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tv   News  Al Jazeera  August 13, 2015 1:30pm-2:01pm EDT

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>> okay. john holman, thank you very much indeed. plenty more for you any time on our website. a reminder of the address of that,, and you can watch us by clicking on the watch-now icon. ♪ >> okay. you are looking at live now a news conference out of farmington, new mexico, the ina, and there is the head of the epa, they are holding a news conference on the toxic spill in the animus river. dozens killed thousands evacuated after explosions in china. the government confirms poisonous chemicals are in the
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air. plus jimmy carter's fight. the new diagnosis as he announces his cancer has spread. ♪ this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris. colorado, new mexico, and utah are promising to get compensation for businesses and residents hurt by a toxic mine spill. that's the promise from the epa. the states along with the navajo nation have all declared states of emergency. right now the epa is holding a news conference, along with local navajo leaders. let's listen in. >> -- in those areas water has actually returned back to preincident conditions. so it a significant step forward. now that is -- that is a result we have shared with local communities and with states. it gives us the sense that we are on a different trajectory
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than we were before, but clearly we need to continue to work not just short-term to look at every segment of the river moving forward to see what we need to do to help work with local communities about return of normal usage of these water resources. but we have to do that in -- in collaboration, and coordination with them. and so we are making, i think, a concerted effort, round the clock at epa not only with hundreds of people on the ground, but hundreds of people supporting them in the background to make sure that we get our short-term needs solved, but also to make sure that people know that epa is in it for the long haul as well, while we look at some of the sediment challenges in any of the restoration issues that may be necessary. we have been working with officials at the state and tribal levels, as you know. we think that we have turned a corner, as i indicated in working with them, and making sure that we do it seamlessly.
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in new mexico we thoep have some additional test results for the next segment of the river soon. we continue to see good news there. but i don't want to prejudge that. that is science that needs to continue. we want to make sure all of that data is quality controlled; that we put it in a context that people can understand, and local decision makers can then used to make their decisions. so we are confident that we will continue to layout data every day that helps support all of these decisions moving forward, and give people a sense that we are actually making really significant progress here. now i know in the meantime there have been challenges and questions about how we keep things moving forward as certain uses have stopped. well, the good news for new mexico is the region has authorized 500,000 dollars to actually support both continued water for irrigation purposes as
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well as livestock. we know that was an issue. i want to assure everybody that those are the kind of issues that we do collaboratively. they are considered part of the emergency response here. they do not need to go through a claims process. we are working in concert with the state to make sure that that is ongoing resources available up front. and we're doing that not just here but i jest left the navajo nation to talk about all of these issues as well. >> okay. so let me jump in for a moment just to stay -- let's stay with the shot if we could. this is interesting, because now we're hearing from the head of the epa that they are trying to head off future claims. and you will recall in our reporting yesterday there was a bit of contention over a form that was being circulated by the epa to members of the navajo nation asking them to signoff on -- and wave any future claims. and so you just heard gina mccarthy at least touch on that
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point of contention, certainly from our reporting yesterday, but we want to get to allan schauffler now. you have just heard the head of the epa saying the toxins are dissipating. alan schauffler has a report on that. >> reporter: the blowout is from silverton, colorado. hundreds of old abandoned mine shafts are cut into the hillsides. there's no public access to the site itself. we take a rocky one-lane detour around the road closure. it's slow going, a steep switchback climb through terrain. and where the road ends is where all of the trouble started. finally we get a chance to see ground zero where the accident happened last week. this is the entry to the mine that absolute last wednesday. it was a mine entrance dammed by
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a landslide which work crews were trying to figure out how much water has built up behind it, the ugly answer at least 3 million gallons. the epa has built new retention for the runoff. agency administrator gina mccarthy visited nearby durango wednesday afternoon. >> i just came from a briefing on the status of the cleanup and the monitoring of the plume. i am excited that they are fully operational and they have been fully operational, and we are working this issue very hard. >> reporter: we came to the accident site with a member of the local incident management team and several congressional staffers getting their first look, and an engineer with 40 years in mining, who doesn't think what happened here should
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signal an end to the industry in these mountains. given a whole new set of rules and regulations what are the opportunities for more mining? >> they are good. you know, we can comply with those rules. in this -- even in today's market, and metal prices, it can work. >> reporter: we could see mining grow in this area. >> yes, uh-huh. >> reporter: but any chance of future mining could disappear if this area is designated as a toxic superfund cleanup site, something many people downstream would like to see. in that designation could bring additional federal cleanup money. but it's a contentious issue here and has been for decades where the superfund label could not only slow development but also kill the tourist industry. our guide anthony edwards events the city and san juan county as a spokesman on the incident
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management team. >> those funds from the national priority list may come quickly or may take decades and if the still -- stigma could be really devastating to the people who live here. >> reporter: gold king and other nearby mines still leak contaminated ground water at hundreds of gallons per minute. it has been happening for years, and any cleanup here will be just a small win in a much bigger battle stretching into the future. chinese officials say they have detected poisonous and harmful chemicals in the air in tianjin, where a warehouse exploded last night adrian brown has more. >> reporter: the heart of one of
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china's most important economic hubs, torn apart by multiple blasts. [ explosion ] >> reporter: fires burned throughout the night. there were further explosions on thursday afternoon. as a pool of toxic smoke billowed across the city, with local people concerned, not for the first time, about the air they are now breathing. >> translator: we're very worried about what chemical is in the air. we're worried it might be toxic and could be harmful in the future. >> reporter: the scale of the destruction is difficult for dazed survivors to comprehend what happened and why. >> translator: i thought it was a gas explosion. my bedroom wall was hit by a shock wave by threw me out of bed. >> reporter: others thought it was an earthquake or nuclear explosion.
