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tv   Newsweek South Asia  PBS  August 29, 2013 11:30pm-12:01am PDT

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vote. even unnamed sources inside the administration have been saying the intelligence on what happened last week in damascus was not a slamdunk. >> let me talk about what is at stake. >> the u.s. president says he is convinced the -- intelligence points the finger squarely at damascus. unnamed officials have been questioning that assessment in media reports. >> we talk frequently about biological weapons. >> the question echoes 2003, when colin powell waved a file of simulated anthrax powder at the united nations in a bid to convince the world that iraq possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. the white house rejects that comparison. >> i do not agree these are similar situations. i think there are some very important differences. what we saw in that circumstance was an administration that was searching high and low to
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produce evidence to justify a military invasion. >> the white house says that unlike during the lead up to the iraq war, the evidence this time is plain to see in the internet video and testimony from doctors at this the, from patients treated. they are promising a public intelligence assessment report -- before taking action. congress was briefed with classified intelligence on a conference call with senior officials thursday evening. some senior members of congress are calling for a vote form of this reaction is taken. >> i do think we would be so much better off if the administration would come to congress, colloquy buddy back, and let -- call everybody back, and let congress authorize this activity. >> the obama ministration maintains any strike would be limited, not an open-ended invasion. it strikes go ahead, parallels with the previous presidency will become more tempting. >> it will be a real irony if president obama looks a little like george bush by engaging in
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a limited military strike in syria. therefore drawing united states deeper into another middle east conflict. >> irony, indeed. the white house indicated it may not wait for the united nations weapons inspectors to return from syria to present findings, emphasizing they will not be swayed by the u.n.. with other allies now saying they will not join any strike, and the united nations security council said to me in a few days -- set to meet in a few days, if washington goes soon it could find itself acting alone. >> the briefing just broke up. has the white house got the backing he needs here at home, if not abroad? like that is a question that will be answered in the coming hours. what we do know is smooth the evidence they presented, they actually said that bashar al- assad's brother may have been involved in the chemical weapons attack alleged on eastern damascus. they said they have intercepted some sort of calls and such
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removal in before the attack as well. this has not swayed some members of congress, key members of congress. we had bob corker, he says there should be a vote. the libyan campaign, there was no vote for action. >> nathan king in our washington newsroom, thanks. to the united kingdom. it was supposed to be a chance for members of parliament to vote for a british-backed military intervention in syria within days. instead, mp's voted to reject military action. the boat leaves the u.k.'s foreign policy in syria in question. divisions run deep inside of parliament and among the public. >> syrians outside of the british parliament, chanting their strongly held view that the government of bashar al- assad should be punished for war crimes.
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a little earlier, the streets of the british capital had echoed to the sounds of those opposed to military action. >> what happened in iraq 10 years ago still weighs heavily on british opinion. we went to war then, it did not work out. accusations we went to war on a false permits. today british people are very reluctant for british troops to get involved in any form in the middle east. >> in parliament, calls for a debate on the syrian crisis, consensus was in a state of collapse. u.k. prime minister david cameron saying the evidence that chemical weapons were used was compelling. >> eyewitness accounts of chemical-filled rockets being used against opposition-control areas. we have thousands of social media reports and 95 different videos, horrific videos, documenting the evidence.
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>> at the past of the opposition, this emergency recall of the british parliament had been reduced to debating the principal of military action. >> evidence should proceed decision, not decision preceding evidence. >> the u.k. government has published a summary of advice from its own lawyers claiming military action would be legal if there was compelling evidence of the use of chemical weapons. but according to the british prime minister, there will be no strike until action at the u.n.. though that will not oppose silent -- silence opposing views on the street. >> a division that runs right through not just the british people, but the british parliament as well. cctv, london. >> the red cross says the suffering of civilians in syria is reaching unprecedented levels. it has called for access to all
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areas where people are in need. along with the daily threat of violence, residents of damascus now have to deal with a new danger of potential western strikes. as cctv reports, despite it all the capital appears calm. >> no change in damascus. people in the capital are going about their daily lives as normal. the two-year civil war has made them grow accustomed to the daily threat of violence. the economic reality in the country leaves them with few other options. >> for me and my family, there is a direct threat. but we are not worried. my family and my friends have no contingency plan. the news of a possible strike come so suddenly. we were looking forward to a political solution at the planned geneva talks. now we are disappointed. we cannot leave. we have no money. all my savings have been used up.
