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tv   News  Al Jazeera  October 27, 2013 3:00am-3:31am EDT

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>> hundreds, thousands die every year trying to reach a safe haven. on al jazeera we bring you coverage of the refugee crisis from around the world. >> i'm on a beach in west java, indonesia the point where most asylum seekers trying to reach australia depart from. >> i'm outside a detention center in sydney - once they arrive in australia, some migrants are held. [ ♪ theme ] hello from doha. plen plenty more international news.
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syria is forcing amputees to improvise. a 3-day strike begins in bangladesh, pressuring the government step aside. >> polls open in georgia. three candidates fight after a decade-long brawl. >> the promise of water in kenya. we'll look at what change if any an ak qidier will have -- ak qidier will have for his people. >> no one will forget the pictures of the hundreds of drowned migrants near the shores of cystly. here a special on the refugee crisis. with our reporters around the world. we are focussing on indonesia, where thousands of asylum seekers head to - mainly from afghanistan and the middle east in a voyage across the indian ocean to australia. most are fleeing war, political unrest and poverty. they sail into more political
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problems because the indonesia hasn't signed up to the 1954 unconvention. australia is a signatory. the asylum seekers pay thousands to people smugglers for a hazardous boat trip to christmas island - in the australian territory - near to indonesia. >> andrew thomas is at the villawood detention centre in sydney, australia. >> and stephanie in java, where thousands of migrants begin the journey to australia each year. >> talk us through the process, how the refugees begin their journey to christmas islands. >> this is a major escape route, the closest point between indonesia and australia. to get to christmas island from here is 300km by boat. many are not making it. hundreds
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died at sea, and many are intercepted by police getting here. asylum seekers from afghanistan, iraq, myanmar fly to jakarta, or they take a boat - depending on travel documents. they hook up with a people smuggler. there's a lot of people smugglers reactive here. they pay thousands and in the middle of the night they arrive at a beach. they've been transported from a safe house to get here. many make it. they'll be transported by small boat and many are intercepted by police. like a group of 230 rohinga who tried to reach this place and failed, as you can see in our report. >> this man was arrested, transporting around 230 ethic rohinga seeking refuge from myanmar. he was taking them to a boat when authorities stopped them. the police intercepted six trucks full of asylum seekers. this was the only person
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arrested. he said he was trapped into becoming a smuggler. >> translation: i was afraid when i saw the people going into the trucks. i told them i was not going ahead with this. the men who ordered the transport screamed that they'd burn my trucks and threatened me with a gun. >> police are looking for the head of the syndicate. a police officer is suspected of being involved. the rohinga are not seen as illegal immigrants. the police told them to go. they are in the same village they started from, afraid and in shock. >> these are the rohinga asylum seekers, found after trying to reach australia from boat. they paid $3,000 to a smuggler. now they are broke but desperate to make the journey by boat. >> all of them have been stuck in indonesia for eight months or longer. many tried three times to leave by boat.
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>> we don't trust the smugglers. we spent all our money. even though we don't trust them - we have to try it again. we have no choice but to try to reach australia. we have no help in indonesia. >> authorities are blamed for not doing much to stop the smuggling, even making a property from it. >> translation: so far i have not dealt with police officers involved in smuggling, i have heard the allegations. >> it is rare for police to arrest the leaders. we get a man. according to police he's responsible for smuggling hundreds of people. he is optimistic he'll be free. this man may not be so lucky. >> that was steph with that side of the story from java in indonesia, and now we'll head to sydney and talk to andrew
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thomas, outside the villawood detention centre in sydney. how are the asylum seekers received once they arrive where you are? >> well, australia, of course is a country with a long history of immigration, many arriving as refugees. the rhetoric and policy of anti-immigration and anti-refugee notched up a few gears. people who arrived by boat were transferred to detention centres like this. they are effectively prisons. while people are held, their applications were assessed to decide whether or not they were genuine refugees. if they were, eventually - sometimes it took years, they were allowed to stay in australia. that policy did not prove tough enough for the australian public nor politicians. the policy has been toughened further. anyone that arrives by boat and claims asylum is deported to nauru or papua new guinea, two
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tiny countries that depend on australian help. those two countries are supposed to assess people for their refugee status. if they are found to be genuine, it's up to those countries to resettle them, somewhere that isn't australia. australia is pushing asylum seekers away from their shores and doesn't want to accept responsibility yip. >> how does that work, the fact that australia is a signatory to the u.n.'s refugee convention much 1951. . >> well, to keep it short, it's a fudge. australia says that what it is doing is it is transferring to other countries that are signatories to the convention, and they are not endangering the lives of people they end elsewhere. for many critics, australia is a signatory, and should be doing its duty. australia says as a country it settles many refugees from camps around the world. it insists those are people that have gone though the proper u.n.
