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tv   News  Al Jazeera  February 26, 2016 11:00am-11:31am EST

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hello there. warm welcome to the program. we're just hours away from the time for a cessation of hostilities to come into force in syria. it's aim to begin a pause in fighting, and allow humanitarian aid to come in. but the head of one of the most powerful armed groups the al-qaeda-linked al-nusra front has rejected the truce. and there has been no letup in the fighting. the syrian observatory for human rights says the town of duma in damascus province has been targeted in russian air strikes. rescue workers say at least eight people were killed. government forces are also reported to have struck hama.
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the goal of the plan is to have a two-week cessation of hostilities between the syrian government and the opposition, it specifically excluded isil and other groups designated as terrorists by the u.n. the syrian president says his forces are ready to respect a pause in fighting. and the majority syrian rebel groups have signaled that they will take part. in turkey, which has been shelling the main kurdish militia in syria, said the ceasefire is not binding if it's own security is threatened. well let's speak now to jamal live in the turkish town close to the syrian border. hi, there, jamal. so the al-nusra front haven't signed up to this truce.
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it sounds very fragile indeed. >> indeed, julie, and that's one of the main reasons for the pessimism that a lot of people have. from normal people inside syria to politicians and analysts both here in turkey and elsewhere in the region. not only does the ceasefire not include nusra front, which is one of any main forces which are considered the front line particularly in the north near aleppo and other areas, but as far as they are concerned this means nothing to them, and they believe this is a ploy to essentially hijack the revolution as their leader put it in an audio statement that was released in the past couple of hours. he says it was the duty of syrians to rise up and protect this revolution that has come under attack by all of the evil forces of the world, as he said, and putting down weapons was
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just going to give the advantage to the assad regime, and its allies to essentially bury what is left of the ref lugs, julie. >> and what is the situation currently on the ground in terms of fighting? >> reporter: well, in the past 24 hours there has been significant attacks conducted by the russian air force in several parts of syria, particularly, again, in and around aleppo, and why this is important and we have been stressing this in our reporting over the past few days is that ever since the syrian army was given this boost with the introduction of the russians in the military equation in syria, they have been trying to push as far north as possible towards the turkey border, because it was through turkey that aid was being sent to the besieged area, and logistics, and weapons, and support were being sent to groups that are
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signed up to this deal that government considers, quote unquote, legitimate or moderate. so they have been trying to make as much gains as possible to possibly see what happens afterwards? and people say if there was genuine good intention from the russias, from the syrians, and the assad regime, then they wouldn't have made this last gasp attempt to try to destroy all of these positions. the al-nusra front said it cleared several of its bases particularly in idlib. jamal thank you. so on the ground in syria, how will this cessation of hostilities play out? many people are holding their breath, and hoping for some repit, but expectations are low.
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>> reporter: in northwestern syria, not far from the border with turkey, a new wave of refugees reaches the town of azaz. these civilians, hundreds of mainly women and children, escaped aleppo in recent days. for many here the idea of a truce or ceasefire is meaningless. >> translator: this truce is an open game. the world is conspiring against us. this is a deal between the russians and americans. >> translator: what is this talk of a truce? since when have ceasefires worked? okay. so if these people went back and got hit, who is going to be responsible? we are going to stay here. we are not going back. >> reporter: the complexities of syrias war are overshadowing the possible pause in fighting. the main rebel groups have
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expressed deep mistrust of the plan, while other field commanders doubt that it will be work. >> reporter: the fact that nusra is not included in this agreement, allows russia and the assad forces to target the opposition, under the presents that they were attacking areas controlled by al-nusra front. >> reporter: life inside syria goes on. people in the marketplace in aleppo are indifferent. five years of full heavy bombardment and air raids have hardened them. >> translator: russia is a war criminal, so is bashar al-assad. who do we rely on? the international community? we don't trust the international community. aleppo is being destroyed and innocent civilians are being killed while the russian air raids continue. >> reporter: there is little hope that the cessation of hostilities will bring peace. the main opposition has indicated it is ready to accept a two-week truce.
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it says russia is a district party to the conflict, while turkey warns the plan is not binding if its own security is threatened. ♪ now iranians have just half an hour left to vote in their fist election since it has had its international sanctions lifted. for the first time iranians have voted for both the parliament and the assembly of expert, the clerical body which will appoint the country's next supreme leader. given the success of the president in securing that nuclear deal, many were banned from the election still, some
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12,000 people wanted to run for a seat in the 290-seat parliament, but just 5,000 of those were cleared. from tehran, andrew simmons has the starry. >> reporter: it looks like voters listened to a call for a high turnout. a country with 54 million people eligible to vote, a nation no longer under international sanctions. the supreme leader was one of the first to cast a ballot from his own residence. the president is standing for reelection to the assembly of experts. >> translator: the polls indicate a massive turnout. this is indicative of the country's independence and national sovereignty. >> reporter: he is counting on a strong turnout, similar to the 72% that made him president two and a half years ago. turnout like this should favor the reformists, they are hoping
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to make a big dent in the majority of conservatives in parliament. so enabling rouhani to encourage more foreign investment in this country, and bring it out of recession. >> translator: we want our mp's to tackle the issues, and consider the situation in the region and around the world. our mp's need to show the world what iran is really like. >> translator: there economic problems. unemployment. people are a bit tired of hard lined pollties. they want to vote so that god-willing they can select lawmakers who can meet our demands. >> reporter: conservatives pour scorn on rouhani's credentials. and the conservatives warn that foreign investments could endanger the country's independence. voters are hungry for a way to get the economy moving again. it's their appetite for wider political change that is being put to the test right now.
