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tv   Weekend News  Al Jazeera  February 13, 2016 2:00am-2:31am EST

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syrian government as it tries to surround rebels in aleppo adding to doubts about the pause in the fighting. welcome to al jazeera live from doha. also coming up in the program, the leader of the catholic church arrives in mexico after stopping on the way to heal a thousand year old rift.
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we meet the young patients in afghanistan fighting to survive. air pollution is blamed for putting them in hospital. plus >> reporter: i'm this looks like money, but it's not. i will be telling you how people in this community are using it first, inside and outside syria there are growing doubts that a proposed pause in fighting will actually happen. government forces with the help of russian air power are trying to encircle rebels in aleppo and cut off their supply routes to turkey. government forces have made another key gain in that offensive. these are pictures from syrian state tv showing soldiers closing in on rebel ground in the valley here. they have taken a strategic hill
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that is close to the stronghold of other towns. bashar al-assad said he would defeat his enemies right across syria. >> translation: we have fully believed in gloeshgss and in political action since the beginning of this crisis. however, if we negotiate, it does not mean that we stop fighting terrorism. the two tracts are inevitable in syria. first through negotiations and second through fighting terrorism. >> he is diluted if he thinks that there's a military solution to the collect in syria - deludeked-- we have seen this wax and wane over five years now. but all we're looking at if the syrian regime continues the fighting is more bloodshed, more hardship and, frankly, a greater hardening of positions on either
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side dominic kane is standing by in munich to tell us what we can expect later on. going first to our correspondent who is in southern turkey, close to the border with syria. the early signs are not terribly encouraging that the cessation of hostilities will gain ground, the government notching up some significant victories. >> reporter: yes. like you mentioned, the government has advanced from the pro government towns. they are now positioned on a strategic hill which actually gives them the - the range of fire really within the distance of the main rebel supply line that links the northern countryside of aleppo to the western countryside of aleppo. so now they're able to disrupt these supply lines and they're positioned approximately 7 kilometers from the main entrance to the rebel controlled
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east of aleppo city. they're close to achieving one of their objectives and that is to lay siege to the city. in fact, we've spoken to activists inside aleppo and they're saying that people are increasingly worried that this is an eventuality and it will happen soon. we do know that approximately 200 to 300,000 people live there. many families have left over the last few case. others of not. we asked them why, and they said where do people go, the turkish border is closed and they have to live in tents. there is another objective in the province and that is to reach the border crossing. the government troops are positioned approximately 20 kilometers south of the crossing but overnight there was heavy air strikes around the bordertown of assas which is a few kilometers from the border. it seems they're trying to soften the defenses of the
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opposition before ground forces move in as we've just heard from the president bashar al-assad, he seems to be taking little notice of the munich declaration. what about the rebel groups particularly in aleppo. how are they responding to this declaration from the international group suggesting that there's a pause in hostilities? >> reporter: yes. the rebel commanders we have been speaking to say it's not realistic. first of all, there has been a statement from the high negotiations committee. that is the syrian main body backed by saudi arabia. they're saying - what they're saying is that we will reject any ceasefire. they're not talking about the cessation of hostilities. they're saying the ceasefire is not realistic because we will continue fighting until bashar al-assad leaves power, until the shia militias leave the country. they say it's the armed groups on the ground who will decide on whether to accept a pause on the fighting. what rebel commanders have told us how can they accept a pause
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in the fighting when russian air strikes are allowed to continue because the two groups, i.s.i.l. and the al-qaeda, al-nusra front, doesn't make it as terrorist negotiations are not included in this deal. russia can carry out air strikes saying that what they're targeting al-nusra positions on the ground. they can use that as an excuse to target all rebel factions. so much defiance from the commanders. they say that they will not surrender because at the end of the day the government can tap tour ground but-- capture the ground, but can they hold it? they can launch a warfare and counter-attacks the government. defiance from the rebel command saying that this deal is unrealistic thank you very much for that. going to dominic who is at the conference where this declaration emanated from. dominic, it sounds as though there's a lot more work to be done.
