developed to stop ebola is now being used in the fight against zika. and they have chosen a new flag design, and now new zealanders are voting on whether to ditch their old one. ♪ it is gets worse by the day, and as european leaders struggle to deal with what is a crisis on their borders, the desperation appears to be growing, among the refugees stranded at the greek macedonia border. hundreds had blocked an international railway line, laying down on the tracks, and in one case stopping a freight train from traveling south into greece. these people are extremely young, as you can see. the adults protesting about macedonia's border restrictions, which have left more than 25,000 stranded in greece, and only 500
refugees were allowed into macedonia in the 24 hours into turz morning. >> all night, all night, baby crying. >> can't sleep. >> all night crying. all night. >> yes. all of the babies cry all the time. really we are tired. very tired. >> i feel miserable. i feel miserable. i am absolutely depressed. to face this harsh situation in such place in europe. okay. we didn't have such an idea to be treated like this, in a place, which is called europe. i am very sad for that. i am sorry to face such circumstances. we run from this to find another anything of this. this situation here is -- we are die -- aren't dying, buddies
couraged. the e.u. president says that turkey must ensure the number of refugees and migrants leaving its shores for europe drops down towards zero. european council president is trying to secure an agreement on reducing the flow of people trying to reach western europe, and he has been to both turkey and greece where he delivered this extremely blunt message. >> i want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants, wherever you are from, do not come to europe. do not believe the smugglers. do not risk your lives and your money. it is all for nothing. greece or any other european country will no longer be a transit country. >> he has been around capitols in central and southeastern europe for weeks trying to ease
tensions, and after his meeting in athens earlier, the greek prime minister called for sanctions to be imposed on e.u. states which refuse to take their share of refugees. >> translator: when it comes to the refugee crisis, greece has taken a disproportion at it burden compared to its capabilities. also it is our duty to our own values and culture, when we have refugees who are in need of help, our culture dictates we protect these people. it turns out other e.u. member's cultures are not the same. >> let's go to hoda abdel hamid on the border between greece and macedonia. this is the place where we have this terrible bottleneck, hoda, and listening to the language, it appears to me that more and more the message going out is you are unwelcome, but you can't get out.
>> reporter: well, that's i think the biggest dilemma of people here. they say well we are here now, no one told us we were not allowed here, and now why can't becontinue our journey. as the people we heard earlier saying they are running out of cash, and living conditions here are terrible. the sheer volume of people that keep on arriving makes it very difficult for the aid organizations, so they lack absolutely everything. you see a lot of children walking around in quite cold weather barefoot. it's extremely difficult, and what you really notice is increasing despair and frustration and anger. people are tired. temperaturers flair all day long, and the message they keep getting is there are no clear guidelines as to who will be able to continue and who will
have to wait here and see what happening next to them. >> how do they decide. we saw some pictures as you were talking of this tiny child in a pink papuse being passed over people's heads, how do those people manning the fences decide who gets through, 500 a day, when thousands are arriving? >> reporter: it is a very complicated situation, and it's actually an answer nobody really has. what goes on is that every morning they wake up and there are new regulations. the latest someone that the registration paper they received when they first landed in greece is no longer valid for two reasons. one is that the greek authorities it seems have photocopied many of these forms, and put the date of birth of
many of the refugees to the first of january. now they have to queue again, and get a new paper, and with the sheer volume here you can imagine how long that will take. also there are new regulations on the macedonian side, because everything now happens on the macedonian side. no passports are allowed. if you were in turkey lodger than a month ago, you won't be able to go through. others say they had to stay there to earn money. others say they were in prison. so it's a very complicated situation, and yes, we say that 500 went through, but also some have been pushed back. we don't have that exact number yet. the police will give us that later. everybody is asking, will i be able to get through with this paper or that paper, and it seems at least what we have
witnessed so far is every day brings up a new restriction. and the message is not trickling down. what they do now is that now they are stranded here. they spent all that they had to come to this point, and for them it's a point of no return. >> i also noticed -- we won't talk about this now, perhaps later, more and more children in these champs. so we'll talk about that a little bit later on. thank you, hoda abdel hamid on the greek macedonia border. we'll cross the continent to northern france. the makeshift refugee camp known as the jungle, and hunger-striking refugee camps have sewn their mouths shut. at least nine iranians had their mouths stitched following a similar protest on wednesday.