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>> security in the capital's very tight all stop but it has -- very tight. but it has been that way already for a year. the road outside the defense ministry is close, surrounded by a thick concrete wall. the wall was erected not in case of a possible airstrike, but to hold back potential rebel attacks. certain leaders of the free syrian army have asked western powers to keep them informed over any airstrike plans so they can coordinate simultaneous ground attacks. meanwhile, a television station has reported activists saying government elite troops in damascus were organizing. >> russia has called for the permanent members of the united nations to meet again over syria . moscow wants the west to wait for the results of the u.n.- backed investigation on the alleged chemical weapons attack, and continues to push rate of dramatic solution.
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why syria is so important to the kremlin's international agenda. >> in light of the recent military buildup in the mediterranean, russian defense in this read said its fleet in the region is regrouping. three ships will take rotation guard with russia's permanent task force in the mediterranean in early september. experts say that while it may look like russia is defending its base, it is not be strategic cornerstone of its policy in the region. >> economically, it plays an important role also. they have close connections in defense issues. >> moscow and damascus have enjoyed stable economic ties for decades, with russian exports to syria reaching 1.1 billion u.s. dollars in 2010. but they have been crippled by
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the raging civil conflict. >> at trade of course suffered already from the civil war. so it cannot suffer more than that. our trade is very limited. first of all, syria is under sanctions. second, we are not supporting a load of groups from syria. >> experts believe that even if the situation was the worst scenario there is still a chance to avert a catastrophic outcome for the region. >> syria is more important from the point of view of strategic situation in the region than from the point of view of the philosophy, our international relations, international order. >> analysts say russia's stance on syria -- moscow insists on abiding by international law in solving the syrian riddle, and is gravely concerned about stability in the middle east region as a whole if syria collapses. >> it appears iran has joined
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russia as an ally of syria. president hassan rouhani reportedly said iran will work with russia to avoid a strike if possible. earlier i spoke from someone from the plowshares fund, a foundation aimed at preventing the use of weapons of mass destruction. i asked him how he thinks iran will get involved. >> iran's political changes have been fascinating to watch. in washington there has been a perception that iranian politics will be different now going forward, certainly on the nuclear negotiations. that is the backdrop for the debate on syria. there is concern among many in the expert community that this new put until opening with iran could be close if military operation in syria is not go the right direction. we have seen moves by the administration to try to soft and the rhetoric. the president of iran has put out some tweets that imply that
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chemical weapons are, from his perspective, something to be deplored. it is unclear how this is going to unfold. certainly iran as a player in the region and it is going to have a vote in what happens in syria. the key is to try to figure out how to play a constructive role while there are some difficult issues we have to deal with within the negotiating table. >> you mentioned the new president of iran. what do we know about him? this could really be his first big test. >> he came to office with a mandate to change iran's image overseas. he called for a different foreign policy, or rather -- more moderate foreign policy. there is reason for skepticism about this. iran's foreign policy is ultimately controlled by the supreme leader. that said, when the iranian people voted they chose him and that approach. in his early days, he appointed a foreign minister seen in washington as a moderate figure,
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someone who studied in the united states. he has put out statements about how the nuclear program, the negotiations, they should go forward and they should be productive. >> i want to get your opinion on the post- assad syria, whether it happen sooner or later. what would that look like? >> a post-assad syria is one that will have to be managed well. it will require a variety of players engaged to take efforts to ensure the country does not implode. we all remember what happened in april and may of 2003 when baghdad fell apart and the government of iraq imploded and the country descended into chaos. the concern here in washington is that while assad needs to go, the day is very unclear. there are groups in the opposition that are very concerning. the free syrian army, the moderate opposition, is not yet done enough to control all the territories.
