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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  November 18, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm EST

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>> welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler. here are the night's top stories. stomp victims got to see what was left of their homes today. 80 storms touched down in five states. food water and medicine arriving in the philippines with more regularity. city council chaos in toronto, canada. city council voted to strip away more of rob ford's power.
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he's been under fire for excessive drinking and he admitdrug use. he'll go to court to get back more authority. nasa's mission to investigate the upper atmosphere on mars now underway, a robotic spacecraft called maven, is underway, how mars went from earth like to a barren desert. you can get the alatest on >> often america tonight: a recipe for disaster. a crack down on meth in rural america leads to a new problem. >> you know the mexicans are bringing it over by the truckloads.
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>> how one family is treating shake-and-bake for mexican ice. >> i'm winning, everybody is winning, all good. >> president aquino, face to face with the typhoon and america tonight's joie chen. >> we would like to now are you pleased with the rescue effort? >> the cradle of civilization, the plan to rebuild the marshes of mesopotamia. >> good evening everyone, thanks for joining us. joie chen is on assignment i'm
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adam may. meth amphetamine is continuing to ravage all across middle america. every time law enforcement contraction down on meth production, it pops up in different form. christophe putzel reports. >> veronica has been addicted to meth amphetamine for more than a third of her life. commonly referred to as speed, dope or ice, the drug is highly addictive and has been decimating rural communities like the one veronica has been living in for decades. >> they refer the to it as a walk away drug. you walk away from everything
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you ever valued for your next high. >> he says meth amphetamine after a dipping in consumption a few years ago due to drug enforcement, is at a new high. >> i don't know how something has had such a effect on someone's quality of life as the use of meth amphetamine. >> i was 26 when i started using. and i'm 43 years old now. that's how it goes around here, though. five miles from here and five miles around you there's probably 100 or more. people selling dope. >> how badly has this community been touched by this?
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>> there's more kids on it than i've ever seen in my life. >> have your kids gotten into this meth? >> two of my boys have. >> how old are they? >> 13 and maybe 14. >> where are we right now? >> walmart. >> and what are we doing here? >> we're going to get some supplies to make some dope. >> for years, this is how veronica had maintained her meth amphetamine habit. purchasing kerosene, and other common items to produce what is called shake-and-bake are. >> rubber hose attached, in arkansas this is almost the only way exclusively they powder out meth amphetamine. >> the tulsa, oklahoma police
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department shows how shake-and-bake is made. they also inadvertently reveal just how dangerous it can be. >> probably about 40% of the time someone's going to get badly injured. it looks really benign and it's a small bottle and it's got household chemicals. when they are mixed together in these ways, it becomes like a bomb. >> shows just how volatile the toxic cocktail can be. thousands of people are seriously burned every year trying to produce the drug for personal consumption. and because it's often cooked in the home, even children are at risk. >> have you seen these bottles before being shaken? >> and exploding. >> you've seen that? >> yeah. i seen dad, he shook it so much, shake them up and psssh. >> this six-year-old boy described a shake-and-bake meth
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cook that got so bad, it caught his house on fire. >> you got burned? >> yes. >> was it that one? >> yes. >> the burn mark. >> i just saw a big explosion. i just went psss. i saw the somehow explode. >> why are people in your home making these -- >> shake up bottles? >> yeah, why are they doing had a? >> they think it's for fun. >> but it's not so fun, is it? >> huh-uh. >> how many times have you gone and bought all the ingredients before? >> oh lord, i can't count. i can't count that high. >> for addicts like veronica the dangers of shake-and-bake meth production are nothing compared to the hold the drug has on their lives. >> we're heading to walgreen's pharmacy so we can get some
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sudafed. >> on the effort to crack down on the shake-and-bake method and the injuries resulting from it, legislatures of 40 of 50 states have targeted one of the key ingredients, the drug pseudoephedrine, contained in over the counter drugs like sudafed. most laws require that sudafed be kept behind the desk at the pharmacy. most pharmacies require that customers have a prescription history for that particular store before they will sell to them. >> have to have a prescription here, okay. >> most of these people are not chemists. if you don't have pseudoephedrine you can't make
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meth amphetamine. >> limiting the cold mns have drastically reduced the sale of the drug. >> we're going oimprovise. i ain't quitting. >> unable to get her hands on sudafed for a shake-and-bake cook veronica looks to her son teddy who has been using the drug since he was 14. >> did you use your the drug from your mom? >> that was the first time i saw it. that really disturbed me. i lated it, i hated it. >> why did you start using? >> that was weird. we were bad old country kids. it was the only fun we had. >> he prefers a new product a cheap version of the old drug in a shiny ready to use new package. >> that is what ice looks like.
