>> a diplomatic row insues as two u.s. navy boats are in the gulf. hello, i'm maryam nemazee. this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up, turkey blames isil for a bomb attack on a busy instal istanbul attack that killed several people. has the president who promised change in the united states finally delivered?
president obama's final state of the union address. and britain sees its first doctor strike for 40 years as thousands want changes to contracts. >> we start this hour with breaking news. the pentagon announcing that two of itsavy boats are in iranian custody. officials say iran has told the united states that the crew will be returned promptly. let's get more on this now from washington, d.c. al jazeera's roslind jordan has more. we know that a conversation is it taking place between the secretary of state john kerry and the iranian foreign minist minister. what we don't know, maryam, is whether that conversation is taking place. the senior official has told al jazeera that secretary of state john kerry has been in direct contact with senior iranian officials about this
incident which apparently has been under way for five, maybe six hours now. now, it's also al jazeera's understanding that apparently the u.s. navy sailors apparently came close to or landed on an island that is known to be under iranian control in the gulf, and that is when they were picked up by iranian authorities. as you noted, maryam, the situation is such that the situation is such that everyone is trying to resolve the situation promptly, but there is no estimate on when these persons will be returned to the u.s. custody by the iranians. it is eight hours ahead of washington, 6:00 p.m. in the evening. and 2:00 a.m. in the gulf. there is a question of whether or not it would happen in the overnight hours there in the gulf or wther they will wait until sunrise. but certainly there is a lot of anxiety and concern about the well-being of these persons who were picked up between five and
six hours ago. >> and ros, this is not the first bit of tension we've seen in recent days between the u.s. and iran, is it? of course, the pictures released just a couple of days ago of iran firing unguided rockets close to, nearby, near an u.s. aircraft carrier. >> that's right. this incident happened back on december 26th as the harry s. truman, the aircraft carrier, and it's fleet were going through the states of hormus. now a senior official tells me that there is not really any connection between that incident even though iranian military did fire off rockets away from the american fleet going through the straits, but it does raise some eyebrows here in washington. but they say that this is a situation where this looks as if this actually involved u.s. persons coming in on iranian
territory, but that said they think this can be resolved very, very quickly. they just can't say when these persons will be returned to the u.s. >> thank you very much, roslind jordan watching that story for us from washington, d.c. ten people are now known to have died in a bomb blast in turkey's largest city of istanbul. it happened in an area known for historic monuments. it's popular with tourists, and eight of the dead are german. the explosion was so large it was heard several kilometers away. they said that the suspected bomber was a syrian member of isil this comes after a double suicide-bombing in october that left more than 100 people dead. al jazeera is in istanbul. from there we have this report.
>> moments after the explosion at the flood of the oblisk, and on the ground bodies of german tourists. they came to marvel the city's square, that is before a man wearing a suicide vest approached. his bomb heard four kilometers away. one eyewitness said that it shook the ground. another thought it was thunder on a clear day. >> it was a suicide-bomb, yes. i went there and saw it and came back to the hotel. it was chaos. everyone was running around. police didn't see this coming. they were upset, but at the same time they were trying to evacuate the area because they said a second bomb could go off. >> a peruvian tourist was also killed, and 15 others wounded including norwegians and a south korean. the authorities confirmed the bomber and said he had crossed from syria illegally as a refugee with others.
he then went to a police station in istanbul to register his refugee status on january 5th, when his finger tips was taken. that's how his identity was confirmed. the prime minister said that the investigation would track any accomplices and called on the world to support turkey as it had paris after the paris attacks. >> the perpetrators of this attack will be unveiled. they'll get the punishment they deserve. i call on all of humanity. we need to stand in global solidarity. we need to stand shoulder to shoulder in the istanbul and ankara attacks like we did the attacks in paris. >> tuesday's attack in turkey is a fourth in a year. [ explosion ] >> at least 102 were killed in
october. last july a 2-year-old suicide-bomber killed over 30 people at a cultural center close to the syrian border. and the square hit in january when a woman blew herself up killing a police officer. this attack was not just meant to kill but to strike a blow on the turkey tourism industry, and it could well change turkey's relations with german. just after chancellor angela merkel urged solidarity. >> we've seen this in many other places. international terror chooses different places but it's goal is always the same. our free life and our free society. terrorists are the enemy of all free people. yes, the me enemies of all mankind. >> 5 million germans visit turkey every year.
