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tv   News  Al Jazeera  March 22, 2016 10:00am-10:31am EDT

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impact of the bomb caused windows to smash and shatter, so there was a blast at maelbeek metro station, 20 killed there. hearing from local media that brussels local stations are due to reopen one hour from now at 15g.m.t. the ceiling was on the floor, chairs, suitcases, people with injuries blood on their faces, on their legs, hands. >> there were two blasts at brussels airport. one of them probably a suicide bomber. dozens have been killed in coordinated attacks in belgium's
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capitol, brussels. in the heart of the city, passengers walked along the track after the explosion. ♪ belgium's prime minister has appealed for calm and solidarity. this is what we know so far. belgium's prosecutor says a blast at brussels was probably a suicide attack. two explosions went off at the terminal, and there has been one explosion at malbec station at the metro underground network. at least 34 people have been killed and many more have been injured. the major of brussels says 20 of those deaths were in the explosion at mel beck station. paul brennan is close to the
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metro station, neave barker is at the airport. this is his report. >> reporter: this video was taken just a few moments after the explosions at brussels airport. eyewitnesss say they felt the blast. >> i saw a light flash, and a big explosion, and then people started to scream and started to run, and it was at that point we realized there was something going on. >> translator: we were having lunch on the fourth floor when we heard the first explosion. then there was screaming and people started to leave, then there was a second large explosion and the windows shatterered. >> reporter: the explosions took place just after 7 gmt with another just an hour later at the metro station in the city. >> as i was exiting the metro,
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there was a loud muffled explosion, a lot of dust raised and people started kind of panicking and leaving the metro station very quickly. >> reporter: belgium had been on high alert since the arrest of salah abdeslam. >> translator: i have no information on whether these arrests are related to the attacks. we're working in terms of priority to give support to the injured and secure security. we have no more information on people that have escaped as of yet. >> reporter: european governments are now having crisis meetings. the interior ministry has raised the threat level in the country to the highest, and rail services into the city have been canceled. >> let's talk now to neave at brussels airport. the investigation has been going on now for a number of hours. we did hear that weapons had
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been found. are we hearing anything else? >> reporter: we're not hearing much more than what is being reported on belgian media. one local news agency is reporting according to a source inside the departure lounge that weapons have been found. we're not hearing any confirmation from the police or other authorities, but it looks like at least something may have been located at the site of these twin blasts. the evacuation that has been going on has now by the looks of things come to a complete end. many of the thousands of people that were taken out of the airport were escorted on to buses. several hundred are being housed in a nearby school or gymnasium, we believe. some of them are being questioned by police. a large number are in a state of shock after their experiences over the course of the morning. practically when it comes to the running of the airport, we know
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that several flights have been canceled all together, including flights to places like dublin. many flights have been rerooted to other nearby airports. including the other airport serving brussels in the south of the city. in that airport, we believe is still open and receiving flights that have been diverted from this airport. the grim task of identifying the dead now begins. the hearses that we saw arrive have now left. and now it is time for the forensic teams to do their work and gather vital evidence, and importantly to avert any potential attack in the near future. >> neave you mentioned the witnesses, the people who escaped the blast, they have been taken to hotel. we saw pictures sometime after
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the attacks of a quite orderly process. were you able to speak to any of them? >> reporter: yes, we have been speaking to a number of people over the course of the morning. one person that we spoke to hadn't been taken to a hotel. he had been taken to a nearby gymnasium, along with several other people. he had been very close to the site of one of the explosions. we believed until a short while ago that that explosion may have taken place near the american airlines desk, but now we received word that it didn't happen anywhere near their desk. according to that eyewitness, he saw a large number of dead and injured on the ground, some receiving cpr and immediate
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medical attention from specialist teams on the ground. literally within a matter of seconds if not minutes after the blasts happened. he said that he barricaded himself behind the closed door inside an office with dozens of other people and waited there for what felt like an incredibly long period of time before making the decision to leave the building. other stories coming in to us also from a worker that was based here at the airport. he was actually only here on an internship. he managed to escape by crawling through the baggage mechanism. the mechanism that carries luggage on to the aircraft themselves. he was able to go down to a luggage chute and escape that way. so this gives you the kind of chaotic scene that was witnessed
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by those people inside the departure hall shortly after the blast. >> neave for the moment, we'll leave it there. thank you very much. we can talk to paul brennan now. he is near the metro station. paul, we have been seeing pictures of people disembarking from the trains as they were halted in the wake of this blast, and having to walk out through the tunnel. we understand that this area now is fully evacuated. >> reporter: yes, that's right. the station where the blast went off in that metro train has been fully evacuated. the authorities announced that the full search of the area has been completed, and that the casualties have been brought out. the investigation, of course, will continue. i have seen some still photographs of that railway
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carriage, and the degree of damage is extraordinary. it is almost inconceivable that anybody standing close to the seat of that explosion would have survived. there is extensive damage. we saw the people coming out in footage from area, and the evacuation has now been completed. some were taken to a nearby hospital. some were taken to a nearby hotel, which was command deered for the use of triage and treeing for first aid. and the police investigation, of course is ongoing. we have heard an announcement that certain parts of the brussels railway metro system will be able to reopen later this afternoon, somewhere around 1500 gmt, but of course that particular line, servicing basically the offices of the european union which is the building behind me, that will stay closed for obvious reasons.
