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tv   DW News  LINKTV  February 24, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm PST

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berlin. a landmark verdict here in germany aimed at bringing justice to syrians. a german court found a former secret service syrian agent guilty for atrocities committed by the assad regime. is it justice delivered too litt t late? donna becomeshe first country to receive vaccines under the u.n. backpack plan to ensure --
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backed plan to ensure loan cognitions get their fair share. german customs officers sees a record-breaking 16 tons of cocaine worth several billion euros. it was hidden in tin cans from paraguay. ♪ i'm brent goff. to our viewers on pbs in the united states and olivia around the world, welcome. it is the first verdict of its kind in the world. never before has a member of assad's regime been convicted outside of the country. a german court found a former agent guilty in assisting in crimes against humanity. >> justice a decade on. prosecutors say the man was a
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former member of the secret service. he took the demonstrators to a detention center where they were tortured. a german court convicted him of being involved. >> what is important is that we have a verdict that the assad government committed crimes against humanity in secret prisons. this is the first such verdict worldwide and it sends an important message these crimes can be investigated in germany. he fled to germany and his crimes came to light when he applied for asylum. the judges reduced his sentence to over four years because he testified innother tal that is sll ongoi. tortureictim helped bringhe caseo court. he says this is only the beginning. >> this is the first step.
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the road to justice as long. one of the goals is to bring aside and his inner circle -- assad and his inner circle to a court. >> the syrian government denies it tortures prisoners. the rules of universal jurisdiction allow german courts to try allegations of serious crimes in other countries if victims or the accused are in germany. the foreign minister welcome the verdict. >> these trials taking place outside syria are a glimmer of hope and a clear signal to the victims that justice must be done for them. >> his lawyer says he plans to appeal the sentence. brent: victims of the assad regime are hopeful today's
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apartheid will set a precedent for future cases. dw news spoke with one young syrian in germany. she has not seen her father since he disappeared eight years ago. witnesses say he was seized by armed men from his home in damascus. >> there are always fresh flowers next to his portrait. he was forcibly disappeared in syria eight years ago. the few remaining photos are his daughter's most precious possessions. she has look at them a thousand times trying to conjure up his presence. her mother had then living in northern syria had meant to visit her husband in damascus. they had not seen each other in months. >> 15 minutes before she arrived, she called him and said i will be there in 15. so he said that i cleaned the house, i am just waiting for you.
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15 minutes later, she arrived. she called him and he never responded. yeah, i mean. until today. >> according to neighbors, armed men had come to take him away. her mother and sisters had to flee syria one week later and leave them behind. they do not know anything about what happened to him. >> i actually survived by leaving syria and not getting killed there. maybe i physically survived somehow, but you cannot just get used to the fact that you lost your dad in one second. you cannot get used to the fact that he just disappeared. for no reason. >> her father is one of 130,000 people who have gone missing in syria. brent: i am joined by a program
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coordinator for syria. it is good to have you on the program with us. this is the first time a syrian official involved in abuses for the syrian government has been brought to justice. how significant is this ruling? >> it is extremely significant because it is the first time we have seen anyone who has formally been with this regime held to account and it has been an extremely emotional day for syrians and everyone else who has been watching this case. brent: i know you have been working with families and prisoners of families of tse who have disappeared in syria. what do you think this verdict will mean to them?
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i thi especially for the families of the missing and of the disappeared and the detained and as the woman who just spoke before our conversation, it is an extremely difficult conversation to be in because they miss their loved ones everyday. when she speaks about her father and counng the days, she misses him on a daily basis. it is extremely difficult to fathom how someone who was working in this machinery of torture and imprisonment and forced disappearance can get away with a sentence of four and a half years, whereas they truly are suffering for a lifetime without knowing where their loved ones are. it is extremely difficult to fathom it emotionally even though i believe many feel this is the first step toward justice and i have heard this many times today.