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andrew simmons, al jazeera, tehran. a second round of voting is underway in the election for the new president of fifa to succeed the disgraced sepp blatter. a two-thirds majority of the 207 voting nations was needed. geovany infantino came in first with 88 votes. the front runner was expected to be sheikh salman, who is the current president of the asian football confederation. he got 85 votes. prince ali came in third with 27. he is a former vice president of fifa and finished runner up to sepp blatter in last year's presidential election. and with 7 votes was jerome
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champagne. a straight majority is now needed. let's go to lee wellings who is following the events in zurich. hi, lee, so that was a bit of a surprise. why kr did he creep ahead? >> reporter: it was a surprise, and you would have to say the intense work he has put in over the last few weeks, trying to get as many votes as he could, remember he is standing in for his banned boss, but it must have made a difference. but what must have happened is there must have been decent from individual nations. rather than voting as a block as they were asked to do by the heads of their confederation, said no, we'll do what we want. it's a secret ballot, but it is really surprising. it is really surprising that sheikh salman doesn't seem to have gotten the support from africa, for the 54 votes that he
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was asking. and if he did, he didn't get as many as he expected from asia. >> whoever gets the job, it had to be said that reform is going to be the big task ahead. is this going to be a difficult road? >> reporter: it is going to be such a difficult road. look at the position that fifa is doing from. they couldn't have been more in the gutter, the executive committee over half of it proven corrupt. the interest that is still being shown in fifa and the individuals from the u.s. and swiss authorities, their investigations continue. reforms have to be pushed through today. 89% of them voted for these reforms. because fifa has to show the outside world it can manage itself. the tension will be incredible as they see who will take them forward. where are prince ali's 27 votes
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going? >> lee wellings live with the very latest on the fifa voting. lee thank you. still to come this half hour, hundreds of thousands of iraqi shiites turn out in baghdad demanding a cabinet reshuffle. and while the french oil giant has been fined more than $800,000. ♪
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♪ welcome back. a quick reminder of our top stories here on al jazeera. the leader of syria's
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affiliated al-nusra front has called on rebels to intensify their strikes against president assad and his allies, just hours before a two-week truce is set to come into force. polls close shortly in iranian elections. the country's first parliamentary elections since the nuclear truce was agreed to last year. now hundreds of thousands of supporters of the prominent shiite cleric have rallied in baghdad. the square in the iraqi capitol was packed with people calling for government reforms and a crackdown on corruption. the block holds 33 seats in
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parliament. >> translator: it should be known that not implementing these terms is considered a betrayal to iraq and its people, especially as all of its conditions fall under the applicable legal recommendations. the poll and the [ inaudible ] of the iraqi people, therefore our withdrawal from politics would become a duty if reform is not implemented quickly. palestinian activist and journalist has ended his three-month long hunger strike. he went without food after he was detained by israeli forces and held without being charged and without a trial. his so-called administrative detention will not be renewed after that. our correspondent has the latest. >> reporter: this agreement reached between mohamed, his
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lawyers, and the israeli authorities has been agreed to? he has survived only on liquids for 94 days. this hunger strike was in protest to his administrative detention, which was basically imprisonment without charge for up to six months, possibly indefinitely. at one point they agreed to sus pepped the detention in light of his hunger strike, but he refused and carried on saying that he was not guilty of any crime. he had not been charged with any crime. it would seem a compromised agreement has been reached. he will be released unconditionally on the 21st of may, and he will be treated in the northern israeli hospital, where he is now receiving
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treatment, and we have been told has been given nourishment, which he hasn't had now for many months. but his case has really attracted an extraordinary amount of tension. the use of hunger strikes really one of the only forms of protest prisoners have. and when you consider more than 700 palestinians are being held in administrative detention, it is certainly one that israelis try to prevent from happening. a palestinian man who was wanted by israel in connection with the 1986 murder, has been found dead in the bulgarian capitol. the body was found inside the compound of the palestinian embassy. he was wanted in israel for killing an israeli settler. the french oiling giant has been fined more than 800,000 dollars in a paris court for
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corrupting foreign officials. under the program, which ran from 1996 to 2003, iraq was allowed to sell oil in return for humanitarian goods like food and medicine, but investigators found money for the oil also illegally found its way to saddam hussein's government. let's talk more about this now with an independent business consultant macro economist, and energy expert. warm welcome to the program. so what exactly is this fine for? it says that they corrupted officials, but what does that mean? >> well, it's the food -- there was -- as you said, there was this oil for food program which the united nations devised. and as saddam hussein had a very murky government, and we know that, so it was very hard to sell the oil and get the money there, so a lot of officials got corrupted. there was an inquiry which a
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former chairman who said that 2,200 firms were involved in the corruption side of it, and $1.8 billion went to corruption, $64 billion was the whole size of the program, and they were accused in french courts and got acquitted, both the ceo, as well as the interior minister. they both got acquitted. with all of the trading, the oil trading firm which is dutch, but swiss based had to pay $17.5 million. or no, euros, and -- and -- and now it -- they went to court of appeals, and the verdict was overturned and they had to pay an additional 300,000 euros, and
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750,000 euros. >> do we know why it was overturned on appeal? >> it is clearly -- clearly, the judge on appeals -- >> yeah. >> -- the judge will then have to interpret how the law applies to specific case, and the judge clearly felt it was not. this is a little bit of a tempest in a teacup. what is crucial is t the -- importance of transparency. not only do you get fined as a company, the official who pays bribes go to jail. the anti-bribery convention is becoming more and more stringent, so we are getting better in europe on this.
