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tv   Worldfocus  WHUT  October 7, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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tonight on "worldfocus" -- eight years after the american-led invasion of afghanistan, we look at the strength of al qaeda in that country as the united states debates whether to send more troops. making one corner of somalia a peaceful place. after years of living in the united states, one man goes home to do something big. the global environment. can this country learn something from soure going green has become a national obsession? and our "signature" story on "saving the children." imagine your kids having to do this. the effort to bring a better life to some of pakistan's
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destitute. from the world's leading reporters and analysts, here's what's happening from around the world. this is "worldfocus." major support has been provided by rosalind p. walter and the peter g. peterson foundation, dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility and addressing key economic challenges facing america's future. and additional funding is provided by the following supporters -- hello and good evening. i'm daljit dhaliwal. we begin tonight by taking note of the eighth anniversary of the u.s.-led invasion of afghanistan. the aim was to defeat the taliban and deny al qaeda a home base after the september 11th attacks, but today the taliban are resurgent, the war has become increasingly deadly for
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america and its allies and osama bin laden remains a free man. the afghanistan conflict has gone on longer than anyone imagined it would. for his part, president obama says he will not substantially reduce the number of troops in afghanistan nor will he change the mission. the question is, will he expand the american military presence beyond the 68,000 troops already committed as the war becomes increasingly unpopular? in tonight's "lead focus," we want to assess the strength and role of al qaeda in afghanistan, and we begin with the view from that country from zeina khodr of al jazeera english. >> reporter: tucked deep in the tora bora mountains in eastern afghanistan was one of the military bases of osama bin laden. it was also where the al qaeda leader lived before 2001. >> he was a simple guy just like us. every time he came to visit, he treated us well.
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when the bombing started, he disappeared and we never saw him again. >> reporter: for years there's been contradictory information about bin laden's whereabouts and even whether he is alive or dead. the question of al qaeda's strength is now at the heart of the debate over whether to send additional u.s. troops to afghanistan. the reasons for invading the country -- to capture or kill bin laden and deny al qaeda sanctuary. that was the mission then, and eight years on it still hasn't been accomplished. taliban propaganda footage. it shows a suicide bomber involved in an attack on the culture ministry in kabul. the bomber shoots the guard before storming into the building, gunning down others and then setting off his explosives. the taliban must have filmed the attack from one of those buildings. they have become more sophisticated not only in their media propaganda campaign but in their military operations.
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u.s. commanders admit that, and afghan security officials believe al qaeda has been behind the taliban's growing strength. the government says they often arrest foreign fighters crossing from pakistan. it's from there, according to afghans, that al qaeda and the taliban operate and bin laden continues to inspire many. the u.s. may be making some hehanistan, but the makeup of the enemy and the nature of the battle fight have been changed. it's no longer a fight against one organization, but a broader war against an ideology that is much greater than its original source of inspiration -- osama bin laden. >> zeina khodr in afghanistan for al jazeera english. across the border, pakistan's powerful military expressed what it called serious concern today about a big new american aid package for pakistan. apparently it doesn't like some of the strings attached, especially the fact that the civilian government would have
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to show that it has control over the military. the bill, which is awaiting president obama's signature, would provide $1.5 billion a year for the next five years. and pakistani protesters showed their opposition to the bill b burning an american flag, saying it would lead to greater u.s. interference's affairs. for more on the relationship between al qaeda and the taliban in afghanistan, we're joined now by hassan abbas. he is a bernard schwartz fellow at the asia society here in new york. welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> well, eight years after the invasion, how stro are al qaeda in afghanistan? >> certainly not as strong as they were. i think now their top leadership is in hiding or on the run, and it has become more often ideological organization which is inspiring others, but their networks are no more there.
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they have affiliate, franchises, but not a base as they had once or eight years ago. >> how closely linked are the taliban to al qaeda, not just in afghanistan but also across the border in pakistan? >> there are strong links. but i must add that these are not inseparable. at one level they're a relationship for providing recruits to each other, logistical suprt to each other, inspirational support to each other. but on an institutional level, i think the taliban factions, and there are so many, the iran taliban faction, the punjabi militant groups which are focused on kashmir, and there are linkages, inspirational linkages, people move from one organization to the other, but they are not sitting across the table at one place making decisions jointly. and what role does al qaeda play in this wide ranging strategy that the obama administration is carrying out on afghanistan?
