welcome to al jazeera, i'm del walters, live in new york. here are today's top stories. the countdown to a government shutdown is now underway. with the procedural vote coming this afternoon. one republican center still continuing his rant against obamacare. and weapons inspectors go back to syria. an earthquake rattles southern pakistan, killing hundreds. the effects so massive, it has created a small island. ♪
less than a week now before the potential government shutdown. the senate now set to take the first vote on a bill to keep the government up and running. right now texas senator ted cruz and some his fellow republicans are still holding a talkathon on the floor of the senate. this is florida senate marco rubio live. the bill would strip away any funds set aside for the president's health care reform law known as about. libby have they indicated how long they will go? >> well the clock is going to run out on them eventually, dell. they have until noon when a new day starts in congress. we'll see some procedural items, and then senator cruz can get back on the floor and keep talking until 1:00.
that's when everything changes. that's when they are take what is called a cloweture vote. what we would see at 1:00 is a vote to move forward on bringing the bill to the floor, and that's when the action continues. senator will then start the actual debating process of whether or not this legislation should go forward as it is, or if they should do some expected tweaks to it and send it back to the house in a different form. >> libby is this purely symbolic, and if so, then why are they doing it? >> this is definitely fodder for future campaigns for individuals like senator cruz and senator rubio. this is all over twitter. they want this to go down as a moment where they took a stand. democrats may also use this, though. we are seeing them use the,
quote unquote, attack on obamacare on some of their adds in their home districts, so this is really a bunch of political posturing that is going on. it is not expected to get through the senate with obamacare stripped out. but then speaker boehner will have some big decisions to make about whether he sticks with the conservative party members or moves towards a more centrist ground and realizes that the government shut down is the next big thing. >> so what happens after today's vote? >> well, so we'll see another clock started as we watch this 1:00 pm vote. and then we'll watchman -- watch maneuvers by hepeople
like harry reid. so we have a couple of more days as the senate rangels with the exact details of this bill. dell you know in washington, d.c. government shutdown is a very scary thing. but it's not just a d.c. issue, the rest of the country is effected as well, we're talking about national parks closing down, people not being able to get passports. so who will the american public blame? and that's a big question politicians are asking, because nobody wants to take the blame for that. >> libby my former neighborhood used to point out when you say government workers that meant his job. is there confidence that capitol hill can avoid a possible shutdown? >> we haven't seen a government shutdown since the mid-1990s, and republicans ended up losing
politically in that. right now a poll shows that americans are pretty split. about 39% say they are blaming the republicans for that is going on, but 36% would blame president obama if there is a government shutdown, however, a lot of political posturing is to come in the next few days. this is going to go to the brink, though, because speaker boehner is left with a tough decision about how to move forward. he has two options, allow this clean bill to go forward, or stick with the conservatives in his party and try to get this defunding of obamacare which is going to be a no go in terms of the senate and the white house. >> libby thank you very much. senator cruz and some his fellow republicans have been on the floor now for about 21
hours. >> when we defund obamacare, we're all going to be happy, happy, happy. >> reporter: in the wee hours of wednesday morning, texas senator ted cruz kept his commitment to quite literally stand up against obamacare. he started speaking at 2:40 tuesday afternoon, and vowed to hold the floor until he could not stand anymore. harry reid was quick to point out that a vote would happen today no matter how much cruz talks. >> filibusters are to stop people from voting, and we are going to vote tomorrow. under the rules no one can stop that. >> reporter: top senate republicans realize the rules make cruz's effort a fake filibuster. and senate minority leader mitch mcconnell called cruz's
speech -- >> and other constituents -- >> a waste of time. >> on the question of repealing obamacare, we're totally united. >> reporter: that prompted this response. >> there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people. they are not listening to the concerns of their constituents. >> reporter: throughout the prolonged political process, cruz did manage to take a rest thanks to fellow republicans like this center from utah who gave cruz a break by way of a long-winded question. >> and so senator cruz . . . i have to ask you -- >> reporter: with so many hours spent on the senate floor -- >> the lowest work force participation in decades in the united states. >> reporter: the senator also read from a children's book. >> i do like green eggs and ham, i do not like them, sam i am.
