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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  February 3, 2016 2:30am-3:01am EST

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passage of the north american free trade agreement millions of mexicans continue to live in poverty and the concern is this new trade agreement, as big as it is, is not going to deliver any more prosperity than the previous ones if you want to see more on that story, go to [ ♪ ] burn thanks for joining us on "america tonight", i'm joie chen, years in the making, the turbulence in our economy has led to a new normal in the housing market. more and more home renters, more
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than a third of u.s. householders rent. many lost their homes in the mortgage crisis, many have not saved enough to buy. hidden, the upper hand landlords have over their tenants. a unique information in arkansas, the renters at the mercy of their landlord. a shocking result from wok. >> reporter: what is your biggest fear? >> that i won't be here. >> why do you stay? >> i don't have no money, i don't have nowhere to go. >> reporter: on december 21st, four days before christmas, the residents of the alexander apartment complex in little rock received a notice hardly in the holiday spirit. 65-year-old caroline ford among hundreds of families told they
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had a week to vacate their homes because the complex was condemned. did you think you would be in a position like this? >> no. >> reporter: what will you do? >> i don't know, i really don't. >> reporter: in condemning alexander, the fire chief found conditions so bad he called them life threatening. among the problems, widespread mould, exposed wiring and others. >> i had poop running down the stairs, in the bathroom, over the floor. and i fell trying to get out of there because it was there. >> reporter: there was raw sewage from the apartment upstairs, leaking down. >> yes. >> reporter: when you moved in, did you hear stories place. >> yes. >> reporter: you still moved in. >> it was the only place that would take me. i had no money. >> reporter: this is not the
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only plight of this woman. arkansas is one of the worst places to be a renter. if you are low income, options for housing can be bleak. >> the roof fell in. >> reporter: the roof fell in? >> yes. there. >> yes, they was asleep at the time. they moved from this apartment because it was unlivable. >> fernandez was a resident at the alexander apartments. >> it was not like this. >> reporter: you did all this work yourself. >> you know me. the paint, the trim. the wood. >> reporter: you were describing him as a slum lord, why would you say that? >> let me give you the the example of a slum lord. follow me. >> reporter: according to this man, alexander was full when he arrived. now the apartments on either side are empty and uninhabitable. >> this is
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unsanitary. that's my backyard. >> that's a dead animal. >> yes. >> reporter: another resident allowed us to take photos of the black mould beneath her sink. for tennants, legal recourse is limited. the state of arkansas does not require habit ability from renters, landlords are not required to provide the basics - working plum of course, heating, hot water, unless it's written into the lease. >> most substandard property exists below the interstate i 630, a dividing line between black and white, rich and poor. >> reporter: new city is a nonprofit organising low income people around issues of civil rights, economic justice and tenants rights. if renters had the right to
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withhold the rent. if repairs aren't made, to terminate a release or take a landlord to court. that would be easy for the city to maintain property and keep it up to standard. >> reporter: they don't have those rights. >> they don't have those rights. >> reporter: we are the only rights. >> withholding rent or using it to make repairs could lead to cal charges and gaol time. reporting dangerous code violations could leave tennants home to retaliatory convictions. >> people are barely making it. they are on disability, they have no wage jobs. housing. >> reporter: alexander apartments is one of at least three complexes condemned by the city. this woman is with arkansas
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organizations and remembers being convicted from a condemned property 20 years ago. >> the city came out and checked, and the complex wasn't up to standards. what they were supposed to be. plus it was hood housing. and they e viced 62 families, it was awful. young kids. i didn't have relatives, i was glad my neighbour told me i could stay with her. >> reporter: that was 20 years ago, has anything >> not much. >> reporter: in your opinion, why is it like this in arkansas. >> it's behind times, it's like here. >> reporter: still racist? >> yes. >> reporter: for tenants, the negative impact of laws have been well documented. in 2011, lynn foster from the
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university of arkansas served on a commission that tried to modify the laws. powerful real estate centers prevented them from doing so. >> in every other state in the united states, if you signed a lease with landlords, it may contain a promise from the landlord that they'll make repairs. if it doesn't, the law puts that promise into the lease. it's implied that the landlord will provide you with fit repairs. >> reporter: that's not what most thing about, that's the way it is. habitable. >> if you go to the store and you buy food, you buy it under the assumption that it will beddable food. we are the only state that cunt have anything like that or the equivalent. if the landlord doesn't have something like that in the lease, they don't have to keep
