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tv   News  Al Jazeera  February 3, 2016 11:00am-11:31am EST

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syrian opposition fighters prepare to defend aleppo, as government forces make a break through north of the city. ♪ hello from me, david foster, you are watching al jazeera live from london. three palestinians are shot dead after a policewoman is killed in a gun attack in jerusalem. suspicious cargo, why japan is putting its military on alert over a north korean satellite launch. and questions in congress about the u.s. water con
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testimony nation scandal as lead is found in another town's supply. ♪ hello there. syrian government forces have recaptured two towns in the north of the country, all part of a major offensive around aleppo that has seen syria's military tightening its grip on the region, capturing a number of strategically important sites. they are trying to cut rebel supply lines to aleppo, syria's second-biggest city, and also those supply lines to the turkish border. with support of russian air strikes they have captured two areas. now they have broken through rebel-held territory north of aleppo to reach pro-government villages. all part of a wider objective by the syrian military to cut off rebel fighters in the north and prevent reinforcements from getting through. zana hoda joins us live now from
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the turkish city near the bother with syria. i guess about 75, 80 kilometers from where all of this is happening. what are you hearing? >> reporter: they are reporting that government troops along with their allies on the ground have reached two towns that are predominantly shiite pro-government towns. they managed to cut through rebel-held territory in the northern province of aleppo. this is undoubtedly a strategic win for the government. this offensive was launched approximately 48 hours ago. they used heavy fire power. they were backed by russian air strikes. and we managed to speak to opposition commanders on the ground, and they were not confident they would be able to repel the advance. now the government has reached
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this loyalists towns. they have lifted the siege, and at the same time, the objective of this operation, like you mentioned was to sever the supply lines from turkey. so right now, opposition-controlled districts in aleppo city, further south are now encircles. they are cut off, and the rebel supply line from the city to the turkish border has been cut off. >> aleppo is one of the places where the fighting has been at its most intense for years now. and there was a suggestion that if it fell once again to government forces, this would be one of the most important blows for the assad regime that there has been since the war began. >> reporter: well, yes, this is a strategic battlefield gain. aleppo city has been a divided city for more than three years now. but the aleppo countryside, in the northern areas of syria, bordering turkey, it was the
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opposition strong hold, but that is now changing. what is important to note is that in the aleppo province that is the last-remaining strong hold for what the international community calls moderate groups. and they were trying -- they were making really their last stand, and we spoke to an fsa commander who said this is the only lifeline we have. this is the only border crossing we control. the opposition controls two border crossings. the other is controlled by groups like the al-qaeda linked al-nusra front, and what the government and the russian backers have been trying to do is weaken the so-called moderate opposition, and they have done that over recent weeks. undoubtedly even the government and the opposition, they have always said the battle for aleppo will be the mother of all battles. this is about capturing syrias
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north. >> zana thank you. the opposition says they are considering pulling out of peace talks in geneva. my colleague is here with the latest. >> reporter: david there is still talks going on two the u.n. special enva for syria, and the hnc. those are taking place at the president wilson hotel where the opposition delegation is staying. the head flew into geneva a few hours ago, so he could be part of the discussions. there is a sense of real frustration and building anger amongst those hnc members. one said earlier in the day that right now russia isn't just bombing aleppo, they are also bombing the geneva syrian talks. really the opposition feels as
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though the russians and the syrian regime have completely undermined them. they have not met any of the conditions they needed to meet. the talks have come to a complete stand still. we don't know if there will be anymore official meetings. frankly the syrian regime and the syrian opposition have maintained that these talks have not officially started. earlier in the day we heard from the head of the syrian regime delegation here in geneva. let's take a listen to some of what he had to say to reporters earlier today. >> we will stay as long as it is required by the formalities and the organizational matters, because we are still mainly speaking with the organizational matters. we don't know who will be our interlocutories, we do not know
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how many delegations we will face. we don't know yet the agenda. we don't have fully the names of participants. and according to the information we have acquired from the special envoy and his deputy, many people didn't arrive yet. >> reporter: in short, it's messy, it's complicated here. nobody really can stay where exactly things stand when it comes to these talks. there has been a lot of diplomatic pressure applied to both groups, the opposition and the syrian regime to try to make sure that they stay. so that these talks don't end in failure. but the mood here today is even more pessimistic than yesterday. david? this >> mohammed jamjoom thank you very much. now in iraq thousands of families are running out of food
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in the isil-held city of fallujah. the iraqi army is advancing on the area. imran khan reports from the capitol baghdad. >> reporter: fallujah is strategically very important, and has been under occasion by isil for over a year now. what people inside the city are telling us is that situation is incredibly dire. there is no fruit, vegetables, no meat. we're hearing there is very little medical supplies, and very little supplies for infants and young babies. isil are rationing out the only food available, which is wheat, to the residents there. there at least 110,000 people trapped in the city for over a year. but in the last two months when the operation against ramadi
