welcome to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy, here are the stories we're following for you. a key ruling on detroit's bankruptcy filing is handed down. new efforts to bring home an american detained in in cuba. plus the white house prepares a new defense of the affordable care act. the president is set to speak a few hours from now. ♪ we have breaking news to report to you out of detroit. the judge in the bankruptcy
filing there that was ruling on the edgeablety has ruled that detroit can proceed with its bankruptcy filings. let's go straight to our reporter in report. bisi onile-ere. bisi, the judge has made the ruling. what is at steak here? >> reporter: there are a number of things at steak. retiree pensions are on the line. these are checks that people depend on every month. and masterpieces at the detroit institutes of art could be auctioned off to help get the city back on financial footing. this hearing has been going on for about an hour now. and the judge put together a 180-page report detailing his decision to declare the city bankrupt. as you can see behind me there are about 60-plus protesters that are opposed to this
bankruptcy. they have been out here chanting, no justice, no peace, and no bankruptcy. and they have been doing this for the past four months. >> how many pensioners will be effected in the city of detroit based on these rulings? >> reporter: there will are about a little over 20,000 pensioners, as i mentioned, who depend on these checks. just the other day we interviewed a retiree every month he receives about $800 from the city, and right now he is terrified. it's unclear if the judge is going to make any decision on whether the pensions will be touched or not. but everybody is waiting around here with baited breath. >> what was the judge have to consider in order to allow the bankruptcy filing to continue? >> reporter: well, the judge made some pretty strong comments as he was talking during this hearing, and he said that the
city no longer has the resources to provide its residents with basic services, and there is enough evidence to prove that detroit is broke, and running out of money. and just to put it blankly, the judge said the city needs help. >> i know this ruling just came down minutes ago, so you might not have had a chance to talk to the protesters behind you, but what do you expect the feeling will be among these pensioners. >> reporter: they are absolutely terrified on what the next step will be. a lot of retirees this is their only source of almost. and if it is reduced or eliminated some said they will fall on bad times. so it's very, very interesting turn of events here today.
>> okay. bisi onile-ere with the latest out of detroit. again, the breaking news, is the federal bankruptcy judge has ruled that detroit can continue and is eligible for file for bankruptcy. joining me now to talk about this decision is the president of the american college of bankruptcy. thanks for being with us. was this a forgone conclusion in >> in my view it was. and there were a lot of people in front of me who had the same view. >> what happens to these retirees and pensioners. you heard our reporter discuss how some of them really do depend on this chuck. >> well, time will tell. the plan that the city will propose and -- it is stated that it will propose by the end of the year should give pensioners come clue as to what the outcome
will be. but what i suspect will happen is there will be further negotiations. the overarching legal issue is whether the court can impair pensioner's rights. their council will argue that state law prohibits a bankruptcy court from impairing their rights. that's what the negotiation will be about before there's any litigation. >> okay. and i just want to clarify that this ruling is happening right now, and the judge is still talking about his reasoning. but we know he appears to have approved the eligibility. isn't there something -- is this bankruptcy the only path for detroit? was this the only way out in your estimation? >> yes. the fact is there are serious financial problems facing the
city. they have to be fixed, and the reason that i say it's the only path, it's the only effective path to fix the problem. other cities have avoided it, but what i suspect is the problem with detroit, there are too many players, the liabilities are too big, too many competing interests, and if there's any chance of fixing them, chapter 9 represents it. >> i understand the next step is the emergency manager needs to submit a plan on how detroit will come out of this. how soon might we see that plan submitted? >> according to the news reports, he proposes to file it by the end of this year, the end of this month, but usually what happens that's the beginning of the negotiations. that is the opening round, where he states his view on how to fix
the financial problems. other people will negotiate with him, and usually what happens that plan will be modified if the there's a consensual resolution. >> i imagine this isn't the end of the legal challenges? >> it's the beginning of the next chapter. >> so who might we see file suit? the creditors? the pension funds? the unions? >> well, suits -- all litigation is stayed. that's one of the advantages of chapter 9. what it does is provide a vehicle for people to negotiation. and one of the reasons we have seen in the past, in this case, mediators have been appointed to help people reach a conclusion, because the legal issues are so naughty and will take so much time to resolve, people will
