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tv   DW News  PBS  February 7, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm PST

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♪ host: this is dw news live from berlin. tonight, the human slaughterhouse. allegations of torture and mass killings in a syrian prison. amnesty international accuses the syrian government of a policy of extermination at the military prison, a culture of impunity that continues to this day. also coming up, donald trump's travel ban has its day in court as a u.s. appeals court judge prepares to hear arguments for reinstating the controversial order blocking travelers from several country -- seven countries.
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and the neighbors who need to be more neighborly. angela merkel visits poland in an effort to improve relations. on the agenda -- the migration crisis and europe. the european union after brexit. i am brent goff. it is good to have you with us. we start with allegations of crimes against humanity in syria. amnesty international is accusing the syrian government of hanging thousands of prisoners in a military prison near damascus. amnesty says this policy of extermination was carried out beginning in 2011, a that the executions are probably still happening. >> more than anything, the syrian war is a brutal campaign
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against the country's own population. hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed, and thousands more have disappeared. many in a prison north of damascus. now, amnesty international has published devastating details about events that took place behind the walls of this notorious prison. the report claims that over the past few years, thousands of inmates were killed without a proper trial. >> the new findings in this report are about a systematic campaign of mass hangings, whereby every week, usually on mondays and wednesdays, groups of detainees, between 15-20 detainees, would be taken from their cells, told they would be transferred to civilian detentions. but instead, they were taken to a cell in another building where they would be hanged. >> amnesty spoke to more than 80
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witnesses, including former prisoners, lawyers, even prison guards. what they report is horrifying, like this from aleppo. "when we were beaten in front of the cells, there was a lot of blood on the floor. there was a rancid and bloody smell." amnesty has created a series of illustrations that show prisoners sharing overcrowded cells with corpses and other prisoners. according to amnesty, guards deliberately allowed people to starve or die of thirst. they would often take food onto the blood smeared floor. in the morning, guards would come to collect the dead from the cells. >> when they bring the food, it sounds like a battle in every cell. they take out the head of the cell and others to be beaten. your heart begins to pound. you begin to shake. you cannot help it. according to reports, many prisoners were forced to abuse
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or rape fellow prisoners. >> you are not allowed to open your eyes with a guard in the room. so long as there is a card in the cell, you have to cover your eyes like this. you cannot see the guard. the punishment is death. anyone who removes their hands is executed directly, so seeing them is for bid in. but -- for bid -- forbidden. when you see a mark of rope around the neck and blue and red and the face is swollen, we can tell how they died. we can tell from the sound of the prisoner who dies behind us. he dies a meter away. families of the victims were never told what happened to their loved ones. >> amnesty says the abuse
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represents a mass crime against humanity and urges the u.n. to take immediate action. >> the u.s. justice department has submitted its arguments to the appeals court to reinstate donald trump's travel ban on seven mainly muslim countries. the ban, of course, stops those nationals from entering the u.s. the government is arguing that to the ban is a lawful exercise of the president's authority. washington and minnesota opposed the ban. the court is set to consider arguments sometime today. >> donald trump's immigration ban is facing growing opposition. former u.s. security and policy officials, including madeleine albright and john kerry, have spoken against the ban. so have nearly 100 american companies, among them apple,
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google, and microsoft. they say american innovation and economic growth are intimately tied to immigration. a federal court has already issued an injunction lifting the temporary ban. the administration is appealing the ruling, and the court is expected to act quickly. if the court rules in favor of the critics and against trump, the case may well be headed for the supreme court. mr. trump: it's common sense. some things are law, and i am all in favor of that. some things are common sense. this is common sense. isis said we are going to infiltrate the united states and other countries through a migration. and then we are not allowed to be tough on the people coming in? >> for some, the travel ban has turned into a fight over the president's authority. >> the law is very clear that the president has huge
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discretion to protect the safety of the american people and our nation's institutions with respect to who comes into the country. this is really on the injunction the judge issued. >> civil liberties campaigners say the orders and legal challenges are a test of the u.s. constitution. >> while the president certainly has independent authority and discretion to enforce different laws in different ways, if those laws go beyond his authority or they change the law congress put in place, forces ours of post -- courts are supposed to act against him. >> currently, there is a window of opportunity to enter the country. these brothers from yemen were reunited on monday, more than a week after being deported to ethiopia when the ban went into effect. >> let's bring in our correspondent in washington.
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the justice department is submitting its arguments, saying , basically, the travel ban is lawful and the federal courts order for it to be lifted is overbroad. what happens now? >> what we are waiting for now is the circuit court in san francisco is going to be hearing this appeal to put forth their decision. we know there is a hearing this evening, but it is unclear if there will be an actual decision put forward. the secretary of homeland security testified that congress was not properly briefed on the ratifications and implementations of this executive order, so there is even some resistance coming from within the trump administration itself. >> we have that. we have the legal challenge. we have several companies now questioning the van and the legality of it.