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process, plying for asylum in other countries, and are brought to australia by the australian government. rather than queue jumping. that is a controversial thing to say. many think all australia is doing is pushing suffering away. if people are not getting on boats, they are stuck in south-east asian countries or not leaving the countries from which they are fleeing per cent accusation, it's a vuj in many way, and doesn't do australia favours on the international stage. >> well explained. andrew thomas in sydney. and steph in java. team coverage from the south pacific of the refugee crisis. >> a day of coverage on al jazeera. later on sunday we look at nav ka, europe the caribbean. this is the interactive section. we put together a price of passage map, showing how and where mying grants are travelling on the journeys.
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you can find blogs from our teams on the crisis in the region. all of that at >> to other news and growing anger. revelations about the u.s. spying program on their leaders. there's outrage inside the united states. hundreds of demonstrators in washington d.c. have been protesting against eavesdropping on american citizens. jean meserve was at the rally. >> in washington hundreds gathered to protest the nsa surveillance program. the man who made them public was called a hero. former nsa contractor edward snowden is in russia, but sent a statement. >> it's about power, control and trust in deposit. about whether you have a voice in our democracy or decisions are made for you, rather than with you. >> the prot testers' message to the government - you've been
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listening to u so now here thx. >> it bothers me because we don't know what is going on. it bothers me because every time you send a tweet, email or tweet or picture, you don't know that the information is held. i think it's wrong. >> i think people have a right to privacy. >> i support the constitution's view that we should be secure from unreasonable search and seizure. >> the demonstrators delivered to congress a petition with more than half a million signatures, urging that domestic surveillance be stopped. >> it's time to roll back the surveillance statement. time to restore the 4th amendment. it is time to repeal the patriot act. >> it is acknowledged that many americans are apathetic about nsa surveillance and bringing about change will not be easy.
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>> in syria there has been more fighting between government groups and rebels. this is amateur footage showing machine guns and rocket propelled grenades being fired against military targets. more than 115,000 have been killed since the fighting in 2011. there has been many wounded. with limited resources syrians have had to be inventive to treat those that lost limbs, for example. >> it may be a cliche, but it's true - necessity really is the mother of invention. arguably this could not be more true tore syrians living -- for syrians living under a siege in damascus. here they have taken it upon themselves to manufacture prosthetic limbs - but with a twist. parts of these are made from remnants of the things used by omar al-bashir's army to kill and maim. metal from bomb shells and
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blown-up cars is melted and moulded to help the disabled. >> this joint here, for example, is made from the hinge of a destroyed car. it has the same function as your knee. we are forced to make do with what we have. >> this is one of those people whose life has been all but wrecked by the war. his left leg was bluescope off. thanks to imagination and generality of the people. he has a home-made prosthesis free of charge. >> translation: at first i had to depend on a stick and could barely hobble from place to place. the volunteers made me a replacement leg. i don't need a stick at all. >> prior to the war, those volunteering had different professions as mechanics, car pen terse and blacksmiths. as the war united millions, it's brought together the people in their efforts to help each other.
