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tv   Weekend News  Al Jazeera  January 31, 2016 2:00am-2:31am EST

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stepping in for syria talks, the main opposition arrives in geneva but demands an end to the bombing of civilians. there's no sign of a let up on the ground. government forces backed by russian air power are on the offensive. live from doha, also ahead on the program, a far right mob threatens to attack refugees in the center of sweden's capital.
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myanmar's leaders are serenaded by their former military masters. the main syrian opposition group is in geneva for talks aimed at ending the civil war, but only hours after getting there they're threatening to walk out. they want prisoner rereleased and blockades moved >> reporter: a very large group of press here. quite chaotic scenes when they arrived here because we all want to know the position, the exact position, of this, the main opposition grouping. when he came here, who is the spokesman, said that they still believe that that u.n. resolution at the end of december means there are things that should be put in place now before talks take place. he said they weren't his group's
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conditions, they were conditions of the u.n. security council. i pressed him as to whether these conditions had to be met before they would sit down for talks. >> reporter: you say if those conditions are not met, will you engage in talks? >> we are ready. we are here to make this a success. we are ready to start negotiations, but at least we should see something on ground there in syria. we should really stop these massacres against our people. so please help us, you know. save our children, save the remaining children of syria. then we are willing to do anything that really put an end to this war. we want to put an end to i.s.i.s., no terrorism in syria. we want to put an end to what this dictatorship is doing. we want to see a new syria >> reporter: yes. they want to see the measures in
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the security council resolution put in place, but it doesn't seem that that is the condition for the start of the talks. i understand that the opposition delicatessen dwags is likely, and i have this from a number of diplomatic sources, likely to see staffan de mistura on sunday-- delegation-- meeting. i'm not clear where that will take place. some sources say it will be at the u.n. and others say it will be away from the u.n. then it is a parallel meeting to the one we saw on friday with the syrian government, wants those two meetings have taken place there will be more discussion, but it's just possible we could actually see both sides in the same place. not the same room, because that won't happen for some considerable time, but maybe both in the u.n. and geneva on monday. i think that would be the best hope of the u.n. team who are trying to mediate these talks up to 400,000 people in syria are trapped and needing emergency assistance.
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many have died trying to escareful to a better life in europe. our correspondent is in gaziantep and has spoken to syrians about their hopes for the talks in geneva. >> reporter: this is the reality in syria. the government backed by russian air power is on the offensive. their focus is on damascus. the strategy is to isolate the area from the area which is also under a government blockade. >> translation: when the regime can enter the area, their strategy is to blockade and for the fighters and people in submission. they're tightening the see
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generallyings. >> reporter: they're not engaging in talks with the government. the committee wants goodwill gestures, an end to the bombardments and blockades before it agrees to negotiations. >> translation: we are against the meeting in geneva. the regime is not serious about the talks. it is also bombarding us. >> reporter: people in territories are also concerned about what they see is a shift in u.s. policy. they believe washington is cooperating with the government's main backer, russia. the two powers are behind a u.n. peace plan that could see the president bashar al-assad stay in office at least during the transition period. >> translation: at the beginning the u.s. stood against bashar al-assad, but they kept making false promises to the opposition and now their true position is out in the open. the u.s. is not against bashar al-assad. they accept him on the negotiating table. the u.s. no longer hides the fact that they consider him the leader. >> reporter: bashar al-assad's
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future has always been an obstacle on the road to peace. many believe that the political balances has made the regime stronger. the opposition believes it has little to dpan by negotiating. it is one of the reasons why it is pushing for concessions before agreeing to talks. diplomacy has so far seen only fame urs in this can conflict which has become an international and regional war by proxy. many people feel their voices have become irrelevant. >> translation: syrians should be the one to decide their fate, but unfortunately big powers intervened are imposing their decisions >> reporter: for now there is a war map, but the sides are nowhere near discussing a solution our correspondent live from gaziantep. we got a sense of how desperate the situation is for people