eventually come to the table -- this is what happened in central falls, rhode island, the pensioners agreed to a reduction in their obligations. >> if this all goes through, how long do you think before we see the motor city get back on its feet. >> to ask the question is to answer it. i don't have a crystal ball. it will take time. but eventually people will see the light. the expense of one of these -- for lack of a better term, debt restructuring will usually bring people to the table and their senses. it could be six months. it could be six years. >> all right. michael cook thank you for joining us. i want to go back to detroit where bisi onile-ere is live. bisi i understand you have some more clarification for us on what judge rhodes exactly ruled? >> yeah, he is going through a
180-page report that he put together, stephanie, and he is almost going page by page. he is being very pattic lar with this whole process. everything he is saying is leading everyone to believe that he is going to come out and say the city is indeed bankrupt. this hearing has been going on for a little over an hour now, and we are expecting that the judge will make a decision any minute now. >> all right. beessy, we'll continue to check back with you. as federal investigators gather evidence in that deadly train crash in new york, questions will be raised about what could have prevented the tragedy. lisa, good morning to you. so transportation experts have
been talking about this technology that may have prevented the crash. can you tell us a little bit more about that. . >> good morning, stephanie. it's called positive train control. it's a safety system that congress has mandated for the railroads. it is supposed to be in place by the end of 2015. it is partially a computer system, but it uses gps, and senators on the train and tracks. we talked with ntsb board member earlier today about this system. >> positive train control, which is a -- a technical name for a system that prevents trains from occupying the same set of tracks. it does provide signals for the train to slow. we don't know if that would have made a difference in this
accident. we'll certain be looking at that. >> this is a very complicated and expensive system to install. metro north which ran the train has already told the federal government it will not make the 2015 deadline. it wants an extra three years. so stephanie any system like this is still a ways away. >> lisa, meanwhile the investigation continues. you mentioned speed is a factor. what is the next step in this investigation? >> the ntsb has revealed this train was going 82 miles an hour in a 30 mile an hour zone as it hit this curve. the question is why was it going so fast? today they expect to interview additional crew members. they'll continue to look at the
data, and continue to examine the rail cars which have been moved to a nearby rail yard and they will get a thorough going over. stephanie? >> lisa with the latest from new york. thank you. today marks four years since alan gross was detained in the cuba. the cuban government says he was part of a u.s. attempt to undermine the government and ordered him jailed for 15 years. his wife and supporters plan to go to the white house this afternoon, hoping to pressure president obama and gain gross's freedom. libby will you remind us about alan grossman, what he was doing in cuba when he was detained? >> reporter: sure, stephanie, when he was 60 years old from the d.c. suburbs, he was working in cuba for the u.s. agency for international development, in in
work that was designed to help the jewish community in cuba get better access to the internet. they arrested him on his departure back to the d.c. area and convicted him of subversive communication in a project. and since that time his family has been fighting to get him out. >> we are also hearing that allan gross has made a personal plea to the president. >> that's right. he has written a letter and says he felt abandoned by his country. his wife had to sell their home, his career is essentially ruined. he spent 20 years doing develop work overseas, and he says that has all been destroyed now, and he feels, and the family feels that the obama administration could be doing more.
he is a really a victim of an old cold war. cuba wants something in return for his release. one of the things they are pushing for is the release of the cuban five. they were convicted back in 2001 of spying on anti-castro forces here in the us. cuba says that is a point of leverage they would like to exercise. so alan gross's family wants the obama administration to get more involved. >> libby other efforts are underway to free alan gross. >> reporter: well the family is gathering here outside the white house in just a short amount of time. and they are also trying to put pressure on the u.s. senate. more than 60 senators have put
their signatures to the push for more action. the senators can't asking for the u.s. crede ground to cuba, but they want the white house to be more involved. this afternoon there will be a campaign launched to promote the affordable care act. the 85-year-old american held in north korea had reportedly supervised south korean gorillas during the war. the associated press said former members of the group were to
meet newman at the airport. he served in this the korean war, and authorities say they are holding him to investigate war crimes. he was shown on north korean tv reading what north korean officials say was an apology. vice president joe biden says he is concerned about china's expansion of the air defense zone in the east china sea biden told japanese leaders the u.s. will stay committed to their alliance. stephanie is in tokyo. >> reporter: the u.s. vice president has offered words of reassurance to japan on tuesday. he says he is deep concerned about china's actions. nobody is quite sure what it means, but obviously there is a grave risk of some kind of accident between aircraft from
