latest from the countries meet in brunei with maritime disputes at the top of the agenda. the other top stories on al jazeera. nine dead but scores managed to escape a fire at a clothing factory in bangladesh. the afghan families have had to wait decades for information on relatives who went missing under communist rule. and defying the odds. the man who survived two shark attacks nine years apart.
maritime disputes in the south china sea are dominating talks add at asean summit. leaders have been joined at the annual meeting in brunei by eight other countries including china, japan, south korea and russia. japan says it controlling a group of uninhabited islands in the south china sea but china says it's part of their territory. another collection of islands in the south china sea are claimed by several countries including china, the philippines, vietnam, brunei, and malaysia. we have the report now from southern china. >> reporter: this fish port is one of the busiest. last year the catch brought back here was 70,000 pints, worth
$200 million u.s. dollars. this fisherman says it isn't as easy to earn money as it used to be. for a higher wage they have to go further out to sea, battle stronger currents and risk encountering vessels from neighboring countries. >> the islands are all chinese territory. we're not afraid of going fishing. our navy will protect us. >> reporter: it's the presence of the chinese military in sdmuted waters some 330 kill meters that has raised tensioning in the region. china says it has a historical claim on almost all of the resource-rich south china sea, but some neighbors disagree and china is being accused of becoming more and more aggressive in protecting its fishermen. the fishing community here says the chinese government encouraging them to go further out giving them freshwater for the journey and free petro. it allows them a larger catch, but it strengthens the claim of
sovereignty. a claim formally contested by the philippines before an international maritime tribunal, an unwelcome move on this side of the water. the chinese government has maintained the matter should be kept between the states directly involved. >> translator: the two sides should always properly handle the issues through equal dialogue and friendly negotiation in order to safeguard bilateral relations and resolve stability. >> reporter: china has agreed to sit down with asean member countries and begin discussions for a more binding code of conduct in disputed waters. for the fishing community here, the entanglements of government and international law are beyond their concern. >> translator: the fishermen can get along very well even if you're from different countries. to be honest, we don't care about politics. >> reporter: there are no barriers at sea, they say, here, and there must be a way for everyone to benefit. like fishermen elsewhere, they
say they only want to earn a living without risking the start of a war. >> where is the territorial dispute that affects them? where is it at politically now? >> reporter: at the moment they have collectively said they've taken a step forward in that china under the leadership of scombring has for the first time agreed to sit down and begin discussions with asean member states as a whole. they already have a declaration of conduct for claimant states in the south china sea, which is nothing more than a political statement that they agreed on in 2002. what they want is a more formal, more binding agreement that might also set up a mechanism by which china and other claimant countries can set up a mechanism to take disputes to to try to resolve them peacefully.
at the moment china has been pushing for bilateral negotiations, meaning china wants to talk independently to vietnam, the philippines and malaysia. however, the asean states would rather speak to china as a block. at the same time, though, it has already taken matters into its own hands and taken their case to international arbitration with the united nations conventions on the law of the sea, a move that china is not happy about. all in all, all the leaders are making clear that they want to keep their relationships strong despite any maritime disputes, especially since economically this entire region is very interdependent with china. >> given china's past behavior that these member countries saw as aggressive, has it softened its stance at all? does it have ground to make up for here? >> reporter: well, this is the difficulty or indeed the irony
here, because as much as china says it's willing to engage with asean states and the other claimant nations and it has the same objective as the states which is regional stability, it has remained uncompromising in its position that at least 80% of the entire south china sea belongs to china historically at least. all the other claim states say there's little basis for this claim under international law. >> thank you very much. she's joining us from southern china. now, the disgraced chinese politician has been allowed to appeal against his life sentence. bo was jailed last month after being convicted for corruption and abuse of power. he was a rising star in the communist party and was tapped for a leadership position. around 7,000 people in eastern china have been moved to safety because of flooding. the typhoon struck on sunday
bringing heavy rain. one of the worst-hit places is machi where half the town is underwater. at least five have been killed as a result of the extreme weather. millions of people in southern india are facing power blackouts for a sixth day. electricity workers went on strike after the government announced a plan to split it into two states. a curfew is being put in place to prevent violent protests. the international crimes tribunal in bangladesh has found the senior opposition leader guilty of crimes against humanity. he's been sentenced to life imprisonment. the convictions led to protests and violence across bangladesh since january this year. he's the second nationalist party member to be found guilty by the tribunal. it relates to the 1971 war of independence.
