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tv   France 24 News  PBS  August 31, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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>> i have decided that the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. >> president obama says he wants to launch military strikes against syria but he'll take the issue to congress for approval. also, the russian president blasts the u.s. for planning intervention in syria insisting the alleged syrian attack was led by provocation of dragging the west into the conflict. meanwhile u.n. inspectors say they need to visit syria again to visit the sight of the attack
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near damascus. the latest here on r.t. >> live from our studio live in moscow. this is r.t. president obama has announced he wants to carry out a military strike against the country. but not without congressional approval. our correspondent has the details from new york. >> u.s. president barack obama has announced something of a shift in strategy with respect to military intervention in syria. most of the world was speculating that washington would strike damascus within the next 24 to 48 hours. but on saturday afternoon, president obama confirmed that the u.s. will take military
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action against syria, but first the u.s. leader says he will seek authorization from congress. speaking in the rose garden, obama believes he has the authority to carry a military attack without approval from congress. but he feels that going before congress, having a public debate -- having a vote would make the country stronger. if there was actually a national conversation taking place about obama's intended military strike against syria. now the u.s. leader says he feels comfortable carrying out an attack against syrian targets without the approval of the united nations security council. u.s. officials believe that any draft allowing for the use of force would be vetoed by russia or china. it's not time sensitive. that means it could happen one week from now or one month from
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now. but he said the syrian government will pay consequences after carrying out a chemical attack. >> i have decided that the united states should take action against syrian regime targets. this would not be an open ended intervention. we would not put boots on the ground. instead our attack would be limited in duration and scope. >> the team of u.n. experts that have been investigating the august 21st, alleged chemical weapons attack just returned from damascus and have not yet concluded if chemical weapons were used. the results of their findings may become known in the next few weeks. what president obama is basing his judgment on is an independent investigation that washington has done into the alleged kep cal weapons -- chemical weapons attack. president obama also said that the u.s. cannot raise its
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children in a world where we don't follow through on the things that we say. president obama was refering to his own statement in what he said a little over a year ago when he drew that proverbial red line in the sand with the syrian government youing chemical weapons. if they were to, then there would be consequences. many people believe that the president is in a position where he says what he says and now he has to back up his words. >> washington has a lot of naval power on standby in the mediterranean and that was before obama made it clear it wants to attack syria. >> the u.s.s. soin is -- san antonio has several hundred marines. obama said there would be no boots on the ground echoing u.s.
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claim that they won't see any action. that presence there is merely a presence. each of them can carry up to 90 tomahawk missiles and keeping the destroyers safe from syrian anti-shift missiles. syrian forces say the army is mobilized for intervention while the rebels have pledged more attacks. following the latest developments in damascus for us. >> it's at the beginning of obama's speech, i saw that people looked nervous obviously frightened, tense and worried. relief came to replace all these emotions, all these feelings following obama's speech. many here say that congress is unlikely to approve military action against syria. but even though he's thinking that it could happen that congress does approve this strike against the country, say
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at least it is not going to happen tonight. but if we're talking about general motive, the public opinion is divided. people are afraid and frightened. they send their families, women and kids outside syria. there is a another part of the syrian society saying we don't care. we've been living under this pressure under this dangerous highly unsafe and unstable situation for more than two years. we didn't leave last year or two years ago. why should we leave now? >> well, we've now learned that president obama changed his mind before making his a-- nounsment. let's see what the u.s. thinks about carrying an attack against syria. >> the poll took place on reuters poll don't want an intervention.
