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tv   Newsline  PBS  May 23, 2015 12:00am-12:31am PDT

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hello and welcome back to this edition of "newsline." i'm raja pradhan with the news from tokyo. delegates at a conference discussing how to implement the on how to implement the nuclear nonproliferation treaty have entered their final day of talks. it's still unclear whether they can come together to adopt an outcome document. the officials are in new york taking part in the four-week review conference at u.n. headquarters. but they've been divided over the wording of the document. the conference president taous feroukhi is trying to find a compromise. she presented a final draft early friday morning. the draft does not have a reference to a separate treaty to ban nuclear weapons. it is seen as one of the most
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contentious points between countries possessing nuclear weapons and those that do not. officials from nonnuclear weapons states have demanded the document mention the need for such a treaty. japanese delegates propose the draft include a call for world leaders to visit hiroshima and nagasaki. but their chinese counterparts oppose the idea. they argued that japan is trying to portray itself as a victim of war. instead, the draft calls for raising public awareness on the need for nuclear disarmament through interaction with people and the communities affected by nuclear weapons. it's still unclear whether the delegates can adopt the draft by consensus on friday afternoon at a plenary meeting. archaeologists across the world are expressing concern over the fate of a historic site in central syria. islamic state militants have seized much of the area around the city of palmyra and are
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purportedly ready to take a stand in a world heritage site. nhk world reports. >> reporter: smoke rose over the ancient ruins after islamic state insurgents took control of the city on thursday. [ palmyra is a strategically important location. it's on a highway linking the capital damascus with the areas controlled by the fighters. the celebrated ruins dating back to the first century are in the southeast of the city. the archaeological complex includes the remains of temples, theaters and colonnades, part of what was once a busy commercial town connecting the roman empire with the civilization of persia, india and china. some archaeologists call it venice of the sands. islamic state militants tweeted that they had occupied the area. a british based group monitoring syria says the militants have
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already entered the ruins. the fighters have destroyed a number of historical artifacts in iraq for allegedly violating their prohibitions on idol worship. scholars are worried that the palmyra site may also be targeted. unesco officials have called for an immediate cease-fire in and around the city. >> i would appeal strongly to all sides once again to review strategies, to ruoff review their military actions and to protect and preserve palmyra. >> reporter: syrian officials have already moved hundreds of statues to a safe place but they say they can't do anything about the buildings. >> translator: syrian people will defend the site with all their strength to prevent the militants from entering it but the international community also has a responsibility. >> reporter: syrian officials point out militants may be trying to use the heritage site as a shield to protect
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themselves against an offensive by syrian government forces. archaeologists say it will be an immense loss for humanity if the heritage was destroyed. tomoko kamata, nhk world. friday marked the first anniversary of thailand's military coup. the interim prime minister is working to restore civilian rule. but the rift between two key political groups which triggered the coup still exists. it's far fro time soon. patchari raksawong in bangkok is following the story. >> reporter: i'm near the prime minister's office. this area was a site of frequent anti-government rallies especially after november 2013 when the political turmoil intensified. but as you can see it's clear that things have now returned to normal. anti-government demonstrations demanding the resignation of
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former prime minister yingluck shinawatra was supported by thailand's elite including members of the military and bureaucracy. this group has long been the country's mainstay. yingluck was the figure at the center of the storm. she won a considerable number of votes by promising to increase the incomes of farmers in rural villages, including the densely populated northeast, an area that was left behind as thais enjoyed the benefits of economic growth. her political style was similar to that of her older brother, former prime minister thaksin shinawatra. political parties that support the two shinawatras have won every election since 2001. the policies of the shinawatras criticized by some as pork barreling threatened the country's vested interest structure. the military coup took place as a result of discord pitting groups against each other. the countries elite became more pronounced. the military led government has banned demonstrations and assemblies, and life in the
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country is calm again. but the feeling of calm may be deceptive. the thai people have not overcome the deep rift that split them in two. nhk world's shoko matsumoto reports. ♪ >> reporter: the interim prime minister's speeches are aired every week on the program "returning happiness to the people." but despite its hopeful title, political discontent simmers under the surface. in january, the military dominated interim parliament impeached yingluck. shinawatra. the former prime minister is accused of implementing a rice subsidy program that significantly damaged the country. her impeachment means she is barred from politics for five years. her negligence trial stemming from the mismanaged program began this week.