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there. were are syrians worried about geneva and the possible outcome? >> reporter: those who support the opposition feel that the united states and the west have changed their positions. they're no longer concerned about regime change but regime stability because for them the priority is to fight i.s.i.l., its counter terrorism. people feel that and they feel that the u.s. has softened its stance. there's a number of reasons. they point out to the issue of the syrian president bashar al-assad, his future role in syria. at the beginning the u.s. was calling for him to step down, his immediate departure. we're no longer hearing that. the u.s. backed the u.n. resolution which makes no mention of as add. so people with word worried wo that he could play a role in that. they're saying the u.s. secretary of state john kerry exerted a lot of pressure on the opposition to attend in geneva
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and they made it very clear that there can be no preconditions. we know that the opposition delegation is asking for certain - the lifting of blockades, the sieges, the halting of bombardment and there should be no preconditions. maybe the most controversial issue is the issue of the government in this face because what the opposition wants is to focus on the gen eve one communique which talks about the transitional body with executive powers. we're no longer hearing that. we're hearing a new term, a national unity government. that means sharing the power with the regime and for them the regime cannot be a partner. there are fears among those who are in the opposition, supporters of the opposition that the west has changed its position thank you for that. at least 37 refugees, mostly syrians, drowned on saturday
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when their boat hit rocks and capsized. they were attempting to reach the greek island of lesbos from turkey. that follows another incident two days ago when 25 refugees, including ten children, drowned off the greek island. it can be seen around 50 metres from the shore. it is estimated nearly 4,000 people died last year trying to reach europe by sea. russia has rejected claims from turkey that one of its jets violated turkish airspace. the row has deepened the rift between the two since turkey shot down a russian jet in november. a stark warning was sent to moscow. >> translation: if russia continues to violate turkey's sovereignty, they will bear the circumstances. such irresponsible behaviour will not improve the relationship between n.a.t.o. and russia or peace in the region. on the contrary it will do harm we have an expert of turkey
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affairs and he explains why turkey didn't try to shoot down the plane this time. >> turkey did not want to be blamed for prematuring jeopardizing the geneva peace talks. at the same time the united states restrained turkey this time to avoid any direct confrontation between an n.a.t.o. partner and russia. also the previous shoot down. turkey did not get sympathy beyond rhetoric. there was support for protection of the airspace, but really in terms of action we did not see much response from n.a.t.o. partners towards turkey's confrontation with russia
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on monday the u.s. day of iowa will become the first in the country to hold the presidential nominating contest known as a caucus. a win there can make or break a candidate's campaign. our correspondent reports from des moines, iowa. >> reporter: it is in homes like this that united states will hold its first votes in the contest. so where is this caucus going to be held, where are the people going to be? >> here. >> reporter: right here? >> right here, yeah. >> reporter: to caucus means to gather. you won't see polling booths. people meet at homes, community halls, churches. >> in 1972 there were a series of changes in how each of our political parties would select their nominee to be president of
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the united states and iowa happened to go first that year. so iowa has been first ever since. >> we will be passing out slips of paper for you to vote on >> reporter: it is simple. supporters vote by secret ballot. the candidate with the most votes and goes on to national conventions where nominees for both parties are officially elected. this one is complicated. supporters gather and they break off into groups behind the candidate they support and that is where things get a little intense. >> one faction will be here and another one with another faction and trying to swing people to their sides. >> he is more committed to the party itself >> reporter: the debate between caucus goers can be heated.
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still the results serve an important purpose. >> the iowa caucus is special because it is the first litmus test of what americans are feeling about who they want to be the commander in chief >> because everybody has to be in one place at one time, it means that if the weather is bad it makes it harder for people to come out and get to their caucus locations and, of course, it's iowa. it's cold, there's a good chance of snow. >> reporter: so despite months of candidates courting iowa voters, the results could come down to the weather and whether supporters show up on a cold night we've got plenty more still ahead. we're going to take a quick break now, but when we come back, thousands rally against legally recognising same sex couples in western europe's only country not to do so.
