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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  February 12, 2015 12:30am-1:01am EST

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history. chances of a win in the draw are pretty slim. one in 175 million. that has not stopped people snapping up a record number of tickets. don't worry if you don't win, keep up to date with stuff on the website. >> on "america tonight": >> like so many children with autism, 13-year-old gus snowdon has trouble communicationing withcommunicating withothers. except for one. >> for the first time he asked for a play date.
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>> technologies are only going to get better and better. >> eastern ukraine is steeped in winter. and for those in war, the conditions are unrelenting. >> not in very good shape, especially after enduring many days of shelling. >> if in fact diplomacy fails what i've asked my team to did is look at all options. what other means can we put in place to change mr. putin's calculus . >> and good evening, i'm joie chen. for a president who came to power, seeking exits seeking exits from conflict, to use the carrot or the stick? after six months of fighting with i.s.i.l, mr. obama has asked congress to step up his war powers against the self proclaimed islamic state. at the same time, he's pressing
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hard for a truce in the conflict ravaging in ukrainians and his dilemma giving the ukrainians lethal aid. tonight, "america tonight"'s sheila macvicar. >> reporter: eastern ukraine is deep in winter and for those in the conflict zone, the war is unrelenting. this soup kitchen trying to feed the increasingly hungry targeted again by shelling early this week . this time, from the ukrainian side. sending workers and clients running for the shelter of the basement. across the region, there has been a sharp increase in violence. towns like krematorsk that have been peaceful for months suddenly shelled by pro-russian
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rebels, in a residential neighborhood killing at least seven civilians, wounding more and terrorizing a kindergarten class. >> translator: the kids started creeping and the shells started to explode. it was judgment day. >> the aim is very simple. the talks in minsk are starting, so somebody is probably looking to put pressure on ukraine. >> reporter: the organization for security and cooperation in europe called the attack an assault on the people, as well as on the peace process. >> it not only happened in a very indiscriminate nature, but it also could have indicated a widening of the conflict. because for many months the city was very calm and then all of a sudden this very ferocious shelling happened. >> reporter: pro-russian separatists are on the offensive, battling for strategic transportation points
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and even energy supplies. though they have been pushed back from some territory they controlled last summer they are fighting now to connect the rebel strongholds of donetsk and luhansk, with fierce fighting around the rail hub of debaltseve. the aim is not only to win ground before ceasefire negotiations but to make sure the terms of the ceasefire russia and ukraine agreed to last september are not repeated. a scholar at the wilson center in washington, d.c. >> clearly russia agreed to a ceasefire, the minsk agreement that really worked against russia's best interest. that created borders that didn't really help russia didn't make luhansk and dofnts donetsk viable centers by themselves. it wants more territory and
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greater viable of luhansk and donetsk to be able to act independently. ukraine wants to call up men for military service and across rebel territory volunteers are alongside. >> we need specialists technical repairmen, we need workers who are able to drive a tank or an armored vehicle. >> reporter: for months, russia has insisted it had no troops in ukraine, that any troops fighting there are, quote, volunteers, that is certainly not believed in kiev just as there's no question where the rebels have acquired heavy weaponry, equipment known to be in russia's arsenal. more in the past days. >> not only unmarked heavy military items but also convoys pulling heavy artillery.
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we're talking about multiple launch rocket systems, for example. >> putin in many ways is in the driver's seat today. he has the europeans and the ukrainians coming to him, asking for a ceasefire. the developments on the ground support russia. the separatists have enjoyed some success over the last few days. significant success. >> reporter: the renewed fighting has led to a new stream of frightened refugees. the u.n. says nearly a million people have been displaced in the violence since the conflict began. 5,000 individuals. home now might be a tent in winter or a railway car parked on a sliding. in slovyansk, under rebel control since early summer there are thousands of newly homeless. >> we came here three days ago. our home was destroyed. we are left without work
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without a home, we don't know what to do now. how to go further. what to do, they should sign an agreement and stop this war. we are already desperate. >> capital kiev already overwhelmed with those displaced during fighting last summer. >> there was no electricity water or heat. i haven't showered in two weeks. the tv didn't work, we have nothing, a real humanitarian catastrophe. the hopes coming out now especially after enduring many days of shelling, in fact many of them have been telling us they have been basically cowering in basements for days on end. >> german chancellor angela merkel made clear she believes the only solution
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is through diplomacy. good cop versus bad cop, president obama hinted that. >> all options, what other means can we put in place, to change mr. putin's calculus. and the possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that's being examined. but i have not made a decision about that yet. >> what is likely, if there's no agreement and no ceasefire is more international sanctions on russia. and on mr. putin. sanctions have had some impact in combined with steep incline in the value of the ruble. >> for your average russian, that being the case, putin's popularity remains very high
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and putin has played the nationalist card very carefully. one of the real bases for support for putin he pays the pension. if russia sunlt finds itself not able to pay pensions, then it is at a tipping point and the ex curses in eastern ukraine will no longer be financially possible. >> reporter: how far out are we? >> we are quite a good distance out. >> the likely outcome in minsk very much dependent on what vladimir putin wants. "america tonight's" sheila macvicar with us. sheila, it seems just a few months ago congress took up this issue of arming the ukrainians right? >> they did. in december congress took up a resolution of arming the
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ukrainians with lethal weapons. it might be useful to find how long congress got to get ukrainians night vision goggles. it took months. and many weapons are not in stock. that could take months. >> what with arming ukrainians if you could do that in speed, what's the calculation, what's the risk in doing that? >> the analysis if the united states were to step in and to grossly improve or greatly improve ukrainian's defensive capacities then russia would retaliate by upping the ante. no one wants an escalation, no one wants a war. and the interest of european partners trying to calm this down as they are doing today, attempting to get a ceasefire. >> it seems like the cold war all over again. from the very beginning.