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what kinds of things should taken into consideration? nobody wants to preempt what's going to be in and there's a lot of debate about this review, but why don't you give us your thoughts on that? >> first, i think the review should not be unending. i don't know if what is going on is a review of a review because it was supposed to end eight or six months ago. but nonetheless, the most critical question is whether we should know what is al qaeda's capability, whether we should be able to define taliban better but for short analysis, it is good to say taliban. with you within taliban there are ten groups. fferent groups require different kind of strategies. all sides, al qaeda, taliban, sub-taliban groups, they need to be tackled very fractiously and strongly. but a better analysis of who is who, who is being supported by whom, i think that should be a critical part of the analysis. >> turning the corner a bit, your response to these protests in pakistan over the big new
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american aid package? >> i think the aid package is one of the very good things that have happened. support for health care, education, construction, police reforms, and the protests are a reflection of a deficit between pakistan and the united states. currently these protests are small. but pakistan military also has expressed very serious concerns about this. so this can become a problematic issue. >> do you think it is going to pass? >> it will pass. it will pass. or it should pass -- or i hope it should pass. but perhaps there's more care needed when these -- not conditionalities but provisions have been drafted. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. we also want to know what you think about this issue. our question tonight -- after eight years of war in afghanistan, are the united states and the world safer from terrorism? you can give us your opinion by going to the "how you see it"
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section of our website at the united states has come out with a very strong statement about recent violence in guinea. nine days ago in that west african country, soldiers opened fire on people protesting the military government of captain moussa camara. a human rights group says that 157 people were killed during the demonstration in a stadium, though the government puts the number at 56. some may have been trampled to death as they ran away from the shooting. witnesses say soldiers raped women in the streets of the capital. yesterday, secretary of state hillary clinton called the crackdown by the government criminality of the greatest degree and said the government cannot remain in power. in east africa, we've told you often about the chaos and violence of somalia, where a weak, u.s.-backed government
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struggles to hold on to power as insurgents linked to al qaeda try to overtake it. but in the middle of all this, something remarkable is going on. t to show you what jfrey gettleman of "the new york times" has found in one corner of somalia. in the city of adado in the central part of that country. there, peace and stability have broken out, thanks to the vision of one man who came home from america. >> reporter: 37-year-old mohammed aden is a man on a mission. >> what i do daily solves the problem. whether lack of food and water. we need security. now we're forced to do for the economics. >> reporter: since 2008, mohammed has been the de facto mayor, governor and even warlord of adado, a dusty town in a
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destitute country, somalia. the problems he faces are typical in somalia. his background is not. >> i was afraid. when i was coming from minnesota to come here. i was afraid because i basically heard a bad thing about this region. but when i arrived, honestly speaking, my mind changed. >> reporter: mohammed returned in 2008 on a personal mission -- to aid victims of a drought. he left his country 16 years earlier after being shot in the ankle by a stray bullet when the country spiraled into anarchy after the government collapsed. he eventually made his way to the u.s., first living in a miami homeless shelter, then taking a greyhound bus to minnesota, a promised land for somali immigrants. ere he earned a college degree in management information systems from minnesota state by parking cars and working in a factory.
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back in somalia, armed with determination and donations from somali expats, his hard work earned him the respect of locals desperate for a leader with direction. >> due to that, they are going to support him. >> reporter: in less than one year, mohammed has set up a local government, transforming adado and the surrounding swath of central somalia from an area haunted by bandits and warring islamic factions into enclaves of peace. >> in other works, you can't measure your success. but this is very easy to measure your success. you can see in the people's eyes that you helped them. and you feel good. you feel good about that. >> reporter: he now provides safety, security and jobs for his people.