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windows were shattered. the flying debris sliced through hundreds of vehicles. temporary housing for migrant workers bore the brunt of the blasts. this is a worker's dormitory, and as you can see, it has been completely shredded. the damage here really bares testament to the force of those explosions. the people in here were lucky to get out alive. >> reporter: the number of dead is continuing to rise. many of them were firefighters. government officials say hundreds of people were treated in hospital, mostly for cuts caused by flying glass and concrete. >> translator: my first reaction was to run. i then heard another blast. i escaped and was running wild. i got blood all over my body. >> reporter: the authorities say the blasts were caused by chemicals stored in a warehouse. close to where thousands of people lived. an investigation into how that was possible has now begun.
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adrian brown, al jazeera. the fight against ebola is not over. the u.n. security council held a briefing just a short time ago. doctors said there has been progress made, but issued a stern new warning. we are live at the united nations. ♪
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well today the united nations security council is opening an hold briefing on ebola. and officials are feeling
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optimistic about getting the deadly virus under control. gabe, good to see you. first of all many people think that the ebola crisis is over, but it is not. so what are you hearing from the world health organization today? >> reporter: well, you are right, it's not over, but there are encouraging words from the world health organization. let's recap, we're a little over a year and eight or nine months or so since the crisis began. certainly one of the biggest health crises in the world in decades, 11,000 kills, 27,000 infected. however, the good news is that the top u.n. officialing handling the ebola situation briefed the united nations security council today and they said that -- they said that there have not been any new
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cases of ebola in liberia at all. it has totally stopped and in guinea and sierra leone combined they have only had three cases in the past two weeks, so very, very encouraging signs, tony. let's also listen to a little bit more of what margaret chan has to said. she is the head of the world health organization. she briefed the security council via video conference from hong kong. listen to her prediction here, tony. >> uh-huh. >> if the current intensesy is sustained, the virus can be soundly defeated by the end of this year. in that means going to zero, and staying at zero. >> wow. >> reporter: also come news as well here at the u.n. about -- from the central african republic. we'll know that the u.n. peace keepers there were accused of raping a 12-year-old girl as
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well as killing two innocent sil -- civilians as well. yesterday ban ki-moon fired the head of the mission in the central african republic. a very unprecedented move by the secretary general. earlier today ban ki-moon held a video conference call with all of the heads of his peace-keeping missions, there have 16 of them. reaffirming to them that there's a zero-tolerance policy for any sort of misconduct by peace keepers, and it is the u.n.'s responsible to not only report this when it happens, but to really take a zero tolerance policy to it. ban ki-moon later today will be holding a closed-door private meeting with the u.n. security council. >> all right. gabe appreciate it. u.s. companies have made
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more than 5,000 claims for billions of dollars lost when the castro regime seized property in the early years of the revolution, but as lucia newman reports, the cuban government is also making claims of its own. >> reporter: most of cuba still looks like it is frozen in time, a time when most of what you see here was owned by american companies. from the former sears department store to the grand hotels, once run by the american mafia. u.s. firms and american citizens who's property was confiscated after tlef lugs are demanding up to $7 billion in compensation. but not to be outdone, the cuban government is claiming damages too. to the tune of $100 billion. that's what it says 54 years of u.s. economic sanctions has cost the country. >> translator: for example, if you have a refinery with u.s. machinery that was paralyzed
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because we could not buy parts cuba calculates the losses. the embargo jacks up prices of everything. all of this ads up. >> reporter: cuba is also claiming assets frozen in u.s. banks after the revolution, plus interest. and it blames the u.s. embargo for its dilapidated infrastructure. but while insiders concede $100 million is an inflated figure, they say it is starting point for a negotiated settlement, by begins with the lifting of the u.s. embargo. >> when we negotiate, we are going to give you a bill of what you owe us. >> reporter: the standoff on who owes what to whom and how much it is worth is not only complicated, it's essential to
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normalizing bilateral relations. the act passed by the u.s. congress specifically states that all property claims must be satisfactorily resolved by the embargo against cuba can be lifted. but cuba believes it has another card up its sleeve to negotiate a deal in which both sides agree to call it even. >> they'll have to receive, otherwise there is not going to be any deal, and of course, the prize is investment in cuba. >> reporter: with diplomatic ties renewed, many american companies are eager to return to the caribbean's largest island, but the message seems to be that they will first have to drop their claims or stay out. lucia newman, al jazeera, havana. >> and tomorrow night at 9:00 pm eastern time antonio mora hosts a special hour of coverage live from havana, we'll speak in depth about the new era in u.s.
