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tv   News  Al Jazeera  June 2, 2014 11:00am-11:31am EDT

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>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. here are the stories we're following for you. the freedom swap for an u.s. soldier, why some say it's opening pandora's box. and the obama administration unveiled new rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants across the country.
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>> questions surround the release of an u.s. army sergeant after he spent years in the hands of the taliban. bowbo bergdahl is now returned. to get him back the u.s. exchanged five taliban prisoners being held at guantanamo bay. randall pinkston joins us live from washington. good day to you. what is bergdahl's status right now? >> well, sgt. bo bergdahl is being interviewed by investigators who are interested in knowing where he was. how many times he was moved. if he knew if he was in afghanistan, pakistan or the province. so many questions about the taliban who continue to fight american forces and allied forces in afghanistan even as
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the u.s. winds down its involvement there. but of course there are also some questions about the deal that was made for bo bergdahl's freedom. he has not been able to speak to his parents, but everyone is happy for his return home. the concern is what was given up for his freedom. >> i think the big issue here is what's going to happen to these five individuals. >> reporter: a former pow of the vietnam war believes that the exchange is concerning. >> it'sties--ing that these individuals have the ability to return to the fight, and they're big, high-level people possibly
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responsible for the deaths of thousands. >> reporter: mike rogers worries that the administration may be setting a dangerous precedence. >> we have a changing footprint in afghanistan that would put our soldiers at risk for this notion if i can get one, i can get five taliban released. >> reporter: accused the administration of violating the law. they argue that the defense secretary failed to notify congress 30 days in advance of the release of prisoners being held in guantanamo. en route to afghanistan, defense secretary chuck layingel said the deal was necessary to save bergdahl's life. he was in failing health and the negotiations through the emir of qatar required quick action. >> this had to be very closely held. only very few people knew about this operation.
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we did not want to jeopardize any leaks. we couldn't afford any leaks anywhere. >> reporter: national security adviser susan rice said justice department lawyers concluded the rescue was an urgent matter which permitted the administration to make the swap without notifying congress. >> we had reason to believe that this was an urgent and acute situation that his life could have been at risk. we did not 30 days to wait. if we had waited and lost him, i don't think anybody would have forgiven the united states government. >> reporter: that explanation is not going to satisfy congressional critics, some of whom are already calling for an investigation. >> randall, some veterans are speaking out about his release. what are they saying? >> reporter: this has been on the internet for years now, the allegations that perhaps sgt. bergdahl was not taken by force, but may have walked away from his post. that has not been proven. that will probably be investigated, but right now the
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concern is for his health and his reintegration into the military and ultimately back home. >> randall pinkston for us in washington. randall, thank you. the taliban is applauding the top five officials return. the afghan government is angry over the swap. they say they were told by the u.s. that the taliban detainees would be released to afghan custody. >> the convoy carrying taliban leaders moves on highway in do doha. the stop halfway to be greeted by a taliban delegation based in the capitol. this ithere is no video of the
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two other leaders, former deputy defense minister. they were all detained for 12 years in guantanamo. their release was part of a prisoner swap. in exchange for their release the taliban freed u.s. soldier bowe bergdahl who spent five years in captivity. the deal was criticized by members of the congress who said they would embolden the taliban to take more american hostages. >> the release of five mid- to high-level taliban is shocking to me especially without coming to congress. it says in the law that you have to come to congress, and putting five people potentially back on the battlefield. even though our troops are back in 2015, you know are going to have five people potentially on the ground, targeting american troops, afghanistan troops and the afghan people. >> reporter: but they say it was
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instrumental in saving the life of an american prisoner of war. >> for the specific purpose of releasing bowe bergdahl, but we have long said and long hoped that there could be afghan-led reconciliation between the government of afghanistan and it's opponents including the taliban, so if this exchange opens that door a little bit, then we would welcome it, and we would certainly hope that in any event the reconciliation, which we have all long said is essential, could proceed. >> the swap was hailed by taliban leader as a big victory. the afghan government, which was only formed after the exchange had taken place was highly critical, describing the deal as a breach of international law. this is the most significant deal the u.s. has made with the taliban since the opene open
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office in qatar a year ago. it is seen as a move to engage talks the taliban in talks with the u.s. over the future of afghanistan, but the main goal remains to be convince the government in kabul if they renounce violence and break ties with al-qaeda. >> the qatarry government played a role in the release of bowe bergdahl. we want to let you know that al jazeera's parent company is located in qatar. in haley, idaho, yellow ribbons line the streets supporting the bergdahl family. how has the town been reacting to this week's news? >> reporter: stephanie, just as you said, the town has worked so
