defying kiev - voting opens in a referendum for parts of eastern ukraine to breakaway from kiev welcome to al jazeera america. i'm rob matheson in doha. also on the programme - another five years in office. jacob zuma is officially declared the winner of south africa's election. michael sam becomes the first openly gay man drafted into america's biggest football league.
>> and i'm nick clark report fromming the atta clamma desert in chile, from where in 2020 a giant majellan telescope will stand, to april some of the pressing questions of the cosmos. thanks for being with us. polling stations in parts of eastern ukraine are opening as separatists hold a widely condemned referendum on self-rule. the vote will be held in donetsk and luhansk, with a combined occupation of 6.7 million. only people in a dozen or so places under separatist control will vote. there has been fighting in donet donetsk, luhansk, slovyansk, among others. ballots were printed asking
voters if they agree to self-rule. 70% in the east do not support the separatists and do not want to leave ukraine or become part of russia. but the polls show the majority reject the new government in kiev. the constitution doesn't allow for regional ballots, so the vote will not be binding. >> we should show you live pictures coming to us from a polling station in don esket. where there has been fighting. it's quiet at the moment. polls have opened. jonah hull has more on the run-up to the vote on donetsk. >> reporter: the voters of eastern ukraine are encouraged to see the country on their stark turns. those in kiev waging war on the peaceful communities of donetsk and its surrounds. the only answer - a tick for yes for the idea of their own people's republic.
opinion polls suggest that popular support for the idea is low. we found it to be divided at level. >> i'll vote yes in the referendum. i want peace. i don't want to west to come and shoot at our kids. >> translation: i'm not going vote. it will have an impact on us. >> i will not go and vote. it's not that i don't support it, i don't find the referendum legitimate. >> neither does the government in kiev. there doesn't seem to be much it can do to stop polling stations opening. >> the head of the central election commission of the people's republic of donetsk says the referendum will meet international standards. here is something that international observers may caution, a sign in the window of a polling station with the instruction - say yes to the republic. k, there will not be
international observers. and among volunteer polling station workers, the outcome is not in much doubt. when it comes to the percentage, i cannot tell that i believe it will be no less than 60% in favour. if the polls are right, that there is a majority against, then veteran civil society campaigner says there's good reason to stay silent. in recent weeks many of her colleagues have been ab dubilityd, beaten -- ab ducted, beaten and intimidated. the colours all but vanishing from the streets. >> translation: at the beginning it was hooliganism. there was no rehabilitation from the police, no punishment. then an evil group armed themselves, and we only have our hands. >> as security and civil society fell away, violence and lawlessness rose on both sides. it was hardly an ideal
environment for any exercise in democracy. let's to to a professor of political science at the academy. he joins me via skype. thank you for spending time with us. one of the key issues is going to be how russia reacts if the referendum supports the referendum from ukraine. >> in my view russia will react as it reacted before. russia was interested in those things in ukraine. one, russian language to be recognised as a second national loaning wij, and decentralisation, and to be - have ukraine as a known anti-russian. more neutral than joining any international grouping and
russia will have - as i understand, will have the attitude towards what is hamming as it is. it's a revolutionary instrument, not an election or referendum in a proper way. so it will be using the results as a new tool for pushing ukraine and the west towards discussing these issues which they put forward, which i mentioned before. the demonstrates, restructuring on ukraine. >> if i understand you correctly, we are less likely to see russia taking military steps, they are more likely to use it as a lever against the west. >> well i wouldn't put in such terms, lever against the west. definitely there is western support for the central government in kiev, and there is russian support for the uprising
in the east. russia is not interested definitely in occupying any part of ukraine, because now most of ukranian citizens will not support any russian intervention of this sort. so for russia, definitely what is necessary to have national reconciliation in the ukraine, and stopping revolution in the west and in the east. i think that this result of this poll, election, not referendum, in the east, will be used for establishing context between the eastern elites, and the central and western ukranian elites, to start national reconciliation talks, and changing ukranian political system, changing into more decentralized and equal for each cultural and political
force. we need to stop the war. civil war started with a lot of atrocities. we need western and russian intervention on humanitarian way, to start negotiations, national reconciliation processing. >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> now, the african national congress won south africa's election. the leader, jacob zuma, vowed to create jobs and improve infrastructure. the a.n.c. fell short of a two-thirds majority, taking 62% of the vote. 249 seats in the national assembly. the leading opposition party, the democratic alliance took 22%, making the biggest gains, securing 89 seats. we were at the victory party. >> aac supporters celebrated the win. lots of people are packed in
