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tv   News  Al Jazeera  March 17, 2016 12:30pm-1:01pm EDT

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africa's natural wonders. and just time to remind you can always find out much more about many of the stories we have covering on our website. the address is the water is rusting away brand new parts at gm, it was okay for human consumption. >> michigan governor is grilled by congress over the flint water crisis. the white house begins its push to get the president's supreme court nominee a hearing in the senate. daesh is genocidal by self proclamation, ideology and actions. >> secretary of state john kerry blasts isil for committing genocide against minorities.
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and tens of thousands protest in brazil over claims of government corruption. ♪ this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm richelle carey. accusations are flying on capitol hill right now over flint's water crisis. michigan's governor and the epa chief are trading blame. several house members have accused rick snyder of knowing about the crisis months before he did anything about it. >> this was a -- failure of government at all levels. we all failed the families of flint. this isn't about politics nor partisanship. i'm not going to point fingers
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or shift blame. there is plenty to share, and neither will help the people of flint. not a day or night goes by that this tragedy doesn't weigh on my mind. the questions i should have asked, the answers i should have demanded, how i could have prevented this. >> democrats are focusing their attacks on governor snyder. many house republicans blame the epa. >> we conducted it. does that mean i don't have regrets? because i really -- >> no, that's a whole different standard. that's cheap -- oh, yeah, we just got regrets. that's cheap. that's cheap. >> sir, you have to look at how the law works -- >> yeah, you know what -- and it failed. you failed. if you want to do the courageous thing, like you said susan headman did, then you too should resign. nobody is going to believe that you had the opportunity, you had the presence, you had the authority, you had the backing of the federal government and
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you did not act when you had the chance. >> reporter: the epa blames any oversight on michigan's government for giving it inaccurate information. some bold accusations today from secretary of state john kerry about isil. he says the group that the administration calls daesh has committed genocide against christians and other minorities in iraq and syria. >> daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed as these same groups and in some cases also against sunni muslims, kurds, and other minorities. i say this even though the ongoing conflict and lack of access to key areas has made it impossible to develop a fully detailed and comprehensive picture of all that daesh is doing. >> jamie mcintyre joins us on the fiend now from the pentagon. so jamie, secretary kerry there, really making his case for why they are using the word genocide. how significant is this?
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>> reporter: well, it's very significant in the sense that there has been a lot of criticism of the administration for failing to call what isil is doing in iraq and syria genocide. several independent groups, including the holocaust museum in washington have issued reports saying isil's mass murder and oppression of christians and other groups constitute genocide, but it took an act of congress to get the u.s. government to agree. kerry's statement met a deadline that was today as part of a spending bill to make a determination about genocide, and it comes two days after the house of representatives passed a non-binding resolution saying that isil was committing genocide. in that was a resolution that was non-binding, but it was a yunanimous vote. you don't see too many unanimous
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votes in the house of representatives these days. and kerry just met that deadline for the u.s. to take a stand, and, you know, it comes as the u.s. has been condemning isil's brutal executions for years, but this is the first time they have issued that formal declaration that isil's murder, torture and rape of targeted groups amounts to a crime against humanity. >> so how could this alter the u.s.-coalition fight against isil? >> reporter: probably not a whole lot, because the u.s. already says it is doing everything it can, short of sending in its own troops. excuse me. secretary of defense carter and the joint chiefs chairman are up on the hill today testifying about the counter isil effort and what the u.s. is trying to do to accelerate it. but both the secretary and chairman have admitted that it is going to be sometime before isil's de facto capitol in raqqa
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can be lib -- liberated. so it increases the moral imperative. kerry also called for some further investigations, but in terms of the military action on the ground, it doesn't change a lot. >> okay. jamie mcintyre for us at the pentagon. jamie thank you. newly released emails show hillary clinton was denied a government issued smartphone during her time as secretary of state. the emails date back to 2009. she canned for a secured blackberry device. at one point clinton and staffers met with the nsa, but was still denied a phone. after that she started using a primate email servers. absentee ballots in missouri
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are still being counted. clinton today holds rallies in nashville and atlanta, and while sanders turns his attend towards arizona he'll hold a townhall in flagstaff tonight. [ cheers and applause ] >> a round of applause for senator marco rubio as he arrived in congress this morning. he returned to the senate for the first time since ending his bid for presidency. he suspended his campaign after losing his home state of florida to donald trump in tuesday's primary. judge merrick garland today begins the battle of his professional life. trying to convince republican senators to consider his nomination to the supreme court. the chief judge of the d.c.
