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tv   News  Al Jazeera  March 17, 2016 10:30am-11:01am EDT

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concerned, isil have been perpetrating genocide and crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing during the almost exactly five years of conflict in syria. we have also heard from the u.n. humanitarian chief talking in geneva he was saying it is impossible to get aid to the six besieged areas that need it. ♪ the supreme court show down. president obama's pick for the high court heads to capitol hill trying to win over senate republicans, but they vow there will be no confirmation hearing. heated exchanges over the flint water skies are. daesh is genocidal by self
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proclamation, ideology and actions. >> secretary of state john kerry blasts isil for committing genocide against minorities. ♪ this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm richelle carey. judge merrick garland today begins the battle of his professional life trying to convince republican senators to even consider his nomination to the supreme court. the judge is meeting later today with democrats on capitol hill. but even republicans who admit he is qualified say garland is not going to get a hearing. john terrett live for us in washington. good morning, john. >> reporter: hello, good morning. >> so the judge spoke on the phone with senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell wednesday. fell -- tell us what else is on
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the agenda. >> reporter: i understand that mitch mcconnell said i'm speaking to you on the telephone because i don't want to be rude, but we have no intention for a hearing. so the detail today is he is going to meet with patrick leahy at 2:30. and the republicans are determined to reject the nomination. nothing personal, it's just that they don't want a nomination from this president at this time. they are adamant that there will be no confirmation hearings. so you have this man who appears to be a darling grandfather type figure who is right now caught in the midst of this gigantic political battle. president obama stared down his republican opponents, announcing
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a nominee to replace ultra conservative justice scalia, who died last month. >> he is not only one of the sharpest legal minds but someone who brings a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even handedness. >> reporter: he is the chief judge of the d.c. appeals circuit. earlier in his career, he oversaw the federal prosecution of oklahoma bomber timothy mcveigh, and unibomber. >> people must be confident that a judge's decisions are determined by the law and only the law. for a judge to be worthy of such trust, he or she must be faithful to the constitution, and to the statutes passed by
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the congress. he or she must put aside his personal views or prefreszs, and follow the law, not make it. >> reporter: president obama called on republicans in the senate to give garland a fair hearing, and then an up or down vote. if you don't, he said, it will be an abdication of the senate's constitutional duty. >> it will mean everything is subject to the most partisan of politics, everything. it will provoke an endless cycle of more tit for at the and make it increasingly possible for any president, democrat or republican to carry out their constitutional function. >> reporter: if the president hoped his words might bring the two sides together, he was wrong. within minutes majority leader mitch mcconnell was on the floor of the senate. there will be no hearing. republicans who think the next president will be a republican
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want their man to choose a successor. >> it seems clear that president obama made this nomination not -- not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election. >> reporter: in other words, if the senate doesn't give garland a confirmation hearing, it will become a 2016 campaign issue, and a very big stick for the democrats to hit the republicans with. indeed and the president is urging the senate to spending its two-week recess, which begins today thinking seriously about the ramifications. if they don't offer a fair hearing and up or down vote. >> has there been any softening at all, since this announcement yesterday? >> well, the white house certainly things so. a list of names coming up now. chuck grassley of iowa very
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powerful member of the judiciary committee, he has said he is prepared to meet with the judge after the recess is over, if somebody organizes it for him. mark kirk from illinois, and kelly ayotte from new hampshire both facing democratic challenges in very democratic states have said they are prepared to met. and orrin hatch from utah, he said that he is open to the possibility of a hearing, richelle. >> okay. maybe that's a tad bit of progress. we'll have to keep an eye on it. john terrett live for us in washington. senator ted cruz is a former supreme court clerk and is mocking his republican presidential challengers for dropping out of next week's debate. donald trump was the first to back out.