>> reporter: and he also quoted a reality tv show. >> i want to point out a few words of wisdom, from duck dynasty. you put five rednecks on a mouer, it is going to be epic. in pakistan the death toll is climbing following a powerful earthquake there. the 7.8 magnitude quake shaking the southwest coast of pakistan. communication has been cut off to some of the hardest hit areas. the quake was so powerful, it created a small island. >> reporter: this is what remains of many villages in the district. houses flattened and hundreds of inhabitants wounded. it was the epicenter of the 7.7 magnitude earthquake which hit south pakistan.
>> it all happened within a minute. everything was destroyed. when we went back even the little place where we kept water was gone. >> translator: we took out some bodies and some injured, but there are no facilities here. >> translator: we don't know how many are dead. half of our families are gone. >> reporter: the area was so remote it was a few hours before the injured or dead could be moved to hospitals. >> reporter: it also has severely effected the communication system. we are facing a lot of difficulties to reach out to the survivors, and it also takes eight hours from the capitol to reach the district. >> reporter: a state of emergency has been declared in the districts. medical camps have been set up. air ambulances and more than a thousand solders are take part
in the relief efforts. >> translator: we have started relief work, and some of our teams have already reached the effects areas. >> reporter: in april a 7.8 magnitude quake hit the same province. scores have also been killed by earthquakes in 2007 and 2008. pakistan's government has been fighting a bloody separatest insurgency there. but they accuse the government of not allocating enough resources and funds. and it's the people regularly suffering from natural disasters, only to see them compounded by man made ones. un weapons inspectors are back in syria today. they are gathering samples from a attack in the northwest part of the country.
there are also reports of increased violence between several syrian opposition groups, including battles are organizations backed by al qaeda. and there is a new concern about the growing hunger problem in the war torn country. the u.s. has become the 91st nation to sign on to the un arms trade treaty. secretary of state john kerry signing the document a short while ago. it establishes regulations to control their sale of arms. >> this is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors. this is about reducing the risk of international transfers of convention alarms that will be used to carry out the world's worst crimes. this is about keeping americans safe, and keeping america
strong. >> that has not stopped gun rights groups from opposing the treaty however. pope dbenedict is speaking out, denying he ever tried to cover up sex abuse cases when he was priest. he was responding to comments bay well-known italian author who has been ex treatmently critical of the catholic church. he also says the church must make sure it does everything possible to make sure it never happens again. investigators plan on visiting syria again today looking for answers. ♪
♪ u.s. secretary of state john kerry is expected to meet with the five members of the un security council today. this is a debate before the larger body continues. secretary kerry also signing a global arm's tremendousty that regulates trade in weapons. today's reality points towards tough diplomatic shredding ahead between the u.s. and iran. what does the arms treaty mean for the u.s. and
[ technical difficulties ] >> but they are pushing for a year, maybe a bit more before it's fully in play, dell. >> john, hassan rouhani's speech was widely anticipated. it has been a day. how do they think he did? >> benjamin netenyahu didn't like it very much. he said this is cynical. all he is doing is trying to buy time to build up his nuclear arms process, and build a nuclear bomb. i mean it was predictable. we were never going to have two leaders like president obama and president rouhani making speeches like they did without splitting everybody down the middle. but we have them in two separate speeches basically making nice to each other and reaching out to each other, saying we have
had a difficult relationship, let's see if we can change that. the u.s. perfectly willing to accept that one day iran will have a nuclear energy program, and the iranians saying flat out, saying we're ready to have a talk about our nuclear program. so this is very, very different than what we have had in the last few years. predictably people have very different views on the iranians, and it's just going to take some time. >> john thank you very much. about half of americans say they disapprove of the way president obama is handling foreign policy according to a new poll by the "new york times" and cbs. 49% of americans say they disapprove of the president's
foreign policies. 52% say they don't approve of his handling of syria, and 44% say they disapprove of his approach to iran. a special judicial panel has given california more time to deal with its overcrowding in prisons. the governor will have additional time to release prisoners. the ruling is a short-term victory for brown. the prison reform deadline is only about four months away. the mall seize in kenya is now over. 72 people were killed in the siege, but the number is expected to rise. during the four-day standoff, three floors of the mall collapsed. more now from al jazeera's andrew simmons in nairobi. >> reporter: it's day five of this operation and you can sense
