tv News Al Jazeera February 1, 2014 2:00pm-2:31pm EST
. . welcome ba al jazeera america. i'm morgan radford coming live from new york city. here are the stop scories we are following right now. secretary of state john kerry meets with leaders of the ukranian opposition. governor chris christie is back in the hot seat again. the question is what did he know and when did he know it. plus a devastating addiction turns deadly as a tainted batch of heroin goes through the streets of one of america's oldest cities.
>> >> john kerry has met with protest leaders from ukraine today saying that the u.s. support what he calls their fight for democracy. tense tens of thousands of ukranians are demonstrating across the country. the battle puts the u.s. and russia on opposing sides. jennifer glasse has been following the story and joins us live from kiev. so far what has come out of oppositions meeting with secretary kerry? >> as you can probably hear behind me, demonstrations go on day and night, 24 hours. music playing right now. in munich, the opposition leaders got the kind of rhetoric they wanted from the u.s. secretary of state. and european leaders. they want support. but they say they want concrete support. and one of the leaders said
the problems -- the reasons are clear. he places the blame firmly on the president. >> just one person who is responsible for all escalation, who can easily stop the escalation, is the person the president of ukraine. you have absolute power in his hand. and he has absolutely -- for everything what happens in ukraine also. >> and that is why vitaly really wants the president to step down. they want him to step down or call early elections. he is also calling for anyone who is calling for human rights violations to be prosecuted. that has been a problem here as protesters have clashed with police here. we have seen abductions, we have seen three protesters killed in clashes with police. we have seen people disappear. at least 35 people are missing. this is a difficult situation
right now. and opposition supporters are concerned that perhaps the president in desperation might call for a state of emergency. >> jennifer, you mentioned the protest heating up and all the kidnappings. activist came out and said he was beaten and tortured after he went missing for more than a week. but jennifer, what is the government's reaction to all this. do they question the validity of his claims? >> they do, morgan. this is a case of a horrifying story of a man who was missing for eight days. was found two days ago. bloodied. he claims he was abducted, beaten up. crucified. nailed to a door. interrogated about the opposition. the interior ministry says they are not sure that is true. the foreign minister said he has reason to believe it is not true that perhaps it was mated up to try and inflame sentiments here to get the opposition even angrier. but if you saw pictures of him on television he was covered
in blood when he was found in the middle of the night in subzero temperatures in the middle of a forest. and it just jibe with claims of other activityist activityist whose say they have been intimidated. very worrying claims. human rights watch has claimed the police deliberately targeted journalists and medics here and say the ukranian government has a poor record of investigating such attacks by its security forces. so, very serious claims against the government and its supporters here in ukraine. >> jennifer, just very briefly, we know that talks came to a standstill after the ukranian president went on sick leave earlier this week. but where is he now? >> he remains on indefinite sick leave, morgan. we don't know exactly what that means, how long he will be away on sick leave, whether that means -- while his office says he remains in control of the country, his prime minister resigned last week.