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it will take multiple countries involved to make sure it is not implode and that after assad the parts that some level of stability is maintained. >> we appreciate your time, as always. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has warned that it will respond powerfully if attacked by syria. both the military and civilian populations are per pairing for the worst. >> as a possible strike on syria looms, israelis line up by the thousands for gas masks. they have been at this tel aviv distribution spot since don. most say threats from damascus and tehran to hit israel if attacked do not frighten them. but overcrowded handout centers present a difficult -- different image. >> parents have been calling me on skype everyday telling me to get a gas mask. now they say that next time i am on skype tonight that i have to show them that me and my brother have a gas mask in order to be
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safe in this country right now. >> you think something is going to happen? >> i do not think so. it is my wife. she is driving me crazy. >> israel's government is sending mixed messages, advising citizens to carry on with routine while beefing up military prorations and mobilizing thousands of reserved soldiers. iron dome anti-rocket batteries and missile defense systems have been placed in strategic locations in key cities. if there is a counterstrike, israel's third-largest city becomes a target. not only because of its dense population, but also because it houses an oil refinery, petro chemical companies, and a 12,000 ton ammonium reservoir. if hit by south lebanon rockets, the leakage from that reservoir will spell disaster for area residents. the situation appears dyer, but intelligence experts say that all parties involved are attempting to keep the situation from spiraling out of control. >> it is a tricky thing.
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if it works, everybody is happy. but if it is not, the failure can feed on itself. and that is bad. so one should control that to the maximum. this is what israel does. israel does not issue empty threats. >> israel is threatening to hit back hard if syria or iran strikes first. hence the long lines and mixed messages. cctv, israel. >> egypt's crackdown on the muslim brotherhood continues. details on more arrest, coming up. plus, news report about the wildfire burning inside california's yosemite national park.
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>> the yosemite rim i are burning in california is now 30% contained. the giant wildfire that started a week ago is still growing. the blaze has burned around 780 square kilometers. firefighters have cooler temperatures will help containment lines hold. the new york city police department has investigated at least a dozen mosques since the terror attacks of 9/11. anyone who visited them was under surveillance with that is a big evidence of criminal activity. these disclosures about mosques have outraged many living in the city. >> on the streets of new york, the police are never far away. it is the largest force in the country, with 35,000 uniformed nypd officers. their presence on new york city streets is considered a deterrent to crime. the latest controversy surrounds the police who avoid being seen.
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newly revealed documents obtained by the associated press show how the nypd secretly labeled mosques as terrorist organizations. this gave them legal grounds to use informants and undercover officers to spy on activities inside the places of worship. revelations that have shocked many new york muslims, including the arab-american association, which was monitored by police. >> to think in your police barman has put me and members -- the new york police department has put me and numbers of my community singly because we are muslim, that is the problem. for the lease apartment, being muslim is already the crime. that is what really outrages me the most. >> from the islamic society up a ridge in brooklyn, he found that his group was under surveillance as well. >> when you lose your hope, your freedom, when you do not find justice, when you do not find democracy, in a country always talking about these things.
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i think you have a right to be angry. >> the american civil liberties union is suing the police program, saying it is discriminatory and unconstitutional. >> no one questions the nypd has a job to do, but they cannot do that job by singling people out on the basis of their religious belief or the color of their skin. >> the nypd has declined to comment about the accusations. the new york police department has in the past defended its surveillance tactics. critics of this latest revelation say it is just another attempt, like the controversial stop and frisk policy, to racially profile the citizens of new york. cctv, new york. >> egyptian police have arrested two senior members of the muslim brotherhood as authorities continue their plan -- clampdown on the group. including a former member of the parliament and a former labor minister who served under the ousted president mohamed morsi.
