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tv   Newsline  PBS  January 23, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm PST

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blockading iran. iranian leaders dismiss an embargo on their oil. the european union is trying to starve iran of its main source of revenue. eu slapped an embargo on iranian oil. members want to cut off funding to tehran's nuclear program. eu foreign ministers want to pressure iran to comply with u.n. resolutions. >> i want to stress, however,
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that sanctions are not an end in themselves. i've often talked about this being part of a twin track approach, that the purpose of sanctions is to put pressure on iran to come back to the negotiating table. >> eu countries will stop importing iranian crude and oil products, they'll also freeze the assets of iran's central bank and stop some financial transactions. they say the bank provides funds for the country's nuclear program. the embargo will not be enforced until july. representatives of greece and italy asked for the delay because their countries rely heavily on iranian oil. the eu has gradually escalated economic sanctions against iran over the past six years. the ban on crude oil is the most severe action to date. iranian leaders have react sharply. they say sanctions haven't convinced them in the past and won't now.
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nhk world reports from tehran. >> iran foreign ministry spokesperson posted a statement on the website of the state-run television. he says eu embargo constitutes economic warfare. he says economic sanctions are illogical. it will not stop iran from exercising its rights. the government has yet to announce whether it will protest the hormuz strait. the country has also made no notable response to a western naval deployment led by u.s. aircraft carrier through the strait of hormuz on sunday. observers say iran appears to be cautious about sparking a military confrontation with the west. reporting for nhk world, tehran.
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>> leaders of france, germany, britain say they're willing to negotiate, but only if the iranians are ready to talk seriously. they released a joint statement after the eu approved the sanctions. the leaders call on iran to suspend its nuclear development immediately and fully abide by its international obligations. their statement stresses iran is a threat to peace and security in the region. it says they will unite behind strong measures to undermine the iranian regime's ability to fund its nuclear program. now, all of this is driving up oil prices. ai uchida from the business team joins us with that story. >> the eu's approval of embargo against iranian oil is affecting markets. crude oil soared in new york on monday brief lig li topping $100 a barrel. buy orders gain momentum on the benchmark wti crude futures monday night on rising concerns
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that the eu's move will raise tensions over the strait of hormuz. key oil futures had dropped to the $75 per barrel in october after credit problems damped investors risk ap tut. but demand would rise on the back of a positive u.s. economic outlook. the united states is stepping up sanctions against iran over its nick lar program. the u.s. treasury has added the country's third largest bank to a list of sanctions on suspicion of helping to spread nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction. the treasury department announced on monday that it will now prohibit u.s. firms from conducting business with iran's bank tejerat as well as its subsidiary trade capital bank. the department says bank tejarat is assisting in obtaining uranium needed for nuclear
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development. it says the bank is providing services to other domestic financial institutions and firms that are already on the u.s. sanctions list. bank tejarat has a network of some 2,000 domestic branches and has outlets in paris and the former soviet republic of tajikistan according to the treasury department. a senior treasury official says the u.s. targeted the bank as it is one of the few remaining financial access points for iran with the rest of the world. the head of the international monetary fund christine lagarde has asked the european union to boost the size of its rescue fund. >> in the economic outlook the imf will release tomorrow and only tomorrow, we will lower forecasts in most of the world. >> in her speech in berlin monday, lagarde said that the
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world economy faced a defining moment. she then urged the eu to contribute to a bigger bailout fund that will be established from its current balance of 500 billion euros. lagarde pointed out a possibility that financial turmoil in europe could worsen as costs to repay debts are expected to expand in italy and spain. she also urged eu members to consider issuing the unified euro bond to establish a system that would strengthen their financial integration and risk sharing. let's get a check on the markets now. tokyo stocks are up moderately this tuesday morning. the nikkei currently trading at 8821, a gain of 0.6%. the broader topix higher by 0.4%, currently at 759. a pause in the yen's surge against the euro is prompting sell orders for export-related shares. investors are keeping a close tch over crude oil futures after the eu's decision to stop importing iranian oil. turning now to currencies,
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investors are selling the yen against the dollar against the euro -- the investors are selling the yen and the dollar against the euro, that is, this tuesday morning. the euro is now changing hands against the dollar at 1.3018 to 3020. against the yen, the euro is trading at 100.19 to 23. sources say that euro zone finance ministers on monday suggested that the greek government and private bond holders may reach an agreement over debt reconstruction within several days. this led investors to buy back the euro. a look now at the latest long-term interest rates. the yield on the benchmark ten-year japanese government bond is up over half a basis point. and time to get you some other market figures now.
