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tv   News  Al Jazeera  March 25, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT

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>> never again will our country be host to terrorists. never again will we give extremists the sanctuary to plan their destructive plots. we're determined to become the asian development round about and the platform for the peaceful corporation of our civilization. together our two countries will finish the job that began on that clear, terrible september morning almost 14 years ago. we have the will and we have the commitment that will anchor our country in the world community of peaceful democratic nations. knowing our conditions you the american congress and the american people will decide how to ensure that our common goals and interests are written into
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the books that will be telling the history of our shared future. thank you again, and may god bless the partnership between america and afghanistan. [ applause ] >> you have been listening to afghanistan president ashraf ghani speaking for just under an hour addressing a joint meeting of congress saying that they are not going to be this country's lazy uncle joe, stressing that they wish for self reliance. also saying that ordinary is what has escaped afghanistan for so long and ordinary is what they want. we're going to take a short break and then come back and talk to our washington correspondent, mike viqueira and our political consultant who are in washington listening to the speech as well as well as we will go to afghanistan. when we come back we will talk more about the president's speech.
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hello i'm del walters in new york. in that sea of senators and congressmen is afghan president ashraf ghani. he has just completed a joint meeting of congress. we wishes to convey the message of self reliance that the afghan people wish to if you would break the yolk of independence of the united states and others who have been there for so long 12 years to be exact. mike viqueira joins me now. he was taking pains to thank the united states for staying in afghanistan.
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>> you are right, del. i counted no fewer than eight times that he said thank you to the united states the military sacrifice, the economic sacrifice, the sacrifice of the american taxpayers you name it. it was a rosy picture of afghanistan he sought to paint today. an enlightened afghanistan, capable of providing its own security. and the familiar phrase that afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. he says it is the graveyard of al-qaeda and other elements seeking to deablelize the region. he said overall that -- it was a very forward-looking speech i think. obviously playing to an american audience. how much of that speech del, did president ghani talk about the rights of women and the advances in afghan society, both
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in terms of education, economic opportunities, in terms of political opportunities? something that was warmly received inside the chamber. it really struck me that that was a theme that he came back to time and time again. and he said afghanistan's history -- >> yeah i was going to say, as he was speaking i was thinking the same think, that 12 years ago any afghan leader making those utterances probably would have faced assassination by the taliban. >> it was such an optimistic and bright picture of afghanistan, though admitting in the end that afghanistan still faces its set of challenges, of course campaigns by terrorist elements as he phrased it. corruption is something he stressed -- the fight against corruption. he mentioned the kabul bank in particular. afghanistan is looking for foreign aid and investment through the imf, those
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governments and ngo's are going to be reluctant to get into afghanistan in any meaningful way financially if it's perceived as a unstable state. but these are the themes he struck time and time again. >> and yet, i did not hear a specific pitch from the afghan president saying what he wanted congress to do or approve. did you find that to be odd? >> it was sort of a soft sell but i think it's rather imply sant that he is trying to paint an afghanistan with a bright future. anticipating some of the doubts in afghanistan. and he is doing that not only to gain the favor of congress which is going to be funding afghan security forces for starters the tune of some $4 billion a year but trying to attract foreign investment trying to
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demonstrate that afghanistan was a safe investment. that it's not going to be good money after bad. that the corrupt institutions he is now fighting against and having some success in that fight, del. >> mike thank you very much. now let's go to a senior national security fellow at the american america count a decision. did ashraf ghani, by that soft sell achieve what he wanted to achieve with this congress? >> i think that was a really a brilliant rhetorical strategy. he set the ground work for a very positive -- we could say perhaps overly rosy and positive view of where afghanistan is where it might go. the asks are already on the table. the administration has talked about the $4 billion for the security forces, and the aid package. so he didn't need ask for more he just needs to shore up that
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support. and he is trying to bank some goodwill against the very real possibility that there might be bad news in the next year or two or three. i hope he is hoping that people remember this speech and his vision and his repeated thank yous to the american taxpayer for spending the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been spent, and asking for the tens of billions going forward. >> and reminding congress that he and his family were in the united states on september 11th when the twin towers fell but also pointing out that terrorism, these days knows no boundaries, as if to say by not investing in afghanistan it could come back later to hurt you as it did on september 11th. >> well as he pointed out. he understands what september 11th did to the american psyche.