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mohammed calls these two tanks outside his office his cadillacs. they remain a potent symbol that his relative oasis of stability is always at risk. despite the many compromises, locals appreciate schools, structure and security that mohammed's leadership has provided. but with somalia's chronic chaos always at his doorstep, it's a fragile existence. >> whether i go back to minnesota or stay in somalia, that's the big question. i haven't decided yet. but what i need from here is to train people so i can teach them how to govern, educate them, so that they can run their government or their administration effectively and efficient for that matter. it's hard on my kids, it's hard on my wife. but hey, i'm doing something big, and they understand that. >> that was jeffrey gettleman in
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somalia for "the new york times." and one note from europe tonight. a court in italy has overturned an immunity la shielded prime minister silvio berlusconi from a corruption trial while he is in office. the court said the law was unconstitutional, and it paves the way for the corruption proceedings to resume. the ruling could increase pressure on the prime minister to resign and hold early elections. berlusconi said any trial would be, quote, "a farce." we turn once again to one of our core issues here on "worldfocus," which is the global environment. we didn't know this and maybe you didn't either, but south
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korea is in the middle of a revolution, a green energy revolution that is getting international recognition for its scope. as we think about our own efforts here in the united states, it might be useful to keep in mind what steve chao of al jazeera english found as he looked at what south korea has been up to. >> reporter: for centuries, south koreans have relied on the ebb and flow of the tide to harvest their shellfish. the country's west coast provides some of the most dramatic tidal shifts anywhere in the world. it's no surprise then that it's here the government has chosen to harve the power of the ocean itself. once completed, this $360 million u.s. dollar plant will supply electricity to half a million homes, turning these massive turbines will be the changing of the tide. the daily surge is expected to
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generate 254 megawatts of power, about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant. >> translator: using tidal power is nothing new. france has done it since the '60s, but ours will be the world's largest, and the greatest part, it's entirely eco-friendly. >> reporter: eco-friendly green energy is fast becoming the catchphrase of the times. the man responsible for south korea's future vision says his government is serious about reducing the use of polluting fossil fuels. to prove his point, he commutes by driving an all-electric vehicle. >> the basic philosophy of green growth is you can get healthy growth by making things green, by making things less dependent on fossil fuel, by making things far more energy efficient. >> reporter: like many nations, south korea's wealth has come on the back of heavy industry. it remains today one of the world's largest greenhouse gas
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polluters. but ange is in the air. every week it seems authorities are ushering in a new green project. here residents of seoul celebrate the opening of a park. its lights are powered by the wind. nearby, solar panels pump electricity to the city's power grid. and it may be hard to imagine, but local nature reserve used to be the city dump. for 15 years, people piled their waste on to two towering mountains. they've since been covered over and beautified for people to enjoy. >> translator: i've seen a big difference. not only has the environment improved but our culture is healthier. >> reporter: the government's pledge of making its cities greener and in some cases more colorful has received the praise of the united nations. 87 billion u.s. dollars will be spent over the next five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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it's one of the most ambitious environmental plans anywhere in the world. the plan does have its critics. >> we think these kind of mention is all liars. they are . they are not true green. they are fake ones. >> reporter: take the case of sihwa. environmentalists say while using tidal power is a good idea in principle, the plant could end up flooding neighboring mud flats, destroying the habitat of migratory birds. the government aare shortcomings but says the overall benefits of providing cleaner air can only be better for everyone, including the wildlife. steve chao, al jazeera, sihwa, south korea. so, as you just heard in that report, some don't think that tidal power is as green as it's being made out to be. we want to talk more about that tonight with our regular science analyst, michael novacek. he's the provost of science at the american museum of natural history right here in new york. michael, good to see you again.
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>> nice to be here. >> looking at that report from south korea, it seems positive, but it is also seen by some as being environmentally controversial. talk about that in some more detail. >> absolutely. this is a big project. it involves the construction of a massive structure made of concrete and steel like a giant dam. it's called a barrage, a barrage has these turbines built into it. the turbines are powered by the movement of water due to the changes or the shifts in the tide. but unfortunately, like dams, they also come with a lot of negative impacts. for example, fish, the migration of fish, that's very important to the environment is impeded by these big barrages. fish are even killed trying to cross these barriers. also, the salinity changes. it blocks the lagoons and changes the salinity in the backwater and that changes the environment and organisms are ill adapted to those changes.
