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tv   France 24  LINKTV  December 24, 2019 5:30am-6:01am PST

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humanitarian catastrophe. syrian government forces continue to bombard the rebebel heheld region of italy live ---f idlib. a school building was struck, killing eight people. and a mockery of justice. human rights groups slam saudi arabia's verdict on the murder of journalist jamal khashoggi. five people were sentenced to deatath and five high-ranking members of the saudi regime were exonerated. 24."re watching "france south korea and japan are holding their first meeting in over a year.
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the two are meeting at talks hosted by china. and worldver trade war ii compensnsationn have damd ties in recent months. the three countries also seeking to deal with a belligerent north korea. china says it is in the three interest toommon prevent more aggression from pyongyang. charles joins us from beijing. what is china hoping to get from this meeting and from japan and south korea? charles: well, china, just like the united states, just like japan, just like south korea, did not want to see a nuclear north korea. it has often expressed frustration and anger whenever pyongyang conducted missile tests. because china is north korea''s is tryingng to reach the goal of denuclearization b by way of
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dialogue. that is why last week at the u.s. security council, along with russia, china proposed to lift some of the sanctions ,gainst the north korean regime in a way to break the deadlock between pyonongyang and washingtonon. and were hoping that seoul tokyo would support that resolution and break ranks with washinington. concludededithout anany such proromises, but all e sides had agreed to continue promoting dialogue between washington and pyongyang. laura: charles,, this summit i s also an opportunity for talks between japannnd south k korea after more than a a year of tensions. why does china take on the role of mediator? charles: just as a reminder, the souring relations between japan and south korea started when a south korean court ordered
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japanese companies to pay damages for using forced labor duduring the japanese e occupatn of korea in the first half of the 20th century. in response to that, tokyo proposed export controls on chemical products that are essential to south korea. it is a very important semiconductor industry. what is imporortant is chinana s similar grievances to south korea when it comes to japanese occupation of china, yet they have been willing to put those grievances aside from now. why? first off, because they saw here an opportunity to fill a diplomatic voioid left by ththe ununited states and increase thr influence over t the region, and secondly becausese improving relations between south korea and japan would be a first step totoward the goal of reaching a free-tradede agreement between those three economies. this is at a time when china is trying to reduce dependence on the american economy. just as a reminder, china,
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japan, and south korea are asia's first, second, and fourth largest economies. his --charles and charles is in beijing. offenses continue in north idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in syria. this assault has prompted a mass exodus of cicivilians. eighght people including several children died when a school building was struck in the latest violence. over 3 million people live in idlib and the united nations has called it a growining risk of humanitarian crisis on the border with turkey. douglas, we are seeining a desperate e situatioion for refs in syria. douglas: t this is the no holdls barred finalal onslaught on the last rebel held enclave in syria. we see bashar al-assad, backed by russia, his allies since 2015, and his government forces,
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are basically on their way, very shortly, it seems, to regainingg control of 100 percent of syrian territory after eight years of civil war. basically, bashar al-assad winning his bid to militarily regain control of this country. all the other international players, any resistance there had been to assad earlier in this conflict has long since been gone. they have retreated to the sidelines of this conflict. the u.s. is sort of a w lol -- sort of awol, absent without leave. donald trump told u.s. fighters out of northeastern syria in early october. tens of thousands of civilians hahave been fleeing g in recent. -- recent days. renewed attacks. 200,000 people have fled since november 1 from the province. remember, a lot of these are people who are already exiled, who already were refugees displaced from violence elsewhere in syria over the course of this war.
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it is doubles and sometimes triple displacement. they are going south and also north toward an area near the ander weather is increasingly dire humanitarian situation, as you said. 's forces haved crushed the southern and eastern parts of idlib province, villages cleared of, quote, "terrorists." they want to keep tabs on the highway linking damascus to aleppo, which fell three years ago. that highway would give aside complete control. the turkish president says turkey cannot take anymore people. douglas: he has been threatening this for a while. is basicallyogan threatening to -- he says he cannot take more refugees. he has threatened e europe,
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basically weaponizing refugees, easing them as blackmail, saying i could unleash them in europe. could see a another wave of refugees, as you saw in 2015, when more than one million made their way to europe, touching off a political firestorm. he is threatening toto do it again. right now, the border is sealed off. ,efugees are fleeing in idlib toward the border with turkey. they are hunkered down in makeshift camps. are o one million refugees in the border zone. a lot of them in officiall camps are already at their capacity, so you have people hunkered doww in makeshift camps around the official camps, often without food, basic medication. they are not being let into turkey. they are trapped. that is creating a horrible situtuation. laura: is s humanitarian aidid getting through? douglas: russia test its 14th
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veto in the human since this 2011.ct began in the veto was against a resolution that would have expanded cross-border humanitarian aid coming in to syria from two checkpoints in turkey and one in iraq. since 2014, there have been for checkpoints around syria through which eight has come. there is another one coming through jordan. that was dropped from this resolution to appease russia. they still did not pass it. they did not want a 12 month period and did not want the aid coming from iraq. there a are people e in dire con despererate need. humanitarian groupups are saying it is going to have immediate humanitarian consequences. laura: a s sham trial and a whitewash. that is how human rights groups
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described yesterday's verdict in saudi arabia in the case of murdered journalist jamal khashoggi. five people sent to death. the trial exonerated high-ranking members of the regime. off crown princek mohammedinin salman n to the killing. i spoke to the author behind the human report, and she told us of the hitmen paid the price of f e masterminds getting away with it. the killing of jamal khashoggi was a state killing. that means the state of saudi arabia is responsible for the killing. at no point over the last 10 did the prosecutor consider the responsibility of the state for thehe killing o of chairman k khashoggi. you need to consider the responsibilities of the mastermind.