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>> reporter: you mentioned the e.u. buildings behind you. this attack has targeted the very heart of europe, and a number of diplomats were caught up in the explosions? >> reporter: that's right. i mean what we're waiting to hear is from the prosecutors and the investigators as to what the potential motives of these attacks are. the metro attack could theoretically just been an attack against the transport system. but the fact is that brussels the epicenter of european diplomacy. nato, of course, is based in brussels as well, and the metro station which was targeted by this attacker or attackers in the rush hour this morning is basically right next to the european commission building behind me. international aspect of all of this is that diplomats have been caught up in it from a number of
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different countries, not just belgian nationals. the slovenians have said one of their diplomats were injured in the blast. we have a report that a british citizen was also injured. the number of fatalities has risen it started around 10, rose to 15. the latest count that we have from the mayor, is that there were 20 killed in the metro station blast. 106 have been injured, and 17 are critically wounded and 23 are classified as serious wounded. so there is the potential for the casualty figures to revise upwards as the day goes on. >> okay. paul thank you for that. expressions of solidarity can be pouring in from around the world. >> reporter: after the shock and horror in brussels there has
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been an outpouring of solidarity. the french president underlined the need for unity. >> translator: we are all aware that we are all involved and must deal with the subject because without security there will be no economic development, and security must go into effect across europe. >> reporter: italian prime minister tweeted: the e.u. foreign policy chief was in jordan when she heard what happened. >> it is quite clear that the roots of the pain we are suffering around our region are very much the same, and that we are united in, not only
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suffering our victims, but also reacting to this act and preventing radicalization and violence together. >> translator: they are tragic events. brussels the headquarter of the e.u. and so we have been following the events around the clock, and we express jordan's strong condemnation of these criminal terrorist acts. >> reporter: the russian president condemned the attacks saying: the syrian high negotiations committee says: turkey has been suffering from recent attacks and its prime minister also called for unity. >> translator: today here again i invite human kind to act together against every kind of terrorism. the pkk, daesh, every kind of
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terrorism. >> reporter: more mess ages have been sent from the president of the european council, and other government leaders around the world. >> let's look more closely at all of this with our senior political analyst. of course the most obvious suspects in a case like this are isil, isil connections, people who have been to syria and come back. but isil hasn't yet claimed responsibility. we have not heard from any group. we also haven't heard of any definite evidence that points to isil. >> generally speaking people look at patterns and look at sequence of events. the sequence of events, notably the arrest of salah abdeslam in brussels after the paris attacks and the likes show that most probably there is some link to
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isil. this is more or less -- not guessing but speculation. >> speculating. >> there is also the possibility that isil don't know that these things are being carried out in their name. because we are in the midst of a new phenomenon. this is not the kind of phenomenon that is run linear and vertically from the mountains of afghanistan and mosul. it's more horizontal, it is what some are referring to as spin. meaning they are separate, they have different leaderships. they don't get orders from one particular pyramids. they act on their own, but they are networked within certain radical ideology of sort. laura this is also something that is characteristic to the kind of violence we face in the age of globalization.
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meaning they function just like traffickers and drug dealers function, gangs function, they function within the great areas of globallization, and live off of that interconnectivity that we have, meaning online, web, new media, and the likes where they get radicalized. >> if we look at isil's motives what would we gain from these attacks. because they are not aimed at global terrorism. they are aimed at setting up a caliphate in the areas they are in. they are not interested in global domination, so what they gain from these? >> let's go back to a history of al-qaeda and isil. isil is one of those offspring groups from al-qaeda, but it has out in distanted itself from al-qaeda. but some of the main ideologues behind both groups have written
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two main manifestos. and both of them sort of allude to the fact that if you are recruited and work with them, then you are part of a political kind of arm geden. you have a new meaning for your life, because you are in the midst of a universal good versus evil. and it is also required that you don't just burn your passport when you arrive in mosul, but you fight in your own country. they want to create maximum instability, maximum chaos, and maximum fear among those who they are fighting. so isil unlike before 2013, when
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some of the international bombing started it is now directed not only at building the caliphate but at fighting those who deem evil, the enemies, those who deem universally their enemies in that sense. >> and brussels have hundreds of such people who have gone from belgium to syria, being trained and returned. >> that's right. and many people are still lost in the idea why would a count try like -- >> the president of the united states barack obama addressing the assembled masses in central havana. this is an unprecedented opportunity for an american president to directly address the cuban people. let's listen in. >> president castro, the people of cuba, thank you so much for
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the warm welcome that i have received, that my family have received and that our delegation has received. it is an extraordinary honor to be here today. before i begin, please indulge me, i want to comment on the terrorist attacks that have taken place in brussels. the thoughts and the prayers of the american people are with the people of belgium and we stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people. we will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible, and this is yet another reminder that the world must unite. we must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. we can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and