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>> awere there any unintended consequence on the crack downed of pseudoephedrine? >> the manufacturer is manufactured in mexico and smugd intsmuggled into the u.s. >> u.s. got itself addicted by making this home grown product and now the cartel are supplying what the people are demanding? >> correct. >> this is what the mexican cartels will do it to make it look really valuable. you can make it where it's really pretty and almost see-through crystals and people will pay money because they think it must be something special. >> this kind of meth amphetamine coming from mexico referred to as ice is more than 80% pure. more troubling for law enforcement it's cheap and increasingly easy to get. >> there's no reason to stay meth anymore. >> you don't feel like cook
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anymore? >> why take the risk dining had you know the mexicans bringing it over by the truckloads. i can get way larger amounts, at dirt-cheap price. and everybody's winning. i'm winning, they're winning. it's all good. where everybody's happy. >> so is there more meth amphetamine now in rural areas than there used ton? >> oh, yes. >> really? >> usually when you see meth amphetamine ice in arkansas nine times out of 10 it's coming from mexico. we are seeing higher quality, 90% and up. >> really, from the cartel? >> from the cartel. >> the cartel is producing high are potency methamphetamines? >> from the meth labs. >> why is that important? >> better product. the consumer likes better product. >> that's america tonight's
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christophe putzel. he is live. christophe, it's heartbreaking to see, a six-year-old talking about this as if it's normal. it's got to be tearing families apart. >> certainly is. fortunately because there's been such a huge crack down on the safely pseudoephedrine, 40 states have restrict tetd sale one way or another. there's a lot of -- the sale one way or the other. hospitals were having to close down their burn units because they were getting such an influx of patients that didn't have insurance who were there as a result of shake-and-bake or meth-cookless gone wrong. and -- cooks gone wrong. that's a plus that it's down but now you have all of this meth coming over the border, stronger more potent and abuse is stronger than it's ever been. >> i've heard reports of children with meth strapped to
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their back being asked to walk over the border just to get meth into the united states. this has got to be a huge problem. >> it is a huge problem. any time you have a supply and demand product, meth is such an addictive drug, they'll find ways to get it in. they're getting much more creative and dismeeking it across -- sneaking it across the border. the fear is it's not going to just be affecting the south, it's going to creep through the north. basically cut through country like a hot knife through butter. >> christophe putzel, thank you. ahead on america tonight, a very dangerous task in japan has begun. removing radioactive fuel rods from the crippled fukushima plant. why this could be the end in the nuclear nightmare.
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underway here in cebu. >> we have a problem with no homes to go back to. >> clean water, food, medicine, all vitally required. >> the australian medical team arrived. >> this is a government warehouse that is preparing relief for the families most effected. >> al jazeera america is there with continuing live coverage. >> the water rose to half-way up to the second story. >> to find out how you can help, go to
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>> nearly three years ago a massive quake hit japan, the event set off a series of disasters, a massive tsunami and multinuclear melt downs.
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the fukushima nuclear power plant, decommissioning? how is that done? very, very carefully. four meter long tubes filled with uranium fuel first must be removed. the tubes could not be exposed to air, that could cause them to overheat and suddenly release deadly amounts of radiation. the crews have their work cut out for them. there are over 1300 rods there that have to be removed. america tonight's michael oglue returns from two weeks in japan reporting on the nuclear disaster. he talked to tepco about the dangerous process. >> the owner today began the painstaking and dangerous process of removing spent nuclear fuel from reactor 4. 1331 rods need to be removed.