this small area in johannesburg. people of all ages come to celebrate the victory of jacob zuma. he told them that he is happy that they have given him and his administration five years. he told them about apartheid and says the a.n.c. is doing the level it can to life on the prom es. he promised sanitation, water, electricity. all the things people really want. jacob zuma knows that he didn't do it as he usually does. me knows there's a long road ahead. tonight people will celebrate. i come tomorrow morning. he said he and his administration will go back to the drawing board and find a way forward. he promised he'll do the level he can do deliver on promises. a ceasefire in south sudan appears to be holding after five
month of conflict. president salva kiir and former vice president riek machar called on the army and rebel forces to lay down weapons been 24 hours and agreed to open humanitarian corridors so aid could be delivered to many people. leaders of the association of south-east asian nations are meeting in myanmar's capital. a dispute over islands in the south chinese sea. chinese sea ramming police boats in disputed waters a few days ago. china flames the whole south china sea, putting it in conflict with taiwan, malaysia, brunei, and others. dozens of thai supporters really on the outskirts of bangladesh. angry at the dismissal of yingluck shinawatra on wednesday. they are determined to defend democracy. two grep aids were fired,
injuring two people. they are calling for the cabinet to step down and an overhaul of the political system. >> michael sam has become the first openly gay player to be selected for america's biggest football league, the n.f.l. he finished his career earlier this year and made headlines when he announced he was gay. the former university of missouri player will join the st. louis rams and was selected in the final round. richard farrelly is a sports journalist joining us live via skype. thank you for being with us. how important is it that michael sam is gay to this story? >> it's the whole reason for the story. you don't have people taken in the last round of the n.f.l. draft become storeys, unless they are the last pick and they're an ironic story. michael sam being the first n.f.l. gay player is significant because he's going into n.f.l.
football. that's where the whole story is here. >> there was one n.f.l. - former n.f.l. coach that gave a quote to sports illustrated anonymously saying "i don't think football is ready for an openly gay player yet", is that true? >> i don't know if i can answer that. seems like a hypothetical. we'll know the answer in a few months. it seems if n.f.l. is not ready for a homosexual player, it probably should have one. it's about time. particularly in u.s. sports. we have had an openly gay soccer player within the last year, an openly gay basketball player. there's no reason why n.f.l. should have to be the last frontier. whether the n.f.l. is ready or not. it's part of the story, but not something that should keep michael sam from being a professional athlete. >> there's no question that he is extremely talented. this is going to be an issue
that they'll come up against time and time again, at least for the foreseeable future. >> i don't think we have a grasp on how big an issue it is. there hasn't been an openly gay tooble player. football culture in the united states is a specific thing. and at a very, very young age, boys are built down and brought up with the ideal of the football world around them, and to this point homosexuality has not been a part of that. whether at this point, at the professional level they are ready for michael sam, that's going be interesting i think that people will be right to have their doubts. >> thank you for being with us. >> thank you. still to come - excluded from the world's biggest election. why millions of indians are unable to cast their ballots.
welcome back, a reminder of the top stories on al jazeera. polling stations in parts of eastern ukraine opened. separatists hold a widely condemned referendum on self-rule. these are live pictures from donetsk. self proclaimed leaders in donetsk and luhansk are going ahead with the vote despite calls from russia to oppose it. >> the african national congress wins a fifth term in south africa's elections, taking 52% of the vote. michael sam is the first openly gay player in america's national football league. he finished college this year and made headlines in february when announcing he was gay. >> more on the referendum in ukraine. the crimean peninsula voted
in march to become part of russia, kiev, the u.s. and e.u. say russia annexed the territory in an unfair poll. they have come under attacks since, and worry about the votes in the east - what they'll bring. we have this report from sevastopol at this historic mosque it's a big day for the crimean tatar couple. this place was part of ukraine previously. now crimea is under russian control, it's less than a happy union between moscow and the minority group. >> reporter: for decades the crimean tatars saw the council in the building behind me as their representative body. some members say they are coming under pressure from the new authorities in crimea. >> this member said he was beaten by suspected members of the pro-russian defense forces and many more are attacked or threatened.
>> the problem is i'm a member, and that is why it gave publicity to this situation. but in police, they say that they have the situation - similar situation every day. [ chanting ] >>. >> when senior tatar leader who backed the kiev government wanted to enter crimea from ukraine last weekend thousands of demonstrators tried to cross the border to welcome him, but were stopped. he's banned for five years. many protesters face prosecution. the authorities threatened to declare the organization a terrorist organization. they reject claims though that tatars are being persecuted. >> translation: we doubled the amount spent on crimea's tatars to $20 million, more than they received when it was ukranian territory. one of the members is my deputy.
