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tv   Al Jazeera World News  LINKTV  December 31, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm PST

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>> and fiscal standoff at the u.s. congress, with tax hikes and spending cuts. hello. you are watching aljazeera, live from doha. also on the program, bargaining for peace. an effort to end the conflict in afghanistan. a brazen protest in china. activists raid the home of their friend who is being held on house arrest. and ringing in the new year.
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in spectacular style. we will have a look at celebrations from around the world. welcome to the program. in less than five hours from now, the u.s. is set to fall over the so-called fiscal cliff. congress will not vote by the midnight deadline to avoid spending cuts and tax hikes due on january 1. talks will resume on tuesday. earlier, barack obama said an agreement to avoid this was in sight. >> for now, our most immediate priority is to stop taxes from going up for middle-class families starting tomorrow. i think that is a modest goal that we can accomplish. democrats and republicans in congress have to get this done,
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but they are not there yet. they are close, but they are not there yet, and one thing we can count on with respect to this congress, if there is even one second left before you have to do what you need to do, they will use that second. >> it is too bad he does not spend as much time solving problems as he does with campaigns and pep rallies. i will say i am very disappointed with what the president had to say. i want to go on record to say that it is unacceptable to pay for the sequestered revenues. >> we are joined live from washington, d.c. if this deal is so close, why has congress not signed off on it? >> well, you always have to remember there are two houses in congress, and both of them have to sign off on this one, and there is not even a bill to sign off on. the people's house, they went
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home for their new year's eve. they are gone. john boehner, the speaker, said, they stay close. you may be called back." this means that the u.s. is definitely going to go over the fiscal cliff, at least technically. what is happening in the senate, the upper house, is that they are still working hard to bridge the gap. we are told by mitch mcconnell, the minority leader there, he says they have got a deal on taxes, but on the spending issue, the sequester issue, as they call is, they have not got a deal, but they are very, very close, so, to be honest with you, we are in no man's land. they are still meeting. i think the feeling is is that they will close the gap. they will come to some agreement, and really to make the point to the rest of the world, i think the senate will vote monday before the deadline. i cannot say, but that is the
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strong rumor. we are waiting to see, particularly because the house is gone and will not be able to vote until tuesday. >> what do ordinary americans make of this? they see the political squabbling, and the politicians cannot seem to sort it out. they must be very frustrated about this. >> i think frustrated is the right word, beyond frustrated, in that they are not able to get this done. for all americans, this is a scary time. if they do not get a deal done, their taxes are set to go up somewhere between $2,000 to $5,000. there is talk of widespread on the planet, and all sorts of issues down the road, not least of all the reaction of the stock market. the stock market in new york went on the rumor of there being a deal almost done, but i think
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if the deal falls apart, then the stock markets around the world are going to tumble quite sharply, and the problem with this is that although they are very close right now, really, who knows what tomorrow will bring when they go home and sleep on it? maybe the two sides will find other problems that they wish to bring up, and it could drag on. that is really the point. if they could get it wrapped up in the next 24 to 48 hours, no harm done, and it will go on until the next two or three months, when they look at the raising of the debt ceiling. this is the way they deal in washington right now. they deal with one crisis, and then they deal with the next one to come along when that happens. >> thank you. the u.s. state department has been accused of making a mistake by refusing to shut down their mission in libya. it is said they fail to deal
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with increasing and alarming threats. four americans were killed. they are blaming intelligence agencies for not focusing enough on security. the doctors of hillary clinton are confident that she will make a full recovery from a blood clot that was found in the brain during a checkup. she is being treated at new york presbyterian hospital. clinton will be released when doctors determine the best dose of medication. venezuela has canceled new year's celebrations in the capital because of the poor health of the president. hugo chavez has developed complications after being treated for cancer. we have more from caracas. >> a new year's eve mass. people are still trying to recover from the shock of the
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latest news. half -- one woman said she has heard that hugo chavez is not doing well again and that praying is all they can do so that he comes back in good health. >> he changed my life. he helped my family. we have to continue praying for him. >> on sunday, the vice president addressed the nation from havana and said that the president is suffering from complications stemming from a respiratory infection. >> 19 days after undergoing surgery, the president's state of health continues to be delicate with complications that are being attended to in a process that is not without risks. >> risks. they have made authorities here postpone all planned celebrations. the government had organized a concert to celebrate the new
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year. that concert is now canceled, and authorities are asking the population to pray for the president's recovery. the news has filled venezuelans with new uncertainty, and many are wondering whether hugo chavez will be back on january 10 for inauguration, but they say that even if the worst were to happen to the president, the revolution is here tuesday. >> the position is to control the media and everything else. we have a structure that we did not have before, so we are ready for whenever comes next. >> a future left uncertain, but what they do know is that the coming years will be filled with new challenges. aljazeera, caracas. >> some prisoners have been released as part of the peace process in afghanistan, and one
