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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  September 28, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT

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>> welcome to aljazeera america. i'm jonathan betz. time is running out for congress to reach a deal that would avoid a partial government shutdown. house of representatives are scheduled to vote on a funding bill. that vote is expected at 11:00 eastern time. >> more controversy for the n.s.a., reports say they have been dipping into media sites. this has been happening since november of 2010. the report was based on documents provided by he had card snowden. >> poor communication is partially to blame for arizona
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firefighters in june according to a report. radio problems failed between the men and support staff. >> a recall of 100,000 mid sized cars stopping doors from latching while the car is moving. mazda traced the problem to uneven door surfaces. those are the headlines. keep it here, may go tonight is up next, here on aljazeera america.
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>> good evening. and welcome to america tonight. the weekend edition. a fractured relationship with the general assembly as nuclear talks and a history of sponsors hezbollah continue to strain u.s. iran relations. also unresolved, the lives of two detained americans and some questions about the fate of a third. a u.s. marine has not seen his family since august of 2011. america tonight traveled to flint michigan for his story. >> december 18, 2011, iranian state television. >> amir, born in 1983 in flagstaff, arizona to iranian-american parents, one of
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four children in a close and active family, high school hockey star, an american combat veteran, as a u.s. marine sergeant surfed tours in iraq and afghanistan. >> i sure was proud of him, you know, for wanting to serve his country. >> using his language skills working as a defense contractor with a sideline in real estate. >> and then, in december, 2011 in tehran, accused as an american spy and agent for the c.i.a., making this public confession. >> i would also go out and conduct -- >> back home in flint, michigan. >> the first time it was the news, it was his face in t.v. >> it was the first time in months that the family knew where amir was. >> what did you think as you heard him speak in that confession video? >> i was shocked, because just looking at his face.
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that wasn't him. i said what did they do to him? he takes care of his health and he was very fit and in the picture, he was tiny, yellow, white, sick, looked sick. his face shows everything. his face shows that he was under pressure. >> his journey to tehran and those accusations began with a desire to see his aging grandmothers. >> that's grandma, the first visit. >> relatives who could visit only occasionally as he and his siblings grew up. his eldest sister, sarah. >> he always loved the idea of knowing his relatives and as i'm sure many first generation american born children can rely, they don't grow up experiencing the holidays with relatives in this country.
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>> he went to the iranian officials in washington to get approval. >> he did pass all the paperwork, interviews, everything. they knew what he did, and they let him, they give him visa. he pass custom in airport, be with the family for two weeks. after two weeks, he vanished. >> missing a big family celebration. >> how did you find out what had happened. >> my brother said he didn't show up to the party. the next day, went to house, he was living with my other brother, his commuter, his cell phone, and all the i.d.'s, wallet, everything was gone. >> a week later, a call from their son saying he was in prison. from august to december of 2011, the family frantically searched, making trips to the nor torous prison and were told they could
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not see him. >> we were given this promise that he was just being investigated, because he was american, and they were looking into the fact that he had served in the military for the u.s. but that he would be released. >> in fact, he was being held in solitaire confinement, where he would stay for 16 months in a dark room. then came the televised confession. >> i know it was forced, and i know it was lie. i know it was -- they force him to say that. >> there was a secret trial, the iranians produced his military reservist card, employment agreement with defense contractors, unusual pocket litter for a spy, but evidence they said of his ties to the c.i.a. he was sentenced to death. >> it was sick neck. ening.we can't believe it got ts point. >> a new trial was ordered and
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he was allowed visitors. >> he was very bad. he was tiny. he was crying all the time. his face was like chalk, you know, it was white, and beard, long beard, no shave, hair was shaved. i was worried about him. most of the time, we were crying, me and him were crying. from that day, he told me mom, don't believe anything. i'm innocent. >> you haven't been well enough to be able to go to see him. >> no, i've been under chemotherapy. i've had radiation treatment. >> he has brain cancer. >> how are you feeling now? >> so-so, just taking it one day at a time. >> mostly emotionally, you know, it hurts him more than. >> emotionally, i'm -- >> just he's under chemotherapy, but thinking about him, it