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he was one of the most vocal opponents of the military takeover. he is wanted on activations that he incited violence. coming up, a look at business headlines, and our series on poverty in colombia continues with hopes f the country's homeless seniors.
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>> for years, colombia has battled what is considered an informal economy that has left cap the citizens without benefits or pensions. what happens to senior citizens once they retire? in part four of our series on colombia, how the government is stepping in to help those who cannot work. >> for years, if not generations, millions of colombians have worked the streets, living day-to-day with little thought for the future. according to the government, of
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22 million workers, only one third is saving for retirement through public and private pension systems. in bogotá, one out of 10 elderly is living on the streets because they did not plan on the day they would stop working. that is the case for this person, found living on the street without a family. or this man, who lived without -- in a room with three other elderly people in impoverished conditions. today they are residence here, created by this catholic priest. he relies mostly on donations to take care of the 47 residence. three years ago, 29 residents began to receive government health through the program called colombia major. this subsidy is provided directly to those in need who do not have pensions, or indirectly to the home that takes them in.
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>> $35 a month for each elder. with that, we cannot only give them food, but also diapers and medicine. >> while many were never able to save for retirement, others became poor through tragedy. her husband, a dentist, was hit by a drunk driver. all their savings were spent to take care of him for 13 years. now, as a widow, she -- her only daughter is also struggling to escape poverty. >> she finished high school, but she was only able to come to the aid skill semester because she did not -- she was not able to complete university like my husband and i always dreamed. >> poverty-stricken men and women can apply to the program. 60% of the funds for the program come from the government. 40% from private donations by salaried colombian workers.
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>> what we are showing its solidarity. those who have money and earn at least 1500 u.s. dollars give resources to those who do not have any. >> the program has been around for 10 years. its current general manager says it has grown with this government's support. >> two years ago, we had 600,000 beneficiaries. now we have one million. i goal is that in the next 3-4 years we can get to 2.4 million colombians. >> fighting poverty, most projects aim to help younger citizens who embody the future. colombia major gives help to the poor. cctv am a colombia. >> time to send it over to fill. >> thank you very much. check real quickly on markets. tensions in syria are weighing
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on investors sentiment. also earnings. straight to kathy yang, live in hong kong. >> asian stocks did suffer from a case of jitters over syria. japan, australia, and hong kong were affected. so where the region's emerging markets. indonesia, thailand, and india all slumped. in the first hour of trading, stocks in sydney, and tokyo are mixed. icbc, the world's biggest bank by market value, reported first- half rough it rose 12.3%, beating analyst expectations. that is the slowest growth they have ever delivered in four years. icbc rounds at the big picture for chinese banks in a slowing economy that is also in the middle of government-mandated economic reformswhile chinese bl reporting solid profits, profits are slowing. still ahead for china's banking
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sector, continuing shakeout sober profligate lending, shadow banking, and balance sheets with too many bad loans. following these results, bank shares in shanghai and hong kong are down. fundraising may be in the cards for agricultural bank of china. the country's third-largest bank is working on plans to raise capital by issuing referred shares. they issued shares wednesday, disclosing a quarterly profit that beat expectations. the bank warned of a challenging climate ahead. to the broader markets, chinese mainland shares chip -- slipped on thursday on the petter china resignations in the first 30 minutes of trading. mainland stocks are down. those in hong kong are down more, over 0.5%. petter china disclosed that ricci -- petrochina disclosed three executives are under investigation for severe breaches of discipline. extending losses for a third straight day. back to you in d.c. >> here is something you do not
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see every day -- does not exist in nature. something definitely knew, and they could expand the periodic table. the new element, which no one can agree on how to pronounce. discovered by russian scientists in 2004 when they slam together elements of calcium and a mayor cm --americium. it's adam number is 155. -- 115. thank you very much for watching. we will see you tomorrow. cctv news is next. captioned by the national captioning institute
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