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the international community has been anxiously watching the operation. amidst fears that radiation could be released if the operation is botched. and the assembly rods were to fall or lift debris from the explosion keeps the fuel from being removed. i spoke to masaoki ono about the tricky operation. >> tepco is preparing for this extremely delicate process of removing the spent rods from unit 4. how confident are you that that can happen safely? >> we have been making careful preparations so that we can be confident in our ability to safely remove the spent fuel. we have been preparing the proper equipment in order to remove the spent fue fuel. we are giving substantial training to the operators who will be doing the work. we have prepared procedures and
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contingencies for the operation he that will arise. because we were handling spent nuclear fuel we must conduct the operation carefully and we are moving forward with safety as our top priority. >> what do you say to people who say look, the most dangerous nuclear disaster since chernobyl happened on tepco ground under your watch. why are we allowing them to do this operation independently? >> it is true that the accident at fukushima daiichi was terrible. however, the disaster was caused by a tsunami. unfortunately we are forced with the situation that we see today. we must of course apologize for the anxious i' anxiety we have o many people. the japanese government is overseeing our work and we have
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solicited the opinions of international experts in order to be well prepared for this operation. >> one major step tepco has taken to ensure the safe removal is installation of a steel structure where the spent pool is located, four fuel assemblies containing approximately 80 fuel rods apiece was safely loaded into the storage cask. >> michael pool is with us, an interesting look at this. how long will this take? >> tepco says this will end at the end of 2014 but we will see about that. >> you were just there for around ten days. what is the climate like for the apeople living there, for residents, are they confident that this operation will go as
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planned or are there safety concerns? >> no matter where you go there is great concern about tepco the company who is undertaking this task. there are people that say this is a dishonest company who wasn't very forthcoming to the public about the dangers in the moments and days following that initial disaster back in 2011. they want to see the japanese government take over this operation. they want the japanese government to enlist the help of experts from the international community. but i have to say that, you know, as with any issue and in any country, it's not as if the entire public is engaged on this. i can assure you that you know on the streets of tokyo there's not a lot of nail-biting right now but along the seaside communities up north where those communities were pretty hit they're pretty concerned about this. >> just to be sure, we're talking no international oversight of this cleanup
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operation? >> the iaea has, there have been some experts that the government has spoken to on sort of a less formal base i but for the most part this is japan's problem and japan is going to resolve it on their own. >> they certainly have a lot to resolve. it has been three years since the disaster and the japanese in some ways are still having to deal with this, aren't they? >> well, yeah. it's a huge problem. and what we've basically seen is there's a real physical component to this. we are talking about 160,000 or so people who were displaced from their communities so they had to find another place to live. but the real concern right now what they are really haunted by is almost a psychological component here. we're talking about radiation. it is insidious to people and it creates a whole lot of fear. the people we spoke to in japan say you can't smell it, you can't touch it.
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you can't see it. and so what that does is, it creates this collective sense of uncertainty and it is ripping families apart. aalmost three years from the incident we were meeting families that were getting divorced because of this. husbands fathers, who say i trust the radiation levels that the government is telling us that it's safe to live in this town. we have mothers, wives, on the other hand, that say, it is over my dead body that you are going to drag our children back to that town. as a result they are getting a divorce. what we have also found is there are local communities that have been sort of set up as refuges. camps for 160,000 people that have been displaced. local leaders are telling us you know for first part we are seeing stress levels higher than
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we've ever seen, that there are stress related diseases that at this point have killed more people that be any radiation has -- than any radiation has. to this date there hasn't been any single death related to radiation at least not yet. >> it's really, really interesting. i know you're going ohave an in-depth look at this, you will have that in the next couple of weeks. michael thanks for joining us. >> sure thing. up next, from one disaster to the other. we join the philippines president, joie chen speaks to him why he is camping out with typhoon victims. >> the marsh life, they can make a living without having an education or without having to
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live in the city.
