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tv   Weekend News  Al Jazeera  January 31, 2016 6:00am-6:31am EST

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government bombs keep falling in syria leaving a big question mark over talks to help end the war. live from doha. also ahead on the program, african union leaders decide not to send peace-keeping forces to burundi unless they're invited. far right protesters threaten to attack refugees in the center of sweden's capital. how muslim women are trying to
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convince their country it has nothing to fear from the hijab. just hours after arriving for talks aimed at ending syria's war, the opposition group is threatening to walk away. delegates from the high negotiating committee wants prisoners released and an end to the bombing of civilians before they sit down at the table. here is a reminder of what these talks are trying to achieve. the u.n. wants the negotiations to last about six months and the first priority would be a ceasefire. later they work towards a political settlement to a war that has killed more than 250,000 people. ultimately they want a transitional government which would lead the country to free elections. they want aid convoys to be given access to all rebel-held besieged areas where tens of
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thousands of syrians are suffering in dire conditions. we have full coverage with our diplomatic editor james bays and another in talking to syrians. first to james. what is happening there right now in geneva with the talks? >> reporter: an important development in the last few minutes. the special envoy for syria of the united nation, staffan de mistura, has just arrived for the crucial meeting of the day, the meeting with the opposition delegation. we were expecting, i told you when i spoke to you an hour ago, this meeting to take place in a few hours time. we were told by a number of sources it was going to take place five hours from now. it seems to have been put forward. the press were all gathered in another hotel because we were told there was an imminent press
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conference. it is not clear whether that was a coincidence or whether it was some sort of decoy operation going on so the press didn't see mr staffan de mistura arriving for the meeting. certainly he was casually dressed in his weekend clothes and roll-top sweater when he came to meet the opposition. he wasn't giving much away and said he will speak to us after the meeting with the opposition. the opposition members i spoke to as they walked towards the meeting told me that they wanted to make it very clear to mr staffan de mistura that they are entirely embracing this process. they want there to be peace talks in syria, they want there to be a transitional government, they want there to be free and fair elections, but at the same time, they say, that the security council resolution passed at the end of december which created this process also says that they've got to end the sieges on the ground, the bombardment on the ground and say that prisoners must be
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released. they're saying we want to join your process but at the same time the resolution that set up the process says these things should be done. they're trying to make that case very strongly to mr staffan de mistura in this the first meeting that is taking place between the opposition and the u.n. during this talks process. what the u.n. would like is these talks, these initial talks, to become negotiations, proximity talks, with both sides attending the u.n. headquarters. that's not happening yet thanks for that. let's get the view from the ground. you've been talking to people there about these talks. it is not the first time there have been these rounds of talks. what have people been saying and what are their expectations? >> reporter: if you talk to people in opposition controlled
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areas as well assyrian refugees, activists, politicians, people do not really expect a break through. they believe that the government will not compromise, will not give in to any concessions. they say two years ago during geneva one and two nothing happened. there was no tangible result. this time around the government is in a stronger position because of russia's intervention, the political balance of power really has visited in the favor of the president bashar al-assad. on the ground the government has made significant gains in the countryside of latakia province, they have recaptured a strategic town in the southern front, a number of u.n. negotiated deals that resulted as a result of the blockades and the starvation. fighters have abandoned positions and they've withdrawn. so the government is trying to neutralize areas around the capital, but a short while ago there were explosions inside damascus which shows this is an ongoing war, but people are
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worried and concerned that the outcome of these talks will not be in their favor. >> reporter: this is the reality in syria. the government backed by ration air power is on the offensive. their focus is on the south-west, damascus. they are attack the siege. the strategy is to isolate it from the area which is also under a government blockade. >> translation: when the regime entered the area, their strategy is to blockade and have the people into submission. even while negotiation is happening, they have air strikes are increasing. >> reporter: many syrians opposed to the government are supporting the high negotiation committee's decision not to engage in talks with the government.