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just... >> every day he's in my mind, every day. every night. >> these are very powerful. >> we had a lot of support. we had a great turnout for the event itself. >> the family has raised awareness and funds for lawyers and advises with a photo shoot in a former prison. a stark reminder of the prisons amir faces. >> people realize when it comes to justice and for humanitarian cause that they need to do something. it could be their son, their brother and we felt that. >> this is a really powerful picture of your dad. you can see the pain, the pain. >> dozens of members of congress have written letters of support to the family and letters to iran. >> who's that? >> sarah and her husband run the free amir website, tracking support and the number of days he has been held, 754 and
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counting. they do not know when or if or how their brother and son will be released, but they now see some hope in the election of iran's new and more moderate president rouhani. >> we hope the new president come to the united nations and he bring us some news. >> what would it be for you to be able to see amir again. >> that would be the whole world. i pray every day that i will have both of his hands in my hands, that i will be able to hug him and kiss him and tell him how much i love him, and how much i miss him. >> i suffer a lot, too much, every day, every day, when he's coming home. too much. we suffer a lot. i just want to ask president and
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the new government to help amir, to bring him home to his family. >> that report came to us from sheila macvicar. ahead on america tonight weekend, documenting chicago's crime wave, a view behind the scenes, is next. [[voiceover]] every day, events sweep across our country. and with them, a storm of views. how can you fully understand the impact unless you've heard angles you hadn't considered? antonio mora brings you smart conversation that challenges the status quo with unexpected opinions and a fresh outlook. including yours.
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>> every sunday night al jazeera america presents gripping films, from the worlds top documentary directors
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>> this is just the beginning of somthing much bigger... >> tomorrow...the premier of "budrus" >> the primary concern of the fronts is security that trumps everything >> how could a wall designed to divide, unite israelis and palestinians al jazeera america presents... "budrus" premiers tomorrow night 9 eastern. >> four men were arrested and charged this week in a violent neighborhood shooting in chicago that injured 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy. this gun violence another setback in a city wide effort to saturate the streets with police. documenting it all is a video journalist who has devoted years to the grave yard shift. we spent a day in the night with ken h. >> rzlek. >> we are headed to what is left
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of cabrini green. this gets dicey. they got a crowd. what's that? stay with me, if you can. >> i am a video journalist. i shoot news overnight in chicago for all the local television stations. get in, get the what you need and get the hell out. don't linger. on one to 10 safety, 10 being the least safest, this is definitely a 10. first thing i do is i turn all the radios on and see if i can hear something.
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i watch the 10:00 news to see if there's something i can follow up on. we're going to go to this fire on the south end. we don't know where it is, yet, we know generally, not exactly. >> there! >> who was injured? >> a 6-year-old. >> larry and i go back about 20 years. we've been at some crazy, crazy incidents over the years together. >> spend a lot of time at night together. >> yeah and in all the wrong places. >> well, i'm going to go back to the middle area where i'd like a sit, because if i sit here on the south side, for sure
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something will happen on the west side. this is where i usually sit. can get to generally anyplace in 15 minutes. >> this is the sit down and wait area, definitely. >> hello? >> my name is pat currie, the managing editor for wgn tv news. i'm responsible for a lot of the content of our news stories and figuring out which stories we cover. ken and i go back 25, 25 years ago. he was called a stringer. i'd come in in the morning, it would be like we have this, this and this. it's because of ken. the e2 nightclub disaster. there was a nightclub in the south loop area, and ken had called me and said i think we have a big one. i said what are you talking about? he said i think we have a stampede. i really didn't -- didn't hit me. i said what do you mean a stampede at a nightclub. he said no, people are stacked on top of each other.
