>> welcome now to al jazeera america. i'm richelle carey. here are the stories we're following for you. the desperate flight of syrian refugees driven from their homes beyond the borders of their country. north korea releases video of an 85-year-old's alleged apology to that nation. and the president promised to have the affordable healthcare website working properly for most people. >> jaar's civil wars are forcing
refugees to other countries. the united nations estimate 2.2 million people have fled syria and taken up refugee in other countries. more than a third of them are in lebanon. many are in camps such as one al jazeera visited. >> reporter: we're at a tented settlement in lebanon. they dot the landscape along the border are syria. people live in miserable conditions and they may be safe, they no longer have to face the violence in syria but we're warning of the danger to come, and that is the cold. in this region temperatures drop below zero and you can see people barely have anything. the grouped is all--the ground is all mud and the plastic sheetings do not provide shelter when the rain starts. just look around. just a few weeks ago there was rain and the whole area was
flooded. people are worried. they're calling on the international community to help them. but the international community can only do so much. and the lebanese government can only do so much. they have to deal with their own economic problems. this is how people live, sometimes four to five families just in one tent. people are talking about their children suffering from respiratory problems, pneumonia, and social workers are worried about such diseases spreading. miserable conditions in the next few days and weeks. temperatures are going to drop. it's going to be below zero and people really have nothing to protect them from this. >> people across the region are struggling to prepare for the cold. we go to a camp in northern ir iraq. >> it's early morning and women in this refugee camp prepare
food. they have been cooking outdoors in the summer but that will end soon because with winter comes plunging temperatures and heavy rain. >> i make a special effort to cook every friday a small treat to help get to about we are. but with the rains we won't be able to do this so much longer even the small treat will be taken away from us. >> reporter: preparations to get this camp ready for winter are well under way. drainage systems are being put in place to make sure that the camp doesn't flood. but the u.n. refugee agency said even though things are on track thethere is still a long way to. >> we will support the community for the winter. >> but there is a huge different between a camp being ready for winter and the reality of having to actually live there.
disspiedespite the conditions rt around the corner, children find a way to smile and have fun. >> reporter: it almost doesn't matter how well prepared this camp is for winter. the one thing that these children and every resident of this camp wants is the one thing that the aid agencies can't give them, that's a safe panels back to a peaceful syria. but the return to syria is a distant dream. there are more pressing things to worry about. >> ten days ago it rained. the whole camp was flooded. my tent was flooded. my children couldn't walk anywhere. winter is coming and i'm scared of how bad things will get. >> with the u.n. agencies facing a funding crisis with the arrival of winter this camp is typical of many. the camp is technically ready
for winter, but that's scant comfort for those who have to live threw it. >> we're joined by peter kessler. he join us from jordan. let's talk about the reality of these children that was amazing reporting that was done. what is being done for the children? >> well, i was just in iraq last week where we brought in extra soil to create platforms for the tent. we're putting down plastic sheeting. on top of that layers of plywood and putting in the tent and then giving people carpets to create a layer, an insulated layer in their tent. but these are only insulated layers effectively on top of the earth. so it's a scant development to help people get through the winter. but the way the crisis is developing in this third winter
of syria's war we will expect is to see the refugees we have now joined by many more and for the crisis to endoor. it is necessary for countries to think of more developed situations for the children and their families. >> and that was what i was going to ask about in particular about the winter conditions, and those are some of the things that perhaps i would hope keep people from getting sick as well. if not just the temperature this makes the people much more rule venerable of getting sick, which is a whole other layer of problems as well. >> well, we're having to tackle everything at once. we're in many camps providing additional tent, plastic sheetings to go over the tent and to keep the tents even dryer. in jordan we're providing people with caravans, pre-fabricated containers which in this environment is a solution.