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cuban relations and how it is already opening doors to tourism and investing. for the first 250i78 in this election cycle the polls show that hillary clinton is losing ground to bernie sanders. it's in new hampshire where earlier this year, clinton held by pro-government a double-digit lead. the poll suggests that sanders has just overtaken clinton. 44% to 37%. six months ago the same polling group sound her dominating sanders. jimmy carter says he is battling cancer and the disease has spread from his liver to other parts of his body. >> reporter: at 90 years young president carter is the second oldest of the living presidents. he is a familiar figure on tv news. now it's his health making the headlines. recent elective liver surgery
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reveals that cancer has spread through his body. the statement makes it clear carter's cancer is widespread but doesn't reveal where in the body it is, nor where it started. just last may, carter cut short a trip after feeling unwell and returned to the u.s. he had been in the south american country to observe elections. the white house wished president carter adding jimmy you are as resilient as they come and along with the mes of america we're rooting from you. a tweet from the obamas seems to be more formal. though his one-term in washington, d.c. is generally regarded as troubled overshadowed by economic crisis and think iran hostage crisis, arguably he has had the best
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post presidency of modern times. after losing to president reagan in 1980 carter returned home to form the carter center, an organization dedicated to promoting health care, democracy, human rights and other issues. he has been active all over the world, helping to cure river blindness among other diseases. his most recent book was just published in july. now his battle moves a little closer to home. cancer, never easy to overcome, but president carter does have the good wishes of the nation behind him. after combatting years of dismal performance and even embezzlement, america's first all-charter school system gets a report card. in that story when we return.
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>> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers.
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two california teenagers face prison sentences after 28 pounds of heroin made it across the border of mexico by drone. this is the first u.s. drug seizure along the border involving a drone. the two men pleaded guilty to using the device to smuggle the drugs. the use of drug-laden drones from mexico is an emerging threat officials say. firefighters in northern
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california are now fighting two major fires. the jerusalem fire grew to 2,500 acres on wednesday. it is burning just south of the rocky fire, which has destroyed nearly 70,000 acres. but the rocky fire is now 95% contained. about 100 people have been told to evacuate, amid the fires and drought. los angeles is taking unique measures to save its water sources. the city has dumped 96 million shadeballs, right, into a 175 acre reservoir, each one reduces evaporation from the heat. it's expecteded to save up to 300 million gallons a year. so in the wake of hurricane tree -- katrina, new orleans's schools were replaced with the
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country's first all-charter school system. jonathan martin reports. >> reporter: the public school system in new orleans is like no other system in the country. >> it's the only city in america that is majority charter school. >> reporter: weeks after the storm a failing and corrupt system was dismantled, the state took control of low-performing schools and thousands of teachers were fired. this is the result. schools like renewaled cultural arts academy, one of more than 90 publicly funded but privately operated charter schools students must now apply for. >> sending your child to the nearest school, that doesn't exist anymore >> reporter: she ones the louisiana association of charter schools and says the model is working because of choice. parents can shop around for the best schools. that, she says has forced competition. >> you have to produce to attract those parents, those teachers and those students into
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your building. >> they care about the kids. they want to see them thrive and do better. >> reporter: this woman has three children in new orleans's charter schools, overall she feels the system is an improvement, but feels she isn't given real choice with more of a chance when it comes to getting her children into the best schools. >> if there's no seating available, they have to be in a c, d, f, school. >> reporter: and many of the top schools require admission exam and mandatory parent involvement. >> these are all ways of giving advantages to the already advantaged. >> reporter: still the governor and other reform advocates cite remarkable gains since the overhaul. they on point to the graduate rate. 73% today up from 54% in 2004, and the number of kids in failing schools just 8% today
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compared to 62% before katrina. but critics say the fuller picture isn't nearly as encouraging. >> it has been ten years, and the gains are fairly marginal. >> reporter: this professor has studied the reoh forms and says while there has been improvement the gains are small. she points to the act scores. the average student scored 17 ten years ago, taild it has risen by more than a point. >> the scores are still so low that the average student in the new orleans district can't get into lsu, louisiana state university. >> reporter: most advocates and parents admit there is still a long way to go before public education here can be considered good, but a decade later they feel it's a far cry from what it was. jonathan martin, al jazeera, new orleans. and that is all of our time. thanks for being with us.
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i'm tony harris in new york. the news continues next live from london. ♪ >> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello, i'm lauren taylor, this is the news hour live from london and coming up, at least 55 people were killed in a bomb attack at a crowded market in iraq. rising death toll in china's huge explosions with at least 50 now killed and 700 injured. 7 people sentenced to death in pakistan for last year's attack on a peshawar skill that killed 51 op