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gold rising as well. that's the latest in business. back to catherine now. >> the european union has decided to tighten sanctions against another country, syria. eu foreign ministers have demanded president bashar al assad step aside immediately. >> we've added 22 individuals on eight entities to our list of sanctions today, and we will continue to engage with the opposition to do whatever we can in support of the people of syria and the initiatives that others are taking. >> the eu will freeze the assets of those on the list and ban them from entering the bloc.
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the united nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed since the syrian government began a crackdown on protesters ten months ago. eu officials have introduced ten rounds of sanctions against the assad administration since last may. they banned imports of syrian crude last september. the new sanctions bring the number of syrian people targeted by an asset freeze and travel ban to over 100. president assad is included on the list. the arab league has proposed assad hand over power to the vice president. he has rejected the proposal. "newsline" is the place to turn to for the latest on japan post march 11th. we have two segments offering two unique perspectives on the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami. "nuclear watch" brings you insight and information on the impact of the fukushima daiichi crisis. and "the road ahead" examines japan's a efforts to recover and
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rebuild. don't miss "nuclear watch" and "the road ahead" on "newsline." a team of experts from the international atomic energy agency has begun reviewing results of japan's safety tests for two halted nuclear reactors. the team is to inform the country's government about whether the results and the test method were appropriate. ten experts are to examine the results of computer simulations for the reactors at the ohi nuclear plant in central japan to determine whether the tests were carried out in line with international standards. >> and the objective of the mission is to review the safety review process for the comprehensive assessments for the safety of existing power reactor facilities. >> the team is to visit the plant on wednesday and thursday to inspect its anti-tsunami measures and verify the government's recent announcement that the tests were appropriate. 90% of japan's nuclear reactors
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are offline due to concernses that they could be fuvulnerableo earthquakes and tsunami. passing the safety check sts a prerequisite for the idled reactors to resume operation. japan's nuclear safety agency says it will finalize its assessment of the two reactors in february after receiving the agency's report at the end of this month. tokyo electric power company will shut down a reactor in niigata prefecture for a regular inspection. this will leave only four of japan's 54 reactors online. it will shut off the power at the kashiwazaki kariwa plant. the number six reactor will be the only one providing power to the tokyo area. it will boost the capacity of its thermal plants and ask households and companies to save electricity. tepco is working to start its reactors. it submitted the results of
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stress tests on two reactors at the kashiwazaki kariwa plant. but the local government has refused to allow the reactors back online. it says there has not been an adequate investigation of the fukushima daiichi accident. next we go to bangkok to find out what's making headlines in the region. >> we start in afghanistan where a senior american diplomat says the united states will support the taliban's decision to open a political office in qatar, a step designed to facilitate dialogue of reconciliation in the country. u.s. special envoy to afghanistan mark grossman commented after two days of talks with afghan president hamid karzai. >> efforts being made with qatar to open an office to the afghan tale ban need now to move to enable a conversation among afghans for peace. >> the taliban offered earlier this month to open an office in
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qatar as a vue for talks with the united states and other countries. president karzai indicated support for the taliban's decision on the opening day of a new session of the country's parliament. despite his positive comments, grossman stressed that the taliban must first renounce terrorism before peace talks begin. >> i'm looking forward to the taliban being clear about breaking ties with international terrorism and also to say that they are prepared to participate in an afghan peace process, where afghans talk to afghans about the future of afghanistan. >> the taliban has demanded the release of it members detained by the u.s. at guantanamo bay.