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this is bound to lead us to report -- -- to repression, to disinformation, to propaganda. prosecution must take into account the system that allows .he killing of a journalist none of those things coconsiderd by the prosecutor or to o th verdict yesterday. khashoggi, of jamal a high-level, well-known journalist working for one of the main international newspapers -- if that killing goes unnoticed, if the impunity attached to it goes unnoticed, this is sending a very wrong signal to dictators around the world. laura: here in france, canceled trains, packed buses, and traffic jams. nearly three weeks on, the transport strike is
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disappointing millions of people who were hoping to spend christmas with their families. these were the s snes in central paris monday, as metalworkers tried to block the entrance to several stations. clashes with police services ensued. police -- many shoppers found himself caught up in the chaos. here is the new government minister in charge of those reforms. >> the government has put several proposals on the table. thatve also said clearly no matter which way we choose today, it will not affect anybody who is at least 17 years away from retirement age. laura: christians s in thehe wet bank city of bethlehem are preparing to host pilgrims.
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they have been gathering at the major square in the center of the city, where you can see a major christmas display. it is considered the traditional site of the birth of jesus christ. meanwhile, father christmas is making his way around the holy city of jerusalem. is a bird? is it a plane? no, it is santa claus on the walls of the old city of jerusalem. -- a true local touch, he enters the city on the back of a camel. >> it is to bring joy and love and peace to jerusalem and to the holy land and to the world. merry christmas to everybody. peace in jerusalem. peace all around the world. reporter: christmas is low-key, without over-the-top lights and decorations. people are happy to get the christmas trees.
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convents from a nearbrby cannot resist. all agesk, people of come to the old city's christian quarter, to visit santa. >> i did not saw him never in my life. it isis the holy land, so a miracle. santa is here. visitors are not used to the jolly man in red. [child crying] reporter: many wait in line a long time. >> i love you. >> i love you. i really like santa clausus and celebrating christmas. it makes me very happy and it gives me good feelings. >> i have many messages that say, santa, we do not want to go to finland, to the north pole. we have you now in the holy land, in jerusalem. reporter: at the last moment, they will be lining up for a chocolate or a small gift,
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because it is from santa. merryo, ho, h ho -- christmas! laura: they are all getting in the mood over there. do stay with us. ♪ ♪ quick streaming of a hydroelectric power bonanza -- >> dreaming of a hydroelectric popower bonanza, laos has a rivr network. decisions by the government have created an unprecedented environmental disaster, threatening tens of millions of people. a huge wave of mud engulfed six villages on the evening of july
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23, 2018, after the collapse of the hydroelectric dam. to find out more about what happened, we visited the regioin along the cambodian border, incognito, as the lotion -- l l bans anyvernment investigation of the disaster. we met with joseph, and environmental activist who fled his home a few months ago. not likevernment did me publishing information about the dams one bit. i went to the regioion immediaty after the disaster. it was terrible. hundreds of victims. people were missing. everyone who survived did so in externally difficult conditions. there was very little help. i posted this information online and the secret police came looking for me. reporter: joseph haydn the jungle for several months and eventually had no choice but to seek exile.
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he says the russian authorities are hiding the truth about the scale of the d disaster. virtually cutis off from the rest of the world. the governrnment does not want witnesses. worse than that, the government wants to send all its national resosources toto foreign compan. people are being displaced. mekong means "mother of water." is one of the world's longest rivers, starting in the himalayas before arriving at the south china sea, thousands of kilometers away. basin is vital to life in southeast asia. the dam projects are putting that in n questition. the country is a marxist-leninist one-party republic. the regime in power lacks transparency and census information.
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we visited the south of the country to witness the aftermath of the dam disaster things to a secret network of environmental activist joseph. we met this man on a remote trail. he is our first contact in the region. >> you know, it is really difficult to get information. no one dares to speak. after the dam broke, the government did said some help, -- did send some help, but nothing happened. we have lived there a thousand years never had such a disaster. reporter: we headed further south toward the bullpen plateau -- toward the plateau, avoiding the main roads. the whole region seems to be devoted to dam projects, no villages or locals. this environmental sanctuaryry s been transfoformed intnto a gia, open-air construction site. like a state within a state, foreign c companies, mainly
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chinese ones, rule. get to days drive, we where the dam collapsed in july 2018. devastated a ruined, landscape. it is as if a tsunami hit this part of laos. ax villages drowned under flood of muddy water. almost nothing has changed since the disaster. in the hamlets, one family has just returned. while survivors are still in makeshift camps, they decided to defy the bans on returning. >> i lost everything. the flood took it all. i lost everything except my life -- a rice paddy, my money, everything, taken away. we barely have enough to eat. how w can i l look after my chin if i am in a camp for months?