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the premises in good repair. >> we are not taking media at the property. >> reporter: we tried speaking with the real estate attorney and the owner who owns those apartments and 60 others. >> can you comment? >> i have no comment. >> reporter: the resident here have sued the city to keep the complex open. the court granted them a restraining order. >> it's full of dead roachers and spiders. what a mess. >> reporter: for some, it's their only hope. >> reporter: what will you do if if they condemn the apartment. >> go into a shelter. i don't have any money next, a moment for
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"america tonight", when chris bury met a great creature. another american icon, and a campaign to erase his image. hot on the "america tonight" website. the whistleblower, meet the mother whose bit to save her child exposed flint's water crisis at
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it's the sort of moment you never forget. i had mine in the bad lands of south dakota, when a domestic north american bison stepped out in view. i did what anyone would do. i stopped on the highway to take a picture. trying to capture the memory before he disappeared. they almost disappeared as a
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species, once hunted to almost distinction. we sent chris bury to the blam hills of south dakota to explain home. >> in the black hills of south dakota, the cowboys and girls are preparing for work the way they did a century ago. >> we ask for no harm beast. >> good morning. >> here at customer state park, the crowds are coming, braving a bone-chilling wind, to experience the spectacle most have seen in the movies. >> this is probably as close to the old west as you will get. >> reporter: for 43 years, bob worked the annual round up of a buffalo herd that roams the range.
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even though the species was slaughtered to extinction. a wild herd of 1200 planes, bison, big, tough, weighing as much as 2,000 pounds. their lineage stretching back tens of thousands of years before history was ever written. >> as long as i can ride a horse, i'll be here. >> this morning, more than 14,000 from all over the world comes to watch. the family from florida arrived with the three children. they are on a year-round trip, part of home schooling. >> i love the opportunity to bring the kids out here. to see the things red out. for the three children. the buffalo became more than a dusty speck of a session. >> i would like to see them roam by the millions, that would be amazing. able to see them at all is cool.
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>> and for mary, proud of her heritage, the drive was worth it. >> it almost makes me cry as they run pass, there's something f it that pulls at my heart. >> over a ridge top the first buffalo break the horizon, barely visible at first, but then the whips crack, and the cowboys holler the way they always have. >> get up there. hey, get up there. and the vast empty plains come to life. the ground itself shaking from the thundering hooves. a sound so ominous it terrifies a heard of wild elk. and sends them scattering for safety. if the scene seems familiar, no wonder. it was right here in this
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valley, with the ancestors of these buffalo, where a star-studded class filmed the classic "how the west was won." and for the modern cowboys, with modern help trying to heard the buffalo on their native turf and not getting their way, it was a heart-pounding thrill. buffalo are fierce and fast. able to outrun a horse or man in short burst. this was terry's first time riding in the line-up. when you are out there in the like? >> very exciting. wind flying, buffalo, it was a lot of fun. >> reporter: after participating in more than 40 round-ups, bob nose why the crowds are growing.
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from a few hundreds to thousands of spectators. >> they see running horses, cracking whips, yelling. we can't get into it. they are rooting, basically, for the buffalo. >> reporter: and it is no wonder the crowds root for the buffalo, considering its tortured past. >> reporter: they are directors of five wild calves in 1883. by then they were this close to extinction, and one of more than a shameful episode, a combination of greed and government policy nearly whip wiping out the creatures. inside, founder susan rici showed us a photo taken in the 1870s, of buffalo
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piled several stories wide. >> it's a stunning picture illustrating the massacre. >> a massacre of millions over a span of a few decades in the 19th century, slaughtered by tourists and hunters, with the support of the government. >> as the real road forged west and settlers flooded the plains, the bison were, in essence, in the way. so they were shot and exterminated to make way for settlement. >> the rail roads promoted buffalo shooting excursions where buffalo from slaughtered not for their hides. >> it was a glorious event, so exciting to be out in the american west, shooting the large animals, there was nothing sporting about it.
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>> the army hired hunters to kill millions more, knowing that they were dependent on the buffalo. >> a civil war hero urged help. sending them powder and let them kill, and sell until the buffalos are exterminated. the buffalo hunters did more than an entire army could have done, and that was by killing off their food source. >> as many as 60 million buffalo reemed north america. by the 1880s, a few hundred survived. these fast plains once home to herds, fell silent and empty. a death wind blew across the prairie wrote the chief sitting bull.
