be a huge step to say they are not going to take -- >> andy sorry, i'll have to stop you there. thank you very much and we'll see you later on. and don't forget you can catch up with all of the latest on our website. the address for that, aljazeera.com. ♪ economic freeze a new report shows the brutal winter caused americans to slow their spending and prompted companies to cut back. a major step forward in the u.s. relationship with communist cuba. the nation has officially been removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. more rain has fallen ont dks and even the rescue workers now need some help. the forecast calls for more bad weather again.
and world soccer groups are done counting the ballots for who will head fifa. it is a loss for the united states who said no to now reelected leader sepp blatter. ♪ this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm david shuster. the u.s. commerce department just released a new report about the american economy, and it indicates that the economy went down and gdp in the first three months of this year shrank. patty what happened? >> reporter: this was the first revised reading, and it wasn't unexpected. to keep that in mind. gross domestic product shrank
0.7% in the first three months. the big drag was exports. there were some temporary factors behind that including bad weather, and strikes disrupt k activity at u.s. ports, but a strong dollar also dragged on exports because it makes american goods more expensive to buy abroad. meanwhile imports increased 5.6%. consumer spending rose 1.8%. and that marks a sharp decline from last year. and that matters a lot. now that the awful first quarter is behind us ihf chief economist expects consumer spending to pick up steam. >> the good news is the consumer is still in pretty good shape financially. for example we think in the second quarter consumer spending willing grow 2.5%.
that's 70% of the economy. >> expectations are high the economy will bounce back the question is by how much? many think the economy will grow about 2% but the atlanta fed's gdp clocker has it at less that 1%. so standby. >> thank you patricia. the u.s. state department has officially dropped cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism terrorism. mike viqueira joins us live from washington. mike there are other issues that still need to be ironed out, but how significant is this step? >> well this was expected a 45-day clock started 45 days ago when president obama announced he was going to remove cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a very exclusive and notorious list that includes north korea, sudan, and iran the fourth nation was -- was cuba. it has now been officially
removed. this is something that the cubans wanted to happen because they say that they could not do business in the united states, they couldn't get a credit card or participate in world financial markets for that matter with this cloud hanging over their head. a 45-day period started ticking when the president made his announcement, it ends today. what could have happened is congress could have objected and challenged the president's ruling. they are on recess this week before they left they didn't do so so now cuba today is officially all of that list clearing away more of the underbrush towards more normalized relations the president announced he was going to work towards. >> mike some of the underbrush involved u.s. credit card companies that couldn't operate in cuba so if you were down there as a tourist, you couldn't use a credit card. does this mean that now american credit card companies will be
free to operate there? >> and it's a 2 way street the cubans were very concerned that the diplomats here they don't work officially in an embassy, but they had to use cash wherever they went because they couldn't get a united nations bank to back them. and conversely it makes it easier for tourist to spending money in cuba when they go there if they can use their credit cards. this was coveted by the cubans. david remember since december 17th there have been four rounds of talks, all aimed towards the big prize here and that is to open -- officially open an embassy after 54 years of very chilly relations and exchange ambassadors. that is not what is happening today. today is a step in that direction, but we do now expect with a lot of these nuts and bolts being taken care of in these talks, there are other
issues that had lingered that there could be an announcement perhaps in the next week or so by president obama and raul castro separately that relations will finally be normalized. >> mike are there any final issues before getting to the normalization of relations. >> the last round of talks was in washington last week and there was a lot of speculation they would clear away the last remaining obstacles. the united states embassies around the world conduct democracy programs the cubans are objecting to that happening in havana. the americans are concerned about restrictions on travel within cuba. and part of that is a cuban security presence around the american facility in havana which the united states feels would and has now intimidated cue bans when they want to go
into the u.s. embassy. those as far as we know were the remaining issues on the table, but again, negotiations underway not expected to be anymore serious sticking point before a big announcement perhaps in the next week or two. several inches of rain have fall engine today in the area of dallas texas, and the downpour is adding to the problems in the loan star street. even a police officer found himself in trouble. his squad car was filling up with water on the freeway when hi called for help. the number of people killed now stands at 24. and the forecast calls for more rain this weekend. robert ray has the latest from houston. >> reporter: with more storms on the way into the state of texas and particularly here in houston, the city is trying to assess the damage that has occurred over the past week.
it's a huge task. there are 650 square miles for the city to cover, and they are trying to do their best so federal funds can start making their way into america's fourth largest city. >> reporter: while houston braces for more rain another water rescue outside of the city. meanwhile residents and officials from america's fourth largest city are cleaning up and surveying the damage. >> we're going to do some damage assessments. this is one of the forms that we used to collect data. >> reporter: melvin hopkins is a city inspector, he is among 40 teams documenting the damage. so what are you looking for in like right now we see these bags of people's belongings here is this -- are you just driving by and looking for this kind of stuff and that determines what? >> well that's one of the things that we look for.
