saudi arabia said its humanitarian convoys are being targeted. >> there are attacks by ours and other organizations, attacking humanitarian aid. >> the patients at the hospital are unlikely to care where the aid comes from, just as long as it comes. al jazeera. a humanitarian advisor for said people are suffering from all sides of the lines.
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people are caught in the front line. they have not chosen where they are living and find themselves in a besieged area and are paying a very high price for the fighting going on around them. the main problem is that the military dynamics in taiz are quite complicated in that local fighting interest has now developed over the last few months and therefore even when sometimes we have positive signs at national level, at sanna level, we are not always able to reach the besieged hospitals, because local fighting forces and local commanders refuse sometimes even to acknowledge some of the orders they might receive from higher above. the other point which is important to make is that if besieged areas in taiz of currently under blockade, the whole country is suffering from a de facto embargo, since the united security council resolution was passed in april, and to that effect, the houthi authorities in sanna feel themselves besieged as a whole. no commercial vessels are
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reaching the port and allowing much-needed food and fuel into the country, which also affects hospitals under houthi al sallah side of the fighting. it is everybody suffering from the current conditions and it is only with a reduction of the fighting an with specific efforts by both belligerent forces that the humanitarian conditions for the population will improve in the coming weeks. roc officials say the battle to retake ramadi has destroyed 80% of the city. the local government is telling residents it's not safe to return immediately. the army reclaimed control but isil is still fighting in other districts. many people remain trapped. thousands have escaped and are living in camps nearby. >> at that time, everything was in disorder. the crew punishment was above all else. the extremist groups just enjoyed slaughter and bloodshed. my 12-year-old cousin was killed by them.
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they said the child took pictures of them. they killed him and put him in a garbage bag and we were not allowed to bury his body. the iraqi prime minister promises to turn his attention to mosul. hundreds of thousands are estimated to have been displaced from the country's second largest city. many of them belong to minority communities and have escaped to erbil. we have this report. >> the holidays haven't been the same for the last two years since he lost his arm in a car bomb in mosul. it's hard he said to learn to write to another hand. that's why he goes to a class for younger students. his family had to leave their home after isil arrived in mosul and told christians to pay a tax or leave. they left. when isil came there, they left again. like many around them, it's the cheerful times at the end of the year that are the hardest.
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>> my family and i can't celebrate. my son lost his arm, my brother is missing. isil took him as a prisoner. it's very hard to feel happy when your loved ones are missing. >> at this camp for displaced christians, more than 50,000 families are from mosul. although they have been welcomed in in northern iraq, they still miss their homes. they are uneasy living so close to the front lines against isil known locally here as daish. this priest was forced to leave his home in mosul. >> we like to give our people hope and we all believe that god is always with us. isil is very close to where we are. it's a threat not only for the christians, but all peaceful living muslims in kurdistan. >> every year the congregation gross with more displaced christians joining in and many who lost everything still hold on to the one thing they can, hope.
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>> i and everybody hope to return to our home. >> we want to go back to our lives and go back home to peace and safety. ♪ >> as the politicians search for a solution to the conflict, in areas like this, just out of the reach of isil fighters, christians have fled and the local people who have sheltered them can only wish that the coming year will be better than the last one. al jazeera, erbil. afghanistan's president warned upcoming talks between the government and taliban will be successful only if the armed group wants peace. the dialogue is set to resume january 11 after they were suspended in july. pakistan, china and the united states will also attend the meeting in islamabad. >> the fundamental issue here is the choice, choose peace or
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terrorism. there is no second choice. the step that has been taken is in the framework of quadry lateral cooperation. there will be no tolerance of terrorism. two people have been sentenced to death in bangladesh for killing an atheist blogger in 2013. six others received prison sentences for their involvement in the murder. he campaigned for the islamic party to be banned. this his the first verdict delivered in a case involving the targeting of secular muslim activists in the muslim majority country. votes have been counted in central african republic after the presidential and parliamentary election passed without major violence. it marks what is hoped to be be a end to the two year conflict which has killed tens of thousands of people. we have this update. >> there were some isolated instances of violence, shots fired in a village and several people injured but on the whole, this was a peaceful election.