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. in the news ahead, calculating the cost of bangladesh's absent politicians. the search for water in kenya. we report from a drought-stricken region.
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[ ♪ theme ] top story for you are here on al jazeera. the u.n. says there's more refugees than at any time since 1994. part of our day here at al jazeera we looked at the global crisis that sees people risking their lives to reach distant
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shores. >> hundreds protest in washington d.c. angry over claims that personal emails and phone calls are monitored. >> more fighting between government troops and rebels in the syrian capital damascus. heavy machine guns and gren aids have been propelled against military targets. >> fresh unrest across bangladesh as the main opposition party begins a 3-day strike, following violence between police and opposition supporters in dacka. six people were killed. the bangladesh nationalist party wants the prime minister to hand power to a caretaker administration ahead of the january elections. boycotting parliament is part of the political culture in bangladesh. this is from a survey transparency international. opposition mps skipped more than 80% of working days.
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from january 2009 to 2012, they didn't show up or walked out more than 7,500 times, costing millions in productivity. we have this report. >> heated arguments and walkouts used to be common in bangladesh's parliament. lately they are rare. it's not because the political parties learnt to get along. instead there has been no one to argue with. according to transparency international. mps from the opposition party skipped over 80% of working days in parliament. >> an important part of parliament's work is representing constituents. they are supposed to be in parliament to talk about issues that voted them in to the parliament. if a member of parliament doesn't attend parliament or the session, he's depriving his own constituents of being heard in parliament - a basic objective.
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yes, it does hurt. >> instead of critiquing policies and legislation, the opposition boycotted parliament and took to the streets instead. a senior opposition leader says there's no joys. >> they speak of shutting down the microphones of the opposition. the opposition submitted 2,500 in the span of the first four years of this parliament. would you believe the government has not accepted a single notice. >> the ruling party itself began the culture of boycotting parliament. since then things have become worse and worse. today there's hard anything taking place within these halves the public is -- these halls. the public is frustrated by the parties. >> the ruling party things it can do whatever it wants. the opposition feels there's no point in doing or saying anything. in the environment, maybe you
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would be boycotting parpt itself. >> to avoid the standoff they are looking at a power-sharing deal. few think it will succeed. >> we'll talk to the executive director of transference international in bangladesh - the group that authored the report. this doesn't work. if you an opposition politicians who are supposed to hold the government to account and they are not turning up to work, how can parliament or democracy function in bangladesh? >> with the, what we have here today is nothing new. it is unfortunately become a part of the political culture. it started from the parliament in 1991, and at that point in time, they boycott. today it is about more than 85%.
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basically there's two reasons for it. one is politics is confrontational and politics is zero-some gain. there's a strong linkage of business and politics. in the first parliament there was 85% who had business. and this parliament is 60%. members look at the public offer as offers of profit and opportunity. what happens is as a part of this politics, the parliament becomes a party of the opposition. they do start to boycott. all this is happening every day. >> i'll interrupt you. we have a satellite delay. people in bangladesh must be fed up with this. you can vote for one side, the government who you may or may not like, but the opposition is
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not representing interests because it is not turning up. >> yes. that's one of the key problems. the parliament, awes you say in the report, it is supposed to hold the deposit to account. if the opposition is .cotting and taking advantage of the constitutional permission that allows up to 90 days of absence. what if it becomes an opportunity given by the constitution for personal absence is a deliberate policy on the part of the opposition party, or the coalition to take a deliberate absence from the parliament. >> i'll interrupt you again, sorry. the constitution - does there need to be an amendment a chance of a constitution amendment? i think two things. one is about the constitutional amendment, the provision that i
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mentioned. which is misused. it doesn't allow the parties and block coalition that is an issue. that has to be done by the parliament members themselves, to stay away from the culture. secondly, what we think is important is to impose a legal restriction on boycotting of the parliament. without which, with this culture, given the culture of unconditional politics and zeerosome gain, that cannot be handled. we need a new law. >> thank you for joining us from transference international. we appreciate your time. >> now, in mumbai a teenage girl has been forced to drink acid before being thrown into the sea - just a warning you may find some pictures disturbing. the woman was attacked during a family dispute. on the day she got engaged to be
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married. it was estimated 1 thousz acid a -- 1,000 acid attacks happen against indian women. some say the government is not doing enough to prevent further attacks. >> elections in georgia. there are 33 candidates. we'll take you to some leading contend ants. >> mikheil saakashvili, the disputy prime minister, front runner to win. >> bragg , he's from the nationalist movement. and nino burjanadze, from united georgia. previously aligned with mikheil saakashvili, she was speaker of the house, but stepped down in protest against the president and formed her own party. those are the players. we'll talk to our man. what's the feeling about free and fairness of these elections coming up?