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a death wind for my people. >> a tragedy. you can read the accounts. you can see thousands stacked high. knowing they were slaughtered for tongues and hides and for pleasure. angry. >> it was a shame, a definite shame, something that we can be ashamed of. we are that generation, we should be ashamed that human being did this to the buffalo. >> slowly, surely, thanks to the management. the buffalo are coming back at custer park, home to the descendants, the heard grew, so it must be cold every year. the buffalo inspected and inoculated infectious diseases. then branded. >> so the n malls can be -- animals can be tracked over time.
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round-up. >> for us, it's a management tool. we would do the round up. whether anyone showed up or not. we need to bring in the herd and get an accurate count. we brand the calves, vaccinate the calves. sell. >> the round-up is more than a spectator sport. it's a way to protect and preserve the buffalo. and that is why bob volunteered here over four decades. >> how long will you ride here? >> until the day i die. >> my goal is to ride along and hit the ground dead. as i fall off my horse. >> reporter: whaling a buffalo. >> chasing a buffalo. >> now they number nearly 400,000. this has taken 100 years, but the species is no longer in danger. the magestic animals, a reminder of what the country came close
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to losing, and an example of how they have prevailed, in spite of a scandalous past the thundering herd, that is "america tonight"s chris bury reporting. next - and why some long-time forgotten.
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facing justice. after months ever more and more disturbing allegations, bill cosby arrives in court as his lawyers try to get the charge of sexual assault against him thrown out. it's been cast aside.
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cosby's premiere reputation. as more accusations came out. many rushed to cut their ties, ties ni pulled down a statute, and several revoked degrees. another icon refuses to erase their shared history. >> it's synonymous with d.c. in 2012 i was commissioned to create the mural. mural. there's chuck brown, donny simpson, the current president obama, and bill cosy -- cosby. once the allegations came out people reacted strongly and were
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looking for outlets, and one was ben's chilli bowl, because they had a big target on the side of the building. >> it's sad that the mural is one person, it's not the bill cosby mural. it's the ben's chilly bowl. >> in order to understand the ben's chilly bowl, you have to go back. it was black broadway, the places where people of colour could come and enjoy fine meals and music. it started as a hotdog stand by a guys, and their signature dish that they are known for is a half pork, half beef sausage. officially it was a safe haven, a place for everyone.
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you can go to the chilly bowl and have a during sitting next to a pimp. there's not a lot of places where that happens. when dr king was assassinated, many black neighbourhoods, blacks and whites, people hurt in general. they burn down buildings. bens was there when that was going on. a lot around them, across the street, they were burnt down. they survived that. >> they survived the riots, the building of the metro station, recession. it's been like the keith richards of diners. it dan five anything. the relationship between the family and ben's chilly bowl and bill cosby goes back decades. bill cosby has been a champion of ben's chilly bowl for years.
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he has shown up at ribbon cuttings, when it celebrated an anniversary, bill cosby was there, and there in important times, there were periods where it wasn't doing as well as it was now. he was there, and he was championing the place. he helped to put it on the map. here it is, the start of 2016, and bill cosby's face is on the side of the mural. the ali family know him more as a saint than a monster. do you erase 40 years of viewing friend. >> people walked by that never noticed before and are noticing for the first time. it could be jarring, and a lot of respect for public in particular. that everyone can see. it changes over time, particularly when it comes to art. when the allegations came up, the meaning changes, and because of that it should be removed.
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my hope is that it's repainted with another picture that means something else, means something positive to women. >> i don't think that it should be taken down. it's not just about bill cosby or ben's chilly bowl. it's about free speech. if we are used to the habit of the being able to strike something down when it offends us or bothers us, that. >> some feel it's the artists responsibility, that it's the public's responsibility, and i feel like it's more of the property owners responsibility, because they commissioned it. >> i am quite open to any decisions about changing the mural that might come about because my aim is to create work community the ali family minimalized the presence when they opened the new location of ben's
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commile -- chilly bowl on eighth street, that was the first time i know of that he didn't show up to a ribbon company. so i think you see beginnings of them backing away from it. >> it's a family business, what they do in terms of making a decision is there the bitter taste of a difficult decision. that's "america tonight", tell us what you think. at you can talk to us on twitter or facebook. come back, we'll have more of "america tonight" >> our american story is written everyday. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight.
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pulled from the rubble, a tiny survivor of a growing offensive in syria putting huge pressure on peace talks. the world news from al jazeera. also ahead dozens of houthi fighters killed in air strikes in yemen where pro-government forces are trying to retat the province. australia's high court rules that the government can hold refugees in