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grossman said washington has not yet made a decision on the matter. the afghan government is struggling to restore security to rebuild the war-torn country. to that end it's not just exploring ways to achieve peace with the taliban but calling on taliban insurgents to surrender. however, such efforts are not necessarily going smoothly. nhk world followed a former taliban commander who switched sides at the urging of the government. >> reporter: the province of kunduz used to be a relatively peaceful area of afghanistan, but the recent years, the taliban has made a dramatic return. this man was a taliban commander here. as the leader of 35, he battled for years against government and international forces.
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but in april, he was persuaded by the government to give up his arms struggle. they welcomed him from the militant group. local television gave the event heavy coverage. >> translator: i've come here in response to president karzai's call for reconciliation. other taliban members should follow suit. >> reporter: but commander bero and other deserters now regret their decision. they are frustrated, and they say the government has failed to deliver on promises to provide them with security. all they received was a one-time cash payment of $100. less than what they used to earn every month with the taliban.
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>> translator: i can't take being poor any longer. the government gives us the run around and does nothing to help. >> reporter: the taliban says it plans to open a liaison office in qatar to facilitate dialogue with the united states, but at the same time the militant group is collecting its offensive in afghanistan, alough repeated attacks against international forces. >> reporter: with the taliban emboldened, rising discontent among deserters is casting a shadow over public security.
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commander bero and other foreign militants visited a local government office to protest at how they have been treated. >> translator: to those who are criticizing the government, i want to ask them to be patient for a little longer. >> translator: i didn't gain anything by complying with the government's request. why would other taliban soldiers want to break away from the group? >> reporter: the international community supports afghanistan's efforts to negotiate with the taliban, but in reality, there's a long, rocky path ahead to restore peace to the country. said amir bakari, kunduz province, afghanistan. monday marked the first day of the lunar new year, and
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people around southeast asia have been celebrating. let's take a look at how different countries are ushering in the year of the dragon. here in thailand, colorful parades paved the way for locals of chinese descent as well as foreigners to kick off the celebrations. grouds gave alms and packed shrines to pay their respects and pray for health and wealth. in malaysia dragon and lion dancers spiced up festivities in neighborhoods and neighbors invited the troupes to bless their homes. the holiday is widely celebrated by the chinese population who make up a quarter of the majority muslim country's people. in the philippines firecrackers echoed in the streets as crowds watched colorful performances in manila's chinatown. chinese, filipinos also traveled
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to nearby catholic shrine and offered prayers and incense sticks signifying a blend of hispanic and chinese traditions. many believe this year's symbol, the dragon, is the most auspicious of all of the signs in the chinese zodiac. and that wraps up our bulletin. as reported, chinese people around the world are saying good-bye to the rabbit and hello to the dragon. it's chinese new year, a two-week celebration filled with food and festivitiefestivities. we report from yokohama, home of the largest chinatown in japan. >> reporter: 20 million people visit these busy streets every year. but yokohama chinatown is especially crowded during chinese new year. this acrobatic lion dance group is made up of alumni from a
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local chinese school. members have put in years of training to preserve this traditional art form. >> translator: we dance in front of shops to wish them good business. we also hope the lion dance will bring a good year to the audience. >> reporter: these lions are considered messengers of god. they ward off the bad and bring good fortune. the owners of restaurants and shops here hang little envelopes filled with money at their entrances. when a lion comes to grab it, that's a sign good business is in store. and it's a sign the more than 600 shops and restaurants here have been hoping to see. last year's march 11th disaster hurt business. >> translator: many shops closed down here in chinatown. even stores on the main streets were gone.