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>> the way to get in and out was through this one stairwell they had. it was some sort of a fight on the dance floor. the people were stuck so entwined and tight, that you could not pull the people out and the first ambulance crews were just completely inundated. people were throwing the bodies inside the ambulances. there were a lot of people alive, but really having trouble breathing. they need treatment now. it was just a crazy, crazy scene. >> sent chills up my spine. when we saw his video, it's engrained in my mind forever, and ken brought moments like that all the time to us. ken had all the big stories. >> i do have shootings every night. we have two very busy neighborhoods, the west side of chicago and the south side of chicago. i spend probably 89% of my time
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in both of these areas. >> i did a homicide on that street, right there, about two months ago. i have been to over 1700 homicides in my career so far. in the last couple of years, the shootings have been more intense. people are not willing to turn the other cheek anymore. there seems to be a serious problem with anger management going on. i couldn't even describe to you how minor some of these infractions might be, but all of a sudden a gun comes out and they just start shooting. they're not necessarily pointing. they're shooting sideways. you can't hit the side of a barn shooting sideways and innocent people are getting shot on a daily basis. great train whistle. >> it was important for us as a news organization and the news industry to understand, to be aware that there was violence
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occurring out there. i think we'd come in and we'd look at the day and wouldn't look at what was behind us, because we weren't there and ken changed all that, because he brought crime into the newsroom in the morning. >> they are stabbing each other. >> chicago's a city where if it's not in my back yard, then i don't want to be bothered and part of what ken has done and what we're trying to do is it is in your back yard, even if you live 10 miles away, it's in your back yard, because we are all going to pay the cost of violence no matter where it happens. >> i still love chicago. i worry for chicago, but i just hope that they can get it under control. i really do, you know.
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they need to hire a lot more cops. you know, it's a good city. >> four shootings. four shootings and a foot chase. they brought me to tears earlier. we were doing a whole long interview and asked questions, are you concerned about the city. like a little girl, crying. >> our day in the night with veteran journalist. for the first time since emerging from bankruptcy, general motors announced a new model truck to be produced to the company's old manufacturing plant. the 2015 chevrolet silverado will roll off the line with increased howling capability, improved safety features and most importantly for g.m., proven profits.
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america tonight reports. >> in a city often singled out for its high homicide rate, lack of jobs and deteriorating neighborhoods, it may be hard to find a course of pride, but inside this bustling truck factory, thousands of employees are proving there's a lot to be proud of in flint, michigan. over a 24 hour period in general motors' flint assembly plant, metal amounted parts will be put together like puzzles. they'll be tightened and tested, cleaned and quality checked. eventually rolling off the line as one of the country's most popular you. , the chevrolet silverado or g.m.c. truck. >> what's in it extra? >> what's in it? actually, you're getting a 6.6 turbo, the most powerful engine that we have. >> the plant is an island of
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productivity in an industrial wasteland. acres of property are now vacant after decades of factory closures eliminated tens of thousands of automotive jobs from flint. but the workers at general motors' oldest north america factory survived a company bankruptcy and shutdown of 17 facilities across the country. they've emerged humbled, with a new approach towards team work. it wasn't easy. it required the union and mansionment to come to the same side of the table and focus ohen a common goal, making a product the american people would want to buy. >> this product is important to the american economy. it's a work truck. yes, it's expensive, but it is built in such a way that it helps the economy, farmers, ranchers, construction workers.
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i mean, the people who are the backbone, the true backbone of our economy need trucks like this to do their jobs. >> how many trucks come through this line every day? >> more than 700 a day. that's a lot when you think of three shifts. >> i've been at g.m. 19 years -- yes, 19 years. >> deandre jackson works the first shift. the flint father leaves home before the sun comes up so he can make it to the truck plant by 7:00 a.m. >> you spend more time here with the people here at work than you do at home sometimes, and you fall in love, i met my wife here. i was driving material to her area and we had conversation and that turned into a movie and a movie turned into a marriage.