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20%. just under 30% of americans said yes. anti-war protestors have been demonstrating around the world against this eminent strike against syria. more than 1,000 protestored chanted "hands off syria." that was before president obama said that syria will be targeted. >> activists say only a sovereign and independent syria free of foreign interference would make peace possible. and that sentiment was ecoed in syria. earlier, the russian president vladimir putin warned against a military intervention. our correspondent has more now on russia's. >> president vladimir putin smoke with reporters here in russia and had some strong, clear words about the situation in syria. first of all, he said all of
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this talk of strikes and military intervention from the west is -- he is certain because if the syria regime is making advances against the rebels and it's tactic or technique to try to turn the tide in syria to the rebel's side. he also said that the idea of the government, the assad regime using chemical weapons is absurd. syrian government forces are advancing in some areas that surrounded the rebels. to think that in such a time they would give a trump card for those calling for intervention is up nonsense. >> the president wept on to say of course russia is against weapons of mass destruction specifically chemical weapons and in this case in particular that the global community needs to wait until the u.n. investigation team results are in. and he says that at that time the global community can then discuss the situation and act in
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a lawful manner. that any unilateral action would be against international law. he also said that the g 20 summit coming up next week is an ideal time to world leaders to discuss the situation in syria. he also said that he was surprised about the situation last week in the british parliament where they debated and then voted down military action for the u.k. in syria. he says that he was surprised but he was pleased. and it shows that there are rational minds at play in the government and that that debate needs to happen. he also appealed to president obama not just as a president but as noble laureate, winner of the noble peace prize. >> let's not forget that barack obama is a noble obama peace prize lariat. the united states has started several conflicts in various parts of the world. but did that solve any problems? afghanistan, iraq, libya, there's no democracy there now which is what the u.s. claimed
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it tried to bring. there's no civil peace or balance. all of these have to be taken into account before making the decision to stop bombing syria which will lead to civilian casualties. >> so russia continuing to stand in their position that the world needs to wait for the u.n. investigation to take place. the world needs to act globalably. it looks like now that president obama will be sending it back to congress. and so we will wait to see if that spirited debate that happened in the u.k. parliament will also happen in the united states. >> sean thomas there. for more let's go live to our correspondent, director of the institute. she's written on the middle east and the u.s. foreign poll schism joining us live from washington. obama, he's really under public pressure and he's acknowledged nato. how much do these factors impact
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on his decision to take on congress? >> i think that play as major role. he was prepared to go without a united nations resolution which would make any military strike illegal. but he was counting on certainly the brits. he was counting on the u.k. to come onboard. i think he was quite blind-sided by that decision by the british parliament and then to find out that nato said no and that the arab league said no. france isn't quite enough as an international ally. i think all of that plus the fact that almost 200 members of congress has signed letters in recent days demanding that there be some consultation with congress. all of that recognized that he couldn't just go ahead with this military strike and think he was going to retain public support for it. public support is very, very low for a military strike. more than half say they're against such a strike and the actual support is in the area of
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about 10% so it's really quite low. >> putting aside public support, if he didn't get that support from congress, of course, he still go ahead. but will he listen to congress if they say no intervention or could he turn them down and just go ahead anyway? >> the one question that was called out by one of the reporters as president obama finished his speech and walked back into the oval office back into the white house. if congress says no, will you go ahead? and he didn't answer that question. not surprisingly perhaps. i think that's the biggest question right now is whether he will feel bound by the congressional decision. he made a point in his speech by saying i believe i have the right to go ahead regardless. but i think that we are stronger when the president and the congress look together. so he was kind of leaving himself a fair amount of wiggle room to say i might agree, i
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might not if congress disagrees. right now many people in congress who have demanded a confrontation role who have demanned that the president con swult them probably support military intervention. some of obama's strongest supporters would be people against the war in other contexts. but might be reluctant to come out against their chosen sitting president. so it's going to be a very complicated president. he may face opposition to a military strike from the most extreme right-wing of the republicans and the progressive caucus and parts of the black caucus perhaps of the democratic party. but he may have support from mainstream democrats, centrists dem cats. he may view that as significant. even though it still may be illegal because he doesn't have the usual organization from the united states security council.
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>> isn't anybody thinking if a military attack does take place international impact, couldn't it? it seems that washington is not addressing the fallout. >> i think that is a big concern and i think the whole question of what happens the day after is not on the agenda sufficiently. i think people are not looking at what happens yopped the claim of president obama and vice president biden about her intentions. we can say all we want, our intentions is a narrow targeted strike, just a day or two, this is not a major military campaign. well, it's not a major military campaign until it is. meaning that if for example syria decides to retaliate to what it would legitly view a broader civil war, what if, of
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course, syria tries to retaliate against one of the u.s. warships that are off the syrian cost? what ift tries to shoot down a plane. what if it retaliates against israel? what if it attack as u.s. base? all of these attacks would be met to u.s. retaliation to that act. we can't assume that the united states will take the position -- we didn't intend this to be more than a couple of days. they would certainly respond and that threatens the whole possibly of the united states being pulled directly into this very complicated civil war inside syria, a war that is five separate wars that are underway only one of which is the civil war. we already have a regional war between iran and saudi arabia. we have a sectarian warn between sunni and shiah. we have wars between the u.s. and russia.