>> we have an acting prime minister. and i think it is that sense of uncertainty that is making people unsettled here. they don't doe what to expect next and what to do next. the protesters insist they will stay on the street until they see change but there can't be change unless there is a president to change things. we know you will continue to follow this story for us. jennifer, live from k kiev, thanks so much. president obama is reportedly planning to travel to saudi arabia in march, designed to mend relations with the long time u.s. ally. the president is hoping to pacify saudi concern over the interim nuclear deal the u.s. struck with iran. saudi arabia has expressed frustration that they are not doing anything more to support rebels in syria. a battle between protesters and the government in thailand. >> this is exactly the sort of
buildup to sunday's election that everybody in thailand had feared. these people moving down this road here are anti-government protesters. they are coming from one of the central bangkok stages. just a few meters down the road here. also in the area is a pro-government group. as these protesters have been moving down hire, there has been a lot of gunfire coming from somewhere and also explosions. there is very little security in this area. some soldiers unarmed. and some police. but very little security at the moment. as you can see, the protesters moving down this road. this was an area of bangkok the security forces both military and police have warned could see violence on election day. we haven't even reached a day yet and already a lot of gunfire and explosions here. >> that was al jazeera's wayne hay. they did the scenario smashing. newly released video shows
smashing computer hard drives. it contained information that snowden sent them. new jersey governor cuts are christie is out and about for super bowl vents. he is steering clear of the bridge gate scandal. new information suggests that he did in fact know who what was going on last september when commuters lanes of the george washington bridge closed. here is that story. >> new jersey governor chris christie ignored reporters questions as he left a birthday party for howard stern in new york city just hours before a lawyer for the former port authority official behind the george washington bridge traffic scandal releasing a letter, claiming the governor knew all about the access lane closures that created a commuter nightmare in fort lee for days. in that letter, david
wildstein's lawyers say it ties christie to having knowledge to the closures during the lane when the lanes were closed. and the letter described the lane closing decision as the christie administration's order. the lane closings were allegedly hatched by the governor's staffers as political payback against a mayor, a democratic who refused to endorse christie for reelection. on january 9th in a nearly two hour news conference, christie repeatedly denied knowing anything about it. >> i had no knowledge or involvement in this issue in its planning or its execution, and i am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here. new jersey assemblyman gordon johnson whose district includes fort lee says he never believed the governor. >> i was always very suspect of the inner circle of the
governor not knowing about this. >> wildstein was appointed by christie and has since resigned from his $150,000 post. he exchanged e-mails with the former deputy chief of staff bridget ann kelly. time for some traffic problems in fort lee she e-mailed him. he replied got it. christie fired kelly and vowed to take appropriate action if any other senior staff members knew of the closings. in a statement, the governor's office says the statement confirms what the governor has said all along. he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened. and whatever mr. wildstein's motivations were for closing them to begin with. erica ferrari, al jazeera. the future of the keystone pipeline is in the hands of john kerry. it cleared a major regulatory hurdle when based on a nude city why the state department said the pipeline was unlikely to have any significant effect on the environment. the next step is for kerry to
give his findings to the president. but the state department has jurisdiction since the project crosses the canadian border. u.s. scenario reaching out to federal officials for help in fighting a major drug problem. on friday casey sent a letter to the head of the dea asking to bring justice to those responsible for producing and selling heroin in pennsylvania. pittsburgh is in the midst of a major health crisis due to a surge in heroin overdoses. here is the report. authorities in pittsburgh are calling it an epidemic. heroin layed with a powerful pain killer is being sold on the streets. and the high can be deadly. it comes in different names. theraflu, bud ice and income tax. last week, four people within 24 hours died after overdosing. and from there the death toll continued to climb. >> saturday i had four and sunday when i had three i knew that i was hitting some major
part of an overdose crisis. >> health officials issued an alert. by monday, over 20 similar deaths were reported throughout the region. >> what this is, we are finding is it contains a synthetic -- that is very potent. it is 70 to 100 times stronger than more fine. >> the doctor heads a rehab facility near pittsburgh. he says even if warned of the dangers, some drug abusers take the changs. >> if people were dying from something, you would think common sense would tell you stay away from that. but because of the nature of addiction, when people's addiction -- they believe that is the good stuff, strong stuff. a little over 1 million people live here in allegheny county. the medical examiner says in the past couple of years more people have died here from drug overdoses than homicides and traffic accidents combined. >> carmen understands the
dangers of heroin firsthand. he lost his 20-year-old son sage to the drug almost two years ago. >> we were devastated. i couldn't imagine -- i didn't know what heroin looked like, you know. >> today he shares the story of his heartbreaking loss with others. >> what i hoped to accomplish is creating awareness, compassion and action. those are three words. pittsburgh police say they are working closely with local, federal and county law enforcement to find where this new deadly batch of heroin is coming from. some arrests have already been made. carmen knows he doesn't stand alone. over 6,000 have joined sage's army, a foundation he created to support others struggling from addiction. before it's too late. al jazeera, pittsburgh. >> despite the talks, the fighting hasn't stopped in
four teenagers on vacation are now among 14 dead after being engulfed in volcanic ash. they were sight-seeing in indonesia when it started erupting thousands of locals were evacuated from the area and the volcano is still spewing. officials warn the death toll could rise. syria government and opposition leaders will meet again on february 10th for more peace talks. but as the two sides take a break from reconciliation negotiations the violence wears on. al jazeera's mohammed has the latest. >> as diplomacy in geneva takes a break, the fighting in syria continues.