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he understands america. he has lived here. and he made that very clear in the speech. the lighted over some stubborn facts about how deeply rooted some of these things are in afghan society. the tribal forces that keep women segregated. it wasn't just the taliban. but nonetheless he really did tap into the things that america wants to here. he does understand america. he has lived here. he has been among us. and i thought this was an excellent speech. >> how much of what he said was the rosy picture of afghanistan, and how much of the thorn remains in afghanistan? >> look he's the president of afghanistan. he is here to make the case that there's a vision going forward. is the vision that he laid out possible? sure. there's possibility that afghanistan could become a cross roads and a home for modern
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islam, could work to educate and integrate its women in society. is that a very rough sell and uphill climb, i think the answer yes. >> doug thank you very much. we want to find out how this is playing in kabul where we find jennifer glasse. and jennifer one of the points of the speech that received the loudest ovation was ghani pointing out that in 2001 there were very few children in schools, in 2015 there are 3 million. how will this play on the streets of kabul? >> reporter: i think that's one of the most encouraging signs you see here in kabul is young girls going to school. they make up about -- almost 40% of the 8 million children in school across the country. it was at the american university this afternoon which he mentioned in his speech and i was encouraged by the young women who are at that school now, and talking to them that
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these are the future of afghanistan, and really the bright side of afghanistan. it is this youthful educated population that won't let the country slip back into the dark past. but doug made a very good point moving forward to the future is still a very very difficult task ahead. it's a very poor country. it is heavily reliant on foreign aide, and ashraf ghani, i think in his speech to congress really accepting that that it is a long road ahead, but wanting to show that he is a man with a plan. >> and also saying that ordinary is what has escaped us and ordinary is what we want and live for. how far away is afghanistan from ordinary from your vantage point? >> reporter: well, i had to race from the american university this evening at the height of the rush hour to the center of town where a suicide car bomb had gone off killing seven people and injuring 31 as so often the case del.
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all civilians heading home from work and that's the kind of thing that they want to see end. they want ordinary. they want to be able to drive down the roads and the highway. the highway linking kabul to kandahar, 13 people were killed on that highway just a couple of nights ago. so a lot of insecurity certainly outside of the cities and the district centers, in many of the rural areas life hasn't changed very much. a third of the country still lives below the poverty line. so there are still very, very many poor afghans, and it is going to take a lot more effort to get this country back to the place where ghani would like it to be. he said he envisioned a future where america would come visit. and the country is stunning del. beautiful mountains and rivers and valleys.
