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tv   France 24  LINKTV  March 15, 2018 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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♪ anchor: welcome, live from paris, these are the top stories. in syria, reports emerging of 3000 civilians fleeing ghouta. this is the e syrian governmentn the advances. the international red cross saying a convoy has entered the besieged rebebel area. and the syrian war entering i is eighth year, a peaceceful resolution far from reach. we have analysis with the james
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andre, who has covered the conflict closely. and accusations that russia slams his sanctions in the poisoning of a former spy, saying that the diplomatic scandal will not disrupt the presidential elections. ♪ syria withbegin in our report that some 3000 civilians have a fled the eastern ghouta town as the army advances. the civilians have fled into territory held by the syrian government. one monitoring group saying it is the largest group of people to flee since the government forcrces launched an offensive last month. the international red cross says
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a convoy carrying food and medical supplies have entered the enclave, coming after 25 patients were evacuated on wednesday. marking it's a seven anniversary this thursday, viololence began in 2011 and has devastated huge paparts of the country. international efforts have a failed to hold o one of the deadliestt warars of the centur, 350,00000 people killed, and millions displaceded. we take a look at defining moments in the conflict. onorter: it all started here a march 15, 2011, inspired by protests in the arab world, teenagers putting graffiti on the streets. they were arrested and tortured, at least one was killed. that was thehe spark thahat lite syrian revolution. before long, anti-protests
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leppo and a eventually damascus. month later, the free syrian army was established and later the political opposition n as te violence escalated. then it morphed into a c civil war. the frontlines became entrenched and the civilians trapped. the government, to a lesser extent, the rebels encircling the neighborhoods, trying to starve the civilians into surrender. some 90,000 people had been killed. 250, was the u.n. officially abandoned trying to count the dead. the observatory for human rights has reported more than 350,000 documented deaths today, but says the unofficial death toll could be as high as 500,000.
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the conflict has always been far more than a fight between the regime and rebels. right from t the start, the opposition was deeply factionalized. islamists opposed to the moderate rebels soon started growing in of authority. a chemical attack in eastern ghouta lookeked like it might jb the u.s. in, and for some time assad's grip on power lookeked shaky. thee u.s.. strike never materialized and assad was emboldened with more chemical attacks following. then the intervention of russia in support of the assad regime. a decisive moment in the war that saw the government win back the second city of aleppo. and in eastern syria, the islamic state group growing a sizable force, taking territory and further fracturing the opposition. syrians fled the country in the millions. as the refugee crisis reached
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europe, calls grew the end of the bloodshed. faltering u.n. peace talks produced a cease-fire, but no meaningful breakthrough. meanwhile my russia, iran and turkey launched their own round of talks and they also had a limited success. war is more's complex and international than ever before. control twoorces thirds of the country with the rebels and the islamic state groups still present in some pockets of land. kurdish militias occupy much of the north, but turkey and allied forces launched an operation to clear them from the region in january. as t the war enters its eighghth year, , assad's hold looks stro. tens of thousands still live under siege and more than nine
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-9 million people are displaced. anchor: we are in the studio james andre. you cover the beginning of the bottle last -- the battle last july. the islamic state group has emerged as one of the most powerful groups. you covered it liberation of the city. what did you see. >> we saw the group having dug itself in, when we arrived, this was in june of last year, 2017. what we saw was at the beginning of the battle, basically a sniper fight inside of the city, with the islamic state group shooters who were hidden in the buildings and basically the kurds trying to advance at night for the most part. and indeed they were backed by the international coalition, which was attacking with airstrikes. many buildings were destroyed in
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was aduring the fight, it very violent fight. the civilians for the most part fled the city, but the ones inside of the center, which was a stronghold for the islamic state, they controlled a third of the country and they controlled raqqa for four years. they dug themselves in. they made tunnels underneath the city. they put sandbags in the streets. e democraticat th forces, it was mostly militia, but also it had sunni tribesmen part of the militia, they were advancing in the city and the area was heavily mined and well protected where they managed to stash food and ammunition, so the islamic state was ready. so there was -- aerial bombing was used in an extensive way. anchor: you were there and he
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witnessed the decisive battle to liberate the city. you have also been back since then. what is it like now? i went back in november 2017, the city had been liberated for a few weeks. it was very much destroyed. when i went there you could only go inside the city if you are authorized by the syrian democratic forces, because it is an extremely dangerous place, there are explosives everywhere. there are piles of rubble and under them you have the mines and dead bodies. many, many civilians were trapped under the rubble, as well as fighters from both sides, so what you see is a city that is completely destroyed, where a lot of people have family. a loss of actually we have a report i , would like to show you. this was part of a longer report i did back in the day, but it will give you an idea of what it looks like now. anchor: ok.