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>> it is very difficult the relationship. putin clearly has his own calculus and his own agenda. he knows how the national is tinge agenda is playing and it's playing very well for him. you have angela merkel, the point person in dealing with putin, she has a relationship with him. she doesn't like him very much right now, she has accused him of lying to her. she has suggested publicly that perhaps he was not completely in touch with all of the facts of the situation, a little out of touch with reality. but she is the west's best option in terms of interlock temperature, interlocutor. >> we have talked about sanction, some form of economic sanctions. isn't that possible? >> what we have seen is ratcheting up.
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you have to remember, the united states has been gung gung ho on sanction he. the nuclear option in the sanctions book is to kick russia out of the swift code use of international banking which would effectively suspend russia's ability to bank internationally. but that would have a follow-on effect on other european countries. german businessmen wouldn't get paid. there's fallout, they call it the nuclear option. that is not the option we are likely to see at this juncture. >> sheila macvicar thanks. ing al jazeera am lindsay moran, on the agency's use of
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torture so bad even agents rebel. >> you will do whatever it takes to get this man to talk. do you understand. >> and i physically recoiled reflexively recoil and my response was, we don't do that. and he says well, we do now. >> an insider's look at the cia's use of torture and whether anyone will be prosecuted. next up on "america tonight," fast-forward on health care behind bars. >> what do you mean they use kitchen sugar? >> the fast took mcdonald's, they pour it inside and put gauze over it and tape it up. >> "america tonight's" adam may gets up to date on the prison system some say is a prescription for bad medicine. and dying on the track, more than 900 racing
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greyhounds have died on the track since 2008, is it the sport's last lap? find it on >> mondays on al jazeera america. technology, it's a vital part of who we are. >> they had some dynamic fire behavior. >> and what we do. >> don't try this at home. >> techknow. where technology meets humanity. mondays, 5:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
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>> fast forward to health care and our prison system. it is sometimes hard to sympathize with convicts but the law states they must receive adequate health care. which raises the question, just what's adequate? many prisoners' health care is in the care
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ever a separate provider. corizon. >> they put me on a loom-vac, i was there for four, four and a half weeks. when it got small enough to where i didn't have to wear it anymore they decided to use insure. kitchen insure. >> what do you mean they used kitchen sugar? >> the packets like mcdonald's, they would open it pour it inside put gauze over it and tape it up. i had that for two weeks. >> like the packets of sugar you use when you get coffee? they poured them in your y section? >> yes. >> did they tell you why they were doing that? >> one of the doctors learned it from -- i don't even know. i don't know.
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basically it is a home remedy. >> sugar was used to treat wounds before the use of antibiotics, in the 1900s. it is not accepted practice. reagan is not only prisoner claiming she was mistreated. the aclu filed a class action lawsuit, claiming that the system put inmates at the risk of pain, disfigurement and death. privatizing prison health care and signed a contract with corizon. >> in an unrelated case the company joined alameda county in california in an $8.3 million case. the case involved a patient who died in 2011. the company has been sued 660 times in the last five years and
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the california case could be a harbinger for other prison systems all across the nation. next: the bff helping to break the silence. >> can i marry you? >> i'm not the marrying kind. >> siri speaks and how that changes the life of some young people living with autism. >> america's first climate refugees >> this is probably a hurricane away from it being gone. >> who's to blame? >> 36% of land lost was caused by oil and gas industry... >> ...and a fight to save america's coastline. >> we have kinda made a deal with the devil >> fault lines al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas at us... award winning investigative documentary series... the disappearing delta only on al jazeera america
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>> the great challenge for people living with autism is the simple act of connecting. communicating and in ways nonverbally, all the thoughts and fears gathered
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by the issue. there is focus on the why and on the solutions and as it has in so many other arenas there are science and technology that can make a difference. here is "america tonight's" christof putzel. >> reporter: like so many children with autism 13-year-old gus snowden has trouble communicating with others. except for one unusual friend. >> hi. >> hi. >> hello, siri. >> hello. >> yes, siri, the iphone's virtual assistance. last year gus discovered he could have conversations with siri and the two haven't stopped chatting since. >> reporter: what's your favorite thing to talk to siri about? >> i talk to siri about everything. >> he's always been a -- you know a loving child. his desire to connect with people is profound.