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>> can it be changed to reduce me of these types of environmental impacts that you are describing? >> there are some intriguing technologies that work on getting power from the movement of water. one of these is called the stream technology. and this is really essentially having turbines under the surface of the water and the movement of that water powers -- you get your energy from that. >> how sophisticated is that technology? >> well, this is really in the early stage of experimenting, and it's not being used for any commercial purposes currently, although there is a big project in wales that is slotted for completion by 2010 that actually, in a sense, is a windmill farm under the sea or, more correctly, a turbine farm under the sea. >> let's rewind just a little bit and address this dilemma. i mean, what's worse really, looking at the environmental impact on the local environment or dealing with trying to reduce
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these harmful greenhouse gases which affect the entire anet, how do we get around this conundrum? >> this is the essential dilemma, isn't it? you have a local environmental problem on one hand -- it could be a big regional one. but after all, saying like a barrage is important for preventing the emission of a lot of co-2 and other greenhouse gases. so that is an important consideration. yet there's environmentalists who claim we can get a two-fer, we can still reduce our co-2 emissions but use a more distributed smaller scale approach to alternative energy sources like water or wind or solar. >> and on a large scale, how far away, how many years away are we from trying to sort of mass harness this new technology? >> i think it's some years away. probably we're looking at half a decade to decades before we see real gains forward where an appreciable amount of energy in
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any given country is going to come from that. >> michael novacek, thank you very much. >> it's great to be here again. in tonight's "signature" story, we continue this week's ries on "saving the children." in pakistan, the poorest in some cities are relegated to a life that parents in this country could never imagine for their children. tonight we take you to the city of quetta, with the help of a leading aid organization, concern worldwide. "worldfocus" producer yuval lion shows us what some children there must do, but also how some grown-ups are helping them. >> reporter: it's dawn in the dusty provincial capital of quetta. and thousands of children are
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starting their day. they're not on their way to school and the bags on their backs don't contain books. they're filled with garbage. these kids are going to work, to pick through trash that has been dumped in the streets. these scavengers are the children of refugees from neighboring afghanistan. as unregistered residents their parents can't gally work here and they can't go to local schools. instead they must do backbreaking work for as long as 12 hours a day, walking miles from one dump site to the next looking for recyclable items that might bring them 75 cents a day, often all the income a family has. they're as young as 5 picking through the trash among the filth of goats using their bare hands to find something of value. this boy uses a magnet to collect metal. even so, he gets cuts from razor playeds and other sharp objects. >> he's a garbage picker. his hands are cut. his hands are also cut with the blade. they're in a very dangerous job
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here, exposed to hospital waste with hiv/aids and contagious diseases. they're just working for the survival of their families. >> reporter: when they fill their sacks, the boys go to a recycling depot to have their goods weighed and collect the precious few rupees that will help feed their families for another day. local and internional aid organizations have stepped in to help some of the estimated 10,000 garbage pickers. one of them is concern worldwide, an irish humanitarian organization that says they reach over 4,000 refugee children in quetta, both boys and girl, every year. they've established three drop-in centers in the city to provide basic services for the children. here, the garbage pickers can wash off the street's grime, receive first aid, and they're given a nutritious meal.
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they're also taught reading, writing and math and more. >> classes are mainly on skills d then there are some education, recreational classes like art and craft classes. >> reporter: girls classes are held separately from the boys. all the children at the drop-in center learn vocational skills like carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring and sewing. this 15-year-old boy is one of more than 100 children who have gone fm the concern program to find permanent employment. >> no, no, no. yes, yes, yes. >> reporter: but perhaps more importantly, the centers offer these children a chance to be themselves, children. there are places to play, learn and feel safe from the lives they must lead. concern has plans to open eight more drop-in centers. while they don't get the children out of the dumps and off the streets, they do provide
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some help and the possibility of a brighter future. tomorrow in our "signature" series, we'll report from guatala where thousands of children are suffering from chronic malnutrition. and that is "worldfocus" for this wednesday evening. n't forget, you can find a lot more news and perspectives on our website at and while you're there, be sure to join the conversation online. i'm daljit dhaliwal in new york. from me and the rest of the i'm daljit dhaliwal in new york. from me and the rest of the team, good-bye. -- captions by vitac -- major support for "worldfocus" has been provided by rosalind p. walter and the peter g. peterson foundation, dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility and addressing key economic challenges facing america's future. and additional funding is provided by the following supporters --
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