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it's a community here. it's like family. >> the plant depends on its family of nearly 2700 union employees, like jackson, to manufacture trucks around the clock. >> there's a guy down the line from me, if he doesn't do his job, i can't do mine. if i can't do mine, the next guy can't too his. >> plant employees developed a new sense of gratitude for their jobs after watching the shut down of many other plants. their uncertainty about their work made the union and company focus on cooperation. >> we're all engaged, not just general motors and u.a.w. we've got two hands together that are engaged in what we do and given the direction out here of how we're going to be successful. that's how we have to survive. >> barry campbell is the chairman of the united auto workers. he said there was a time when contentious relations between plant management and union
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workers hindered morale and production. he recalled the work was more about quantity than quality. >> did that mean certain things would be allowed to slide by at that point? >> i won't say it was allowed to slide by. i would just say hey, let's get these out and we'll fix them later. now it's about building it right in the department. i think the sense of urgency to be better has changed us since the bankruptcy. we don't take anything for granted anymore. >> each worker plays a critical role. they have the power to stop a section, all they have to do is pull this and the production stops. >> that's very important. i mean, we're here to make quality. if i see something that's not right, or one of my guys within my team, we have the ability to stop the line and call supervisor over and say hey, check this out. they really let the team leaders here be actively involved in coming up with new ideas to make a better truck. >> have you submitted any ideas
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that you think would be good? >> yeah, me and my team, they have implemented a lot of our suggestions. >> what works in this plant is the fact that we work together. it is 100% the secret to our success. if there were one silver bullet, that's it. >> amy farmer is the director of manufacturing operations in flint. she's proud that the improved labor management relationship and the joint focus on quality has paid off. the trucks produced here receive the coveted j.d. power understand associates award two years in a row for having the highest initial quality. general motors is investing $330 million in the plant to produce the first model truck here in five years. >> we've earned the right to be part of the future and part of the future growth, and we fully intend to stay on that path. >> would you call it a bright spot in the community? >> oh, no doubt, no doubt, to be
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able to ride by and see a place that's open for business and trucks coming out the back of it, because nothing gives me more pride than to ride down the highway and see a car hauler full of flint-made trucks, so yeah, i think it's a bright spot. >> since the 2008 buyout abthe u.s. treasury owns 100 million shares of g.m. it plans to sell the rest by march 31, 2014. >> still ahead here, an uninvited and quite noxious gas. >> you can feel the air coming in, right? sometimes it comes in with chemical smell. >> how the bucket brigade is leading the fight for fresh air.
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on techknow, our scientists bring you a sneak-peak of the future, and take you behind the scenes at our evolving world. techknow - ideas, invention, life. millions who need assistance now. we appreciate you spending time with us tonight. up next is the golden age of hollywood going golden but elsewhere. why l.a.'s mayor has declared a state of emergency for the entertainment industry there. next.
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>> it's not an uncommon
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complaint. the squeaky we'll gets the grease and government money and attention are likely to go to big powerful communities. when it comes to environment issues, that sense of abandonment can be more magnified, but that doesn't mean the communities are ready to give up, tonight, we look to mess skeet, mexico. >> meet the bucket brigade of mesquite, new mexico. larry is an elementary schoolteacher, bob a retired plumber. javani is a high school student and her father a community otherwiser and the group's leader. >> i can smell it, and we're capturing it, but what does it mean? i don't know yet. >> these local residents are using a bucket to collect air samples out of a warehouse.