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>> reporter: that's right. several of the key players that were involved in thursday's discussions are here today. the first interesting speaker is mr stoltenberg. yesterday me did welcome the deliberations, the agreement that was reached here in munich on thursday night, but say what the russian done up to this point has not been helpful and it is time to get serious. the russians are here too. mr lavrov has arrived in the last few minutes. he will be speaking as will his colleague the prime minister and then after those two have spoken we will be hearing a statement from the u.s. secretary of state, john kerry, and what they all have to say will definitely indicate to us how serious they are about finding a resolution and maybe changing the opinions of the people we've been hearing zana talk about there, having to
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implement what has been agreed upon here syria aside, there's another important conflict which is becoming almost a frozen conflict, isn't it, and that's ukraine, a year after a ceasefire arrangement was agreed by so many of the parties involved. >> reporter: yes. that's right. there's the normandy format of these meetings which involves france, germany, ukraine and russia, and the four foreign ministers were due to be here today. the french foreign minister will not be here until later on this evening. so he will not be taking part in the discussions this morning, but the other three foreign ministers will and they will be trying to see what further progress they can make insofar as ceasefires in ukraine are concerned. we know that chancellor merkel earlier this year spoke about how she felt that progress could be made. she was optimistic about the
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future. it has also been suggested that regular meetings of the normandy format will continue. next month there is one scheduled and the four parties are keen for this to continue with the hope, perhaps, they are able to unfreeze this frozen ceasefire agreement that you've referred to for now, thank you very much. one other side note on the conflict, the international body that is charged with establishing who is responsible for chemical attacks in syria says its investigating five potential cases. the group has identified four where chlorine gas was allegedly used against rebel-held areas and one involving mustard gas. the analysis is to be begun next
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month pope francis has landed in mexico at the start of a five-day visit. he was welcomed by huge crowds. the second largest population of catholics is here second to brazil. on saturday he celebrates mass in the capital of mexico city. our correspondent has more from there. >> reporter: thousands have come out here in mexico city to watch the pope. he has come from the talks in cu cubea. he will be given the key to the city. he will have talks at the largest cathedral. after that it's on to more controversial aspects of his trip. he will be holding a mass on saturday in a violent city. that decision to hold a mass there and to travel to other
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parts of the country racked by violence shows that he is hoping to show solidarity to many mexicans that are threatened by organized criminal groups who sometimes rule large parts of the country without fear of retribution from the government. after that mass on sunday he will travel to other areas, the south state where he will meet with indigenous leaders. the catholic church have held these people at arm's length but he is trying to embrace them. he will wrap up the trip when he visits the northern border of mexico and holds a mass there where people from texas and mexico are attending that mass and he will say a prayer for so many migrants that died two head officials met for the first time in cuba. it was described as a way to
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heal the divide that split christianity in europe nearly a thousand years ago. >> reporter: they said their meeting was an expression to the world of their home. with hugs and kisses pope francis and another began to heel a mood in the christian faith. >> translation: we spoke as brothers. we agree that peace is made by working together. >> reporter: their planes are side-by-side here on the runway and provided another symbolic image to this historic day. the meeting was years in the making, dating back to the 1990s. pope francis says in 2014 he told him he will go wherever you want. just call me. >> reporter: cuban president castro helped orchestrate the meeting. the leader's schedules kon
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verged with having official visits in latin america. they spoke for three hours in the international airport in havana. the men emerged saying they're uniting to help fight what they call the ex-termation of christians in the middle east and north africa. they say the international community must help bring an end to the violence and what they called terrorism in iraq and syria and help the refugees. >> translation: we need to defend the right of christians the world over >> reporter: the two sides framed the meeting as a reconciliation, but critics say it was an shrewd move on the part of russia. the meeting comes at a time when russia is facing pressure from the west due to its military action in syria and ukraine. critics say this was an attempt by russia to bolster its profile in the west.
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the historic meeting raised the profile of cuba. a triumphant president told reporters cubans will continue supporting peace, then referring to his efforts to end latin america's longest war said colombia is next we've got a lot more to come here at al jazeera, including how the u.s. government is taking steps to end modern day slavery.