but most important as you can see some of the waterlines in the houses. most of these houses in this area have suffered major damage. >> reporter: houston has until sunday to assess the damage and meet fema's deadline. i think the perception probably from a lot of people probably is there's a disaster and all of a sudden there will be money that just comes in but there are a lot of steps that need to be taken to prove that money needs to come in and that's what you do is that right? >> oh absolutely. and there is also the perception that the federal government is just going to come in and purchase your house or whatever. but what they are after is the uninsured or under insured. >> reporter: though officials cannot put an exact price tag on the destruction this
neighborhood there are nearly 5,000 homes and the majority of them need complete gutting because of the water damage. is there a possibility that we're going to go into the billions as far as damage here? >> i think that's certainly possibility, but right now it's really too early to tell. >> reporter: and with more rain and flooding expected prompting voluntary evacuations in some areas, the task to secure federal and state dollars is going on and around the clock. this is a scenario that is simply not over. just on thursday night a person was taken out of the port of houston, police took the body out, that's 30 miles from downtown houston. many while many of the residence around the city of houston are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives, dealing with insurance, and the city is hoping that fema funds will kick in, within the next week as they continue to assess the damage
here in houston. in central texas the search continues for people swept away by the raging blanco river. eight of the missing were in a vacation home in wimberley. rescue teams with search dogs continue their efforts. three children are among the missing. officials say recovery crews have found two bodies a child and a man, but the bodies have not yet been identified. the u.s. political world is still trying to comprehend the criminal indictment against former house speak erdens any hastert. today the illinois republican is facing federal charges. prosecutors allege he tried to hide nearly $2 million in secret payments and lied about it to the fbi. john henry smith has the story. >> reporter: one of the things that propelled dennis hahs ard
to the third highest pogsz in the land was the good guy reputation. now are questions about whether or not hastert had a darker past. eight years after stepping down as speaker of the house, dennis is in serious trouble. in an indictment made public on thursday federal prosecutors say a near lifelong associate identified only as individual a tlented in 2010 to make public some quote prior must conduct that the 73 year old committed before becoming house speaker in 1999. the indictment does not spell out what the misconduct was. to keep individual a quiet, the indictment alleges has has erd
withdrew $1.7 million from his accounts. this was part of $3.5 million he allegedly agreed to pay for individual a's silence. that only the background. here is what he is actually in trouble for. first he faces one count of lying to the fbi. when investigators asked him why he was withdrawing so much money, the indictment says he told them the money was for personal use, and that he was withdrawing the money out of a distrust for the banking system. second he faces account of trying to conceal his actions by making 106 withdrawals of $10,000 or less. by law, banks must report cash transactions over $10,000. if convicted on both counts he faces a 5 thoundz fine and 10 years in jail. the as yet unnamed individual a alleged knows him from living in
ohio where he coached wrestling and taught school for 16 years. drenthzs of the town of just over 1,000 people said this news about one of yorkville's favorite sons was difficult to hear. >> he is definitely part of the town. >> you are prideful of people coming from your community and trying to make a difference in illinois. >> reporter: within hours of the indictment he resigned from the lobbying firm where he had worked since leaving congress. in an auto buy ouringfy he wrote about one of the lessons he learned as a high school wrestling coach, he said quote, there is no one to blame but yourself if you get pinned. words that may have new meaning for the former speaker of the house. >> john henry smith reporting. coming up world soccer's governing body fifa has reelected its controversial
the elderly man on the right, sepp blatter has won another term as president of soccer's governing body even though the soccer world is in turmoil. u.s. investigators brought criminal indictments against 14 of fifa's top executives. there have been calls for blatter to resign but he refused and secured enough votes in two rounds of voting. >> i thank you that you accepted me that for the next four years, i will be in command of this boat called fifa and we will bring it back. we will bring it back offshore and we bring it back to the beach. we will bring it back where finally football can be played
beach soccer we can play everywhere, but we have to work on that. we have to work on that. we have also to work on other things that we have to do for fifa in the future. you remember four years ago i had a lot of problems to solve, and i gave it to you, and i challenged you at that time. i am not going to challenge you, but we have also to make some organizational problems inside the fifa inside the executive committee, because we must have a better representation of the different confederations and the number of members of confederations shall have also their repercussion in the organization of the committee, and again, we need in this committee, women. we need ladies. we cannot just say they are only
courted. we have to do more. >> we have to do more. sepp blatter defeated his opponent prince ali bin hussein of jordan by almost 2-1. the palestinian football association has dropped its calls for israel to be kicked out of fifa. hundreds of activists demonstrated today outside of the fifa meetings in switzerland. the activists believe israel has restricted the movement of palestinian soccer players. the pal stan yin sports organization says its decided to withdraw his proposal after pressure from several other organizations. the soccer scandal extends all the way to brazil there is lingering anger in that nation over how much was spent for the 2014 world cup. >> reporter: for many in brazil this is an example of everything that was wrong with the 2014