but governments don't want a sense of permanency. we are getting people electric stoves or kerosene stoves and kerosene for heating and cooking. but again the children, they're growing all the time. their footwear most of them arrived in sandals is really shoddy, and when i was in the camps in iraq it was pouring rain. children were running around barefoot. at best in sandals. we're distributing footwear, clothing, but these are human beings that children are growing, and it's a challenge to keep up with all the needs of the millions of people who have been displaced in of the region. >> mr. kessler, so many of these children we are talking about, they're human beings, and many of these are children that show up alone. what do you do for children who show up in a camp alone without family? >> well, most of the children we
have thousands of them who are unaccompanied without their parents. but they do have a wider family structure. and that's very important in arab society where the family looks after it's own. most of them have some structure to look after. in case where is they don't, they have extended family, relatives from their community, so they do have some support. but i saw a tragic situation in iraq last week where the parents had gone back to check on their property in march earlier this year and at that point the iraqis were allowing people to go back and forth. suddenly in march the border was closed shut. the parents were left in syria and it's an emotionally destructive environment for these children to be without their parents. they're greatly traumatized by the situation, and if they can't see their parents every three
months, everyone, including the border guards, break down in tears. that's what we're seeing across the region, many borders are highly regulated. people are separated. and it's traumatizing for the children. >> it's an unimaginable situation. we'll continue to cover, peter kessler with the united nations high commissioner for refugees. thank you so much. north korea has accused an american war veteran of war crimes. now that country has released a video of the 85-year-old man apologizing for hostile acts during the korean war. erica ferrari reports. >> this video released by north korean authorities claims to show 85-year-old merrill newman reeding an alleged apology. >> i can understand there is misleading information and propaganda. >> reporter: the video and the four-page handwritten statement
cannot be independently verified. it aired on the north korea news agency and accuses newman of masterminded espionage and subversive activities against north korea and that h was responsible for killings. >> the veteran and grandfather was visiting north korea as a tourist when authorities detained him in october 26th. his family has not heard from him since. newman's son said h his father wanted to return to the country where he fought for three years. all the other tourists were allowing to home. >> they checked out of the hotel, gone to the airport, went to the plane, and we understand five minutes from taking off when a korean official came
aboard, asked to see his passport and has been there ever since. >> lee newman wants her husband home safely and hopes he's getting his medication. >> we hope that whatever the misunderstanding is will be resolved very quickly and he can return and be at our table for the holidays. >> right now it's not clear if that will happen. erica ferrari, al jazeera. >> president obama plans to layout a new security strategy for the united states. the white house announced friday the president will release an updated security policy by next spring. the blueprint will focus on ending war in iraq and call for economic achievements both at home and abroad. today is the obama administration self imposed deadline to have the healthcar healthcare.gov website up and
going for the majority of americans. the goal is for the site to be able to handle 50,000 users at the same time. the deadline comes as the administration had to delay another deadline. >> reporter: the latest set back for the affordable care act involves small businesses, which were able to use their own online marketplace to figure out the best health plans for their employees. the administration now says that they won't happen for another year. instead, it's a full court press to make sure healthcare.gov , the website for individuals, is working. this week in california the president stood firm. >> i'm willing to fix any problems that there are, but i'm not going to abandon people to make sure that they have health insurance in this country. that's not that we're going to do. >> on the conference call with state and local officials secretary kathleen sebelius played cheerleader. >> we're on track to have a
significantly different user experience by the end of this month. that was our commitment. >> reporter: the goal was to handle 50,000 users on the site as one time. as many as 800,000 in a 24-our period. we went online to see how healthcare.gov is working. as the white house promised it seems to be running more smoothly. but the administration admits there could still be logjams and they're testing a new system that would put people in a queue and let them know their estimated wait time. as the website improves the push is on to get young people especially to sign up. they're healthier and can offset the costs of covering older americans. and the campaign to urge moms to enroll their kids in healthcare. and on the other side some conservative groups are pushing young people to skip coverage.
as of now the administration has not released numbers on how many young people have signed up for coverage. the next few weeks will be critical for obamacare. anyone who wants health insurance starting in january will need to enroll by decembe december 23rd. al jazeera, washington. >> just ahead if you're planning to travel and shop today we have your forecast. >> reporter: it's small business saturday. i'll tell what you that means for retailers coming up next. >> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself?
>> stay it's small business saturday and the focus is on local mom and pop stores. the event between big store black friday and cyber monday and offers an alternative to the season retail madness. we're live in downtown new york, small business saturday started in 2010. a way for americans to help increase business during the recession. things have soured a bit, tell us why. >> reporter: that's a really great question, richelle. i'm here at the mysterious book shop in tribeca. they've been here for 35 years
and another local bookstore just around the corner, they participated in small business saturday last year. but they decided really maybe they weren't going to have a big involvement in thi in it this y. you managed the shop for eight years. >> right. >> why did you guys decide to disconnect yourself from this? >> well, we appreciate as a mall business and local business we appreciate the sentiment behind it. shop local, shop small is a great thing. however, it does charge high swipe and merchant fees. it would be wonderful if this time of year they would cut first fees and help the businesses they're trying to promote. >> this is favoring the customer
and not giving the business a break. >> it's not giving amex members a break. it's about free promotion for emx and american express itself with very little incentive for more business participation. >> it's a double edge sword because you take american express. >> we do. we have customers all over the world, and it's a necessity. for us to stop usin using it wod cause a huge problem. >> absolutely. and last year when you did this, did it really have an impact on your revenue or your bottom line? >> not really, no. we have a very strong customer base that likes to shop local and shop independent automatically. we didn't see any particular up tick thanks to promotion material from american express. >> what are the benefits of people shopping locally. what impact does it have on the community? >> we're a local independent
shop. the owner group up in new york. so all the money that gets spent here stays here. >> that's great. perfect. even businesses who do not decide to shop small with american express and participates in that aspect of the program are still encouraging people to come in. >> it looks like a homey store. but you have to get back to wo work. recent government data shows t that in puerto rico many are leaving in alarming numbers. but for one business this has proven to be a boon. >> unemployment is twice the national average, but angel has never worked so much. he said that his moving company cannot keep up with the requests. >> most of it goes abroad. you have some local jobs, but
it's rare. >> mr. and mrs. lopez once lived in the u.s. and came back to puerto rico for retirement. but now all their children and relatives are in florida. >> i want to talk to them and share everything with them. i want to spend my old age with them. >> when their youngest daughter told them that she would stay in the u.s. after completing medical studies they realized they would be alone here except for their granddaughter. she is a bit camera shy. >> you start with $100,000 to be a cardiologist assistant right after graduating. imagine, here you get around $60,000. >> your destination is orlando, florida. angel helps people move off the island every day of the week. >> for us it is good.
