welcome to "al jazeera america." i'm del walters. here are the stories we're foming for you. there's growing doubt in israel that the palestinians are committed to peace. >> a renewed effort to bring peace to the middle east. john kerry heading back to israel. plus an explosion in lebanon. at least six people dead in a hezbollah stronghold. the northeast is bracing getting ready for another major snowstorm. secretary of state john kerry's visit to the middle east topping our newscast at this
hour. he's in that region setting up the framework for peace talks that he hopes will come later. kerry landing in israel earlier today. al jazeera has more from jerusalem. >> reporter: palestinians and israelis have been meeting for six months and had 20 meetings as part of these peace talks, but they're nowhere closer ton agreement when they started in july. secretary of state john kerry arrives here with a very simple, direct message to both sides. now is the time to decide whether you will make any compromises for peace. >> as i said not so many months ago at the airport as i left, the time is soon arriving where leaders are going to have to make difficult decisions. we are close to that time, if not at it. >> reporter: on the israeli side netanyahu is expected to agree to base the negotiations on
israel's borders before the 1967 war. that means without gaza and without the west bank and without the golan heights. that is not something that he personally has ever said he's been willing to do, nor has his party ever said that it will be willing to support him on. >> i know that you're committed to peace. i know that i'm committed to peace. unfortunately, given the actions and words of palestinian leaders, there's growing doubt in israel that the palestinians are committed to peace. >> reporter: on the palestinian side, president abbas is expected to be asked to recognize israel as a jewish state. the palestinians have recognized the right of israel to exist, but this one step further is something that netanyahu is demanding. palestinians find this very difficult. they say we recognize you as a state. why do we have to recognize the narrative of this land? in their opinion recognizing
israel as a jewish state means nobody living what is now israel before 1948 could return into israel. it also says that 20% of israel is arab. how can we call israel a jewish state? kerry is here through the weekend at least, and he's not expected to demand answers from either side, but his aides say within the month or so, he will expect both sides to decide whether they're ready for those compromises, and it's not clear right now whether either side is ready to do so. al jazeera, jerusalem. also in the middle east another massive explosion killing at least six people in lebanon. it happened in the southern suburbs of beirut, the lebanese capital. the area is also a stronghold of hezbollah. there are fears that the death toll will rise. dozens were injured, and so far no one claiming responsibility for the attack. turning to syria now, the u.n. humanitarian coordinator says aid agencies are having a tough time to help those
affected by the long and bloody civil war. >> the collapse of the country's infrastructure, ongoing targeting of civilians and militarization of schools and hospitals remain major concerns. we continue to stress the need for a political solution to the crisis. every day that passes leads to further deterioration of the situation, and we on the humanitarian side can only do so much. >> the u.n. is asking for $6.5 billion this year to help millions of syrians inside and outside of the country. hundreds of migrants are safe after what could have been a tragedy in the mediterranean sea. the italian navy rescued 2533 people on board a ship only 32 feet long. that stress call was off the coast of the italian island. it was filled with migrants, most of them from africa. it's the same site where hundreds died in a shipwreck lass fall.
in iraq disturbing new numbers from the united nations: the u.n. said on wednesday that close to 8,000 iraqi civilians were killed in 2013. that is one of the highest death tolls in the country every. already this year there have been sunni-led attacks on three police stations in anbar province. stephanie decker has more. >> reporter: it's been a vicious year for iraqis, and a new near isn't looking bar. sunni fighters are attacking police stations and released prisoners and seized weapons. there's anger here over the arrest of a prominent sunni and over the dismantlement of a sunni protest camp. iraqi shia government and maliki has accused many protesters of being members of al qaeda. maliki has sent in army reinforcements. he want to talk to sunni leaders in the province to resolve the standoff but not those allied
with al qaeda. >> we welcome our brothers from anbar willing to step forward to speak with us, consult and discuss. we want the real leaders of anbar. >> reporter: iraq has become bitterly sectarian. the country's sunni population has deep grievances with the shia government. it feels its interests are neglected. the attacks are often along sectarian lines, but it wasn't like this before the iraq war and it's a huge challenge for the government to try to reconcile. >> it needs political instruments to deal with the unhappy sunni population, and it needs military instruments to deal with al qaeda. as long as these two things are completed, there's no hope of a successful resolution. >> reporter: the goth has started to give extra aid to anbar province including oil, food and medicine. it all seems too late. maliki says fighters are taking advantage of the chaos to make