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>> now, a snapshot of stories making headlines on america tonight. the u.s. military is on a mission to train libyan troops. the training of five to 7,000 libyan soldiers, improving security as violence continues to grow, since ousting of dictator moammar gadhafi. between 1940 and 1945, more than 1 million people mos mostly jews died at the auschwitz death camp. scientists say that mars early atmosphere was thick enough to sustain water and possibly signs of life. well, ten days after a monster typhoon devastated the central philippines, relief and
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aid is still not reaching victims in all of the affected areas. the toll of the disaster is absolutely staggering. almost 4,000 dead. 18,000 injured and the u.n. says more than 3 million people were left homeless. the filipino government is facing criticism for the pace of aid, are some say corruption there may also be playing a role. in an unusual philippine credit ben neeinono aquino is,. >> strong showing to both
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international donors and the local audience, president aquino, turned up to pass out biscuits to evacuees. >> are you pleased with the pace of the rescue efforts, are you satisfied that iforts being done quickly enough? >> i'm never satisfied when it comes to addressing the needs of our people. whatever is achieved now, i always try increase the efficiency of all systems of government. again, most people realize that this was in a sense, typhoon of such magnitude and such strength, it overwhelmed the systems that were already in place. the extent of the destructive force of this typhoon was of such a magnitude that even the personnel involved were
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themselves victims. tacloban for instance, 290, only 20 were able to report to work. 20 were responding initially. you had a breakdown in power, breakdown in communications, breakdown in practically everything. >> why sit important for you the president to be here? >> i think it symbolizes the fact that we as a people always stand together in adversity. >> you so do that from the capitol, why are you here personally? >> it does add a little impetus to the people on the ground if they know i'm paying attention oall the details. >> the president last promised to stay around the region to make sure the rescue operations remain on track. >> that's america tonight's joie chen, covering incidents from the are province not an easy
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task. we'll hear how it is to get around that disaster zone. the philippines sits along the ring of fire. prone to not only typhoons but earthquakes and torrential rainstorms. philippines typhoon haiyan disaster should serve as a wakeup call. liddy noctell, thank you so much for joining us. members of your group and supporters have been fasting on a hunger strike trying obring teens how this is affecting the philippines. tell us about that. >> the fasting was first announced by the head of the fight mean delegation here, the negotiators mere, but it inspired many of our members in the philippines, to join the fasting in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the
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center of the philippines who were really very hardly hit by typhoon haiyan or yolanda as we call the typhoon in the philippines. so a number of groups have started it late last week. yes? >> you have been working on this issue of climate change for a number of years now. and ironically there have been more natural disasters during this summit for the last couple of years. do you feel like anyone is actually paying attention to what you're trying to say there? >> well, it does help that there is public attention, media attention on the philippines in the last two conference parties the one in doha and then here, because of the extreme weather events, the typhoons that we are talking about at this time. but we're not quite sure if the leaders of the governments around the world are actually listening hard, because we have
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seen very little progress in the negotiations in the last few years. >> it is my understanding that you have friends, family members that have lost children in this most recent typhoon. are you spreading this information to people individually trying the get their attention? >> yes, we have had actually very good help with many of the civil society groups here who have been calling attention owhat is happening in the philippines and helping press the urgency to the government, to raise their ambition in terms of cutting global greenhouse gas emissions and also to be able to are provide the finance that has long time coming to developing countries like the imr philippines. >> i want to bring seth bornstein into our conversation. look you hear the story of lidy, she's out there in warsaw, she is telling individuals she knows individuals who died in this
