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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  April 10, 2015 2:30am-3:01am EDT

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the programme. we invite you to follow us on twitter. or follow me and get in touch at ray suarez news. see you next time. i'm ray on "america tonight" - can you pray away the gay? the fight again conversion therapy has a new advocates, and our correspondent reports. >> reporter: we knew there was a black l.g.b.t. in the black church.
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it was don't ask, don't tell running for their lives. >> bombs were dropping and me. >> trapped amid the chaos, as yemen spun out of control. the americans left behind. >> no one would help us. at the end the only thing i had. even if it was a small personnel, i was going to try it out. it succeeded. i got lucky thanks for joining us, i'm when. it's an isolated corner of the world in crisis. yemen. at the southern tip of the arabian peninsula, known as a breeding ground for high profile terror plots aimed , in many case, at the united states. now, fierce fighting from its own borders joins outsiders into the country as houthis battle a coalition backed by the saudi-led air strikes.
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also in jeopardy are thousands of foreign citizens, including americans, and have been trapped in the chaos, "america tonight"s sheila macvicar on the bid to escape after two weeks of saudi-led air strikes, the situation in yemen precarious for months is increasingly desperate. >> i live in the center of sanaa, close to several military bases. i had to flee. there were several air strikes, it was terrifying. >> since the houthis, a minority tribal group from the north began a military advance last year, they have captured large swaths of country, including the capital, sanaa. the government has collapsed, and yemen is essentially in the grip of the deepening civil war. paul salom is vice president for policy and research at the middle east institute. >> yemen descended into, you
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know, a failed state situation, and pretty much in all senses of the word. and an open civil war, which has its internal dynamics, but sadly has external proxy support. >> the external proxies include saudi arabia's visible military intervention on the side of the ousted government. and on the other side, iran's widely reported support for the houthis. something that tehran still denies. speaking last night on pbs's newshour, john kerry warned the u.s. will not tolerate iran's greater involvement. >> we are well aware of the support iran gives yemen. iran needs to recognise that the united states will not stand by while the region is destabilized or why people engage in overt
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warfare across the lines, international boundaries and other countries. >> saudi arabia military response has been to assemble a coalition of powerful arab states, including morocco, egypt, and the united arab emirates, to attack houthi positions, beginning an aerial bombing without warning. it's not just yemeni citizens at risk. according to the council on american-islamic relations, thousands of foreigners. at least 650 americans, are also caught in the crossfire. >> just last week an american from oakland california. gas station owner reportedly became the first american to be killed in the conflict. 26-year-old american was shaken by his death. >> he was coming home when he was hit by a mortar shell.
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he died the same day i left aden. that's what pushed me. i had to find a way to leave. i can't stay there. >> a bay area resident and coffee importer travelled to yemen to help local coffee farmers improve their crops. the state department warned against travel to yemen for years. but the last thing they expected was to get caught up in a civil war turned without warn into regional conflict. >> all hell broke loose. i walked outside and saw antiaircraft machine-guns in the air, and they looked like lasers. bombs dropped around me. morning. >> with the u.s. embassy closed, and no civilian flight. he was stuck with no u.s. plans for an evacuation. >> you don't want to see plane, you hear them.
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you hear more and more attacks. >> i wanted to go to saudi arabia, i wanted to go to ayman, through the desert. there was a risky route. this was closed off. this was, like, the last resort. >> reporter: with bombs falling and a journey too dangerous for his american aunt and five children. he risks a 7-hour drive from sanaa to the port city of moka and found a fishermen to take him across the red sea to djibouti. and travelled to kenya and francisco. >> i thought no one would help us. staying in sanaa, hoping that i would be bombed in the morning, it was a risk getting on the boat. the whole thing was a risk. it was the only thing i had. even if it was a small percentage, i was going to try it out. if it succeeded, i got lucky. other members of the family who
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remained trapped and hundreds of others had to watch as other nations among the pakistan-france, india and china evacuated thousands of nationals, and others from the conflict zone. britain's john spheres was rescued by a pakistani warship. >> we are like kings here, royalty. that's the best service we had travelling anywhere. well done to pakistan navy. >> grateful to be out of yemen, knowing the deteriorating conditions those left behind face. no electricity, water and soaring heat. the u.s. state department says americans are on their own. here is the state department week. >> i think the challenge for us is we have had very strict travel warnings in place for a decade now for yemen, including multiple travel warnings telling people not to travel, and if
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they do, the u.s. can provide limited assistance, especially closed. >> secretary of self-defence ashton carter announced a the u.s. will boost shipments and provide intelligence in the fight against the houthi rebels. >> yemen has been a focus of u.s. security interests for many years, since september 11th. there has been a strong al qaeda presence there. al qaeda and i.s.i.s. are gaining ground and sympathy, they are saying we are the ones that can fight the houthis. the sooner the u.s. and others, and this coalition can bring the houthi advance to a close, to stablilize the situation and go back to a political process, the sooner you can begin to go back work. >> for those caught in the middle. whether foreign nationals or yemeni citizens, there's no easy end or early escape. >>
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i was lucky enough. firstly, as an american i escaped. if i escaped, i have no warships, airplanes, no agencies. i had a little boat and i did this by myself. the u.s. government should be act help the innocent "america tonight"s sheila macvicar joins us. in your experience as an international correspondent. you have been in a lot of hot-spot situations. most of us would look and expect the u.s. embassy would bring together all of the u.s. citizens in the area and help them get out. >> yes, and i have seen it happen in places. i saw regional community officers go into communities and pull out u.s. citizens and bring them into an american embassy compound. this is not happening in yemen. one, the embassy is closed. there's no u.s. personnel on the ground. second, there is a view of some analysts that to bring together a concentration of americans could pose a greater threat.