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happened, what the iraqi security forces did was they managed to take a key bridge which linked ramadi and fallujah, and now they are not letting anything in. this is becoming a very desperate situation for the people living in that city. they do have some basic supplies, but there is real concern that this develop from shortages into starvation. ♪ an israeli police officer allegedly attacked by a group of palestinian gunmen has died of her wounds in hospital. the three palestinians were shot and killed during the incident at the e at the end -- entrance to jerusalem. at least 170 palestinians and 26
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israels have died since october, since a surge in violence began. let's go to our correspondent who has been monitoring this. he is in the occupied west bank. tell us what you know, please. >> reporter: well, david a very dramatic and violent incident just outside of the damascus gate, which as you said is one of the main gates leading into the old city in occupied east jerusalem. what we understand is just a few short hours ago, three palestinians men armed with knives, guns, and an explosive device opened fire on israeli police, seriously injuring two female police officers, one of whom has died in hospital. we understand that a third israeli was injured in this incident. we have been hearing from
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israeli investigators that they are scouring the area for clues, and that they have also moved that investigation into the occupied west bank area of jeanine where these three men came from. they are investigating if they were acting alone or were part of a larger plot. we have seen extraordinary violence for now more than four months. >> talk about the number of casualties. they have been largely the result of what you might call isolated incidents. attacks by individuals. this would appear to be something slightly different. a new dimension. we're seeing three alleged attackers. guns, knives, explosives. it's a different dimension. >> reporter: indeed. not only were these three men far more armed than we have seen
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in other attacks -- most of these attacks have been knife attacks. it's also the fact that the three of them were operating together. now as we have been saying israeli police have been investigating whether or not this was part of a larger plot or if these three young people were part of what we have been seeing now for the past four months or so, which is what israeli police describe as loan wolf attacks. these so-called loan wolf attacks are extremely alarming not only to the israeli government but israeli military forces as well. they have admitted they have no way of ending this. that they have no way of preventing these attacks from happening. but palestinians say they do have a way to end this. they say that israelis and israel needs to end its occupation, and that is how we will see annen to the violence, but obviously that is not going to happen any time soon, and
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this violence will no doubt continue as well. coming up here on al jazeera, they are looking for some answers in somalia, as an onboard explosion sees a passenger thrown from an airline. hundreds of refugees held up on the border of macedonia in greece [ inaudible ] striking taxi cap drivers.
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♪ these are the top stories this hour. syria's army has reapertured the two key villages after breaking
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through rebel-held territory north of aleppo. syria's opposition is threatening to walk out of talks in geneva unless government troops end their sieges in syria. and three palestinians who killed an israel police officer have been shot dead. japan has put its military on alert to shoot down a north korean rocket. the north koreans insist that the rocket, which they plan to launch this month is going to carry, simply a satellite. harry fawcett reports. when north korea last launched a long-range rocket in 2012, it said it successfully placed a rocket in orbit. but japan's prime minister says the purpose is clearly military. >> translator: this is actually a ballistic missile test in addition to the nuclear tests
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north korea testing its ballistic missiles in obvious violation of important security decisions for our country. >> reporter: the announcement confirms speculation of its west coast launch site. pyongyang says the first stage of the rocket will fall to the west of north korea, and the second stage will crash into the sea northeast of the philippines. japan says it are shoot down the rocket if any part of it threatens japanese soil. >> translator: we strongly warn north korea of severe price if it goes away with this program. >> reporter: previous prelaunch announcements by north korea have provoked similar rhetoric from its neighbors in the past,
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but north korea has simply gone ahead with its plans. >> translator: south korea cannot deal with this by itself. china and the u.s. don't care that much. so i have grave concerns. >> translator: if they launch, they launch. i don't feel it's a threat. >> reporter: south korea is promising severe punishment and pushing for a much more stringent set of sanctions this time around, and there has been plenty of public pressure on china for ignoring beijing's calls for restraint. but if north korea is concerned, it is not showing it. picking the very day that a seen yol official from china touched down to allowance its launch. pakistan's prime minister is warning employees of the country's national airline that they could go to prison if they continue to protest. they are demonstrating against the privatization of the national carry have stepped up their protests after three
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employees were killed on tuesday. police used water cannons and tear gas to control the crowds. ministers in france are seeking to extend that country's state of emergency. it was a measure introduced after the paris attacks in november, and it gives more power to police, allowing searches without warrants. fren french -- cabineters asked a three-month extension. aid workers are struggling to help thousands of refugees stranded on greece's border with macedonia. the backlog was created after protesters blocked a rail line protesting against police who they say are giving priority to migrants traveling into western europe.
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greece also saying it will speed up the completion of five migrant registration centers following criticism from the european union. the country has been accused of failing to control the flow of arrivals despite receiving money. but all of the camps will be completed this months, they say. more than 62,000 refugees arrived in greece in january. >> we will not allow greece to turn into a storage space for humans. greece has already paid the price dearly in the midst of an economic crisis. the high court in australia has ruled that the government's off-shore detention policy for asylum seekers is lawful. and now dozens of babies would be se -- deported.