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the committee wants good well gestures including an end to the bombardments and blockades before it agrees to negotiations. >> translation: we are against the meeting in geneva. they're not serious about the talks. while it is present in geneva it is also bombing us. >> reporter: people are concerned about what they see is a visit 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 bashar al-assad stay in office at least during the transition period. >> translation: at the beginning the u.s. publicly 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. they consider him the leader >> reporter: bashar al-assad's future has always been an obstacle on the road to peace. many in the opposition believe russia's intervention has
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changed the military and political balance in favor of president bashar al-assad. recent battle field gains has made the regime stronger and that is why the opposition believes it has little to gain by negotiating. it is one of the reasons why it is pushing for concessions before agreeing to talks. diplomacy has so far seen only failures in this conflict which has become an international regional war by proxy and many people feel their voices have become irrelevant. >> translation: syrians should be the ones to decide their fate, but unfortunately big powers intervened and are imposing their decisions >> reporter: for now there is a road map, but the warring sides are not close to discussing a solution. many in the opposition also feel that there has been a change in position by the west and u.s. they believe their softened their stances, they're no longer call on bashar al-assad to step
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down immediately, they're backing a decision that could see him in the transition process. so they also believe that the u.s. secretary of state john kerry has changed his language. he said that the opposition's demands are legitimate, but he also made clear that the peace process, this political process has to begin and there should be no preconditions for talks. people feel that the west in general really is no longer focusing on regime change. what it wants is to focus on counter terrorism and the fight against i.s.i.l. that is the feeling on the ground thank you for that. leaders at the african union summit have decided not to send 5,000 soldiers to burundi without the burundin government's consent. the crisis there has dominated the summit in ethiopia. more on that now with our correspondent from addis ababa. why was there this reluctance to
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take action without burundi's go ahead? >> reporter: many of the heads of state were saying that this could amount to invasion, they were talking about noninterference issues, they were saying that burundi is a sovereign country, it has an elected leader, that election is contested. they have instead - they are instead pushing for a political solution, an all-exclusive political dialogue to be held. i remember that this dialogue was supposed to start in january, but the burundi government delegation did not show up, saying that the government will not sit down and negotiate with groups as criminals. now to that end the heads of state have also decided to sends a high a.u. level delegation to burundi to speak to the government officials there and
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different other players about the talks and also to speak to the president and try to convince him to say yes to a deployment of troops there that basically would help the local authorities there in the disarmament efforts. this decision by the heads of states does not come as a supplies at all. this is something that we've been talking about for a couple of days since the summit started what are the prospects for that, then? is it likely that the high level delegation will convince the government there to - the government in burundi to say yes to troops? >> reporter: a lot of people are saying that it is unlikely burundi's government has been very adamant. the president has been very adamant against that. parliament also unanimous lip
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voted against any deployment of troops to that country. there were threats that-- deployment will be seen as an invasion. it will be interesting to see how this high level delegation is going to convince the authorities there and also the u.n. security council had also sent representatives to burundi to talk to the president, to try to convince him to allow for peacekeepers to go there, but again he said no, we do not want any peace-keeping troops here. the government has been saying that the most 99% of burundi is safe. only 1% has a problem and that is something that the government is dealing with. it will be interesting to see whether this high-level delegation is going to make any headway thank you for that.
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in neighboring iraq 17 soldiers have been killed during a suicide attack in anbar province. i.s.i.l. fighters drove a bulldozer into their base detonating a bomb. it happened in the neighborhoods east of ramadi where heavy fighting is continuing between the army and i.s.i.l. fighters. the united nations says iraq needs nearly 900 million dollars. it can only raise half the amount needed. more from imran khan who is live for us. where is this money going to come from? >> reporter: it is coming from all rev news. when you talk about the iraqi government. they say they need 1.56 billion dollars. they only have within the budget 43% of that. so less than half of what they need. this is due to the plummeting oil prices and a real problem
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when it comes to allocating budgets as well. it's not just about where the money is coming to, but about how they're spending the money as well. this 1.65 billion dollars is only for the humanitarian crisis. actually fighting the war, the cost of fighting the war is something separate. they need money for that also. then you have the u.n. the u.n. has made this donations - sorry, let me start again. they said they need 861 million dollars to cover what they say is needed for the humanitarian crisis. where are they going to get that money from? they're going to look to donors to get that money, international donors. they need to say to the international community, this is what we need and this is what you need to fund us. every u.n. program in iraq and in neighboring syria as well is facing a shortfall. a lot of u.n. people are telling me is they're not sure they can get the money needed.
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there is donor fatigue as well. donors are looking to iraq saying, look, they need to step up and help. we're also facing a lot of shortfalls in europe as well when it comes to dealing with the refugee crisis thank you for that. we've got much more ahead on the program when we come back myanmar's future leaders are ser mad-- serenaded.