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-- ban and the legality of it. are we looking at a long fight here? >> well, it's an issue that's likely to linger as long as the executive order stands. this has been immensely unpopular among the majority of americans, even if it is only a slight majority. if the courts do not strike down the executive order, we are likely to see continuing protests and continuing action against the order, if only because so many of these companies have said immigration is essential to how they run their business. host: we know this case will probably go all the way to the supreme court. the court right now is split down the line for-four. if the court were to be deadlocked in its ruling, 4-4, what would happen then? mguest: the procedure is that
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if the court is split, the ruling of the lower court stance. that means if the ninth district court in san francisco chooses to knock down the executive order and the supreme court is split, the executive order would be abolished as per the ruling of the lower court. again, we don't know yet if it will go all the way to the supreme court, although this looks likely given the legal saga that has been happening so far. >> it is fascinating to watch the system of checks and balances working. mike pence had to cast a tie-breaking vote today to get trump's pick for education secretary confirmed. what does that tell us about trump's support inside the government. >> well, if nothing else, it tells us that things are not business as usual in washington, d.c. right now. the fact that there were two republican senators willing to cross party lines and vote no
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shows that there is motivation for democrats to fight every step of the way going forward against any further nominations. there are three more this week, including the attorney general, and any further pending legislation, the democrats will be fighting tooth and nail because they know they can get the support for it. host: thank you very much. here in europe, scotland's parliament has voted overwhelmingly to reject british prime minister theresa may's plan to exit the european union. the symbolic, nonbinding vote highlights the fracture between the united kingdom's foreign nations. england and wales opted the ae you, but most people in scotland and northern ireland voted to remain. scotland's first minister, nicholas sturgeon, has said that if scotland's interests are not
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taken into account during the negotiation, scotland may seek a fresh independence referendum. lithuania has welcomed german led nato troops to the country. she praised the forces at a joint ceremony with the german defense minister at the military base. the german troops will lead a force of 1200 members, which includes belgian, dutch, and french soldiers. the international battalion is one of four units in the baltic states. the country requested the troops after russia's annexation of crimea three years ago. israel's parliament has approved a controversial law that retroactively legalizes israel he settlements on private palestinian land in the west bank. as you might imagine, the measure has provoked strong criticism from the palestinians. the league is accused of stealing land.
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>> demolition has begun at the settlement. residents were evicted last week after the israeli supreme court ruled they built illegally on private land. now the israeli parliament has voted to legalize around 4000 other illegally built settlement homes. >> we are not only voting on the regularization bill, we are voting on the right to the land, on the continuous connection of 3000 years. the issue is hugely contentious. the ruling coalition is dominated by ultranationalists who support settlements, but the opposition slammed the law. >> the government legislating the slot tonight is legislating grave danger for israel, a law that creates to factor
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annexation against all of israel's international commitments. palestinians take that argument a step further. >> the israeli government trying to legalize lawful palestinian land. it is looting palestinian land. it is putting the last nail in the coffin of a two state solution. >> opinion is no less divided in the community. >> i think it's a good law. we can't settle people in houses with the government knowing in and find out it's different. it should be dull with now and the solution should be found. -- dealt with now, and the solution should be found. >> the real problem now is the trump administration because the trump administration's pro-settlement, and it's our people who will pay a high price. there will be more destruction, more confiscation of land, and
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more violence. more people will be killed. >> the un security council has called the west bank settlements illegal, but authorities here are betting a new administration in washington will be more sympathetic to their cause. host: we will be back with the latest headlines. stick around. >> it's all happening. your linkedin news from africa and the world. your link to exceptional stories and discussions. >> hello, and welcome. for more news, visit our website , cover. -- >> there are goals and there are
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goals. they both need training, skill, innovation, and dedication. but this is one game we cannot afford to lose. the world food program fights hunger worldwide. my goal is zero hunger. >> welcome back to dw news live from berlin. our top story. amnesty international says as many as 13,000 people have been executed at syria's military prison. the human rights group to live -- group accuses syria's government of a deliberate policy of extermination. a journey to improve the neighborhood. that is one way to describe angela merkel's trip to poland.
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she is attempting to improve strained ties between the countries. a german plan for a gas pipeline from russia drew sharp criticism from the polish prime minister. we have more. reporter: the weather in warsaw matched the frosty mood. relations between poland and its neighbor are not the warmest they have ever been. berlin takes a dim view of poland's refusal to accept refugees and the government's tough treatment of democratic institutions, criticisms that have led the eu to begin proceedings against warsaw. chancellor merkel recalled the successes of the solidarity union in the 1980's. ms. merkel: from that era, we know how important pluralistic societies are, how important an independent and judiciary media are, since all of that was missing. i was pleased to hear that
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poland will be answering the european commission's questions. reporter: as a result of exit, poland is losing an important partner in the eu, another reason to aim for better relations with germany. >> i am confident the good partnership between poland and germany is necessary for the success of the european project, but how will that project look in the future? poland puts more emphasis on nationstates, with less power for brussels. >> the countries do agree that sanctions against moscow will remain, but even with that glimmer of unity, there is still a lot to sort out in warsaw. host: a lot to sort out. to help us do that, i am joined by a senior analyst at the institute for public affairs. she joins us from warsaw.