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of those was the justice minister for the taliban. in november, pakistan released 18 of the taliban members by request. they are trying to transform the afghan taliban into a political force. a director from the atlantic council says releasing them may not help the pakistan any people in the long run. -- the pakistani people in the long run. >> there is a very real possibility of sanctuary, as well as militants that have been fighting with the taliban against the state of pakistan, so pakistan risks of not if the taliban comes back to power. that is something it certainly does not favor. it also does not favor that they have control of the border territory. >> now, the latest in our
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series, looking ahead to 2013. elections scheduled in may of next year in pakistan. it will be the first time the government has completed a full five-year term. and some issues are more basic. our reporter explains. >> the shelves are stocked, but there are few customers. one family has run this vegetables and fruit stand for over 25 years, but their business has been struggling in recent years. >> the customers are very worried. their monthly income is just not enough to buy our produce. i just do not know how our business will survive. >> according to recent u.n. figures, more than 7 million people in pakistan are secure -- are very insecure, cutting back on other basics like health care
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and education in order to feed their families, and as the indian rupee loses its value and inflation continues to rise, a further 45 million are considered vulnerable. finding basic food items is clearly an issue, but pakistan is also at risk of a major energy shortfall, a shortfall which has become a nationwide crisis. this summer, thousands took to the streets to protest against the frequent power cuts, protests which turned violent. many were left without electricity for a ban 18 hours per day at a time of year when temperatures could reach up to 45 degrees celsius, and in recent months, natural gas and compressed natural gas supplies have also been an issue. this is making it difficult for those who use the fuel to heat their homes and power their cars, but the energy crisis is a
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long-running issue, made worse by corruption and poor management by successive governments. along with a lack of foreign currency reserves, it has become impossible for the government to purchase enough power from independent suppliers to sell to consumers. >> fundamentally, if you look at what pakistan faces, at the end of the day, the issue is government. >> around 80 million people are eligible to vote in the upcoming election, but with these basic needs nowhere near to being met and many other issues still pressing, the voters in pakistan will have a lot17 solutions for.
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>> tuesday, 4:00 p.m. pacific, 7:00 p.m. eastern. >> welcome back. a quick reminder of the top stories here on aljazeera. the u.s. is set to go over the fiscal cliff, at least for a day. congress will not vote before at midnight. they are expected to resume
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talks on new year's day. the government in pakistan has released eight afghan taliban prisoners, part of the peace process. one of them was the justice minister under the taliban in afghanistan. venezuela has canceled new year's celebrations in the capital because of the president's poor health, and the vice president said hugo chavez is in a delicate state after suffering complications following his latest cancer surgery. at least 23 people and killed in a series of explosions across iraq, and the dead include several members of one family. they continue to demand release of prisoners held by the government. we have more. >> the scenes like this that gripped iraq for almost one decade. iraq is faced with yet another political challenge.
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mass protests in different provinces have been ongoing for days. they accuse the government of targeting sunnis and their leaders, but the prime minister denies it, saying foreign countries are behind the instability. >> what relation to they have in this? this is an indication of support, and we do not mean to accuse anyone. why is the flag raised, and what relation doesn't have to the demands of the people? why are these being lifted in protests? you can see that there are connections and extensions. >> remarks rejected by protesters, who say the government is trying to divert attention and ignore their legitimate demands. >> the prime minister gave four
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options. civil war, dividing the country, elections next april, or a dialogue. some analysts believe the prime minister is backed into a corner. >> he is isolated because his leadership is not accepted by all parties. he is leading the country down a slippery road. >> but now, the protests are not going away, which may lead to rising tension and perhaps even violence. aljazeera, baghdad. >> more violence has been reported in a syrian capital. a regime claims that there were launches and attacks on several areas. there was destruction after an air strike. the syrian prime minister has told parliament that his government is doing everything it can to stop the conflict. footage has emerged of chinese activists breaking into a house
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where someone is under house arrest. it is the first time in more than two years that friends have been able to see him. -- see her. >> trapped in her beijing apartment, she has been under house arrest since her husband was awarded the nobel peace prize in 2010. you can see him and four others tried to enter her apartment building. there is a brief argument with the man guarding the door. the activists forced themselves in, where they see her, seen here wearing glasses and a black hat. she proceeds to embrace her good friend, a beijing intellectual. she whispers something in his ear, clearly on the verge of tears. one of the activists later said that she was scared about the consequences of their visit.