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>> reporter: the case was brought forward by an asylum seeker who was transferred to australia to get treatment for pregnancy complications. her baby was born in australia, but now she and her one year old face being deported back. in a majority decision, the court said that it was not unlawful for the woman to be held in a prison camp, and the deal the australian government has with the pacific island is valid under the constitution. lawyers for the woman say she is bitterly disappointed. they believe the government should step in. >> the stroke of a pen is all that it would take our prime minister or our immigration minister to do the decent thing and let these families stay. >> reporter: the country's prime minister insists it's not just a moral issue, but a security one as well. >> i will consider the judgment, and it's implications carefully,
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but what i can say is this, our system of deterrence, remains robust, and has recently been reinforced to deal with immediate and enduring threats to our maritime security and sovereignty. >> unicef says it is disappointed with the rules. >> this is a really important moment for the australian government to show that it wants to take a very reasoned response to what has happened, that the high court decision aside, the immigration minister has discretion and it is empowered to make decision for these children and their families. >> reporter: a previous test case challenging the legal status of the off-shore policy was likewise rejected by the same court in 2014. by the end of 2015, 1,459 asylum seekers were being held offshore, now this ruling will
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mean another 33 infants, 91 children, and at least 150 adults currently in australia could be added to that number if the immigration minister chooses to deport them. the u.s. republican hopeful rand paul says enough is enough, i'm quitting. the senator from kentucky dropped out after failing to gain enough support. he is the second candidate behind mike huckabee to drop out of the race since monday night's iowa caucuses. there are still ten left vying for the republican nomination. the u.s. congress is holding its first hearing on the water contamination crisis in the town of flint, michigan. lead has also been found in the
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town of sebring, in ohio. kristen saloomey is in sebring, ohio. >> reporter: well ohio's environmental protection agency blames the local manager of the water sanitation system, a man by the name of james baits. they say he was responsible for notifying local residents. they barred him from working at the plant, accused him of falsifying reports, and launched a criminal investigation against him. he says he is just a scapegoat. and certainly many people are raising questions about why the environmental protection agency didn't notify residents. records show they knew as early as october that this was a problem here. in that is similar to the questions being raised in flint about the epa's role. i did speak to the village
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manager here. he said they received a notice in september, but they were under the impression that the issue was being addressed, but it wasn't until january that they realized how serious the situation was. right now they are focused on getting the water back up and running, and dealing with the problem. they say they will have to wait and see how the investigation plays out before they can assign blame. >> that was kristen saloomey reporting from ohio. a rare case of the zika virus being transmitted sexually is being reported in the southern united states. zika is primarily spread by the mosquito and has been linked with a huge rise in birth defects in south america. u.s. government forces now say that a bomb probably did cause an explosion on a plane that was forced to make an
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emergency landing in mogadishu. officials from somali say they have found no evidence so far of a criminal act. the plane went back to the airport soon after takeoff on tuesday. the pilot says he believes a bomb caused the blast. one person died. this footage was filmed by the deputy ambassador. >> we saw a hole in the plane, and the first thing you worry about is can we really make it? that worrying feeling was there. and -- but it was -- it was really traumatizing. thinking back right now. the first minute or second, and then when things happened, i really didn't think that we -- we would make it. but after things calmed down, it was a lot easier to be hopeful. >> a young legal team out of russia is making a name for itself defending constitutional
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cases. an increasing number are facing charges of extremism or treason. rory challands has moore from moscow. >> reporter: this woman waits nervously for her court hearing to start. she will hear if her house arrest is to be extended. they say she distributed anti-russian books. defending her is this lawyer. >> translator: in 2014, the number of high treason cases increased three times compared to the previous year. this explosion happened with the background of the european conflict. we connect it to the military rhetoric, and a surge for enemies. >> reporter: he leads team 29, an informal collective of young lawyers and journalists, they defend those the state considers traitors. this mother of seven was
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arrested last year for telling ukraine's russian embassy that troops based in her hometown were being sent to fight in the [ inaudible ]. her case was eventually dropped. and this is the online project, advise on what to do if the sfb comes knocking. this is their headquarters, so if the men from here appear at your front door asking you to accompany them, don't go with them, they say. also don't tell them anything. again, you don't have to. warn your family not to sign anything, or give them any information, and if it becomes necessary get your own lawyer. don't accept a state-appointed one. this is a journalist and human rights activist. just the sort of person who might need such advice.
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>> translator: when the instructions were published everyone got them. many mistakes were committed during the first hours. the most horrible thing is when you say i can explain everything. that's when you get your 12 years. >> reporter: team 29th's work has found support in unexpected places. alexander is a former kgb agent, and fsb general. >> translator: i think these problems come from underqualified staff and conformists reacting to the new situation. they report too quickly, and they found an enemy and sorted it out. it's too easy nowadays. let's ban this. let's launch a case. >> reporter: indeed the judge extends the house arrest. police call cases rarely go in
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the defendant's favor. despite this team 29 hopes it is making people aware of their rights, and shining a light on how russia's justice system is sometimes manipulated. more at congress takes up the flint water crisis, despite the fact that michigan officials are refusing to participate. a california gas company facing criminal charges. a case of sexually transmitted zika surfacing now in dallas. the issue at the mosque is we didn't know who was dehind it, who was in it, where it came from. >> reporter: b