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security of people all around the world. to the government and the people of cuba, i want to thank you for the kindness that you have shown to me and michelle malia, sasha, my mother-in-law, miriam. [ speaking spanish ] [ cheers and applause ] >> in his most famous poem, jose marty made this offering of friendship and peace to both his friend and his enemy. today as the president of the united states of america, i offer the cuban people [ speaking spanish ] [ cheers and applause ]
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>> havana is only 90 miles from florida, but to get here we had to travel a great distance, over barriers of history, and ideology, barriers of pain and separation, the blue waters beneath air force one once carried american battleships to the island, to liberate, but also to exert control over cuba. those waters also carried generations of cuban revolutionaries to the united states where they built support for their cause. and that short distance has been crossed by hundreds of thousands of cuban exiles on planes and makeshift rafts, who came to america in pursuit of freedom and opportunity, sometimes leaving behind everything they owned and ever person that they
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loved. like so many people in both of our countries, my lifetime has spanned a time of isolation between us. the cuban revolution took place the same year that my father came to the united states from kenya. the bay of pigs took place the year that i was born. the next year the entire world held its breath watching our two countries as humanity came as close as we ever have to the horror of nuclear war. as the decades rolled by our government settled into a seemingly endless confrontation. fighting battles through proxies. in a world that remade itself time and again. one constant was the conflict
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between the united states and cuba. i have come here to bury the last remnant of the cold war in the americas. [ cheers and applause ] >> i have come here to extend the hand of friendship to the cuban people. [ applause ] >> i want to be cheer, the differences between our governments over these many years are real, and they are important. i'm sure president castro would say the same thing. i know, because i have heard him address those differences at length. [ laughter ] >> but before i discuss those issues, we also need to recognize how much we share. because in many ways the united states and cuba are like two brothers who have been
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estranged for many years, even as we share the same blood. we both live in a new world, colonized by europeans. cuba, like the united states, was built in part by slaves brought here from africa. like the united states, the cuban people can trace their heritage to both slaves and slave owners. we have welcomed both immigrants who came a great distance to start new lives in the americas. over the years our cultures have blended together. dr. carlos finles work in cuba paved the way for generations of doctors, including walter reid. justice marty did some of his
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most famous work, and earnst hemingway lived here and wrote some of his greatest works. and later today our players will compete on the same field that jacky robinson played on before he made his major league debut. [ applause ] >> and it said that our greatest boxer once paid tribute to a cuban that he could never fight, saying ho would only be able to reach a draw with the great cuban, mr. stevenson. [ applause ] >> so even as our governments become adversaries our people continued to share these common passions particularly as so many cubans came to america.
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in miami or havana, you can find places to dance the chaw cha cha, or the salsa, and eat [ speaking spanish ] . [ laughter ] >> people in both of our countries have sung along with glor gloria estefan, and now listen to pitbull. [ laughter ] >> millions share a common religion. a peace that cubans find in la kachita. for all of our differences the you cubans and americans share a sense of patriotism, and a lot of proud, a profound love of family, a passion for our children, a commitment to their education, and that's why i believe our grandchildren will
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look back on this period of isolation as an aberration, as one chapter in a longer story of family and friendship. but we cannot, and should not ignore the very real differences that we have about how we organize our governments, economies, and our societies. cuba has a one-party system. the united states is a multi-party democracy. cuba has a socialist economic model. the united states is an open market. cu cuba has emphasized the role and rights of the individual. despite these differences on december 17, 2014, president castro and i announced that the united states and cuba would begin a process to normalize
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relations between our two countries. [ applause ] >> since then we have established diplomatic relations, and opened embassies. we have begun initiatives to cooperate on health and agriculture, education, and law enforcement. we have reached agreements to restore direct flights and mail service. we have expanded commercial ties, and increased the capacity of americans to travel and do business in cuba. and these changes have been welcomed, even though there are still opponents to these policies. still, many people on both sides of this debate have asked, why now? why now? there is one simple answer. what the united states was doing was not working. we have to have the courage to
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acknowledge that truth. a policy of isolation designed for the cold war made little sense in the 21st century. the embargo was only hurting the cuban people instead of helping them. and i always believed in what martin luther king, jr. called the fierce urgency of now. we should not fear change. we should embrace it. [ applause ] >> that leaves me to a bigger and more important reason for these changes. [ speaking spanish ] >> i believe in any cuban people. [ cheers and applause ] >> this is not just a policy of normalizing relations with the cuban government. the united states of america is normalizing relations with the
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cuban people. [ applause ] >> and today i want to share with you my vision of what our future can be. i want the cuban people, especially the young people, to understand why i believe that you should look to the future with hope, not the false promise, which insists that things are better than they really are, or the blind optimism that says all of your problems can go away tomorrow. hope that is routed in the future that you can choose and shape and bill for your country. i'm hopeful because i believe that the cuban people are as innovative as any people in the world. in a global economy, powered by ideas and information, a country's greatest asset is its people. in the united states we have a clear monument to what the cuban people can build. it's called miami. here