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thank you for taking the time to talk to us. relations between germany and poland have not always been easy. do you see signs of goodwill on both sides? >> good evening, yes, indeed, i see very clear signs, and i think the fact that angela merkel came to warsaw today and a very positive mood of the press conference show indeed that both sides really want to communicate and agree on certain issues. they both think europe is important, so we need to have compromises, we need to talk. host: that is a positive way of looking at it. we have not always heard that type of positive talk coming from, for example, the head of the law and justice party. we know the german chancellor met with him today. are we seeing a sign of
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relations warming up a little bit? guest: well, he recently criticized angela merkel and germany very clearly, so the aim of the meeting was to communicate, to break the ice. i hope it succeeds. however, of course we don't know how the situation will develop. we cannot really say how they will react in the upcoming weeks or months. it was a good step, and i hope their relations will be better, but indeed, they are not the best relations we have ever had. but i hope it will be better because the first step has been taken. host: we know that today the german chancellor -- i am sure she had a message for him when
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she spoke openly about the rule of law in poland. how was that received? guest: you probably saw it was very diplomatic hash he said it. she just explained how important it was for her improve year's that there was freedom in poland and that there was a fight for freedom. it was a very diplomatic way to show i do think about the situation in poland. i don't agree with the situation , but it wasn't used as anti-german propaganda at the end and poland. it was perceived from the opposition side as it's good that she did say it. from the government side, we
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still need to await comment on that. it was just a few hours ago. i would expect in tomorrow's newspaper some comment on that. host: we will look for that tomorrow. tonight in warsaw, thank you very much for being on the show, we appreciate it. javier is here with the latest business news and a look at the state of economy's in africa. >> a diverse continent. so diverse that perspectives on its development and economy are diverse as well. africa has been presented for years as a region with huge untapped potential for growth. the continent urgently needs a strategy to succeed. it starts with things as basic as internal trade and ends with a smart combination of products and services to put an end on high dependency on colonies.
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>> copper has gone from $10,000 attend to just $6,000. the price drop -- a tion to just $6,000. it's putting the brakes on economic growth across the continent. after years of rapid expansion, analysts expect the area south of the sahara to grow by an anemic 2% this year. the boom fueled by high commodity prices is over, and most people on the continent have little to show for it. jobs remains cares, and industry barely expanded during the boom years. the service -- jobs remain scarce, and industry barely expanded during the boom years. today, over half of africans use cell phones and one out of four has access to the internet.
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growth in africa still depends on growth of raw materials. some countries are betting on another boom, but in the long-term, economists recommend investment in expansion of industry. host: i am joined by the director of foreign trade and policy at the german african business association. thank you for joining us. let's start with the basics. when we talk about missed opportunities, what are we talking about, and does that apply to every african country? guest: first of all, i think it is difficult to judge 54 countries, talking about the whole of africa in one sentence. the list of homework to do was very long. to say opportunities were missed is patronizing sometimes. if you have a society that is completely different from ours with a different system of law,
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then, where to start? it was tempting with high commodity prices to invest in an infrastructure that was maybe not apt to the development of the region yet, but who is to judge that? post: a difficult question to answer, indeed. one person said africa's main problem is located activity. do you support that statement? >> if you compare it to our productivity, european productivity, or asian productivity at the time being, that is right. we come from a different level of education and a system of industry. we have no medium-sized companies, for example, to do training as we know it in europe and germany. where are the skills going to come from? for a long time, we employed three people to do the productivity of one.
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but it's developing very well. the educational systems are getting better. school systems are getting better. the more private sector comes in, the more private sector develops, the better productivity is going to be. host: what is your take and how exactly do you cooperate with businesses in africa? >> the german african business association really is a platform. we saw in the report that one out of four has a mobile phone. i think in times of email and everything, personal contact, building trust, getting to know your partners is one of the most important parts. we have a lot of conferences and platforms to have meetings between african and german business people. we do delegations quite a lot. i think that's the most important thing. get to know each other. build up trust, find a common interest.
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that's how you do business. host: judging from what i can hear, you are optimistic about the potential and opportunities for africa. guest: welcome i could say it's my job to be optimistic about africa, but it's true optimism. i don't think a growth of 2% for this year or next year is a problem. we come from a very high level due to commodity prices, and i think we can take it from there. host: thank you for the analysis. host: link you very much. we will be back with the day -- thank you very much will be back after this. -- very much. we will be back after this. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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