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james: the city center is dead silent. the stench of decaying bodies fills the air of what once was syria's largest city. the coalition's bombing campaign has left no buildings and skates unscathed. [crying] [speaking foreign language] james: the car stops in front of the ruins of a good building, -- of the building, this is where her family was killed. she is hoping to find the bodies of her children. [speaking foreign language] [sobbing]
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anchor: it seems much of the damage we saw was actually caused by coalition airstrikes. james: it was. because as i explained before the package, the islamic state group had four years to dig itself in, so they were well prepared. defensesset o out their very well. and at battle had a lasted for four months. and indeed the kurdish fighters who were on the ground, the syrian democratic forces on the ground, they did not want to lose extensive amounts of fighters. they were liberating what is basically an arab city and a not
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a kurdish one, so in any case in order to advance as quickly as possible and to lose the least amount possible of men, they did strike many times. this is the state that the city is in. the damage to the buildings was linked to airstrikes, but what is very difficult now is for people coming back to the city it is a very shocking scene. this was a city of about 350,000 people and it is not completely destroyed, nothing left standing. i have not seen any buildings ththat were not destroyed or collapsing. of course, you cannot go inside. so it is a very, you frightening -- you know, a very frightening scene for people who were there and left, then came back. we had two people in the car who are young people from raqqa, moved to a nearby city which has not been that damaged, and were coming back for the first time. they were totally shocked. they said, there is nothing to come back to. this was the reaction. now, but to immigrate to a foreign country. there is no point in coming back
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to this place because it will never be rebuilt. it will be very difficult to rebuild the city. anchor: so nothing left of the city and the civilians not knowing what to do and where this could go from here. in terms of the islamic state group, what is left? james: what is left, the caliphate basically does not exist anymore. i think we have a map. i will show you. the islamic state has managed to onto two small parts, they have limited control, in areas where there are no cities. basically on the border of iraq, close to the east of the country on one side, and on the other side of the euphrates river. and the caliphate is d dead, but what is not dead is the idea of the islamic state and what has not been destroyed, obviously, are the aspirations of sunni arabs in syria. and this is going to be a very
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big challenge, because when the islamic state rose to power in these areas it was indeed backed by the desire of the population to have more freedom to have , more say in the political system in the country, because they consider themselves under the control of assad, a shiite. that is all intact. the situation now is that it will come back to what it was politically in 2011. but the difference is now the s have been destroyed and most people have lost half their families, so the big challenge now is to find the political system for syria in which arab sunnis, who are the majority of the population, are taken into consideration and have their say, otherwise there will be probably a new islamic state and a new organization, which could be even more violence than the -- violent than the islamic state group was. anchor: thank you.
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more analysis as we mark the seventh anniversary of the civil war. the kremlin has called great britain's position irresponsible after it announced sanctions on russia for failing to explain its role in the poisoning of a former russian spy and his daughter. to foreign ministry has yet announce a retaliatory measures it is planning, but it has rejected the accusations. have a listen. [speaking russian] >> the accusations made in the british parliament against the russian federation and against our whole country, these a insane. due to action, non-friendly actions taken by the british against the russian federation, we are going to talk about what retaliatory measures we will take. we are working on them at the moment and we will take them in the near future.