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but business finally started to pick up around october. >> reporter: restaurants offer special new year's meals. chefs add their own touches to fish and bok choy, chicken and lobster, or specialty dishes such as shark fins. the dishes are meant to bring good luck and good fortune to diners. mm, delicious. food isn't the only perk here. organizers have planned several traditional parades and performances for the next two weeks. more than 700,000 people are expected to visit yokohama chinatown until the end of chinese new year on february 6th. i'm rina nakano, nhk world, yokohama. i kicked off my lunar new year celebration under a veil of
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snow. saki ochi has the world weather forecast. yes, it did turn out to be quite a wintry picture for tokyo as well as much of japan last night. and here is the clouds, those snow clouds heading away now from at least the pacific side of the country, but as we take a look at the precipitation forecast and see a lot more moisture comes in off the sea of japan so snows will continue to impact this western side of the country. now, the pacific side, looking at sunshine, so the snow is starting to melt, but into the evening hours, some light flurries could be falling once again. so it is going to be still on the unsettled side here. as we pull back, we look at dry conditions for much of the korean peninsula as well as china again. today now in central and southern areas of china, there is just a slight bit of precipitation showing up, but they are going to be small
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amounts at most, although you could be looking at flurries or cold rain. highs on tuesday look like this. minus 4 for seoul, still cold. minus 1 in beijing as well. tokyo's high expected to get up to 7 degrees. the return of sunshine should help make things feel a little warmer than monday. as we take a look at the americas, meanwhile, we have a very well series of storm systems that rolled through the southern end and it did cause quite a bit of damage. here is a look at clay, alabama, power lines down, and actually an f-3 tornado did strike the area. wind gusts estimated to be about 240 kilometers per hour. so this is a very, very damaging wind. you can see homes, sever homes were heavily damaged. and it did turn out to be quite a deadly scene. those systems are going to be heading out today, so that at least is good news. but looks like renewed energy
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will be moving into the southern texas region instead. so you do want to watch out here for the potential for stronger storms. meanwhile, that well developed low is going to be heading in towards eastern canada bringing all sorts of wintry conditions. watch out for freezing rain, snow as well as icy conditions. over towards the west, four corners area looking at a wintry picture that is starting to weaken and dissipate but the pacific northwest will get a new round of rain as well as upper elevation snow. seattle's high expected to get up to 6 degrees, 5 meanwhile for denver, minus 2 in chicago. and then 11 in new york and 13 degrees for d.c. so still on the mild side here. lastly, a look at europe. it does stay pretty unsettled for the central and eastern sections of europe. just multiple systems in play. and that's bringing a wintry mix of both rain and snow, some icy conditions as well. for the southeast corner of europe, the balkan peninsula,
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southern italy and turkey, too, it is deepening ast heads eastward and that's bringing a round of upper elevation snow as well as rainfall. for the british isles, new system is coming on this, that will spread rain and that heads right in towards france as well as the low countries. highs on tuesday, not too bad. 9 in london, and the same in paris. colder to the east. minus 2 in kiev and remains at minus 11 in moscow. so that's a look at the weather conditions for now. here is your three-day outlook.
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our lead story this hour, the european union is trying to starve iran of its main source of revenue. the eu has slapped an embargo on
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iranian oil. members want to cut off funding of two tehran's nuclear program. eu foreign ministers want to pressure iran to comply with u.n. resolutions. >> i want to stress, however, that sanctions are not an end in themselves. i've often talked about this being part of a twin track approach. that the purpose of sanctions is to put pressure on iran to come back to the negotiating table. >> eu countries will stop importing iranian crude and oil products. they'll also freeze the assets of iran's central bank and stop some financial transactions. they say the bank provides funds for the country's nuclear program. the embargo will not be enforced until july. representatives of greece and italy asked for the delay because their countries rely heavily on iranian oil. the eu has gradually escalated economic sanctions against iran over the past six years. the ban on crude oil is the most severe action to date.
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that's all for this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. do stay with us. y@>2[3ñy
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