a crisis center has been set up to coordinate a response to the bombing and help those effected. the syrian cop flick has taken its toll on turkey. the country had already given shelter to 2 million refugees since the war began. and terrorism figures are well down after the attacks on ankara. but the latest bombing in the center of istanbul in the shadow of the blue mosque will drag the country further into the syrian conflict. al jazeera, istanbul. >> now the "world health organization" has asked the syrian government to allow them to southbound mobile clinics and medical team to assess the extent of malnutrition in madaya. aid was successfully delivered to madaya and two other towns. the suffering has been described
as the worse seen there so far. aid agencies have pulled several starving people from the town. they say there are many challenges for those sending aid to syria. >> it's been a long process for years now obtaining access across the country. our team on the ground, the u.n. ngos, the red cross and crescent, they face security threats. it's a very active war zone shifting front lines and imposed by all parties. but the government and the other parties as well, too. and there is a lot of access and a lot of negotiation to obtain the access we need to deliver assistance. what we call for, we estimate the population of syria 4.5 million people are in what we term hard-to-reach, besieged areas. our access to those people is very limited.
we need full time access to all these areas. >> in baghdad 18 people were killed and 50 injured when a suicide-bomber and gunman stormed the mall on monday. isil said it carried out the attack in the mainly shia-muslim district in the capital. in the occupied west bank a 21 was killed in bethlehem as israeli security forces say they were looking for an alleged attacker when fighting broke out. two other teenagers were shot in two separate incidents who were accused of attempted stabbings. 154 palestinians and 21 israelis have died since violence escalated in october. well, u.n. backed peace talks over the war in yemen have been delayed. they were due to start on thursday but may not start now for another week because the parties cannot agree on location. the temporary truce has broken
down placing even more pressure on taiz, which is in desperate need of food and medical supplies. >> houthi gunmen heard residents away from their check points in the western gate of taiz. >> we are insulted and humiliated. they say we're not allowed to leave the city. >> more than a quarter million people have no access to food in the city it used to be well-known for its coffee and agriculture products. taiz is under siege by houthi fight whose control the houthi fighters. they control the city's main districts. >> we hear explosions all around us. we cannot even sleep at night. >> the yemen national army is trying to recapture taiz with hair support from the saudi-led coalition. the coalition is backing abd rabbuh mansur hadi's recognized government. >> what do we do? where can we go?
this is our country. >> some in taiz are risking their lives to smuggle in food over mountain passes. 21million yemenis are in dire need of help. [ gunfire ] the saudi-led coalition backing the yemen government started last more. since then 2,000 civilians have been injured. the "world health organization" says hospitals in taiz have had to stop treating patients because hospitals are overwhelmed. blockades and airstrikes are preventing international agencies from delivering food, medical supplies and even oxygen. child mall nourishment is widespread. >> everything is getting worse day by day. they say they won't allow us to leave. [ protesting ] >> as military efforts continue to fail.
syria is not the only place where people are dying from disease, starvation, and shelling. al jazeera. >> still to come for you on al jazeera, we go inside the death squads of one central america's most dangerous countries. and how pop-up schools in nigeria are thwarting m boko haram's attempts to deprive nigerian children of an education.