davidbe bergman joins us live from the capital. it's good to have you with us. given the kwikdz we just mentioned of another bmp party member last week, given the convictions for six leaders of another opposition party, is the sentencing a surprise at all? how is it being received there? >> reporter: what is interesting, of course, about this verdict is it wasn't a death penalty. he's an 82-year-old man now in a wheelchair. he's the only one of the accused who had previously been on bail and was put in detention a few days before his judgment. he was not given a death penalty but life imprisonment until his death, so that's a significant decision by the tribunal. i think if he had been given a death penalty, there would have been much more significant protests by the opposition party. i mean, it has to be said that
there are people who are very much demanding that even alim in his wheelchair should receive a death penalty, but at the moment the response is quite mute. >> there's claims by opposition figures and human rights groups that this tribunal falls short of international standards. do you think that that might have been a part of the reason why alim wasn't given the death penalty here, or is the tribunal continuing with the prosecution of these figures? >> the criticisms that have come relating to the tribunal, which is mostly from outside from human rights watch, am nestle international and other groups, they are not accepted at all by the tribunal and not the government as well. so the judgment has nothing to do with the citizens. the tribunal believes it's a true try buena is providing it
to the motivated one. they argue they're highly inadequate and they point to the lack of independence of the judiciary of the judges and also to the lack of witnesses that are being allowed by the accused to present their cases. so there are two very different views about the tribunal, and at the moment it's unclear what the country is -- what view the country taking about the tribunal. i think there is a significant split, but the tribunal continues to have general popular support amongst the population of eastern dhaka. >> thank you very much. now, at least seven people have been killed in a garment factory fire in bangladesh. it's the latest in a series of accidents in the country's clothing industry. we have the report. >> reporter: it's happened again. this time it's the clothing factory in gazapor, 45 miles
from dhaka. >> translator: when the fire broke out, i came to search for my uncle working in the factory. i have not found him. i found out the fire started from a machine that exploded. many people ran out of the factory, but a few got stuck inside. >> reporter: officials describe the fire as massive. it started in the knitting section of the factory, and once again, people have died. it's the latest tragedy in a string of accidents that keep highlighting the lack of safety standards in the garment industry here. last november more than 100 people died in a fire at another clothing factory in the capital. in april of this yeeshgs more than 1,000 died when a garment factory collapsed. bangladesh is the second largest garment producer in the world. most of the products go to major western retailers, but the workers make very little money
and earn $38 a month. bangladesh has said it will improve safety standards, and there's been pressure on western buyers to demand reform. it seems nothing has been done. the u.s. president has accused of his republican opponents of holding the economy to ransom. barack obama is trying to end a deadlock, which has forced a partial shutdown of the government. he also called on republicans to vote on increasing government spending limits so that the u.s. can avoid defaulting on its debt. >> the american people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs. you don't get a chance to call your bank and say, i'm not going to pay my mortgage this month until you throw in a new car and an xbox if you're in negotiations around buying somebody's house, you don't say, let's talk about the price i'm going to pay and if you don't give me the price, then i'm going to burn down your house.
that's not how negotiations work. that's not how it happens in business. that's not how it happens in private life. in the same way, members of congress and the house of republicans in particular don't get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs, and two of their very basic jobs are passing a budget and making sure that america is paying its bills. just ahead on al jazeera, why music lovers in guinea hope the new government will revive traditions in danger of being lost.