>> this is aleppo on saturday. a suburb was hit with bombs dropped by a syrian helicopter. >> they dropped four or five on us. i was in my house with my family. i'm just back from the hospital. my mom is right here under the rubble. dead. in pieces. >> attacks have intensified across the country killing up to 60 people on friday. >> government forces targeted opposition strongholds in several areas. explosive battles seem to be the weapon of choice now for the syrian army. in a battle -- a barrel fell right in front of activist cameras. >> damascus got its share as well. >> in aleppo they fell on
residential areas causing death and destruction on a wild scale. air raids targeted the northern suburbs. causing civilians to flee from the town. >> the rebels for their part say they have made gains on the ground in several areas. >> the golan heights the free syrian army has advanced on government posts expelling troops and capturing heavy weapon livery. the rebel fighting group used tanks to stop forces from advancing into areas out of damascus control. >> >> after more more than two years it is clear there is no likely winner in this war. and after the long days of talks in geneva, here in
syria, the signs of war are much louder than the calls for peace. for al jazeera. a suicide car bomb has killed four people in hermel on the town of the lebanese syrian border. the bomb is a hallmark very sectarian violence from lebanese groups linked to the opposing sides. sunni fighters have struck in retaliation. this is now the fourth such attack this year. over in spain, the abortion debate is back. now the government has denounced plans to roll back a 2010 law to allow women to have abortions in their first 14 weeks of pregnancy. >> a 30-year-old single mother of one child living in spain. she found out she was pregnant. here reaction? >> when i discovered i was pregnant i knew what i wanted or what i didn't want.
>> she spoke to us after she had a procedure to terminate her pregnancy. something she is able to do under spanish law. but that right is now under threat. >> it is not right that the government takes this decision for us. we are not talking about a car or short term job. it affects your entire life. spain's association of gynecologists fear would it be a backward step for women. >> every provision of abortions does mean that abortions are going down. you will still have the same cases of abortions. what changes is if it is legal or illegal is if you have safe abortions or not. the draft law would restrict the current terms for abortion if the law gets passed only women who have been raped or whose lives are in danger as a result of the pregnancy would qualify for termination. even then they would need permission from two separate doctors to abort. >> a woman's right to choose
whether or not she can have an abortion is what's at stake here. but the justice minister is arguing that it is just as much about the rule of law. >> he is arguing that the current law as it stands is anti-constitutional. and while any changes may abees the religious right wing it is proven so controversial that members of the people's party voicing their own opposition to it. >> pro-life activists have been campaigning for the law to go ahead. we will do as much as we can. we will keep on demonstrating, rallying. writing letters to the prime minister, being in the media, social networks, to make sure that the prime minister understands that there is a majority of spaniards who voted for him and who want him to fulfill his commitment. >> spain is a secular country the roman catholic church does cast a long shadow over such issues. it is a strong presence. recent polls have showed most
spaniards to be against any change in the law. the majority of the parliament has also condemned the move. and after forcing a woman right to choose, this will not be an easy children otherwise. al jazeera, madrid. >> well, we have winter storm warnings and watches in effect all across the midwest, extending into the northeast where in some areas as a matter of fact we are reaching about 50-degrees here today. now we have the snow coming down across portions of illinois extending into ohio. you can see dark blue shaded here. we had snow coming down at about an inch per hour in the chicago area within the last couple of hours and we have up to five inches of know on some of the grounds around the peoria area. if you traveling out there, want to take it easy. the heaviest of the snow now pushing into the southern
portions of michigan, it is going to be a treacherous night right around the detroit area. i expect multiple flight cancellations. but we do have tricky travel. you see this think band. this is snow, mixing in with ice and even a little bit of rain and that is making its way across i-80. you will want to be careful of travel there. this will continue not just now but into the next several hours as we check on into sunday morgue. the good news is while the storm is making its way further towards the east it is going to stay clear of the new york city area, east rutherford, new jersey where we are having the super bowl tomorrow we expect temperatures to climb about 20-degrees above where they should be. though it will be cloudy overcast skies. it will be a nice day for football and the tailgaters. can't say the same in chicago. the snow wraps up by tomorrow. but a cold, cold surge of air pushing in. only going to give us a high of 14-degrees. overnight lows falling well below zero. snow will continue to push towards the east.