person who blue himself up is a syrian of syrian origin. as to whether the details were, indeed, true that he was saudi born, and the turkish officials have confirmed it's true. they have explained why they managed to identify the bomber so quickly. it seems that the bomber crossed over from syria into turkey illegally. he then went to a police station in istanbul to register as a refugee. when he registered he had to give his fingerprints. the fingerprints were kept on file, and when they found the remains of the bomber after the attack they were able to tally up the fingerprints that they had on record with the suspects from the bomb site. we know a little bit more about him. as i say he was of syrian origin, and he crossed the border with, we understand, others. and the turkish authorities very
much are saying, and the prime minister is saying that they're trying to track down those who crossed over with him. >> that's something that we're hearing from the turkish government after years of rkish-syria border being quite porous, and people able to cross freely and easily. even though the government is taking some measures now, there must be concerns about security in istanbul and other cities in turkey. >> yes, indeed. as we know, as we've been hearing the tourism figures have taken a hit over the last year with the high profile attacks in istanbul in ankara. i should also mention that the turkish authorities did manage to thwart an attack on new year's eve. they arrested two men that they believed was connected to isil. they said that they had been planning to launch an attack in
ankara. since the ankara bombing in october, they had also realized the names of people they said would be suicide talkers. most of the names were turkish, some were syrian. since then another list of names of people they wanted to track down emanantly, they're saying that they could be doing or planning some sort of attack very quickly. again, there were a list of people they wanted to track down. whether they tracked them, we don't know, they wouldn't release the names. you would think that they would just to show their intelligence is working. they need to show the world, they need to show the tourists who flock to the amazing sites here, that they need to show that they're tightening up security and don't stay away from turkey, come and visit our sites again. >> that will be a central concern, won't it.
joining us live with the latest from istanbul. move to go myanmar now, the pro-democracy leader has met with the rebel leaders for the first time. the talks are aimed to stop decades of fighting, but not all the rebel leaders were there. >> this is one of the final acts of the military-backed government. hosting the union peace conference five days of talks between the government and armed rebel groups. >> the politics is more system systemic. >> the eight groups represented are the same one that is signed in october what the government called a nationwide cease-fire deal. in evaluate it was anything but nationwide with some of the largest groups boycotting both the signing and this week's conference. they were un' that a few of the smaller rebel armies weren't invited to sign the deal and
that fighting is continuing in some areas. for decades the armed groups such as the army in the north have been battling for independence and greater autonomy. the leader of the national league for democracy party will oversee these processes in the near future but won't necessarily control it. they won the general election last november. >> in they need to take the responsibility of building for peace. i hope that everyone will help us. >> the group she really needs help from is the army. it's commanders will remain a powerful political force even after the new parliament convenes on february 1st. there is a deep most trust in the rebel-held areas, and may be
keen to exert their influence and power for some time yet. >> in a few house the u.s. president will deliver his final state of the union address. it's barack obama's time year in office, and it's human lick to be the usual policy speech. they're expected to look at the challenges ahead and look at the international objectives in the u.s. and the democratic party going forward. obama will use this speech to add fuel to the campaign fire. voting in the first presidential contest begins february 1st, so not long to go. kimberly halkett joins us live from washington, d.c. kim letter bykimberly, what are we expecting president obama to highlight in this speech? >> as you point out this is his seventh and final speech, and it comes in the heat of an election
cycle. so expect the president instead he'll be speaking in broader themes, making the case about why there is still much more to be done. why the american people who will be speaking to congress members sitting in chamber should elect another democratic president for the oval office. so expect a little bit of an idea about what those themes might be based on the guest list of the first lady, who will be in attendance, michelle obama. there will be an advocate there, advocate for shorter jail stems and sentencing guidelines, and there will be one empty seat. a signal to really the large number of gun violence in the united states, and why the president still feels this is a high priority. >> and what about the u.s. congress, kim. tell us a bit more about how that has changed particularly since 2009, and of course, the sort of context that has created