iraq even more unstable before the elections in april. so he doesn't have much time to get talks underway to try and calm things down. stephanie decker, al jazeera. in egypt three of our al jazeera colleagues now spending their fifth day in detangs. the producers are held in a prison outside of cairo. our correspondent remains inside a cairo police station. they'll expected to face further questions this weekend. al jazeera demands they be released immediately. a group of u.s. senators putting the pressure on afghan president karzai. they want him to sign the security deal, and karzai put off the signing until after the new elections. arizona republican john mccain says it poses a threat to afghanistan and the region. >> we cannot see a repeat of iraq. we've got to do everything that we can in order to see that this bsa is signed. at the same time we've explained it our afghan friends that
unless we resolve these differences, the united states of america has no choice but to not continue with its commitment. it's something we don't want to do. >> those differences could be resolved soon. he says if no deal is signed, all u.s. and nato troops have to leave afghanistan by the enld of the year. the violence in south sudan getting worse. hundreds are dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. negotiations began peace talks today in ethiopia. the president declared a state of emergency in an oil-rich battle ground state. we have the report. >> reporter: the declaration of a state of emergency by the president is more about giving government forces and officials a free hand to deal with the rebellion. within the government today a sense of embarrassment that they have lost the two key cities. fighting is going on this morning around those towns. in bor fighting began at dawn
when government forces were sent there as reinforcements to their political -- they were defeated on tuesday. they attacked rebel positions and fighting is going on there. the government is saying they will not stop the fighting until they get bor. also, fighting is going on around the town of ventil the oil-producing state. the government doesn't want the talks to begin before it gets control of it. dozens of researchers and tourists stranded on the research ship in antarctica are on their way to australia. a chinese helicopter took them from the ship. the 22 crew members stay with the vessel, which is in no danger of sinking. the icebreaker is expected to arrive in australia in about two weeks. it may look and feel like antarctica in the northeast over the next few days. tunes and cities and states are
all getting ready to clear several inches of snow. residents stocking up on food, water, shovels and other winter weather supplies. in the midwest they're digging out and saying to us, get ready. erica has more. >> reporter: this snowstorm taking dead aim at northeast has already wrecked havoc in the midwest. in minneapolis emergency crews responding to an apparent gas explosion worked underextreme conditions. sub-zero temperatures that turned water from their fire hoses into ice. as first responders rushed to help, some victims were forced to wait in the freezing cold. >> imagine if you're trying to advance a heavy hose line on an ice-skating rink. you know, it's very challenging. >> reporter: chicago was socked with at least nine inches of snow with more expected today. residents are digging out clearing sidewalks and getting around any way they can. >> it's still snowing, yeah.
i was like, is this ever going to stop? i thought after i took a couple naps it would slow down a bit, but it's still snowing. >> reporter: a steady snowfall in toledo, ohio as drivers being extra cautious, especially with another 3 to 5 inches through the morning. >> it's pretty icy out there. so even trying to go at a slow pace. >> they played in very chilly weather here in ann arbor. >> it was there where fans braved bone-chilling temps recovering around 12 degrees to watch hockey's winter classic. more than 100,000 people packed the stands, all bundled under near white-out conditions. >> you never seen snow before? >> you have to do what you have to do. big hockey fans, you know? >> reporter: cities between washington, d.c. and maine are bracing for the blizzard like white plains, new york where the salt supply is ready for the roads. >> we're playing cat and mouse with mother nature. >> reporter: in new jersey salt,
shovels and snow blowers are flying off the shelves as people prepare for the snow coming later today. >> they say between 6 to 14 inches, but with this i'll be ready for anything. >> that snow will make a mess of things up and down the east coast. dave warren joins us with all the details. >> the evening rush hour looks okay, so you're fine heading out the door this evening. the warnings and advisories are all in. nothing for washington, d.c., but it quickly goes to a winter storm warning around philadelphia. winter storm warning in new england, and these are blizzard warnings because that wind may increase. you combine that with blowing and drifting snow dropping the visibility for three hours, that would be a blizzard. could have conditions like that here over the next 24 hours. not much happening with this radar plus the clouds. there's a giant hole here. not much coming in yet, but that will change over the next few hours. temperatures freezing in philadelphia but drop into the 20s and single digits across new
england. very cold air. this is a light, fluffy snow and not a wet, heavy snow. we could get additional amounts with that because the snow is so light with that snow coming down. it will be easy to clear once it starts to come down and will quickly accumulate after 9:00, 10:00 tonight. that hole fills in. this is very heavy snow coming down by about 1:00 a.m. so by the time you wake up tomorrow morning, a lot of snow is on the ground and that wind will be picking up. look at those amounts and what temperatures to expect once this clears out is coming up with the national forecast later. del. >> thank you very much. next on "al jazeera america," bitcoin. it was a big surprise in 2013. now it's more popular than ever, and it's getting competition.