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at the same time, having a family member missing is a daily difficult thing to endure. brent: we can only imagine what that must be like. when we consider how many atrocities have been committed in the last 10 years in the name of the aside regime, -- the assad regime, do you think we are going to see more trials like this or are we going to have this one drop in the ocean? >> i absolutely believe it is a first step. the cases had been severed. we still have an ongoing case. this was the first verdict that was spoken. it is not the end of the trial for another accused. it is also an important step to fight against impunity in front of european courts and to try to understand how universal
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jurisdiction can be utilized in order to bring some type of justice to syrians. this cannot solve the larger political questions. we need work on that level still. i do believe it is an important first step and it will be the first step in the process of many. brent: thank you. >> thank you so much. brent: in an other high-profile trial in germany, and other guilty verdict. a notorious iraqi preacher believed to be so-called islamic state's german leader. he was accused of radicalizing and recruiting young people to fight for the terrorist group. he has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison. >> after three years, the verdict was handed down. guilty of belonging to a foreign terrorist organization, helping to plant subvert -- to plan subvert of violence act and
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financing terrorism. he was known as the leading authority in the fundamentalist scene. he and the other defendants prime young men theologically and ideologically for missions for the islamic state. they arranged contacts with smugglers, planned travel routes and gave the man money to leave the country. this is the mosque where he preached holy war. he was also known as the preacher without a face for his online videos where he had his back to the camera. among those he radicalized from the mosque where german twin brothers who blew themselves up in a suicide attack in iraq in 2015 and a teenager convicted of bombing a temple. he also had links to a man who mounted a deadly terrorist attack on a christmas market in berlin.
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he was arrested in november 2016. investigators had him under surveillance for a long time. the preacher chose to remain silent during the lengthy trial. he was sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison. three codefendants were handed down sentences ranging from four to eight years. brent: here are the other stories making headlines this hour. venezuela is expelling the european union's envoy. she has been given 72 hours to leave in protest of new sanctions that have been slapped on venezuelans for underwriting human rights. distraught families in ecuador are waiting to find out whether their relatives were among the 79 inmates killed in prison riots. the violence erected inails in three cities. coordinated fights appeared to have broken out as rival gangs battled for control of the
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detention centers. hungary has become the first country in the european union to use a covid-19 developed -- covid-19 vaccine developed in china. some remain skeptical about the vaccine and russia's shot, which is also available. the government has been critical of the slow rollout of vaccinations in the european union. ghana has become the first country to receive vaccines from a global plant aimed at ensuring lower income nations have fair access to covid-19 shots. the u.n. back program aims to deliver to deliver 2 billion doses around the world this year. >> the arrival of the vaccines brings the world one step cler to a worldwide solution for a global pandemic. a plane carrying 600,000 doses of the astrazeneca vaccine developed in the u.k. and produced in india touched down
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in the capital. >> today, we are at the international airport in ghana. this is an historic moment. we are very happy to receive the first bench of vid-19 vaccines -- first batch of covid-19 vaccines. >> the first shots will go to virus hotspots and essential workers. broad immunization will not just need more vaccine. many canadians remain untouched -- many gun a hands remain unsure the vaccine is safe. >> i do not have much information about the vaccines. i think once i get some information about it, i do not want to get the virus. if there is a vaccine around that can kp me safe, why not? >> if i see that it is good, i can take it. taking at first, i cannot do it. >> of the 200 million doses
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administered so far, the vast majority have been in the developed world. organizers say fairer vaccine distribution is in the interest of rich countries. >> up until now, there has not been a tremendous amount of vaccines in developing countries. there have been some countries that have gotten small amounts of doses through bilateral deals and donations, but there has not been a systematic coverage of vaccine doses. that is what we need to change. we need to make surevery single country gets doses because we are only safe if everyone is safe. >> curbing the spread of the virus in the developing world reduces the risk of new variants that can render the vaccines less effective. in the race against time, helping others helps everyone stay ahead of the vaccine -- of the pandemic. brent: we asked isaac for more