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his ability to connect with people is limited. >> reporter: gus's mom judith says his introduction to siri was purely by accident. >> i was reading one of those, buzz feed has, 21 things to do with your iphone. s this is one of those things, a list, all these goofy things. and one of them, was ask siri what planes were above your head. and i thought, what in the world would anyone need to do this? and he said, so they know what you're doing mommy. >> do you ever look in the sky and wonder what they're doing? >> do i yes. >> gust does things that could seem endless to his
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mother but not siri. >> is amtrak running today, is amtrak running on its own? what buses are running today? >> there was a huge amount of time where he was and still is anxious about thunder and lightning. so to be talking about scattered thunderstorms versus isolated thunderstorms i could do it for only ten minutes but siri could do it for an hour if that's what he wanted and siri could give him answers to things i couldn't being not a meteorologist. >> how's the weather coming this week? >> nice weather coming up this week. >> what do you know about the people who developed siri? >> one of the things that fascinated me is one of the main developers is a man from norway. he named siri after a beautiful and well-known weather girl, weather woman from norway, too. and he talked about how much he loved the weather.
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so of course, one can't help wondering about his own predilections and whether he's someplace on the spectrum himself. >> do you ask her about turtles? >> turtles (laughing). >> a small part of what siri has gotten gust. but developing into a dialogue something gus hadn't had with anyone else. >> we hadn't given thought to the talking, the back and forth conversation that this personal assistant is capable of. so you know i'd be passing his room and he'd be going, "how you doing today," to siri, and she would answer, very well. that kind of conversation. and he would ask her for things and the time that struck me after a week he spent a fair
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amount of time talking to siri is when he said you're such a nice computer and you always help me. is there anything i can do for you and she answered back something like i have very few needs or something like that. >> and that satisfied him? he was like okay but at least he asked. judge judith wrote about his budding friendship in the new york times. and it quickly became the most viewed article of the month. >> the number of autistic kids but the number of parents who wrote to me about the experiences with technology and how at different times in their life they had gotten solace from this machine. >> siri represents a nonjudgmental type of individual or interactive device. so there's not those complex social nuances. >> dan smith is the senior director
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for discovery neuroscience at autism speaks. an advocacy organization. >> doesn't require that you adhere to all the norms that dominate the world, verbal and nonverbal when you are speaking to another person. >> apple's interactive technology put together a grant to are ship ipads. around the country. >> we decided to do the ipad give away program because of the affinity that a lot of individuals with autism have towards technology and their receptivity to it. not to mention its skills for learning all sorts of things.
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>> how much has siri changed his interactions with everyday people? >> well, i'll tell you this. without wanting to tout siri as this great miracle cure, it's not. but since he has had siri in his life for the first time he asked to have a play date. he asked to have another child over here. and i think it might be partially because he's more comfortable with just back and forth conversation. >> do i get frustrateat you siri? >> i can't really say. >> do it get angry at you? >> no comment. >> technologies like siri are only going to get better and better more intuitive. rather than just black and white interactions you have with siri now? >> there will be other things than siri, robots and other
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technological inventions that take us to the next level. >> but for now, gus is happy with his best friend siri. >> can i marry you? >> i'm not the marrying kind. >> christof putzel, al jazeera new york. >> she is not but she's a good friend. that's "america tonight." please tell us what you think at come back, we'll have more of "america tonight," tomorrow.
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>> start with one issue. add guests from all sides of the debate and a host willing to ask the tough questions and you'll get the inside story. >> ray suarez hosts "inside story". weeknights at 11:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. life? it's a topic a lot of shows won't touch but we're going there in depth. first, we're speaking to a man spending years on death row, for what? nothing. >> i was a young black kid who life didn't mean anything to the system. >> then i'll talk to ken fineberg, he's in charge of the highest compensation case cases, including the gm recall and the boston bombing. then coming toge