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hard in the last five years, to keep bowe in the public eye, and support his family. the place is covered in yellow. signs all over town saying our prayers finally have been answered, and bowe's parents remain overjoyed. jenny and bob bergdahl have not spoken directly to their son since he was released in captivity. sunday in boise they spoke to him indirectly hoping they'll see this press conference sometime soon. >> five years is an seemingly endless long time. but you've made it. i imagine you're more patient and compassionate than ever. freedom is yours. my beloved son, i love you, bowe. >> i'm so proud of your desire and your action to serve this country in a very difficult,
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long war. but most of all, i'm proud of how much you wanted to help the afghan people. >> reporter: bowe bergdahl's hometown, haley, idaho, is draped in yellow ribbon, as it has for five years. new signs on store fronts on main street, and many are glad to know that he is finally safe. >> i'm just glad that he was released, and we just have to continue to fight the terrorism. >> reporter: members of the pow mia community has supported the family over the years and said a bergdahl rally and concert will be huge whether the soldier is here or not. >> we could have thousands and thousands of motorcycles. it would not surprise me one bit. i'm counting on it because they deserve the support that that
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shows. >> reporter: the local support, come comfort for parents hurting and waiting to see their son. >> bowe, i love you. i'm your father. i've written to you over and over, can you speak english still, i would write him, but now i hope that when you hear this, and when you're ready to hear this, and when you see this, i hope your english is coming back. i want you to know that i love you. >> reporter: behind me is a could have any shop where bowe used to work when he was a teenager just a few years ago. this place is covered with yellow ribbons and signs as well. people say all those signs will stay up until bowe comes home. >> jim, i know you say the folks there are concentrating on
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welcoming sgt. bergdahl home, but is there any react at all to the negative reports out there about him? >> well, you know, you don't hear a lot of that here in haley, idaho. this morning there is a lot of talk, people say they are aware of some of the allegations but right now they're not concentrating on that. they're concentrating on his well-being. they will ignore some of those allegations for the most part until he's back here at home. >> jim hooley reporting from haley, idaho, thank you. making changes, we'll tell you about the sweeping reforms over the next 15 years.
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>> the obama administration making a big push >> the environmental protection agency has aannounced a new plan to cut emissions from coal
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plants. lisa, good day to you. what did the epa announce today? >> the proposal for the first time would cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. they are the biggest contributor to car upon emissions causing one-third of all greenhouse glass. just moments ago they announced the proposed rule that will protect health and the environment. >> although we eliminate pollute tonights there are no limits on carbon pollution from can carbon plants, our nation's largest sources. for the sake of our family's health and our children's future we have a moral obligation to act on climate. >> this really takes aim at coal-fired plants. environmentalists calling it an historic step. others saying it doesn't go far enough but a lot of opposition from the coal industry, from the
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chamber of commerce, and mitch mcconnell saying this puts a dagger in the heart of the american middle class. it will hurt jobs and hurt the economy. the epa obviously disagreed. they open a comment period and hope to have a final proposal in place by middle of next year. >> every really expecting this to be a tough fight. break down the clean power plant for us. what exactly is in it? >> well, here's what the proposal looks like. under this proposal what the epa is suggesting is that carbon pollution by existing plants would have to be put by 30% b by 2013. that's 30% from 2005 levels. there has been some progress made on that. the epa said the health benefits could prevent 6,000 premature death as year, and the epa said it will drop electricity bills by about 8%. epa said that the claims that it
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will hurt the economy are wrong. this will spur innovation and a lot of green technologies but already the first lawsuit is being threatened. this will be a very big fight to put this proposal in place. >> lisa stark. thank you. tonight president obama leaves for a trip to europe. he'll be making stops this weekend, poland, belgium and france. he'll meet with leaders in warsaw including ukraine's newly elected president, petro poroshenko. they'll talk about the powers in the newly formed group of seven, and president obama and russian president vladimir putin will be in normandy, france to, mark the 70s anniversary of the d-day invasion. the russian gas company has given ukraine another week to pay its bill in full.
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meanwhile residents in the eastern ukrainian city of doneskt brace for more violence. >> an eerie quiet has settled on doneskt. business owners have hut up shop. some boarding up buildings all together. many like igor who lives behind an empty store says anything can imminent. >> i know about the military operation at the airport. one or two years ago no one would have thought that kiev would wage war against us just for having a difficult opinion. >> the reality of the conflict home. dozens were killed in the siege and some believe its just a matter of time before the entire town is retaken.