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we would like to see the americans and their children come visit as tourists but that is a long way off. >> and jennifer how is the coalition government working? >> reporter: it has been a very rocky start, del. afghanistan has never had a coalition government. the two men apparently work very well together but there have been very big differences between their two teams, and really the cabinet was a case in point. ghani was inaugurated six months ago. it took them three months to agree on some cabinet remembers and only a few of those were admitted to parliament. they still have to be approved by the afghan tarl, the women he mentioned, and part of that is this political division. so it is a difficult road ahead. a lot of people were concerned
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the unity government might not stand. it has lasted but the afghan people are very frustrated. you can't get ordinary things done in many parts of your life and until that gets solved i think many will look at his vision with a lot of scepticism. >> the united states has invested heavily in afghanistan in terms of lives and treasure. 2,215 service men and women losing their lives, and by some estimates $4 trillion spent in that country, since september 11th. from your vantage, is it money well spent? >> a lot of money has been wasted. there has been an incredible amount of progress but for the amount of money that has been spent, you would think we would be a lot further along. he is taking strides to try to
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correct the corruption but it is really in so many systems across the country and at all levels. so it's a very, very difficult road ahead. >> jennifer glasse joining us live from kabul. jennifer as always we implore you to stay safe. we want to thank you for watching al jazeera, i'm del walters. there's more news coming up in just a moment, and for updates throughout the day go to ♪
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houthi rebels appear to be closing in on yemen's president in the southern city of aden. there is heavy gunfire on the outskirts of the city and the airport has been closed because of security certains. the president's exact whereabouts are unknown, but he is said to be safe and still in aden. the leaders of germany, france, and spain have arrived in the town near the location of the crash site of germanwings flight. they have been able to locate the cockpit voice recorder but it is damaged. at least seven people have been killed by a large explosion in afghanistan's capitol. 31 others have been injured by the car bomb. it happened just 24 hours after the u.s. announced a slow down
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in its troop withdrawal from afghanistan. jennifer glasse is in kabul. >> reporter: the explosion happened in the very center of kabul, not far from the presidential palace near the ministry of finance, and just outside a major police station, police direct number 2 in the heart of kabul. the dead and injured were mainly civilians heading home from work. the blast happened just before sunset during the evening rush hour here. i saw two very damaged vehicles being taken away by police. and this car bomb comes just a day after the president ashraf ghani, met with u.s. president barack obama in washington, and the two agreed that 10,000 u.s. forces will remain here in afghanistan through the end of this year. that's a slow down in the u.s. withdrawal. the united states is expected to pull out about 5,000 of its forces by the end of 2015, but
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ashraf ghani has managed to convince the u.s. president that his forces could use the help through the end of this year. what will happen in 2016 still remains to be seen but in the face of what president ghani expects to be a very difficult spring fighting season he feels his forces can use all of the support they can get. >> reporter: nigerians are bracing for possible sectarian violence during elections this weekend. goodluck jonathan, a christian from the south faces stift competition from a muslim candidate from the northwest. >> reporter: song and dance on the busy streets of jos, the capitol of central nigeriaia's plateau state. behind every step here there is a serious message. a rejection of violence during
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elections this weekend. >> our message is one man one vote, one woman, one vote, one youth, one vote. it should be done peacefully. no killing of anybody. >> reporter: nowhere is this message more relevant than in a city known for its ethnic and sectarian violence. deadly clashes have erupted here since 2001. the conflicts routed in in -- disputes over access to land power and jobs. yet the city was once known for its peaceful coexistence between muslims and christians. this man is married to a christian woman for the last 45 years. he lead a presidential coalition tasked with looking into the religious crisis in plateau
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state. >> if you have nothing to give your followers economically morally, educationally, or even health wise an empty-head politician will pick religion to replace them. >> reporter: tension has been high in jos ahead of the elections, the closest in nigeria's history. and these are the men trying to diffuse those tensions. >> i worry a lot, but worries don't solve problems so i pray and then i try to engage in dialogue, like we have done before with the chief ammon at the dialogue peace center. >> if we want to elect our representatives, we can do. with no case of religion in site. >> reporter: for now representatives of the mosque continue preaching peace everywhere. they hope their call will be
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heeded. and this time jos will choose peace over conflict. egypt's president has addressed ethiopia's parliament. the two countries are working to improve relations after a long-standing dispute over ethiopia's renaissance dam. they signed an agreement addressing the fair use of nile waters between the two countries. peace talks have resumed in morocco's capitol, the government in tripoli and the government in tobruk have welled a u.n. proposal. the draft proposal calls for the formation of a national unity government comprised of tech know cats. a presidential council would