we could see up to a foot of snow across michigan and on into toronto, mixing in with some ice and some rain across portions of i some of 90. be careful if you are traveling there. back to you morgan. >> thank you so much. california officials have turned off the water faucets for some 25 million of its residents. just friday officials announced the state water project will not deliver any reservoir water to public water agencies this spring. the move affects drinking water and irrigation resources from silicon valley all the way to the los angeles basin. the agency is taking this very drastic measure because of severe drought conditions. now more than 25 million residents will have to get their water somewhere else. and coming up next, players and fans are awaiting tomorrow's super bowl. we will take a look behind the game and the big business of football. you are watching al jazeera america. >>
>> good afternoon and welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm morgan radford live from new york city. here are today's headlines. john kerry met with protest leaders from ukraine today but after more than two months of violent protests, the eu says their door is still open. and chaos in bangkok as protests turn into a gunfight. this just a day ahead of a very controversial election. plus new allegations in chris christie's bridge gate scandal. a former political ally said the new jersey governor did in fact know about the traffic closures last september trying to punish a local mayor who did not support his reelection bid. super bowl xlviii kicks off tomorrow night at metlife stadium. the game will cap a season in which nfl teams took in more than 9 billion in revenue, wrap your head around that. but the league itself pannose taxes because it is classified as a nonprofit.
>> super bowl celebrations are underway in new york. this year's host city, with so much glitz and glamor, many fans are surprised to learn that the national football league is considered a nonprofit organization under the u.s. tax code. >> it is hard to believe. i did not know that. very hard to believe. >> well considering how much money i pay for tickets would think they are making a profit. >> the nfl runs the most profitable sports league in the world, making $9 billion a year. but it is classified as a trade association. that means that the head office here on new york's pricey park avenue pays no taxes. everyone at headquarters was too busy to speak to us on camera, including commissioner roger goodell who makes $30 million a year. but a spokesperson told al jazeera in an e-mail the league office does not make any money. the $9 billion a year is earned solely and completely
by the 32 nfl teams. and the teams do pay tax on their revenues, including ticket sales, jerseys and the food and drink sold at games. >> so, we have had a huge amount of economic growth over the last 40 years. but sports economists says the tax free status does benefit the teams. the primary goal of the nfl is not to make football better or more popular, they are trying to make money selling football. >> the tax free doctors can be used to finance stadium construction, for example. >> and while this year's super bowl will be held at the only stadium in the country built completely with private money, the team pays no profit tax. >> it is a terrible deal for the taxpayers of new jersey. >> the local mayor says economic benefits promised have yet to materialize. >> it almost as if the nfl wants to make all this money and they don't want anybody else to make money on it. >> matheson agrees. >> if you are looking purely
in terms of dollars and cents, there seem simply is almost no credible evidence that professional sports bring significant economic benefits to the city's that host them. >> of course, football does bring a lot of enjoyment to the fans. they just might not realize how much they are paying for it. for al jazeera, new york. and speaking of paying for it. a penny is usually worth well, the penny. but a rare aluminum penny is expected to get upwards of $500,000. this coin was part of a 1974 experiment by the u.s. mint when it was testing different materials to save money on the one cent piece. the hybrid pennies never made it to mass circulation. but a southern california man inherited one from his father 30 years ago. thanks so much for watching al jazeera america. i'm morgan radford. remember for news updates all throughout the day, head over to al jazeera.com.
>> >> i'm steve chow, malaysian borneo, where villagers are restoring one of the world's oldest rain forests. >> i'm omar khalifa and i'm in the philippines, where the humble coconut is leading the fight against environmental disaster. >> and i'm sinead o'shea and i'm in sarasota, florida making reef balls.
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