it's good to have you with us. these are the top stories from al jazeera. leaders from arrived in brunei for the annual asean summits. disputes over territorial waters will dominate the first day of talks. a senior opposition figure in bangladesh has been found guilty of crimes against humanity. alim is the second to be found to be guilty by a war crimes tribunal. u.s. president barack obama has told opposition republican politicians to stop holding the economy to ransom, but he said he's willing to negotiate to end the deadlock, which has shut down parts of government for more than a week. sudan says it's freed most of the prisoners detained during two weeks of fuel protests last month. at least 50 people were killed and one of the biggest challenging in the president's
24-year rule. we have the report. >> reporter: calls for freedom, peace and justice are growing in sudan, and the government is having a hard time containing public anger. >> translator: when the government saw that a protest was continuous, geographically widespread and inspiring more people to go down to the streets, it decided to counter them with all its power. they could have changed the political situation. that's why the government used excessive force. >> reporter: thousands of sudanese took to the streets. at least 50 remember killed during a crackdown by security forces and hundreds remain contained. bashir never had such a cal lenni challenge to his government buzz opposition is not from the streets but within his own party as well. cracks appeared in the natural
congress party with 31 of the most influential members signed a letter calling on the government to implement reform. it was spearheaded by long-time ncp member. >> i think tension is mounting, is increasing in the country, and this division we talked about earlier and this polarization as it were existed. they're going to intensify. so you have to let out the pressure. if you don't do that, if you don't have a political recipe addressing those issues, the country can easily descend into it. >> reporter: it was seen by many as a warning to the government stating that, quote, it's legitimacy was never put into question as it is today. but the government was quick to dismiss the initiative. instead bashir called for an investigation into those behind it. the streets of khartoum are quiet now, but many warn this
could be the calm before the storm. 70% of the population is under 30, and the country's youth are becoming restless. >> actually, the poor have nothing to lose. okay? he wins or doesn't lose. what's he losing? health? he hasn't got food or education. it's not there. okay? then nothing scares him. >> reporter: so far the military has kept to the sidelines. many don't want the generals involved in their struggle, but if demands for change are not met soon, civil unrest will only grow. al jazeera, khartoum. the u.n. is talking about a plant for a joint mission to syria with the organization of the prohibition of chemical weapons. the proposal would see the u.n. take care of security and logistics. an advanced team of 20 inspectors from already in syria and have begun the task of
destroying the chemical weapons. the inspectors have about nine months to complete their mission. the u.s. is denying reports that hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance could be withdrawn from egypt. it's been reported that the obama administration has been considering this since the military coup in july. meanwhile, protests against that coup have continued. more than 1,000 students rallied at cairo university. argentina's president is recovering in hospital following surgery to remove a blood clot from her brain. it's thought she may have sustained the brain injury after a fall a few months ago. we have more from buenos aires. >> reporter: i'm outside of the hospital where the president is recuperating after the surgery she underwent on tuesday morning for a brain hemorrhage. this apparently caused by a blow
to her head sometime last month. according to doctors, the operation transpired without any problems. she is apparently recuperating satisfactorily. in fact, her press secretary says she's in good spirits and has sent greetings to all the people outside and who have been here since early in the morning on tuesday praying for the president's recovery. the presidential spokesman says the president will be in the hospital for 48 hours in intensive care. then she will be recovering from the operation for several weeks. it's unclear just how long she will be away from her position. in the meantime the vice president is in charge of the country. the handwritten sign that you see underneath the forecast of president christina fuerza, we love you. in two weeks the elections will be held there, and according to polls the government won't do
well at all. the fact the president is out of the commission and won't be able to campaign does not bode well for the ruling party. the current president is widely tipped to win a third term. he came to power in 2003 after the death of his father and former ruler. after almost four decades of war, afghans are only new beginning to get answers about victims from the earliest years of conflict in the country. a recently leaked list named thousands of those killed by the communist-backed regime in the '70s. jane ferguson reports from kabul. >> reporter: for decades these people have never been able to grieve. the death of their loved ones was a cruel secret. the names of almost 5,000 victims of early communist-backed rule between 1978 and 1979 were recently leaked. those relatives gathered to remember them by candlelight.