fifa world cup. it cost $600 million to build, twice as much as originally planned and after hosting less than a handful of matches it has never been filled again. today it serves mainly as a parking lot for these buses. after seeing cases of mismanagement in stadiums all around the country, to many the signs of wrongdoing were glaring and took very few by surprise. >> translator: the brazilians have never trusted fifa. some of us already suspected corruption was rampant. for others what was a surprise was the dimension and reach of the corruption scheme. >> reporter: indignation was such that thousands took to the streets in 2013 to protest what they thought were misused resources for a country where millions live on so little. >> translator: all of these stadiums are unnecessary. in brasilia for example, they have no football culture, the
money would have been best spent on hospitals and schools. >> reporter: most glaring is the fact that brazilia has no professional team. these days there is very little football being played here. it mostly sits empty say for the occasional concert and last year it even played host to mass wedding. attempts to look into corruption by members of congress have previously been boycotted but now have been approved in light of the recent allegations coming out of the fifa scandal. >> translator: there is no doubt that the government works to avoid our investigation related to the world cup last year. it's all connected to the corruption scheme in feeifafifa. >> reporter: building stadiums like this was meant to demonstrate that brazil was a major economic power, instead it may stand to serve as an example
try to make it easier for some americans to get on the internet. internet access is taken for a granted in many parts of the united states but for some the cost of connecting is simply too high. public libraries used to be about books. now it's internet access that draws people in. this library provides free online browsing. >> that is really cool huh? >> yeah that's a calculator. >> reporter: and for parents keen to get their kids online it provides a vital service. >> it's a really nice library, so we enjoy coming. >> reporter: it's that kind of service that the u.s. government wants to get into people's homes. the idea is to modify a program called lifeline that helps poorer families pay phone bills and also get them online. when people talk about the digital divide they are talking
about a difference between information rich and information poor and the figures speak for themselves. 5 million households in the u.s. are without broadband and they tend to be black or hispanic families. interests experts say if the u.s. wants to remain competitive, it needs to give ifrn access to the web. >> if you are not connected you run the risk of being marginalized almost a second-class citizen. not only are you left out of the competitive opportunities, job opportunities, but your children in particular are behind other children of their age. >> but critics say the program is already wasteful expensive, and ultimately could harm the people it hopes to help. >> really the program is full of waste, fraud, and abuse, and unless we return to making sure people have skin in the game just that is just going to continue and that means higher
broadband taxes for everyone else including people who are not quite poor enough to get the subsidy. >> reporter: it is likely the knew plan will cause fierce debate, but few doubt that access to the internet is increasingly essential. an armed biker gang held a rally today outside of a mosque in phoenix, arizona, and they plan to hold a round two of a contest. it was the location where two gunmen woeshiped before they attended a similar event in texas. 90 years ago our nation considered it a crowning achieve building hydroelectric dams. rob reynolds visits the dolls dam in oregon to see how native
americans have struggled. >> reporter: in the 1930s, the u.s. government began building huge dams on the river. the dams generated electricity for industry and made the river navigatable for ships. but they also drowned dozens of villages where native people lived and fished for thousands of years. today some descendants live in squaller settlements. >> the luxuries of having a house with plumbing and stuff, i really don't know what that is. >> reporter: gabriel has lived on cooks landing for 45 years. there's one toilet and shower facility for about 45 people. >> you can never keep it clean. but that's all it is. got a shower over there that don't work. >> reporter: about 500 native people live on-sites designated
for access to fishing as guaranteed by treaties. but the places were never intended for permanent settlements. these deplorable housing conditions for the native americans along the columbian river are another sign of the dam's enduring human impact. paul is head of the intertribal fishing commission. >> all of this incredible wealth that everyone is getting but these people here don't have that. you wouldn't think that here in america, the united states of america, that you have these kind of third-world living conditions but it is here the government knowing about it and they don't do anything about it. >> the u.s. army corps of engineers built the dams and it is responsible for the sites where the makeshift housing is located. but think corps has no plans to build new homes. >> the next step would be another study. so the fact finding is to determine whether or not a study is needed. >> reporter: the dowel's dam
generates thousands of megawatts of electricity every day, but the trailer where jesse lives with his family has only a wood stove to ward off the winter cold. >> look at what they have done to our land and our country. every dam like this ruined another native american's life or family and that's a bare -- a true written fact. >> reporter: dams brought prosperity to the pacific northwest but only misery to this land's original inhabitants. and finally, a live look now at lower manhattan, one world trade senator. the observatory on floors 100 to 102 opens today. there are no outdoor balconies, but you can see pretty far through the huge windows. it was built adjacent to where