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if you think of it, all the actors in the drama, including al-qaeda, i.s.i.s. to bring together americans could create a target. that's something they don't want. obviously people in yemen, what they are thinking, they are thinking you can't get us out. at least ask someone else to help us. today it was a lawsuit on behalf of american yemenis, asking them to assist in the evacuation. >> this has got be a concern regionally. how will this be perceived if the united states doesn't act to bring out its citizens, doesn't reach out. >> people have the expectation that the u.s. will come to rescue when things get bad. and there is a history of that over and over. we have seen that happen. so if you are a yemeni american, or you are arab american or you are a muslim american, and you sit there looking at the pack, what is in your head?
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and i think that what is in your head, for at least some of these people, is they are abandoned by the government because they are yemenis, they are arabs, they are muslims, and they are not fully american. the state department would say it's not true. from the point of view of people on the ground and the families in the united states, that is what they are thinking. >> a deep concern. "america tonight"s sheila macvicar. thanks next - the witness behind bars. he saw a suspect die at the hands of police. why that has kept him locked up. >> later - not a prayer. a controversial therapy to pray away the gay, and why the white house joined the fight against it. and hot on "america tonight"s website - the big muscle on campus. the university of alabama sees change, but the machine makes the crimp son tide role.
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>> al jazeera america brings you a first hand look at the environmental issues, and new understanding of our changing world. >> it's the very beginning >> this was a storm of the decade >>...hurricane... >> we can save species... >> our special month long focus, fragile planet
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in our fast-forward segment, a twist of justice - the police chokehold that killed a statton island man led to outrage, but no charges against the officers. the one person that ended up behind bars is the eyewitness who shot video of eric garner's death. he told "america tonight" his arrest was payback for exposing what happened. >> stop. no, no, i understand you are stressed. you are taking it out on me. >> reporter: emotions run high when christy gets a call from her husband, the staten island man that took a video triggering outrage against new york city
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police officers, accused of killing a man in custody. the death of eric garner defined on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. ramsay was hailed a hero for his video expose. he is in gaol. and he claims it's retaliation. >> what will you do about the mess that you are in right now? >> i'll fight it to the end. and hopefully i win. hopefully people realise that now i'm being harass the. >> reporter: peakspeaking to "america tonight" from gaol, he claims he was set up on a bogus charge of gun. >> reporter: have you seen your husband with a gun? >> never. >> reporter: when you heard the charges, what was your reaction? >> i died. i said that's
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total bullshit. i cried, i said "what are you talking about?" i was in shock. >> reporter: do you regret that ramsay took the video? >> i don't regret it. i wish it didn't happen, that this man didn't lose his life. it's something that has to be exposed. i hate what is going on with ramsay. >> fast-forward, ramsay has been in and out of gaol since shooting the video recently on a drug charge. crowd sourcing has been built around the allegation that he was scapegoated. 40,000 was pledged. it was posted, but the prosecutor objected, challenging the online funds, and for now, he will stay at rikers island. a closer look at sex crime on camp as on friday. what should universities do wh he said/she said is trumped by evidence of an attack.
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>> it's not just that there was alcohol and a sexual assault, there was a confession to the sexual assault. that's staggering a "america tonight" report - sex crime on campus, friday at 10 eastern. next after the break - faith and the fight for souls. the controversial effort to pray away the gay. >> no nonsense new york city police commissioner william bratton >> they just respected this department >> restoring trust... >> it's going to be difficult... >> modernizing the force... >> this is going to be a revolutionary year >> protecting lives... >> the technologies we have available to us are phenomenal >> every sunday night. >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping. inspiring. entertaining. talk to al jazeera. only on al jazeera america.
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[ ♪♪ ] standing up against the pressure, a movement called conversion therapy, aimed at changing the sexual orientation of l.g.b.t. has generated a lot
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of controversy, and now a new stand from the white house. after an online petition, president obama has come up against what is described as praying away the gay. correspondent tonya moseley with an indepth look change. >> come around and tell those people, tell them. i'm not gay no more. i am delivered. >> reporter: when 21 yield andrew caldwell stood before the church of god in st. louis and declared thanks to prayer he was no longer gay the paster and the congregation applauded. as the video went viral. his actions brought to life an example of how some black churches believe it is possible through prayer to convert gay people and cure homosexuality. >> father, we thank you and prays you for goodness and mercy prayer is at the heart of the ministry.