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bob still can't get used to the smell. >> my wife and i sleep here and here's where it comes from. you can actually feel the air coming in, right? sometimes it comes in with a chemical smell. >> the odor here at bob's house is strong, but it's not the smell they're worried about. they think it's bad for their health. >> if i haven't eaten a good breakfast, i can smell and i get dizzy. if you lived here, what would you do? we're here first. my grandfather was here first. i can't move. let them move. >> arturo has long suspected the air they breathe here is toxic. the chemical company sells fertilizers and other products to the farming and ranching industry. their phishing warehouses are located in the middle of this working class town of less than 12,000 people. >> i think companies like this are dinosaurs. they should be considering
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themselves, hey, we've outgrown this space, we're next to a school, next to homes. we should think about going to maybe industrial parks or somewhere out, where they're not near people. >> under the former state government, the helena chemical company was required to have an air quality permit. the state fined them nearly half a million dollars for violations, but arturo said at least somebody was watching. then everything changed. after the election of represent governor martinez, the emissions found were too low to require a permit. aljazeera south clarification from officials. none responded. >> the chemical company, helena chemical gave over $25,000 to the susanna martinez administration. i believe in my heart that's what bought them a right to no
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longer need an air quality permit. >> a list of donors was posted on her website. helena chemical marked for giving $10,000. the company president listed as giving $15,000. this video show where those donations went, the inaugural ball, that's her, dance i go to an american classic, "blue eyes, crying in the rain." ♪ >> helena wasn't the only company to support the event. many of the funds came from the oil and gas industry. >> new mexico is open for business. we're going to impose only common sense regulations and get rid of those that strangle small businesses. >> mesquite residents think that without government oversight, it will be even harder to know what helena is storing and in what quantities. >> we talked to two company managers and they had no
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comment. we called their corporate headquarters but got no answer. right now when we walked on to the site here, they just asked us to leave. >> the bucket brigade's next stop is a neighbor's front yard. the goal is to collect samples from different parts of town. >> they said we're all emotional, we're all way too emotional about it when we talk and the things we say, but we can never back it up quantitatively, so the narrative is good, but we need the data, the numbers, the stuff that makes these politicians pay attention, the scientists, what they say, they listen to, and that comes without the emotion. that just tells us what's the fact. >> those facts are sealed in the bag and mailed for scientific examination. arturo learned about the importance of proof the hard way. >> they sued me. an top of that, they sued my wife. >> arturo had once used images
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of industrial accidents and infant birth defects in a power presentation about helena. the company sued for defamation. charges against his wife were dropped, but a jury found him guilty. >> i felt like i was naked to the world, and being raped by this company, man. those guys were able to scare me, my family, and my family, outside family, my neighbors and the community into no longer speaking. >> aljazeera requested interviews with other mesquite miami, the local nurse and school principal. all of them refused. >> they sat there and made me out to be a defamer, made me out to be a liar, made me out to be a activist. >> arturo uribe is an activist and lives four houses down from
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helena's chemical storage. his grandfather built this house long before the company came to town and tonight his wife is making enchiladas. >> it's arturo's favorite. he can eat them tonight, for breakfast tomorrow and dinner again tomorrow. >> the family struggles started after their son was born nine years ago. >> he was home for about two weeks, and we were in bed one night and he just was getting really, really hot and he kept coughing and coughing and coughing and he was -- couldn't -- couldn't catch his breath. we rushed him to the hospital and sure enough, he was in respiratory distress. they said that he was going to have asthma. well, nobody in our family has asthma, so he's been on steroids for two weeks. then was he started talking to families and noticing that a lot of families had nebulizer ax at
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home. little kids had rashes from playing outside. it was time to stand up and say what's going on. they didn't like it and tried scaring us by suing us and it's been a hard road from there. >> the uribe's feel abandoned by the state government and wonder why they're the ones who have to monitor the quality of the air they breathe. >> i don't know why government's not here, why our state officials don't come and ask them questions, either. i don't know why people don't care, other than the people that live here. >> the uribe's carry on with their lives as best they can. the lab results they receive from a recent sample gives them little comfort. >> dichloroprapane. >> this is greek to me. i really don't understand this, man. it confirms our suspicions, that
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there are toxins, according to this floating in the air. it sucks. >> two of the chemicals found were tolulena and napolene. it will take months to know whether the chemicals come from helen eight and what a threat they are. arturo will see the process through. he believes his family and the town have a right to know. >> it's not named helena, new mexico. it's named mesquite and me mesquite. >> claims change. could this fine mist be one solution? we'll be back in a moment. [[voiceover]] every day, events
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sweep across our country. and with them, a storm of views. how can you fully understand the impact unless you've heard angles you hadn't considered? antonio mora brings you smart conversation that challenges the status quo with unexpected opinions and a fresh outlook. including yours.