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that's been heralded as a success. the focus now shifts to the credibility of the election, more particularly in the vote counting process, one of the leading presidential candidates, the most prominent muslim candidate said that he was a little concerned about instances of voter fraud, but thought that those would be not too significant, and it was more the transparency of the vote counting process in the coming days. a provisional result, he said not expected fo for at least another 10 days. all five presidential candidates served under the ousted president so a question of how much of a fresh start this will be for central africans. they all made the right noise's, saying they would bring unity to the country, to bring the christian majority together with the muslim minority and other minority groups. because all of these five
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leading presidential candidates exist in small political and scape and how in touch they are with the people out in the regions is another matter. still to come, china defends its decision not to renew press credentials for a french journalist. the art of time through the eyes of a craftsman in tokyo.
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here's a quick reminder of the top stories. syrian government forces
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launched a major offensive in the south of the country with the help of russian air power. the army has entered the key rebel controlled town on a main supply route connecting the capital with the city. hospitals in taiz in yemen on the verge of shutting down as fighting continues between forces loyal to the exiled government and houthi fighters. doctors and nurses protested after one hospital refused to take anymore patients. votes have been counted in central african republic, a landmark presidential and parliamentary election passed without major violence. turnout was estimated to be around 40%. no major irregularities have been reported. belgian police arrested a 10th person in connection with november's paris attacks which killed 130 people. police said the 22-year-old belgian man is accused of participating in a so-called terrorist group. the rest follows the
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cancellation of fireworks in brussels for new year's eve due to security threats. the german chancellor thanked the country for helping the 1 million refugees that entered the country this year, saying the new arrivals would present an opportunity for germany's future. we are joined from the refugee center on the outskirts of the german capital, berlin. what's the situation there? >> this office block behind me is housing 3,000 refugees. it's run by the organizers front, people's solidarity. that is a constant at a angela merkel, the german chancellor has repeatedly encouraged fellow germans to adopt vis a vis refugees. she returned to it in her new year's eve address. let's listen now to what she had
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to say. >> we want and need to learn from mistakes of the past. our values, our traditions, our understanding of the law, our language, our laws, our rules, they make up our society and they are a prerequisite for a coexistence in our country that is good and shaped by mutual respect. this applies to anyone who wants to live here. our country has always benefited from successful immigration both economically and socially. likewise, there is no question that our country has already mastered so many big challenges and has always grown from them. thanks for that. hundreds of children are believed to be stranded at a refugee camp in calais in northern france.
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the british rights group citizens u.k. say little is being done to help them. the group believes e.u. rules are being broken. lawrence lee went to calais to meet some of the stranded youngsters. >> the sprawling camp in calais has grown and grown this year and in the chaos of life are any number of children who have ended up raising themselves in this brutal place. through an interpreter, this 16-year-old described how he had fled syria with his mother, but separated in turkey, she got to the u.k. as a refugee and he hasn't seen her in 15 months. >> what can i tell you? i can't find the words. it's a disaster. saeed, also from syria, lost his elder brothers before they even reached turkey. they are in britain. he's 16, as well and he made the entire refugee journey alone. >> it's not a good place.
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there's nothing for me here. it's horrible. >> what they have in common, what it seems hundreds of others here do, too, is what should be an exit route out of all this. >> the so-called government regulation is supposed to mean that a refugee can claim asylum in the first european union country that they enter. there's another part of the dublin regulation that's absolutely crucial for children living here in the camp in calais, because it says that if those children have a family member already living inside the e.u., then they can claim asylum in that country. >> the u.k. government argued that the dublin regulation meant children would have to stay in the first e.u. country they went to. a court overruled them.
