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tv   News  Al Jazeera  February 23, 2016 12:00pm-12:31pm EST

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president obama presents his long-awaited plan to close the detention camp at guantanamo bay. ♪ hello there, i'm julie mcdonald, this is al jazeera live from london nflt also coming up. the number of refugees crossing the mediterranean this year is already at a record level. returning to their destroyed houses. we're with fijian islanders coming home three days after a devastating cyclone. >> reporter: and the real life superhero story that is in the
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running for an oscar. very warm welcome to the program. u.s. president barack obama has finally set out his plan for shutting down guantanamo bay, seven years after he first pledged to close it. of the 91 detain east still at the site, he said 35 have been approved for transfer. in that means they can be released to another country willing to take them. for those who won't go to foreign countries, the president says he will work with congress to establish a location where they can be sent. >> this is about closing a chapter in our history, it reflects the lessons we have learned since 9/11. lessons that need to guide our nation going forward, so even as we use military commissions to close out the cases of some current detainees, which, given the unique circumstances of their cases, make it difficult for them to be tried in article
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3 courts, this -- this type of use of military commissions should not set a precedent for the future. >> rosiland jordan joins us live now from washington, d.c. hi, there, ros. so what else did obama say, and what has been the reaction so far? >> reporter: well, the president also said that closing guantanamo essentially will remove what he calls a stain on the u.s.'s reputation around the world; that it is impossible for the u.s. to talk about human rights and about rule of law when guantanamo still exists. he pointed out that isil or daesh is using the images of people in the orange jumpsuits in their own propaganda videos. we have seen this several times when they have killed western hostages, and the president said that he wants to remove that sort of incitement, another way, as it were of trying to defeat isil. the reaction here on capitol
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hill is falling as you might expect along partisan lines. democratic legislatures say that they support the president's efforts to close guantanamo, however, republicans, including the senate majority leader are very much opposed. >> it would be illegal under current law to transfer a foreign terrorist at guantanamo into the united states. this isn't a case where the president can even try to justify the use of some pen and phone strategy by claiming congress failed to act. to the contrary, congress acted over and over and over again in a bipartisan way to reject the president's desire to transfer dangerous terrorists to communities here in the united states. the president signed all of these prohibitions and his attorney general recently confirmed that it is illegal for the president to transfer any of these terrorists into the
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united states. so we'll review president obama's plan, but since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in u.s. communities, he should know that the bipartisan will of congress has already been expressed against that proposal. >> so ros what happens next in the aftermath of this report? >> reporter: well, basically members of congress are getting their first look at the plan, and they will certainly be calling members of the obama administration to capitol hill to testify both in open session and in classified or closed-door session about the details of this plan. and there aren't many. for example, one of the 13 or so locations that the pentagon identified as possibly suitable to house the remaining guantanamo detainees, well, they are not listed in this report. as for saving money, republicans in particular aren't persuaded, but the real issue, and we heard
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this from mitch mcconnell is the legal question, who ultimately will prevail given that there are conflicting laws and perspectives on the whole situation involving guantanamo. camp x ray, the place where the u.s. military held the first men captured during the so-called global war on terror. these men called enemy combatants would be moved from the cages to air conditioned trailers, and finally to what are known as camps 5 and 6. all accused of working for al-qaeda. very few of them ever getting their day in court. >> the scandal is that it is holding men indefinitely and without charge. it's been 14 years now. >> reporter: bush administration lawyers chose guantanamo as a place to hold nearly 800 detainees away from the battlefield in afghanistan, but as the prison camp's first commander told al jazeera, it was also to restrict their
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access to the u.s. legal system. >> because we were in cuba, the rules -- the international agreements and the constitution did not necessarily apply. >> reporter: what is more, the bush administration set up a whole new system just for the detainees called military commissions. their legitimacy has been challenged in u.s. courts, but right now the commissions are the only place where the alleged plotters of the 9/11 and uss cole attacks are facing a judge. >> all three branches of our government have determined that al-qaeda and associated forces are in an armed conflict against the united states, and that authorizes the use of these commissions. the u.s. military has always been sued for force feeding detainees on hunger strike, despite the medical community's belief that hunger strikes are a legitimate form of protest. the u.s. congress has tried for years to make guantanamo a permanent facility. it has passed laws banning the