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information on the government's rollout plan. >> what officials hope to do is to start vaccination from next week, which is march 2. vaccination will take place in hotspot areas. places where infection has been increasing or the rate has been increasing the last two months. e hope is persons will be vaccinated, especially health workers, religious leaders, teachers, lawmakers among others. it will give hope to others there is a need for them to take the vaccine. many people have a mixed feeling toward taking the vaccine. say for them to take to help ghana win the battle against the covid-19 pandemic. brent: that was isaac reporting from ghana. in the first months of the pandemic, germany was a role model in managing the virus, but a year on, germany is
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struggling. the vaccination rollout remain sluggish and while other nations approved rapid home test some months ago, germans still have to see a doctor when they get tested. that is set to change with officials approving three different testing kits. the health minister was on the defensive today facing criticism from moving too slowly. >> people in germany are longing for a return to the normality they knew a year ago before the pandemic began, before the lockdowns. the health minister is under pressure to show the way forward, but he has to reconcile the risk posed by the new variants with the freedom people want. >> we are a country looking for a balance between the best possible protection from infections but also life and freedom and no malady as much as possible. >> widespread rapid testing will be at the heart of the reopening
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strategy soon. germany is lagging behind neighbors like austria where they are already making frequent tests available for all. germany's vaccine rollout is also slow. some federal states are reacting with a patchwork of strategies. for vaccinations, how and when to turn to school -- to return to school and even the reopening of her salons. in parliament, he pointed to the federal structure as responsible for the problems. >> i do not know how each of the regions is going to allow hairdressers to reopen. >> the twin responsibility of the federal and regional governments has proven complicated. the next hurdle is coming up next week when the state leaders and chancellor merkel have to agree on a further easing of lockdown measures. brent: the mass testing plane for germany has already been rolled out in austria.
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a report from vienna where rapid antigen test are freely available and compulsory for students. >> the upper house is one of vienna's landmarks, but with the ongoing pandemic, locals are no longer coming hereo enjoy a performance. what they want as a rapid antigen test. this is where it gets done, at this booth over there, which used to be a traditional food stand. i need to get tested too. thank you very much. needless to say this was very uncomfortable. but very quick. within minutes, i will have my result. this cost me 39 euros, but there are hundreds of pharmacies in austria where you can get tested for free. you will need to wait a bit
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longer for the result. there are a lot of people who are willing to get tested to get this quick antigen test done in order to go to the hairdresser or school because schools in austria, it is required twice a week to present such an antigen test, a negative covid result to be able to participate at school. one million tests are carried out each week in austria. one of the highest rates in the world. the government hopes more people -- more acceptable it becomes, the sooner the economy will be able to get back in reopen. brent: getting tested for covid-19 on the streets of vienna. any reporter is calling for you and sanctions against sri lanka's former top general for war crimes during the civil war. from most three decades, fought for an independent state for the ethnic minority. more than 100,000 people were
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killed. thousands more disappeared. >> this is the number of days these mothers have been protesting. for four years, they have stood on the side of the road in the north of sri lanka. the women want to know where their children and husbands are. they have been missing since the end of the civil war in 2009. this woman has also been here every day for four years. she has been looking for her daughter. >> we need each other. my suffering is also felt by these other mothers peered because of that, i keep on fighting only from our child but for all the children and husbands who went missing. we have to find out what happened to our children. all these mothers believe their children and loved ones who will return. they cannot lose their hope. a 32-year-old says she recognized her daughter in this photo from 2015. it apparently shows the girl