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welcome back. you're watching al jazeera. the top stories. the main syrian opposition arrived in geneva, but it is unclear whether they will take part of the russia has rejected claims from turkey that one of its jet violated their airspace. after historic transfer of power to an elected civilian government in myanmar, they're gathering for their session.
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the last session swept away the military backed government that ruled for decades. >> reporter: the measured early morning routine of myanmar's capital doesn't betray it but there is history in the making. this woman is one of those making it. she and hundreds of other newly elected members of parliament for the national league for democracy or n.l.d. are about to take up their seats. >> translation: myanmar has been waiting for this day for so long. so many ordinary people and members of the n.l.d. have sacrificed their lives to get here. >> reporter: but the military still retains great power. it has control over important ministries and gets a quarter of all seats in parliament, allowing it to block any changes to the constitution. despite their overwhelming
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majority, the n.l.d. nominees know they have to cooperate with the military. they also know the ultimate prize for that cooperation could be a change in the constitution, allowing their leader aung san suu kyi finally to become president. aung san suu kyi is stopped from becoming president by a clause in the constitution that disqualifys the parent of a foreign national. her two sons hold british passports. the speculation the military might withdraw its objection in the new spirit of reconciliation. >> translation: whether you are in parliament or outside of it, we can all work together for the benefit of the people and the country. >> reporter: at this event for the outgoing mps of the military-backed government and their civilian successors, there was reconciliation in abundance. >> translation: now our time is up. we dutifully leave for the new
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people to come in. >> reporter: and then from one of the former generals an serenade. crooning to the most influential politician in myanmar right now and possibly its president in waiting. whose dreams may yet come true a german politician has provoked outrage with comments that police should be prepared to shoot migrants entering the country illegally. chair woman of the right wing party says germany needed efficient controls to stop so many people entering the country. firearms could be a last resort. the police union accuses her of wanting to suspend the rule of law. anti immigration sentiment has triggered protest in sweden with
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tight security. men rang through the streets threatening refugees. >> reporter: police moved in when protesters from two rival groups began to fight. an anti refugee group was calling for the resignation of their prime minister. they're angry their country of ten million allowed in 160,000 asylum seekers last year. facing them were more than 200 anti fascists. >> translation: i was pulled down to the ground one of them tried to kick me in the head. i managed to grabbed his foot. the police put a stop to the incident. >> reporter: swedish police are on heightened alert deploying police and helicopter surveillance. a gang of some 100 masked men rang through the city. >> the target were younger children, refugees or child
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refugees, youths refugees within the central station. of course, a lot of these attacks revolve around a lot of these discussions in the last few weeks >> reporter: knee owe nazi social media say it's the duty of swedes to take a stand. at thursday staff locked themselves in a room while 20 young men went on a rampage. a young employee was fatally stabbe stabbed. >> they meet on facebook or other social media forums and then do what they feel is necessary to create an environment where refugees are not feeling welcome >> reporter: the government says half of those who applied for asylum last year are to have their claims rejected. as many as half of those will be
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forced to leave > thousands of people have protested in paris over sweeping security measures put in place after the november terror attacks. the french government may extend the country's state of emergency. it gives them the power to detain and arrest people without warrants. our correspondent was at the demonstration. >> reporter: it began first as a 12-day state of emergency that was then extended to three months. that period is about to expire and the government wants to extend the state of emergency further. it gives the authorities unprecedented rights to be able to detain and arrest without warrant, to shut down demonstrations like this and in more recent years closed down web sites when it could be proven that the website is sympathetic or supportive of so-called acts of terrorism. the law is being seen as something of a double-edged sword. on the one hand it protects national security but on the
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other hand many people believe that it undermines civil liberties >> it is used not only nor fighting terrorism, that's a good thing, but it is used for silencing people with an opinion. >> reporter: what liberties are you worried about? >> this one, the liberty to demonstrate and the liberty for a social struggle. >> reporter: so large numbers at this demonstration, still the vast majority of people are in favor of extending the state of emergency. francois hollande says the country is at war and people believe him tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the italian capital to protest the bill that if approved will legalize same sex unions. italy is the only nation without such a law. >> reporter: they chose the