the jungle demolition is into his fourth day. the refugees claim if they move, it will keep them from crossing into the united kingdom. david cameron has been holding talks with the french president francois hollande. >> we will invest an additional 17 million pounds in priority security infrastructure in calais to assist the work of the french police. the money will go towards efforts to move people to facilities elsewhere in france, and we will fund joint work to return migrants not in need of protection to their home countries. the real challenge is in the eastern mediterranean, where we need to break the business model of the criminal smugglers, and dissuade people from embarking on a perilous journey in search
of a new life in europe. ♪ well in a sense this is related to everything you have heard so far in the program. but in syria itself, electricity is slowly being restored to parts of the country, after state media reported there had been a nationwide blackout. authorities say full power is going to be back by midnight. but the cause of the blackout is not known yet. [ explosion ] >> this video purports so show russian air strikes just days after cessation of hostilities agreement has gone into effect. all sides have accused one another of violating the trust. amnesty international have accused the russian and syrian
governments of deliberately targeting hospitals. it says russian jets carried out strikes on medical facilities to allow assad's forces to advance in aleppo. and as the trust was being negotiated the syrian government and its allies are accused of actually intensifying their attacks. the u.n. does say that some progress is being made. >> in the first three months of last year, zero trucks reached any of the besieged areas in syria. in the last three weeks, 236 trucks have served 115,000 people, many of these have -- have received several convoys. turkish police have released the names of two women killed in
an armed standoff with police, and confirmed that they are members of a far left organization. the women seen here on security camera footage. they fired shots and threw a hand grenade at a police truck. the group is vial lently opposing what it sees as the westernization of turkey. north korea have accused of firing six short-ranged projectiles into the seas, just hours after tough new sanctions were ordered against it. south korea's defense ministry says the projectiles were launched towards the east sea, also known as the sea of japan. the undersecurity council was unanimous in its decision to impose new sanctions on north korea. the european union says it
is considering further sanctions after what the u.n. did. let's hear from scott heidler on how the sanctions will effect the chinese community on the border with north korea. >> reporter: it's off season on korean street here in china's main gateway to north korea. but even though it is winter, there should be more north korean tourists. buying supplies would seem simple in most of the world, but unavailable in their isolated country. this woman and her husband were laid off by a chinese state-run business five years ago. they opened this restaurant in the heart of the city, and have been doing very well until recently. >> translator: our business has been effected a lot. there is a big decrease in the number of customers. like yesterday there were only two tables of customers from
north korea. normally there would be four or five tables. >> reporter: but there will be a much bigger impact here than a decline in tourism. one element of these toughest-ever sanctions came after weeks of closed-door negotiations between the united states and china. they agreed that all cargo will be inspected. and the responsibility of policing these new sanctions here rests on the chinese government. china says it agreed to tougher sanctions as they see them as a way to pressure north korea back to negotiations at the six-party talks that stalled eight years ago. china sees the talks as the best way to end the confrontation between north korea and the rest of the world. china spent $350 million on this bridge that was due to open two
years ago, but on the north korea side of the river, reportedly scant little work has been done, only a dirt ramp. with these new sanctions in place, this might remain a bridge to nowhere for years to come. you are watching al jazeera. do stay with us. in a moment the u.n. warns of deteriorating conditions in yemen. plus -- >> i'm andy gallagher in birmingham, alabama where a controversial law is coming under increasing scrutiny. ♪
let's get through the top stories. refugees who are trapped in greece have blocked a railway line in macedonia, protesting their country's refusal to allow them in. united nations says aid is slowly trickling into syria. north korea's allegedly fired six short-range projectiles in a show of defiance hours after the u.n. adopted tough new sanctions against north korea. within the last hour, the u.n. has held a special briefing on the war in yemen. say they as the security situation gets worse, aid efforts are being severely hampered. yemen's ambassador to the u.n. says his government is ready to
negotiate, but only if houthi rebels stop fighting. let's go to daniel lak. it must be 12 months since we talked about this and said that conditions are getting worse and aid couldn't get in. it doesn't appear that things have changed much. or is it worse? >> reporter: i think it's the latter. steven o'brien said the situation has rapidly deteriorated. he reminded council members and gave an example the air strike on saturday in sana'a. he talked about hitting hospitals and check points by all parties impeding the aid. he did call upon all parties involved, including the u.n. to do everything they could to improve the situation. >> i underscore the urgent need
for this council to impress upon the parties to this conflict, their obligations to take greater pressures to protect civilians, to facilitate unconditional and sustained access to all parts of yemen, and i ask the council to resume peace talks and agree to a cessation of hostilities. >> reporter: it was that matter that lead to the scheduled peace talks in january between the parties being postponed indefinitely by the u.n. special envoy. he is now thought to be briefing the council in closed consultations. that's the key, really, is there anything more the council can do. there is talk of a new resolution on humanitarian issues. new zealand is leading that at the moment, and we may get some details of that next week. perhaps tougher -- toughening up