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standing next to the former sri lankan president. seeing the photos spurred her to initiate the protest. the family belongs to the minority. knowing the last days of the civil war, there were forced to leave their home and taken to a camp run by the secret service and interrogated. on the day, she says her daughter was kidnapped. by whom, it is unclear. shortly before the end of t civil war, the sri lankan army, to the territory. they were looking for fighters for the liberation organization who are fighting for independence. according to the u.n., both warring parties committed serious work crimes. up to 15,000 are officially missing. the united nations believes the number to be much higher. it has been impossible for this family to find peace since their eldest child disappeared. have into the police time and again and called on the u.n. refugee agency and the u.n. human rights commission to get
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involved but in vain. >> it is very difficult nut that my wife stays at the protest site. i am with her in thought all the time. i keep telling my wife to bring our daughter home. i am convinced my daughter is still alive. >> protests by the sri lankan groove are going. thousands took to the streets in early february demanding the government clarify what happened to the missing. the current president declared all missing persons deceased in 2020 including the daughter of this woman. the u.n. commissioner for human rights places the blame for alleging atrocities on the current army chief. the women simply want to know
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what happened to their children. so far, no sri lankan government has offered to help them. brent: police in the german port city of hamburg have seized 16 tons of cocaine. that is the most ever found in europe. cocaine was hidden in metal canister shipped from paraguay. seven tons were also seized any antwerp, belgium. police have arrested a 28-year-old man suspected of importing the drugs. >> these canisters imported from paraguay were supposed to contain putty filler. instead, they are stuck with 16 tons of cocaine. it would have sold for as much as 3.5 billion euros. >> we were very surprised by the ml after we opened the canisters. we multiply the number by nine kilos and came up with this
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unimaginable amount of 16 tons. another seven tons were intercepted at the belgian port city of antwerp. the owner of an import company in the netherlands has been arrested. it is the largest amount of cocaine that has been seized in europe. politicians believe it is just the tip of the iceberg. >> billion can be made in the cocaine trade. these illegal funds can easily flow into legitima areas of the economycausing unld damage. >> organized crime only attracts the attention of politicians when people are lying dead on the streets or wend our campaigns against it. normally it is under the radar and that makes it even more dangerous. >> experts are calling on politicians to hold a summit on drugs. the security problem is huge and police and customs are poorly equipped to do with it. brent: sports news now.
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women's international football. the netherlands have been germany by a score of 2-1 in a friendly match. jackie grown and opened the scoring for the dutch. equalized for germany. netted the winner for the netherlands with an hour gone. clarissa shields has achieved stellar success as a boxer. as an amateur, she won two olympic gold medals and now she is the undisputed women's middleweight world champion. she earns far less than male boxers. she is fighting to change that. >> here is the wba ibf and reigning wbc middleweight champion of the world from flint, michigan. the undefeated t-rex. clarissa shields. >> clarissa shields is fighting
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a battle outside the ring as well. she wants women to box 12 three-minute rounds just like men. shorter fight times are also -- are often flighted is the reason they are paid less. >> people say women should not get paid the same because we do not fight the same amount of time. i wish people would realize we did not put those rules in place. the men did. there is no reason for us to be fighting two minutes. it just affects women's boxing as a whole. would not have any -- have as many knockouts because we do not have enough time to get the knockouts. people judge our records off of that. >> your winner by unanimous decision. she is still undefeated and still wba ibf wbc middleweight champion of the world, t-rex, clarissa shields. >> i am not asking to be protected.
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i'm asking to be respected. en we sign-up for boxing, we know what we are signing up for. no need to try to protect the women if you are not going to protect the men. >> women like clarissa shields typically earn less than 10% as much as similarly accomplished male boxers. she is not going to stop fighting for equal pay andy bro -- an equal opportunity in the sport where she has reached the pinnacle. brent: she is serious. you are watching dw news live from berlin. i will be back to take you through the day. stick around. we will be right back. ♪
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♪ >> welcome to live from paris. world news and analysis from "france 24" these are the main world news headlines. lockdown in dunkirk. the french port has a covid infection rate four times the national average. the situation there is alarming. ghana becomes the first country to receive covid vaccine from the covax program. but it is only a first step. biden seeks to recalibrate u.s.-saudi

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