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look after the implication of the agreement during the transitional period. peace talks may be taking place outside of the country, but inside libya the fighting rages on. we spoke to the human rights director of the u.n. mission in libya, he says human rights violations are also on the rise. >> there's a humanitarian crisis in libya, but there's also a human rights crisis. many of the abuses are associated with the fighting. there are several conflicts taking place at the same time in various partsover libya, with its associated abuses sump as attacks on civilians, people being adducted sometimes simply because they belong to one side or the other, so as they get exchanged prisoners are being tortured. so this is one aspect that is particularly concerning. however, we want to appeal to these militias particularly their commanders and to the political leaders that have influence on them as well as on
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any countries outside of libya that has leverage on these groups. of course my colleagues in morocco are negotiating to try to achieve a political agreement, but also we need pressure for these abuses to stop. the trial of two al jazeera journalists in egypt has been adjourned until april 22nd. baher mohamed and mohammed fahmy have already spent 400 days in jail with their colleague, peter greste. a decision was made after witnesses for the prosecution took to the stand in a hearing last week. two top ukrainian officials have been arrested during a televised government meeting. ukrainian police officers entered the meeting and handcuffed the emergency services chief and his deputy. they are under suspicion of extorting bribes. at least nine people have been killed by a series of mud
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slides in the peru highlands. hundreds of homes are damaged and the main east west highway is blocked. the region at the center of the chaos has many residents still on edge. >> reporter: panic. people running every direction, not knowing where to go. there is an alert right now. authorities are telling people they have to leave because there might be another mud slide coming this way. this woman and her children run for safety they are terrified. this man can hardly catch his breath. >> translator: municipal watchman are saying a reservoir has collapsed and the water is heading this way. >> reporter: police guide residents to go up the lil. >> translator: we're telling people to go in that direction. >> reporter: but then calm returns. a police patrol road by saying it was a false alarm.
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residents here are on alert way into the night, carrying shovels and picks people are beginning to clean up debris they are afraid some homes left by a passing mud slide might collapse. >> translator: look at the hole it has made. power lines all went down in other areas. >> reporter: a series of powerful mud slides destroyed dozens of homes in central peru. to save their lives people ran and climbed on trucks after water levels from the river rose. authorities say there are children among the dead. rescue teams are sending tents, water, and blankets for the victims. in some areas drinking water has been cut off, power lines are down, and police say several people are still missing. government authorities say the main food supply route for the
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capitol will be blocked for at least five or six days. police and army units have been deployed in the region. dozens of trucks remain stranded throughout the night. the alarm is far from over. >> translator: this has happened before, and with all of the rumor's we ear hearing, we are alert. >> reporter: forecasters say torrential rains will continue to fall leaving this area especially vulnerable to more mud slides. two american food giants are set to merge in a move that will create the world's fifth food and beverage company. heinz is buying kraft foods for $10 billion. corral leafs occupy less than 10% of the ocean floor, but
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they are home to a number of ocean species. >> reporter: it's a window into an underwater world. london's natural history museum doesn't often feature living objects, but this new show is a chance to look into the past and the future. the teams brought together corrals that are nearly 200 years old with examples of the diversion creatures. the aim is to highlight the reef's play in our own delicate ecosystem. >> hundreds of people near the reefs, and are dependent on the reefs for fish and build ups of limestone so they can break the waves from storms and protect cities from storm damage. >> reporter: one of the highlights is this a virtual
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dive, and it means you can get as close as possible to the corral, without actually being on the seabed and it does give you a good impression of just how much marine life the reef supports as well. experts say over the last 35 years half of the world's corral reefs have disappeared often do to oceans becoming more acidic due to pollution. but new activity like dredging is worrying environmentalists too. these pictures come from a huge underwater project that is trying to find out where corral is thriving. it is three cameras that are sinked together a computer that controls the camera and then this underwater propelled vehicle, which allows the diver to move along the reef crest. and the cameras take an image every few seconds. so we will record the health of corral reefs over 2 kilometers. >> reporter: which gives you an
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idea of how painstaking it will be to map all of the world's reefs, but if it can help save this unique universe scientists say it will be worth it. you can get the latest on everything we're covering on our website. the address >> nairobi is my city, well perhaps not exactly.