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>> i would like to say that we are confident of my innocence and confident to present to the court with the evidence and witness. thank you. >> reporter: the government abruptly forced a pro yingluck tv station off the air in april. the authorities said its programs were stirring up conflict among the people. the move only further angered yingluck supporters who accused the government of political oppression. another point of contention is the draft of the new constitution proposed by the interim government. it includes a provision that would allow an unelected person to become prime minister. critics say this would undermine the political system. the interim prime minister strongly denies there's no election on the horizon and that the military will remain in charge indefinitely.
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>> translator: this regime is not mine. i'm doing this for the people of thailand. i don't intend to remain in power for the long-term. >> reporter: some people are concerned that political conflict could be reignited. a year after the military coup, thailand has still not found a path for a return to civilian rule. shoko matsumoto, nhk world, bangkok. >> the interim government was hoping to hold a parliamentary election this year but eventually postponed it until 2016 so that it could hold a national referendum on a controversial new constitution. it's becoming increasingly unclear when the country will be able to restore civilian rule. the draft constitution which enables the appointment of an unelected prime minister would also set up an electoral system designed to make it easier to reflect the views of multiple political parties. the anti-thaksin camp backed by
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the urban elite and establishment figures, is hoping the new constitution will help it seize political power but supporters of the former prime minister will undoubtedly react sharply to the new constitution. in thailand, the king and the military have stepped in to unravel complex issues and deal with problems when the country's political system breaks down. this process sometimes known as thai-style democracy went into effect one year ago. the international community is watching closely to see if the government will be able to restore civilian rule and more importantly heal the deep political divisions among the people. that's all from bangkok. i'm patchari raksawong. officials with the u.s. defense department released aerial footage taken over disputed waters in the south china sea.
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the video shows chinese navy officers warning an american reconnaissance plane not to enter the area. the aircraft was making a surveillance flight. the video shows what appears to be china's construction work for a runway on a manmade island in the spratley islands. china and a few other parties claim sovereignty over them. >> currently what we're looking at is some construction at a landing strip. they've built hundreds of meters in the past couple months. >> the footage includes radio transcripts. chinese navy officials are heard telling the u.s. aircraft it was approaching china's military zone and urging the plane to leave the area immediately. american pilots responded by saying they are operating in international airspace and in line with international law. >> the flight of a reconnaissance plane in the south china sea is a regular occurrence.
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>> and pentagon spokesperson, steve warren, hinted at the possibility of sending military aircraft and vessels to waters that china claims to be its territory. leaders in beijing denounced the u.s. mission. >> translator: such action is likely to cause an accident. it's completely irresponsible and completely dangerous, and detrimental to regional peace and stability. we express our strong dissatisfaction. >> hong says his nation will closely monitor the area to prevent accidents at sea or in the air and take all necessary and appropriate measure to ensure safety of the country's islands and reefs. japanese and south korean officials discussed japan's bid to have facilities linked to the industrial revolution listed as unesco world heritage site.
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seoul opposes the bid pointing out that people from the korean peninsula were conscripted to work at some of the sites. the foreign ministry's director general for cultural affairs led the japanese side. south korean delegates include the ambassadoror cultural and unes aairs japanese officials explain the proposeditesrebols o the country's rapid industrialization for a half century from the 1850s saying it was before japan's annexation of the korean peninsula in 1910. the south korean delegates reiterated their opposition. but both sides agree to arrange a date for further talks. japan and south korea are among the 21 members of the world heritage committee and officials will meet in germany next month to screen recommendations. japan and south korea mark the 50th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties, but lately, those ties have come under strain. relations between the countries
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date back over a thousand years. in the 17th century, korean kings sent representatives to japan, a practice that continued for 2 1/2 centuries. now a group of japanese and south koreans retraced the step of the diplomatic missions in effort to revive a feeling of peace and prosperity. on friday, the walkers arrived in tokyo at the end of the journey. nhk world's reporter has more. >> reporter: people from japan and south korea kick off their walk with a celebration in seoul. the journey has been held every two years since 2007. participants walk most of the day. they average about 30 kilometers a day. the majority of them are japanese.