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i could not wait any longer. i could not stand it anymore. it is like we have all been forgotten. at least here, we can say we are back home, even though it is very difficult to come back to a completely empty village where so manany peoplele have died, bn mai. reporter: there were heavy monsoon rains on the evening of july 23, 2018, but nothing that would explain the rupture of the dam built upstream. though alerted by the south korean company that built the dam just a few hours before the disaster, the local authorities did not notify the population in time. look, the water reached thiss point, and it was still at this level on the third day. can you imagine? many people drowned. especially, many people went missing. that's the worst -- we just don't know. our neighbor is right over there, a family of six, all dead. >> i was terrified.
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>> i am not. i want just one thing, to bring down all the dams. i am ready. when is this going to happen again? everybody knows other dams will collapse. that is for sure. reporter: the valley's landscape was turned on its head. mud covered the rice patties. farmers became fishermen. the fish here arrived in the wave of mud. the land is ruined. we don't plan anything anymore. nothing can grow here. i don't know if i will ever be able to plow my field again. we would like the state to help us a little anyway, just to survive, to feed our children. that dam up there was a curse. poverty, hunger all around us. i have no roof, no rice, no future. whatat have we done toto have sh babad luck?
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repoporter: bad luck or governmt error? the official death toll for the disaster stopped at 29 dead and 1000 missing. morning in thehe nearby village. fishermeneen a reel for 15 years. >> watch out on the left. it is dangerous now. our river has completely changed. we did not have all these little islands there before the dam broke. there are dead tree trunks everywhere now. he knows the hanoi river well. we are on the tributary where the dam was built. this is where the deadly flow of mud came for -- came from.
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♪ ♪ he left the government camp. he returns to his fishing grounds each day, but his heart is not in it. something has changed. >> the dams had already begun to kill us before the disaster. there are no more fish. there is nothing left. we allow foreign companies to do business. they build and they build. toxic things into water. it is poison and it is c coming our way.
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chinese companies are setettingp shshop. they don't care about anything. the authorities don't care. they get the money, and the people stand here helpless. >> there will be nothing to grow and nothing left too fish in the rivers for the next generations. it is over. instead, there will only be foreign investors. the government talks to us all day about preserving the environment being the reality. the opposite happens everywhere. >> it is right. our children one day won't even know what a plow or a tree is. the disaster,r laotian authorities promised to propose -- to postpone construction projects, but two dams have been built on this river. more than 100 will be built on the mekong a and i it's to be terry's by 2020. -- and its triributaries by 202. they fear the collapse of poorly designed dams. for the first time since july
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2018, he returns further upstream to the villages that were hit first. >> there was a village here with dozens of families, shops. it was the most prosperous place in the area. two rice crops a year. it was a good village. other people on that side? no one. it is difficult to look at. how do you manage to cope? >> there is no rice, no fisish. we don't have anytything, nothi. >> there, he is my friend. i have not seen him here. frankly, i am ready. everyone is well aware this is everyone is well aware this is going to happen again. me and my family have put things aside just in case. we have a canoe. we are ready for anything.
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experiencedad never this. we were not told. that is why there were so many victims. villages removed from the map. two buddhist temple survive. there are officially 7000 refugees housed in makeshift camps. the authorities have ordered people to wait and not return. but t anger is mounting among te victims. >> the state d does not do anything.. we have never seen such a disaster, even during war. we survived with what they couod give us. what have we done to deserve this? i am an army veteran, and i feel abandoned. i wife is seriously ill because of the poor quality of the rice. we are dying. >> we can survive now, but some families are coming back just like we did. they have no choice. they are returning because they have no other solution.
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other families will follow. we need help rebuilding g our hohomes. please, you have to helplp us. reporter: the resilience of the local people is linked to their buddhist belief. ma, they see miracles. one is celebrating the arrival of his first granddaughter. she was born at home, like him and his forebears. >> we are going to stay here now. they want to come and get us, no problem. come. we are waiting for you. we have done nothing wrong. we won't move. >> i want her to be able to study and work, and we don't have much to offer her, apart from life. us s tornment is asking wait for four or five years, but that is impossible. wait until my daughter is five years old.
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the rivers of southeast asia, as elsewhere, are an ancient souource of life, but they can become a a curse to ththe millions of pelele who depend on them whenen the dreamf hydroelectriric gold
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[birds chirping] narrator: for 33 years, this city has been abandoned. everything was left behind-- toys, shoes, books. even the


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