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for more than 20 years he ministered to thousands of black men and women who no longer want to be gay. >> have you seen growth in yourself? >> recognise... >> reporter: who you are, and who you were. >> yes. >> reporter: he sits with james penniman, a man that was openly gay. thanks to the ministry, he is now strait with children. >> do you feel people can be born gay. >> it might be surprising. yes, i do. i believe people are born gay. we are born in sin. homosexuality is a sin. you can be born in sin. >> reporter: foster has a personal reason for his belief, he was gay himself. >> i was 11 years old. we were running around, playing chase, i whaschased a male friend of
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mine. i caught and held him. a feeling came over me that i didn't want to let it go. it was the genesis of my recognise that i had feelings towards other males. >> reporter: describe to me the point where you realised that within the church and the teachagesings -- teachings, that this was looked at as a sin. and how did it make you feel? >> i felt awful. i was in a youth class with my peers. my teach ever was teaching from romans one. after that teaching she said people who are like this will go to hell. >> at 18, foster left the church, saying it was one of the most painful decisions of his life. after living as a gay man, he made a haddical decision -- radical decision.
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how do you decide not to be gay any more? >> it may seem complicated, but more me it began by me saying and disciplining myself saying, one, i'm going to change my before. i'm not going to have sex with other men or pursue relationships with other men, and i'm not going to the places i used to go. >> reporter: foster is married with children, and his ministry is at the extreme end of how black churches deal with homosexuality. many view it as a lifestyle choice. seven in 10 african-americans view homosexuality was a sin compared to 47" of white. some churches condemn homosexuality, advocates say the prejudice is more subtle. >> we knew there was a black l.g.b.t. population amongst the greater community in the church. it loved under the guise of don't ask, don't tell.
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it was understood that as long as you stayed in your lane, that there was nothing more to be said about it the silence on the issue was broken three years ago, when the state of maryland took up a law that would league at same sex marriage. the battle was chronicled in the new black, a documentary about the historical vote, and the role the black church plays in it. >> no same sex marriage in the state of maryland. marylands want to see marriage on the ballot. and want to see it defined and upheld between one man and one woman derek mccoy, associate pastor of hope church hit the main stage campaigning against the law as the president of the maryland family alliance. >> i'd like to know what are your views on homosexuality. >> from a
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biblical stand point, a center point of what we feel like from a clergy standpoint - yes, it's depicted in that, as far as that lifestyle is depicted. i don't write the rules. i conform to it, it doesn't conform to me. >> the black community and church were instrumental on the civil rights movement. today, when we here views like yours many ask how can you feel this way, it feels bigoted or hypocritical for an entity that was a part of the civil rights movement to feel this way towards a minority group. >> is that really the objective? because i - there's never been a time in my life that i stood up. woke up in the morning and thought man, i can't wait to be bigoted towards a group of people. if you look at the christian perspective. it's the tenants of the faith is what the scriptures say.
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and if you are a christian, and you want to be, you want to go to heaven, you want to live a life that is god like, you say you need to change. >> we are supposed to change in the image of christ, yes. >> he believes that change can come about through prayer? >> we believe if you pray for someone, they will change. >> we wrestle against powers and prince palties. >> reporter: during the fight over maryland's law, another pastor spoke out about what he saw as the church's bias and stood before the congregation marriage. >> you know, when i came out in support of the marriage equality, i didn't take the temperatures of the congregation, i felt it was the right thing to do for me as an individual clergy leader to let my voice be heard. i didn't want my silence
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interpreted as consent. >> reporter: after coates spoke, an interesting thing happened. other clergy told him he was committing clergy suicide, he found the majority was waiting for his message. >> when we profiled and changed the narrative on where the people were, and gave them an opportunity to raise their voices, and show the public a different picture of a black clergy lead who says, look, i support equal rights for gays and lesbians, that gave them permission to say "i feel the same way." >> 1,000 members joined coats' church, and the marriage equality bill passed in maryland, all affirming coates'
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belief about speaking out. >> translation: there's no doubt it's a detriment for the lives of people in our pews, who go their lives thinking that something is wrong with them, who think not just that other people don't accept them and embrace them, but who believe that god does not accept them as well. i think it's really transformed our congregation in some incredible ways. >> reporter: but l.g.b.t. advocates say the divide within the black churches is great. for many, the price for speaking up is too steep. so your first hurdle in coming out is usually your family, then it's your friends and community, and a large portion of our existence as black people, includes the black church. many experiences i had with people to say "i don't know what happened if i come out." but i don't like the odds.
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i don't want to lose my family, church. >> reporter: months after the prey service... >> i don't like men no more. i said i like women. >> reporter :..andrew says the conversion was short lived. he desperately want prayer to change hip, he struggles with his sexuality, he, he says, still gay that's "america tonight", tell us what you think at talk to us on twitter and facebook. come back. we'll have more of "america tonight"
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mending political ties after more than six decades of hostility. the u.s. and cuban foreign ministers reach ahead of a regional summit. ♪ ♪ hello, you are watching al jazerra, also on the program more international aid and medical surprise arrive in yemen as the saudi-led air strike says enter a third week. power. gun lobby in the u.s. gets set to flex its political muscles at an annual convention. and. >> reporter: i an andrew summoned report on the ground