. good morning. these are some of the stories we are following at this hour. president obama begins a major push to win congressional and public support for a military strike on syria. looking for international support for a strike against syria john kerry travels to london to meet with britain's foreign minister. and a new report shows the progress of reconstruction in iraq given millions of u.s. tax dloors. >> a thai jetliner skidding off the runway, and injuring 14 people. ollars.
>> a thai jetliner skidding off the runway, and injuring 14 people. >> and congress returns from recess this morning. the very first votes on whether to authorise the use of military force in syria is expected within days. president obama and vice president joe biden met with a group of congress who are on the border of whether there should be a strike. kimberley halkett reports from washington. >> dennis mcdonough makes the case for why members of congress should authorise the president's request to carry out strikes on syria. >> how congress chooses to answer the question will be listened to in damascus and in tehran and among the lebanese hezbollah. >> it's an issue of regional security and stability.
a top u.s. ally, israel - according to a former white house survivor. >> the israelis sent a signal that they feel we have to act. if not it will encourage the use of these weapons. internet video was released by the senate intelligence committee to support the argument the syrian president should be held act ail. in a soon to -- accountable. in a soon-to-be-released interview president bashar al-assad reportedly denies that he knew about the attack, suggesting if the obama administration had evidence he used chemical weapons, it should be released. >> a prominent liberal activist group in the meantime released a television ad urging congress to vote against the president's request to authorise military
action. after 10 years of war in afghanistan and iraq americans fear being drawn into syria's civil war. it's the intense public pressure to oppose the president's measure that the white house must overcome. president obama is making personal phone calls to members of congress to draw up support. he's scheduled to give national interviews on monday and an address to the nation on tuesday as he ramps up his campaign for syrian intervention, in anticipation of the vote in the u.s. senate in the middle of the week. >> overseas - secretary of state john kerry is said to hold a joint press conference with uk foreign secretary william hague. he's reiterated his support for washington's stance despite a lack of military support from the uk.
it follows meetings with arab leaders. >> america's top diplomat came to paris to strengthen french support for a military strike on syria. he came to seek help from members of the arab league. >> there is no military solution. what the united states is seeking, together with others - not alone but with others - an increasing number - what we are seeking is to enforce the standard with respect to the use of chemical weapons. we are not seeking to become engaged in or party to or take over syria's civil war. >> the arab league has unanimously condemned the syrian leadership for its apparent use of chemical weapons. qatar is a handful of arab nations supporting international military intervention in syria.
when pressed qatar failed to answer what help it was prepared to give. >> translation: when it comes to syria and what qatar can do, we are examining the trends of the u.s., as to what qatar can do to protect and save the syrian people. >> maybe because of warnings from the iran prime minister during a visit to iraq on sunday >> translation: we are trying to prevent a war on syria. once it starts the warmongers will not be able to end it on his own. the u.s. president is trapped because he spoke about going to war even though he doesn't want to. we hope he gets out of this trap and doesn't set fire to the region. >> john kerry said the number of countries willing to join a coalition against syria is in the double digits. a list will not be made public until some time on monday. many are wary about entering into a conflict without the united nations backing. washington may be considering
returning to the un for support. kerry will continue a diplomatic tour of europe by going to london after the uk parliament voted no to intervention. the u.s. knows it will have to continue building the case for war without help from some of its traditional allies. >> the u.s. tries to gain more support internationally syria is reaching out to its own allies, the foreign minister arrived in russia and is expected to discuss the crisis in his country with his russian counterpart. barnaby phillips is in russia now. >> what should be an expect from the syrian foreign minister's visit. >> the point is, as you put it, syria reaching out to its friends. it doesn't have many friends, but the handful it does have are extremely important to it.