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that should mean the u.k. authorities have to be matching children with their parents. it's fallen to this one volunteer to do it. she has found over 200 children fit the profile. her fear is that the u.k. dragging its heels puts children in great danger. >> the consequence is that children are being forced into the hands of traffickers and forced to jump on trains and jump in lauries which is extremely dangerous and many are dying. >> lost childhoods are here and the best efforts of volunteers can't compensate. children here have a family an hour away by train and the law says they are entitled to be with them but this is calais and normal rules do not apply. lawrence lee, al jazeera in calais. lets go back to dominic cain who is inside the refugee camp now. >> well, jane, our apologies for the temporary loss of sound early on. let me show you inside this refugee camp to have a look at some of the rooms where the migrants are able to come and relax. a little later on today, there will be a meal here, a special
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new year's eve meal for the hundreds of refugees currently living in this building, this complex. they can relax, watch television and it gives them a sense of home if that is possible given the trauma they've been through. if i can introduce one of the organizers, can you give me an idea of the sorts of problems that you deal with collegistickically starting at this refugee center and going forward. >> once you find the star needed to run it, it's fine. we are going to open another. >> what sorts of problems do the children have that come from conflict zones? >> the first things they really
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want to find a place they can call home, and we're working very hard on providing them a home here, and then they need a place where they can start over, settle, start working, do german classes and stuff, and i hope the authorities are going to help us also in the next year providing that. >> that's exactly the point, that angela merkel says that she sees that refugees an opportunity for the future. if there was one particular thing that the government could do to help out in so far as you're concerned, what would it be? >> well, germany is going through a big economic growth and we are a society that is growing older, so we need working skill. what i'm hoping for is the federal agencies in charge of dealing with all this work better together so that we can
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provide screening so that people get quicker into jobs here, because we need that. thank you very much indeed for allowing us access into this refugee center. a little later on today, we'll be speaking to a refugee who came from syria from raqqa after the islamic state of iraq and the levant captured that city. he'll tell us his story a little bit later on. for now, back to you in the studio. thank you for that. 24 have died after heavy rain in missouri and illinois. hundreds of people have moved from their homes. the national guard has also been called in to help. nigeria's president says his government is ready to negotiate with boko haram for the release of nearly 200 school girls missing for more than a year and a half, but saying any talks will depend on identifying credible leadership within the armed group. the girls were taken from their dorm stories in the northeastern
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town in april last year. >> china's defended its decision not to renew press credentials for a french journalist, effectively barring her from the country. she believes the chinese government didn't read the article before refers to go renew her permit. the chinese foreign minister said she should apologize for her report. >> first of all, china has kept in contact with all foreign correspondents in beijing and china on a daily basis. there is some information both sides agreed not to make public now. i think the journalist recognizes her mistake. she has actually apologized instead of being asked to do so. >> she said beijing is using the visa process to silence journalists.
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here i think china could demonstrate that is trying to effectively battle counter terrorism by beginning, by respecting fundamental rights and here, freedom of expression and a respect for an independent media. australia is the latest country to bring in the new year. spectacular fireworks lit up the skies over sydney harbor. it was the first country to welcome 2016. tokyo is up next in just over half an hour. fireworks lit up the skies of new zealand's biggest city, auckland, the world's first major city to see in 2016. of course many of us will be
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keeping a close eye on the time as clocks wind down on 2015. one independent watch maker preserving the art of time works in a tiny workshop just outside toke i can't filled with vintage tools and machinery he bought from on line auctions. [ ticking ] >> i'm an independent watch maker. independent watch makers make watches all by themselves. usually in a company, people are assigned to design parts and build it but independent watch makers do all of that by themselves. when i first began to create time pieces, i wanted to make something no one has ever seen before. now i want to express the culture of my own country through my watches. the clock's we use divide the day into 24 hours. the clock was created when
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people divided the day into days and night. the days are longer in summer and shorter in winter. that seasonal change is automatically adjusted by the changing speed of the hands or changing the space of the index. craftsman from 150 years ago had no computers, no precision instruments. everything was done by their own hands. there was a time where i was overwhelmed by the complexity and almost gave up. i didn't have any money or machinery, but it made me think i should be better off than them. the clock helped me decide my path. from observing everyday life events, an idea would crystallize and gives new shape to my time pieces. i have incorporated designs inspired by japanese traditions, such as the rock garden, and a samurai sword making technique. i made this watch just by my own hands and it took me one year. i would like the owner of my
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time pieces to feel that kind of time. there are days when i get completely immersed and forget time. i could work on a part all day and if something goes wrong, i have to start again. the fact that you can do everything by yourself is a bliss, not a hardship. you can transform the idea in your head into aactualhape, and that is hard to do in an age where efficiency and cost cutting have utmost value. if you need a practical watch, the world is never short of far more accurate and economical watches, but these time pieces are going to accompany you on a life's journey. they would stop if you do not wind them up for two days and they are imperfect. humans need to look at them to make them work and i think that is the charm of these watches. >> showcasing the attacking skills which helped guide the club to five trophies in 2015. the comprehensive 4-0 win, the
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victory sees them in the year at the top of the spanish table. penalty for barcelona, but rebounded, netting his 500th game for the catalan club. japan take up the challenge to change. i'm steve chao, on this episode of 101 east we investigate if japan's can be bridge its gender gap.


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