we are working. at least i don't have to leave. >> puerto ricans are a people in transit. their american passports allow them to move easily when the islands and u.s. but recent immigration has hit record levels. 600,000 puerto ricans have left in the last ten years. that's 15% of the population and the largest drop compared to anywhere else in the united states. 40% of college graduates have left to look for employment, but the job market is tough for blue collar workers, too,. >> salaries are not enough. you have to work a lot of overtime to get by. i have a colleague who works on saturday and sundays as a deejay. there are no farming jobs any more. the factories are closing, too. >> the government says immigration costs the local
economy $3 billion a year. but angel has not lost a penning. he's off to pack for the next job, shipping a family to miami. >> well, it's a quiet, beautiful day across much of the country if you're going shopping or heading home after spending the holiday with family and friends. not going to run into many interruptions but let's recap our hurricane season. it is quiet acros across the at. it is the last day of the 2013 hurricane season. we began on june 1st while it was a quiet year below average. we only had 13 storms, two of them actually made it to qualify as a hurricane. but we're not looking at many storms as we track on in to the next couple of days as the next atlantic hurricane season is now complete.
we had 13 storms. we began with andrea and ended with melissa. there were a few factors that inhibited the storms. one is the is sahara dust. and we also had strong westerly winds. 42 in d.c. if you're traveling along i-95 it's a beautiful quiet day. we have lake-effect snow showers making it's way to the pacific northwest. if you're traveling in the seattle area you'll run into rain. we had rain in los angeles yesterday. mostly cloudy here today but the clouds will be breaking up, and you'll see plenty of sunshine as we track into tomorrow. richelle. back to you. >> back to auburn for the iron bowl. it doesn't get much bigger than that, does it, michael? >> reporter: yeah, bragging rights for a year on the line
>> welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm richelle carey. let's take a look at today's headlines. syria's war has created a growing humanitarian crisis in the middle east. 2.2 million people have fled syria and taken refugee in other countries. half of them are children. one person has died in protest in thailand. three others injured after gunshots went off in clashes between pro and anti government demonstrators. and today is the obama administration's deadline to fix the healthcare.gov website problems. the goal is for the site to handle 50,000 users at one time. it's one of the biggest college football games of the year. number one alabama against archrival number four auburn. now michael eaves is at the stadium in the really, really
cold weather in auburn. but it's a hot spot day. so much at stake, michael. >> reporter: we, so much at stake not just in this game but all around college football. the iron bowl one of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in all of sports going back to 1893. sometimes it has ended marriages. in this is the first time since 1971 that both teams have been ranked in the top five. that's significant from the national standpoint because the winner of this could punch their ticket to the bcs title game. the creme de la creme chasing it's fourth national title in four years. with onl only fourth range rank.
>> obviously it's a big game because of iron bowl. when you add the fact that the winner goes to the sec championship makes it even bigger. >> i think it's a bigger saturday. when you're undefeated, and the next team in your way is trying to take what you worked for, if you lose that game, then your goal of reaching the national championship is probably over. >> this is alabama-auburn game, the iron bowl. that in and of itself makes this a very emotional game. we just try to emphasize with our players that we got to focus on the right stuff. so that you can go play your best football. >> reporter: these two teams have combined to win the last four national championship. a crimson tied over auburn will ensure alabama's shot at another national title. however auburn is not just looking to play spoiler this weekend. a win for the tigers could put them in the mix for a shot at
the national title as well. >> our team has worked very hard to create an opportunity for themselves this year and i think the focus needs to be on playing your best football, which goes back to playing the best fundamentals, having the best discipline. do your job the best you can against very, very good team. >> they've been doing a really good job thus far. it's going to be a battle. >> regardless of what your record is. >> with the sec championship berth on the line, there is no down playing the 78th edition of the iron bowl. >> of course the real rivalry is on the field but it's also with the fans as well tailgating here, you got even auburn and alabama fans together cats and dogs living together, richelle, what is going on here? >> it's a crazy, crazy day for sure and everybody is going to be watching. already, thank you for watching
al jazeera. "inside story" is up next. for updates throughout the day go to www.aljazeera.com. thank you for your time. consumer, is our "inside story." >> hello, i'm ray suarez. turkey and travel go together. this thanksgiving season its estimated 25 million people will be in the air. and according to an airline industry trade group we're all paying less in real dollars than we did in 2000, but you had more