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typhoon. is it hard to get the attention of world leaders? >> they get the attention and the attention changes. this is only the umpteenth wake up call. >> did we blame disaster on the philippines? >> you can't blame an individual weather event on climate change. sometimes after months and even years of research they can attribute some of it. it's way too early on this but there are certain factors that are in there. but it's sort of like this disaster is both man made, and natural, and it's like a giant stew. and climate change is the spicing on the stew. just stuff at the very end, you've got sea level rise contributing to it, in general you see the science of climate change you'll see -- we're seeing or will see stronger typhoons and tropical cyclones
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and hurricanes. fewer of them maybe but stronger ones. >> stroinger typhoons. and as a result of that we're talking about developing countries like the philippines. what kind of an impact does that have? >> as you said philippines are in the shooting gallery for all natural disasters it seems but especially for typhoons. this is the most active tropical cyclone basin in the world. and if you look at the ten strong eggs tropical cyclones, hurricanes, they just have different names in different places, of the ten strongest that hit, wind speed, five of those have hit in the philippines. >> liddy, what do you make of that, you have five of these storms hitting in the philippines, the data, the united states and china are leading the world when it comes to pollution that is largely responsible for man made climate change and it's the philippines
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feeling the brunt of it. >> we have to point out it's the u.s. first and foremost because we're not just talking about the are greenhouse gas emissions, for today, but for a 100 year period in history. because the greenhouse gases we have in the atmosphere today is coming from that at least 100-year period of history of emission. we are holding the u.s. first and foremost accountable to what is happening to us. but also other countries in the world who are similarly very big polluters. so yes, we are calling on this government, that they should give us justice for what is happening in the philippines and that they must work decisively today to stop their greenhouse gation emissions. >> when you see the gridlock in washington for the last couple of years, it is highly
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politicized, you can bring a cap and trade for example, can the u.s. really do, can they make some headway? what would you call on them to do? >> well first of all, the u.s. has to have clear policies on cutting their greenhouse gas emissions and that means change its energy policies. it has to move away from fossil fuel and has to drastically change its production system, the consumption pattern in the u.s. and that means not only how u.s. corporations run inside the u.s. but how they behave also across the world. because we know that a lot of the transnational corporations are actually u.s. corporation he. so we're actually calling on the u.s. government here in the talks not to block progress in the talks. >> seth, what do you make of this? can the u.s. actually get something done on the issue of
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climate change? >> it is not just the u.s., this is a global problem. yes, the u.s. created more than any other nation's share of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere now, because they do last over 100 years. but right now if you look at the greenhouse gas emissions in the united states they have gone down in the last several years. we're down to mid 1990s levels in the united states. on the other hand you have china and india, that are having emissions growing incredibly quickly. that's a measure of their economy. this is something that you need more than one country to slow their emissions and reduce their eapplications. >> seth bornstein from the associated prets and liddy nocktell, thanks very much for joining us. switching to another natural
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disaster, millions of americans are still in shock after intense tornadoes that cut a path of destruction across the midwest on sunday. a string of up to 40 tornadoes some of them were very powerful packing winds up to 200 miles an hour. that left at least eight people dead dozens of others injured and a trail of destruction across several states. search and rescue continues in illinois among the debris. the hardest hit of illinois is the town of washington where entire blocks were planted by an ef 4 twister. for residents and researchers alike, the number and intensity of tornadoes this late in the season is truly hard to comprehend. laura nightengale, tell us exactly where you are in
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washington. >> thank you, for helping me. where i am is kind of the edge of where the tornado tore through washington, illinois yesterday. we are standing right near a residential area. >> boy, that's a lot of devastation right behind you. tractor supply is a large retailer. is there a lot of treerlts in that area that were affected? >> it was mostly residential areas that were affected. a lot of homes up to 500 homes, damaged lesmed right t leveled e foundation. the vast majority is families that are living in washington. >> my understanding that area is on lock down. they are not letting people in, you are a local reporter with the paper. you have been granted rare access to get in there. what have you seen on the ground there today?