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transfer of detainees to u.s. soil for either detention or trial. laws the obama administration considers underconstitutional. >> it is well within -- smack dab in the core of his responsibilities as commander in chief to be able to say i want to move for conditions related to our war objectives and because it's terribly expensive, i want to move this detainee from this military facility to another facility. >> reporter: but whatever happens, it's legal and moral problems still require attention. >> what are the next steps that need to be taken to actually close it down? >> reporter: obviously congress is going to be taking a close look at this plan, and going to probably try to come up with legislation either endorsing the obama administration's plan or rejecting it. let's review the four steps
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which though administration say comprise this plan, one finding place for the 35 men who have been cleared for release from guantanamo. that process is being negotiated between the u.s. government and other governments. we won't know which governments they are until these men have been resaddled. that's a long-standing practice. there is another 46 men who haven't been charged with any crimes in the military system. they are going through the review session right now. there was a review session earlier today at guantanamo for one of the detainees to see if he can be released because he no longer poses a security threat. the military commissions, the trials that have been underway for the people accused of the september 11th, and ussa cole attack among others, those will continue. but the plan would bring them to u.s. soil. and finally for the people who
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aren't going to be released, bringing them as well to the united states into an unnamed facility, that's the thing that's really going to lead to a huge political fight here in washington. >> rosiland jordan joining me live with all of those details. ros, thank you. ♪ the international organization for migration says more than 100,000 refugees and migrants have arrived on european shores this year alone. on the greek macedonia border thousands of afghan refugees are stranded for a second day. authorities have blocked them from entering their territory after initially only allowing syrians and iraqis through, they are now stopping all nationalities. those refused entry have been staging a sit-in on the greek side of the border. hoda abdel hamid is live on the border. hi there, hoda, so what is the
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situation, currently? >> reporter: well, the border has reopened after not only the afghans, but also those nationalities considered economic migrants were evacuating from this crossing point. but the border has reopened for syrians and iraqis but there are restrictions and we have seen some syrians who have been asked to return back to greece simply because they did not have enough paperwork to support their claim or to prove that they are indeed syrians or iraqis. now these are -- these restrictions were imposed by this -- i would say subgroup that was created within europe that includes fy -- five countries. so from now on the process has changed for syrians and iraqis, and unless they have an id, birth certificate or passport it
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will be very difficult for them to go through. before all they needed was a piece of paper issued by the greek authorities that proved that they had actually entered europe from one of the islands. >> and what have people been telling you? i can only imagine this must be having a devastating effect on these people. >> reporter: it certainly is causing a lot of angst, especially among those who already have not been allowed to go -- to continue their journey. now what happens to them is going to be a huge burden for greece. they are going to have to return to athens, they can apply for asylum in greece, even though only 12,000 are processed in greece a year, so you can imagine that in compared to the amount of people that arrive in this country. you can have 10,000 arriving in
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one day. and also otherwise they will have to go through a relocation program, and if they are not eligible for that, they will have to return to where they came from. we were standing there, and because we spoke arabic, everyone was coming and asking us if their document would allow them to cross or not. a lot of fear, and also a lot of worry how long they will be camped here along the crossing border trying to get in, with the standoff of the afghans, there has been a backlog here and in athens. about 5,000 people are in athens waiting to come to this area, and we spoke earlier to some people from the aid organizations here, and they said greek authorities are going to try to keep them in athens as much as possible, even though the living conditions are certainly good. they are staying around the port, and they don't really have