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but it's also important to get really a universal global way of looking at corruption. >> so far a company like this who makes 800,000 pounds, it doesn't seem like a lot, but do these sorts of rulings really effect the company? >> they do in terms of reputation, but in this case, i would say again, it was ten years back. it went through a really strong legal rigorous process, so i don't think it will effect that much, but really, where we should go, a we should at the g-20 level, really look that we have a comprehensive global way at looking at corruption. >> interesting to be talking about the word corruption on the day the new fifa president is being elected as well. >> yes, you see there is a lot of murky processes in terms of how chiefs get selected in things like that. >> thank you. >> thank you. authorities in the french
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port of calais have begun evacuating refugees from their makeshift camp. residents of the site known as the jungle are being asked just one day after the court approved government plans to partially demolish the shantytown that has served as a home for thousands of refugees hoping to reach britain. the people of ireland are currently voting for their next parliament with the country's economic recovery taking place. polls suggest that no single party is likely to command a majority, and a coalition government may need to be formed. a special ebola phone line which allowed people in rural areas of guinea to get emergency help and information has been shut down. here is rob matheson. >> reporter: guinea is officially freeh of ebola, but the calls for help have still
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been coming. the 115 ebola hot line was set up so people in remote areas could get information and ask for medical help if they suspected someone had the virus. the staff at the center here, say they got thousands of calls every day. but if people try dialing 115 now, all they get is a recorded message that says the line has been closed and advises them to contact their local health center. >> translator: the only service which can help the people is the 115 line, but the service isn't working. it's going to be complicated for us, especially for those who are far in the villages and don't have money to go to the hospital. >> reporter: ebola swept through guinea over two years ago. of the 3,804 cases recorded in guinea, around 65% of them died.
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guinea was declared ebola free in december, but the 115 line was kept open to help emergency crews trace victims of the virus. >> translator: if this 115 service doesn't exist, how can we find the sick people? the problem will be knowing how to get to someone who is ill. >> reporter: those running the hot line say it has been closed because of a lack of funding and support, but even some in government acknowledge how valuable it has been. >> now ebola is let's say behind us, but does not prevent us from having another epidemic. one thing that has been flawed in our system is how to prevent, and honestly, the hot line, 115, in guinea has been a tremendous help. >> reporter: there are fears ebola may return to guinea. one of the ways that may have
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helped to detect another epidemic early has been shutdown. rob matheson, al jazeera. now there were heated exchanges as u.s. republican presidential hopefuls took part in their last televised debase before super-tuesday. alan fisher sent us this report. >> reporter: this was a key debate. >> we are going to secure the border. >> reporter: marco rubio went on the attack from the first moment, front runner donald trump the target. and immigration the first topic. >> you are the only person on this stage that has ever been fined for hiring working to work on your projects illegally. >> you haven't hired anybody. >> reporter: and trump was taunted by ted cruz who said he couldn't win a presidential election. >> we can't risk another four years of these bailed obama
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pollties by nominating someone who loses to hillary clinton in november. >> reporter: he knows he has to try to stop his momentum if he has any chance himself of winning the nomination. he attacked his record, previous comments, lack of detail on positions he holds now, but donald trump still holds a lead in most of the states that will vote on super-tuesday, and remains the favorite. there was a discussion on the economy, the battle against isil and the middle east. [overlapping speakers] >> reporter: but this was a debate where few will remember details on policy, but will remember the anger. after the debate, trump says he wasn't surprised to be the target of so many attacks. >> i think he had no choice but to be aggressive, same thing with cruz. rubio is losing by 22 points in the state of florida and he is the sitting senator >> reporter: temperature has come under attacks in previous
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debates, and it has done nothing to hurt him in the polls. no one has yet worked out how to beat him. you can find out much more about the stories we're following on our website. the address is ♪ new clues as to the motive of man who opened fire at his job in kansas, killing three people. bernie sanders returns to south carolina, a day before the primaries, in a last-minute attempt to gain ground on hillary clinton. >> so you are going to be starting a trade war against your own -- [ cheers and applause ] >> marco rubio and ted cruz team up to take on donald trump. and all eyes on iran