>> live from the studio in berlin. >> it's great to have you with us. our top stories. escalating violence on israel's border to lebanon. hezbollah rockets killed two israeli soldiers and a human peacekeeper is killed in lebanon. >> jordan says it will release a suicide bomber if islamic -- releases suicide are. >> and greece is fulfilling its promises, retiring civil servants and halting have it is age and. -- privatization. israel said it will do whatever is necessary to defend against
hezbollah. that comes after the sides exchanged fire on wednesday. two israeli soldiers and a spanish east keeper died in the hezbollah missile attack. -- spanish peacekeeper died in the hezbollah missile attack. and consulting with the security chiefs on how to respond. first, this report. >> lebanese officials say the israeli shelling targeted three cities. the response to rockets fired from lebanon hours earlier. benjamin netanyahu said israel would continue to defend itself.
>> to anyone trying to challenge us i suggest they look right here. hamas was dealt the heaviest blow since its founding. as the israeli defense forces prepared to act forcefully on all fronts. >> two israeli soldiers were killed when their vehicle was hit by an antitank rocket. the shiite militia claimed responsibility for the attack and for shelling other israeli positions nearby. hezbollah said the attacks were revenge for an israeli airstrike on the syrian part of the golan heights 10 days ago. in that attack, six hezbollah fighters and then iranian general were killed. >> tonya cramer joins us live on the line. what has spurred this latest violent exchange?
>> i think the whole border region was under heightened security. the army was on high alert for the past week. it killed several senior hezbollah operatives. it is not clear how and when they will do so. basically, they see it as part of the expected retaliation. >> netanyahu said those responsible will pay the price. how likely is it this could escalate like another war we have seen in the past? >> we have also heard him say he holds the lebanese government
and assad regime responsible for the attacks coming from their territory. we understand there is a lot out here in the israeli region. reports we're hearing from the israeli media saying it appears there is concern despite these harsh words. certainly it depends on how israel will respond. they have already responded with heavy artillery fire. a peacekeeper was confirmed killed. but thanks for joining us on the line from jerusalem. jordan says it is prepared to release in iraq e female prisoner in exchange for a jordanian pilot held hostage by the islamic state.
if the woman is not freed, they will kill the pilot and a japanese hostage they were holding captive. >> his plane crashed in syria last december. last year militants abducted the japanese were reporter. the islamic state threatened to kill both men. he was sentenced to death for taking part in a terrorist attack in 2005. shortly before the deadline jordanian state tv suggested the government would swap prisoners. >> jordan will release the detainees if the pilot is set free.
>> an increasing number of jordanians have taken to the streets to demand the release. the protests have pushed jordan's hand. the proposed swap runs counter to the hard-line approach and earlier promises not to make concessions. there is still no word on whether the islamic state has agreed to the deal. japan has sent their deputy foreign minister to head an emergency response team. >> we are gathering information to secure the immediate release. we will never give up. that is our sole mission. >> crowds gathered in tokyo on wednesday demanding he be set free. >> earlier we spoke to a journalist. we put it to her the jordanian government is in a difficult decision whatever it does.
>> it would have had a terrible impact. it would appear they are not trying very hard to have the release of the pilot who was captured last month by isis. obviously, the deadline is over. isis did not react to the proposition jordan leaves. despite rumors, she is not freed. she is still in jail. jordanians are saying they have asked a while ago for proof of life on their pilot and they never received it. jordanians would not go into a deal without being sure the pilot is still alive. >> moscow is hosting a fresh
round of talks between the syrian government and opposition. the u.s. has backed discussions aimed at defusing the war that has been raging in syria for almost four years but there is little hope for a breakthrough. the national coalition refused to attend because of russia's coinng f the syan president bashar al-assad. the war claimed 200,000 lives and sparked a huge refugee crisis. >> just a few days ago this building was home to many people. then rkets struck and reduced it to rubble. and the syrian city come alive for civilians is a constant struggle. there is often no water or electricity. >> things cannot carry on like this. i have been fleeing the fighting for more than a year now. >> we have had enough talk. it is time assad is finally made to pay.
>> the war in syria has claimed more than 200,000 lives. this young boy was lucky. he survived a rocket attack. the sides of the conflict have begun fresh talks in moscow, but here no one believes a breakthrough is coming. >> the proposals under discussion of these various conferences have come from people who mean serious no good. a solution to the conflict has to come from inside the country but the warring parties don't have the energy for that. >> in the capital damascus, signs of the war are less pronounced. here too for years of fighting have taken their toll. he is a taxi driver. he fled his home on the outskirts after the fighting spread their. now he says he is safe but struggling to survive on just 80 euros a day.