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on inside story, we bring
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together unexpected voices closest to the story, invite hard-hitting debate and desenting views and always explore issues relevant to you. >> on the hot topic of global warming, scientists and policy makers gathered this week to finalize details of a key u.n. report often climate change. the big takeaway from the study, yes, almost everyone agrees, we humans are responsible. what can make a difference? here's correspondent jacob ward. >> the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has spiked by 40% since the industrial revolution trapping heat and changing our planet. >> the retreat of arctic sea ice has doubled in the past five years. rising sea levels of creating storm surgeries like hurricane sandy.
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massive wildfires raged through the west this summer. the latest report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change lays the blame at the feet of human beings. >> so, what can we do? experts agree that the priority should be reduce our emissions, but what happens if we can't? >> a small number of scientists are working on a backup plan called geoengineering in which humans actually manipulate the earth's atmosphere to cool the planet. one market based approach is to pull carbon dikes side out of the air. there is a prototype to do that. >> the national community and scientific community move slowly. we know we have to do something. this, we feel, is a profitable realistic solution implementable today. it's already built, it's proven. >> the device removes c.o.2 directly from the atmosphere for
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later use in fertilizer, beverages and other industrial applications. the company claims it could impact the entire planet. >> but the time you build you hundreds of these or thousands, you can actually clean up all the c.o.2 that is put out by humans every year. >> first thing to understand about carbon dioxide removal is there is no cheap and easy fast fix there. >> ken studies geoengineering. he believes global thermostat scheme is too little, too late. >> it involves infrastructure that's pretty much at the same scale as our energy system. if we have this whole big energy system dumping into the atmosphere, we need another the same size to take it back out. >> some scientists suggest blocking the sunlight and reflecting it back into oh
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space. >> clout darkening is filling a cloud with pals that can reflect the sun's energy and keep it off the earth. here on the california coast is one of the best places to experiment with this pros. researchers here have already begun to develop ways to brighten clouds. >> what we really do is enhance the natural process that's already there, so the natural process is to form clouds, so if you manage to change the reflectivity of these clouds by 5%, say, then you've changed the overall reflectivity of the earth by 1%. that's about enough to offset the effect of c oh two. >> salt water is blasted through, leaving behind salt farms, making existing clouds for dense and reflective. >> that's just incredibly fine water vapor. >> it evaporates quickly.
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what you don't see are the little tiny salt farms left behind. >> that's the whole idea. >> lee took us into the sky to get a look at the type of clouds their technology would brighten. >> we're putting in little particles. there are already particles in the area. our approach is to put in more. we put in sea salt, because we can get that from just upping sea water and turning it into fine salt particles. >> with the technology, how would it get into clouds? would you take it up in a plane? >> no, you would use a ship, a fleet of 2,000 ships. >> if you made it standard equipment to carry your technology, you could pretty much change the earth's temperature quickly. >> it would off set all of the warming from all the co2 since
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prior to the industrial age. >> while the technology could brighten clouds over huge portions of the earth, it could cool specific regions where the climbs is heating up. >> here on the coast of california, we've lost 30% of the cloud coverage in the summer. as a result of it, the coastal area is in distress. >> he stands to profit, but says he is also interested in posterity. >> i have eight grandchildren. it's very hard to say i saw this coming, which most of us see now if you're a scientist and say i knew about it, but i didn't do anything about it. >> while his team focuses on existing clouds, other scientists have considered a much more controversial strategy, creating a reflective cloud around the entire man net. >> put aerosols in the
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stratosphere reduces the temperature change by 9%. >> the idea is based on something that happened in nature. >> this poster child for solar engineering is the mount eruption. >> the eruption in the philippines spewed millions of tons of reflective particles high into the air. >> the earth cooled about almost a degree fahrenheit. if that amount of material had been kept in the stratosphere, that would have offset all of the global warming expected this century. we need a small fleet of airplanes, 10, 12 airplanes constantly flying up and down. this is something that's a few billion dollars a year. >> are you relieved, encouraged by this? >> i guess i'm a little heartened that if there really was some catastrophic warming, we could relieve the suffering.