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he said there have been too many debates. that prompted john saysic to pull out too. fox news said it can't hold a debate with only one participant so it has been canceled. there is still no clear winner in missouri. donald trump and hillary clinton hold slim leads, but absentee ballots are still being counted. whoever comes in second can demand a recount. clinton today holds rallies in nashville and atlanta. while sanders is looking towards arizona. sanders has been telling supporters he stands a good chance of winning many of the up coming contests. some blunt accusations from secretary of state john kerry about isil. he says the group that the administration calls daesh has committed genocide against christians and other minorities
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in iraq and syria. >> daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, directed at these same groups and in some cases also against sunni muslims, kurds, and other minorities. i say this even though the ongoing conflict and lack after access to key areas has made it impossible to develop a fully detailed and comprehensive picture of all that daesh is doing. >> jamie mcintyre joins us on the phone from the pentagon now. jamie, secretary kerry really blunt there about isil's actions in iraq and syria, how significant is this? >> reporter: it's pretty significant, because the united states doesn't issue declarations of genocide lightly. it's not just that people are doing bad things and killing people, but actually trying to wipe out a race or a religious sect of people. and that's the debate here,
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where isil in iraq and particularly in syria have been targeting the yazidis christians, something that has drawn a lot of concern here in the united states. just yesterday there was a sense of the congress resolution passed in the house that pushed the administration to make this kind of declaration. >> could it alter the u.s. coalition fight against isil? >> reporter: probably not dramatically. but it adds a new moral imperative. the characterization of genocide carries some legal action requirements. but the united states says it is already taking actions against isil. and this is trying to gal van nice the world community to realize that isil is not just a local threat in iraq and syria. >> jamie thank you. the united nations says it still cannot deliver aid in some parts of syria despite a three
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week cessation of hostilities there. the special envoy to syria says there are six areas where people are in desperate need but aid is being hampered by isil. james bayes filed this report from geneva. >> reporter: remember one of those besieged areas is deir ez-zor, an area that is besieged by isil. isil will not allow convoys in. a short time ago, we were hearing from the humanitarian advisor to stephane demistura, the special envoy, and explained more about trying to air drop aid to the area. he then explained that they had to do these high altitude air drops because of the danger the aircraft faced and then i think he raised a very interesting prospect, and very worrying prospect. he said he had been advised that they couldn't go any lower than the height that they were trying
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to operate these air drops from because of the threat of surface to air missiles in the hands of isil. this is the first time any u.n. official has ever talked about this possibility. he said i'm not a military man. i'm not telling you that isil have surface to air missiles, i'm being told we need to prepare for that threat. so certainly a worrying development if it is true coming from the humanitarian advisor. he did reveal there has been a further delivery of aid to four towns that have been besieged by the opposition, but he said there are a further six places that are besieged by government forces, and the government will not let the aid in. he said they are actually stripping from the convoys going to other places medical supplies, surgical kits making it quite clear he is very
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unhappy with the syrian government and the fact they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. secretary kerry is expected to travel to moscow next week. a tornado is being blamed for this damage you see here in central illinois. these images are from peoria county. it was on the ground for 7 miles. nobody was hurt, though. parts of minnesota got upwards of a foot of snow, especially in higher elevations. other places just got a lot of rain. strong winds also made it very difficult to get around. let's check in with nicole mitchell for more. >> good morning, that snow and severe weather all part of the same system, and it is going to cause more of those same problems. spiralling through the great lakes you can see that, that is
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where the low-pressure was. and the front cut through the east coast, and that brought some showers, and the trailing edge is through the south, so that is going to cause some problems there as well. so while we're still dealing with snow in parts of minnesota, wisconsin, and michigan, could get a few more inches through the day. most of it we have already seen, but some of the conditions still going in this through the afternoon as things wind down and another shot of moisture coming in through the day and into tomorrow. and on the southern edge, as i said this front is going to stay in place for a couple of days. that is going to trigger thunderstorms, but more concerning is the moisture along that line. because that is going to line up over some of the areas that already had the flood from all of that rain just a few days ago. we still have some rivers cresting, but a lot of flood areas, even an inch or two can cause a problem. and the orange is where we have
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severe thunderstorm warnings. i would say the primary risk is areas of hail, but a lot still to go with this system. >> nicole thank you very much. still ahead, considering guilt, why one country is ending the practice of using grand juries to investigate police shootings.
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>> our american story is written everyday. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight. there is a heated debate right now on capitol hill over flint's water crisis.
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michigan's governor is testifying in front of a congressional committee ncht he denies knowing about the problem before october of last year, but some house members are pushing back on those claims? . >> you personally received a letter on january 18th, 2015, from flint's mayor, begging you to take action, and warning, quote, there is nothing more important in flint right now than fixing the water problems. >> this is a failure of a governance you advocated. there is no evidence even if you were warned by the mayor of flynn they had problems, and he begged you to come to flint. you ignored him. we have to no evidence of you traveling to flint for seven months, governor. >> they are also questioning ms. mccarthy. one minnesota county is changing how officers accused of crimes are charged.