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federal appeals court heads to capitol hill this afternoon. john terrett is live for us in washington for more. good to see you. >> hello, richelle. >> hello. what is the white house going to try to do to push this difficult nomination through? >> it is difficult. there is not a lot they can do. in the old days when they controlled the house and senate, they could push through a symbolic vote. and i think they still can. but there are complications with that and issues, because it garners a lot of publicity, and it also means that washington gets seized up, and that's one of the whole points behind the 2016 election. so what can they do. they have released this video. this was just released in the last 24-hour news cycle. sit running on the white house website, and it shows various pictures of judge garland, and the idea is they hope this will
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go viral and people will see what an excellent judge he is. and they get to know more. up until yesterday most people in the country had not heard of them. and then there's this, if we can transition to the twitter page. the white house has put up a twitter page so people can comment on the situation as they see it. if they are angry at the republicans for not offering a hearing, or an up or down vote, then they can comment about it on this twitter page. and the idea is to build up a head of steam against the republicans. guilt them into giving them a hearing if you will. harry reid will be meeting with the judge at 4:00. he has been talking here in washington, d.c. his speech was designed to be a real rebuke of the republican party and how it lead to the rise of donald trump, but towards the end of it, he also turned his attention to the supreme court nomination. take a look.
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>> republicans are slamming the door on a good man they once embraced. why? because president obama nominated him. >> reporter: and of course the republicans are not planning to budge on this. they think a republican is going to win the white house in november, and they will get better service by a republican president. they are taking the risk that it might be hilary or bernie who might appoint somebody much younger and more liberal. >> is there anybody breaking ranks a little bit? >> reporter: well, i have to say, the republicans are absolutely mightily on message as they often are in these situations. but there are some signs. the white house certainly thinks so. he spoke on the telephone to mitch mcconnell yesterday. mcconnell refusing to meet him in person. chuck grassley has said he is prepared to meet after the
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recess which comes up today for two weeks. and then we have this full-screen graphic to show you three republican politicians, all of whom have budged a little bit. jeff blake, susan collins, and kelly ayotte from new hampshire. jeff and susan says they will sit down with judge garland. kelly has said the same thing. she is in a tough reelection battle in a very democratic-lanes state. and orrin hatch says he is open to a hearing. and jim inhoff tweeted this so there are chinks of light, and that's why the white house are putting out those videos and that sort of thing in the hopes
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that they will break the republicans down. >> two female senators in there. i'll just going to say women get things done. john terrett. women get things done. thank you. >> thank you. the obama administration is demanding the immediate release of an american student being held in north korea. the white house says he is being used as a pawn. the university of washington student has been sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda banner from a hotel as a souvenir. in brazil, lawmakers there have started impeachment proceedings against the president. she has been widely criticized for appointing former president to her cabinet. he was arrested last month on corruption charges. allegations are that she hired
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him to keep him safe from prosecution. al jazeera's correspondent reports from rio de janeiro. >> reporter: tens of thousands of brazilians are back on streets. dilma rousseff's appointment of her predecessor was meant to restore public just, but it has done the opposite. lula is now facing charges of money laundering and fraud. taking the cabinet post gives him immunity. but the president insisted that wasn't why she gave him the position. >> translator: i am sorry he is coming, he is going to help. we're going to look at returning to growth, fiscal stability and controlling inflation. >> reporter: shortly after she said that, a federal judge who
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was leading a wider corruption investigation, released details of a conversation between rousseff and lula. lula had been tapped by federal police. >> reporter: although she and lula have denied allegations of wrongdoing. demonstrators say they have had enough. not just of politicians, but of the entire system of deep-rooted corruption. the corruption investigation into petrobras has been ongoing for two years now. it could now bring down the entire rousseff administration.
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through all of this president rousseff insists she is doing what is best for brazil. but many brazilians don't agree. some politicians are already leaving the ruling coalition government. brazil is in the midst of the worst recession it has seen in decades, and people feel rousseff's leadership just isn't competent enough to lead them out. up next, why a new bill placing stricter rules on abortion clinics in this indiana is even dividing some ababortion opponents. and why one county in minnesota is ending their practice of using grand juries to investigate police shootings.
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more rain is expected today in texas and louisiana. the floods have forced thousands of people from their homes, and the governor is warning residents. >> people need to remember about the possibility that the water could continue to rise for eat day or two. >> the river crested at 7.5 feet. new details of the death of a maryland police officer. investigators now say he was deliberately shot by a fellow officer outside of a police station in landover on sunday. but they say he was in plane clothes and the officer may not have realized who he was. three brothers have been charged with starting the gun fight.