to the country's authorities, they were seen as a threat. they were arrested, and these families never heard from them again. only now are they sure their loved ones will never be coming home. this family lost husband and family abdul. his wife would grow old without him. his religious political beliefs scared the communists. >> translator: i was sitting at home that day. someone came from his shop. he came to the house and told me that they took abdul to the police station. he told me to hide all the books and the holy koran because the police may come and search the house. >> reporter: her son was too young to remember his father but spent his whole life until now imagining he would return. >> translator: we were just kids in the beginning. we were hoping for magic, that he would knock on the door someday, and we would open the
door and it would be him. all these years we had hope, and the day i heard about it was hard for me. partly i was happy because it's clear, but on the other hand we had the feeling we just lost him. it was a very hard day. i was at work. i closed the door and sat down and cried for hours. >> reporter: his wife had to break the news. the names of those killed appeared in a newspaper delivered to the library she works in. >> translator: as soon as i turned the page, his name appeared in front of my eyes. it was very hard for me. i didn't know how to tell him. i was alone in the library. tears came to my eyes, and i was confused about what to do. he called immediately, he said, did you check? then i said your father's name is there. i had never heard him cry before. as soon as i said that, i heard his cries. it was as though i had given him news of a recent death. >> reporter: life for most afghans between then and now is filled with war. this family is just one of an
untold number of families who would suffer such a loss. leaks such as this one could become more common giving those like this woman crucial but heart-breaking closure on decades of searches. jane ferguson, al jazeera, kabul, afghanistan. a man has been seriously injured in a shark attack off australia's south coast. it's the second time greg pickering has been mauled by a shark, something experts say defies all the odds, although i don't think it takes an expert to figure that one out. andrew thomas reports from sydney. >> reporter: greg pickering is either the unluckiest man in australia or the luckiest depending on whether you think being attacked by a shark is unlucky or surviving an attack twice makes you extremely lucky. he was diving for shells very prized off the southwest coast of australia when a shark
thought to be a great white attacked. he was hauled into a nearby boat and transferred by plane to perth where he's being treated for massive head, shoulder and neck injuries. this isn't the first time mr. pickering has been attacked. in 2004 another shark attacked him. at the time he said that wouldn't put him off getting back in the water. >> the shark grabbed me and sort of struck by. i felt the teeth go right into the bone when it was happening. i thought i had small odds. >> reporter: the odds of it happening twice to the same person are small, but tragically it has proved possible. in western australia they're deciding whether to hunt the shark. this is a spokesman for the fisheries department. >> if a sizable great white is caught in the coming hours from the information, i'm likely to give the order to destroy that
shark. >> reporter: conservationists don't like that. they say if you go in their environment, you should accept the risk. >> it's sad and it's a terrible experience for people. we're playing this in their waters. we have to be more careful. >> reporter: greg pickering has had ten hours of surgery and his condition is described as serious but stable. years of dictatorship in guinea had a negative impact on traditional music. with recent democratic elections many hope the new government will focus on developing music, art and culture. yvonne roreports from the capit. >> reporter: he's teaching students how to play traditional guineian instruments in the art center. some of these instruments are hundreds of years old. he's one of the few young people trying to make them popular. >> many young people aren't interested in traditional
because they hear everywhere hip-h hip-hop, radio music, and many kinds of that, you know? for me, i love every music. i don't traditional to be lost, finished, you know. i want it to continue from generation to generation. >> reporter: thousands of musicians have abandoned playing traditional music in guinea and the ancient dances that go along with it buzz years of dictatorship created so much poverty which made it impossible for musicians to earn a living. many left for other parts of west africa. democratic elections have been held, and people hope arts and culture are a priority for the new government and attract tourists. half of the problems facing artists here is only a tiny percent of the national budget goes towards developing art and culture. less than 2%.
>> translator: the state has so many other priorities in the area of health, water, electricity. what the state can do is never going to be enough, but it's not just a question of money. there are other factors like the market for traditional music and culture. over 50% of guineans live in poverty and over 70% are illiterate. there's huge mineral wealth here, and the economy is expected to grow by 5% next year, which will create some wealth. he's hoping some money will flow into developing traditional music so he can help more young people hold onto the art. >> translator: i want to teach young people maybe wo don't know this music and the story of this music. if i get somebody that can help me, i'm very happy to meet with this person because in guinea