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one prosecutor says he will stop using grand juries to make that call. it's a reaction to a police shooting and the protests that followed. >> reporter: for 18 days last november protesters in minnesota camped outside of police headquarters and demanded justice for jamar clark. >> the one went off. but the guy was not fighting back. >> reporter: police say he was fighting with them when they shot and killed him. witnesses say he was handcuffed. in light of other high profile shootings nationwide, protesters in minnesota demanded that the prosecutor not use a grand jury in this case. he has obliged. >> grabbed juries will no longer be used. >> reporter: it ends a four decade long tradition there of using grand juries in police
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shootings. in that time, not a single officer has ever been charged. he says this will make the system more fair and accountable, but he doesn't think others should necessarily follow his lead. and in other communities they may feel the juice of the grand jury in police shooting cases is appropriate. >> reporter: community anger connected to other high-profile shootings have cost prosecutors their jobs. this man lost a primary, he concluded the shooting of a 12 year old by two officers was reasonable. and in chicago this prosecutor lost a reelection bid. she waited more than a year to charge the officer who shot laquan mcdonald 16 times. a strict new abortion bill is on the governor's desk in indiana. it's not clear if he will sign
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or veto it. it has even divided some abortion rights opponents. ines ferre reports. >> reporter: indiana's bill contains many of the same provisions for abortion clinics currently under supreme court review. but this law would also ban abortions if the fetus has a potential disability like down's syndrome. >> we cannot imagine life without them, nor would we have considered abortion in that situation. every child is a gift from god, and again, every child is a wanted child. >> reporter: the bill also requires women to make multiple trips to a clinic. they must view the ultrasound and hear the heart beat at least 18 hours before the abortion. opponents says it adds stigma,
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shame, and unreasonable practice. a group showed up with some 2700 signatures protesting the bill. >> there are provisions that greatly impact a women's access to an abortion. ines ferre, al jazeera. the indiana religious coalition for reproductive choice says the bill on the governor's desk is not morally right. >> it will raise infant and maternal mortality. children will be born with severe disabilities, not just down's syndrome, but any disability or potential disability. it will incur suffering of
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babies. there will be more competition for the scarce services that there are for people with disabilities, and it -- these are such a stress on families and it disrupts families. it bankrupts families. and it disrupts parenting of existing children. >> a spokesman for indiana's governor says so far he is considering the bill. finding a community for the lost boys of the world. a scout troop in colorado that is giving refugees a place to call home. ♪
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♪ ♪ i want to be a part of it, new york, new york ♪ >> that's the voice of a singer who followed in his father's food steps. frank sinatra, jr. has died at the age of 72. he suffered a heart attack in florida where he was due to play a concert. he made a career of singing the songs that frank senior made famous. there is a troop in colorado immediate up entirely of boys who's families are trying to make a new life in america. >> reporter: troop 1532 is just like any other boy scout troop. the boys do adventure sports.
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cook their own meals at camp, and are awarded merit badges for a job well done. >> when we go to some camping -- and like when we come back, like when we do ak -- activity, they give us some badges. >> reporter: that's so beautiful. is that special to you? >> yeah. >> reporter: but out of 38,000 boy scout troops around the world colorado's troop 1532 is different. >> we're all from nepal. >> reporter: this band of boys is made up entirely of refugees, possibly the most diverse boy scout troop in the u.s. they still remember their home country's national anthems, like rwanda's. these refugee boy scouts and their families come from a who's who of failed countries and represstive regimes. burma, somalia, congo, rwanda.
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>> when they do ask me, i say i'm a citizen in congo, because where i was born -- i was born in rwanda, and in a rwandan camp in congo. so i'm not sure where i'm from. >> reporter: where they are from now is aurora, a gritty suburb of denver, home to thousands of immigrants and refugees, it is one of the most diverse industries in america. >> i'm a family doctor here, but i also work with refugees in a number of social settings, including in this practice, but as a scout master. >> reporter: troop 1532 scout pipeline starts here, a refugee-only medical clinic in aurora. the director grew up feeling left out of american society until he joined the boy scouts,
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vowing to never let another kid feel like an oureder, he gathered his teenage patients and started from scratch. troop 1532 scouts aren't well off. so parmer pays for scouting supplies out of his own pocket. >> the kids show up sometimes in tennis shoes and jeans, so we bring all of this extra gear for them, so they are warm. >> reporter: a cold climate was foreign to this family. they escaped burma to live in refugee camps in malaysia before making their way to colorado. he says his scout uniform helps him gain acceptance in american society. >> they know i'm a boy scout and they will -- >> reporter: and then what will
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they do? >> um, they will talk to me. >> reporter: respect you. >> yeah, ask me about a boy scout. >> reporter: uh-huh. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag -- >> reporter: for boys who might be enemies if they stayed in their war-torn countries, scouts is a unifier. >> this is how they prefer to sleep >> reporter: so they pile up on top of each other. >> shoulder to shoulder, yeah. >> reporter: for these boys it's more than an after school hobby, it's a place to call home. >> i consider myself an african who grew up in america. >> reporter: carol mckinley, al jazeera, lake george, colorado. thank you for watching. i'm richelle carey. do keep it here on al jazeera, the news continues next live
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from london. ♪ ♪ >> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello and welcome you are watching the al jazeera news hour, live from our headquarters here in doha. 60 minutes of news. today brazil's president is openly defiant has she swears in her prez sesz or into her cabinet, as her chief of staff. >> daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including the yazid yazidises, christians, and shiite