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the u.n. and israel. some whatever happens, it's going to be the people of sir qua who pay the final -- people of syria who pay the final one. >> good to hear from you. well, we're keeping an eye on developments in and around syria. and we'll be bringing you the latest update as soon as we get them. in the meantime i'll be back with some other news after this very short break.
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>> we continue here on r.t. the situation concerning gay rights in russia has been sparking huge debate among activists and evenat -- even athletes. legislation sparked uproar in europe and america and led to boycotts of the winter olympics in february. martin andrews takes a look at whether russia is hos style to
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same-sex couples. the real rainbow russia fights on the streets, endless arrests. for many around the world moscow brings images of snow, and now homophobia. this time it's the lgbt community in the spotlight. although fights for quality and boycotts at sporting events can be justified, it's important to know that moscow do have thriving gay communities. peter wosnik told me about how he feels about safety in the capital. >> so you've been living here for three years. what are your images? >> i think it's safe. i haven't had any incidents here. i haven't had any friends who have had trouble who are openly gay. >> there is widespread
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homophobia in russia. discrimination is discrimination. but has the lgb community become a propaganda? are activists seeing the whole picture. >> such venues are in themselves a measure of freedom nor are the benchmark of human rights and acceptance but they do give something of an insight into the reality of gay life here. this isn't about promoting a positive gay image of russia. even though gay rights are being squeezed and lgbt people are senior been murdered. it is a sign that they can be living happy here. is this about crime or hate russia?
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>> this is not about defending russia's stance. but it is about understanding rush y's history, social behavior, social mindset and the ways of society here. one of the most misunderstood places in the world, tolerance and equal fi remain a battle to be won before any flags start flying. >> later i will be joined by experts on why russia has been singled out over gay rights. >> we have been accused of not covering this topic here on r.t. and just last week, our freelance reporter by the name of james kirk jack he brought it into the spotlight. >> quite a few -- >> a bit of a twitter follower bump for him. to ghetto the point, this by the
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way it's our third panel. you came on to rt to let us know what he thinks about our coverage or lack there of gay rights in russia. and this is what hand. >> being on a kremlin funded expert, i'm going to wear my gay rights suspenders. >> to let the russian gay people know that they have friends and allies. >> thank you very much for that. >> thank you. >> i only go on that station to [beep] with the russians. >> we did invite mihm to speak tonight. he denied after this event that r.t. is not a legitimate news channel. that he just beliefs it would be supporting vladimir putin and that he won't participate
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discussions on our network to give it credibility. >> we invited pete whore is with us now in london. >> with regard to the anti-gay law. what it basically says is that any information that makes homosexuality sound or attractive or which says that hero sexuality equally valid is illegal if a person under 18 might witness i. >> why shouldn't young people under 18 know the facts of homosexuality and same sex love. some of them themselves be gay. they should know the facts, the truth. not about sex but about love between people of the same gender. >> what is the purpose of this and what it's trying to achieve? but you point to homophobic violence in russia. i'll give you some statusics about the problems elsewhere,
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around the world. sexual orientation writes as the third class mo vaytor -- third class motivator. let's look at d u.k. each week gay hate crimes recorded each week. would you agree, you're a champion of gay rights here in russia. but what's your experience here? >> i cannot be called a champion of it, i'm just fighting for lgbt rights. that i have been caressed. yes, it's absolutely true that i was raid by the police on tuesday because of the homophobic -- it doesn't stop
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me. >> tell -- it's 100% true. what is the -- why is the focus on russia? when there are 76 countries around the world that, have far west laws -- >> people say how can you live in moscow? the reality is that. then they will be safe. it's not -- the report is absolutely not true. what they're saying is that everyone has been in the street here. >> i mean, what we want to say and here, i mean, i'm absolutely involved in all the public activities. >> you're probably -- why am i not running a book? why am i not married in london. >> that's what i want to say.
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>> absolutely. >> and the crew here at r.t. is very happy to talk about it. >> 25 minutes past the hour. we're hearing that the yemeni prime minister has escaped an as nation attempt. according to one of his advisors he wasn't injured during the assault. >> waves of discontent in the upcoming football world cup continuing to draw ripples in brazil. hundreds protesting against corruption and inquality. the demonstrators attacked a major back. we have a public transport fair that rises and pouring money to high profile sporting evens.
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>> let's recap our top stories right now. that is that president obama has con african-americanned his decision on a military strike. the congressional strike will deal with the issue when they return on september 9. it's over a week from now. and we'll have more of that in literally 30 minutes.
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