sergio garcia, the young, undocumented law student who wants to be accepted to the california bar won his case. just a short while ago, the california supreme court ruling that garcia could be licensed to practice law in the state. the ruling is regarded as a test case for immigration reform. it's a mexican immigrant and came to the u.s. as a child and hopes to become a u.s. citizen soon. hackers stealing the information from users on two popular social media sites. they stole the names and phone numbers of millions that frequent snap chat. you can send photos or videos that disappear after being opened. in another attack the syrian
electronic army claimed is attacked a database and user accounts at skype. bitcoin is the digital currency that made headlines last year. it continues to gain ground with vendors and that creates room for new digital currencies. patricia explains. >> reporter: when you buy something electronically like dollars, pesos orien, it passes through an intermediary. bitcoins are transferred directly from one person to another. it's verified about i a decentralized network of user computers that stops people from spending the same bitcoin twice, prevents fraud and keeps the supply growing at a steady rate. >> the fact there's not one point of failure, the fact that the bitcoin network is incredibly difficult to hack in the traditional sense, those are the things that all come from it's decentralized nature. >> the bitcoin user network is
made up of minors to verify transactions with the time stamp. think of a postmark on the envelope. the minor or group of minors who solve the problem first are rewarded with a small transaction fee and crucially 25 new bitcoins, currently worth about $20,000. ironically that handsome payoff threatens the network. those complex math problems that lie at the heart of it are solved faster using dedicated hardware than the garden variety pc. they're organizing themselves into pools that crowd out the little guys. >> you may in the future start seeing something like an opec of digital currency minors. >> the spekt spector of a bitcoin cartel is why it's rises
in the shadow. first runner-up is light coin. thousand the market cap is $600 million compared to bitcoin $9 billion, it can be mined competitively using a home computer. they're vying for a share of the digital currency market. no matter how attractive they are to investors, some governments just don't like digital currencies. india's central bank recently put a damper on bitcoin exchanges and china has banned financial institutions from handling bitcoins. still digital currency advocates insist there's no putting the up genie back in the bottle. >> they have found a way to send money over the internet instantaneously without any intermediary. it's not something governments can just stop. >> al jazeera, new york.
the 2013 stock market boom so far is a big bust. the dow is down 139 points on the first full trading day of the new year. tech stonings lead the decline after endless downgrade of shares of apple. chrysler will be owned solely by fiat. it will buy the remaining 41% of the company from the united auto workers union health trust. chrysler has been run by fiat since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. it's been a big money-maker for fiat. chrysler's sales rose last year. ukraine could be the world's leader in exports of grain and other agricultural products. practices dating back to the ways of the old soviet union could get in the way. jennifer glasse has more on the story from western ukraine. >> reporter: in some ways
agricultural hasn't changed much in the last hundred years. many work the fields by hand and most are still poor. the forced collective program was supposed to modernize farming, but it contributed to a famine that killed millions of farmers. when the soviet union collapsed in 1991 it met productivity plummeted at first but now it's booming. >> translator: look where we're standing now. this was an old collective farm in soviet times, and now it's one of the most modern agricultural complexes. >> reporter: even a farm like this one has a lot catching up to do. the average cow here produces 25 liters of milk a day, about 60 in europe. the sanitary conditions also leave much to be desired, so the milk can't be used to make expensive products like soft cheese or yogurt. the country has a lot of
potential. it has some of the richingest soil in the world and with better integration and closer ties to europe, ukraine could become a regional breadbasket. who owns that soil is a big obstacle here. >> land is always a problem here, because there's no clear ownership and right to buy or sell land, which, of course, makes it difficult to for people to invest. >> reporter: that makes modernization projects like this new seed plant expensive. they charge 25% interest. farming companies would like government reforms and some outside help. >> europe is more preferable for us in the financial sense because we may get development for modernization, or innovation for agriculture financial resources. in ukraine the resources are very expensive. >> reporter: europe is already ukraine's biggest customer and ukraine could sell more.