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it's difficult for participants to get to know each other. it makes for quite a journey. >> translator: we decided to promote friendship between south korea and japan by experiencing some of the hardships felt by those who worked to improve bilateral ties. >> reporter: one of the workers is yo un he's an 11th generation grandson of a man who led an envoy in japan in the year 1607. on this day yo and the other participants hike through a deep pass, a key passage. >> translator: it was cold and the wind was blowing.
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when i climbed the pass, i was sweating. during the dissent, i shivered because of the cold, but our ancestors had even more difficulties back then. >> reporter: during a break, japanese and the south korean walkers share korean sweets. they also share some hardships. after a short break, they continue on their journey. >> [ speaking foreign language ]. >> reporter: barriers between the participants from the two countries gradually begin to break down. ♪ after walking through south
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korea, they board a ferry for japan and cross the same seas as their ancestors. they arrive at this temple in the city of shizuoka. it's the same temple where the original emperors stayed. their legacy remains in the forms of their poems and engravings. yo found a people left by his ancestor. >> translator: i am so impressed to see this poem written by my ancestor. >> reporter: they traveled over mountains and across the sea, 1,200 kilometers later. the participants finally arrive at their destination, tokyo.
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>> translator: i feel that people from both countries can relate to each other if we take enough time. >> translator: through this walk, i've come to feel close to people from japan. now we've become a family. >> reporter: he says he plans to carry on the mission's spirit of spreading friendship and peace. nhk world. in other news a former vice president with korean air is free again after an appeals court in seoul overruled a lower court decision and handed down a suspended sentence. he gained notoriety last year when she ordered a passenger jet to return to the gate in new york in what became known as the nut rage case. the high court has sentenced cho to ten months in prison, suspended for two years. she lost her temper and ordered the plane back after she was
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served nuts in a packet instead of on a plate. cho then told the cabin service chief to leave the plane. the high court found her guilty of hindering the safe operation of the aircraft. but it determined that the jet's return to the gate did not constitute an illegal change of a flight route. the court also said that the defendant seriously regrets her action. a lower court has given cho a one-year prison term in february. it ruled that the plane's movement on the ground constituted a change of flight route. both the defendant and the prosecution had appealed the ruling. japanese, u.s., and south korean officials are getting ready to discuss their concerns about north korea. they've been following events including the execution of the man in charge of the country's armed forces. japan's foreign ministry says officials who deal with north korea will gather in seoul next wednesday. they're the japanese foreign ministry's sags asian and
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oceania affairs chief, u.s. special representative and south korean special representative. they'll be following up on talks their governments held in january. one likely topic is the execution of north korea's minister of the people's armed forces. another is a report by north korean state media that the country test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine. the officials will likely also affirm they'll keep working together to deal with north korea's nuclear and missile programs. japan's prime minister shinzo abe has shown leaders from pacific island nations where tragedy struck his country four years ago. they visited a coastal community in northeastern japan that was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. the city of iwaki in fukushima prefecture lost over 100 people
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to the disaster. abe visited with delegates from 16 countries in japan for the pacific island's leaders meeting. they inspected the progress of work to rebuild an embankment. iwaki mayor briefed them on reconstruction efforts. abe and palau's president, tommy remengesau, paid their respects at a memorial of the victims. remengesau is co-chairing the meeting. >> the resilience you have displayed in the aftermath of the tragedy beginning with the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear contamination is truly an inspiration to us and the world. >> the leaders also enjoyed food made with locally produced rice, squid and fish. food producers in fukushima are struggling to dispel concerns about food safety. the impact of contamination from the nuclear accident has prevented farmers and fishers
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in the area from fully resuming their job. the delgts will continue their meeting through saturday. zoos and aquariums will no longer buy dolphins bought in dry hunts. the decision came after pressure from a global association that called the method inhumane. and it's sending rips throughout the industry. it may also have an impact across the world as the majority of internationally traded dolphins originate in japan. nhk world's reporter looks into the reaction of the decision. >> reporter: the town of taiji in western japan plays a key role in the dolphin hunts. it is also associated with the history of whaling in japan. exhibitions in the town museum explain traditional whaling methods. >> translator: this type of whaling started around the year 1600. >> reporter: the method to catch whales is the original of the dry hunting of dolphins that started in the late 1960s.
