welcome back al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we are following for you. america's top diplomat heading to ukraine. secretary of state john kerry meeting with the key players in kiev. >> translator: this was an unconstitutional coup. >> reporter: and vladimir putin speaking out about the represents. president obama outlining his budget wish list and an emphasis on the working poor.
and we'll tell you how police in new orleans are trying to keep things under control for fat tuesday. ♪ secretary of state john kerry is in kiev at this hour. he is expected to speak shortly showing u.s. support for ukraine's new government. we are waiting for that to happen. vladimir putin spoke out earlier, rejecting the new government in ukraine. phil ittner watching the situation for us from kiev. and phil this is the first time we have heard from vladimir putin since the crisis began? >> reporter: that's right, dell, secretary of state kerry did show up and spend some time on the square paying tribute to those who lost their lives, but you are right, before he showed it up was vladimir putin who was
in the spot light. he spent an hour with the russian press outlining his position on the ukrainian crisis. a crisis today, del, that threatened to turn violent. >> reporter: the first shots have been fired but the russian's only target was the air. as they used it as a warning when ukrainian soldiers demanded their jobs back. it reflects the tensions in the region especially as russia's military might was on display. putin made his first remarks since what the ukrainian government calls an invasion. but the russian president is dismissing that kind of talk saying the use of force in ukraine would be a last resort and made very clear who he believed is the legitimate ruler of ukraine. >> translator: it's
constitutional reward and military seizure of power. the only legal president is yanukovych. only -- only -- few reason why -- how president can be changed. he is dead, impeachment, or resignation letter. >> reporter: but putin also went on to say that yanukovych has lost his power in ukraine, and can no longer return to lead. putin dismissed the west's support for the new government. as for his country's government in crimea, the russian president pointed to its historic ties to ukraine, calling it a fraternal partner bound by the partnership on the shores of crimea with a strong naval presence in the back sea. now del that naval port on the black sea has been within the russian spear of influence and control since the 18th century and katherine the great.
it is highly unlikely they are going to get that out, it is key to their military power. but it is also important to note that vladimir putin said it wasn't just crimea he is looking at now, he is looking at the risk to russians in the eastern part of the country. del? >> phil ittner thank you very much. and as we mentioned secretary of state john kerry is in ukraine today, the u.s. pledging $1 billion in aid, but also preparing sanctions against russia. lisa stark is in washington. >> del, as you mentioned that $1 billion aid package is the first thing out of the gate. it is a loan guarantee. it still needs approval by congress. it would help cover some of the energy costs in the ukraine, because they would be losing probably the energy subsidies they get from russia. they are also talking about sending technical advisors in a
whole host of areas first to work with the central bank and finance ministry, also to train election monitors, there is the hope there could be an election in may in ukraine. and the hope is that the u.s. can train monitors to ensure that is a free and fair election. and they also want to send technical advisors to help ukraine identify and recover any stolen assets we have heard about president yanukovych and the oligark, spirit billions of dollars out of the country. the administration has been saying that it has a wide host of sanctions that it can consider. they would be done through presidential executive order. they have already taken some diplomatic steps. they have pulled back on
preparations for the g-8 summit. they have canceled trade talks. and what they are talking about as far as further sanctions could be the freezing of assets for russian government and military top officials and looking to see what the eu may do, apparently there is more reluctance there to put on tough sanctions. putin said they could hurt both sides. del? >> lisa stark for us in washington. thank you very much. many living in crimea are welcoming russian troops with open arms, but as nick schifrin reports not everyone supports the military presence. >> reporter: this is a ukrainian base on ukrainian land, but those aren't ukrainian soldiers or a ukrainian flag. and the welcoming committee doesn't pledge allegiance to ukraine. >> translator: we're here to support the russian peace
keepers he says. they are the only means to stop the violence in ukraine. in this area, the russian occupation is growing, and the resistance seems non-exist important. these russian soldiers occupied the base without firing a shot. visitors brought sandwiches and a teapot. soldiers relaxed and ate. in the windows they had heavy sniper weapons. through the fence as we watched them, they watched us. these troops don't seem to be going anywhere any time soon. can i ask you a question? can i ask you a question, please? i guess not. just down the road some crimeians welcomed their occupiers. >> translator: we think they protect us she says, they
protect our village and crimea. these residents repeat a russian government claim. they are threat inned by protesters from kiev 350 miles north. you said they protect you from the people in independence square in kiev. have you seen any of those people here? no, we haven't seen them, she says but we heard rumors that they could storm crimea. this is where they get those rumors. this is russian tv watched by the vast majority of crimeians, and the anchor is suggesting these protests will spread to crimea. the battle for crimea isn't only on bases, it is also on the airwaves. 21-year-old is the anchor for crimea's most popular tatar state. tatars are crimeas largest ethnic minority. they suffered a mass deportation