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i see that as in case of emergency break glass kind of thing. >> geoengineering is a last ditch option. some worry that is only going to encourage us to emit greenhouse gases the way we have. scientists warn tinkering with nature can have unforeseeable consequences. >> melanie has studied the global impacts of climate change. >> we need to be careful with geoengineering that the cure is not worse than the disease. we can indeed seed clouds and put particles to reflect sunlight. the problem with that kind of solar radiation management is that you have to keep going with it all the time, if we're continuing to emit carbon at the same time, we haven't gone to the root cause of the problem. >> because geoengineering has the potential to change the entire planet, fitzpatrick said there should be a global debate before any one nation
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intentionally alters the climate. >> the public needs to be engaged. there's questions about the governance of it. who will decide to deploy that, where will they decide to deploy it. will it cause climate changes and will they be irreversible. >> it doesn't address the oceans. since we already know what needs to be done, it just takes the political will to do it. >> we know how to moderate climate. we need to adopt energy efficiency, deploy renewables and remove the subsidies from facile fuels. >> in an age of so much innovation, the idea that we could reverse climate change through technology is attractive. the truth is we barely understand what it might do to the planet and skies that all of us must share. >> that was jacob ward reporting. >> coming up on america tonight,
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going fast and getting away with murder. >> it's a game filled with shooting and killing and it's all right done more than a billion dollars in sales. why is grand theft auto five so popular? ahead on america tonight, we'll take you inside the game. that's all i have an real money.
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victoria azarenko [[voiceover]] every day, events
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>> talk about fast, it took three days for the video game grand theft auto five to rocket from zero to $1 billion in sales. the game is hiding speed burns, objections to its brutal and bloody content. >> the cops are -- >> again. >> right now, it's up, get out of here. >> ok. >> you take cover. you have to shoot everybody. ah. i don't know where my gun is. >> then are you going to steal one of these vehicles?
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>> this, i'm going to steal another vehicle. >> even though he's a long way from getting his official washington, d.c. driver's license, 11-year-old niko frank can cruise anywhere and do anything he wants as a virtual player in the video game grand theft auto five. >> normally, i'm a really good driver, but... >> sure! >> i do kind of like doing in this game some things that you just can't do in real life. in real life, you can't kill people like this, but in this game, you can. >> what do you feel like when you do that? >> that it's not very good. it is kind of fun to do some of the stuff, though. kind of like if you're a superhero in a game, you can't be a superhero in real life, so it's fun to kind of like have the fantasy, sort of. >> the game is labeled mature and designed for ages 17 and older because of the intense
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blood, gore, humor and understoodty his mom said her son is sophisticated enough to try the game during its first week. >> how did you make the decision that you were going to allow him to play the game. >> well, we spoke with niko. he explained that he knows that it's fiction, that that's not real life. niko's a very well-rounded kid, so we thought he's mature enough to know that that's a game and won't go on to apply that in real life. >> develops at rock star games spent five years and more than $260 million fine tuning the realistic graphics and developing a story line filled with sex, stealing, shooting and killing. the intense production paid off. it's on track to be the best-selling video game of all time. >> it is not just unprecedented
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in the world of video gales, it's unprecedented in the world of entertainment. >> what makes this game so popular? >> it's a combination of things. rock star doesn't make a lot of games so when they make games, they garner a lot of attention automatically. this is their crown jewel, it's their tar wars. their known for making experiences so you can go into their world to not only play the game they want to you play, but just roam around and do whatever you want. >> players can follow a story line by accepting violent missions that include robberies and shootings. >> so you join the party? >> or they can enter an alternate virtual world of free play where they choose their own adventure in the southern california down called los santos. a is a tiriccal take on the city of los angeles. >> this is michael, one of three characters you can control. >> we asked brian to take us