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in the last years, she has apparently only been able to visit her parents and her husband in jail. she has had no contact with the outside world until this unexpected visit from friends. it is believed her husband irritated the government as a writer, and they were openly calling for an end to communist party rule. there was a manifesto signed by 3 dandridge 50 the chinese intellectuals in 2008, calling for protections of human rights. he was arrested in 2009 and sentenced them 11 years in jail for undermining state power. one year later, he was awarded the nobel peace prize. >> they have decided to award the nobel peace prize of 2010 to him for his long and non-violent struggle for human rights in china. >> china had censored the news
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of his win and put his wife under house arrest. the activists, three of whom signed the charter, left after their brief visit. they insisted they had done nothing wrong by visiting her and that her house arrest is illegal. they hope to posting the video online could help her, although it could have the exact opposite effect. aljazeera. >> some are celebrating the new year outside a hospital where one leader is receiving treatment. the former prime minister was sentenced last year for seven years on corruption charges. and a protest in moscow has led to arrests. a popular opposition figure was among those detained a group called strategy 31 demonstrates on the 31st of every month. then they are looking at protection for freedom of
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assembly. and transferring control to afghan in 2013. one person will stay on. he has witnessed many changes in the country. we caught up with him. >> long before the arrival of nato forces, long before the taliban, nancy was already trying to save the country she loved. at a basement in the university, the shelves are at testimony of her work. 70,000 books. a storehouse of knowledge that she quietly collected in put away, in hopes that it will help the afghan people when they find themselves again. -- one day find themselves again. >> they do not know where they are going, and they are thirsty for the knowledge of the past. >> and musician, she first came
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from the u.s. in 1962. back then, she said it was a much more open and modern society. women could study medicine and could wear pretty much what they like. she met her husband and decided to stay. together, they watched the country become violent. there were resistance fighters who were created, and they later brought on a brutal civil war which led to bring in on the taliban. you can see the many ruins scattered about cities. there was a society that was once tolerant and accepting of different views. >> it is much too small. >> to help them in afghan -- in afghanistan, students now have access to all of the work she saved. the collection, dating back
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hundreds of years, also includes more recent newspapers, published by the taliban during its rule. some believe that the solution lies within the pages of history. >> the culture of reading. not through guns. >> she also convinced the afghan government to build a new $2 million research center, with the hope of inspiring a new generation. >> finding a new direction. but the problem is now that nobody knows where they are going. they are just standing still. >> at 86, she rarely stands still herself. she often visits schools to challenge boys and girls to read and to know their past,
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believing knowledge will generate the momentum to change her adopted country for the better. aljazeera, afghanistan. >> suspected drug traffickers have been killed in the second largest city of colombia in what police considered to be a gang- related massacre. they say it took place at a luxurious farmhouse after an argument. they were shot with guns that had silencers, according to police. one survives and is being interrogated. families in one village of bolivia are raising cattle, but they were destroying nearby forests. now, they are taking part in the project to try to reduce the environmental impact. >> raising cattle for 11 years, but like many traditional farmers, he used to burn down areas to create pastor for his animals. now, he is one of 200 villagers
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taking part in a project that is designed to show farmers new ways to prohibit nude deforestation. this gives an alternative to using these plans -- plans. -- lands. this allows more cows to graze on less land. with the old grass, only one cow could graze on each hectare. now, four can graze on the same amount of land. they say it is also keeping the cattle healthy. >> before, they were sick because they did not have enough natural defenses, and they would die. they were not strong enough to survive the rainy season. >> only part of the work force is in agriculture, and in communities like this, people work together to raise their cattle. finding ways to keep their
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cattle healthy and surviving is crucial. >> we are looking at what happens in the deforestation process. >> the project will end of this year. they hope they extended nationally, preventing more of the rain forest from being burned to make way for more cattle. >> japan has released the crew of three fishermen who were arrested. this comes amid rising tensions about a group of islands that china and japan both claim as their own. new year's celebrations are continuing around the world, and this is how the city a london is ushering in 2013. in myanmar, and may not have been as impressive as these, but it was memorable. we have this story. >> three, two, one, happy new
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year! >> this is the largest city in me and more -- in myanmar. a provision has been lifted. >> i think we should see our country developing in all sectors in 2013. >> i am very happy. myanmar has changed a lot if we compare it to previously. >> but little things have changed in north korea, where the celebrations in p'yongyang were far more choreographed. not marking 2013, people were marking the arrival of a date on north korean calendars, a tribute to a founder who was born 102 years ago. recent rocket launches from north korea have given the world jitters about missiles, but no
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such worries here, because the only rockets on show gave color. and a display in athens. the highlights, the classical architecture. but it also highlighted the modern greek economic predicament. in contrast, cities across china seemed to spare no expense. >> happy new year! >> in fact, the chinese new year is still six weeks away. but all the same, but people in shanghai watched as their harbor was turned into an area of pyrotechnics. in australia, this was the scene in sydney as the clock struck midnight. australians pride themselves at having the best in new year's eve festivities in the world.
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but, perhaps, even they were out shown by this. in dubai, there was an almost incandescent light show. it will b
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