hezbollah, obviously, iran and, perhaps, above all, russia, which provides it with military, political and diplomatic support. the foreign minister will seek reassurances that that support from moscow will carry on flowing. >> as you mentioned russia has been an ally of syrian president bashar al-assad's regime. where do the russians stand on this now though? >> i don't see any change whatsoever that the russian position will alter in any way. if we take president putin's words at the end of the g20 in context, he said russia would carry on supporting the regime in syria. there are too many reasons why this is important to the russians to swap course now, if you like, to change course. they distrust the rebels in syria, they don't like them. they fear an islamist - the
spread of extremist islamist groups. they see this to a certain extent as a proxy struggle with the united states influence in the middle east. also of importance is the principle of non-inference into sovereign affairs of another country. the relationship they have is important economically, not least through the sale of military hardware. for all of those reasons i imagine that foreign minister wallim will get reassurances from the russians that they stand by him. >> you mentioned the importance of the allies. in that sense could a military strike on syria backfire against president obama. could the allies prop up the syrian regime, go in and put everything they have no propping up assad and create a world war
3 by proxy? >> well, we are getting into a lot of hype thet calls, and hopefully we won't reach all of them down the road. it's important to put this in some sort of context. the russians repeatedly and clearly said they have no desire to get militarily directly involved in the consequences that should emerge from an american attack. but you're right, thesers the kinds of -- these are the kinds of fears and doubts playing on the minds of congress men and women in the united states, on the minds of electorates across europe. there are many unknowns about the possibly consequences of an american-led attack on president bashar al-assad's forces. >> barnaby phillips in moscow - thank for joining us
>> congress is poised to take up talks the white house is pulling out all the stops to gain approval. joining us from washington , an assistant professor. thank you for joining us. polls are showing that americans are against strikes in syria. what changes does that present for president obama? >> it poses a challenge since president obama is promising the american public a quick no boots on the ground surgical strike. there's no guarantee that this round of strikes will end. in other words, syria can feel less restricted and use chemical weapons further, putting the onus on obama to strike back. it could be a spiral of the violence. >> speaking of a spiral of violence - the obama administration is saying that it has irrefutable evidence that
the syrian regime is behind the chemical weapons attacks. besides the recently released evidence of the nerve gas attacks - where is the proof? >> that is the million dollar question, if you will. remember, it's almost sounding like iraq 2003. and, you know, the evidence was there, and later it was disproven. i think that's also perhaps part of the equation why the american public is skeptical. so far the intelligence has only been shown to members of congress. it hasn't been made available to the american public, and, again, like 2003, there's no guarantee that it's - you know, 100% perfect or flawless. you mentioned 2003. has the u.s. exhausted political and economic ties to stop the attacks or has the u.s. come so far now that it has to strike in? >> no, there's other options besides a military strike.
in some ways the saker rattling this time around perhaps has sent a message to bashar al-assad that he should never use these weapons again. as mentioned previously in the report there's the up -- un option, the option of bringing bashar al-assad to the criminal court. there's the option of increasing military aid to the rebels. >> professor, the "new york times" reports that syria was able to build one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons. if this is the case, how and when was it built? >> remember that all the information we have on syria's intelligence program is a guesstimate. unlike iraq's wmd program, the nature and scope of it was realised once un weapons inspectors were on the ground. in the case of syria, it could
be the world's largesest, or a threat that is overoverinflated. chemical weapons have an expiry date. the first evidence of chemical weapons was as early as the 1970s, from egypt. regardless, they will expire. if anything, it's the substances that we have to worry about. we know - we have evidence of western companies providing the substances that make chemical weapons. does syria have an indigenous chemical weapon production program. again, it's a lot of estimating and guesswork. the threat can be overblown and could be, you know a viable dangerous program. >> a lot of guesswork as the u.s. waits for answers. >> thank you for joining us. the professor at california
state university at st marcos. >> a report released a short while ago highlighted the inquiries made into the $60 billion us taxpayer dollars used to construct iraq. investigations by the special inspector general for iraq produced 112 ipp dietments, 90 convictions and $192 million in fines, forfeit ris and recovery. u.s. military members and contractors were the bulk of those. >> one is dead and 10 injured after an explosion next to a primary school. a motorcycle caught fire and exploded in china. they are looking for a connection with the blast. >> 14 are injured after a thai airways plane skidded off the run way of an airport. the nose wheel of the airbus 330 collapsed.
the passengers were evacuated using emergency slides. the flight carried 288 passengers and 14 crew. >> flames broke out at mt diablo state park. 800 acres have been burnt. firefighters are having difficulty accessing the blaze because of the hilly area, no injuries have been reported. >> the fire burning around yosemite national park is 80% contained. it's destroyed 400 square miles and could take a couple of weeks to put it out. the fire was started by an illegal campfire that got out of control. >> right now we are watching thunder storms pushing through parts of the nowhere plains. in these thunder storms hail has been reported to the size of golf balls and parts of the
wyoming as well as other places. we'll watch this carefully over the next several hours and see how they play out. you can see them pushing through now. also the dakotas reported damage as well due to hail and wind across the region. here across the north-east we saw a lot of rain. that is going to come to an end as we go towards monday afternoon and clearer conditions there. it will be cooler, so the high temperatures look like this. new york is only going to be getting to 73 degrees, up towards albany at 71 and bovtan at 7 -- bovtan at 89. down towards the south-east rain showers to the southern parts of california, and louisiana, thunder storms will be a problem there as well as across the texas coastline.
temperature wise - warm in many places. birmingham will see 93. new orleans - the high 80s, humidity will be up. mid 90s for many locations around the reegeon. in texas thunder storms playing around to the south. drier conditions for dallas and the temperature of 98 degrees and dry so the heat index is not as bad. the temperatures staying into the mid 90s. across the south-west those rain showers are really going to be a big problem. especially for phoenix, but the temperature only at 91. >> he's a kremlin insider, and while he has 99% of the vote, there's controversy. >> the leader of the oldest civil rights group steps down.