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there was increased demand at the time. >> translator: this became common in japan, aquariums built around the country, and we started to domesticate dolphins. >> reporter: taiji helped supply aquariums outside japan. records show that in the ten-year period through 2013, 483 bottle nosed dolphins were traded internationally, and 19% of them shipped from japan to 16 different countries and regions. in 2004, the world association of zoos and aquarium adopted a resolution condemning dry hunts in japan. fishermen in taiji installed walls so the animals will not hit the rocks and get hurt. >> translator: fishermen are doing their best not to hurt dolphins. people across japan can enjoy seeing dolphins at
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aquariums because our town, taiji, supplies them. we should be proud of that. >> reporter: one crew member commented on their recent efforts. >> translator: now we treat dolphins with greater care and provide them to aquariums. we continue to abide by regulations from the central and local governments. we do this in effort to increase understanding. >> reporter: dolphin breeding programs are in place at some japanese aquariums, but their success is limited. efforts at this facility resulted in only one birth with the pup dying 20 days later. >> translator: raising dolphins is a very difficult task. it takes ten years until they are mature enough to bear offspring. and even if we succeed, inbreeding causes various problems. if we can't supply aquariums with any dolphins caught in the
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wild, there will be no future for aquariums. >> reporter: people on both sides of the issue rarely compromise their position. but an australian scholar based in japan says a middle ground can be found. >> it's no more crew than what we do to kangaroos, cows, pigs, chickens it's no more cruel than what we do to other animals animals. what's been done for century in taiji is done with respect. it's not for us in our country. it's not for everybody, but we need to respect what goes on there. >> reporter: fishermen and members of the general public wonder why it has been singled out for global criticism. they believe the issue should be debated internationally as many countries depend on dolphin hunts in japan. jun yotsumoto, nhk world.
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>> and japanese officials are seeking international understanding for their efforts to restart the country's research whaling program. experts are meeting with members of the scientific committee of the international whaling commission in california. the committee will discuss tokyo's revised plan to conduct research whaling in the antarctic ocean. and the meeting is schedule to continue june 3. the international court of justice last year ordered japan to stop the program. the court ruled it does not meet scientific standards. the japanese fisheries ministry hopes to resume research whaling toward the end of the year. >> translator: we will try our best to have the members of the committee understand the scientific basis of our new plan. >> japanese government officials are offering to reduce the number of whales caught to one-third the figure in the previous plan. the committee won't decide whether japan can restart the whaling program. its members will consider it
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only from a scientific point of view. there's more to come on "newsline," but first, a three day outlook of the world's weather. and before we wrap up, a wholesaler in northern japan has shelled out big bucks for fruit. he paid more than $12,000 at an auction in hokkaido on a pair of
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premium melons. a wholesale market sold 42 ewe body melons, the year's first auction for the fruit. the very expensive treat is popular as a luxury gift for its rich, sweet taste. the winning bidder said his prize produce will be sold to a supermarket in niigata prefecture. he said he's happy he won the bid. farmers said this year's crop tastes sweet thanks to good weather after a cold spell that slowed their growth. shipments of this melon peaks in mid-july and continues until early september. the farmers expect to ship about 4,300 tons. that's all for now on this edition of "newsline." i'm raja pradhan in tokyo. and from all of us at nhk world thanks for watching.
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michaela: in the end, less than 30 survived. it took the deaths of some 800 migrants during the sinking of one ship for the european union to once again start paying attention to the mass deaths of migrants in the mediterranean. overnight funding for sea rescue has been tripled. italy had organised its own rescue mission before. mare nostrum came in response to an earlier disaster, but when that ran out of funding last october, the eu's focus was firmly back on protecting its borders with no migration policy in sight. hello and welcome to our special programme on the growing crisis on the mediterranean. here's what we've got coming up. why people risk everything to leave.


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