the chinese side and japanese side. and the fact that joe biden has come out so strongly in support of japan should serve as a message to china. he said there is nothing worse than an intentional war, than an unintentional one. and that reflects the gave concerns people have between accidents between aircraft from different nations. tensions are rising in ukraine, where the country's opposition failed to force the government with a no-confidence vote in parliament. the current president blocked a deal calling for closer ties with the eu. the government meanwhile is apologizing as protests intensi intensify. the protests have drawn hundreds
of thousands of people into the streets. police have been ordered not to clash with demonstrators in thailand, and allow them on to government property. here is how the clashes started. it began with fighting between bangkok's middle class and royalist establishment against the supporters of the current prime minister and her brother a former prime minister. her brother was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and now lives in self imposed exile. he is widely seen as the power behind the current government. wayne haye has more on today's development. >> reporter: it was expected to be another violent day in this part of the thai capitol. riot police and anti-government protesters prepared to once
again trade tear gas and rocks outside of the headquarters of the metropolitan police. instead they worked together to pull away barriers. a truce had been called to ease tension ahead of the king's birthday on thursday. around the corner there was a similar scene. the protesters were allowed to pass through the battle line. combatants turned comrades again. at least for now. those trying to push for political change were then able to enter the grounds of government house unopposed. this is another significant development in thailand. they have cut the gates, cut the locks to the grounds of government house and now anti-government protesters are about to storm in. they were told by their leaders not to enter the building itself which was guarded by soldiers. instead they enjoyed a brief
stay on the man cured lawn. after an hour they left and locked the gate behind them. >> translator: this government has no right to run the country that's why the thai people came here to show their power. it's a symbol that we own the country. >> reporter: but the goal of removing the government hasn't been reached. the prime minister is still in charge. she talked to the head of the army. a general has been involved in in talks between the opposing sides in recent days. it seems protesters won't back down for long, though. the leader repeated his line that the government must go. at the end of a confusing day, cleaners moved into the area around the prime minister's office. but the protesters are still on the streets, and the government is still in power.
meaning people are no closer to an outcome. it is a record number that hasn't been seen since the great depression. what banks are doing that hasn't been done in over 85 years. seriously wrong... >> there's been acrimony... >> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself? and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story next only on al jazeera america
welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. here are today's headlines. new information on that deadly train crash in new york. investigators say it was dangerously speeding on the track at 82 miles per hour into a curve when it flew off of the rails. they are trying to determine if human error or mcal problems are to blame. president obama and congressional democrats are trying to change the debate over the affordable care act. this afternoon they'll launch a three-week effort to explain the law's benefits. a judge is deciding tonight
where the city of detroit is eligible for bankruptcy. detroit has rough i will $18 billion of debt. if the bankruptcy is allowed to move forward, they could be forced to cut the pensions of city workers. ♪ the selloff on wall street continues. the dow down about 84 points right now. some traders are saying investors are worried about the fed pulling back on its stimulus program. america now has the fewest number of banks since the great depression. the u.s. once had 18,000 banks. the closing or consolidation of smaller banks accounts for the decline. big three car makers are reporting one of the strongest novembers in years. chrysler u.s. sales jumping 16%. that's the best november rise in
chicago. so large areas seeing some very dense fog this morning. temperatures are dropping in in north dakota. 50s in st. louis and tulsa, so there is that cold air moving south, the warm air is coming north. as the cold air moves in, we are seeing some snow falling. at least a 24-hour period of snow is falling. and it is not done. there will be more development as the storm slowly moves towards the great lakes. that's tuesday and wednesday. there is the cold air. in fact it's an arctic blast coming down from the north. some snow continues to come down in north dakota and south dakota. three to six inches in the dakotas. 4 to 8 closer to minneapolis, and a foot of snow could drop in
colorado, and the temperatures feel like they are in the negative numbers. close to 30 below in rapid city and close to 1 in minneapolis. as the storm moves farther east wednesday into thursday this front stalls out. bitter cold air up north, now we're getting some warm air up over that cold air. this is freezing rain on thursday. and then the rain continues to spread east through the mid-atlantic. stephanie? dave thank you for. waing. a ruling has been made on detroit's bankruptcy filing. we'll have more on that at the top of the story. i'm stephanie sy "inside story" is next. for more you with always head to our website, aljazeera.com.
♪ >> president obama says the healthcare.gov website is significantly improved. the administration said the site can now handle 50,000 people at once and 800,000 users a day. that's on the could called front end as people browse the site. but the back end is still a work in progress. that's where the real business