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any access to anything else, and then they will try to stagger them and bring them here, and once they arrive here, that doesn't mean that they are going to continue their journey. it is at this stage the macedonians have the power to refuse entry. with this block of five countries, the macedonians are the ones that are going to issue the paper that allows refugees to continue their journey through europe. and routes keep on changing, and they are not really informed about them. they left their country thinking one thing, arrive here and things have changed they don't know if tomorrow things will change further. >> hoda thank you. a french court has delayed judgment on the legality of closing part of a refugees and migrant camp in calais. several charities made the appeal because they say the closure would violate human
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rights of thousands of people living there. it is likely, a decision on the future of the camp will be made later this week. the syrian observatory for human rights says more than 270,000 people are known to have died since syria's war began nearly five years ago. a cessation of hostilities is due to come into force on saturday. the syrian government and the country's main opposition block say they will be honor the agreement. there has been continued fighting between the islamic state of iraq and the levant and syrian forces in southern aleppo province. isil says it has killed a number of soldiers and captured dozens more. the syrian military says it has blown up an isil suicide car bomb before it reached its target, which was a military check point. our correspondent reports now from the turkish city near the
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border. >> reporter: on the offensive and making gains. isil fighters say they are taken control of aleppo's southern countryside. the group says it has killed a number of soldiers in this battle. the village sits on a supply route for the regime. in aleppo city, heavy fighting and clashes are continuing. fighters from a number of rebel groups are fighting the syrian democratic forces dominated by the syrian kurdish fighters known as ypg. monstering developments closely is turkey. it regards the ypg as a terrorist group operating under the outlawed kurdistan turkeyish party, the pkk. >> translator: chaos in syria provides an atmosphere for terror organizations like daesh, al-nusra, the pyd, and the ypg
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to grow and spread. turkey is the country suffering the most from the threats, and being effected from the attacks routed in syria. >> reporter: now there is a chance that a deal reached between the u.s. and russia will bring some kind of ceasefire by saturday. that idea excludes isil and al-nusra front and all rebel groups that do not commit to a cessation of hostilities. the syrian opposition wants international guarantees that the government in damascus and russia will not target rebel groups under the pretext of operations against isil and al-nusra. while the government says it will accept the partial troops, it has warned rebel groups not to attempt to strengthen their positions during the pause in fighting. libyan security sources have
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confirmed the arrival of international forces. in the last few days they have stepped up attacks on isil and rebel groups in benghazi. saudi arabia is urging its nationals to leave lebanon immediately, and to avoid traveling there in the near future. the announcement comes despite attempts by the lebanese prime minister to reinstate its support for riyadh. saudi arabia has accused lebanon of failing to back it in its ongoing dispute with its regional rival iran. still to come on the program, the plummeting oil prices. can industry leaders find a way to turn things around? and why a popular chocolate bar is being recalled in more than 50 countries. all of that and more after the break. ♪
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♪ welcome back. reminder now of our top stories here on al jazeera. u.s. president as given congress his plan to close the controversial military prison, guantanamo bay, saying the facility is confrere to his country's values on law. the international organization for migration says more than a hundred thousand refugees have arrived in europe in the first two months of 2016. islamic state of iraq and the levant says it has killed and captured soldiers fighting syrian government forces south of aleppo. three days after cyclone
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winston flattened large areas of fiji, the number killed has now risen to 29. for the survivors forced to flee the island, most are now returning home to scenes of devastation. >> reporter: it's taken nearly three days, but help is coming to some of the fijian islands hit worst by saturday's cyclone. people were returning to their homes. this boat is the second in two days. with phone communication cut, one did an exploratory shuttle run. >> thought we better make a run and check. and what we saw, we were the first point of contact from the outside world, and what we saw was really devastating.
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>> reporter: a day later this is the first trip with passengers, carrying people back who happen to be away for the storm, these are their first glimpses of their homes since. >> total destruction. it is worse than i expected. >> reporter: this island used to be lush and green, and the coastal villages used to be intact. the ship docked 45 minutes before dusk, with no power here, passengers had 45 minutes of delight to see up close what the wind and pounding waves have done. not far from the dock was this man sitting in the ruins of his home. >> very sorry to see the building to be really devastating like this. very sorry. >> reporter: his house is not the exception here. it's now the norm.