the call for help. >> very good to see you, daniel. thank you. an outspoken activist for the rights of the indigenous population in honduras has been found murdered in her home. she lead high-profile environmental campaigns on behalf of the lainka community. she won the prestigeous peace award for her work last year. apparently gunmen broke into her house in the early hours and shot her as she slept. authorities in the u.s. state of alabama have been criticized for arresting hundreds of pregnant women on suspicion of taking drugs. they have been accused of being ov overzealous. andy gallagher reports from
rainbow city in alabama. >> boy am i glad to see you. >> reporter: from an early age casey always wanted to be a mother, and now she has two boys, but when she gave birth last year, things went badly wrong. during her pregnancy, she took half a valium, and when that showed up in a blood test, she ran afoul of drug laws. two months later she was arrested at work and taken away in handcuffs. >> i had this overwhelming sense of doom and failure, like there was no way, that, you know, this was -- i was going to recover from this. you know, i knew in my heart that i had done nothing wrong, but i also know the -- you know, the way the law works. >> reporter: the law was originally written to tackle a methamphetamine epidemic where infants were being exposed to
homemade labs and dangerous criticals. according to an investigation, since 2006 close to 500 women have been prosecuted under the chemical endangerment laws, but according to one doctor who treats infants for drug withdrawal symptoms, it simply isn't the right approach. he says abuse of painkillers and a rise in heroin use is a lot bigger threat. >> we are going to have a lot of baby's growing up without their mothers. and we all know how important a mother's love is, and criminalizing these women, making them feel inferior and bad mothers, it is going to leave a mark on them forever. >> reporter: at the public defenninger's office lawyers are also concerned about the rights of women, and say blood tests
carried out without a mother's consent could have dire consequences. >> we have to have a situation where people are encouraged to be honest with their caregivers, if you don't have that, we'll have really bad outcomes because they are afraid of the punishment that would come to them if they were honest. >> reporter: the charges against casey was eventually dropped, but this mother says she'll continue to fight for those who can't speak for themselves. the treasurer of the vatican has been meeting victims of abuse after admitting that he should have done more about a pedophile priest. an australian inquiry investigated the catholic church's handling of child abuse cases in the '70s and '80s. scientists from west africa are taking their expertise to south america to stop the spread of zika.
they are from senegal, and they want what they did with ebola to help with the early detection of the virus. nicklas hack reports. >> reporter: this epidemiologist and his team are in high demand. back in december they got a call from scientists in brazil asking for help with tackling the zika outbreak. they travelled to the worst-effected region, carrying this suitcase. a solar powered virus detection kit. with just a tiny blood sample, he and his team can detect whether a person or even a mosquito are inflected with the virus. >> translator: they allow us to fine out the genetic makeup of the virus no matter where it is located. >> reporter: currently it takes five days to detect the virus after patients develop symptoms. this equipment can determine
whether the virus is present in just 15 minutes. >> translator: detecting early means we can try to tackle the virus sooner, and hopefully alleviate safering for the infected patients. >> reporter: thousands in south america have been infected with the virus, and it is spreading. researchers believe zika could do be linked to cases of the birth defect known as microcephaly. >> translator: we have not yet found a direct link, but there's an association, as we are seeing it in combination with zika, but we still don't know the nature of the relationship. >> reporter: scientists believe early detection is key. the kit was used during the ebola outbreak here in west africa. detecting cases early was crucial in slowing the spread of the virus and bringing annen to the outbreak.
given the zika virus scientists want to bring these suitcases to infected areas as soon as possible. the challenge is the lack of scientific knowledge. something researchers here have plenty of. zika hah been in west africa for over 40 years. but it has so far not be a major health hazard here. the team is packing its bags one more time. to head back to south america to help out. nicklas hawk, al jazeera. to stay with the old or go with the new. that's the choice in new zealand. let's get the latest on that. >> reporter: brothers in arms, but divided by a flag, these current and previous new zealand soldiers are used to working together on the battlefield but are miles apart off of it, when it comes to deciding whether the country is ready for a new flag.
>> i think the new flag represents the new multi-cultural new zealand, and so it has links to the past, celebrates our present, and it also very bravely looks to the future. >> i don't believe it's worth making the change now for a decision that we may regret. >> we're still a constitutional man ar -- monarchy. >> reporter: more than 3 million voting papers were sent out this week in the second and final referendum, costing taxpayers 27 million new zealand dollars. in the first vote voters were asked to choose between five designs to go up against the current 114-year-old flag. they chose this one, the silver fin flag. this historian says despite the long and democratic process, it hasn't come at the right time. >> governments that change flags tend to do so because of a major
event. becoming a republic. south africa's flag changing after nell -- nelson mandela was released from prison and rose to presidency, and we haven't had one of those big events. >> reporter: the current flag is one of a handful left in the world with the union flag on it. those for a change say it's too often confused with the australian one. the australians are also considering a change. propoen -- propoenants are urging new zealand to change the flag. >> it has a lot of history behind it. so it's not something that you can discard. >> i'm not a complete dinosaur, so if the country decides to change, i will go with it. >> the silver fin flag? i love it. >> reporter: a nation's flag is meant to unite a country, but this process has shown just how
emotional and divisive a flag change can be. one way or the other, new zealanders will find out which flag will take them forward in two week's time. >> aljazeera.com anywhere you happen to be in the world. aljazeera.com. ♪ if we choose donald trump as our nominee he will have carried out the most elaborate con job in history. a court hears arguments against the officers charged with the death of freddie gray. and north korea firing rockets hours after new international sanctions are >>posed.