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welcome back. you're watching al jazeera. the top stories. the main opposition group is meeting with western and u.n. diplomats in talks to end the war in syria. they're threatening to walk away unless prisoners are released and bombing stops. this is the latest pictures. the leaders attending the african union summit have decided not to send peace-keeping troops to burundi without the government's consent. they will push for political dialogue instead. the president said he would use force against any troops entering his country. the u.n. says iraq needs nearly 900 million dollars to deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by the war with i.s.i.l. only half the amount can be raised. there has been a fatal shooting
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at an israeli check point. it happened in the occupied west bank near the illegal settlement of bei tishgs -- beit el >> reporter: it is significant. this is the dco check point leading from jerusalem into the occupied west bank. it is used by pa officials, by diplomats, vips, foreigners, members of the press. it was a shooting. we have seen in this spate of lone wolf attacks, if you want to call it that, over the last few months, mostly knives, stabbing weapons, tensions on both sides. there have been shooting but certainly it is still unusual. the fact that a man managed to get out of his car close to the check point, open on fir fire o soldiers and be shot dead has
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been remarkable russia has rejected accusations in turkey that one of its jets violated turkish airspace. the dispute has deepened the recent rift between the two countries that began after turkey shot down a russian fighter jet in november. a warning was sent to moscow. >> translation: if russia continues to violate turkey's sovereign ultimately, they will bear the consequences. sovereignty. it will not improve the relationship between n.a.t.o. and russia or to peace in the region. -- on the contrary, it will do harm the commander of the armed group has been assassinated. he was killed in the southern port of aden. he was part of the group fighting the houl rebels two weeks ago-- houthi. a german politician has provoked outrage that police should be prepared to shoot migrants
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entering the country illegally. she says germany needs efficient controls to stop so many people entering the country. the police union is accusing her of wanting to suspend the rule of law. anti immigration sentiment has seen protests. a man threated people suspected of being a foreigner. >> reporter: police moved in when protesters from two rival groups began to fight. a 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 northern 200 anti fascists. >> translation: i was pulled down to the ground and one of them tried to kick me in the head. i managed to grab his foot. the police put a stop to the whole incident. >> reporter: swedish police are
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on heightened alert, deploying anti riot officers and helicopter surveillance. they made several arrests on friday after a gang of some 100 masked men ran through the streets of the city, threatening some refugees, attacking others >> the targets were younger children, refugees or child refugees, youths refugees located within the central station. of course a lot of these attacks revolve around a lot of these discussions going on in last few weeks. >> reporter: knee owe nazi social media messages say it is the duty of swedes to take a stand against north aftern children living on the streets. on thursday staff at an asylum center for unaccompanied children locked themselves in a room while 20 young men went on a rampage. concern over how many asylum seekers are reaching sweden is not restricted to the far right >> they meet on facebook or other social media forums and then go out to do what they feel
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is necessary to create an environment where refugees are not feeling welcome. a >> 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 forced to leave at least 10,000 child refugees are said to have disappeared after riving in europe-- arriving in europe. they're feared to fall into traffickers. this is the first time authorities have tried to quantify this. europol say about five thousand children went missing in italy and one thousand in sweden. a city in colombia has launched a campaign to try and get rid of the mosquito which transmits the zika virus. it has been hit hard by the disease which scientists suspect is linked to birth defects in new born babies.
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city workers have been removing rubbish. fumigation trucks have also been spraying the streets. a democratic contender hillary clinton's bid for the white house have got a boost from the new york times. the paper's endorsement comes 36 hours before voters in iowa get their say on who should be their candidates for the presidential election. mps in myanmar are gathering for their new parliamentary session marking a crucial step in the historic transfer of power to an elected civilian government. last november's election swept away the military government. a report from the capital. >> reporter: the measured early morning routine of myanmar's capital doesn't betray it, but there is-- portray it, but there is history in the making. this woman is one of those
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making it. she and hundreds of over 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 automatically gets a quarter of all seats in parliament. allowing it to padlock any changes to the constitution. despite their overwhelming majority, the n.l.d. mps know they have to cooperate with the military to rule effectively. 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 pa by a clause in the constitution that
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disqualifys the parent of a foreign national. her two sons hold british passports. there's speculation that the military might withdraw its objection in the 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 at the military backed government and their civilian successors, there was reconciliation in abundance. >> translation: now our time is up. we duty fully leave for the new people to come in. >> reporter: then an serenade. crooning to the most influential politician in myanmar right now and possibly its president in waiting.
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whose dreams may yet come true in senegal fashion is as important as anywhere else. there is a growing movement to ban the full-faced veil. >> reporter: designing clothes for the muslim women. th for this designer it is an opportunity that cannot be ignored. she started other own brand after working in paris. she is adapting her designs to the latest trends. customers no longer want short skirts and sleeveless tops, but ask for longer dresses and even the full veil. >> translation: women, whether old or young, feel more respected wearing the veil,
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especially in skovshtive societies. it is a sign of confidence and trust worthiness. >> reporter: she and other designers like her are showing the collections at the muslim conference. an opportunity to showcase the diversity in fashion of muslim women. it is called hallal fashion but some of the out fits could soon be banned. the president says full-face veiles pose a safety threat. they're already illegal in countries where dozens of people have been killed by suicide attackers who detonated bombs concealed understand their robes. organisers of this event say they're promoting fashion not violence. >> i think it's a debate that is capturing the wrong people. i don't have to follow the global trends.
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it's saying let's create an alternative trend, this new islamic clothing trend, let's show people that i can be fashionable, open minded, that i can be smart, entrepreneurial, that i can dare without showing my body if i don't want to. that's the message we're trying to get across. >> reporter: the fashion is a growing market. last year alone it was estimated to be worth 230 billion dollars globally. it's not just local shops making clothes like this. big brands are making clothes for muslim women. they too see an opportunity in hallal fashion. so despite the security threats, veils in place and debates surrounding the veil, the people here believe the demand for clothing like this is only going to grow.
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diversity has been hailed the winner at any time night of the award in l.a. >> welcome to diverse tv. >> reporter: for the celebrat n celebration, these actors won for beasts of no nation. hello. you're at the listening post. here are some of the media stories where looking at this week. afghanistan and the suici


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