>> >> >> at least 30 civilians have been taken hostage in southern philippines after muslim rebels stormed a coastal town. the people were captured during fighting between government troops and a faction. three are dead, 10 wounded. there are reports the egyptian army led an assault on the signi peninsula. targets were struck around the town, it was a large operation to purge the signi of terrorism.
>> a kremlin-backed encum band won re-location of moscow's mayor. with 99% of votes count sergei sobyanin has been declared the winner. his opponent alexei navalny has been ahead in exit polls through the day. he accuses election officials of falsifying the results. the head of the nation's oldest civil rights group is stepping down. benjamin jealous has said he will leave his job at ceo and president of the naacp. he was the youngest man when he took charge in 2008. he wants to spend time with his family. there's no word on his successor. >> despite marijuana being legal in california, there's a market for the fake stuff. people who smoke it could pay a high price. investigators are looking into whether the drug is linked to three deaths. we have
this report from denver. >> it's known as crazy monkey, sexy monkey or spice. it's made centre synthetic drugs. it's illegal to use, but can be sold as incense. it comes in colourful packages that look innocent, but the blends can be dangerous. >> two hits, yes. two little puffs. >> that was it. >> that was it. a few minutes later i was out. >> 23-year-old samantha was rushed to a hospital after smoking a small amount. >> i had a seizure, was puking, ended up in hospital, i don't remember nothing. >> at least 75 people have been treated in emergency rooms in denver for the affects of synthetic marijuana, five in one period alone at the university of colorado hops.
dr christ hoit says he's never sen numbe -- seen numbers like . >> patients are coming in dell earios, sye cottic. they have fast heart rates, low blood pressure. >> this year colorado made it legal for people over 21. advocates like matt brown are concerned about the synthetic stuff. >> this is dangerous, unregulated garage type substance. >> in spite of its danger users are drawn to the synthetic pot. it can be a quick high, selling for $14, compared to $50 for real pot. the centres for disease control is sending investigators to see if the deaths here are linked to the tainted concoction.
>> i would warn impinge thinking about using this, think twice. there's a chance something will happen to you. >> a message samantha northern sums up. >> this is bad stuff, don't try it. >> investigators will arrive on monday. >> according to the dea the number of calls to poison centres related to synthetic drugs soared to more than 13,000 in 2013. >> thousands of protesters don't want anything to do with the company's energy business. find out who they say is at fault.
>> in chile thousands marched on a coup that toppled the president, leading to pinochet's 17-year raid. >> protesters wanted information on their loved ones who were arrested or killed. >> foreclosure rates are declining. thousands of residences are uninhabited. vacant houses and lots can attract gangs, and criminal activity. a program is transforming these places into works of art. >> with the streak of a small brush, elbow grease and the eye, this home on california's south side is getting a makeover. 18 years ago chris toeffer dreamed up an alternative to dell mollishing structures.
>> i realised a lot of buildings were being tore down because they looked unsafe and were unsafe. people were breaking in and making fires. i thought, "why not make the buildings like better and find a better way to secure them". work the with the neighbourhood center, toeffer focuses on providing community spirits, by providing maintenance and using decorated panels to improve the appearance. >> hopefully it will encourage people to want to see that house in a different light, and hopefully be able to save the home and be able to purchase it and rehab it with the various incentives that we have to offer. >> it's relatively chaep. the cost of injecting money is
about $5,000. a demolition could cost five times that. something to think about considering there's 18,000 abandoned or vacant buildings in the city of chicago. >> some have been fast-tracked for demolition because they sit on state passage routes. they use to shuttle students to and from their schools. not everyone thinks demolition is the best option much. >> you go through the blocks, all you see is xs on the vacant homes. wherever the reason is for tearing them down instead of fixing them up, i don't know. >> that hope and changed helped this man to volunteer. a college graduate, she designed a street motif. the shapes and colours are incorporated into the plywood at the front of the house. >> the building is a perfect place to bring colours to. it's the opposite.
you wouldn't thing that you have designs and colour or something. it's dismal. >> toeffer says of 750 buildings he's worked on 90% have been saved from demolition. it may seem like putting lipstick on a pig, but it appears to work. >> and that will do it for this edition of alice springs: -- al jazeera, thank you for watching. the white house will go public with a series of one on one interviews. the president will address the nation tuesday night. and we, like everyone else, will bring you that address live on al jazeera. you can always check us out