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>> nearly the entire city of washington was locked down and they were giving medias courts into the tow -- media escorts io the town. also with the police escort, we talked to a few of the residents, not allot in this area but a few that stuck around where either their home was damaged but not destroyed. they were trying the pick up the pieces. once they were told by law enforcement officials when you get out, you might not be able to get back in. >> laura, there have been reports of looting in that area, are they widespread or isolated incidents and what are these people looking for? >> what they're looking for i can't say about that, but we talked to the washington police chief yesterday and he said no one away last been arrested for
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looting. area last been very restricted. access is difficult, that hopefully minimized looting, i don't think that it's a widespread problem at all, really, people have been kept out of the area by law enforcement because the assessors are in here trying to figure things out, they've got rescue crews that are still kind of sifting through the debris. >> this was a massive storm cell that swept through that area and really hammered washington, illinois. when you see the damage on television it's sometimes confusing. is it complete devastation? >> complete devastation is no exaggeration. when i was here earlier when the sun was shining, from here to as far as you could see is debris. just rubble, not a standing structure or complete standing
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structure. i talked to the washington mayor, gary manier this morning and he said he was able to go up in a helicopter for the first time to get a scope of how large this storm path was, he said it reached almost from the southern city limit to the northern city limit taking out homes and businesses along the way. even at ground level it's overwhelming. but you are getting an overwhelming look at how much this scope. >> laura nightengale thank you very much. >> thank you. >> new signs of life in the cradle of civilization. coming up next.
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>> the southern marshes of iraq near the reputed garden of eden almost disappeared 20 years ago, drained by saddam hussein and diminished by dams in neighboring companies. but one man has been instrumental in bringing the water back to the marshes to help ensure its future recently created the central marshes national park. jane arraf reports. >> the world's first siferlization. these days it's and unlikely eden. but azzam alwash an iraqi american engineer knew these marshes as a boy and he is determined to restore them.
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>> what is unique is along these marshes is where the first civ civilization started. this is where writing was invented, this is where agriculture was invented. this was where abraham was born. it belongs to the world. >> draifng these marshes and -- draining these marshes an driving out the people who lived here. huge dams in neighboring turkey stopped the seasonal floods that created an ecosystem thousands of years old. azzam built a life in california but in 2003 he came back, using his engineering skills, to break the damming system built by saddam to bring the flooding back. this is th the euphrates, this s
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the first embankment azzam broke through in 2003. >> when at 2003, opened this dike. >> along with the water azzam would like to see people flowing back here as well. >> imagine you are a bird and you are lifeless, we could built this into a nice bird watching center. you can see as far as the horizon, it's gorgeous. >> reflooded more than half the marshes since 2003. along the remaining embankments there's dry land. but just across the road where the water has returned, communities are coming back to
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life. kareem al abud came back, when they heard the water had returned. on his tiny island is the frame of a read guest house, the same design used for 3,000 years. he says if the weather holds it can be built in just a day. the guest house will be used by the community for meetings. kareem said he came back because he missed the lifestyle. his wife didn't. she struggles to take care of the children. they don't go to school because it's too far away. >> it was better in the town, we had everything, she says. as the water level rises and becomes lest salty plants like tamarisk are replaced by reads that provide shelter for the livestock. this family moved here a year ago when the water comes back.
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buys and sells water buffalo. like most people here, the family also sells the milk. people here live lightly on the land. almost all the houses are made of reads. reeds. the reeds also provide fuel for fire. one of mutluk's two wives spent most of the day trying to keep the children fed. this is just the youngest of his 11 children. lunch is bread and fried fish. the same thing they eat every day. auto on the water, azzam asks the fishermen about the day's cash. enough to live on for day. >> these people are not reed huggers as it were. these people want the marshes restored not because of the beauty and ecology and nature.