when it comes to barack obama's ambitions and policies. >> well, it's been quite a challenge for him in recent years, this congress has changed in terms of its makeup and the parties that are represented. rather dramatically in 2008 when president obama was elected president. this was a democratically controlled congress and many members were from the president's own party. but there was frustration on main street, anger over the economy. obamacare, and as a result we saw subsequent elections republicans being brought in. this has been a challenge for the president. as a result we've seen more executive actions which has opened him up to a lot of criticism that he may not want as his legacy. >> kimberly halkett live for us in washington, d.c. with a look ahead to president obama's state of the union address. violence blamed on boko haram in nigeria has displaced more than
a million children in the past six years. the armed group has targeted schools leaving many without an education. >> today he is finally attending school. like everyone in his class, he fled from his village after boko haram attacked and occupied it. the armed group is opposed to western education and has killed tens of thousands in nigeria's northeast. >> we would not go to school. if anyone disobeyed the punishment was death. now in camp we get a full education. >> now the nigerian government and it's partners are providing mobile classrooms like these to help children who have been displaced by violence catch up on their education. >> we have the established mobile units, and mobile units is a classroom that is fully
equipped with furniture, and even generators and electricity and solar panels, and wash facilities. it really is a quaint classroom that can host 40 children, which is standard in terms of student-teacher ratio. >> but even with these classes running in the morning and afternoon the facilities in the camp are simply not enough. as many as 70% of children in borno state attended school before the boko haram violence. after 2 million people have been displaced most schools have been destroyed, and hundreds of teachers killed. although the mobile classrooms may not be enough they offer children a new start. little salma has been around violence since she was born.
>> the mobile classrooms are offering her a chance to chase her dream. something 11 million other out-of-school nigerian children are not able to do. >> tens of thousands of junior doctor doctors in england have gone on strike over a new contract that they say threatens patient safety. it has led to thousands of operations being canceled. >> thousands should have been on shift, but instead under the shadow of the u.k. parliament junior doctors have walked out, angry over plans to change their current contracts. junior doctors could see work more hours in britain's free healthcare. >> patient safety is the main thing that worries us, and what the government is hoping to do with the new contract we fear
will be bad for patients and bad for the nhs. >> this is the first doctor strike in more than 40 years. the nhs now faces new pressures including dealing with the challenge of an aging population. not all doctors have gone on strike but the action has led to more than 3400 non-emergency operation and procedures being canceled. this strike comes at a time when the nhs is facing extraordinary financial pressure. and morale among track and field is low. the government has consistently defended the new contract saying it will bring in a better service with better cover on weekends and junior doctors won't see a pay cut. >> at the moment, if you have a
stroke on the weekends you're 20% more likely to die. that can't be acceptable. the right thing to do is not to strike, but to sit around the table and talk to the government and how do we deliver a seven-day nhs. >> it takes five years to get a medical degree in the u.k. after that you can spend ten years as a junior doctor. some of the next generation training at st. george's university of london believe this strike could be a defining moment for the profession. >> you have to work longer hours to supplement their income to earn similar wages then it will have an affect on doctors being more tired. so there is the potential for longer hours. >> we don't know what the contract is going to look like when we start. we have no idea what our hours are going to be, where we're going to be based necessarily, the support we'll have. >> recent polls suggest two-thirds of the public support the junior doctors' actions.
two more strikes are planned. emma hayward, al jazeera, in london. >> remember, you can find much more on everything that we're covering right here. you can see the address there, www.aljazeera.com. >> this week on talk to al jazeera actor and comedian richard lewis >> my goal is to make people laugh. first of all, i'm not entirely-- not depressed a lot of the time, either, by the w-- lemme just-- i don't wanna paint this rosy picture. >> often described as neurotic and angst ridded, lewis reflects on his rise from early stand up comedian, to becoming a household name. >> i was broke for a long time. but i was still-- felt like a million bucks, broke, living in horrible places, come-- going into a club and seeing these famous comedians come over to me, go-- you