under communist rule. and they are quietly resisting the invasion. nationalities are all coming together against one enemy, the russians. at night they unite to guard their own neighborhoods. this man says if ukrainian soldiers won't help, he'll defend his family himself. he invited us in his home. for him the russians are invaders. history might be repeating itself he says, clearly russia wants crimea back. and at the end of the day, the russian presence is growing and becoming more entrenched and they don't have to look far to find support. nick schifrin, al jazeera, ukraine. again, this is the image live in kiev right now. we are awaiting word from u.s. secretary of state john kerry. he is expected to announce
$1 billion in u.s. aid for the new government of ukraine. including technical assistance and economic advice. for the latest events coming out of ukraine and the rest of today's headlines you are follow us on twitter. benjamin netenyahu giving the keynote address at a gathering this morning of aipac. benjamin netenyahu saying he will do whatever it takes to defend israel. >> did you ever hear about iran sending a humanitarian delegation overseas? no? you missed that memo? [ laughter ] >> you know why? you know why you haven't heard anything about that? because the only thing that iran sends abroad are rockets, terrorists and missiles to
murder, maim and menace the innocent. [ applause ] >> on monday netenyahu met with president obama pushing back against white house pressure to cut a deal with the palestinians. president obama warning the time for peace is running out. and later today the president submits his $4 trillion budget to congress. the president saying he wants to cut taxes to workers who don't have children. >> let's make this a year of action. >> reporter: following his state of the union, president obama is taking action with his 2015 budget, the people who would benefit low wage workers. for years it has only been workers with children who benefited from the earned income tax credit. under the president's proposal that tax break would expand to those without children. he wants to double a childless worker's tax credit to about $1,000 a year, to offset the cost of the new tax break, the president is proposing an end to
an old tax break to the wealthy. that move is projected to garner some $60 billion over ten years. the president is also proposing full-time workers with kids get a bigger tax credit to cover child care costs. he wants to make preschool available for all four year olds. and the tax credit for college tuition, he wants to make that permanent. and proposing funding to upgrade aging highway systems across the country. the plan is expected to help 13.5 million americans. erika pitzi, al jazeera. comes up on al jazeera america, as tensions escalate between russia and ukraine. russia's actions could be undermining its own economy. and when you think of mardi gras you think of one gig -- big party, but for police it is one big headache.
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again, we want to take you right now to ukraine, where we are still awaiting word from secretary of state john kerry, who will be addressing reporters there. when he speaks we will bring you his comments live. the u.s. promising $1 billion in assistance. it is primary day in texas and the it is a democratic candidate for governor that is grabbing all of theed a tension. heidi zhou castro reports. >> reporter: the phones are ringing off the hook. and the pizza is flying out of the box. the headquarters of thedemocratic party is in full-on election mode. early voting numbers are promising. here in dallas and other urban
counties turn out among democrats is on that to surpass that of the 2012 presidential election. it's excitement over wendy davis. who is now on the ballot for governor. >> we have got that fire, and i think that's what is making a difference. >> reporter: carman -- sees davis as the best hope in 20 years. texas is one of the reddest states in the country. but she sees it differently. >> i see it purple. i have seen people become more politically involved in the last year. >> reporter: the last time that texans voted for governor was in 2010 in the lowest turnout in the nation.
and half of texas democrats vote in gubernatorial primaries as texas republicans, which is why walking the streets of heavily democratic neighborhoods is the focus of this man. >> there has probably been a lot of depression in the democratic party, why bother? we're not going to win. this is a list of folks -- >> reporter: dalton and his team are optimistic that november matchup could be an upset. the republicans see that as wishful thinking. >> the democrats were serious about having wendy davis in a state-wide office, they would have put her in an office she could win. >> reporter: but they say if she doesn't win she could gather momentum.
bullard is already a democratic party volunteer even though his father is stanchly republican. have you tried to sway him? >> yeah. >> has it gone anywhere? >> sometimes it does. sometimes it doesn't. >> reporter: but the fact that the debate is happening at both bullard's kitchen table and across the state is something texas democrats see as progress. heidi zhou castro, al jazeera, dallas. ♪ on wall street this morning we are seeing a major rebound, the dow up 207 points, easing tensions in ukraine turning around investor sentiment. the dow is in positive territory. tesla is expanding its reach in europe. it will now open 30 new stores and service centers.