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inside the critically acclaimed world of grand theft auto five. >> this has a working roller coaster. i can run up here and i can actually go up these stairs, if i don't run out of breath. i've spent $15 of my money to actually go on a roller coaster ride. >> so it's not all violence. >> no, no. it's funny, if you really wanted to, barring the story, if you didn't care about the story, you could exist in this world and never be violent. >> if you could pick out one thing about this game that you think is the absolute best thing in this entire game, what would you say? >> i think its scope, the ability to do whatever you want in this game is something people aren't used to. you don't go into a movie theater and sit down to watch a movie and say no, i don't want to see the end, i want to go over here and check this out. >> characters can swim, play tennis, and golf with their friends. they can even watch a movie. >> they have created this entire world that is absolutely a
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satirical look at the united states. that's really genius. >> as enticing as the game is, he says he would not recommend it for his own 12-year-old son. >> why do you say this is no the a game made for kids? >> because it deals with serious topics and i think that if you look at the satire, for instance, that's going to go over a kid's head. >> how can you describe the violence? >> you can't provide an experience to gamers that they want to do, unless it's like this game, that says if you want to be violent, ok, be violent. >> i can just beat somebody for no reason and just keep beating
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him, and i keep using this club to hit whatever i want. >> why you keep hanging aren't this clown? >> the gang contains lots of racial slurs. and an opportunity for the mail protagonist to receive a lap dance and touch a nude woman inside a strip club. innocent bystanders can be punched, kicked and beaten and shot to death for no reason. the violence can get pretty extreme. we wanted to know the effect on the person holding the controller. >> we don't have anything showing a causal relationship between violent video games and actions that people take. >> dr. michael frasier is a new york city clinical psychologist who specializes in video game addiction. >> there are so many factors involved, including personality, psychiatric history, parenting
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style. >> dr. fraser says a child who struggles with stress and social pressures might be likely to use video games like grand theft auto to escape from real life. that, he says could lead to hours of obsessive playing, which brings its own problems, especially when it's time to put the game away. >> it's almost like a withdrawal continued of behavior. they may not be spending as much time paying attention to their hygiene. these games lend to those kinds of problems. >> what do you say to people who say this is not a good game for kids. >> like my mom said, it does depend on the kid, on like what they are like, or their permanent. >> i think a bigger question, too, is of all the things that we can put in front of our children, why would we want to put this kind of image and this kind of video game in front of them when there's so many other
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things that they could engage in. >> it's about to explode, and then this door out. >> niko says his extracurricular life is balanced, filled with sports and music. he's too busy to become obsessed with a game but still plans to play what is considered the most popular video game in the world. >> that report came to us from america tonight's laura. that is it for us here on america tonight. please remember if you want to comment on our stories, log on to aljazeera.com/americatonight. tell us what you'd like to see on our nightly current affairs program. join the conversation with us on twitter or our facebook page. thanks and have a good weekend.
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>> welcome to aljazeera america. i'm jonathan betz. house of representatives are debating a spending measure to keep the government from shutting down on tuesday. these are live pictures. they are expected to vote in the next hour. house republicans are determined to delay or defund the affordable health care act. >> more controversy north n.s.a., a report by "the new york times" said the spy agency has been dipping into social media sites, including travel to facebook ties. it's been happening since

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