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circus here in roam, the theater of ancient battles to bring their fight against same sex civil unions and adoptions. tens of thousands of traditional families from all over italy together to say no to a law that proposess to give same-sex couples legal recognition and the right to adopt the partner's biological child >> translation: we are against this law because children are not given a right. since the beginning of time children have come from a mother and father. >> translation: two men can't give birth to life, so you can't call that a family. it is selfish of them to want children just to satisfy their desires. >> reporter:ity lee is the only country in western europe without a law that legally recognises and protects same-sex couples. because of it last year it was condemned by the european court of human rights and this is one of the reasons why the government is trying to fix that anomaly, but clearly a lot of
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italians disagree. in a counter demonstration, last weekend thousands of gay rights advocates showed their support for the law in more than a hundred cities across the country. on thursday some of them gathered in front of the senate where the bill is being debated. a wake-up call for a country they say that can't wait any longer to keep up with the rest of europe. >> translation: we have been trying to have a law for same sex couples in italy for the past 30 years. i hope the government finally approves it without compromises because this is already a compromise as it is not a law that legalizes same sex marriage but it is a first step >> reporter: the bill will be voted on in the senate starting next week. because of the hundreds of thousands of people who voiced their opposition on saturday, the outcome is far from predictable a city in colombia has launched a campaign to try and
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get rid of the mosquito which transmits the zika virus. on the other than border it is one of the city's hardest hit by the disease. city workers have been removing trash and debris which can provide breeding grounds. argentina farmers are trying to destroy locusts which are swarming. >> reporter: a single locust eats its own body weight in a day and it eats any and all kinds of vegetation. in that same day an adult can fly more than 50 kilometers. that's just one locust. multiplied by millions and that single locust forms part of a hungry daef stating force--
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devastating force. >> translation: the huge swarm of flying locusts were here last october. at the end of their breeding cycle they laid their eggs and what we're seeing now is the product of that swarm. >> reporter: there has been nothing like this since the 1950s. >> translation: we're going to where they're concentrated and causing the maximum damage. when we do that they move elsewhere. we're trying to ensure that they don't form swarms because if they do they will migrate and lay their eggs somewhere else. >> reporter: agencies and local people are working together to find where they're concentrated and then they fumigate. most of the insects are still jumping. their wings haven't developed to fly. the challenge is to eradicate them before they take to the air in quantities so great they will be impossible to contain. this is a race against time with local people and the authorities working together from dawn to dusk to try to exterminate these
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locusts before they multiply out of control. if they do, then they will devour all of this vegetation in the whole area, destroying livelihoods and wiping out communities. the climate in this recent winter has changed. rainfall has been greater and that is perfect conditions for the locust. >> translation: this is a job that can't be done alone. everyone is working together, private and public, and it has gone very well. we're all working to lessen the impact of these locust plagues. >> reporter: as the sun goes down, the locusts settle for the night. these hunters from all over argentina working in a coordinated effort to see where they fumigate the next morning. if they get it right, they will contain the threat, and if they don't, they will multiply and eat everything in their path
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a young boy from afghanistan has become a global sensation after photographs of his football jersey made out a plastic bag went viral. he had been asking his family for a team jersey of his favorite football player messi. it was too expensive, so his brothers decided to take matters into their own hands and create a replica jersey. >> reporter: my name is arif. i am his father. he is a fan of messi. he says his name every day and he asks me to find a real shirt for him with his name on it. i said how can i bring such a shirt for you, so he found a striped plastic bag and made a shirt out of it. when he wakes up at night he says messi's name. he says he want to see messi there could be some good
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news for him. a twitter account run by messi's fans say they're trying to find out who the boy is so they can arrange something special for him. as always there's much more on our website, get the stories, news and analysis, it's all there for you. it's >> the warm blue waters off the coast of hawaii, a scene of incredible beauty but a world in transition. ironically this piece of coral, delicate as fine china, is also a sign of trouble. >> today, we are facing the potential loss or massive degradation of all of our reefs. d


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