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in fact this is about economic restoration. these people want the marshes restored because it's a way of life. it's a way they can make a living without having an education, they can make a living without going back to the city. they can harvest enough reeds and sell it and make a couple of bucks. it's about making a living from nature and frankly that's the best kind of restoration. >> now that there's enough water the marshes are another stop on the migratory bird path from africa. >> in about a month you will probably see in the thousands if not tens of thousands. >> the ducks started to coming back four years ago. >> you say oh my god, oh my goodness, what is this? it was the black clouds in the sky of my youth. it was incredible. >> in the town on the edges of the marshes the beginning of
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ecotourism here, the same design is on clay tablets from ancient sumerian times. it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. part of the target foreign workers and surrounding oil fields who might come for a weekend of fishing or bird hunting. >> i want the people, the locals to understand there are regular methods of building their traditional method of building was suited for the environment. goal 2 was to create a place for tourists to come, enjoy the culture, have a mixture of modernity with tradition. are. >> at kareem's place, neighbors come to finish the guest house, singing the old songs. the chant says they are brothers willing to help each other. after just an hour the bundles of reeds are tied and raised,
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providing the tension for perfect arch. providing a link to thousands of years of civilization. >> well, are al jazeera's jane arraf joining us. is there a goal that people will come there as tourists eventually? >> it is an eventually goal. not right now, not the first thing you think about for family vacation, probably but it will be a great place for tourism, like nowhere else on earth. they're a great wetlands. >> what is the way in? >> you would fly into busra in the south of iraq and then you drive from there. it's about three hours. you stay mr. a reed guest house.
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go down the river. the birds are amazing, the fish are amazing. it's really like nothing else and it's a part of the world that a lot of the people had thought was lost which is now being restored. >> absolutely. with all of the news that we've had from iraq you just don't think of something beautiful like this, that was so historical in the country. what about the violence that does continue there in the country though? is that having an impact especially in the oil fields? >> it is absolutely having an impact on people's perception of iraq. in the oil fields there have been riots when a security advisor tried tear down flags, that's not something you want to do. it scared a lot of people away but with everything else, the spaces in between the violence where things are actually flourishing. they declared the central marshes national parks. they are working on 15 areas in
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iraq, like azzam alwash and his friend who are working on things. >> really quickly what else are they work on? >> in the north where the water that creates this marshes, they are all interconnected. you can go white water rafting and do all sorts of things. great adventure spot. >> interesting to see this kind of turn around happening and these signs of progress isn't it? to be there on the ground and witness that. >> absolutely. they kind of coexist, i think people think there's an explosion everything goes back. it doesn't. it moves painfully slowly forward but it does move forward. >> al jazeera's jane arraf, with a beautiful story on iraq. stay with us for more on america tonight.
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>> audiences are intelligent and they know that their
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>> finally tonight, it's considered racist in the united states. but in the netherlands, it's a 200-year-old christmastime tradition. it centers around a character in
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black face named black pete and he has critics seeing red. phil lavell has more for us from amsterdam. >> black pete is a crowd pleersf pleaser if this is anything to go by. bigger than christmas leer. black pete, st. nicholas's naughty little helper. keeps the youngsters happy but not the campaigners who claim this is the symbol of racism, a throw-back to the slave trade. very much divided. the number of protesters was relatively small, compared that to the 2 million who want him to stay. you can see there's little chance black pete will be going
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anywhere. >> we want to keep it. >> ask somebody who is not from this country. do you think that this is racist? >> absolutely, no question. it seems to me obvious that it is racist. >> you don't find it offensive at all? >> no, i like it, my children like it, they do it at school. >> center class and black pete have been part of the area since the 1820s. look at this year, look at the crowd there is a notable reduction in the number of face that have been painted black. people here want to keep the tradition but they don't want to be accused of racism. >> compared last year much less children are painted black and you see instead of children dressed up like santa claus. because of this heated discussion a sort of restraint among amsterdam society.
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>> black pete is approaching 200 years old. if these crowds get their way they'll have a lot of him left yet. >> black pete would carry naughty children away to spain while santa claus gives the nice presents. i can't believe we are already talking about christmas. if you want to comment on any of the stories you have seen tonight just log on to tonight. follow us here at america tonight, thank you for watching. we'll see you again tomorrow night. conversation
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welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. here is a look at the top stories. >> this is the deadliest series of tornados illinois had in the month of november. >> the governor of illinois talks about the twisters - more than 70 in 12 states. people were killed. >> 11 days after typhoon haiyan slammed into the philippines aid supplies have not reached remote islands. food, water and medicine are arriving with more regularity, but some residents have been able to leave the disaster zone. >> toronto lawmakers vote to strip more of rob ford's powers du a


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