>> i paid 100 euros a month for a 100 square meter flat. now i am paying six times that for two ground-floor rooms. that's all i have for me, my wife, and five children. >> get in the midst of the war there are still moments of contemplation. every week the screenwriter has a lecture followed by a music session. here in damascus it's difficult to tell who still backs the regime. people are reluctant to voice criticism. just trying to get on with their lives. >> in the beginning when a grenade hit, people talked about it for a long time. now they only worry about it for five minutes. it's good people are more concerned with life than with death, but it's also worrying that news of death has become normal. >> in aleppo, the front line
runs through the heart of the old town. a brigade of the free syrian army is trying to secure its district but neither side can maintain its advantage in the city. >> our biggest problem is the lack of logistical support. if we had more weapons and ammunition, we could be more effective against the regime's forces. >> the fighters take up positions in the ruins. the risk of enemy fire is constant. assad forces are stationed in the buildings directly opposite. >> christina helberg is an expert on syria and she joins us in studio. four years of fighting. there have the numerous diplomatic efforts and nothing seems to be making a dent in bringing the conflict to an end. why hasn't there been any sort of effective solution? >> one problem is the international community is split. on one side you have the west. on the other side you have russia and china.
the security council is paralyzed. you have different regional actors confronted in syria. you have a ran backing bashar al-assad -- i ran backing bush are al-assad. -- bashar al-assad. the situation on the ground has been so different. people are not represented at the negotiating table. you have people trying to find solutions from outside of the country who cannot influence the fighting on the ground. >> you mention the different groups fighting for control in syria. how much control does president assad have over the country at this moment? >> this is a problem because he does not control the people who fight for him anymore. the syrian arab army does not exist in the form anymore because it is mainly controlled and commended by iranian officers inside the country who have militias on their side. the national defense forces have grown so powerful they don't listen to orders anymore from
damascus. you have the lebanese fighting at their side. the problem is bashar al-assad is not the person who can stabilize the country. he lost a lot of control militarily. >> you have so many factions fighting. in the most powerful seems to be the islamic state. >> we just saw the kurdish fighters regained control, a victory for them, but on the other hand, just to fight the terror of is while ignoring the bush are al-assad -- the assad regime is a problem. more than 100,000 students through the bombing while isis killed 72 civilians. from a syrian perspective it is not acceptable to just fight terror of is and ignoring what
bashar al-assad is doing to his countrymen. >> when we look at the talks under way, is it fair to say no one is expecting a breakthrough? >> definitely not a breakthrough. moscow is trying to rehabilitate and establish him as a partner in this anti-terror fight. the opposition figures that are there i think they are hoping for some kind of humanitarian relief for the freeing of prisoners, but the major factors are not there. they all agree bashar al-assad's exit could not be preconditioned. they all agree the transition must lead to the exit. this position is clear. they are united about this. we cannot see any signs bashar al-assad is ready to hand over power. >> the syrian expert, thanks for joining us with that insight. we have to take a short break.
>> welcome back. greek banks are taking a big hit on markets. >> he has wasted no time getting down to business. he and his party swept into power on an anti-bailout platform. he vowed to follow through on their promise. >> greases new prime minister presented his new cabinet just three days after the election. he had some major announcements ready. thousands of civil servants will be rehired and the planned privatization of two major ports has been canceled. >> we did not come here to take over institutions and to enjoy the trappings of power. we have come to radically change the way in which politics and
governance is carried out in this country. >> the new government's relations with the eu are already looking shaky. it's unclear if greece will back new sanctions against russia, and athens wants to renegotiate its bailout. while many greeks welcomed the new government, some have their doubts. >> i am very optimistic. i am a little afraid if he doesn't fulfill his promises. >> what can i expect from this little boy? what can i expect from leftists? we are waiting to see what will happen. in five or six months everything will go to hell. >> the rest of the eu is also waiting for signals from athens. the german economics minister rejects any prospect of forgiving greek debt. >> it's clear our goal is for greece to stay in the eurozone.