a different mood. it's one of relief, but also perhaps even more grief than before because there is an unknown number of bodies still inside this building. it has been revealed that three floors collapsed inside the building at some point. it is thought that that was on monday. unconfirmed reports suggest that a sniper was deployed by the kenyan special forces and he shot what was thought to be the leader of the attack group. the other details are also coming in now, and one source tells us that this was the key battle, and it was on monday. there were lots of distractions being made by the security forces, that included explosions, grenades and helicopters flying close to the building. what happened next was a full-on gun fight and this progressed into the explosions it seems or fire that resulted in the collapse of the building. that was something that
certainly wasn't in the plan for the security forces, it would seem and that has lead to a number of deaths. this wasn't touched on in the presidential address on tuesday night, but we are expecting more details to be revealed about what exactly happened and how many are dead. the number is bound to increase. the next crew of the international space station is due to launch later today. one american and two rush slans be joining three others. the three-man crew will receive the olympic torch later this year. that torch is going to be the one used during the opening ceremonies of the winter games in russia. liftoff is scheduled for about 5:00 pm eastern time. if all goes as planned they will
dock at the space station about six hours later. good morning, i'm nicole mitchell who you are having a great wednesday so far. it is a good thing the space station is not a florida launch, because look at all of the rain we have had in the region. a combination of low-pressure and a frontal boundary that has been pretty stagnant. but florida has been the bullseye for this. you can see some of these issues over the last couple of days, well, already some places having a half foot of rain, add a couple of more inches today, so we have a lot of flood concerns across the region. most of this, watches and warning were based around rivers and streams, and that will continue through the weekend, some of those concerns with more
of the moisture through the southeast through today. this is the type of year where you can get a little bit of everything, though. so it is snow in another part of the country. this has meant some snow for the higher elevations, especially today if you are looking somewhere -- anywhere in idaho and montana, most of this are going to be those mountain passes across 6,000 feet. somewhere like helena, if you go north of that, you will see the snow for today. in the middle of all of this, we have some summer like temperatures. temperatures in the 90s in texas. and the air is so warm and stagnant that we have air quality advisories. and then you get more toward the north and it feels more like
♪ welcome back to al jazeera, i'm del walters. here are today's top stories. less than a week now before the potential government shutdown, the senate said to take the first vote on a bill to keep the government open. the un generals a -- general assembly continues today. in pakistan the death toll is rapidly climbing following a powerful earthquake there. more than 300 people are dead, and thousands more injured. many houses have been destroyed and communication has been cut off to some of the areas that were hard hit. a un report on climate change published back in 2007 blamed humans for many of our environmental problems. now scientists in switzerland
say they have discovered new ways to harvest the power of the sun. >> reporter: here at a research laboratory run by the computer giant ibm, scientists believe they have found a far more efficient way of using the power of the sun than anything achieved before. a key part of the system are these tiny photovoltaic cells, capable of converting almost half the sunlight they absorb into energy. the mirror over there concentrates the sunlight down on the cells harvesting the power of up to a thousand suns. this is a prototype, of course, in a year they expect a working system 40 times larger. put 400 of those in a field or
strip of desert and you get a 10 megawatt power station meeting the energy needs of a small town. and there's more. the cells that harness the power of a thousand suns tend to get hot, very hot. here they have worked out how to cool their system using water. sea water, river water, even wastewater. all freely available. having removed the heat from the cells, the warm water evaporates, leaving impurities behind. the vapor is reduced back into water so pure you can drink it. >> that's pure pure water? >> pure pure water. >> but not good for drinking. >> not very good for drinking, but a small doesn't hurt. >> it doesn't taste too bad. >> during my education my understanding was always that ecology and economy go
opposition directions. and now this system allows to make them run parallel. that's a great thing. because as we make photovoltaic energy cheaper, we can deploy it in masses and help save the planet, and it doesn't cost us economically a lot. >> reporter: it's the culmination of eight years work for bruno michelle. he hopes to give the world abundant supplies of energy and clean water. a 99-year-old woman who dropped out of high school after driving in an accident finally got her diploma. she was injured 80 years ago, forcing her to miss several days of school. she needed only one more credit to graduate. for years it was called the