>> u.s. is the largest, and ukraine is number two producing at 50% of the capacity. ukraine actually has the capacity to equal or almost equal u.s. exports. >> reporter: it will take a lot of change to make ukraine's farm competitive in the 21st century. jennifer glasse, al jazeera, ukraine. coming up on "al jazeera america," a new species moving into the chicago area. why the rare snowy owls are making a comeback in the windy city calling it home now.
welcome back to "al jazeera america." i'm del walters. these are the headlines at this hour. secretary of state john kerry trying to keep hope alive for middle east peace, meeting today with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. netanyahu is saying that the u.s. and israel is committed to peace. he said he's not sure about the palestinian leadership. in beirut at least six people are dead, dozens more
wounded in the second bombing there in two weeks. today's death toll is expected to rise. that blast happening in a stronghold of hezbollah. the violence in south sudan is getting worse as leaders hold peace talks, the president declares a state of emergency in an oil-rich battleground. not since harry potter has the snowy owl captured so much attention. teams the owls are showing up in chicago, and that is a long way from the arctic tundra. al jazeera has a closer look. >> i try to get here at sunrise every morning and come here at sunset. >> reporter: it's a bone-chillingly cold morning on chicago's shore. he's hoping to snap a photograph of a snowy owl. >> we're probably the largest owls in north america, so there's just, you know, amazing. just beautiful to watch. beautiful to spend time with. >> reporter: with its bright yellow eyes, black beak and
puffy white plumage, it has a distinct appearance. it gain s notoriety in harry potter. >> i think the fascination is owls throughout history are seen as a spiritual creature. a wise owl. i think everyone wants to experience that. >> reporter: as this arctic nomad appears in harbors in chicago, bird watching enthusiasts have bravedment elements to get a glimpse. it feeds mostly on rodents and birds. they can locate and hone in on prey under heavy vegetation or even snow. experts at the lirng lincoln park zoo say food may explain it. >> sometimes there's a boom and bust cycle where they have a lot of chicks because their food source is available at certain times of the year. then after that the adults may be pushing the juveniles out of
the breeding territory in their range. they move further and further south looking for food outside of their territory. >> reporter: one resource that helped to attract snowy owl sightings is he-bird developed at cornell university. the online database provides real time information on where the owls are and where they are going. >> the first ones arrived in about mid-november. because of the internet and how birds get reported online now, we sort of knew to expect them. so people are out looking for snowy owls before they showed up because they were seen in other areas nearby. experts say the snowy owl numbers will likely increase giving birders an opportunity to see them until late february or early march. as electronic bird-tracking with hours in the bitter cold doesn't sound appeals, there's always the zoo. al jazeera, chicago.
i'm dave warren. we're industristill tracking th. two areas of low pressure combine to one, and that will intensify overnight tonight. so that area of snow in the middle, that will fill in and become heavy. certainly cold enough for it. 26 degrees in new york, 39 in washington, d.c. just above the freezing mark there, but once this storm really winds up and intensifies, it brings in colder air and you will feel that by the end of the week. two areas of low pressure and in the middle nothing. that will change, though. by this evening mainly overnight tonight the storms combine to one. this area shrinks and heavy snow really starts to develop by midnight overnight tonight and throughout the night to tomorrow morning. you wake up to heavy snow. this will have banding with it, very heavy snow because the wind coming in from the ocean and wind coming in from the north and comes together and creates a heavy band of snow around the storm.
it goes from new england down from new jersey towards philadelphia, delaware and maryland. seeing where that sets up, we determine who gets the most snow. it looks like somebody can easily get over a foot especially closer to the coast where the wind picks up and brings in a lot of moisture. you see that on the ground tomorrow morning. by tomorrow afternoon and evening the storm clears out. here's that bitter cold air in place. it won't be snowing anymore, but it will pick up and be a the lo of snow on the ground. combine that with cold arctic air coming in, very cold weekend. 8 to 12 inches across boston and a little less farther south and west. 13 degrees for a high tomorrow, and then 25 saturday. 40 on sunday, so the warm air does come back. there's a mix, another storm coming in to create a mix of snow on monday. you could see wind increasing, and that will reduce visibilities especially right along the coast from boston down through new york. del. >> thank you very much. thank you for watching "al jazeera america."
i'm del walters in new york. 101 east is next. for updates on the storm throughout the day, go to aljazeera.com. million dollars and all a girl's best friend . ness. >> in southern tajikistan, a family gathers for a celebration. 19-year-old zarina is getting married. it should be a day of joy yet like many weddings here it's tingd with sadness. her groom f asksrook is getting ready to take on new responsibilities but to do that very soon will have to leave his wife and go to russia. his father explains he has no choice.