>> some crimean tatars are skeptical. >> translation: our people were ex-island for 50 years and returned to ta place where no one was placed with them. where putin solved the issues. >> back here, they are not worried as long as the government doesn't try to sweep assay the tatars language and conditions. >> translation: i don't care if we have vladimir putin or a ukranian president. i want people to live in peace. we want to be recognised as a people. >> the tatar minority is left wondering what its role will be. thousands gathered in cairo to rally in support of abdul fatah al-sisi's presidential campaign. (♪) egypt's former military chief is expected to win the
election and is pledged to keep the outlawed muslim brotherhood out of politics if he gets into office. our colleague from al jazeera arabic has been held in an egyptian prison since august and has been on strike for 111 days. blood and urine tests were carried out on thursday, he is dangerously close to death. there are signs of microsidic anemia, due to lack of iron, preventing oxygen reaching organs. his kidneys are not functioning, there are higher levels of you'ree and has aurin air yea tract. his liver is close to failure - that is life threatening. >> three al jazeera adjournmentists continue to be held in prison for 134 days. peter greste, mohamed fadel fahmy and baher mohamed are falsely accused of conspiring
with the muslim brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist organization by egypt. al jazeera rejects all the charges and demands their release. the final phase of india's 5-week general election draws to a close on monday. voter tonne out has been high, there are tens of fillions of people prevented from voting. we go to meet some of them. three generations of the rapi family talking about the elections. most were able to vod. raj and his wife couldn't. >> you have a lot of emotions when you discuss the politics in home. at the end of the day you want to action what you think, so you want to vote for a party with whom your ideology is the same. when it day comes, you go and don't see your name. you feel frustrated, helpless. >> they voted in previous general and local elections, but
no one can tell him why he was not on the role this time around. they are two out of millions eligible to vote, but couldn't. they include airline cabin crews in transit. indians working or travelling aboard or on medical staff. there are over 10 million indians working abroad. many low-paid migrants and can't afford to come home to vote. >> others too whose issues are not cost. this woman had surgery - she missed the chance to vote. >> if the government had a government willing to post the ballot, and people coming into the house i would have voted. i would have. i don't know why the government dz not. >> only a few people can vote by mail, including security personnel, polling staff and diplomats abroad. india's supreme court ordered the election commission of india to look into the problem.
>> the postal ballot has to be the exception, not the norm. it should be available for people who, for a valid reason, not apathy, leth argy, not watching a movie on television, that they will lose a postal ballot. >> india is heading for a coalition government. it's anyone's guess as to whether millions prevented from voting would have an effect on the final count. what is clear is the world's largest democracy has a problem that will only be fixed by the electoral commission. chile's atta camera desert is proving to be a prime spot to discover the universe. it will get more spectacular with the introduction of a brand new telescope. nick clarke has been spending time with the team based in the
atta cam desert. >> reporter: to explore the cosmos you need to capture star light. to do that you need a clean mirror. it's made from sex tonnes of glass with a surface made of aluminium. in six years time the majellan telescopes will be overshadowed by a powerful telescope. it's being built 250 metres higher up, right over there. >> reporter: the pace of astronomical discovery depends on our ability to peer deep into the universe. it knows no bounds. a mountain top has been blown apart and flattened, and an attempt to answer pressing questions. the story of black holes and how stars and galaxies evolve. this is how the giant majellan telescope will look, approaching
$1 billion of mirrors and cosmic engineering, producing images 10 times faster than the hubble telescope. an incredible tool. >> the giant telescope is going to open up skies and allow how to go after faint stars. swirling out and about the milky way which we have trouble observing. >> down below the majellan it's not hard to work. as the sun drops they set up to film the light from the milky way. >> it's fascinating to combine research and speck tro scopic data that looks appealing. it gives us information about the cosmic objects with the beautiful images that the same sky gives us.
>> this is a nearby galaxy. >> meanwhile this avt ron mist is on the hunt. >> we are able to see the super-nova and its post galaxy the way it was back then. it took the light 3 billion years to get here, and you can measure the exposition of the universe, through the observations. the expansion universe is accelerating instead of desell rating. >> a few hours later, more incredible pictures of a galaxy. >> we have a movie clip of the rising milky way, the cal abbing tick center. you can see the structure, and this is the spiral arm back-lit by the big galactic center. it's very bright. that is what makes it special in
the southern hemisphere. >> noght night's observations are over. more data, spectra and knowledge. bit by bit we build on our place in the universe. now, to stars of another type. austria's bearded lady won the euro vision song contest in denmark. ♪ waking in the rubble ♪ walking over glass . >> the drag clean rose like a phoenix, scoring 290 points, an estimated 180 million tv viewers watched the competition in 45 countries. she is the alter ego of 25-year-old thomas. it's been 48 years since off theoria last won the competition. more to come in the next half hour, including marching for their missing children. mex can mothers say the government has let them down.
>> i didn't go back to the person that i was before i left... >> an emotional borderland reunion >> this trip was personal to me... this is real... >> long held beliefs >>...illegal in mexico too.. >> learn the language! come here... >>...most ridiculous thing i've heard in my life >> tested by hard lived truths... >> these migrants are being exploited >> beyond borderland... only on al jazeera america
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