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anchor: we are going to talk more on russia and the diplomatic crisis that is brewing. doug joins me. this is a charged a moment between the u.k. russia. and it is coming against the backdrop of the russian elections. what is going on? reporter: very tense. in a few days, the russians will be going to the polls in an election which some people have called the election of nothingness. the campaign has been almost invisible. putin is overwhelmingly expected to win, even if his popularity has been slipping. and he built this campaign, and a lot of his time in power, he has been building this image of the fearless defender. and in a sense, this spy poisoning crisis scandal, it
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feeds very well or works well into this narrative that putin has been pitching. him to project himself as the defender and also feeds into a parallel narrative that is entrenched in a lot of russians' minds that they are out to get us, the conspiracy theories that russia is the seized, enemies are all over the place, that they want to bring russia down. what is interesting, a former the sun tabloid in great britain that this entire spy poisoning scandal is little more than an attempt by western secret services, unspecified, to humiliate vladimir putin days before the russian election. this has been a narrative, sort of for a a lot of russians, and you have had the presidential spokesperson actually saying that this will not in any way, this being the spy poisoning, in
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any way disrupt the presidential election. he acknowledging that yes, this was aimed to try to humiliate putin and that is the perception in the russian media and press, what people are saying now. it is significant because another narrative is this is all about theresa may and her political factors, she is a weaker prime minister in the negotiations, that this is political theater on the part of great britain to distract attention from her own woes, to distract away from the brexit debate by creating all of this as the russians see it. this nonsense story. you have russians denying things, then later saying actually, yes. they did it in crimea, putin denied that there were forces involved, then they said, ok, we had russian troops there. today we saw a russia and
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vladimir putin saying, yes, we are involved in syria with assad and raqqa to clean up the rebel situation. anchor: let's go back to theresa may, because when it comes to the sanctions, this has received support from the u.s., but other countries are now weighing in, as well as nato. doug: we had mr. stoltenberg, the secretary general of nato, speaking at a meeting and basically talking about russia's destabilizing tactics in europe, through overt and covert means. the question about hybrid warfare. he basically pointed the finger directly at russia, saying that there is a blurring of the line between peace, crisis and war and that this is destabilizing and dangerous, and he made no bones about it that it is very much, this is very much russia's influence. he considers what russia is
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doing a serious violation of the norms and rules that are important for the security of all of us. and he says that he is basically ready to provide support, ready to provide support to the u.k. in facing off with russia in this scandal. i will also mention that the u.s., the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., nikki haley, giving the strongest language yet. we heard donald trump wishy-washy in his response, on the side of the u.k., but not explicitly condemning russia, but nikki haley saying that russia is responsible for the attack and is sayingng that we take no pleasure in criticizing russia, but then adding that we need russia to stop giving us so many reasons to do so. i will end with france by saying that initially the french government spokesperson said -- taking a standoffish approach, saying once the facts are
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proven we will make the necessary decisions. now macron has spoken with theresa may, whatever she told him, france is much more categorical in condemning russia for responsibility in the attack, so there has been a shift in the french position. so some solid support in european quarters and nato for theresa may as this crisis develops. anchor: ok. of course, theresa may expected in salisbury in a short time, where of course the poisoning of the former russian spy and his daughter took place 11 days ago. doug, thank you. next slovakia's prime minister , has offered to step down amid criticism on how he dealt with a political scandal sparked by the killing of a journalist. the 27-year-old journalist was murdered alongside his fiancee. the investigation of government corruption. robert has the report. reporter: offering to resign, but not actually resigning, the ifme minister robert fico,