tesla expects combined sales in europe and asia to double the sales in america. singapore is now the most expensive city to live in. it is priceyer than ever, replacing tokyo, topping the list last year. the most expensive american city new york, coming in 26th on that list. bill gates still the richest person in the world, his net worth is $76 billion. he is taking the top spot from mexico's telecom typhootyphoon. in ukraine tensions grow and the russian economy is suffering. >> reporter: russia flexes its military muscle in ukraine and escalates tensions, it faces a threat at home to its own
struggling economy, with global markets rattled and the international community condemning russian's actions. the central bank stepped in with dramatic oftures. it pumped a reported $10 billion in reserves to boost its currency. >> they were absolutely desperate to try to stabilize the currency and prevent a vicious cycle of flight of capitol from russia >> reporter: long before the ukraine crisis, russia's growth was weak. there's been a steady decline since 2010. analysts point to weak growth as a result of a lack of business confidence, a lack of consumer confidence, corruption, red tape, and russia's heavy
dependance on oil and natural gas exports and little else. 70% of russia's exports are in the energy sector. what is murky is where growth will come from, since many young people are choosing to live someplace else. one of the biggest threats right now? investors fleeing the country. all right investments by businesses in russia fell by 7%. >> people viewed the putin administration as relatively cautious and pragmatic. and i think the risk is that we see western sanctions and that could undermine the willingness of investors to put money in russia. >> reporter: the big question now is what effect the economic fallout will have on the region. up next, 2 million people, one big party, and one big need
welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are your headlines at this hour. secretary of state john kerry in kiev for talks on the crisis in ukraine. the u.s. offering a $1 billion aide package to help boost the economy. benjamin netenyahu speaking at aipac, the powerful pro-israel lobby. netenyahu saying palestinians must be prepared to recognize israel as a jewish state and iran must be stripped of its nuclear capabilities. and later the president will submit his $4 trillion budget to congress. he says he'll make tax credits available to workers as young as 21. in new orleans it is mardi gras and they are right in the thick of fat tuesday, and today's party is expected toe
huge like ever year. a million people joining parades that will roll for miles. ben do police ever get used to handling this type of crowd? >> reporter: del, it's a lot more difficult when it is cold and raining like it is today, but when people think about new orleans a lot of times they think about bourbon street and the french quarter, and that's a play where it is a party pretty much all the time. you are carry alcohol out on the streets. but when it comes to mardi gras it is a much broader spectrum for police, and that can be a tough task. ♪ [ cheers ] >> reporter: as the tourists flock in from around the world. >> it's mardi gras 2014. >> reporter: there is a certain mentality. >> if you drink alcohol last night, and wake up with a headache, you have to start
drinking again. >> that's when you have problems. you are looking for trouble on the french quarter on burden street, you are going to find it. >> reporter: the mardi gras goers outnumber the police two to one. >> we are going to be looking for people who are inebriated to the point when they are jeopardizing their chance for safety and those around them. >> we are going to break away from our coverage right now of be ben -- ben to go to secretary of state john kerry's comments. >> at the cite of last month's deadly shootings. it was really quite remarkable. i have to tell you to -- to see
the barricades, the tires, the barbed wire, the bullet holes in street lamps, the extraordinary number of flowers, the people still standing beside a barrel with a fire to keep them warm, the shrouded vision in the clouds of the buildings in which the shots came. and the photographs of those who lost their lives, of the people who put themselves on the line for the future of ukraine. it was deeply moving to walk into a group of ukrainians spontaneously gathered there, to listen to them, to listen to their pleas of passion for the
right not to go back to life as it was under former president yanukovych. one woman who pleadingly said how poor they were, how the rich lived well, and how those in power took the money, and how they were left behind, and particularly one man told me that he had recently traveled to australia, and he had come back here, but he came back determined to be able to live as he had seen other people live in other parts of the world. so it was very moving, and it gave me a deep personal sense of how closely linked the people of ukraine are to not just americans, but people all across the world who today are asking for their rights, asking for the privilege to be able to live, defining their own nation, defining their futures.
that's what this is about. the united states extends our deepest condolences to those who's grief is still very fresh. and those who lost loved ones who bravely battled against snipers on roof tops and people armed against them with weapons they never dreamt of having. these brave ukrainians took to the streets to stand peacefully against tyranny, and to demand democracy, so instead they were met with snipers who picked them off one after another, as people went out to get them, drag them to safety, give them comfort, expose themselves. they raised their voices for dignity and freedom, but what they stood for so bravely, i say with full conviction will never
be stolen by bullets or by invasions. it cannot be silenced by thugs from roof tops, it's universal and unmistakable. it's called freedom. so today in another part of this country, we're in a new phase of the struggle for freedom, and the united states reaffirms our commitment to ukraines sovereignty and territorial integrity. we condemn the russian confederations act of aggression, and we have throughout this moment, and evidence of a great transformation taking place, and in that transformation, we will standing with the people of ukraine. today ukrainians are demanding a government wite