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people say three people died on this island of 6,000, given the damage, that number seems remarkably low. i came here in 2014 to do a piece on what people thought about fiji's up coming election. i chose to come to this island, because it was known as one of fiji's prettiest. i stayed in this village. but look at it now. complete devastation. dusk and then dark hid the damage, but not its consequences. many have nowhere to sleep but outdoors. andrew thomas, al jazeera, fiji. saudi arabia is rejecting calls for cuts in oil production to prop up falling prices. speaking at a meeting of oil producing nations in the u.s. state of texas, they said market forces should set the prices. well, they are currently at a 10-year low. john hendren is following events
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in houston and joins us live now. what did the saudi oil minister have to say? >> reporter: well, julie, it's very much like you said, a lot of people here would like to see cuts in production, about a million barrels a day are being produced beyond what demand calls for, but the saudi oil minister sat down and said very calmly that that was not going to happen, they simply couldn't get other countries to cooperate. he said the best hope is for a freeze. there is is an agreement between venezuela, russia, saudi arabia, and qatar to freeze levels at january levels, however, those levels were comparatively high. that hasn't had much effect on the market. there will be talks in march about broadening the number of countries involved in the freeze. but saudi arabia has cash reserves. it can weather this out in ways
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that other countries cannot do. and american frac-ers are continuing to pump out as much oil as they can, because they need the money. but it could be quite sometime before the market recovers. >> john what are experts saying in terms of prediction for the recovery of those markets? >> reporter: well, i just talked to a gentlemen from the international energy agency, they predicted yesterday in a new forecast that prices would not recover this year, this year would be another year of volatility, there would be stabilization in 2017, but prices will not go back up until 2018 and it could be 2020 before we could start to see oil at $80 a barrel again. the global economy crashed and 2009 was the last time the saudi oil minister came here, he joked today that he only comes in
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times of crisis, and that's exactly what the industry is in right now. >> thanks, john. now the u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon has held talks with the president of burundi to end months of political unrest. the u.n. chief was on a mission to encourage dialogue between the president and his opponents. more than 400 people have been killed in violent protests since the president sought a third term in office in april. >> i was very much encouraged that the political leaders whether they are sitting in government ruling party, or opposition, they promised that they will engage in inclusive dialogue, and the president also confirmed that he would be engaging in inclusive dialogue. there is less than a week to go until the oscars, but away from the obvious glamor, there is a lot of talk about ebola this year, because of a film
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that is up for best documentary short. phil lavelle has more from l.a. >> reporter: 11,000 people were killed by ebola. the illness took hold across west africa just over two years ago. there is still no cure. guinea, sierra leone, and liberia were hit by what was described as an epidemic. this place, los angeles is a world away from that horror which we saw in 2013 and beyond, but there is a link between liberia and l.a. this year, because ebola or rather a film about it is up at one of the world's top awards ceremonies, and could very well take an oscar in a few day's time. this is it, body team 12. the tail of the red cross workers who collected dead
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bodies as the outbreak took hold. this is real life. and death. as raw as it comes. >> every day i would fear the worst. would i be next? and that anxiety really played in my head during this production. so i got a small glimmer of what it was like for these teams day in and day out. the level of anxiety they were working under was intense. so it really is a tribute. >> reporter: whoeddy team 12 tells the story of a nurse os raw sized by her dmien because she went to help in a place where few others would dare. but there is hope here too. >> liberia has gone through a brutal civil war not long ago. it is a shell of a nation, and here these brave linians were fighting for their nation, families and the rest of the world. >> reporter: it has won best
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documentary short at last year's tribeca film festival. >> it's a super hero story of bravery about real people that did something at a time of world history when the whole world was afraid. if he hadn't captured this moment these people wouldn't be remembered for the work they did. >> without these people the question is how much longer would it have taken and how many more victims could have died. phil lavelle, al jazeera, los angeles. the chocolate maker mars has recalled a number of its products from 55 countries. it comes after bits of plastic were discovered in the netherlands. if you want to have a look at it, there's a full list of all of the effected items that can be found on the company's website.
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now if you want to follow any of the stories that we're covering head to our website, aljazeera.com. you can see there on the front page, we're telling the story of obama's speech today on the plan to close down guantanamo bay. plenty of analysis right there on the website. >> i don't want to pass this problem on to the next president. >> president obama makes one last pitch to fulfill a campaign promise to close guantanamo bay. donald trump looks for his third win the a row as marco rubio and ted cruz tries to break his momentum. in flint michigan the state and the city agree to fix the pipes but residents say neither side is taking action. ♪

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