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he is to leave you want do it on his own terms. >> together with my coalition partners, i talked with the president. and i said that i was willing to offer my resignation under three conditions. reporter: before he resigns, he wants the president to respect the results of the 2016 elections, the coalition pac, t, and that the new prime minister will be chosen from his own party. fico has been fighting to keep his government intact after mounting pressure to call a snap election. in the last few days, protesters took to the streets jangling , keys, a traditional gesture asking for somebody to leave. his coalition partners had already demanded the resignation of the interior minister. the political crisis was sparked by the killing of a journalist
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and his fiancee. he had been looking into potential ties between the italian mafia and people close to the prime minister. last week saw the largest street protests since the anti-communist velvet revolution in 1989. anchor: business now. we are starting with a decision by a consumer goods giant, unilever, to move out of the u.k. stephen: they are behind the brand magnum ice creams and dove soap. they have headquarters in rotterdam and london, but they want a simple five their structure. -- want to simplify their structure. ththey say it has nothing to do with brexit, but some are speculative. reporter: jersey rotterdam over london, unilever, the group behind products such as lipton tea and magnum ice cream has
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chosen the netherlands as it's a single base. the company which currently has head offices and legal entities inin both countries, said the me was intended to simplify corporate structure. >> thehe decision to creree a singngle entity incorpororated n ththe netherlands reflects the fact that you know ever -- that represents a larger portion of unilever. reporter: critics say it is a sign of the u.k. is becoming unattractive for businesses and investors as they continue to negotiate index it from the european union. the decision of the company to opt for the netherlands affords a greater protection and hostile takeovers, like the one last year with heinz kraft. they said they will continue to be listed in london and new york, and said that this not threaten the jobs of thousands
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of employees in the u.k. stephen: they have also filed -- and toys "r" us has filed for bankruptcy. the chain has been struggling with increasing competition from amazon, as well as price wars with walmart and target. despite annual revenues of more than $11 billion last year, toys "r" us has been struggling with the times, because of debt it has from a buyout. in a statement, the ceo dave brandon said he was disappointed with the results, but says they no longer have the financial support to continue u.s. operations. after the coming british branch of the company. the rest of the european operations, including in france, considering their options. anchor: very sad for them. stephen: a big change for all of us who remember it. anchor: i will not sing the
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song. ok. , then in japan headquarters partly rated there. stephen: the tradede commissioin ininvestigating allegations that the company asked sellers to pay part of the discounts on the amazon site. it is the second time that they have been targeted by competition regulators in japan. amazon says it is cooperating with authorities. anchor: turning to the price of bitcoin. it has seen a selloff. stephen: it has been out of the news for a little bit. it has lost a quarter of its value. the selloff taking a pause today, it is now over $8,000 according to coin desk. in that is far from its peak november and $19,000. the drop came after the commission warned investors that it was not regulated.
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and google has announced that they will baban ads from crypto currencies. european shares trading up this lunchtime, no reaction on the unilever shares on its decision for headquarters being moved. earlierave -- plunging after it was announced that the deputy ceo was stepping down. down 2.5%. anchor: and paris has crept up the list of the world's most expensive cities. stephen: this according to research. singapore has topped the ranking as the world's most expensive city for the fifth straight year. the island city state is a 16% more expensive to live in than new york. asia-pacific cities make up 17 of the top 50 in the rankings. paris rose the second place on the list because of the stronger euro. it is tied with his erect. -- with zurich.
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and new york is now at 13th. paris is expensive, but i have to say, i was surprised by this. anchor: i am sami: weelcome to p,
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bbrazil. brazil, the land of samba, football, and beautiful people. but there's more to this place than the carnival in rio or the rainforests. i'm traveling to a lesser known region, at least from the western point of view--the northeast state of paranambuco. the last time i was here was in 2008. i got me a bunch of albums, local stuff. on the plane, after reaching cruising altitude, i ordered cachaca on the rocks and slammed in the earbuds. the music had me flying even higher. it was a traditional paranambuco sound fused with rock, funk, hip hop, and reggae. it was something compmpletely open-minded and unashamed, music that didn't


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