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one minnesota county is changing how officers accused of crimes are charged. as al jazeera -- john henry smith reports. >> reporter: protesters in minnesota camped outside of police headquarters and demanding justice for jamar clark. police say the 24 year old was fighting with them when officers shot and killed him last november. witnesses contradict that saying he was handcuffed. in light of other high-profile shootings nationwide, protesters in minnesota demaceded that prosecutor mike freeman not use a grand jury in this case. freeman has obliged. >> grand juries will no longer be used to consider police shooting cases. >> reporter: the decision ends a
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four decade long tradition there of using grand juries in police-involved shootings. in that time not a single officer has been found guilty of wrongfully shooting someone. he says this will make the system more fair and accountable, but doesn't think ores should necessarily follow his lead. >> in other communities they may feel the use of the grand jury in police-shooting cases is appropriate. >> reporter: community anger in other high-profile shooting have cost prosecutors their jobs. >> the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct. and in chicago this prosecutor lost a reelection bid, she waited more than a year to charge the officer who shot this man 16 times. in georgia a bill protecting same-sex marnl opponents is on
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the way to the governor's desk. the bill has been passed by the georgia house and senate. the bill removes penalty against faith-based businesses for refusing to serve someone. gay rights advocates say the bill is discriminatory. a new bill is headed to the governor's desk on abortion. ines ferre reports. >> reporter: indiana's bill contains many of the same provisions for abortion clinics currently under supreme court review. such as that the clinics meet the standards of surgical centers. but this would also ban abortions if the fetus has a physical disability. >> we cannot imagine life without them. nor would we have considered abortion in that situation.
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every child is a gift from god, and every child is a wanted child. >> reporter: the bill also requires women to make multiple trips to a clinic, they must first view a ultrasound, and hear the heart beat 18 hours before the abortion. a group of activists showed up at the state house to deliver a petition with some 2700 signatures opposing the measure. >> there is no question that there are provisions that greatly impact a woman's ability to access abortion, and it's government intrusion. >> reporter: if approved indiana would join north dakota as the only states to ban abortions for genetic abnormalities. up next, niger's gentle giants caught in the cross-fire of africa's many conflicts. plus -- ♪ i'm sorry, sorry, sorry
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>> a michigan fallen offers a musical --
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giraffes are an iconic site, often connected with africa. but poachers and con mrit have decimated much of their ca is trying to protect them before they go extinct. >> reporter: on the lookout for
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west africa's last giraffes. this is the northern tip of a preserve, some 50 kilometers south of niger's capitol. the savanna stretched out as far as the eye can see. but soon a herd shows up grazing on their favorite acacia trees. drought and hunting has refused them to a small group now found only in niger. authorities have been trying to protect what remains of this endangered subspecies. they are proud of result. >> translator: in 1996 we had 50 giraffes, now we have 452. >> reporter: as we approached we are told not to disturb them. the giraffe is not the biggest one in this park. the biggest one is very famous, and you can spend an entire year
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looking for him. because this is a very large park more than the size of lebanon. nature here is quiet and beautiful, and the giraffes seem to share both qualities. >> translator: the giraffe is a peaceful animal. it is also very curious. sometimes it would stair at you as long as you stair at it. i love them as if they are my own pets. we have names for them. there was one that carried my name. but unfortunately he died. >> reporter: but some people living in the area hardly share this affection. >> translator: we don't see any used to them. they just destroy our crops and eat the trees. we lived here for a long time before the giraffes, now they are a problem for us, and there's nothing we can do about it. >> reporter: another problem affecting both people and giraffes consisted of two year's of drought resulting in meager
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crops and drier vegetation. tourism has also been on the decline. >> translator: now there is a crisis because of insecurity. we used to receive large numbers of visitors, up to nine a day, but now it's a five or six a week. >> reporter: tour guides don't have much to do for most of the day. there is certain that violence in the area, and drought could reverse the success niger has made in preserving one of west africa's natural wonders. a major league baseball player seems to be putting devotion ahead of the game. the first baseman quit the sport for personal reasons after the team asked him to limit his 14-year-old son's visits to the ballpark. the team's president asked him not to bring his son every day which he has reportedly done
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during the season. the team says he could change his mind and they have encouraged him to think about it. a convicted felon in michigan surprised a courtroom with an adele inspired plea to the judge. ♪ i will try to be stronger, in this life i chose ♪ ♪ but i want you to know, that door i close ♪ ♪ and your honor, i'm sorry so sorry, sorry ♪ >> and yes, that is his lawyer trying not to laugh on the side of him. the 21 year old used the musical number at his sentenced last week. well, the judge said tailor was obviously a talented young man, and encouraged him to use available prison programs after his release. he might be dropping a cd before you know it.
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thank you for joining us. i'm richelle carey. the news continues next live from london. ♪ a deepening crisis in brazil. a judge issues an injunction to block the appointment. hello there. this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up. nowhere to go. refugees wait on the greek macedonian border as eu leaders debate a deal to return them to turkey. south africa's president is zuouted down in parliament.