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welcome back to the top stories here on al jazeera. the syrian government and its troops are closing in on rebel held areas in the value. that's north of aleppo. the opposition is struggling to hold its supply lines which are close to the border with turkey. foreign ministers are meeting in munich to talk about the war in syria and russia's role in ukraine is also on the agenda. pope francis has arrived in mexico. he was welcomed by huge crowds. he will celebrate mass there later on saturday. a funeral has been held for - t
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difficulties >> reporter: they cook their own food, have freedoms while they wait to see what the authorities make of them. some had had already got the
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supposed promised land of germany and found it impossible to penetrate so they turned around and went back. >> they were giving us food and all that stuff, but i saw it. it was very busy. in one month nobody could came - nobody came to us and ask anything like that. >> reporter: syrians iraqis and afghans are the ones to get priority in the asylum queue, but many say it doesn't work like that in practice. afghans and pakistanis have told us they try to go to germany only to find officials there giving preferential treatments. some are turning left at slovenia i can't rather than going straight on and seeking asylum in italy instead. in some villages they complain there are as many afghans are as
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italian italians. >> it would provide better chance of integration of learning the language, of getting in touch, getting appointed with the territory in the society that they're living. >> reporter: gradually groups like doctors without borders are camping up their presence. the refugees talk on facebook with their friends advising them of their options. asylum claims can be processed in four months here. not even the germans are so efficient >> they will be invited by the police to go for medical screening and after that to be invited to the place where they will formalise their request. >> reporter: are refugees arriving on the south and from the balkan route in the north. more people and mr pressure north korea has announced it will stop an investigation into
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the fate of japanese citizens who were abducted decades ago. it is being seen as a retalia retaliatory attack following the rock launch. 13 japanese citizens were kidnapped during the 1970s and 80s. japan has called the halt extremely regrettable. >> translation: it is extremely regrettable that north korea announced to suspend the investigation by the special committee into abductions of japanese citizens. the japanese government is not thinking to scrap the agreement, to restart investigations on the abductee issue environmentalists in the afghan capital say air pollution is causing the deaths of around two thousand people every year. young children and infants are
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most at risk. from kabul our correspondent reports. >> reporter: strapped to a breathing tube, inside an intensive care unit, 8 month old fights so survive >> she is in a series situation. >> reporter: she is sick with a potentially fatal lung infection. next to her, two more infants with infected lungs. doctors say this scene repeats itself every winter in the only hospital for children, infants with lung infections likely caused by toxic air particles. this is where health officials say you will find the poison air. the streets of kabul. one of the most polluted cities in the world. a city where your smart phones weather app says the sky is blue but walk outside you see a
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shroud of dust and smog you can see and smell. the air has been polluted by poorly maintained cars and toxic material burnt for heat and get rid of garbage by setting it on fire >> it is really dangerous >> reporter: this is an activist from a local advisory group that consults the government on the environment. he says poisonous particles in the air are the cause for 2000 deaths a year >> we are lose a greater number of citizens. if it was only one person affected, attacks a problem. >> reporter: the deputy director of the national environmental agency insists the government takes pollution seriously. why is it your government-- why isn't your government doing more? >> it is a long-term process. >> reporter: there are things that the government can do now. for example, raise public
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awareness. it's relatively inexpensive. why isn't the government doing that now? >> the government has started this. this.
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technical difficulties >> reporter: now the u.s. congress has passed a bill that will ban the import of goods produced by forced and child labor. >> what the old law said mr president is basically economics just trumped human rights. >> reporter: from seafood caught in south-east asia from cotton grown in kasakzsta in could be
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band. aggressive enforcement by the u.s. department of homeland security will be key to the law's success. >> reporter: dhs is going to put the resources in the right place and they're going to have to change the way that they investigate. they have investigators over the world so their capacity is there. they have to catch up with how it works in
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>> reporter: after selling her bites she is go to a shop that accepts the vouchers. she buys bread using her hard currency currency
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