it's also clear we have to show fairness to our own people and to people in other eu member states. >> those issues will be the focus of discussions over the coming days. cyprus will host the president of the european parliament on thursday, and on friday the dutch finance minister representing the eurozone. >> the foreign ministers are set to meet in brussels on thursday to discuss putting further sanctions on russia over its role in the ukraine crisis. this has provoked calls for a tougher line on moscow. >> the eu has blamed moscow for stoking the conflict. reports say ministers will call on the european commission to drop an extended package of sanctions. they will discuss existing visa bans and bank account freezes on individuals. the german government released its latest economic forecast for the year ahead and according to
the report, things are looking up. >> europe's largest economy can expect growth of 1.5%. that is slightly higher than the last rock moses in the fall. if the chancellor and economics -- last prognosis in the fall. >> the optimism is underpinned by two factors. the oil prices are proving a boon for german x ports. a rise in consumer spending is boosting the domestic retail sector. the economics minister warns there are challenges to growth. >> there are risks on the international level. last year we saw how quickly changes in the geostrategic situation can have a negative impact on growth. >> one of the perceived challenges is greece and the future of the euro. the government wants to
restructure the debt but he made clear it is not a one-way street. >> there is also fairness to the people, to the citizens of the european union who have made a substantial contribution to stabilize greece. the contribution of 270 billion euros. >> gabrielle said tensions between russia and ukraine are another cause for concern. optimism must be tempered by caution, despite the current strength of the labor market. >> consumers all over the world are crazy about apple products, and that is certainly showing in the company's earnings for this quarter. >> the tech giant announced the biggest quarterly profit of any public company ever i breaking all records and selling 74 million iphones in the last three months. >> as profit soared to $18 billion, apple has a strong hold on the mobile phone market and
its executives expect momentum to continue as it introduces new products. >> apples record profits are largely due to this. the iphone six. 34,000 were sold every hour every day in the fourth quarter of 2014. the iphone contributes almost 17% to apple's revenue. the ceo tim cook says the popularity is staggering. it's more than making up for the disappointing showing of the ipad. figures last quarter exceeded all expectations. from october until december apple made a net profit of $18 billion. that is 38% up from the year before. profit margins on the iphone are high. apple keeps production costs low by having most of the work done in china. sales there are also hitting new highs. apple is now the biggest
smartphone company in china with 21% of the market. >> let's see what else is moving the market. this wrapup from the floor of the frankford stock exchange. >> good news for the german consumer. the mood at a 13 year high. also in news from some companies. from germany but also the united states. the market didn't do that much with it. the dax during the middle of the day actually in the red, losing some points. one of the reasons for that is greece. the new head of the government rolling back and stopping privatization. people are worried about the consequences for international moneylenders. greek shares dropping by about 9%.
bonds also taking a dive. the yield for 10 government debt of greece rising above 10%. not tenable in the run -- long run the traders say. >> we will stay in frankfurt for a closer look at today's numbers. germany's dax gained nearly a 10th of a percent. the euro stoxx 50 ended wednesday up by 4/10 of a percent. the dow jones is in positive territory. the euro is trading at one dollar 30 iensense -- $1.13. top managers in the german auto industry are putting their weight behind the trade deal between the european union and the u.s. >> the agreement is meant to make trade easier and cheaper by cutting through red tape and making it simpler to import, export, and invest overseas. >> some europeans aren't
convinced. they are worried about what it could mean for health and safety standards and the environment. >> a are normally fierce competitors. today representatives have come together to say yes. the trade agreement could save around one billion euros a year in custom cars. -- tariffs. one of the main sticking points are crash tests. the guidelines in the e.u. in the u.s. are not the same. >> if we want safe cars and the same crash guidelines on both sides of the atlantic, we would save on development costs. we have to agree on the terms beforehand to see if we can come to an arrangement together. >> carmakers reject critics claims the u.s. will battle in eu legislation in the future. they also aren't worried about compromising european labor and environmental standards.
the u.s. auto industry could profit more from the agreement that in german carmakers. >> our strong market position gives us a lot of confidence. we are able to compete on a global scale. fewer barriers would allow us to be more successful. we could also create more jobs. >> industry managers want to avoid a breakdown in negotiations. if this were to happen the u.s. could find a strong ally in asia and europe would be sitting in the backseat. >> in tennis, serena williams is through to the semi finals of the australian open. williams raced to victory in just over an hour but venus was not as fortunate. she was sent packing by fellow american madison keys. >> venus williams is out of the australian open. madison keys overcame victory.
she faces her opponent's younger sister serena in the next round. the defending men's champion remains on course after a straight set victory against nishikori. he was hitting twice as many winters -- winners as his opponent to win 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. wawrinka is up against number one novak djokovic in the semi final. >> millions of people in the northeastern united states are clearing up after the region was hit by a powerful snowstorm. massachusetts was affected with up to three feet of snow dumped in some places. the snow is forecast to continue
following -- falling but blizzard warnings have been lifted. a driving ban has been rescinded, and public transit is largely back to normal. the snowstorm had been predicted to paralyze new york, but it ended up largely bypassing the city. we certainly haven't seen a lot of snow this year. >> not to that extent. my fingers crossed. >> thanks for watching. see you next time.