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>> well, you know we always say this is an historic election. that's a favourite cliche. this is for a couple of reasons. mikheil saakashvili is standing down. he is going without a fuss. that is fairly unusual for a post-soviet country. he was unpopular in his final few years in office, the opposition accusing him of acting like a dictator and being authoritarian. he turned the country around. the lights stay on in the evenings. he dealt with petty corruption. you don't pay police bribes in georgia. another first - the international community generally commended the georgeans for holding a relatively free and open electoral process. this race today is expected to be a fair one. >> i sort of buzzed through the main candidates. tell us about them in a bit more
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detail. >> well, david is expected to pick -- david bakradze is spected to pick up votes. there's nino burjanadze - she's a veteran politician. she has been around a while. generally she is considered to have the support of moscow, always influential in this part of the world. the front runner, as you mentioned is georgi margvelashvili. he is a political unknown. he only became education minister in february. he's doing well. partly because the georgeans, i think, want to give the governing coalition a chance. he has the support, the backing of the most power of the force
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in georgan politics. the prime minister mikheil saakashvili. controversially the prime minister has said he is going step down. powers will be transferred after the election to the executive. so the prime minister will become more powerful. here is what was th when i spoke earlier. >> translation: without me it would have been impossible to fight this author tare can regime created by mikheil saakashvili's power. i came to power and did everything i needed to do. and now i'm leaving. i will keep this promise as well. >> this man is a billionaire.
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he spent money getting his party into office. he will not sit quietly. he'll have influence. we have an open democratic election, but underneath it all the idea of a billionaire puppet master pulling the strings. >> thank you for that. >> two large ak whichfie -- aquifiers has been discovered in kenya's north, in a country where millions lack access to drinking water. >> here are children and grandchildren on a search for water. there's a drought in some parts. that means they have to go farther and dig deeper to get the water. when they find the water, it
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does not matter how dirty it is, they have to make do. >> waterborne diseases are common. they have not heard about the discovery of a large volume of undergroundwater, 30km from her home. >> translation: getting food and water is a struggle for my family and i. if what you are saying is true, our life will change, i hope it's not a false promise. >> this beacon maps one of two aquifer, is that have been discovered. it may supply the country for 30 years. >> people now there was water underground. this is called land of water. it is where different rivers meet before heading on to feed the lake, a life line to thousands. >> drought-related deaths are common in the region. this woman shows us her brother's grave and says at the time of his death he was
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malnourished. that is what the government wants to stop. the water will be crucial for irrigation, with a good supply of water, they can produce enough food to sustain 1 million people. >> our first priority is to ensure the people, the communities benefit. thereafter we can see how the rest of the country can enjoy the resources. >> but it will take a while before the water reaches each person here. this family on hearing about the discovery moved closer to the aquifer which has been sealed for now. they decided to move on after a couple of days. they are heading towards sudan. they hope that by the time they come back, they won't have to move again. . just a quick bit of sports new, red bull's sebastian vettel
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is on poll for a fourth successive formula 1 crown. that is after lapping the indian grand prix circuit faster than any driver. look for that in the sport bull tip in the news hours. more news online at a complicated and often strained relationship. the two countries share vital


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