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>> the militia, i'm worried about them and pray for them. the ukrainian government is a dictatorship. >> reporter: introducing a new element to this crisis. the battle hardened group wit has taken over. inside the group are put in a truck to be taken to an undisclosed area. elsewhere in the city pro russian fighters are not as visible. checkpoints near deserted. >> the city administration building, it's been a few days since the moscow battalion came and cleared the barricade in front of the building. and now there are fewer here
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than we've seen in the past several months. >> reporter: kiev would like to negotiate it's way out of this crisis, but the people o say there will be no talks, and many fear it will only end in violence. >> that violence continues this morning. while reporting from luhansk, lag reporter david chater had to take cover. >> reporter: that's the base on fire. [ gunfire ] >> luckily david chat er and his crew, they are all together. and, in fact, david continued with his report while ducking for cover. our team will stay in luhansk to continue covering events in ukraine. syrian elections are expected tomorrow, over the weekend 50 people were killed in the embattled city of aleppo.
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they are expected to win re-election and that could jeopardize efforts to stop the conflict. >> they are arguebly the two most senior expected diplomats in the world. former u.n. secretary kofi ann annann and negotiator brahimi. but all efforts failed, and the death toll is higher than anyone could have imagined when the conflict started more than three years ago. no one is able to keep an accurate count but it is without doubt the most deadly conflict this century. >> the hard work starts now. >> the peace efforts were based on a rare moment of international agreement with geneva acard of jan 2012. if called for a new transitional government in syria with full executive powers. brahimi even got both sides to com come together, but they
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would not gray on the agenda. there is no chance of a transitional government if president assad is re-elected. for the duration of the war there has only been rare moments of unity here at the u.n. security coupl council. how will the rest of the international community respond to an election that technically gives bashar al-assad another seven years in power? one observer believes an election will not change the minds of those nation who is declared the damascus regime an international pariah. >> i don't think there is a powerful imperative from any outside state whether commercially because they want to do business with syria, a country where there is no business to be done with, or geopolitically they want to,
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what, get on russia and iran's good side? there is nothing for anybody to pretend that the election is real. the election will change things within assad's own deluded mind and entourage. >> reporter: life inside syria continues to get word. the u.n. and international aid agencies find it impossible to get medicine and aid to besieged areas. there is talk of a resolution in the u.n. security council on humanitarian access, but getting the agreement of russia and china difficult. four times in the past three years the two nations have used their veto to block their resolution on syria. the death toll continues to mount but it is doing nothing to break the deadlock around this table. >> thousands of syrians living in lebanon have cast their ballots. now the lebanese government is warning the refugees to vote if
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they want to maintain their refugee status. while many vote voiced support for bashar al-assad, others say they voted for the president out of fear and retaliation. an unity government was sworn in after years of rivalry between the hamas and fatah groups. israel's prime minister has urged world leaders not to recognize the unity government saying it could be a front for hamas. coming up on powered by the sun, a solar energy plane takes to the skies.
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>> the only u.s. prisoner of war in afghanistan. to get him back the u.s. exchanged five taliban prisoners held at guantanamo bay. >> the taliban are hailing the exchange as a big victory. the prisoners are now in qatar where they'll stay for one year. >> there will be a celebration for bowe bergdahl's homecoming. thousands are expected to atte attend. bodies artwo guides and climbers were trying to scale mount rainier in washington state. they are presumed dead. park rangers believe buried in
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the snow. officials hope that as the snow melts it will be possible to collect the bodies. >> meteorologist: i'm meteorologist dave warren, we're looking at hurricane season, and 80 degrees. that's where the tropical storms begin developing once the water gets that warm. it's under way and there is an area of thunderstorm. the water is warming up but it does not appear to be looking too favorable for the storm to continue to develop. unless we continue to watch the storms develop. we don't see a peak of the tropical activity until august or september. also looking at thunderstorms activity really not developing today. it is tomorrow. a tournament comes off the east coast. the rockies right over colorado, and where the temperatures are start to go climb today if in the 70s.
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in home hait gets reallyin chicago we have this threat for severe weather tomorrow. storms will be developing. there will be thunderstorms and the potential is there to become severe with very heavy rain, wind and hail possibly even seeing rotation. this is the area throughout the day tomorrow that will watch for these storms to develop. lightening a big problem this time of year. a lot of fatalities occur when people go out too soon before the storms have had a chance to pass. >> a plane is making headlines for spending two hours in the air and this is because this plane is powered by the sun. the appendage on the end and the long wings are solar panels.
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ia successful trip this morning means it will be ready to go. for more news updates throughout the day head to have a great day. >> the president told west point's graduating class that america must continue to lead the world. spelling out the obama foreign policy, it is the inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez. sometimes it's hard to remember that they're talking talking